Collaboration as Learning

Small green 3D-printed rooster

My 3D printed rooster

While working at the Shapiro Design Lab, I gained a real appreciation for interdisciplinary and collaborative projects. I helped to create a variety of things that I normally wouldn’t have the skills or ability to create, and I learned a lot from others by working alongside them. Exploring 3D modelling was a really fascinating experience to me, and getting to see a physical manifestation of my explorations was incredible and really highlighted the real-world impact 3D designing could have.

I worked on a number of projects, most notably creating a 3D printable model of a rooster with Aaron and revamping the signage for the library with fellow intern Tanya Madhani. Working with Tanya was a great experience in extending my art and design skills from illustrative to representational work, especially in exploring how to best communicate and explain important messages to the viewer via location, color choices, and typography. Redesigning the map was particularly fun for me and a great experience in graphic design.

I didn’t expect the sense of community and impromptu collaboration that came from the Lab space. It was exceedingly simple to just fall into a collaborative project with someone, simply from them looking over your shoulder or overhearing a conversation and saying “hey, I could work with you on that to push it further!” It was also great for learning from each other to strengthen my own skills by seeing how my work can be applied to outside contexts: when I first began 3D modelling, for example, I was intending my work for digital 3D spaces and hadn’t considered the possibility of 3D printing. Because Aaron suggested that I print out my model, we had to figure out how to make my model printer-friendly instead of just screen-friendly, so I learned how I could incorporate my current work into a new medium.

I think that my time at the Shapiro Design Lab has really spiked my enthusiasm for collaborative work as a way to make great projects and push myself further as a creator. Going forward in both school and life, I’m much more motivated to work with other people on interdisciplinary projects to extend my horizons and develop new skills that I can then bring forward to more projects.