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College of Design

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Designing Life

Despite my lack of graphic design courses this semester, I have been busily putting my design skills to work in a number of other classes. Just last week, I utilized these skills in my Astronomy Lab for an unexpected and slightly unusual purpose - designing an alien life form.

The assignment was to choose any body in our solar system and develop a life form specifically adapted to it. My group chose Jupiter's moon Io, which just so happens to be the most volcanically active body in our solar system.

Alien.jpgAfter selecting our creature's home, my group immediately went to work brainstorming different adaptations that would allow it to survive in such a harsh environment. We chose to give it a gelatinous body that would resist Io's extreme temperatures and allow for easy movement. Due to the absence of plant life, we decided that the creature would derive its energy from sulfur and other volcanic wastes abundant in Io's atmosphere. The creature would collect these gases through its large mouth, filter out the energy-giving elements, and eject the remaining gases through holes in its underbelly and sides. These jets of gas would allow the creature to float above lava patches and areas of intense heat. Rather than eyesight, we decided that our life form would navigate using thermal readings generated by sensors in the tips of its sweeping tentacles.

Although the resulting sketch is definitely not something to display in my portfolio, it was created using the same critical thinking skills developed through three semesters of design coursework. This just goes to show the importance of design experience, even the most unlikely of situations.

Graphic Design