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Grace Tsai

New York, United States

Product Design

Member since September 08, 2008

  • Contract Helpmate - Thesis Board

    Well-being, Industrial Design


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  • Assignments 03/30

    Well-being, Communication Design


    Distribution plan --> Larger Image


    So far, I only got a very general pricing for my design that if they are produce in China. I prefer my design to produce locally in each region to cut down shipping cost.

    for 5000 pieces, it would cost 50cents(color, 12 pages ) ~ $1 (with extra UV coat, thicker papers).

    This week, I am getting quote for my specific layout, the price for laser cutting or die cutting, and cost for assembly.


    Ideally, I think government should help with the cost of production and the distribution, since that is what tax is all about, helping citizens to have better life. However, I also developed a system so my design can be share to NFPs easily, and for NFP to have enough financial to produce the design.

    Please click to see my distribution plan. --> Larger Image


    1. My system, Contract+ provides open-source templates for any individual or organizations to produce the design for their own need. They can customize the text to their languages, and adjust infomation according to their local labor contract law.

    2. Contract+ will also provide infomation of best materials to produce the design in relation to each regions' local resource. (type of paper, recycle or non-recycle)

    3. Contract+ will help organization to calculate cost analysis, so the cost can be reduce to their affordable budget. (where to manufacture, type of paper, color or black&white, size of design...etc)

    NGOs for labors

    1. NGOs need...

  • Assignments 03/09

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    Thesis Mid-term Review Conclusion

    Some say they love the paper cutting inspiration, and that they think it is beautiful and culturally related. Some say that the design need to be as invisible as possible, and should be integrate into a reasonable object that others would not recognize it (like spy camera). As product designer, I would prefer my design has it own looks and purpose, and I do not think there is reason for individual to hide the fact that they are learning about their rights. If people keep hiding and avoid to stand up for their justice, there wouldn't be revolution happen the history. I do not want to over challenge the reality of China's political issue, therefore, how to balance the design to be passive or active will be the challenge after this mid-term. (critical design)

    Here are the things I need to work on.


    my current wheel design allow users to wheel the second layer easily without have to separate between layers. However, many still have difficultly to wheel because the template is not rigidly attach. Some people didn't know that it can be wheel, and that I need to make some icon to communicate such function.

    Color & design

    The paper cut wheel with red, black and yellow are most recognizable Chinese design to viewer. The typography wheel design is interesting, but less aesthetic. Many female viewers recommend me to explore more with paper cutting wheel. I will have to work on the design with cost.


    Some one suggest me...

  • Assignments 03/02

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    Presentation Board













    User-Testing Result

    My NFP in Taiwan, The Rerum Novarum Centre has return me with user-feedback. This NFP provides services for local labourers as well as to provide educational and training programmes for trade unions. In 1986, the centre expanded its services to assist migrant workers. In 1995, they began to serve victims of job-related injuries, and indigenous workers.

    1. Information wheel is a creative idea. However, the design is not very easy to spin which discouraged many of our workers to use it.

    2. Some language can be even more simplified for easy understanding; the font can be larger.

    3. Too many word at contact trap section, some workers don't understand what it is about unless they read through the whole template. NFP recommends me to write the text in a more straight-forward format, and just tell workers what to do.

    4. Wage section is not complete. Required more information.

    5. Injuries section is well written.

    6. The color theme is very limited. NFP recommends me to apply a main color for each topic.

    7. The NFP worried that the graphic might be too powerful for workers in China. However, their workers love the graphic, and that those graphic are very attractive to young workers.

    Design Direction


    I had choose to use circular shape in stand of the rectangular shape. First reason is for easy spinning. (the under layer have to be larger than the above layer). The second reason is that I want my users...

  • Assignments 02/24

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    Mission Statement

    The concept of [LIFE LUOPAN] is to empower migrant workers in China to have ownership over their employment, by providing a tool to educate workers of their fundamental rights.

    Board 1

    Board 2

  • Assignments 02/02

    Communication, Industrial Design



    To empower migrant workers in China, to have ownership over their employment.

    Design Solution

    A visual infomation layout that will educate workers the importance of contract, and the basic knowledge for workers to avoid writing an invalid or unjust contract with hiring companies.


    • The design should be understandable by any workers at any educational level.
    • Workers understand how to read&use the device without explanation from others.
    • Information can be read and absorbed by workers at short amount of time. (will be define at user-testing result)

    NFP Relation

    A1: How does your concept compare with competition?

