Hi all. I have a new website http://www.calemoore.com/ . It’s got my portfolio, a blog, and pretty much everything on it. I will no longer be updating this blog, though you can look through old posts, which will likely not be added to the new site.

-Cale

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I haven’t written much on sustainability in this blog, so I thought I’d take this post to write about a company that I’ve been running across a lot lately–Patagonia.  I’ve been backpack shopping and it just so happens that we are now designing backpacks in my design studio for this company.  If you take a look at Patagonia’s website, you’ll immediately find that they care more about being environmentally friendly than selling tons of product.  One thing I find extremely refreshing is their Common Threads Initiative.  The basis for this initiative is five “R” words:

Image courtesy of blog.stylesight.com

  1. Reduce. Basically, they say not to buy their product unless you really need it or can use it.
  2. Repair.  Don’t toss it out, fix it, or send your broken product back to Patagonia to fix!
  3. Reuse.  Sell your used product or give it to someone else.  They’ve even got a place on their website that will link you to Patagonia products being sold on eBay.
  4. Recycle.  Send it back to Patagonia and they can make most of it into new clothes (note that a percentage of these things just cannot be recycled, that is why recycling is one of the last things on this list).
  5. Reimagine.  Live sustainably and change the way you think.  Together we can come up with new ways to be friendlier to our earth.
The more I read about this company, the more I found to admire in their philosophy.  These people are hikers, climbers, skiers, surfers, and fisherman.  They love the outdoors and they truly care about taking care of our earth.  This kind of passion, I believe, is often missing in the design world.  A lot of times designers are looking just to design something good enough to please the client and make the deadline.  Perhaps, as designers, we should put more passion into our work and examine our ideas and our philosophies more thoroughly, so that we can do good with the products we design.

Image courtesy of Patagonia

We all can do this as consumers.  I know I don’t always thoroughly think through my purchases and I don’t always take the time to take my old things to Goodwill or to sell them or put them on Craigslist.  Certainly, I don’t always concern myself

with what materials or by what methods something I’m buying might be made with.   This is something I’m trying to do more of.
Overall, this makes me want to find ways to be a more sustainable designer and to concern myself with making more quality and honest products over designing for trends and pandering to the “buy, buy, buy” mentality that we all are guilty of.  Patagonia’s honest design and business philosophy has made me want to slow down, and make something that will last for a change.

The purpose of this assignment was to design a pencil sharpener that is characteristic of the current time.  I took this and I thought of things that might describe 2011.  What do we value as a society and culture? In what kinds of environments might people need a pencil sharpener?  How will they use this pencil sharpener?  What opportunities are there for providing people with something other than  a typical desk object?

Today is the day of cleanliness, streamlined, and the efficient.  People want things done well, they want convenience, and they want something quick.  With this pencil sharpener, the problem was to examine how it might fit into a desk environment.  Through observation, I discovered that today, people are not often carrying around pencil sharpeners, rather they use things like mechanical pencils and pens.  When electric sharpeners are used, they are often large, clunky, and loud.  How might these problems be solved?

 I decided that desk space was important.  I explored clamping the sharpener to the desk and hiding it away.  A more pleasing solution was to hang the sharpener on the wall.  But what else hangs on a wall?  How could this object be combined with another object (multifunctionality is also descriptive of many of today’s products, like the iPhone)?  Picture frames, white boards, chalk boards, and clocks are typical wall hangings.  An LED clock seemed to fit with the object the best.

I wanted to also solve the problem of over-spilling shavings in the modern electric pencil sharpener.  A “full” indicator on the design would allow the user to know when they needed to empty the sharpener to eliminate any cleanup.

The curved, simple, matte surfaces allow cleanliness and simplicity to dominate this design.  It is neither flashy, nor complex.  Rather, the light blue and white would cool down the space while keeping it bright.

(Click on any of the images to enlarge)

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