Using fair curves, beechwood, and attention to form and semantics, to construct a spatula like no other.
A spatula may seem like something very conventional, yet it can be transformed into a memorable experience that elevates one's everyday life.
January 2020 (4 weeks)
Bandsaw, foam & wood fabrication, spindle/belt/disc sanders, Illustrator
Physical prototyping, storyboarding, 3D/2D sketching
How can we use the attention to details in form to create a unique experience for a conventional product?
Our daily life products are often overseen and disregarded due to the constraints in how they were made. For example, because of manufacturing limitations and costs, many of the objects we use in our day to day life are not as user-centered and personalized.
This causes consumers to have a disconnection with conventional products. In this project, I wanted to bring more awareness to users on a typical tool - a spatula.
I started by brainstorming the different types of spatulas in the world and how their form communicates to people how they are used. Some spatulas are scrapers, while others are flippers or flatteners.
After deciding on the primary action that my spatula was going to have. I developed iterations of profile drawings for different dimensions.
I pursued a form that I thought would allow the user to easily be able to use the spatula in their right hands and flip in the left direction, and used the band saw to cut it into a foam model.
Thus the head was tilted towards the left and the handle was also designed to the curve of one's right palm for a more comfortable grip. However, there were flaws in the design that became more apparent with the physical model in hand. For example, I realized to welcome users to lift the spatula from a table, there should be a higher arc for the handle.
Using folded paper for quick models
Creating dimensional sketches and modifying foam models
I used print out paper to create quick physical mockups of my 3D spatula form to experiment with the different arcs for the handle as well as the tilt of the head. These quick folded paper models helped guide me towards making the choices for my next foam model iteration.
Throughout this refinement process, I focused on the relationship between the two left and right curves, the user touchpoint such as initial lifting of the spatula and natural placement of hands while holding the utility.
I realized that to make it the most clear that the form is a spatula and to create harmony, I adjusted previous designs to be more symmetrical.
How the wood was cut and made into a spatula
Even after cutting the spatula out in wood, there was much consideration that went into the process before its final form. Which edges were to be beveled? How round should an edge be? These were some of the questions I had to think about.
Explaining each feature of my spatula in detail
Some features shown in the storyboard is that the head of the spatula is level and thin from the top to its left edge to indicate the scoop to the left and then a flipping motion. There is tilt at the head of the spatula for natural arm movement to the left as well. The edge touching the palm of your hand is beveled and very curved to fit against the more sensitive skin while the edge that is against your knuckles are left sharper. This is so that there is firmer grip.
How to use the spatula and its motion
The context storyboard in where it could be used