1 Project Report By Willem Horsten S M1.1 Project coach: E.L. den Besten Eindhoven University of Technology Department of Industrial Design September January 2014
2 Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 3 1. Index Index Preface Introduction Abstract 1. Final Design 5.1 Vision behind Hirocon 5.2 What is Hirocon? 5.3 How is a Hirocon pendant formed? 5.4 Business Model 5.5 Branding User testing 2.10 Final Concept & Prototype 2.11 Future & Discussion 3. Appendices 3.1 Appendix A - Hirocon Application 3.2 Appendix B - Design Document 3.3 Appendix C - All Prototypes 3.4 Appendix D - Cost Overview Tables 3.5 Appendix E - Laser Cut Parts 3.6 Appendix F - User Test Results Process 2.1 Orientation & Direction 2.2 Inspiration 2.3 Design Requirements & Ideation 2.4 Approach & Attitude 2.5 Defining the Concept 2.6 First Prototypes 2.7 Prototype Improvements 2.8 Concept Development
3 Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 5 Preface This report describes the final design, the process and the future of Hirocon <hirəʊkən >, which is a project that ran for one semester at the faculty of Industrial Design on the Technical University of Eindhoven. I consider Hirocon the first project in which I truly succeeded to design a product from my personal vision on design. The project started from my vision and the end result reflects my vision. As much as it reflects my personal vision, it also represents where I want to continue working on in the future of my Industrial Design career: Generative Design. I would like to take this opportunity to thank a few people. Since without them, I would not have made Hirocon and I would not have learned so many things about generative design, jewelry, personal values and ultimately myself. Thanks a bunch for the authors and designers of Processing, Ben Fry and Casey Reas, for inspiring me to design using computers and algorithms and for supplying the world with a powerful tool to develop visual applications. Thanks go out to the operators of the laser cutter in the Research Lab of the Industrial Design faculty. I have been cutting many things from day one to the very end. They have been supportive throughout the entire project. So thank you Chet Bangaru, Jan Rouvroye, Joos Tegels and Wisse Trooster. Thanks to Maarten Versteeg who was my co-coach and provided me with plenty of feedback and inspiration throughout the project. Many thanks go out to my fellow designers, colleagues and friends: Muamer Alajmovic, Joos Huys, Rob Kouwenhoven, Rens Alkemade and Harm van Hoek. You guys are awesome! Many thanks to my parents who helped me clear my mind now and then so that I could continue fresh and motivated. Special thanks go out to Liesbeth den Besten who was my coach during this project and expert on the field of contemporary jewelry. She guided me with feedback, inspiration and motivation concerning my personal developments and Hirocon. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.
4 Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 7 Introduction This report consists of three parts. The first part describes the final design. This part starts with some background information as to why Hirocon was made. My personal vision will be described and how I see this vision realized. The rest of this part is about what exactly Hirocon is. The second part is about the design process behind Hirocon. This will walk the reader through the most important parts of the process in a chronological order. The third part contains appendices. In some sentences of this report I talk about both me as a designer and the user. I have chosen to consistently refer to the user in the female-form (she/her/herself) and the designer in the male-form (he/his/himself). This is not because the user can only be female. It is to prevent misunderstandings. (Feel free to contact me for any questions related to Hirocon or my vision on design. My information is on the front of this report)
5 Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 9 Abstract KEYWORDS: generative design, mass-production, laser cutting, water cutting, perlin noise, personalization, customization, (self-)awareness, jewelry, accessory. and water cutting) and Generative Design are used to design a product which connects people through buying the same product, while maintaining personal and unique features to address the uniqueness of individual human beings. Hirocon is the result of a project that ran for one semester at the faculty of Industrial Design on the Technical University of Eindhoven. Hirocon is part of the project Beyond Accessory which is located in the theme Wearable Senses. Hirocon is a pendant that is procedurally generated based on a personal text that is written by its user. The pendant is a physical representation of a personal unique story and serves as a catalyst for a user to remember that story. Hirocon pendants are designed to have small differences in form giving, but maintain an overall form-family to emphasize the feeling of belonging to a group or community. The pendant was designed to address the uniqueness of individuals, to create awareness of one s self and others as unique individuals and to unite these individuals in a group or community. New production technologies (like laser cutting
6 Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page Final Design
7 Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 13 Two users discussing the differences between their pendants and stories. 1.1 Vision behind Hirocon From start to end, Hirocon s design process was heavily guided by a personal vision on society. This vision was the result of several reflective moments that combine my personal vision on society, the project description and thoughts and concepts that are present within the Wearable Senses theme. This chapter will briefly describe the why and how behind Hirocon from a personal perspective. The rest of the report describes mostly what Hirocon is and the process behind Hirocon. Why? Personally I believe that we, as humans, have to become aware on four different levels. I refer to these as the four stages of awareness: Self-awareness Awareness of others as individuals Awareness of the mutual interactions between individuals as groups Awareness of the mutual interactions between groups With awareness I mean the understanding, respecting and learning of differences and similarities between individuals and groups. I believe that understanding, respecting and learning from the individual and the group contributes immensely to the cooperation between humans. A next level society in my opinion is a society in which we efficiently collaborate through the understanding of one another. Respecting differences and embracing similarities is what strengthens interactions and relations between individuals and groups. I strive to design products that connect people in groups as unique individuals. I believe groups in which the individuals respect each others differences can achieve greater things than groups in which individuals merely embrace similarities. My personal mission in my life is to design products that support the forming of these highly aware individuals and groups. (More in relation to my vision can be found in my showcase on that will be live on the 23rd of January Of course you can also contact me.)
