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!

The Rapid Ingenuity Toolkit by Anthony Schmiedeler

"Imagine a hackathon, meets team building, meets professional development, meets leadership summit. Imagine getting six weeks of work done in three days. Imagine coming up with solutions together that you could never conceive of on your own." 

That's how Future describes a Rapid Ingenuity Blitz. My fellow designers in residence (including me) at Future used this combination of design exercises, done at warp speed, to tackle Future's problem of how they might engage Chief Learning Officers so that they would want to bring Rapid Ingenuity to their organizations.

The first step was breaking the ice with a little Truth + Truth = Fiction, a fun way to introduce everyone and loosen up the team. After that we analyzed who our audience really was with All About Me. Then we were invited to think of the most outrageous solution we could come up with, aka a Moonshot. That information combined with our new audience profile allowed us to go back in and think about our challenge. Challenge the Challenge led us to a new, more specific problem:  How might CLOs become inspired advocates of Rapid Ingenuity?

From there we started working out how we would create inspired advocates by taking our challenge and adding In a Way That... So That... statements. This helped us figure out how the challenge could be addressed and the impact we wanted our solution to have. Then we took a break to get out and discover things that might spark our imaginations with 3x3x3 (3 Places, 3 people, 3 stories). We ended the first day of our blitz with an Asset Jam to rapidly identify the existing resources we had that could help with our challenge.

Day 2 started with Random Word to help us get away from our problem-solving orthodoxies and generate a bunch of ideas that might lead to ingenious solutions. The catalyst for our random word association? A combination of the weirdest things we found during our Get Out the previous day. Those ideas were then rated on a scale of Impact vs. Doability. We came up with the criteria for Impact and Doability with our In a Way That and So That statements from the previous day. The next steps were taking the most impactful solutions and using an improv tactic, "Yes And", to expand on the ideas and push them as far as they could go. We ended with Name It to start breathing life into our ideas and give us a jump-off point for the realization of them.

One of those ideas was a Rapid Ingenuity Kit: A set of bare essentials in the style of Macgyver (like a paperclip, gum wrapper, and matchstick) that would inspire CLOs to think wrong and realize that they already have the tools they need for ingenious solutions. This wasn't enough for us to move forward with the idea so we did another round of Yes And.

Two of us worked together through several iterations to come to a final solution: the Professional Development Rapid Ingenuity Toolkit. An exquisite yet rough looking package containing a single paper clip presented on a square of velvet. Inspired by Macgyver, we knew the paperclip was the only object we needed to illustrate the possibilities for ingenuity. One of those possibilities is to pick a lock, which we've alluded to in the design of the bend. This refers to the idea of "unlocking your potential". It's also a typical office product that CLO's are familiar with and we are presenting it in an exciting new way. We finished it off by tying in the name of the CLO with the actual object. Making them the "key" so they are empowered and intrigued. The most amazing part is that we used the process we are trying to sell to develop the entire campaign.

The last step was to pair it with a personalized letter and a Rapid Ingenuity Handbook to explain the process. The kit was replicated 70+ times for selected CLOs across the nation and will be sent out as a cold mailer in the coming days, all for under $10 a kit. While I was working on this, my fellow interns created two more ingenious solutions that will also been sent out. We've all got really high hopes for some interesting reactions.  

(The paperclip was lasercut acrylic with chrome spraypaint. The packaging inserts were fabricated with a Cricut. Both the handbook and the packaging were printed by hand using a Riso Gocco. Big thanks to Keir Vaughan for helping the most on this project!)

Martin Venezky @ Facebook by Anthony Schmiedeler

"Find the thing you aren't looking for."

"Find the thing you aren't looking for."

"All these opposing forces that come together for a moment."

"All these opposing forces that come together for a moment."

"These are the advantages of not being organized."

"These are the advantages of not being organized."

I always love learning about other designers and artists processes. Martin Venezky did not disappoint in his talk at Facebook HQ. He strays about as far from the rules as one can with no real plan in the beginning. He relies on the mess and mix of materials and processes to find naturally occurring relationships in his work. It's tough to figure out whether it falls into the art side or the design side. But I don't really care because it's ALL good. Hopefully I can apply some of his free spirit to my own designs and let go of the reigns sometime.

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.

Tchotkes by Anthony Schmiedeler

Tchotke is a small bauble or miscellaneous item. Depending on context, the term has a connotation of worthlessness or disposability as well as tackiness. Also known as the funnest things to design.

Here are a few tchotchkes I thought up during my internship that never made the cut.

What did make the cut and might exist someday (hopefully) is this sweet tote bag. Including some of my favorite custom typography I have ever done.

Redo #2 - A Decision-Making App by Anthony Schmiedeler

Original Logo Design

Original Logo Design

Starting with the branding and logo, I think I tried too hard to make something different and ended up with a final product I was not comfortable with. I don't think the logo represents what it really does, which is help you make decisions. I also tried to design an iPhone app without ever having used one before which left me with unreadable type sizes and overcomplicated, clunky navigation. Finally, I presented the app with a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style book, which seemed like a funny and unique way to relate to a decision-making app, but I feel now could have been done differently with more success. 

