Back to sneaker-culture, we began the day investigating what the word “signifier” means. We began by looking at a powerpoint presentation that Kim created that showed various types of running shoes. She asked the students to think about what we think about when we see certain types of shoes. The first pair she showed was a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors. She asked, “what does this make you think of?”
Shawn: “A rockstar because of the skull and cross bones”
Next – a pair of Nike Air Jordan’s.
Kim asked, “What is your reasoning for the above responses?”
Neshaye: “A lot of hip-hop artists and basketball players wear Jordan’s”
Next, a pair of stream-lined running shoes.
Satyam: “You wear these when you’re jogging”
Neshaye: “Usain Bolt”
From our discussions, we thought we may have a good idea of what a signifier means. Kim asked, “What do you think a signifier is?”
Anna: “It might say something about your personality”
Neshaye: “It might say something about who made the shoes”
Shawn: “It’s like clues to who wears the shoe. If they’re basketball shoes, maybe it tells us something a out what that person does and what they do”
We took what we learned about signifiers and considered it when we moved to the Computer Lab to write on the blog about a pair of shoes that were meaningful to us. Some of us found pictures online that we also posted!
Next we did a scavenger hunt with our friends to find examples all sorts of different design features shoes are made with. Liquid window, deep treads, popular brands, attractive colours – these were all features that we were able to learn about and find examples of. This set us up with a good foundational knowledge to take these design features and add them to our own shoe designs that we worked on next.
Neshaye: “I’m making high-tops”
Jacob: “I started with the title first so I had an idea of what my shoe might look like”
Some students had some trouble starting out their design. Janessa strategically used the projection screen to load a youtube video which detailed how to draw a basketball shoe – this also helped her peers. Chevon had a really great idea when he took his paper to the wall where he was able to trace the general shape of a photograph of a shoe. After that he took off his own shoe to trace the sole. Two examples of great strategies!
Other students revealed how they had grasped the design terminology well enough to speak about it when asked about their shoes.
Satyam: “Mine is yellow at the sole because I’m making a liquid window.”
Shawn: “Mine’s a NIKE. It has a deep sole. It’s only $100. It has circles and they show the Air Dolphin sign. When you’re playing basketball it makes you run faster and not slide. It has a red liquid window that gives more cushioning and helps with fast direction changes. It has dots and waves”
Sarwan: “It has a herringbone pattern, it has multiple patterns. It’s flexible. You can use it for running, basketball – its multi-purpose. It has deep cuts and it’s a high-top style. It has a brand name – Nike.”
And other students made sure to make their designs very creative:
Satyam: “It can bounce really high with the springs at the bottom. It has a rocket so you can fly, and wheels could come out so you can roller skate. It has massagers – these orange things are massagers”
Tatyanna: “I’m working on my sole. It has a rainbow. I was going to make a dolphin on the back”
Janessa: “It’s called ‘The Super Kit’. There’s three colours: yellow, blue and green. I picked those colours because I thought they’d look good on the shoes. I named it after I designed it”
Neshaye: “Mine’s called ‘The Neshaye Star’. Just like Vans, it has little x’s that connect. At the top it’s just like a Converse with the star and circle. The x’s are just like the laces. They would cost $20”
Jacob, during his design process questioned, “What type of materials should I use for the Moon Walkers?”. After deciding that someone who wears these might get very hot he went on, “They have a button to make the air conditioner work, you can turn it on. Someone might get really hot. I put circles at the bottom so you can be quick, fast and flexible to help people moonwalk”
Great work everyone! Can I buy a pair of shoes from y’all?