BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: PENCILS
On the second day of work we went back to one of the most basic tools of design: the pencil. We bought 8,000 pencils, stacked half of them eraser-side-out, and then went through a series of trials and errors trying to figure out an efficient way to sharpen the rest of them (in the end we found a power drill could sharpen an entire pencil in about 2.5 seconds) to fill the 'A' with the shavings.
Early in any design project, apart from the actual work of designing, you often find yourself ruminating, mulling, and just chewing on the problem (often outside of work, driving, showering). While it doesn't always feel particularly productive, I find it enjoyable and have a hunch that this seemingly mindless circling ends up setting the stage for later insights and breakthrough.
LATE NITE IDEAS
On the fourth day of work, we wanted to capture the feeling of being struck by an idea late at night. As any creative worker knows, some of our best ideas and breakthroughs come in the middle of the night, glowing, ambiguous, and enticing. We filled 500 balloons with small LED lights, then broke out some fluorescent black lights, drained the ink from a bunch of highlighters, and poured the glowing mixture into the 'A' while shooting away.
CREATIVE FUEL: COFFEE & SUGAR
Apparently designers are second only to medical professionals when it comes to caffeine intake. It felt only appropriate to follow-up the "Late Nite Ideas" cube with healthy dose of our favorite socially-acceptable stimulant. Over the course of the day we brewed just over 350 cups of pour-over coffee (a year's supply!) into the cube — surrounded by enough sugar to rot an army's teeth.
FERTILE GROUND: FLOWERS
On the sixth day, we wanted to simply make something simple, raw, and beautiful. We filled the cube with a small-city-garden's-worth of rich soil, and then spent the day nurturing our inner florists cutting and arranging just under 1000 fresh flowers. The shop smelled wonderful all day.
CAPTURING THE EPHEMERAL: SMOKE BOMBS
All along we knew that we wanted to do something with smoke on the last day of the project. We'd previously worked with smoke bombs on an albums cover (Son Lux — check it out) and had a blast and loved the beautiful chaos. It also felt like taking something so ephemeral, shapeless, and fleeting and capturing that within our clear prism captured the essence of our idea: the best tools, digital or physical, are those that let us capture the ephemeral, shape it, pin it down, and re-present it.