The Bag Project – Soft Goods Assignment

For this assignment, we are to create an object out of soft material, like fabrics, but make the prototype using paper. So I had the idea of creating something that would be useful for my profession as a designer.

Deciding on the product

Before actually getting into the technicality and the actual making and sketching, I would have to decide on what to make first. I would want to make a bag, but there are many types and for different purposes.

I thought of making a box-shaped bag as that is a common type of bag that I see being carried by designers.

Another common bag that I see is the tote bag, which is convenient for designers, but when it comes to weight, it gets a little heavy on the tote bag for one shoulder or one arm to carry.

There was also an idea of making a form of the bandolier, which is something that the military would use to carry bullets and ammo, but instead of carrying those, this bandolier would be carrying designer or artist tools, like drawing pens or pencils, and a compartment for the smaller stuff. But then I would think that it could be a bit over the top and unnecessary.

So I decided to stick to the first idea which is the box-shaped bag as I think that would be the most practical to make.

Getting started

Now that I have the idea of the bag in my mind, I would then start to list the things that could be featured in the bag design. These things would be useful for the user of the bag – useful for the designer using the bag.

Parts of the bag:
  • laptop slot
  • EZlink card holder/slot
  • thumbdrive slot
  • A4/A4 sketchbook size
  • A2/A3 roll holder
  • penknife/cutter slot
  • pen holder
  • bottle slot
  • ruler slot

(These are just initial ideas. Some of these ideas get scrapped over time)

I also started to play around and reconfirming the main shape of the bag. How it is closed and how it is going to open up. So I decided to make the main body of the bag able to open up bigger for easier accessibility of the user.

Exploring the different parts

After listing down the different compartments needed, I start working on them.

Laptop slot

The biggest and main slot would be the laptop slot. Here I try to list down and sketch out the different ways the compartment or the laptop could be kept in the bag.

I chose to stick with the inner laptop slot compartment as it would be safer for the laptop.

Bag flap and closure

With the box-shaped bag in mind, it comes with the flap. So here I try to explore the different types of closure for the flap, like magnetic snaps and hook & eye.

I decided to use the hook & eye method as I would think that the magnetic snaps would wear off after a while and it would be hard to connect the snaps together under the flap.


Here I was exploring the bag straps, with my horrible sketches. But it is mainly to see how it would look like.

A2/A3 holder

Here I try to see which is the better way to place the A3/A2 paper holder. I was taking into consideration the fact that the bag’s main body can be opened wider. So when that happens, the sides are affected, so the material of the holder would need to be stretchable.

Re-finalising the final look

Now with most of the different compartments and parts finalised, I would redraw the final look so that anything that I was to add on from there is based on this look.

More compartments and parts

With the final look refreshed, I added in more compartments and parts

Additional slot & EZlink card holder

These ideas didn’t make it to the final look, but it was some of the initial ideas I sketched out.

Stationaries slot

Some other slots that I included are sketched out.

Final look

With all the compartments checked off the list, I finally came up with the final look for the bag.

I do keep in mind that the look of the bag might change as I am making the bag.

Making the bag

With the final look sketched out, I can finally start making the bag.

Smaller-scale prototype

Before I make the prototype out of the real intended material, I made a simple paper prototype of a smaller scale to see how I am to make the bag if it is in a fuller scale, see if the different parts of the bag can actually work when put together and also to have a physical feel of the model in my hands.

The “real” prototype

I would finally get to start making the prototype using the intended materials, which is black recycled paper. I chose this material as it has a similar matte look to the REAL material that would have been used which is black leather.

I would start off by making the main body of the bag. However, the paper material is still much thinner than the synthetic leather so I had to double up the paper so that it will be much stiffer and stronger.

I would cut out the main shape of the bag first. As the bag can be opened wider at the top for easier access of the contents, the sides of the bag are cut slanted where it gets wider towards the top.

For the width of the bag, I just used the measurements of a 15 inch MacBook and added a few centimetres to it so that I would know that it could fit such a device and also that there is no problem when it comes putting in a 13-inch version.

Initially, the bag was too thick when I put all 4 sides together and it looked like those bags carried by the food deliverymen. So I disassembled the bag and trimmed a few centimetres off for the sides.

With the main body of the bag confirmed, I would start adding the different compartments of the bags inside before I seal off all 4 sides of the bag. There was also trial and error for this as the first compartments that I made were too tight for the objects so I had to make the compartments thicker or wider. Some compartments also have a similar method with the bag itself where it can be opened wider at the top so to have easy access to the contents.

