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Wendy Birchfield Product Design Portfolio 09 - 10

Contents 01 Sustainability 02 Ergonomics 03 Little Tikes 04 Furniture 05

Brand Language


Fine Art



The Project The intent of this project was to choose a product on the market, disassemble it, and evaluate how it could be redesigned in a more sustainable fashion. The product I chose was a collapsible camping chair. Through research and conceptual development I designed a more sustainable solution for this product.

01 disassembly//material research

How can this product be more sustainable?

//cut down on parts eliminate carrying bag and find a better solution for portability simplify legs //make more lightweight eliminate heavy material make chair out of one material //use friendlier materials what materials may release harmful chemicals when near a campfire use materials that may be easily recycled

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Why is it popular? //Portability //Comfort

Part Count:: 84 8 connectors 10 legs 20 screws 20 washers 2 arms (12 separate pieces) 1 seat (9 separate pieces) 1 bag (5 separate pieces)

Bamboo Fiber Pros:: requires less processing//uses less dye than cotton//biodegradable Cons:: usually requires importing

Organic Cotton Pros:: no chemical alterations//versatile Cons:: decreases soil fertility//crops require alot of land

Hemp Pros:: produces 250% more fiber than cotton//grows quickly//strong and durable

Organic Wool Pros:: assures humane treatment of sheep// eliminates synthetic pesticides on land and animals

Reclaimed Lumber Pros:: recycled//can be bought locally//sturdy Cons:: requires alot of clean-up

Bamboo Pros:: grows quickly//durable//economical Cons:: usually requires importing

Corrugated Plastic Pros:: recyclable//flexible//lightweight Cons:: less durable//synthetic

Cork Pros:: fire retardant

01 research//paper models

Folding Mechanisms I researched many different folding mechanisms; some that were applied to furniture and some that were not. Researching these folding mechanisms not only informed the function of my design, but they also informed the aesthetics.

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After researching these folding mechanisms I began the concepting phase of the process. I made several small paper and cardboard models throughout the concepting phase as a way of generating and solidifying ideas. I worked back and forth between drawing and paper modelling throughout concepting.

01 concepts

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This is the concept I pursued as the final direction. The original concept was made of one piece of corrugated material. It may be used in several different ways depending on its orientation. It may be used as a chair, a fort, or a sleeping mat. The chair can be rolled up and self contained for convenient portability but doesn’t depend on a separate piece of material to do so.

01 three directions//final direction 1


Throughout the refinement process I continued to make paper models. I arrived upon three possible directions and pursued them all before I decided upon the final direction.

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The final direction is made of one piece of corrugated material. At this point in the process I was unsure what that material was going to be. The two ends of the material connect to make a cylinder. The material is scored so that the seat easily falls into place. It rolls up and self contains, and can also lay flat and be used as a sleeping mat.

full-scale model

design 01assembly//final Full-scale





compare & contrast Total:: 84 parts Material:: //Nylon //Steel //Plastic Total:: 69 parts Material:: //Bamboo Fiber //Reclaimed Lumber

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Settle Down Model Full-Scale Final design The final design is made of bamboo fiber, and reclaimed lumber. It is stitched together so that it may be easily disassembled and recycled. Apart from three metal connectors, the chair is completely biodegradable.



The Project The intent of this project was to choose a product that has ergonomic issues. Through surveys and testing, my intent was to arrive at a more ergonomic solution for a hair dryer.

02 research

Existing Products::

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ulnar deviation

uncomfortable arm position awkward grip radial deviation

awkward shoulder position dorsal flexion

02 testing tools//surveys


a b




After discovering the main ergonomic issues, I made plans for constructing testing tools which would eventually direct me towards a better ergonomic solution. The testing tools range from making small changes in the typical hair dryer (testing things such as the angle of the handle to the nozzle), to big deviations, in which the orientation of the handle to the nozzle is far different from the typical hair dryer. The following are the issues my testing tools addressed:: //handle shape //angle of handle to nozzle //ability for user to keep wrist straight //weight distribution

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step 1: fill out the survey

step 2: test the models

2 1/2 4

top three picks::

1 1 1 1/2

5 1/2


ulnar deviation Through surveys and testing I discovered that it is most comfortable for the user to hold the hair dryer from the back of the nozzle. This allows the user to keep his//her wrist straight. It also creates a more direct relationship between the air flow and the direction the user’s hand is facing.

straight wrist

step 3: pick your favorite

02 concepts

Taking direction from the research and testing phase of the process, I began concepts for the final design. All of my concepts involve the user cupping the back of the nozzle. This required me to find another location for the intake. I also needed to find some way of insulating the back of the dryer, ensuring that it would not get too hot for the user’s hand. Based on the information I collected from my testing phase, I decided to design the hair dryer as a cordless dryer, which would have a charging dock. I felt that this would offer a solution to many of the ergonomic issues which I discovered.

