At the start of this term, I began a project exploring calendars. I thought that if nothing else, it would be useful, as my own calendar is nearing the end of its life; that I could possibly use whatever I created and really tailor the book to my own needs. Then, as a challenge to myself, I decided to step outside of the worlds of print and web, and go for something multi-dimensional, as well as explore a method of tracking time outside of the usual realm of days,and weeks. Though it’s yet to be completed, this project has already exceeded my expectations about what research can happen in the world of design, and the scope of what amount of work goes into something that exists beyond a page or the internet.
To start, I spoke to my fellow designers about why they choose their calendars; I read some amazing texts, including one on what makes things special, and why aesthetics are valuable beyond simply being “pretty”. Readings on tracking time, and why it matters. I looked into rotational concepts and the mathematics of circular forms. I explored materials to find a balance between functionality, aesthetics, and cost. I also looked into mechanics and building options.
Part of what made this a challenge for me in working on this project was starting without a clear idea of purpose or usefulness. What is the purpose of a calendar that cannot tell time in the strictest sense of months, weeks, days? What is its use? The printed companion piece helped to negate this mental obstacle, but even more helpful were the readings given. Reading about all of the ways of tracking time that currently exist — none of which are the sole, universally accepted “right way” — really helped me to see that this is just one more way to track the passing of time.
To help solidify the mechanics of the physical component, I turned to the digital realm. I was able to mock up an array of model calendars much more quickly using digital means than physical ones would allow for. I was able to show variety more quickly as well in both color combinations, scale, and construction, which allowed for a greater depth of exploration. After much testing (and rejecting) of multiple options, I finally found a solution to the various problems posed by a multi-dimensional piece.
As of now, the two-dimensional aspect of the project is completed in the form of a printed calendar, showing the standard measures of time: days, weeks, months, and years. The digital aspect is complete as well, showing the various combinations of seasonal colors, and how they might interact with one another in the physical realm. The final piece of this project is still to come, in the form of a cast-resin, threedimensional structure, currently represented in the digital realm only. Creating this third and final piece will assuredly have its own challenges, not seen in the 2D or digital worlds, but they too shall be overcome.