Digital Design (Week 2)

8 years

This is an on going post for Digital Design, week 2. I will post my progress throughout the week with the required activities.

Note: I have now completed week 2, and this post is now in full.

Weekly Tasks:

  1. Research (images, plane shapes, felt pen roughs)
  2. Develop ideas (potential themes, design proposal)
  3. Upload a selection of your work (via WordPress blog)
  4. Discuss you progress (via Discussion forum)
  5. Provide feedback on 2-3 of your peers’ work (via Discussion forum)

Reading List

  1. Illustrator (Current Version) for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide by Elaine Weinmann and Peter Loureka
  2. Photoshop (Current Version) for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide by Elaine Weinmann and Peter Loureka
  3. Vector Graphics and Illustration: A Master Class in Digital Image-making by Jack Harris and Steven Withrow
  4. The World Record Paper Airplane Book by Ken Blackburn and Jeff Lammers
  5. Build Your Own Paper Air Force by Trevor Bounford
  6. The Paper Airplane Guy: (Website)

Research on paper planes

The origin of the first paper airplanes is uncertain, however there is some suggestion that they were first crafted in China, over 2000 years ago with influences from kite and balloon design (Blackburn 2008). The invention of modern paper airplanes is linked between 1909 to 1930 and to Jack Northrop (who co founded Lockheed Corporation) (AVIATION FOR KIDS n.d.) as prototypes for flying airplanes (Blackburn 2008). The popularity of paper plane creation in a cultural sense, was also influenced by World War II. Due to the shortage of materials and the availability of paper during this time, it could be used as a convenient activity or toy for children (PaperAirplanesHQ 2016).

Science Buddies lists the key concepts involved in the process of flight for paper airplanes and describes the process as “The forces that allow a paper plane to fly are the same ones that apply to real airplanes. A force is something that pushes or pulls on something else. When you throw a paper plane in the air, you are giving the plane a push to move forward. That push is a type of force called thrust. While the plane is flying forward, air moving over and under the wings is providing an upward lift force on the plane. At the same time, air pushing back against the plane is slowing it down, creating a drag force. The weight of the paper plane also affects its flight, as gravity pulls it down toward Earth. All of these forces (thrust, lift, drag and gravity) affect how well a given paper plane’s voyage goes.” (2013)

Today, there is a large number of designs for paper planes. Ranging from easy folding techniques with a subtle suggestion of an aeroplane to advanced designs that capture many details of modern flying aircraft. Fold N Fly currently has a database of 32 different designs for paper airplanes, that range in difficulty level from Easy to Hard (Fold N Fly 2015).

Initial Thoughts

What I find particularly interesting about the concept of creating a design for a paper plane, is not only in the history of paper planes and the connection to a time before human flight and aircrafts, but it also in the bond between design and paper. Design is a visual medium and it’s connection to the printed form goes back to the early creation of paper, to the insurgence during the Industrial Revolution and today with many printed advertisements, packaging and more. What I feel, for this project is that I would like there to be a recognition to the history of design, but to also capture through my chosen theme, the ideology that flight has on the imagination. Such as, using design to fly, or transforming a static design into something that has the ability to uplift an idea. As I continue to investigate and explore, I should have a greater focus on my chosen themes.

Mind Mapping & Ideas



I am interested in creating and using a theme that has three parts. Because there are three plans (for Project 1), I would like the design of all three to have a specific connection, that allows them to be part of a whole, but also still visual interesting on their own. I have captured ideas of my own and found sources of inspiration from Yahoo Answers (Yaybob 2007) (KURTRM 2014)



