Product Design Intern

Summer 2018

. . .

 

During Summer of 2018, I was a Product Design intern with the Tangible Media Lab within the MIT Media Lab working to introduce generative design programs (developed with P5.js) to machine knitting, resulting in a 300% reduction of design time.

 

Defining direction

 

Target Audience

For this project, my target audience was segmented into two groups: the first were interested members of the Tangible Media Group and the second was creatives that want to make new textiles with machine knitting. Although this may not currently be a particularly large user group, the textile industry is a 1 Trillion dollar industry ripe for disruption one innovation at a time.

 

the problem

Knitting machines are an evolving field of interest, however, their complicated interfaces have posed a roadblock to designers and creators alike. After talking to other researchers and potential users I identified 3 main problem areas:

 
 
 

The Objective

After defining the problem space as well as interviewing and empathizing with my target users, I determined the following objectives:

  • Empower creators of all backgrounds and skill levels

  • Reduce design time

  • Optimize the current interaction flow

 

Solution space

 

Gen(Knit)erative Design

Typically native to computer graphics and architecture, generative design offers the opportunity to create parametric, highly programmable, interactive scripts. Drawing from Generative Gestaltung’s resources for creative coding, I introduced parametric interactive programs (developed using p5.js) to knit design. Here’s what I developed:


The website

After establishing the programs, a platform needed to be created for people to access and interact with them. In tackling this challenge, I kept these concepts in mind:

  • Trust must be established for users to feel comfortable with experimentation

  • Discoverability of interaction is essential to user engagement

  • Maintain the magic

Gen(knit)erative flow

The full flow from digital designs to physical textiles.

flow.png
 

Low fidelity

Initial sketches of ideas for an interactive website to design for machine knitting.

sketches.png
 

MEdium Fidelity

These are my explorations

Option 1:

Artboard 1layouts.png

Pros:

  • Quick navigation between interactive scripts

  • Less scrolling (due to smaller tile size

Cons:

  • Smaller canvas view

    • Difficult mouse interaction

    • Hard to see visuals

    • Unclear organization of script type

  • Overwhelmingly large title size

Option 2:

Artboard 2layouts.png

Option 3:

Artboard 3layouts.png

Option 4:

 

Pros:

  • Clear introduction of steps

  • Larger space for scripts

  • Most important information presented first

  • Comfortable canvas size for interaction

Cons:

  • Congested spacing

  • Small title

  • Spacing does not convey grouping well

  • Inconsistent alignment

    • visually distracting

 

Pros:

  • Clear, digestible title

  • Text shape and orientation indicate differences in content

  • Distinguished Instructions

    • first viewable set of content

Cons:

  • Size of Script too large for one page

    • Conflict of scrolling down page and mouse position dependent interactions

  • Equal spacing does not communicate delineations between content types

 




Artboard 5layouts.png

Pros:

  • Organizational Composition

    • Rows correspond to interaction type

    • Spanning Text indicate lack of interaction

    • Placement of introductory steps at the top

      • Awareness of interaction mechanics

      • First concept observed

  • Differences in spacing communicate

  • Efficiency of Navigation

  • Ease of script comparison

Cons:

  • Scrolling required to access post processing

    • singular page; lack of navigation


High Fidelity

The finalized website to ship soon:

 

Results

Knit samples produced by the Gen(Knit)erative design process:

knit_samples_pp_copy-2.png
 

Future

 

CONCLUSION

Upon reflection, the Gen(knit)erative Design platform provided an enhancement of the current state of knit design systems by equipping the user with the ability to create computer graphics for product of knit textiles by utilizing the bit mapping processes of modern knitting machines. In doing so, I developed a controllable way to create unique knit patterns; empowering an expanded scope of creators.

In the future, I hope to:

  • Expand the scripts to incorporate more than two colors

  • Introduce unconventional stitch types

  • Scale for full garment design