Some things I like about the current design: the use of a die to navigate, and ultimately make a random decision if no one answers your query, as well as the "Sayso" name.

Redesign Creative Brief

Client - Saysoa decision-making app that uses your connections and personal goals to help you make the right choice.

Product - Sayso gives the user the ability to let their chosen circles of friends or family to make decisions for them, using their inferred knowledge of the decision-maker as well as a profile that the decision-maker fills out listing their basic needs and wants.

A potential strength of the product is it's specific use to make decisions, as opposed to other social networks that get clogged with a variety of other things; it has a set-it-and-forget-it setup which causes minimal interference with a user's day; and the spontaneity it adds to everyday decisions, making life more fun and unpredictable. Weaknesses include people's reluctance to download yet another app: the inconvenience of using the app to make time-sensitive decisions; it's current clunky design.

Purpose - Sayso can be redesigned to achieve a cleaner, more approachable setup and navigation; a more appealing and appropirate branding; and a more interesting way to present how the app is used and it's unique features.

Competitors - At the time this app was first made, the only competing apps were based on mathematical formulas and use several rounds of questions, or were used specifically to make ethical decisions, not necessarily based on your personal goals. Now there are a few decision-making apps but only one that stands out, Seesaw.

It has a nice clean design with simple navigation, and every feature that Sayso has except for the random decision option when no one replies to a query. It also has features that Sayso does not have including a browser version that allows people without the app to get in on decisions, the option to notify those helping with a decision through a text or social media. It also seems to be used to take polls for non-decision related questions.

Audience - Sheltered Millennials who feel "grown up" but lack responsibility. Mostly female with large circles of friends that are frequent social media users. They feel unorganized and unsure about everyday decisions and depend largely on others for support.

Insight - These people want a tool to make their lives easier and provide with them direction in their insecurities. It has to fit seamlessly into their existing lives and work with their support structure of friends and family that they are used to relying on. This tool will empower them, make them feel more like an adult, and grow their decision-making abilities for themselves and others.


 Single Most Important Idea -  Sayso is the only decision-making app that gives you an instant decision specifically tailored to your personal goals, whether that be from your informed connections or on your own with the Sayso die. 

Must Haves- 

  • simple navigation
  • clean, modern design
  • ease of use (mainly inputting info for profile and decision options)  
  • interactivity with existing social media platforms
  • least amount of lead-up to actual question asking (quick)
  • browser capabilities
  • text option for those without app
  • real-time viewing of results
  • rewards/incentive for helping?
  • fun presentation (choose-your-own-adventure?)
  • option to enter other choices as a decision-helper
  • option to see the final decision by all

Don'ts -    

  • don't make it complicated
  • don't make it too feminine
  • don't look at designspiration
  • don't make text too small/big
  • don't make screen too busy/full

Deliverables -  

  1. Wireframes
  2. Full app demo - Keynote
  3. Presentation of features - PDF
  4. Special Promo Item?

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

Growing the idea: Veteran=You by Anthony Schmiedeler

Earlier Progress

After working through the possibility of creating interactive installations to display veterans as vital parts of the community, I realized that the posters could do the same job. Veterans are essentially grasping for normalcy in their pursuit for the benefits they need and deserve, and with a few tweaks, the posters can show that. My job now is to connect those posters with an experience where the idea can explored more in depth. I think using the red tape element gives me a perfect excuse to create an awesome parallax scrolling website, which is where I started wireframing.

After a couple of iterations, I decided the best way to start would be with a strong statistic. Using parallax scrolling, that statistic can move and continue to rise in number as the user scrolls, illustrating how the number of vets that are affected is constantly growing. As the user continues to scroll, red tape begins to cover the statistic and then text will fade in on top of it asking "What are you waiting for?". This prompt has a double meaning, putting the user in the position of a waiting veteran. It also asks what is stopping the user from making a difference. 


More scrolling will remove the tape the same way, revealing grayed out options until the entire homepage can be viewed. From here, there are options to "meet" veterans and learn their story, sign a petition to end the VA backlog, and donate to support DAV and their services for veterans. I'm thinking of adding an option for other vets to share their story with the hashtag #WarWasEasier so it can be connected across all social media platforms. All of these options will continue to other pages, as well as giving the option to return to the menu.


The next step is figuring out a way this can be mocked up. Considering that parallax scrolling is hard to illustrate with still shots, and a clickable version will give the wrong idea, I believe a motion piece will best illustrate the way things move as the user scrolls. The best scenario would be to create a functioning website, which is possible with Adobe Muse, but might be hard with time constraints. I'm pleased with how this idea has progressed and I think this setup will be successful in making a user understand that a veteran=you.