8 Page 14 - Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten How? New developments in production technology such as laser cutting, water cutting and 3D printing open up new possibilities in the world of mass production. While these machines could be used to make many of the same products, they also allow to be programmed slightly different for each individual product. Meaning individual products can have unique features while maintaining the overall product s properties. In a sense these new technologies allow for personalization in mass production. These new machines, in combination with Generative Design (which is a discipline in design and art that has slowly been growing of the past years) allow for products to be designed that each have unique features. By writing algorithms or protocols that send the cutter or printer slightly different instructions, individual uniquely shaped products can be produced that still retain the same function or purpose. With current computers these algorithms perform calculations at a tremendous rate, generating new unique products in less than milliseconds. Generative design in the Industrial Design context allows for many unique personal products to be produced in a matter of seconds. Within this combination lies a great opportunity to provide the user with products that inherit the same uniqueness as individual human beings, as well as providing the community perspective where these individuals are connected. Mass produced products inevitably connect users in groups through the buying and usage of the same products. Only now, with the opportunity to produce unique personal products on the same mass-scale, can this fact be used and strengthened in Industrial Design. This project, Hirocon, is a product designed with this vision in mind. Hirocon tries to reach out to the first two stages of awareness and partly the third stage by making use of these new production technologies in combination with generative design. The following chapters will describe what Hirocon is. A Hirocon pendant water cut from stainless steel.
9 Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 17 A Hirocon pendant in its matching casing. 1.2 What is Hirocon? Hirocon is a pendant that is uniquely shaped according to a personal story that the user has written. The text is translated into a shape using an algorithm that makes use of modified Perlin Noise. 7 or 15 slices are generated and can be cut from almost any material using a laser or water cutter. These slices are glued together to form a pendant. The pendant is presented in a box which contains the pendant with a necklace and a document with a 2D side-view of the pendant and the written story. By wearing a Hirocon pendant the user carries a physical version of her story. The idea is that the pendant is a medium through which the user remembers this personal story. It reminds the user every day of the important message or story she has written. The algorithm allows any size text as input and will still produce the same detail and form family, so the user is free to choose any type and size of story to materialize in the pendant. Throughout the project Hirocon was designed for a target group that is around 20 years old, does not wear jewelry or is not familiar with jewelry and that is a man. However, the jewel is not men-only and does not restrict itself to these attributes nor does it exclude the potential target groups Hirocon may address. Hirocon addresses some overlapping intrinsic values and principles of humans in general. That is to value an individual s personal story, its uniqueness and meaning. This resulted in positive results in other user groups as well (see chapter User Testing on page 81). Apart from addressing the user s own value, Hirocon aims to facilitate understanding, learning and respect towards other Hirocon users as well. The user may choose to show the pendant to the world. This makes a Hirocon a potential catalyst of a conversation between two or more Hirocon users in which they discuss their personal (unique) stories. This not only addresses the second stage of awareness, the respect of other individuals, but also slightly aims to promote the third stage of awareness (the group). While this is consciously part of the concept, Hirocon tries to subtly (perhaps indirectly) communicate this to its users through its branding and presentation. The story or idea behind the Hirocon is what makes the Hirocon pendant.
