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Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby nmiclette » July 7th, 2017, 2:25 pm


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Just graduated from an ID program this spring, wanted to hit the ground running so I started this personal project and this has been my first iteration. I'd love critique and feedback on the design and presentation. This project was inspired by watching my roommates and family members cook in tiny kitchens.

Project Link:
http://nmiclette.com/kope-cutting-board/

Thank you!
- Dream_Lab

Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby bepster » July 7th, 2017, 3:26 pm

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Hi Nik,

Firstly, I think it's an attractive presentation and I think you visual work is strong here.

I have a question though about the fundamental premise of your idea.
Why would you need any other surface than plastic?

Marble is terrible to cut on and will ruin your knife. If anything it is a good surface to serve cold items on, in order to keep them fresh as marble inherently stays cold.
Wood is a tricky one as it's difficult to keep clean and gets worn significantly over time. It's also heavy.

So, what is the purpose of including wood and marble?
You write that "Kope allows cooks the ability to use the most efficient cutting surface for their ingredients". It would really help to give some examples of those ingredients and the different use-cases.

I am also a little dubious of the friction fit pin approach as wood will warp when you wash it and marble doesn't seem quite suitable for a friction fit.
But with further experimentation and development, I am sure this could be overcome.

Disclaimer, I used to be a chef before turning to design ;)

Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby nmiclette » July 7th, 2017, 4:17 pm


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Great question! Plastic is a great surface for cutting in some cases. It offers a resilient surface against even the sharpest of knives. The issue with plastic is that over time it can/will absorb harmful bacteria even when cleaned much like wood. Plastic is great for cutting fruit and meat, but over time it should be replaced if a lot of meat is prepped on it.

That's a good a point! Marble isn't great to cut on but I imagined it only being used to serve cheese and sausage (finger-style foods.) Although it could be used for cheese and meat as it's not porous.

That's a great idea! I will try and add a slide giving examples. I agree the friction pin fit isn't ideal I've experimented with the pin size and length and found that with a slight taper, the pieces are very secure....I had experimented with a magnetized version, but the strength of magnetic needed to safely hold the weight of the materials was to great.

Thanks again for the feedback you bring up great points!

Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby yo » July 7th, 2017, 5:01 pm

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Again, nice presentation. I think the problem statement is summed up nicely, and I think the design is well presented. I don't immediately see how the design solves for the problem statement. How does this cutting board save space over just using a smaller cutting board?

I think the solution set for the problem could be blown out more. More efficient small range/sink/oven/fridge.... for example the Fisher & Paykel drawer style dish washers are a nice solution here because they are two drawers. A one or two person household could use clean dishes out of one drawer and as the use them move them to the second drawer (I have friends who do this)... combining both storage and dishwasher spaces. I'd like to see some more clear space saving.

Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby nmiclette » July 7th, 2017, 8:20 pm


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yo wrote: I don't immediately see how the design solves for the problem statement. How does this cutting board save space over just using a smaller cutting board?


Thanks Yo! I appreciate the feedback I'm glad the presentation is well received, it's a skill I've been working on. My intended user was a cook with multiple different cutting boards. Someone who might own at least a plastic and a wood one, if they like to entertain they might also have a marble board for serving cheeses and meat cuts. These usually occupy a whole drawer or corner of the kitchen counter top, I felt that by having a single cutting board you could still have more vertical drawer space.

Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby ralphzoontjens » July 11th, 2017, 7:07 am

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Hi Nik
I like the product idea. Wouldn't it be a much better idea to use a front surface entirely in wood, mated with marble on the back?

1. This board doesn't separate the ingredients
2. The board will be inconvenient to pick up due to the weight of marble while it communicates an even distribution of weight
3. Simpler to construct, you can use simple aluminum radial pin joints to serve as legs, keeping the surfaces off the kitchentop.
4. The marble is easy to rinse clean so you can twist the board around
5. You can heat up the marble and use it as a hot plate on the table, the wood serving as isolator
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Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby Mrog » July 11th, 2017, 7:55 am


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I feel like the the urban explosion reasoning is pretty cliche.
By now it is the number one student portfolio project research page that is used in maybe 50% of every project:

By 20xx there will be x billion people on this planet and xx% will live in cities - THEREFORE WE NEED VERY SMALL THINGS EVERYWHERE!

