After an idea comes to mind, I usually start with some exploration sketches.
In this case, where the idea of a night light came from a real bug, I started looking at an actual firefly. I studied their morphology and features. This helps to translate the most important characteristics to the design while making it a little more kid-friendly during the process.
After the first ideas, I want to ensure the idea is feasible and contains features that I can realize.
Therefor I create more detailsd sketches to test the concept.
Here I checked the concept for the wings, open and closing, functioning as a dimmer and on/off switch for this night light. Closing the wings dims the light and eventually turns it of.
This might even be automated and on a timer so the light turns off gradually over a set time.
Here I mainly focussed on the rotation and wingspan before thinking about the dimming function.
This little sketch also explores the concept of a transparent or translucent lower body to hold the light in. The rest of the body should containt electronics and the required mechanismes.
Most of the time I want to explore alternatives for the same product.
For this firefly I played with the idea to have a different posture, more humanoid. This idea was based on the background story I came up with. This little bug has a faulty light, not glowing whenever he wanted it to, but only occasionally at moments when it really wasn’t convenient or appropriate.
I did not go with this story as it was to far fetched for a night light which needs to remain reliable for sure.
3D computer modelling
After being happy with the concept sketches, I usually creat a virtual model containing the volumes in real life scale. This helps to examine the intended proportions and to validate if my concept is actually making sense.
A benifit of such a model is, next to be able to rotate it around and check all angles, is you can also use it to redefine the concept by sketching over screenshots.
For the firefly this model in 3D Blender showed me I needed to push the curved shield behind the head far more back compared to my earlier sketches. Also it reminded me I needed quite some volume to incorporate the mechanisme for the linked wings using some basic gears inside.
Final 3D computer model
Evaluate, Detail, Render
Using 3D printing a physical model of the digital version is easily made.
This model is a SLS 3D Print made out of Nylon, approximatly 30 cm in diameter.
The print comes in white and it required some sanding, priming and painting to match the desired appearance.
Electronics were added to create an actual working physcial model to enlighten my son’s bedroom at night.