Abel Garfias
An Elegy to the Combustion Engine

The combustion engine, a marvel the world has overlooked. This project takes a look at the combustion engine’s functionality, how it differed from creator to creator and those who paved the path for our cars of today.

The combustion engine, which started as a simple controlled explosion changed the world before our eyes. First conceptualized in 1859, the combustion engine allowed engineers to think of other ways to utilize this technological advancement. The benefits that came from the combustion engine were substantial. Allowing agricultural life and machinery to thrive and allow for the possibilities for long-distance travel. Before fuel injection, meting out gasoline into a combustion chamber was an imprecise and finicky process. Carburetors frequently needed cleaning and rebuilding, and they were affected by weather conditions, temperature, and elevation.

Engineers saw potential in putting the engine into many designs such as tractors, airplanes, trains, turbines, rocket-propulsion systems, and the most impactful for human life, automobiles. As we progressed from the first vehicle, we saw the birth of many car manufacturers such as Porsche, Lamborghini, Saab, and Mazda. Each with their own unique interpretation of the combustion engine.

Each manufacturer took the invention and made them uniquely their own. We look at each manufacturer and how they interpreted the engine, what is happening inside the engine, and how their creation will change in the future.  We pay homage to the combustion engine and how it revolutionized the way humans live. The era of electrically powered vehicles is underway, but we must not forget what allowed us to thrive in our society and our way of living.

Abel Garfias
Abel Garfias is a Graphic Designer based in Chicago. Specializing in the fields of branding and identity, integrated marketing campaigns, illustrating, motion graphics, and photography. His strong belief in design as a problem-solving tool is guided by the desire for improving the connections between people and the products they use.

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Thank you to our Capstone volunteers, including students Leslie Ramirez, Chris Keramidas, Caroline Schlegel, and faculty member Laura Rossi García. Special thanks to 2020–21 Capstone faculty Shiro Akiyoshi, Nathan Matteson, and Heather Snyder Quinn.

College of Computing and Digital Media
School of Design
243 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago IL 60604

Graphic Design Capstone Showcase 2020 and 2021
Advisors: Shiro Akiyoshi, Nathan  Matteson, and Heather Snyder Quinn