On place 2 and 3 (with maybe 25% each) is:

Demographic change... rapidly aging population... blablabla - THEREFORE WE NEED A LOT OF STUFF FOR OLD PEOPLE

and

Since xxx hundred years we build product x like this. But NOW because of COMPUTERCHIPS we can build it like THIS
(Maybe only place 3 for student projects but this one is the front runner for uninspired brand story of every single valley kickstarter tech startup)



I feel you could greatly improve your reasoning. If I look at that cutting board as a company to produce it or even as a customer - what do I REALLY care about? I don't care about urbanization in 20 years. On top of that a modular cutting board doesn't actually really solve the stated problem in any meaningful way. It is not really something that will noticeably improve my urban life. People can just buy smaller boards.
So in order to give your design importance you brought in the big guns and talked about urbanization. But that's just way too vague and totally unrelated to cutting boards. It would be way more effective if you just tell me as a person why I really really want this cutting board.

Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby AVClub » July 12th, 2017, 7:47 am


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I think the layout looks really good, and I think you did a good job of distilling the information to what we need to know and keeping out a lot of what we do not need. I think you chose a very difficult medium, the cutting board.

A couple things to think about:

1. I would drop the stone, I think its de-legitimizes your project really quickly to serious cooks unless you have a good reason for it (It will destroy knives)

2. Although the connection is novel and kind of fun, I am not sure I am seeing the real benefit of it. I personally work hard to keep boards separate and to have one for proteins and one for vegetables/non meats to prevent the pass of bacteria.

3. The classic damp cloth under the board to prevent slippage works really well, but is kind of a pain, could you improve on this?

4. I really enjoy the packaging, its fun.

Again, great job at the presentation of information. I think you have some good feedback from the above posters, I hope it helps you and good luck. Thanks for sharing!

Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby nmiclette » July 13th, 2017, 10:22 pm


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ralphzoontjens wrote:Hi Nik
I like the product idea. Wouldn't it be a much better idea to use a front surface entirely in wood, mated with marble on the back?

Hi, Ralph!

Thanks for the feedback! I had thought about splitting the back surface with different materials, but the UX didn't feel great. Imagine you were cooking and you used one side to cut your meat, but then you needed to flip it to utilize the other material. Besides stopping what you were doing and washing it you'd have to place the dirty side down on the counter making a mess.

" 1. This board doesn't separate the ingredients"

By pulling the pieces away/apart from each other I think it does meet that requirement.

" 2. The board will be inconvenient to pick up due to the weight of marble while it communicates an even distribution of weight."

I felt that weight wasn't a huge concern, the board at most travels from a kitchen cabinet to the counter-top, although if you were also using it to serve food the weight would become an issue.

"5. You can heat up the marble and use it as a hot plate on the table, the wood serving as isolator"

Interesting idea I had not thought about that application!! :)

Thanks for the feedback!!

Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby nmiclette » July 13th, 2017, 11:01 pm


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Mrog wrote:
Thank you for the feedback.

I feel you could greatly improve your reasoning. If I look at that cutting board as a company to produce it or even as a customer - what do I REALLY care about? I don't care about urbanization in 20 years. On top of that a modular cutting board doesn't actually really solve the stated problem in any meaningful way. It is not really something that will noticeably improve my urban life. People can just buy smaller boards.
So in order to give your design importance you brought in the big guns and talked about urbanization. But that's just way too vague and totally unrelated to cutting boards. It would be way more effective if you just tell me as a person why I really really want this cutting board.

Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby nmiclette » July 13th, 2017, 11:07 pm


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AVClub wrote: Thanks for taking the time to give me feedback. I've been working on improving my presentations since my last semester.

"1. I would drop the stone, I think its de-legitimizes your project really quickly to serious cooks unless you have a good reason for it (It will destroy knives)"

I have thought about that due to the negative feedback I've been given on it. My current prototypes don't have marble in them and user's enjoy them.

"3. The classic damp cloth under the board to prevent slippage works really well, but is kind of a pain, could you improve on this?"

Honestly I hadn't, silicone tips have worked pretty well and are very cheap for production. But there is always room to explore.

Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby ralphzoontjens » July 15th, 2017, 9:45 am

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I appreciate your appreciation.
What I basically am saying is that this solution is too complex - development time, and your supplier network as well as branding and marketing such a product will be quite an undertaking for a product that needs to be simple and cost-effective, unless you can target certain niches that are willing to pay premium - usually different markets than those living in tiny apartments. Keep up the work.
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Re: Personal Project: Design Critique

Postby nmiclette » July 15th, 2017, 9:39 pm


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ralphzoontjens wrote:I appreciate your appreciation.
What I basically am saying is that this solution is too complex - development time, and your supplier network as well as branding and marketing such a product will be quite an undertaking for a product that needs to be simple and cost-effective, unless you can target certain niches that are willing to pay premium - usually different markets than those living in tiny apartments. Keep up the work.



Thanks again. Yeah that seems to be the general censuses. To complex..not solving the problem effectively.


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