Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big Heart
During the three-month Designer in Residence program in Germany, the designer was inspired by the daily life in Pforzheim and translated the observation into 12 mindful and meaningful product designs, ranging from umbrella, brush, toothpaste, stamp, cup, toilet paper holder, clothe hanger to Post-it and gathered overall design process to a documentary book and website called "Design Consciousness: Small Things with Big Heart"
Mainly the designer captured moments that he felt interesting and thought-provoking during the time he jogged at the public park in the morning, the co-working place he shared with other creative talents and the time he stayed in the city. The photos are not visually attractive compared with professional photography, but they are mostly relevant to people's daily lives. The method the designer has applied in the project is dividing "see" into 3 different layers with different definitions accordingly: Observation, Consideration, and Interpretation through an inquiry-driven process.
Objects are invented by the human to help create a better life. For example, we need a new chair because it can make people sit more comfortably. Once we achieve the functional aspect of the object, people are prone to take things for granted as we tolerate ourselves by ignoring details and we easily choose to forget why we create the object and for whom. We hadn't asked further questions: Do we care about the user experience? The benefit of the design is included and beyond just containing the functional aspects. The benefit will considerate the emotional aspect for the user and it "evolves" with the user.
People easily get used to staying in a bubble of personal adaptive habits without knowing how we can better improve our life through baby steps. The intention of the project "Small Things with Big Heart" is to remind us that people actually deserve a life with better quality. The premise is that everyone needs to be constantly aware of our own behaviors intentionally and unintentionally. The designer wants to start from small and achievable things through close and mindful observations. Taking the daily life items, the designer tries to "revisit" products that surround us. Adopting the humanity-centered method, the designer has reviewed 12 objects beyond purely focusing on their functional aspects.
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartProject OverviewSheng-Hung Lee
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartSymbiosis Structure, More Than 30 Degrees, Post-it BrickSheng-Hung Lee
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartPost-it BrickSheng-Hung Lee
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartSave the Last Drop of Water, Give Used Bottle a Second LifeSheng-Hung Lee
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartGive Used Bottle a Second LifeSheng-Hung Lee
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartSustainable Cup Handle for Unsustainable Cup, Meaningful Chamfer, Office Creative ToolsSheng-Hung Lee
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartOffice Creative ToolsSheng-Hung Lee
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartHorn Hat, Meaningful Chamfer, 1 cm HeightSheng-Hung Lee
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartHorn HatSheng-Hung Lee
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartMeaningful ChamferSheng-Hung Lee
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartGive Used Bottle a Second LifeSheng-Hung Lee
Design Consciousness – Small Things with Big HeartMore Than 30 DegreesSheng-Hung Lee
A. Symbiosis Structure
Think about the relationship between the cup, toothbrush, and toothpaste in the restroom. After brushing their teethes, people will unconsciously put the toothbrush in a cup and leave the toothpaste on the side. How might we redesign the "relationship" between the toothbrush and toothpaste for both the cup and toothbrush to keep clean and hygienic?
We design a small rectangular tunnel to be attached to the back of the toothbrush. The rectangular tunnel serves two purposes: first, helping squeeze the toothpaste easier; second, forming a triangle structure that makes toothbrush and toothpaste stand and intertwines without leaning back on the side of the cup.
B. 1 cm Height
The correct way of using the toilet paper is putting it in a toilet paper stand that covers the toilet paper. The toilet paper stand actually can protect all sides of toilet paper from ash, dirt, and germ. We sometimes see no installing of a toilet paper stand out of concerns for time, space and cost, leaving only a few toilet papers stacked on the table without any protection.
We design a 1-cm-high platform for toilet paper roll. It's very easy to be attached to either side of toilet paper roll to make it a bit higher than tabletop. The design could possibly make the surface of the roll's top and bottom part clean and hygienic.
