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Point of View

Poetry in motion

July 10, 2017

A huge part of a designer’s job is to translate abstract qualities into defining physical attributes and product feature sets.

Most products showcase Visual Brand Language (VBL) and color-material-finish (CMF), often overlooking the aesthetics of motion, mechanism, timing, tension and collision. This sounds like more of a skill of art and movie magic, right?!

Recently, a group of fellow designers and I were challenged to stretch our visualization skills. The task? To take poetry and reinterpret lines, rhythm, theme and punctuation as a sequence of actions that trigger a simple conclusion — all while trying to capture the spirit of the lead stanza of William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.”

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;

All of this took place at Shift Design Camp, a self-proclaimed “non-conference” that brings together creative students and professionals for a backwoods design charrette in beautiful North Alabama. This was my first year at the camp run by my fellow Auburn grads, Owen Foster and John McCabe of Aether Learning. I joined as an ignitor, serving as an embedded professional design mind to help steer our team of eight as we worked together on a set of challenges culminating in the design of a Rube Goldberg machine in the middle of the forest.

We had to react to many natural obstacles: navigating our topography, bug bites, 90+ degree weather and a thunderstorm.

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