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nylon hand slips inside

final direction strap for hand controls intake

wall-mounted charging dock


02 final design

handle insulated surface control intake

charging dock

color ways

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The final design has a control which wraps around the entire hair dryer so that it is accessible if it is held with the right hand or the left hand. The intake wraps around the nozzle creating a decorative pattern. The back of the dryer is insulated with silicone ensuring that the user’s hand will not get too hot. The handle is also coated in silicone for comfort. purposes The dryer has an electric charger, which can sit on the counter top or be wall-mounted.

02 model

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Little Tikes

The Project This project was sponsored by Little Tikes. The objective was to design a water toy for a 2 to 5-year-old. We worked with Little Tikes designers throughout the project and presented our final designs at the Little Tikes headquarters in Hudson, Ohio.

03 research

I researched what types of water toys are available on the market today. I researched Little Tikes products, along with their competitors. In addition, I had the opportunity to observe my two-year-old cousin, Colin, during bath time. Through observation, I discovered that Colin was most attracted to toys which had the ability to hold, pour, or funnel water. This heavily informed my final design.

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personal observation Name:: Colin Saksa Age:: 2 yrs.. Favorite bath toy:: green and yellow turtle

03 concepts

During the concept phase of the project, I brainstormed ideas for bath toys, yard toys, and beach toys. The concept I was most interested in pursuing was an interactive mobile for the bath.

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03 final design//model

Dunk It

Squeeze it

Sift it

The final design is a free standing mobile for the bath or baby pool. The toy has suction cups on the bottom giving it stability wherever it is used. The top of the clouds are made of removable sponges. The child dips the sponge in water and squeezes it into the top of the cloud. The bottom of the clouds funnels the water into the hot air balloons and the water is sifted out through the bottom of the cups. The cups have different openings in the bottom, each creating a different pour pattern. The cups are removable, allowing the child to stack and sift water through multiple cups. The sun and rainbow function as a syphon. Squeezing the sun causes water to be dispersed into all four clouds at once. There are noise makers inside of the clouds. When the weight of the water causes the clouds to tip in a certain direction, the noise maker slides down a track along the inside of the cloud making a whistle noise.

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The Project This Project was focused on designing and constructing a functional piece of furniture for the future CIA (Cleveland Institute of Art) campus. The design was to take into consideration the user, the purpose, ergonomics, materials, aesthetics and fabrication. We constructed our designs out of reclaimed lumber. We worked with APOC (A Piece of Cleveland), a Cleveland based organization which deconstructs old homes throughout the city and sells and uses the lumber for custom furniture projects. The final design was constructed out of reclaimed lumber from APOC.

04 research

My classmates and I focused on four specific areas of the school to design for including Smart Classrooms, Staff Offices, IME Studios and Public Spaces. We collectively conducted research for all four of these areas and referred back to our research throughout the design process. Smart Classrooms Needs:: group seating, chalk boards, lighting, TV and AV equipment, pin-up walls, storable furniture, collaborative space. Staff Offices Needs:: organization, alternative storage, maximal work space, personalized space, meeting space, privacy, modularity, use of vertical storage. IME Studios Needs:: Controlled lighting, collaborative space, personalized studios, convenient pin-up space, dry-erase boards, storage, adjustable drawing surface, flat file storage, critique space. Public Spaces Needs:: Seen from the street, “face� of the school, relaxed, fun area. 35//Wendy Birchfield

old meets new I collected many images for inspiration during the research phase. I was interested in combining old traditions of Shaker furniture with a new aesthetic. I researched traditional and contemporary furniture and tried to find a common ground between the two.

