Astronaut's Coat Hanger
One of my first engineering design coursework projects was to design an "astronaut’s coat hanger”, cut out of acrylic. The requirements for this challenge were that the coat hanger could rest on a variety of horizontal pegs embedded in a wall, and had to hold a weight at a minimum distance from the wall, while achieving minimum possible weight.
My final design had a total mass of 5.8 g ( 0.0128 lb), and was capable of supporting 40 lbs. I received special recognition for coming within 10% of the weight of the lightest design in the class.
My reliance on fundamental knowledge combined with willingness to explore a wide variety of concepts brought me very close to the ‘ideal’ design geometry.