As for the straps, I find this the most challenging as the straps have to be easily wearable compared and at the same time won’t look too floppy or long when being worn. Since it is only a prototype, the mechanism of the bag is not implemented yet.

For the hook and eye method, I double up the hook and eye so that it will be stronger. but the read material for the hook would be using metal.

Final Outcome

Even though the final bag looks a little different from the sketches and has its minor flaws here and there, I am still pretty happy with it. I actually had the intention of making into a real bag with real materials, but I think I would just ruin it as I don’t think I have the right skills for making a bag. Would be cool though!

Mnemosyne’s Scent (Part 1 – Planes and Plastic)

For this assignment, we are tasked to create planar sculptures, out of plastic, based on a pleasant and unpleasant smell from our past and memory.

Paper sketch models

Before we start on the project, we were to create paper models exploring different planes using art cards, keeping in mind the dominant, subdominant and subordinate.

Sketch Model 1

Top View

  • Red – Dominant
  • Blue – Sub-dominant
  • Green – Subordinate

In this model, the dominant is a large curved plane that curves both sides with tapering at both ends. The subdominant is a broken plane in a form of an arc that goes over the lower part of the dominant. The subordinate is a small flat plane that is that is attached closer to the lower end of the dominant.

Sketch Model 2

  • Red – Dominant
  • Blue – Sub-dominant
  • Green – Subordinate

For this model, the dominant is a curved plane that tapers at both ends but goes horizontally instead of vertically. The subdominant is a narrower curved plane that goes into the dominant and spirals more towards one end. The subordinate t is a supposedly a straight plane that is attached to the subdominant near the spiralling end.

Scent and Memories

It is proven that smell can trigger memories, both bad or good memories when we encounter smells that we have smelled before. We can also be used to smells even before we are born. For example, babies or even during pregnancy who are exposed to cigarette smell will be used to the smell when they grow up.

Companies have also even used the power of smell to lure or trigger memories of the public. Like the smell of money or food, some scents can help lure customers into the shops or malls as it has triggered a good scent that would probably be linked to a good memory of the customers, or just scents that smells good for them.

In contrast to that, however, in warfare, some countries have even tried to counter their enemies by placing bad smells, or what they call stink bombs, so deter the enemies.

Visualising smell

Though most of us would visualise the smell to be this misty, smokey visual that we see a lot in the cartoons or movies, smell actually travels in a cloud when in the air.

Viscosity is something to take into account when visualising smell. Like how honey is more viscous than fruit juice. Water is more viscous than air. So it depends on what type of medium you would want to have smell be at.

The Scents

Since different smells trigger different memories, we were then to pick out two scents that trigger an unpleasant and a pleasant memory.

Pleasant scent

The pleasant memory that I have chosen is the smell of Tiger Balm ointment. I chose this scent because I like the smell of old traditional medicines and it reminds me of when I live with my grandparents and this would be the smell of their room and in turn reminds me of them.

Unpleasant scent

My chosen unpleasant smell is actually the smell of Febreeze. Ironically, I don’t find it a good smell. I do not like the smell of artificial fragrance. Another thing would be that it reminds me of during my National Service, when the guys used Febreeze to spray their sweaty uniform, thinking that it would make it smell better, but it actually just made it smell worst.

Plastic Sculpture

It is actually the first time as a class using plastic to create our models, and actually, the first time in my life doing it too. There are different tools that actually help form the delicate actually delicate plastic, like the heat gun and the soldering tool.

There are 3 main components to the sculpture – the center stick, the transparent spiral, and the green strip.

The center stick represents the memory and in the way the brain stem, which goes upwards. It also looks like a lingering strip of smoke.

The main feature, which is the spiralling transparent plane is the pleasant scent, which goes around the stick as if it is something that follows you in your memory.

The green strip represent the unpleasant scent. It has holes in it to create a sense of discomfort when you look at it or feel it.

The transparent spiral is bigger than the green strip because since it represents the pleasant scent it would be something that we would want to remember more.


Creating a sculpture from something you cannot see is actually very challenging. Theres no base form that you can refer to. Using plastic to create a sculpture is already hard enough as sometimes it instantly melts with the use of the heat gun. It can be very unpredictable even though you have something in mind or some other form you want to achieve.