04 brainstorming Keeping in mind what I learned through research, and constantly referring back to my inspiration images, I did several thumbnail sketches as a way of quickly generating ideas before finalizing my concepts.

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04 concepts 01


Public Spaces

Public Spaces Couch orientation

End tables

Magazine rack

Stiff fabric

Rigid material



Public Spaces

Public Spaces

Aerial view

This is a large table for the atrium. All of the individual tables are painted different colors so that when it is pulled together it creates the illusion of a cube in perspective when looking at it from above.


These dividers are designed for the atrium. They break up space while the interesting patterns cast unique shadows on the floor.


Public Spaces

Staff Offices

Book shelf

Accordion storage Hanging light

Coffee table

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Staff Offices

Staff Offices

Digital picture frames Privacy

This section swings out to create an “L” shaped desk Fold down meeting space


05 01 02

Staff Offices Slotted space for shelves

Staff Offices IME studios IME studios

Rearrangeable shelves

Privacy curtain

Accordion hinge allows the user to make shelves as high /short as needed

Desk folds out of wall

06 03

The shelves fold out from the main unit

01 04

Staff Offices Staffstudios Offices IME

SmartClassrooms IME studios

Combines desk with storage unit

Storage Conference mode Adjustable drawing surface

Pin up space

These hanging chairs can be pulled off the wall when extra seating is needed. They fold up to create the chair seen in isometric perspective.

Creates “clothes line” to hang drawings

Boards sandwich together for minimal storage

Lecture/presentation mode Fabric is another option

Large Conference mode

04 concepts 02




Conference table

Folds for minimal storage


Reversible legs



Underneath is pin-able surface to easily transform the classroom into a presentation room


Traditional chair

More than one person

Individual use Privacy for test taking

Desks slides up to create a writing surface


IME studios Lofted storage space


IME studios

Individual lighting

Privacy curtain

Privacy option

Built-in outlet

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Desk folds out of wall



IME studios

IME studios

Break table

Flips up for dry-erase surface

Creates “clothes line� to hang drawings

Fabric is another option

Boards sandwich together for minimal storage

The concept I pursued as a final direction was a desk concept for the Integrated Media Studio spaces. The desk is a modern interpretation of a Shaker style writing desk. What I liked about this concept was the fact that it combines storage and a working surface.


IME studios Combines desk with storage unit

Adjustable drawing surface

Pin up space

04 refinement

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final dimensions 11”


20” 48”




04 models//construction

Once I found a successful size and dimension for the desk, I constructed several models in order to double check the proportions. I then constructed a full scale model out of foam core.

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Full-scale model

Because I used reclaimed lumber, it was very important to clean up the wood. After planing all of the wood, I then laminated the boards together to make panels to construct the desk.

04 function//final design

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Reform The final design has a swing out brace which supports the writing surface of the desk. There is also a hole in the inside of the desk for students to run electrical cords through. The shelves of the desk are removable so that students may store large work inside if necessary. The overall form of the desk loosely reference a sawhorse indicating a notion of hard work.


Brand Language

The Project This was a group project for which my classmates and I were to create a brand and individually design products for it, taking into consideration the parameters we set up for ourselves in creating the brand language. The brand which we created was to be based on Viktor Schreckengost’s work. The brand was intended to carry on the legacy of Viktor.

05 viktor’s legacy//history

The Legacy of Viktor Schreckengost Every adult in America has ridden in, ridden on, drunk out of, stored their things in, eaten off of, been costumed in, mowed their lawn with, played on, lit the night with, viewed in a museum, cooled their room with, read about, printed with, sat on, placed a call with, enjoyed in a theater, hid their hooch in, collected, been awarded with, seen at a zoo, put their flowers in, hung on their wall, served punch from, delivered milk in, read something printed on, seen at the World’s Fair, detected enemy combatants with, written about, had an arm or leg replaced with, graduated from, protected by, or seen at the White House something created by Viktor Schreckengost. Called an “American da Vinci” by so many that discover him, the breadth and depth of his work is staggering by any measure. A pioneer of modern American industrial design, prolific sculptor, painter, and ceramist, his works are sought by and held in major private and public collections across the United States and around the world. His accomplishments have been recognized through dozens of awards including the National Medal of Arts awarded by the President of the United States, the country’s highest award in the arts. Schreckengost’s crowning achievement was his creation of the first industrial design education program in America in the 1930s. For nearly 70 years, he trained generations of leading industrial designers. The impact on the country’s economy far exceeds $200 billion. His impact on the quality of our lives is immeasurable.

