Last week you chose one product and took it to an extreme. This week, you’ll take a new product to two extremes, then choose a happy point somewhere in the middle.

Try to spend at least 30 minutes sketching, 5 or 6 days a week. Short practice sessions each day usually lead to better results than longer, less-frequent sessions. You should make at least one new sketch each day, so by the end of the week you’ll have at least 5 new designs plus your study of the original product.

Building your visual vocabulary

Pick a new, moderately complex product that includes 3 or 4 simple forms (3D shapes like boxes, cylinders, cones and spheres). Like last week, a coffee mug is too simple. A car is too complex. A desk lamp with a flexible arm or a pair of over-the-ear headphones would be good choices.

If you want to keep exploring the same product category you explored last week, go for it. Or you can choose a new category. As long as it keeps you interested, either one will work.

Sketch an informative perspective view of the product. Choose a view that provides clear information about the front, side and top of the product.

Make sure your drawing accurately shows the product’s proportions. The parts should be the correct size (relative to the whole product) and in the right places. When you finish, you should have a good working knowledge of what makes the product look like itself.

Creating new forms

Redesign your product to make it as simple as you can. Aim for beautiful simplicity. Also remember that your product should still be functional. Removing the light from a desk lamp will make it simpler, but it will also make your product something less than a lamp.

If removing shapes makes your product look too simple, try removing types of shapes instead. If some of the product’s contours are straight and some are curved, try making all of them straight, or all of them curved. Make all the curves into the same kind of curve or make all the angles into the same angle. Parallel lines or concentric curves are simple, but still interesting.

Once you’ve created two simple designs, go in the other direction. Make two complex designs. Add shapes and textures. Create elaborate interfaces. But keep your designs beautiful and flexible.

The goal is to see how far you can go in each direction. Once you make a simple design, try to make your next one even simpler. You want to get right to the edge. If you push it any farther, your design just won’t work.

For your fifth design, choose something between extreme simplicity and extreme complexity. You may want to start with one end of the spectrum and make it more moderate, or you might want to combine parts from each. Your final design could be perfectly in the middle, or it can be closer to one extreme, but it should evolve from your earlier sketches.