A vending machine for the everyday needs of college students.


About The Project

S.O.S is designed to address the needs of college students by providing customized kits that contains daily essentials.  

The scope of the project focuses on creating information models to understand how the business works and how it could potentially make money. Designing a concept for the vending machine includes creating task flows, wireframes and a concept sketch of the machine. 



DATE Fall 2017, 5 Weeks
TEAM Individual
TOOLS Sketch, Origami
FIELD Information Design, Product Design



In a college filled with overly busy and way-too-stressed college students, the vast majority of whom are without cars, convenience is key. Students spend a lot of time on campus and whenever they stay late, stores are usually closed and they have no access to nearby general stores or art supply stores for emergency provisions and needs. Thus their safety, well-being and hygiene and health are compromised. 


Opportunity Solution

To create a vending machine that will supply the needs of college students especially during crunch weeks, like Midterms and Finals. 


May it be as simple as a pick me up after a long day or encouraging self-care during Midterms or Finals Week, the S.O.S. Vending Machine aims to make lives of college students better and healthier.



  • To provide convenience for student have access to essentials on campus 24/7.

  • To provide healthy alternatives and hygiene essentials for their daily needs.

  • To provide emergency supplies for impromptu situations, like all-nighters.




Emily So

Graphic Design Student   |   Age 21, Korean

Emily is a Sophomore at Academy of Arts studying Graphic Design. She mostly works late night on her projects because she believes in producing the best output for her works. She loves learning new tools to use in her projects and experimenting with colors and type.



Emily is working late on a Midterm project at school.

She decides to do an all-nighter to finish her project and stay until her morning class starts the next day.

However, she realized that she didn’t bring any of her essentials with her so she could freshen up the next morning.


It’s past midnight; all the stores near her campus are closed, and there aren’t any places nearby where she can get her essentials.

She found that the only open stores are far away, which would require her to commute and it will take a lot of her time.

She is left feeling frustrated which adds to her stress on top of the work she needs to get done.


Information Model

I created information models to determine what would go into the kits that I wanted to sell. My first information model on the right shows an overview of my product where I'm still in the process of figuring out what to include in the vending machine. When I made my second iteration, I flushed it out into four different models where I categorized it by listing an overview of the vending machine, kits, the inventory, and the prices.

Information Model.001.jpeg

Creating these information models helped me organize the concept of my custom kits and also help me determine if the business itself was profitable. As a result, here are my final information models: 


Product Concept

My kits are categorized in six types:

  • All-Nighters

  • What A Long Day

  • Midday Pick Me Up

  • Fight The Flu

  • Save Me From Midterms / Finals

  • Quick Fix Critique

Each type of kit is customized and designed to suit certain situations that college students experience. 


Supply & Stock

The kit supplies will be purchased in bulk from online wholesale stores like Jet and Amazon. The idea is that, for every type of kit there will be 10 kits stocked inside the machine. In total there will be 60 kits inside the machine.

During the first year of the business launch, the kits will be stocked on a weekly basis instead of on-demand until enough information can be gathered to know which kits are popularly bought. When there enough information is to determine a trend, only then will the kits be stocked on-demand.


Business Model

I created a business model to show an overview of my business plan goals, which I divided into Immediate Goals and Future Goals.

Business Plan.png

Profit Model

From the information models, I was able to calculate how much profit the business can make, which is an important aspect of the project to show how using information can make money. With the 70% markup, I allocated the 40% to costs which includes labor, maintenance and supply that is needed to keep the business going; the remaining 30% goes to the business' profit. 


For EacH Individual Kit

$5 - $8 Profit = 70% Price Markup


Ecosystem Model

I created an ecosystem model to show how the relationship and flow of the business. It helped me further understand how the business will work and how the actors, channels and touchpoints are related to one another. This made me realize how valuable each element is for the business. 

Ecosystem Model.png


I created a taskflow to show how the vending machine will work when a user interacts with it. This became my guide for making my wireframes.



I created a concept sketch of the vending machine's look. I wanted the design to be user-friendly and interactive. That being said, I made interface entirely digital, having the screen take up half of the machine instead of going for the traditional look of displaying the actual kits in a transparent glass.

Design Iterations.png
VM Scale Copy.png


  • Kit Dispenser is waist-high so it’s easier to retrieve the kits as opposed to having it lower where the user would need to bend or crouch.

  • Three modes of payment are available: Cash, Card and e-Pay. Giving users more options will most likely encourage them to purchase from the vending machine. I find that using card and e-pay are the most convenient for students.


My wireframes are very straightforward, showing the process of a user purchasing a kit.

One of the features of my vending machine is a custom message at the final screen when a kit is dispensed.  I wanted to create a positive and encouraging interaction between the user and the machine, and the message bridges that gap. I designed it to show a customized statement that is related to the type of kit that was purchased. An example in my wireframe would be when purchased a kit, What A Long Day, the final screen will display "It's been a long day but just hang in there."


Here are my final wireframes for the vending machine and a walk-through of screen flow:



Icons & Symbols.png


This project allowed me to see how and why information is the backbone in building a business. It taught me how to structure a system by using the information models and the role it plays in understanding all the relationship that happens within a business setting. 

If I had more time, I would explore the impact and significance of my business concept with its users by creating more information models and backing it up with research.