A meticulously designed poster to sharpen your internal sense of scale. Use your body to measure things!
Personal Body Unit Index is a tool to sharpen your internal sense of physical scale.
We obsessively measure things. How high is that coat hook? How wide is that table? Is that really 3” diameter tube stock? Instead of carrying around a tape measure, we use our bodies to measure stuff!
The poster has a series of diagrams of the body in 17 useful positions for measuring things which relate in scale to the human body.
Each diagram has an area to pencil in your personal dimensions. You probably know how tall you are, but do you know your fathom? That’s the distance between the tips of your fingers when you spread out your arms (aka wingspan).
It is really useful to have an intuitive sense of scale. Whether you're rearranging furniture in your house, or at a hardware store trying to pick the right diameter pipe fitting.
As designers, we spend a lot of time working on computers, handling raw materials and getting a feel for objects that surround us. Computer screens make blue whales and pinky nails spatially indistinguishable. Our desks are cluttered with rulers, calipers and tape measures to constantly reference the physical dimensions of things that live on screens. Taylor even keeps a ruler taped to her screen!
Living with Personal Body Unit Index as a reference chart, as something that you can peek at on the fly, helps build up your superpower sense of scale.
Think of this as an awesome looking cheat sheet to turn your body into a measuring device. Pencil in you
Hang the poster in your studio, workspace, kitchen, bathroom, hallway, etc. so that glancing at it becomes a subconscious habit.
Che-Wei’s Mom often does this weird finger walking thing along the edges of furniture, fabric or random stuff. She knows that the spread of her hand from thumb to pinky measures 18cm. So she can quickly size things up. We always thought this was funny, until we realized that it is GENIUS and we started to copy her.
We made Personal Body Unit Index to help us enhance our internal sense of scale, so we are less dependent on traditional measuring devices. And so we can be more like Che-Wei’s Mom.
Many of the 17 measurements featured in Personal Body Unit Index have historical precedence rooted in some ancient unit of measurement. The cubit, for example, is an ancient unit based on forearm length from elbow to fingertip. Other human based units included are fathom and span along with a bunch of other ways of measuring things with your body that we find useful.