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    As part of a competition brief I had to redesign a product using corrugate board as a material. I designed a product and service that would captu… Read More
    As part of a competition brief I had to redesign a product using corrugate board as a material. I designed a product and service that would capture the fun and wonder of pinhole photography, and open it up to a wider user group by making it easier to develop the photographs via the service. The camera is assembled from flat packed parts and then forms its own return packaging for developing. Read Less
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Pincraft Photography is my competition submission for the Student Starpack Awards 2015.  The competition brief entitled New Use For Corrugated Board, sponsored by DS Smith Packaging, challenged students to rethink and redesign products and packaging made from materials other than corrugated board.
 
Of the 148 entries, Pincraft Photography has been awarded third place in the competition and won a Student Starpack Silver Star Award.  Click here to visit the Starpack page.
 
My design solution takes traditional pinhole photography methods and packages it together as an easy to assemble, simple to use product and service.  Form follows function and graphical content is kept simple to encourage users to add their own creative artwork, stickers, notes, annotations and add-ons.
 
Pincraft Photography is a zero waste product that recreates the fun and enigma of pinhole photography with features that appeal to photographers of all levels and abilities.  The camera takes less than 12 minutes to assemble and shoots 12 black and white images on 120 film.
 
Once the user has taken all 12 photographs, the outer case is removed and the return sticker is applied.  This sticker contains the return information and seals the unit during its transit to be developed.
The product has been tried and tested, including a transit test.  Some of the results can be seen below.
Early concept drawing and idea development.
Consulting the Professionals
 
During the early stages of the project I met with professional photographer and pinhole camera expert, David Champion.  David showed me several examples of pinhole cameras, ranging from varnished wood and brass cameras to those made with empty whisky bottles or old film rolls.
Many design features found on the Pincraft camera have been inspired by and adapted from David's pinhole camera collection.  The inner chamber, reel-to-reel function, winder and tripod mounting nut have been refined and adapted to work with the Pincraft camera.
Designed For a Varied User Group

Pincraft Photography was designed for a user group with an interest in analogue photography, but accommodated for users with varied levels of experience in photography.

The viewfinder was added as opposed to the angled lines so that users with less experience in pinhole photography would not feel alienated.  The camera is left bare so that more experienced users can draw their own angled lines for a more accurate way of lining up their shots.  This concept was tested on a range of users, both with and without experience in pinhole photography.
Those without much experience expressed that the square viewfinder was simple and easy to use, enabling them to frame their shot.  Experienced users quickly recognised that the viewfinder, although good for a rough idea of what was in the frame, was not accurate.  Those with experience explained that if they knew the angle of view from the aperture they could draw their own lines on the camera, thus creating a more accurate viewfinder frame.

The exposure guide sticker is also designed for varied levels of user.  Those with a good understanding of lighting can use the exposure factor to calculate the exposure time.  Users who are not familiar with this can use the simplified exposure guide.  This guide uses well designed and tested iconography so the user can gauge how long to expose the film for.
A simple test was performed in which each user had to select the icons that they most associated with the word, for example sunny, cloudy, etc.  The test was performed numerous times and the most commonly selected icons were used on the final sticker.
Form Following Function
 
The Pincraft camera is designed from the inside out.  The most important part of the Pincraft experience is being able to capture quality pinhole photographs.  It is important to select the correct focal distance based on the aperture size.  Once the measurements, focal distances and reel-to-reel mechanism had been calculated the form of the camera followed its functionality.
The inner chamber had to be light tight during operation and transit and therefore was designed to fold together creating a light tight chamber.
Technical sketching for measurements and net design.
Test, Refine, Repeat
 
Testing of tolerances and fits occurred throughout the majority of the prototyping stage.  Although made from cardboard, the success of a pinhole camera relies on the accuracy of the measurements.  The Pincraft camera has been tested down to the accuracy of half a millimetre to ensure the best fit for all of its components.
Prototyping, testing and developing concepts, feature position and fits and tolerances.
Reducing Manufacturing Costs
 
Pinhole cameras commonly have a black interior to prevent light reflecting off of any surfaces and compromising the image quality.  After performing a test with a blacked out interior and one without, the difference between the quality of each image was indistinguishable.  A blacked out interior was dropped based on little to no difference in image quality and additional cost incurred due to the process of printing on one side of the net.
The internal chamber blackout test
Stability at all Levels
 
Pinhole cameras must remain still during exposure time so that a clear image can be captured.  Many photographers will use a tripod to steady the camera.  Feet have been included on the camera so that if the user does not have a tripod, the camera can be placed on a flat surface and remain stable.  Early versions of the camera without feet tended to rock forward or backward slightly, making it difficult for the user to frame their shot.  These features enable users of all levels to capture images is a stable way.
Engaging Analogue Users
 
The size of the net once folded and packaged takes inspiration from the iconic size of 12 inch LP and EP vinyl records.  The decision to make the Pincraft package this size is to create a familiarity with the Pincraft's target market and engage those who may not have an initial interest in pinhole photography but an appreciation for analogue technology.
What's in the box?  Not a lot actually, but this is all you need to make the Pincraft camera.
An instructional assembly video.
The Pincraft camera can be mounted securely to most tripods.
Once you have taken all of your photos, simply remove the outer case and knobs, apply the return sticker and pop it in the post to be developed.
Customise your camera by adding your artwork, annotations, notes or get creative and make your own add-ons.  Pincraft is for the craft movement.
An elevated shot of the O2 Arena, taken with the Pincraft camera.
The O2 Arena, taken with the Pincraft camera.
Orbs, taken inside the O2 Arena.  Shot with the Pincraft camera.