alex briñas

design + community | new york


alex briñas

sketchmi

needfinding, product development process + media design

sketchmi

DESIGN-THINKING FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION

cross-cultural program for Japanese university students + Stanford students

DSI

ENCHA

print + packaging design

encha organic matcha

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF ASIA, KARUIZAWA

communication design + program development

UWC ISAK Japan

DESIGN RESEARCH FOR TARGET: DERBY MOTHERS

needfinding study for IOT products


roller derby

littlebits

education + community content design

littleBits

fabrication projects

from kinetic sculpture to tableware concepts

fabrication projects

STORYTELLING

personal video projects

storytelling

Hello, my name is Alex.

I'm a small human with an enormous love for human-centered design, storytelling, and community.

Born and raised in NY, I studied Product Design at Stanford ('15), and since then, I've gathered a hodge-podge of experiences and skills, from design-thinking to prototyping to logistics coordination to print production.

skills + background

Have a question? Want to make something together?
email | alexandra.brinas@gmail.com

sketchmi

a beginner's drawing toolkit, co-designed with Kylie Goh., funded on Kickstarter

sketchmi

In 8 months, we zipped through user research, prototyping/testing, a Kickstarter, and manufacturing one production run of sketchmi. Here's a snapshot of our process:


NEEDFINDING
We observed and interviewed young folks from 8-20 to unpack their feelings about drawing.

WHAT WE LEARNED:
A blank page is intimidating, especially when it comes to creative expression. How do you know where to start?

OUR GUIDING QUESTIONS:
How might we inspire a sense of creative confidence? How might we leverage current tech to make drawing more approachable and encourage exploration?

IDEATION, PROTOTYPING + TESTING
Our initial ideas centered around creating an all-in-one, cardboard art folio.

However, testing with our users led us to focus in on just one element of the folio that brought the most joy and wonder: the smartphone/tablet-powered "light table".

We prototyped the idea of using a smartphone/tablet's screen as a source of light AND drawing inspiration and put it to the test:

This simple idea sparked joy in many of our users and led us to sketchmi:
1. a smartphone/tablet case to turn your screen into a bright tracing surface
2. a library of digital drawing activities, to give users inspiration to explore their creativity

We continued to prototype, test, and iterate on different forms for the tablet case as well as different ideas for the drawing exercises.

THE KICKSTARTER
We ran a successful Kickstarter, raising > $20,000 for one production run of sketchmis! I produced all digital media and communication for the campaign, including a teaser video series called "30 Days of sketchmi".

Kickstarter campaign

FINAL PRODUCTION + FULFILLMENT
The post-funding period included:
Logistics, QA + communications with our manufacturerBrand identity designDesign of library of digital sketchlets (traceable drawing exercises) Production of website + website assetsPackaging + print design, plus arranging production with vendorFinal QA + assemblyShipping + fulfillment


BRAND IDENTITY

sketchmi style guide

WEBSITE CONTENT + DIGITAL SKETCHLETS


PRINT + PACKAGING

SHIPPING + FULFILLMENT

For more, feel free to check out the sketchmi website here.

ENCHA

organic matcha + wholesome lifestyle brand

Ceremonial Matcha Set

littleBits

modular electronic blocks helping kids build inventions large + small

WHITEPAPERS

TEASER KIT BROCHURE

DIGITAL ADS

webinar ad
SLJ ad
STEAM ad

PRINT ADS

PRIDE 2018 SOCIAL ASSETS

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF ASIA, KARUIZAWA (UWC ISAK JAPAN)

a student leadership-focused high school in Japan, bringing together youths from vastly different socio-economic + cultural backgrounds

UWC ISAK Japan

DESIGN-THINKING + SELF-REFLECTION EXERCISES

self-reflection exercises

PRIDE WEEK GRAPHICS

pride week main banner
pride week daily banners

WEEKLY DIGITAL NEWSLETTER

RUBBISH GUIDE DESIGN

rubbish guide

STUDENT SUPPORT SYSTEM CONCEPT

student support system concept

FABRICATION PROJECTS

samples of handmade fabrication work

POLYRO
a motorized drawing machine inspired by spirograph toys

KUMO
a cloud-like bedtime lamp designed for small children

AFTER DARK
an interactive kinetic sculpture based on the feeling of skateboarding at night

after dark 1
after dark 4

PAPER
minimalist tableware that mimicks paper

DESIGN RESEARCH FOR TARGET: ROLLER DERBY MOTHERS

collecting + presenting insights for a future IOT product
in collaboration with M. Hershfield, K. Rouff + W. Lu

photography by K. Rouff

In order to support Target's upcoming IOT product development, our team conducted a design research study of a particular subset of mothers.

Our chosen user group? Mothers who do ROLLER DERBY
Why? The aggression of roller derby may not align with the stereotypical vision of a mother, but the passion these women have for the sport intrigued us. What is derby fulfilling for these mothers, and how might that align with other mothers' needs?

User interviews and insight synthesis led us to learn that derby helps these mothers assert their toughness to themselves and to others through uniqueness, dedication, and endurance.

roller derby

These core learnings then led us to 3 design principles for Target to consider when designing an IOT product to give all mothers the sense of "toughness" they might be seeking.

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

VIA PROGRAMS:DESIGN-THINKING FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION

a 10-day program bringing together Japanese university students and Stanford students to collaborate on education innovation projects

DSI

co-coordinated + co-facilitated the first iteration of the program, which now runs annually (more info on current program here)

STORYTELLING

sampling of personal video projects

ALEX IN KARUIZAWA
a monthly video series on sights + reflections on living in central Japan

alex in karuizawa