Lesson Four :

Re-invent a Common Object

Designers need to have the ability to interpret what the client wants in many ways .

The Commonwealth Bank logo re-design by Cato Design offered 100+ solutions to the client. Designers need stamina to do 100 versions! (the AUS$560 000 fee may have been a good incentive however).

In this task, you explore this aspect of design by drawing ten and describing, using written descriptions, a further ten variations of a common object.

large decorated appleMethod
Settle on a single object, ensure it's a relatively simple shape so that sketching it is made easier. Then represent it twenty different ways. This sounds like a lot but consider that Diploma Graphic Design students here at Creative Industries North are expected to sketch 100 different versions!

Draw ten versions of it and describe a further ten versions using a brief written description.

Carefully consider the various graphic design elements and principles – including symmetry, spatial relationship, negative space, texture, scale (especially scale since the frame is relatively small ) and colour.

You need to sketch your solutions on the A3 template (see below). Select what you consider is your best and draw it in the large rectangle below the thumbnails.

Consider all techniques and approaches in solving this problem. There are no limitations on the use of colour.

This task requires exploration, lateral thinking, questioning perception, experimentation and "hard mental gymnastics". It also needs endurance and resourcefulness – the requirement of trying to develop so many ideas can be exhausting. Pace yourself; past students can recommend doing a few a day rather than all at once.

Note: Selecting a successful solution from a large number of choices is in itself a very important aspect of the design process. Self-editing is a critical skill that requires the ability to be objective and see the solution through someone else's eyes.


Learning Task: Re-Invent a Common Object (5 - 10hrs)

Interpret the idea of a common object 20 ways. Each example should be original in concept and execution.

Use the PDF template, (for those confident enough with Photoshop, use this .psd (CS5) template instead).

Print it out in A3 size, sketch 10 solutions then scan it back in or take a photo and publish it to your blog and submit your blog's URL via email.

Accompany these sketches with a further 10 written descriptions in the same email.


Note: you only need to do ten sketches.

Chris Adams 2017


This activity challenges the student to visually and conceptually interpret a single common object in twenty ways. It's a test of "stamina", an opportunity to practice your sketching skills and encourages you to look at an object unconventionally.

If you've never done this sort of thing before (sketching/ thinking laterally) it's tough. If you get stuck, there's always help available in our forums on http://www.ddmstudy.com