10 Page 18 - Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten Therefore, the communication of the vision or the why? behind the Hirocon pendant is of major importance. Especially the way in which it is communicated. Hirocon tries to make the story as simple and straightforward as possible so that it is understandable to any person willing to wear the Hirocon pendant. In a sense, in the ideal case a user does not wear a Hirocon pendant only for her own story. She also wears the pendant with this greater vision of awareness in mind, expressing the importance of it to others. The Final Prototype The final prototype consists of six parts(from left to right): A perspex top The Hirocon Pendant A cardboard sheet holding the pendant A document with the personal text and an image of the pendant A cardboard sheet that has a paper ribbon that is used to easily pull the pendant out of the box. A wooden box with a perspex top The Box The box is made of MDF wood that is engraved on all sides. The longer sides are engraved with an abstract line representing the biggest slice of the user s pendant. The line runs along the sides into the Hirocon logo. The box is closed with a perspex cover that has the Hirocon logo engraved. Cardboard Pendant Holder Inside the box the jewel is held in place by two layers of Effencraft Cardboard that form one sheet. This sheet also has the owner s name engraved into it. Two cut outs on top allow the necklace to be neatly hidden under the sheet. Document Below the cardboard sheet is a printed document which contains a short text of the designer to the user, a 2D sideview of the pendant and the user s text. An example document can be found in Appendix B on page 102. All the parts of the final prototype.
11 Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 21 Cardboard pull-up sheet Below the document is another cardboard sheet that is attached to a paper ribbon which is used to pull the jewel out of the box. This piece has vaguely written on it: Wear this pendant with your story and that of others in mind. For that is why it was designed. This text aims to subtly communicate the first two stages of awareness as explained in the why chapter of the vision behind Hirocon. The pull-up sheet with its engraved text. 7 Layered prototype. The Hirocon Pendant The final prototype is made of plywood. There are two versions: either 7 layers of 2mm thick plywood or 15 layers of 1mm thick plywood. The 7 layered prototype until now has had most favour amongst observers, so that will likely be the first version if this project were to reach the market. However, the goal is to have both options available to the user. The final prototypes have been stained in different colours. Appendix C (page 104) shows all the final prototypes. The next chapter describes how the pendant is generated and assembled.
12 A close-up of the box with its engravings. The pendant on the holder with the necklace hidden behind it.
13 Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page How is a Hirocon pendant formed? This chapter will give an overview of the production process behind the Hirocon pendant to get a better understanding of how one is made. It excludes the assembly and cutting of the box and printing of the document. The Hirocon production process can be divided three parts: Converting a user s personal text into a laser cut file, this happens digitally within an application (see Appendix A for more information) The cutting of the laser cut file in a material of choice Assembly of the pendant by hand The following pages show a step-by-step explanation of these parts, they also try to explain what happens digitally within the application in a very basic manner.
14 Page 26 - Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 27 Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 The process starts with a text a user has written for a new Hirocon pendant. This is an example text. The text is converted into a unique seed number using a text to seed algorithm. The seed number is used as input for a Perlin Noise Algorithm which is set to return exactly 115 numbers between 0.0 and 1.0 for each slice The numbers are converted to points, their values are mapped to the y-axis with each having the same distant to the next point on the x-axis. The points are slightly transformed using part of a sine wave, making sure that a slice will always gradually form towards a point at the end. This is applied on each slice. Pre-defined points are added to complete a surface that eventually will become a slice. A quote from the movie Man Of Steel: You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders Slice etc. Slice etc. Slice etc. Slice etc. Slice # etc. Y x Y Y x x Y x
15 Page 28 - Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 29 Step 7 Step 8 Step 9 Step 10 Step 11 Step 12 A curved line is drawn across these points to form a slice. In the three middle slices a hole is added for the necklace to go through. In total 7 or 15 slices are produced in this manner. Note how the size of the slices decreases to the sides. Every opposite slice to the middle is identical to one another. This makes the pendant symmetrical. Every slice except for the outer ones get two small holes in the middle. These are meant for two steel rods to align the slices. It also provides some structural strength to the pendant. All the lines get appropriate colours for the laser cutter. Light blue will be cut before dark blue to prevent displacement of the slices. The slices are sent to a laser cutter and cut in a material of choice. In this case wood. Seen from top. The slices are aligned using two steel rods and glued together with the appropriate glue for the material. The two outer slices hide the steel rods. Y x Steel rods Y or Holes x
16 Page 30 - Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 31 Step 13 Step 14 Step 15 Step 16 Step 17 Step 18 By hand, the slices are carefully glued together one by one. A glue clam holds the slices together while it dries. In the case of wood, a stain chosen by the user is applied several times. The stain provides the pendant with extra protection for moisture and wearing. The pendant is hung out to dry. The pendant is finished. A necklace is attached to the pendant and the pendant is placed inside the matching casing together with the document and the cardboard sheets. The finished product.