C. More Than 30 Degrees
In fact, the clothing stands on the market are the result of the manufacturing process. It's not really designed for hanging people's clothes. Very often, when people use clothe hangers made of metal wire, the clothes' collar will become looser time after time. The problem lies not in the clothes quality, but in the angle of the clothe hanger structure.
We design two adjustable components that can change the angle of clothing hangers. The flexibility of the angle of the clothe stand can stabilize clothe hanging in the right position to protect clothes from getting loose.
D. Meaningful Chamfer
When people use stamps, one of the pain points for users is to make the stamp perfectly aligned with the paper. How might we use stamps to create a better alignment experience?
We add a 4-edge chamfer on the head of the stamp. At first sight, most people view the chamfer mainly as decoration for a product. On the contrary, it plays the key role of alignment that helps to break down the stamping action into two steps: the first is to utilize the 4-edge chamfer as a smart tool to align with the paper, and the second is to rotate the stamp till its front side touches the surface to finish.
E. Horn Hat
On rainy days, people normally go out with an umbrella. The design of the umbrella structure makes it convenient for people to use. But the design doesn't fully solve its storage problem. It will become slightly inconvenient when people want to put the umbrella away for dryness if they cannot find a place to hang it.
We design a small horn-shaped stand to be attached to the tip of the umbrella. It's made of light-weighted PLA materials through the 3D printing technology. People can select different styles online to print out the one that fits their umbrellas. Once the umbrella stand is attached to the tip of the umbrella, the umbrella will "stand up" and dry easily, making its storage more convenient.
F. Office Creative Tools
The design is inspired by these beautiful and colorful stationeries in the office, e.g. multi-colored Sharpie, light-&-small tape, stapler, amazingly bright colored post-it and scissors that people use very often at work. How might we make our working environment more delightful and fun by transforming office stationeries?
The intention of the design work is to remind people that in order to achieve a bigger goal and solve a more complicated problem, they need to be mindful and considerate in every single detail and take account of different aspects like how people treat office tools, how they design space and how they curate experience as they might take these tiny things/stuff for granted easily. Therefore, we design a set of the imaginative-yet-interesting stationary stand for a start, to try to unlock people's creativity in the working environment.
G. Post-it Brick
The design is inspired by colorful Post-it in office. In the design consulting industry, most designers are heavy "Post-it users". Why don't we make Post-it even more playful and tangible to trigger more crazy and fun ideas? Now designers can not only get inspiring ideas from Post-it but also build it out.
We design a set of Post-it joints to connect different types of Post-it in terms of different colors, sizes, and thicknesses. The joint can bridge Post-it in both vertical and horizontal directions, allowing people to create their own Post-it world.
H. Give Used Bottle a Second Life
The idea comes from people's everyday waste such as the water bottle, tissue paper or plastic bag. How might we make full use of people's garbage by way of product innovation and to further influence people's behavior and cultivate a healthy mindset?
We design and 3D print the bottleneck/lid part combined with used bottles to turn trash into a vase. It might not be a novel/innovative idea, but we still think it's important and meaningful for shaping people's perceptions and actions in the process.
I. Save the Last Drop of Water
People tend to leave the last drop of water in the glass, which always causes accumulative waste. People also seldom take note of the little amount of water inside a glass.
We design a glass whose base has a 12-degree slope. When people attach the sloped base to the glass, it'll not really make a huge difference compared with the normal glass. But when a little amount of water remains inside the glass, people will notice it naturally as the tilted glass makes it visible.
J. Sustainable Cup Handle for Unsustainable Cup
The disposable plastic cups and their related products have done much harm to our environment. How might we take the not too ambitious first step of figuring out a practical solution and a feasible plan through the design and innovation process for the ultimate goal of eradicating the large social problem?
The intention of the design work is to remind people not to use disposable containers or utensils such as plastic cups, paper cups, and wooden chopsticks. Therefore, we design the 3D-printed cup handles made of recycled organic materials to extend their life span. We hope the design could not only impact the product cycle of plastic cups but also raise the public awareness of the environmental protection issue.