Individual Project
September 2019

3D Printed Noodles Product Design

Expertise

Industrial design and branding

Platforms

Illustrator, Solidworks, Keyshot

Deliverables

Product pitch, CAD, models, renders
3D Printed Noodles Product Design

Project Overview

The grand tradition of pasta

Pasta is steeped in tradition, and little about it has changed in recent decades. Intervention Noodles is a customization-centered 3D-printed pasta brand developed in less than a week as part of a Georgia Tech design charrette intended to do one thing: utilize 3D printing technology to explore the future of pasta. [Original brief.]

Food as a social experience

💡 THE GIST: Food is a social experience. Capitalizing on the fact that pasta preferences vary widely, I discarded the idea of creating a new noodle shape and leaned into the concept of total noodle custimization.

In addition to the apparent physical qualities and expectations of pasta, food is a social experience and the consumer group in question is worth considering.

(Yes, "lost in the sauce" is a direct quote from an interviewee. The blue circles and their size as related to the red circles indicates relative preference in my survey group.)

A survey of pasta preference revealed that there were some “superior” qualities; a small majority of people like their pasta to be firm, bite-sized, or saucy with lots of toppings. Even so, overall, results tended to be mixed and opinions were strong: those who disliked al dente pasta really disliked al dente pasta, and so sought out shapes that were less likely to cook in an al dente fashion. On the opposite side, those who dislike soft pasta did the exact opposite. The only commonality was this: the vast majority of people really like pasta. Like, really really like pasta.

Given this conclusion, I decided to redirect my project from simply "creating a new noodle shape that would satisfy a certain majority of people" to imagining what alternative role pasta could serve using the power of 3D printing.

Goal 1
Reimagine what role pasta can serve outside of taste and consumption.

Goal 2
Target Gen Z and their ability to “trendify” goods/services through “Instagramability”.

Insights + statistics

  1. Gen Z is twice as likely to purchase something on mobile as compared to Millennials
  2. They value entertainment + novelty and possess an inclination toward videos (particularly Instagram and YouTube)
  3. They are the largest consumer cohort and still growing
  4. Interactions between friends are a frequent driver of conversation and social value

Execution

Put the pasta power in the hands of the people

💡 THE GIST: Allow people to make quippy pasta, turning pasta from a "thing" into an experience.

Rather than making a product, I opted to create a service: Intervention Noodles.

After all, when people are upset or stressed, they often turn to food. When a difficult conversation needs to be had, it's often conducted over a meal to take some of the edge off of the blade.

The concept behind Intervention Noodles is a little more light-hearted than that, but the concept underpinning it remains the same; imagine a conversation of the caliber, "please wash your dishes more frequently."

When you're not sure what to say, let your food do the talking.

Intervention Noodles takes an already social undertaking (cooking dinner for friends) and amplifies that by incorporating an additional social media aspect. The act of a casual intervention is highly experiential and well-suited to filming a friend or roommate’s reaction while opening up topics and conversations that may otherwise be tense or unpleasant.

Furthermore, utilization of 3D printing technology paired with mobile interfaces augments accessibility for Gen Z and further facilitates the use of 3D printable food technologies.

Results

So. What is Intervention Noodles?

The ultimate experience of Intervention Noodles is about both the pasta and what comes before and after the pasta—the ordering of custom noodles (likely via an app), and the garnering of a friend’s reaction to share online. Intervention Noodles are about starting a conversation (whether humorous or serious, but likely both). They do this through unconventional means which bring people together by utilizing digital methods to manifest unique in-person interactions.