OFFLINE WORK

Tactile Design

Besides designing online interfaces and experiences, I also love applying my creativity and design eye to mediums outside the digital space. In all these projects, I am the designer, developer, and implementor, which gives me ownership and responsibility of the entire end-to-end process.

 

Here is a sampling of some of the work I have done in the tangible world and a peek into my creative approach.

Don't mind me. Just trying to cut down these 10ft PVC pipes in the Home Depot parking lot to fit in my Toyota Camry. 

MARINE LIFE BACKDROP

The Ask:

Design and install a food and photo backdrop as part of a marine life themed baby shower. The user wanted to dress up the rather plain and boring wall in order to become the focal point of the party, without having to spend a lot of money.

The Sketch

The Execution

The Process:

I used tissue paper in four different shades of blues as the material was relatively inexpensive and added movement. By layering the colors in an ombre-like manner and rounding out the fringes of every other row, I hoped to mimic ocean waves.

Although the gender of the baby was unknown, it was difficult to avoid the color blue due to the theme. I attempted to balance this out by introducing a variety of other colors through the balloons and the marine animals garland I crafted last minute to frame out and complete the backdrop. I also made the "Otterly Loved" banner in a gender-neutral green.

The Learnings:

I would have liked to have more balloons to fill out the gaps in between, but the scotch tape I used had difficulty adhering to both the wall and the balloon. In the future, I would research adhesive alternatives or create a freestanding arch.

I would have also brought my own tablecloth. The yellow plastic one pictured was provided by the hostess.

WEDDING ESCORT BOARD

The Want:

Design and build an easily transportable and reusable board to display assigned table numbers for wedding guests. The user needed to make sure that it can be set up within a 20 minute timeframe and can be packed in a hatchback sedan.

The Idea:

Initially, I envisioned the framed table assignments suspended on a rod that was held up by two A-frame supports, which would be disassembled for transport. 

The Plan

The Realization

The Hiccup:

While trying to execute the original idea, it quickly became clear that the two A-frame supports would be difficult to level perfectly without the use of tools beyond my skillset. In addition, I did not feel confident it was stable enough to hold its own weight, let alone what would happen if a rogue breeze decided to blow by.

The Iteration:

After going back to the drawing board and researching vendor and pop-up shop displays, I came up with the concept of slated boards that can be stacked between two structures with slots. Shelves can then be screwed into the boards themselves and then ordered accordingly. These individual planks can then be slid out of the slots for transportability.

The Final Product

The Reusability:

Although this project was originally intended to act as a display escort board for table assignments for wedding guests, I was able to repurpose it as a photo backdrop for a woodland themed baby shower.

 

Simply by flipping and rearranging the boards, I was able to hide the wording and the two of the shelves. I completed this transformation by creating some on-theme decor and pairing it with a store-bought evergreen garland.

The Reincarnation

The Takeaway:

Much like in digital design, testing and iterating early is vital in exposing flaws and defects before implementation. Even though the initial concept did not pan out, the end result was a beautiful, sturdier, and more robust product.

The materials used in the first iteration will be repurposed in a future project.

PHOTO BACKDROP

The Need:

Design and construct a lightweight and scalable solution for unique and customizable photo backgrounds to be used in various events and occasions. The user needed to be able to set this up within 20 minutes without the use of a ladder.

The Research:

After looking at expensive store-bought setups and so-called professional backdrops that always looked flat and generic, I started looking for a DIY solution. I wanted something that had dimension, was lightweight, and had the ability to fit a variety of spaces as venue sizes may differ. Per usual, nothing really met my particular set of requirements, so I decided to design my own.

The Lo-Fi

The Concept:

I decided to use PVC pipes as PVC is a lightweight material that is also pretty cost effective. I had to do the math in order to have enough pieces to scale the width of the structure from 1ft to 8ft, and everything in between by adding or taking away pieces. I also created an alternative 6ft double-bar design that reuses those same pieces in order to create the dimension I craved. The structure would stand just over 6ft tall to accommodate setup without the use of a ladder for the average user.

All disassembled, the longest pieces would only measure 3ft in length and can fit in a large duffle bag for storage and transport.

The Mid-Fi

The Instructions:

I digitalized my design to plan out my approach. This also came in handy for instructional purposes when I rented or lent this out to others.

The Hi-Fi

The Scalability:

Shown above is the photo backdrop at 3ft (top left - my recommended minimum), 6ft (top right - the most common size), and 8ft (bottom left - the full length).

I also included a picture of the original 6ft double-bar design (bottom right). I later modified this to increase the structural integrity and improve balance.

The Implementation

The Retrospective:

Although PVC pipes are surprisingly difficult to cut and it took me a couple of drafts before getting to the end product, I'm really proud of how this turned out. Since creating this photo backdrop, it has been used many, many times for different events and purposes.

Building this base also allows me to employ more of my creativity by making custom backgrounds to perfectly fit the occasion for that extra personal touch. Above are only a few examples that I designed and actualized.

Thanks for sticking around until the end!​

Want to see more of my creative process?

Check out my design work in the digital space:

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2020 Rachel Sherron | Designed with love and sleep-deprivation