No designer can truly imagine how their design will fit into the real world without some form of physical representation of it sitting in front of them. Prototyping and making small scale models is a fantastic way for the designer to see their product in reality. I practiced this method in the form of a “key fob” like design recently.
With the (slightly messy) use of clay we were told to create a casing for a data chip that we could use to sign in and out of the art college with on a daily basis. The restrictions of using clay were immediately apparent as I had to create a fairly simple shape as I am not very skilled in any kind of clay modelling or even any ceramics for that matter and it had to be fairly portable as we would be using it every day. After toying around with various designs that were supposed to represent me as a person I came up with the idea of a 3 layers triangle representing the 3 countries that I identify with. Once I had formed the basic shape I started using a scalpel to cut out each layer of the triangle.
Before this project I must admit I wasn’t a big fan of clay however I really enjoyed this task and now I look forward to using clay and other 3D modelling materials in similar tasks in the future. I guess that kind of shows how important 3D modelling and prototyping actually is, if this simple yet challenging process managed to change my view on modelling with clay, maybe that suggests how important it is to us as designers, we can all picture our interpretation of our designs in our heads but actually seeing it right there in front of you in the real world, there isn’t a lot of things more satisfying.