Click Here by Anthony Schmiedeler

Technology obsession has been a recurring theme in a lot of things I make. Not just because I feel like it is a huge problem for people today, but also because I experience it quite a bit myself. I'm made two pieces this week reflecting on that problem. Both made quickly, on a whim, but I felt the need to make them real. The biggest problem with technology is that it get's in the way of people most of the time. I was consciously avoiding that problem to make these things but I only realized after that they both speak to those "technological barriers" to reality.

The MILK Truck by Anthony Schmiedeler

And now to share the biggest, funnest, fastest project we, the Future Mavericks, were able to complete this summer. It stems from the last blitz we co-created and facilitated. 

The challenge: How might we turn Rapid Ingenuity into something anyone can use?

After two days of blitzing, we came up with three possible solutions. 

Furioso the Furious Pickle Inciting individuals toward ingenious actions through an unexpected character campaign.

Baahhg! - A portable creative toolkit to spark and build upon ideas. Teaching and spreading Rapid Ingenuity with its contents.

The MILK truckDeliver Rapid Ingenuity playgrounds, in the form of a mobile lab, for groups to use and explore.

With a week and a half left in our residency to execute one of these solutions we had to think fast. We chose to take advantage of a recent addition to our available resources, a Cricket trailer prototype, and moved forward with the MILK truck. In about ten days we were able to turn a two-person camper into an eight(or more)-person mobile meeting space, covered in whiteboard paint from head-to-toe. With a little bit of IKEA hacking we turned knife racks into magnetic marker holders and a rack system into a rearrangeable formation of blitz materials to be customized for any occasion. A portable projector screen can be placed at the head of the camper or you can pull out as much scratch paper as you need from the roll behind it. And a lovely potted plant to top it off. The best part about the MILK truck is that our re-engineered table can be lowered between the benches to form a bed and maintain its camper functionality.

On my last day I "tested" out the whiteboard paint with some freehand illustrations and the guys at Future were able to take it to a meeting the next week with great success! It's hard for anyone to deny the power of Rapid Ingenuity when they are sitting in a prime example of it. I was incredibly surprised and proud at what we were able to turn out with such a limited amount of time, minimal resources, and no experience doing anything like it before. I may never fear a deadline again. Without a doubt, the MILK truck was the perfect project to end an amazing summer residency at Future.

Shitty First Drafts by Anthony Schmiedeler

One of the final steps in completing my residency this summer was to co-facilitate a blitz with my fellow residents. Along with choosing some pre-planned design activities to include in the blitz schedule, we had the opportunity to create some activities ourselves. My favorite exercise that we were able to come up with, and that turned out to be pretty successful, was Speedy Monkey

Speedy Monkey started out simply as an exercise to encourage thinking in physical space by allowing participants to use a variety of unrelated materials, in successive rounds, to create several prototypes. We wanted people to see their idea in ways they wouldn't have normally thought of and we wanted them to do it fast to avoid judgement. In developing the exercise further, I was reminded of a group painting I recently participated in. To complete it, several people joined me around a canvas and we rotated positions as we painted, adding to each other's marks to create a unified piece. With this in mind we decided that Speedy Monkey should be a group exercise. Then we created stations that would contain certain materials to make with, including a station of random trinkets. Each person in a group would sit at these stations around a table, spending 5 minutes with each material. As they rotated around the table, they would be allowed to add to their prototypes or start fresh. After every group member got a turn at each station we would reflect on what was made.

When it came time to try out Speedy Monkey in a blitz I got to participate! Starting with the idea of "Lego Post-Its" I was able to create the prototype below. After five rounds with many different materials, including a yo-yo, I discovered that these Post-Its could be used to connect several pieces of an idea into one big idea. I also concluded that they didn't have to be flat like regular Post-Its. This idea could be seen in three dimensions and even have moving parts. All in all, Speedy Monkey worked incredibly well at pushing a simple thought into an expanded, working, rough prototype!

P.S. I didn't come up with the name...

Here's the full blitz we created if you want to try out some exercises yourself!

Realflect by Anthony Schmiedeler

This is my very first interactive concept created in late 2012 when I was a sophomore in the Visual Communication program at KU. It opened up a whole new world when I figured out that I could design a user's experience. UX requires a lot more research and less intuition than strictly visual design but the end result is way more fulfilling and impactful. It's also pretty fun. I think this was one of the first steps to realizing I wanted to design for people.

Rapidily Engineered Rapid Ingenuity One-Pager by Anthony Schmiedeler

My first weeks as a Future Maverick have been spent learning about what Future does and their Rapid Ingenuity Practices. One step to that learning process was taking a day to create a one-pager that explains these things. I was really impressed with the idea of "6 weeks of work and training in 2 days" I built my concept around showing that. I decided to use materials found around the studio to really push the idea of having "all the tools you need". This is what I came up with.

Creating a Cycle of Volunteerism by Anthony Schmiedeler

This is the full presentation I created with my team for the Dreams Need Commitment program at Gillis Center.

Gillis didn't have any issue getting volunteers to help but retaining them was difficult. To address this issue we wanted to create a more personal relationship with the volunteers by using the children's artwork that calls to a potential volunteer's own aspirations. We also wanted to take advantage of the ways they connect with other people in their life by using social media (a largely unused resource by Gillis). We hope this program will create a cycle of lasting volunteers by inspiring the children they help to help those that come after them. 

