I met up with Electron and FabLab to discuss what I had done up until then. Their reactions were very positive. For my first assignment I’m very happy with what I’m coming up with and I was even happier to have my work met with enthusiasm.

They liked the idea of using basic shapes and that they could then be recycled to build visuals. Basically, they were pleased and said I could go on like this.

For the next sketches, I tried out a couple of different ideas for poster layouts and expanded the shape alphabet. I also digitized the shapes into a font to try it out on the computer to see if the layouts I had in mind would work. Up until now, I’m unsure the layouts are as good as I originally thought but I’ll keep working on them until something pops up.

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After concentrating on the visual language, I looked at the web structure. Because there are so many different ways you can design a website, there are a lot of different ways websites are used.

We’re trying to go for informative in the first place, fancy and interesting and artsy and cool in the second. It must be useable. There are a lot of very interesting websites that are fun to look around a bit but when you’re looking for what you need, it seems to be the only thing you can’t find. That’s not what we want.

I drew up some visual structures and settled on a layered UI. It’s not something I can do. Not yet anyway… But I know it’s possible.
The idea is to have a sober design but instead of linking to pages, some links will open in their own frames on top of what you already have in your loaded window.

That structure reflects our target audience. They like to tinker with things, do-it-themselves, like originality, enjoy combining different hard– and softwares to do things that haven’t previously been thought about. They like to search around for the right answers for them.
Of course, this structure isn’t anything groundbreaking or new (I’m not a developer), but by layering things it could give the users a sense of working with something that’s a bit more dynamic than ‘single–layered’ websites.

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Continuing on the idea of the basic shapes, I played around with them and came across a couple of interesting ideas.

The Café will have three main event types. Courses, workshops and meetings. The three could be represented by different shapes.
Courses are triangles, there’s one person ‘on top’ giving the course to the others.
Squares are workshops, where the structure is predefined but what it will become isn’t necessarily bound to the idea of one person.
And meetings are circles. Everyone is equal, it’s a collaboration of ideas, cyclical.

That seemed like a good way to structure events. Giving them a distinctive shape so the event can be instantly recognized as being what it is.

The second interesting idea to come out of this round of sketching was combining the shapes with the letters of the name Digitaal Café. You get a fun sequence of shapes by using the letters as a template to draw a triangle, square or circle and then removing the letters. The name consists of twelve letters. Placing them in a 4 × 3 grid and spacing them out a bit gives a square that is built from different shapes.

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Electron has asked me to work on the identity of a new event they are organising in collaboration with FabLab Breda.
Digitaal Café is going to be a physical forum that will bring people together to learn, make and break.
The focus of the Café’s activities will be on cutting edge democratic technology, e.g. 3D printing, Arduino, SketchUp, Blender, laser cutting and more.

These are my first sketches. I was looking for a kind of visual language that symbolised futuristic technology. First I googled some things and came across a lot of 3D imagery. 3D printing technology is taking off and providing a lot of new opportunities and possibilities. That’s what seems to be futuristic right now.

But Digitaal Café will always be focused on the future. Even after we have completely mastered 3D printing and that our view of the future has shifted.

The future is relative. Today is yesterday’s future and tomorrow’s future will be different from the one in ten days, let alone in ten years… What imagery is timeless? What is always present?
Basic shapes are constant. They’re always there. From the Great Pyramids of Egypt to the Bauhaus school of design. Shapes are ubiquitous. They can represent everything we have done and will do (probably).

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Today I presented what I have been doing during the past week(s). It was a presentation of the whole project but with a lot of focus on the last week, where I didn’t finish the product but focused on figuring out what I had learned from this short period.

I was annoyed by never getting good grades for my presentations so what I did was reserve a classroom for myself. There I used the beamer side to show a video to show how I work.

After showing the video, I explained what I had done during the previous week. It payed off.

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production process ≠ study = research process

The study isn’t a production process, it’s a research process.

Sometimes it feels like production is what we’re doing, but we’re asked more than just the product. The product is part of the study but it isn’t the goal.

The goal is to learn how to work. What kind of working methods do and don’t work for us. We’re allowed to fuck up, as long as we learn from it, see what we did wrong and do our best not to repeat our mistakes.

What we make now most probably won’t be relevant in 10 years, but the lessons we’ve learned about what we do and how we do it will stay relevant and valuable.

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A couple more sketches from my research on gamers.

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Whilst researching gamers I came across the Bartle test that classifies gamers into 4 categories. That was pretty interesting. Combine that with the USB symbol and there was something pretty cool I could’ve used, maybe.

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I’ve got one week to get a grip on the subject and to deliver the finished product. Since the project got pretty much obliterated during the preview, I decided to focus on the complete picture instead of on finishing my product. FInishing it the way I had planned to would do no good, so I won’t try to finish that. Instead of making a ‘thing’ I’m trying to figure out what the projects means for me, what I can take out of it and what could have helped by going back to research.

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