Tips & Stories

How Evernote helped Me Through College – Education Series

Posted by Kyle Koch on 20 Jan 2011

Posted by Kyle Koch on 20 Jan 2011

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Kyle is an Industrial design student at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning. While in school he used Evernote extensively.


Name: Kyle Koch
Profession: Industrial design student at University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP)
Blog: http://kyl3.com
Website: http://kyleakoch.com

Much like other programs that work towards a particular culmination project, the design curriculum is set up in a similar way. For our program each student had to completely design and manufacture a new chair. From the first few days of the program up until the final critique four years later, it is something that we constantly thought about and worked on. Since this was such a big and important project, students were continually collecting and compiling research to ultimately be used for their final chair design. For this long process I used a tool I was already familiar with, Evernote.

Evernote every step of the way

I turned to Evernote in its many forms as the place to capture and organize several years’ worth of research and inspiration while I was in school. Over the years, as I would come across something even remotely relevant, I would immediately add it to Evernote. My thinking was: I may not need it now, but I might need it later. When the time came to actually work on the design, I had the piece of mind of knowing that all chair related inspiration was there waiting for me in Evernote.

How I organized my chair project notes

  • I used a notebook called “Chair Quarter” to organize all the chair notes
  • I’d tag the different notes with the materials used in the chairs, or the type of chairs they were. Ex. Cardboard, wood, plastic.
  • I used Evernote on the iPhone for quick snapshots notes while out and about
  • I used the web clipper for any internet research I came across

You can view my shared notebook.

By the time I entered my fourth year I discovered that most of the chairs I had been interested in were made from cardboard, so I went with it. I decided to approach the chair as a temporary chair for use at trade-shows or conventions. The iPad had just been released, and I thought it would be cool for application developers to bring their non-physical products to life with an actual place to sit and try an app for a few minutes. I envision people at conferences having a seat, and testing out applications from a specially branded thinking chair.

The final project: The Thinking Chair

I was very happy with the finished product. To see my idea come to life in physical form after so much thought and effort was extremely rewarding. The thinking chair can be used for a week or a weekend, and then recycled once it isn’t needed anymore. Cardboard is also very inexpensive, and it’s weight to strength ratio is quite high, so the chair weighs less than other chairs, cost less to ship, and still support users as a chair is supposed to. In addition the chairs can be easily customized for the company who’s using them. When it came time to decide which company to feature for my prototype, the decision was easy. Evernote had helped me so much through the entire process, it only made sense to feature Evernote.

Along the way I learned that inspiration is a big part of design, I’ve found that a lot of creative people have a hard time getting motivated. One problem is that the right kind of inspiration isn’t always around when you need it. Sometimes it can be a completely random: a single image or idea that determines the direction your project ultimately takes. Having Evernote available to me at all times made capturing all of my inspiration as it happened extremely simple and convenient.

The iPhone Scanner

We first heard from Kyle a while back when he created a pretty nifty iPhone scanner- the Scan Dock made out of corrugated cardboard. The Scan Dock is a great, super-inexpensive alternative to a flatbed scanner. Currently Available for $15.00 it works great with Evernote.

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5 Comments RSS

  • Bill Murphy

    What a great product especially for design students and professionals!

  • Terri

    Cool! Since I didn’t win a ScanSnap ;-), I ordered this.

  • Jocuri

    good product!

  • anon

    scandock link didn’t work for me, private images in flickr :-(

    • Paul

      Same for me – flikr says it is private