    Most of information wheels that record in the book of "Reinventing the Wheel" by Jessica Helfand, are using to show data. The benefits of the wheel is that it can layout many numbers follow by the form of circle, in another word, form follow by function. The disadvantage is that the infomation have to be in circular layout in order to have the max. of visible and readable surface area.

    Information wheel will be my solution. The difficult challenge is that all my infomation will be text format in stand of numbers and data. It is harder to fully use the max. of readable area, and be able to contains decent amount of infomation.

    A2: Obtain feedback from NFP/user groups.

    My NFP is in Hong Kong. They won't be able to attend any reivews.

    中國勞工通訊 China Labour Bulletin (Main NFP in China) official web site


  • Thesis Review Conclusion

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    Overall review responses are positive. The argument is strong and the solution is logical. The integration of tradition symbol is also positive approach. Here are the suggestion for improvement.

    Things that need to be considered

    • Can users use it when they are under pressure of company?
    • Maybe I need to find a NFP that could adopts my design?
    • The distribution method, government or a labor union?*1
    • Where to distribute? Rural or cities?


    • Could the design be DIY and self-educational?
    • Could it be smaller, a pocket size?
    • Can it be a educational game?
    • Could design use verbal voice, which might provide more comfort for users?
    • Could it use graphic in stand of text?
    • Can the interface design be more clean, maybe ipod-ish?
    • The graphic can integrate more Chinese design (regional or global)?
    • Perforated punch holes as a check mark?
    • Can it be a more advance device that is not own by workers, but own by government, and rent to workers?
    • Touch buttons in stand of sensors?
    • Solar angle calculator?
    • Flash card style?

    Materials and Manufacturing

    • Different magntic design
    • Design that does not acquire electric parts so it cheaper to produce?
    • Exotic paper that can be reusable?

    *1 - Labor union would be ideal for distribution, however majority of workers are not part of the labor Union for some reasons. Either they are lack of access to an union, or they do not know about union. Most importantly, union do not have very strong power in China.

  • Assignments 11/24

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    Design Argument Chart

    link to see images

    Persona Chart

    link to see images

    Presentation Board

    link to see images

  • Assignments 11/17

    Well-being, Industrial Design


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    1. What are the material qualities of products that serve this audience?

    (15-25 year olds, avg. high school educations, both genders, rural migrants in cities)

    • Factories workers
    • Repeating motion
    • Seat long hours
    • No relax
    • No enjoyment
    • Intense
    • Tired
    • Billboard
    • Internet
    • Advertisement
    • OLPC
    • Product (red)
    • Television
    • Radio
    • Music
    • Prints
    • Newspaper, media
    • Durable
    • Green and Red
    • Canvas fabric
    • Wood
    • Functional
    • Structural
    • Multi-functional
    • Radom
    • Used
    • Basic

    2. What are the materials that are available for your location?

    • Ceramic
    • Memory foam
    • Jersey
    • Clay
    • Cement
    • Yarn
    • Fabric
    • Knit
    • Plastic
    • Glass
    • Skin material
    • Hair, soft material
    • Rubber
    • Wood
    • Paper
    • Silicone
    • Wire
    • Electrics
    • Circuit board
    • Excess raw materials
    • Bamboo
    • Plants
    • L.E.D.s
    • Metal
  • Assignments 11/10

    Well-being, Industrial Design

    Title: Awareness & Inequality

    Category: Design possibility

    Subject Area: education, funding, awareness

    Lesson Time: 1.5 hour

    Introduction: The mission is to address the inequality between rural-migrants and urban citizens. This charrette is to help finding out possible solutions that will benefit rural people and increase awareness of inequality.

    Goal: To result possible solutions from non-profits' perspective

    *Objective: *

    • Identify the inequality problems that affect migrants to live well
    • Possible solutions that can solve one or many of those problems
    • Possible products that could solve one / many of those problems and will benefit migrants

      Materials: paper and pen


    NFO Partnership Status

    • Contacted Breakthrough, waiting for response, waiting for response of long term partnership
    • Contacted Rural Migrants Justice and Right Center by phone. Got some current update of migrants situations. Looking for a direct connection with local migrants.
    • Contacted China Labor Watch, waiting for response of long term partnership

Contact Grace Tsai

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design