Prompt: Create a one piece shoe pattern capable of being sent in an envelope and built by consumers to create a sustainable product that can be customized and that will forge an interaction between the customer and the seller.
This project was completed in stages. The first stage involved research in the parts of the feet, using information from the entire class as our sample size. We then designed and created wearable shoes out of one continuous piece of thick, grey felt, with a specific user in mind.
Material tests proved very educational, as the material was somewhat difficult to manipulate. I attempted to use felting, sewing, and some burning techniques, as the felt was synthetic. Felting and burning did not produce the finish I was going for, so I focused on creating a shoe to be sewn together.
Through my research I found that I have very flat feet, so arch support in footwear is an important factor when I buy shoes. Since I wanted to built a simple sandal-like shoe, I considered the fact that I might have enough fabric to create some extra arch support.
In my original pattern (pictured on the left) I used a wraparound strap in order to create a layered sole. This pattern, however, was very difficult to fit to the foot. My refined and final pattern (pictured on the right) still included a wraparound strap, with the exception of only a single extra layer which added some heel and arch support, and was also easier to adjust to the foot. I also split the toe wrap into three sections, also adding adjust-ability and comfort.
The second part of the project involved branding and “selling” our designs. We were to develop a target user, logo, website, and poster (pictured above) and create an Etsy page. I find that marketing ties in very well with industrial design, as knowing how to sell design to users who may not know the process or thought that goes into it is very important, and can make a difference when you are trying to make a name in this business.
With my target user being young women similar to myself, I made a gif of myself wearing the shoes, and created a “Dana Designs” logo that feels handmade and soft.
Finally, we were to decide how we would package and mail our shoes. Would we send the shoes deconstructed for the user to build themselves? Would we send them pre-made and add production costs to the final price? I decided to send my shoes already made in a pillow box with a small note included.
This project taught me about the entire design process, from conception to production to mass production to sales. The marketing aspect intrigued and led me to apply for a marketing/graphic design internship with JMH Consulting, where I worked for five months. It was a very useful and enlightening experience, and gave me knowledge and experience that I will be able to use in the entirety of my career.