Spring 2018

An educational resource for teaching formgiving

 Jake Scherlis, Max Plummer, & Benal Johnson

This is a studio resource for young Industrial Design students. It consists of a curated collection of form studies. They are structured and organized by their physical features. Our goal is to catalyze sensitivity to form through explorative play and self-directed experimentation.

The Form Library is now a permanent resource available to Industrial Design students at Carnegie Mellon University.



The Form Library serves as a supplement to the familiar process of making and prototyping. The user is free to expand upon this framework, and to develop their own forms, features, and transformations. 


We begin with a standard "control" form; a simple rectangular block. We then apply a single transformation, or feature, to that control form.


The library contains three basic features: "Pinch," "Sweep," and "Cut". We show each feature with three levels of amplitude, three levels of softness, two positional transformations, and an inverse.

Pictured below is the complete set of "Pinch" forms.


We also provide examples of combinations of multiple features applied to the same base form.


This form represents one of the basic features: Pinch.

This form shows all three basic features; Pinch, Cut, and Sweep; applied to the same form.


Each form is 3D printed via stereolithography, making the entire Form Library reproducible and easily shared, and allowing for simple replacement of lost or damaged forms. 


The Form Library is now a permanent part of the 3D lab at the Carnegie Mellon School of Design, and a component of the teaching curriculum. We are excited to see this system be expanded by future students.

In-depth process can be found on our medium page.