17 Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page Business Model The business model will be explained by using the Business Model canvas which is a method to visualize and communicate business models by Business Model Foundry GmbH. This business model is a hypothetical mock up of a potential business model for Hirocon. Customer Segments During the user test it became clear that the target group is not necessarily the only user group. The user test was done with a wide variety of users of which some did not match the target group. Still, they all liked the concept and many are wearing the pendant still today. However, in order for customer segments to be different from one another they need substantially different requirements in either the value proposition, customer relationships, distribution channels or they have substantially different profit-abilities. Since this project is still in its early stage of becoming a product the customer segments in this business model are hypothetical and based on what is thought to be the customer segments in the future. There is need for research towards true customer segments in the future of the project, potentially after or just before it would be released on the market. The primary customer segment is between 18 and 30 years old. No particular distinction is made between these persons except for their age. This group is considered the mass. Apart from this mass, this business model focusses on a niche market. Persons that visit (design) stores or search the internet looking for new, not yet known products. They love stories behind products and can be considered storytelling persons themselves. They are the innovators or early adopters on the innovation adoption life cycle. Apart from buying the product, this customer segment can provide Hirocon with the necessary promotion. Value Proposition The value proposition is focused on customization and newness. Hirocon offers customers the ability to materialize a personal story in the form of a pendant. By wearing a Hirocon, the customer is able to express that he/she carries a
18 Page 34 - Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 35 personal story. The community aspect of Hirocon is also a key-selling point. While not yet designed, the website for Hirocon should allow for a community to be cultivated. On the website customers should be able to share their stories and pendants if they desire to do so. These stories will also serve as an example towards other customers. Water cutting allows cutting in ceramics, stones, metals, woods, rubbers and plastics. While the cost structure does not yet include all these materials, in the future the option to choose a material from many materials will be present to allow for customization. While difficult to assess since it is highly subjective, Hirocon tries to stand-out as a well-designed product. Which not only applies to the pendant itself, but also on the casing and the way the product is presented to the customer. By presenting a clean and well thought through design, Hirocon aims to form a brand or status around the product that eventually will become a key-selling point on itself. The last selling point is the price of a Hirocon pendant. Of course, the price heavily relies on the material chosen, but the plywood version of the Hirocon pendant will be very affordable for customers that are on a tight budget. See the Cost Structure chapter for more information on the pricing. Channels The Channels for Hirocon will consist of two parts: Web-based platform: a website, social media pages and forum for experience sharing A partner store to present the product physically towards users The web-based platform will focus on fast publicity and the building of a network and community around the Hirocon store. Not only to promote conversations and promotion around Hirocon on the web, but also to start conversations between people in the real world. Recently a new design store was opened especially for Industrial Design students from the Technical University of Eindhoven, named dok. This is a great opportunity to physically present the product in a (partner) store. The product will be presented alongside other products from Industrial Design students. Hirocon focuses on a low-budget launching of the product that does not need much investments. Since the production of a Hirocon also takes some time, the delivery will be done through mail or customers can pick the order up themselves at the dok store. Customer Relationships Hirocon will try to maintain customer relationships through co-creation. As mentioned earlier, the Hirocon website should facilitate a community through which customers can share their or react on other s experiences and personal stories. This provides inspiration for new customers as well as sharing capabilities for existing customers. Revenue Streams There will be a pre-determined price depending on the type of material the customer has selected. For now, the plywood version is the only version available. Looking at the production costs (see cost structure), which is 11,58 this pendant will probably cost 19,95, but this still has to be reviewed by experts on this field. This price is based on other pendants that are in the customization business, like the classic army pendant with your own information (roughly 19,-) and engraved hearts (roughly 25,-). Key Resources In order to produce a (plywood) Hirocon the following resources are needed: Laser cut material Assembly tools: glue, glue clams, pliers, polishing resin, dremel drill, different stains, stain brushes, workbench. A laser cutter or Laser cutting company as partner Person doing the administrative: managing orders and sales Person assembling the pendant and box
