As creatives, we have the power to introduce and to influence change. We can choose to use our skills to support worthy causes. Instructor Dougal Muir and I both support the annual Canstruction Vancouver event which benefits the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. Dougal provides creative direction and design talent to promote the event through print pieces such as a promotional desk calendar, and I supply the event photography and the source images for the calendar. The photos are also published in both the print and online editions of The Vancouver Sun.
Canstruction Vancouver is a design-build competition, and there are similar events that are held in over 160 cities worldwide. Teams are formed from architecture firms, engineering companies, design agencies, and schools. After planning the sculpture to fit the provided theme, funds are raised to purchase the canned food, and the sculptures are built in less than two days. Following the event, the food is donated to food banks to assist those in need. After eleven years of this event in Vancouver, 1,248,455 cans, with a retail value of over three million dollars, have been collected and donated.
MET Fine Printers founded this event in Vancouver, and it was great to find out that the 2013 Canstruction Vancouver calendar, which we all collaborated on, won Gold at the Canadian Printing Awards.
Mark your calendars. The exhibition of this year’s sculptures will be open to the public from May 12–16th at the Pendulum Gallery, Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, and the Rotunda at Pacific Centre.
Hot on the heels of his DD Talks presentation about Digital Trends, Nik Badminton was a guest speaker for the first lesson of the new Wearable Technology and eHealth course. He discussed trends in the mobile arena and recent industry developments such as different ways smartphones have been hacked to achieve greater functionality. The students were also given a review about the concept of the Internet of Things, which expanded the discussion possibilities and planted seeds for their in-class exercise. Nik and instructor Karen Whistler led a workshop session for the students to brainstorm ways an iPhone and an app could be used to solve human challenges for a specified area such as business productivity, home management, health and fitness, gaming, school, driving, travel, communication, storing data, and sharing data. They had to consider ways to evolve existing features and technologies of a smartphone. The students presented a wide range of ideas covering solutions from escaping a bad date to weather forecasting for commute planning. It was a great start to an exciting new course.
Our next post about this course will cover eHealth solutions and the testing of wearable products currently on the market.
Here is our brand new collection of connected and wearable devices, which we will be experimenting and playing with as part of the newest VFS Digital Design course – “Wearable Technology and eHealth” – which will be taught by Karen Whistler. We have JawBone and the UP band, the latest Fuelband, Hue and Sphero!
However, this course is about more than play—we will be using the devices for hands-on experience with emerging technology. Students will be using them to unpack and validate thinking behind the underlying tech and how systems like these will integrate into all aspects of our lifestyle in the near future. In this course, the final deliverable will be to prototype an eHealth solution. This will be shown through a Case Study video that communicates the Big Idea, initial prototype and pitches where the project would head next if given adequate funding.
As we’re starting a new term today, it’s usually the time to look for ways to kick start our creative batteries. Often, stepping away from the computer is a first step, and I am a huge fan of do-it-yourself products like Kidrobot’s Munny and MUNNYWORLD vinyl figures. They allow for creative expression that is completely independent of the reliance on plugins or digital filters. These vinyl figures also look great for decorating workspaces that designers spend so much time at.
This is a vinyl figure I recently customized. In terms of process, I normally start with a list of key ideas to help me focus on what type of character I’m designing such as cute, grotesque, robotic, etc. Following an image search to create an inspiration folder and a visit to an art gallery or book store, I’ll sketch ideas out using a template of the silhouette of the blank vinyl figure. After a few pages of thumbnail sketches, I will proceed with the actual application. Even though it is nerve-wracking, I enjoy the challenge of drawing directly with pigment liners pens without using pencil guides. It is difficult, but I try not to worry about making mistakes.
Throughout the year, Digital Design students are given opportunities to interact with industry through guest speaker events and studio tours. Students visit local agencies that specialize in motion and/or interactive design. We recently visited Rogers Arena, home rink of the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League, to see how motion and interactive design were being used to enhance the fan experience.
The tour was led by Mark Raham, Creative Director at Canucks Sports & Entertainment. Mark, as mentioned on the Canucks’ website, “is responsible for the look and feel of the Canucks brand at all public touch points. He works closely with all customer-facing departments including brand and creative, web, broadcast and game presentation to develop and enhance the Canucks brand identity.”
We started the tour at the statue of Roger Neilson. For those familiar with the history of the team, Roger was the head coach who inspired the towel power phenomenon during a playoff run in the 1980s. Mark mentioned how well-received the statue has been for fans and it provided one of the many storytelling elements that are spread throughout the arena. The statue is a popular meeting place before games where fans can see lights of the team colours on the columns and hear ambient crowd sounds that help build anticipation for the game. All of these elements serve to create the start of “layered experiences” for the fans.