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my assessment

Here is my case study which briefly summarizes my reflections on the project and some observations related to the process of design. These observations are solely my opinion.

Purpose: Creating a tangible recognition piece  as an award for the AIGA (re)design recipients seems both straight forward and daunting upon initial consideration. The ingenuity by cypher13 shines through in the conception of a piece which is simultaneously sustainable, functional, budget compliant, original, and designed with a discerning end user in mind.

In a design process, purpose has dual and conjoined meanings. Of course it refers to the fulfillment of determining and creating an end product which meets or exceeds the intentions or expectations of the client as an applicable solution. The process used in doing the work has to be “purpose full.” In other words, it reflects the core values of the design firm and provides a foundation for evolution.

Development & decisions: The key element in every step of design work involves decision making. It seems decisions are potentially less difficult to make when the process has parameters as check points along the project path. Cypher13 was able to refine their award idea by initially determining the end product be constructed from recycled or reclaimed materials. From there they could narrow down their design approach as dictated by the constraints of time, budget, and fabrication. Again, the underlying principles which guide the design process aid in assuring successful outcomes.

Sum of the process: Cypher13 describes their design process as “fluid and in perpetual motion, but hierarchical and always flowing in the same manner.” The steps include assessment, designing, reviewing, prototyping, and finally producing. Sometimes the design and reviewing steps are repeated several times if improvement is required. They use the same formula for all of  their work, regardless of media or audience. The consistency of the formula paired with the option of allowing for open-minded and progressive change is another significant aspect of their approach. No doubt is has been developed and tweaked over the time spanning the duration of many projects.

Todd summed up cypher13’s design philosophy best in his response to my final interview question: “The principles outlined in that thought piece (20 Interconnected and Semi-dependent Factors Contributing to the Creation and Promotion of Sustainable Culture) provide the founding premises of our design studio, our work, and our lives as citizens of a global community.” Bingo. They are sticking to their mission and it is evident in their words, how they do the work, and in the tangible output and results.

Outcome: The final feedback from the award recipients and the AIGA is pending following the final details of the project being finished and the presentation of the awards. More to follow upon the wrap up. I will state one important aspect of the project is a definite success. Cypher13 gained a client and formed an alliance with a group with whom they once shared a tenuous relationship. Even so, AIGA chose them because they know C13 is passionate about the inevitable union of design and sustainability.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2009 10:38 pm

    I think your inquires and analysis of the project and the firm’s process were very in-depth and insightful. Cypher13 is a really fun firm, I am familiar with them as joyengine (my boyfriend’s brother works with them a lot at his company in Boulder) and has showed me a lot of their work before. I considered them as well for a case study.

  2. jesswellington permalink
    September 8, 2009 8:18 am

    The way you set-up your paper was simple, straightforward, yet it was still full of loads of information and great material. There is one part where you state”The steps include assessment, designing, reviewing, prototyping, and finally producing” I would of liked to have seen this expanded upon, with more information about the initial assessment, the formulation of ideas, etc.

  3. danilangston permalink
    September 8, 2009 9:16 am

    I liked that you found your design firm through their designs on The Denver Egotist, instead of just typing something into Google like I did. It was nice to see in your Q & A section that you had lengthy responsed to your questions instead of just one or two sentence responses that are common with interviews. I did get a little confused with the navigation of your blog at first, because when you click on “case study” it takes you to the list of links that relate to your case study, but then you have to click on the “my assessment” link to read your case study. I did like the navigation once I got used to it becuase it really did make me click through the links and read everything from your case study, it just took me a few seconds to figure it all out. I do wish they would have told you a little bit more about their final designs, but I do understand that they do not want to give anything away before the event. I do agree with Jess’s comment that it would have been nice to see a little bit of that information expanded upon, but it sounds like the company was being pretty quite about aspects of the design.

  4. Jennifer Constantine permalink
    September 8, 2009 9:24 pm

    My only problem with the site was when I clicked on case study it had links to all of the different pages of your blog rather than the actual report. Other than that, I like the layout of this blog. Everything is simple and you use a very effective hierarchy in your assessment page. Great Job !

  5. kennawitt permalink
    September 8, 2009 11:00 pm

    I have to say I did favor your past layout more (not like I’m biased or anything 😀 ) simply because as jennifer mentioned it seems harder to figure out where to go on this layout, maybe thats because of the pages. I wasn’t sure where to click as to find all the research and what order they went in. I like that you still kept your pictures of work above and the name which I really liked. I wish there was a bit more imagery to break up the blocks of text within the blog as sometimes you get lost in the paragraphs. I think you really did you research for this project though and I’m glad you got such a great response from them regardless of when the project is to be completed.

  6. jnym permalink
    September 9, 2009 8:32 am

    This was really interesting to read. I was a bit confused however on where to read first. The artwork that you have in the top bar is beautiful. It was interesting to me to read that they were not part of AIGA. It almost seemed to me like every designer is a part of AIGA. The story of how this project came into it own is really cool too. I cant wait to see what their final piece looks like!

  7. nsolodukhin permalink
    September 9, 2009 1:04 pm

    It’s amazing how much influence their core values as designers have on the work that is produced and the way the designs are developed. Sustainability is an admirable aspect to strive for in design, especially due to the constraints that it places on the end product.

  8. Mike Baker permalink
    September 9, 2009 5:21 pm

    Your case study is very well written in that it’s so in depth and analytical of their process. Their process seems very adaptable, and it seems like because of this that it has served as a recipe for success for C13. They’re very organized yet are able to allow for some open-mindedness and change, like you said. Very interesting case study!

  9. ja2garci permalink
    September 9, 2009 5:55 pm

    This firm seemed heavy on values which is a great way to influence your work. I think that when you have a cornerstone to bounce thoughts and ideas off of it really gives you a place to start and a way to gauge success. The fact that they use the same methods and formula for every project no matter what the project or intended audience is interesting. My inital thoughts are that as a design firm you have approach each client differntly but it seems as though Cypher 13 doesn’t feel you should and their success proves that this method works.

  10. seandking permalink
    September 9, 2009 6:21 pm

    I’m sure it’s pretty intimidating creating an award for something as big as the AIGA. This would be something that someone keeps forever potentially and it would have to be good enough to show people that the winner was the best. It must be a great honor to be chosen for such a task. It probably saved the AIGA a lot of money too because it was pro-bono. A task like this seems like it could have cost a lot of money.

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