19 Page 36 - Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page 37 Packaging material Promotional materials like business cards, flyers and posters. Small space to temporarily store Hirocon pendants, packaging and promotional materials A website domain Key Activities The key activities can be divided in two parts: Production & Administration Checking, adjusting and sending laser cut files to laser cutting companies Assembling pendants and boxes Sending orders through postal mail Administrative tasks like managing orders, invoices and taxes Website maintenance Checking for spam or inappropriate content in the community platform Answering questions made by community members Updating the website with new content Key Partnerships Key partners in this business model would be: A laser cutting company: Laserbeest (or EasyLaser) A water cutting company: Twins Watersnijden A partner store: dok Cost Structure This cost structure was made for a 7 layered version and includes: Material costs Cutting costs Manual labour (assembly) costs Packaging costs for shipment (An overview of all tables with calculation results can be found in Appendix D) All calculations are based on outsourcing the laser cutting and water cutting part to another company. All prices discussed concerning laser cutting are calculated from the information provided by Laserbeest, housed in Delft. All prices discussed concerning water cutting come from Twins Waternsijden, housed in Someren-Eind. Costs in general rely mostly on the cutting costs and manual labour costs. Only when truly expensive materials like titanium, copper, silver or gold sheets are used, material costs will start playing a major role in the costs overview. For now, the costs have only been calculated for perspex, MDF, plywood and stainless steel. This cost overview is a realistic snapshot in time and might be susceptible to change or small deviations in the future. Material and Cutting costs Since laser cutting and water cutting both charge start up costs, the production of pendants only starts becoming interesting if larger batches can be sent to the laser cutter. In that case multiple pendants can be cut in one shift. This is especially true for water cutting since the start up costs for water cutting are 60,- while start up costs for laser cutting are only 10,-. For this reason the business model also proposes a system in which orders are put on a hold until there are sufficient pendants to be cut from one sheet. As a company this would be interesting at the start, but when orders are coming in regularly this would not be an issue. Prices have been calculated from the ideal case where all spots on the material sheets are always completely filled with the part being discussed. For example, on a sheet of 600x300mm (which is the smallest standard laser cut sheet) 48 top pieces of perspex can be cut (see the image on the next page). A large part of the box and content can be cut on beforehand and stored, since they are always identical. This saves some
20 Page 38 - Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page mm 300mm money in the production process. Whether the sides of the box need a unique pattern is still a consideration for the future, since it can save money or waiting times if the sales start with low amounts of orders. An overview of how many times each part fits on a sheet of 600x300mm can be found in Appendix D (page 118). The appendix also shows the table with the cutting costs of all these parts and their material costs. The total laser cutting cost per Jewel comes down to 6,37 for plywood. Manual Labour (assembly) costs These costs are based on the minimum wage of a 22 year old which is around 8,- an hour. Since the assembly time was greatly optimized by making a simple box design the entire process only takes around 25 minutes. This comes down to around 3,33 assembly costs per Jewel. the most expensive method is package mail. This calculation just simply takes the most expensive method. Packaging costs in that case are 0,69. Total Costs The final cost for one jewel is not just the sum of previously announced prices, since the start-up costs have not yet been integrated. The last table of Appendix D shows an overview of the costs per piece in comparison to the batch size. This means the price varies between 20,91 for sending one jewel to the laser cutter and 11,58 for sending 15 jewels to the laser cutter. The table also shows prices for three other materials. Grid of 12 x 4 = 48 pieces Packaging costs for Shipment The packaging costs are based on prices from Kimya Verpakkingen an online packaging company in Holland. In most cases the Pendant will be sent through postal mail, but
21 Hirocon Report by Willem Horsten - Page Branding Hirocon tries to convey a certain unique product feeling through its branding. Some keywords describing this feeling are: Quality, unique, dedication, clean, natural, humane, respectful, great, story, fresh, modern, personal, carrier, crest, pendant, mediating, wearer, bond, unite, convey, intimate, private, special, celestial, sublime, exclusive, open, community, physical, material and meaning. These keywords guided the name-brainstorm, the house style and overall final product design. Name The name Hirocon, English <hirəʊkən >, was the result of a brainstorm session for names in which earlier described keywords were used as guidance. This name is found to be most suitable to convey the overall feeling of these keywords. The word is not derived from other words, but just sounds right. Target of the brainstorm besides a good feeling was also a word that is easily pronounced and catchy. A benefit on top of that is that the word does not necessarily have a meaning attached to it already. This means it is more likely to be mentally attached to the Hirocon product instead of to some other concept. It also improves the rate at which the website will climb the ladder in search engines like Google, this saves a lot of money concerning SEO (search engine optimization). The sub-title is I carry a unique story. Which encapsulates the concept behind Hirocon pendants from a first person perspective. This plants a seed to talk about Hirocon in similar fashion potentially raising question or sentences like: He also carries a unique story! and What is you unique story?. House Style For the logo a non-static, fluent serif-font was used which makes its appearance somewhat high-born or royal. The font is named OptimusPrinceps. This font also comes out beautifully on any material when engraved with the laser cutter. The font for the content and the sub-title is Garamond. Garamond is a common font on modern computers, meaning