Ok lets take a look at what we have.
sports stopwatch: I think this is the strongest of the suggestions. Offers new interface, technology, function, and form options.
toaster: My own personal bias clouds this one, I think it is too over done in classroom assignments. Sort of like the mousetrap in ME introduction classes.
watercooker: another strong product catagory. Strong form relationships could be drawn from multiple elements of the process.
flashlight: A little less interesting than the cooker of watch in terms of form relationships. However, by working in new tech or a very targeted user group this could be interesting.
thermometer: just not feeling it, what were your thoughts on this?
Choose the one you are most interested in pursueing. But first, think of the projects in terms of end-product…(What does the product accomplish?)
Toster…a device for heating and toasting of breads, beagles, and muffins
Flashlight…a methode of delivering artificial light to a directed or semi-directed location.
Choose one, determin a target user demographic, and compile a userboard.
Look at the purpose of the device, the way it will function, ellements of the activity that relate to natural ellements. Speed…Wind…Motion…
now sketch visualizing these elements and how they relate to the device, user-interface, and function.
UFO is correct if you interperet his writing to say that each product has an idealized view. Meaning that each product has a specific viewpoint from which it is most often viewed. This is the reason why most shoe/skate designers I know concept in photoshop and illustrator in a straight on side view. Forinstance I would begin developing the form for a conventional watch while looking directly at the face. However is the watch was ment to be a completly organic form offering multiple display points I would start in perspective.
I do have an issue with his statement on automotive design. The highly stylized and exagerated design that we see most often the initail concept sketches. These sketches are pinned up with possibly 100+ other sketches. To stand out the purpose of these sketches is to capture an emotional reaction from the selection commities, after all automobiles/motorcycles are purchased on an “Image” or emotional level. This is the reason why they start out in perspective, and no other format would be as impactfull. These are far from depicting an actual car/bike they only are supposed to capture the basic “what if styling”.