If it won’t matter in five years, don’t spend five minutes wasting time designing it.
Infographic designer, entrepreneur and marketing strategist specializing in data visualization, user experience and visual communications. Also a renewable energy advocate, tree hugger, animal lover and forever optimist who is extremely passionate about innovation and solar power technologies.
What is the most useful piece of design advice that you have received?
Specialize. The jack of all trades is often the master of none.
Other than design, what creative fields interest you most?
If you could learn any new skill or talent, what would it be?
Being mindful and achieving inner peace.
How would you describe the colour yellow to someone who has never seen it?
Tell them to imagine a warm summer day; feel the surface of a sunflower and listen to the sound of a burning camp fire, colours don’t always have to be seen, colours can be experienced.
For every one liter of gas you burn in your car, you leave a 2.5 kg carbon footprint. This means that an average college student will roughly burn twice their body weight in CO2 emissions by the time they burn through a full tank of gas. This life threatening statistic made me question as to why solar technology has not yet been implemented into the automobiles of the 21st century.
I conducted a research study that was mostly concerned with the optimization of current solar technologies finding the best possible methods to integrate them into automotive applications such as solar-powered cars. I researched past and present vehicles that have implemented solar into their operating systems, their successes and failures as well as consulting experts on their thoughts towards this research study.
What I discovered was that besides university pilot projects i.e. solar race cars, there wasn’t much development installing solar in automobiles, with the exception of hybrid cars. This was due to concerns about costs as well as limitations on the capabilities of the current technology in terms of generating enough power. The study concluded that the most efficient method of using existing solar technologies is through electric vehicles supplemented by solar-powered charging stations.
However, this study had also demonstrated that solar racing has resulted in increased awareness and knowledge about solar technology as well as proving that a fully functional commercial solar car is not far from reality. A rise in demand for solar would naturally lead to a rise in supply resulting in a fall in the price of the technology due to economies of scale and increased competition. It would also result in more knowledge about the product as well as growing R&D opportunities.
My game plan with the LightSpeed project was to build a strong foundation targeted towards a sustainable future by nurturing the mindset of future generations from an early age towards becoming more environmentally conscious individuals. The best way to do this was through DIY solar car kits that could later be pitched on a large-scale to summer camps, school competitions, science departments of most middle to high schools etc. once there was proof of concept. The way to do this was to target the specific, appropriate markets that make up this industry: kids and parents.
I outlined the demographics of my ideal target audiences that this proposition would appeal to most:
- Between 10-15-year-old
- Attend summer camps
- Participate in after school clubs
- Participate in competitions
- Interest in art, design, science or DIY activities
- Between 38-55-year-old
- Middle-high income
- University/college graduates
- Well informed and open-minded
- TV channels include child entertainment, documentaries, sports, game shows
- Recreational time spent at gyms, their kid’s events, workshops, conferences, DIY and reading
I also outlined my short term and long term objectives in order to stay focused with the goals involving the LightSpeed project:
- Understand basic electronic concepts
- Explore propulsion concepts
- Experimenting with different material densities
- Develop creativity and design skills
- Problem solving
- Team building
- Healthy competition
- Awareness of growing environmental concerns
- Intrigue in alternative energies – solar technology
- Changing existing outlooks on renewable energy
- Solar energy courses at Universities
- Increase R&D in solar technologies
- Tackling climate change and air pollution
I started off with SolaMobi as the original brand. However, this brand was too childish so I underwent a thorough rebranding process involving brainstorming and mind-mapping. I also revisited my objectives and selected three essence words that would make up the very core of my brand: Nurture, Innovate and Empower. LightSpeed was selected as the top identity for the brand. My initial concepts involved playing with a suggestive blend of a speedometer with a Sun icon. Due to practical and visual considerations I settled on a much simpler design towards the end.
After ordering the components for the DIY kit online, I constructed a mood board to inspire an environmentally friendly design for my packaging. Sketches were developed and upon further exploration with prototypes I had settled on a box that would incorporate a mechanism similar to that of a matchbox utilizing a sleeve and a standard box base. This box base could also be used as a material for the design of the chassis for the DIY solar car. An instruction manual was also composed to complement the DIY kit.