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05 competitive landscape Karim Rashid::

Mark Newson::

elite radical in your face sculpture

simple versatile organic sculptural elegant

Crate & Barrel:: D.I.Y feminine domestic perceived luxury traditional

Ikea:: D.I.Y simple universal functional design for the masses

Eames Office:: original pioneers

After researching Viktor’s work and his history, it was necessary to research other brands and decide where we wanted Viktor’s brand to live in relationship to other successful brands on the market. We evaluated and researched all of these brands and decided which of their attributes were appropriate for our brand and how we were going to make it unique.

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Martha Stewart:: upscale quality utilitarian crafty

Apple:: clean minimalist soft squares

Dyson:: precision mechanical aesthetic innovative cutting edge

Cost High






Low Brand Goals:: //Economy over luxury //High perceived value yet accessible //Innovative but for mass production //High brand width //Balancing form and function with an emphasis on sculptural and emotional aesthetic After establishing these goals for our brand, we were able to place Viktor on a positioning map with the competing brands.

05 the brands essence//concepts


v i d i u d al n I

e ssive r p x E

Reach es Acc sible

We established the essence of the brand as “reach.” We chose this word because it can be interpreted in alot of

“Every child should have a pedal car and every housewife should have a nice dinnerware set” -Viktor Schreckengost. Reach can indicate this idea of reaching for something new and various ways and encompasses much of what Viktor stood for.

innovative. It can also evoke the idea of reaching many individuals. We chose the adjectives: expressive, pragmatic, accessible, and individual as words to go along with the term reach, i.e. expressive reach, accessible reach, etc.

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After the research phase of the process, we began concepting. Within my concepts, I mostly focused on houseware products that related to Viktor’s work aesthetically and conceptually. I also generated some logo design concepts, as well. The logo concepts are abstractions of Viktor’s initials and also reference some of the forms found in his ceramic work.

05 chosen direction//three lines After evaluated the products that my classmates and I were interested in pursuing, we established three different lines for the brand.: kitchen, home decor, and ride-ons. We chose one of the four adjectives to put emphasis on within each line. For instance, a kitchen product should be pragmatic above expressive, accessible and individual., thus, pragmatic is the term we put emphasis on within the kitchen line. We also chose color palettes and a form language that evokes the feeling we wanted our audience to perceive from each line.

The concept I pursued as a final direction is a tea set that is coated in a heat sensitive glaze. When the water inside of the kettle and cups is hot, a graphic appears on the outside of the vessel, indicating to the user when the water is at a good drinking temperature.

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Victor Schreckengost Color Swatches







Victor Schreckengost Color Swatches





Victor Schreckengost Color Swatches




05 final design//function


Tee combines the tea kettle and the tea pot. It is sold with a metal dish which sits on the stove, protecting the kettle from high temperature, but still allowing the water to heat. The kettle then functions as the pot when it moves to the serving tray. Tee is the German spelling of tea, thus the name refers back to Viktor’s studies in Vienna.

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Cold Tee is coated in a heat reactive glaze. As the water inside heats up, the color on the base of the kettle fades upward as a secondary indicator that the water is hot. The wooden whistle causes the kettle to make a more low-pitched “train -like� sound, rather than a typical high pitched sound.


05 function//color ways Ready to serve

Time to reheat

The cups are also coated in this heat reactive glaze, indicating to the user when the tea is at the right drinking temperature or when the water needs to be reheated. The lip of the cup is designed in such a way that it is comfortable for the user to drink from all three sides, whether they are righthanded, left-handed, or want to drink from the front of the cup. This form also lends itself nicely to act of pouring which is why the form also functions well for the kettle. 61//Wendy Birchfield

For the final presentation of the brand and all of the lines, each of us created a package for our product and had them on stage as we presented.

06 Fine Art Fortune Cookies:: material and color study

Hand-bound book entitled Treasure:: a collection of family heir looms

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You Are Loved installation:: a manifesto of my beliefs

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Thank You Wendy Birchfield 216-406-0643

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