The Big One Pt 2 (A NEW KC) by Anthony Schmiedeler

Earlier progress

My senior branding project is in its second week of research after choosing to rebrand the Kansas City Metro area. Here are some things I've found out:

Kansas City is such a diverse state that the problem has been hard to define, but then I realized that its diversity is the problem. Rather, Kansas City's diversity isn't represented. Whether you live there and you think KC is BBQ and sports, or you're an out-of-towner and you think it's a cowtown, you are leaving out a lot of what makes KC so unique. Here are some slides from a presentation I will be giving that illustrates what KC is and what I want the rebranding to represent.

Kiosk XXXXX by Anthony Schmiedeler

This year I was lucky enough to receive the art director position for our semesterly student art & literature magazine, Kiosk. It's the 50th issue and my last semester of college so I really want to do something special. Inspired by the growth I've seen in my class (including myself) and learning how design works gave me the idea of using "process" as a theme. We are asking for art & literature inspired by that idea of growth, process, and anything marked by change over time then we will juxtapose those pieces with work from past issues of Kiosk to commemorate what came before us and where we are now. I'm really excited to see how it turns out!

The Big One (Senior Branding Project) by Anthony Schmiedeler

I've just begun what is usually classified as the biggest project in a KU alum's portfolio. I've been tasked with choosing two organizations facing a significant problem which will then be whittled down to one. From there I will be creating a written and visual proposal to fix that problem, including a new brand identity. The organizations I chose are extremely different but the problems they are dealing all relate to communication and organization. Here is an analysis of each.

A New KC

The Kansas City Metropolitan area has a confusing and misunderstood identity. This is because there is no clear connection between the Metro’s contained cities; No consistency between their programs and initiatives; and no accurate representation of the diversity, culture, and history of the KC Metro area.

A clear, connected, all-encompassing identity of KC could unify residents, increase city pride, make it easy for visitors to understand what the Metro is, make our city memorable and competitive with other big metros, and create a vision of the future for one of the biggest growing metropolitans in the United States.

The New Prototype

The Prototype mentor program for KU Illustration and Visual Communication underclassmen does not foster real and meaningful communication between mentors and mentees. This results in a non-existent relationship between the two and very rare thoughtful exchange that would normally result in learning experiences for both sides. 

A more organized mentor program with specific direction and a sense of community could increase communication between mentors and mentees, resulting in more productive, faster learning, and happier students.



Senior Show concept by Anthony Schmiedeler

This is probably one of the most exciting projects I'll get to do while in school because I have the opportunity to create a brand that will represent the entire senior class of Visual Communication and Illustration majors. With my team we've created a concept where each senior creates a letterform, comprising a full alphabet, and that alphabet is used for the branding, promotions, take-aways, and environment at the annual senior show. This way each senior is represented individually and collectively we are unified through this one typeface. It will be interesting to see how the final product stacks up against the concept. I think the real thing will be 1000 times better but I guess we'll see in 5 months.

Perks by Anthony Schmiedeler

I encountered a lot of rejection as intern, but at least I got a chuckle for this t-shirt concept for the Applebee's rewards program "Perks". (Left image would be front of the shirt, right is back)


This is the t-shirt I ended up going with.


This one was probably my favorite. Based on the idea of "saving" rewards points like a bank.


War Was Easier progress by Anthony Schmiedeler

Earlier progress

After working with parallax effects in video form, I could not escape the cartoonish look that I felt took away from the intended message. So I went back to square one: Who is my audience?

I wanted to affect college-aged people, who are cause-motivated, and whose peers are returning from war disabled and in need of help. I needed something REAL so I went back to my original idea of using real tape. After sketching around I stumbled across the idea of using the tape to spell out the number of days veterans are waiting. From there it seemed like the perfect vehicle for a guerilla marketing campaign.


After that I needed a new poster to match the look. That's when I realized I could create the modern age digital camouflage look with red tape. It seemed like the next logical step to take that image to the website, also bringing in other REAL items to go along with the stories of REAL veterans. 


See the final project here

Why should we care about Vets? by Anthony Schmiedeler

Last year I created a pair of advocacy posters focused on the problems that disabled U.S. military veterans and their families encounter when trying to obtain benefits earned through military service. I used the Disabled American Veterans organization as a way people could help, donating to the charity so that they can continue to provide free, professional assistance during the claims processes as well as other services dedicated to improving veterans' quality of life. 

The problem with these posters is that they don't address the bigger question: Why should anyone care about veterans? 

It's hard to encourage someone to donate to a cause when they don't see how it relates to them.

The answer that can be explored through this message is that veterans are you and me. Veterans want to be everyday people and contributing members of society when they leave the service. But when veteran's can't obtain the benefits they deserve or the help they need, they can't transition properly and live the same lives as you and me, nor can they continue to contribute as many do in vital community positions like cops, firemen, teachers, and politicians.

This project can be expanded to deliver this message through a combination of interactive installations and a web site or app. The installations will use literal red tape to "obstruct" these vital community positions, for example: covering a police car or blocking school doors. Prompted by signage, a viewer could visit a web site or app that allows them to view and "meet" the vets that occupy these important jobs, learn their story, and be given the option to help and donate.

Expansion coming soon.