Visual Research & Inspiration

Paper Planes

Mood board: Paper Planes


Mood board: Flight


Mood board: Dream


Mood board: Imagine

Potential Themes

  1. Imagination in flight
    Represent the flight of imagination, and the use of dreams or symbolic references to explore creativity.
    – Mood board: DreamMood board: Imagine, Mood board: Flight
  2. Life Cycle
    Represent the cycle of existence, from birth, life to death. This is also captures the process involved in creative activity and design process; a beginning, middle and end.
    – Mood board: Life Cycle
  3. Natural World
    Represent the natural environment. This is drawn from the construction of paper, using earth elements and design used in an honest, functional way. Possible directions for this could include; earth, weather, space, landscapes or even a contrast between the natural to the populated.
    – Mood board: Natural World
  4. Motion
    Represent the process of movement or transition. Referring from the act of flight from a plane, and the transformation of an idea into design. This could include; stop-go-pause, yes-no-maybe, time (clock, and morning-noon-night).
    Mood board: Flight, Mood board: Motion
  5. Guilty Delights
    Represent three different food groups that have a distinctively unhealthy connection. This could include; sweet-sour-salty, fats, junk food, fresh-frozen-canned, etc. It would be interesting to create this either as enlarged foods that have main points on the plane design or as a repeated pattern and seamlessly is shown across the top of the plane, with smaller decoration elements on the bottom (for example; top of plane – donuts, button of plane – sprinkles). While this theme does not have as strong a connection to flight and design as the others, it is a way in which we are influenced by the foods we see in advertisements and promotion and the cultural aspect of health and wellbeing.
    Mood board:Guilty DelightsMood board: Sweet, Mood board: Sour, Mood board: Salty
  6. Who Am I
    Represent the parts of personal identity as expressed through; how you see yourself, how others see you and how you are. This could include the modification of the facial form, or an additional form of; good – bad – evil (or similar).
    – Mood board: Who Am I
  7. Evils
    Represent the parts of ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’. This is based on the three wise monkeys and could be open to further interpretation in design to take it away from the traditional setting into something that has a further connection to design. A direction might include, how design can be used in a distractive or culturally unethical way, or even as a commercial sense, in which we do not want to see what is all around us, we do not want to hear what is advertised to us and we do not want to be influenced by that which intends to influence in industry.
    Mood board: No Evils
  8. Ironic Flight
    Represent a humorous and ironic use of flight, by imagery that has a cultural association to fly, but is not capable (such as horse, pig or other variations where a bird is not able to fly, chicken, etc).
    – Mood board: Ironic Flight
  9. Emotifly
    Represent emotions that are associated with the ability to fly, or flight. Such as joy-freedom-fear-inspired, etc. It would be important that there is a contrast between them.
    – Mood board: Emotion
  10. Mother (or more suitable name)
    Represent the growth and development and the relationship between people (particularly mother and daughter). This could include encouragement as a child, parting ways as a teen and return when older. It would need to have an emotional message and impact and to also signify how life evolves and we learn and adapt to the situations that arise, but also identify with basic human traditions.
    Mood board: Mother, Mood board: Family, Mood board: Age

Top Three Themes

The three themes that I am most interested in are; Guilty Delights, Imagination In Flight and Evils. Of the three, Guilty Delights is the one I am most interested pursuing further.

Guilty Delights represents three unhealthy food groups; sweet, sour and salty. On each of the three paper planes, the top of the design will feature a selection of images from each group, and on the under side, an element from these. For example, on the ‘sweet plane’ I may have imagery of donuts, ice-creams, cupcakes and on the bottom, sprinkles. An example for sour, may be sour lollies and worms, with sugar or something similar underneath (I would have to be careful that it was not confused with the sweet theme. An example for salty, may be hamburgers, fries, pizza and chips or salt on the bottom. I would like to use a modern ‘flat style’ illustration, that focuses on the shapes using squares and smooth corners.







Illustrator Improvements

While doing research for project 1, I have also been viewing tutorials on Adobe Illustrator to discover new ways to use the program and develop my understanding of how to use a number of features. So far I have been able to learn how to use the shape building tool, which allows you to easily form shapes. Previously I had been doing this mostly manually, which took a long time. I have also found that the transform tool ‘move’ allows you to move points of an object to make sure you can have an exact movement in any direction. Previously I had moved the ancor points and not always had a precise result, so this has been really wonderful.

With this new knowledge, I decided to experiment and made a new avatar for myself.


Design Practice

As a personal practice exercise I decided to take an element from one of my mind map scans (the plane) and convert this into a digital design. This was a good practice activity. I placed the scanned document into Illustrator and locked the layer. Because I wanted to replicate the shapes as accurately as possible to the original sections of the sketch, I used the pen tool to make the shapes and adjusted the corners as needed. Once I was happy with the shapes, I than used colour instead of outline to give more depth and smoother appearance. This was a very basic activity, but it was also fun.

From (minus trail):



paper-planes2 paper-planes6


AVIATION FOR KIDS n.d., Paper Airplanes, viewed 15 November 2016, <>.

Blackburn, K 2008, Paper Airplanes, viewed 15 November 2016, <>.

Fold N Fly 2015, Fold N Fly, viewed 15 November 2016, <>.

PaperAirplanesHQ 2016, History of Paper Airplanes, viewed 15 November 2016, <>.

KURTRM 2014, List things that come in threes.? | Yahoo Answers, viewed 16 November 2016, <>.

Science Buddies 2013, Soaring Science: Test Paper Planes with Different Drag – Scientific American, viewed 15 November 2016, <>.

Yaybob 2007, List things that come in threes.? | Yahoo Answers, viewed 16 November 2016, <>.

5 Responses

  1. Hi Cassy!

    I say wow to the amount of research you have done for this part of the project! I really appreciate the detailed explanations, theory and the logic you have for each of your topics. I find your brainstorming very inspiring and motivating for my own “theme selection process” as well.

    I do look forward to seeing where you go with this and I believe you will keep providing inspiration to all of us!



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