Thursday, May 31, 2007

Revolution in Aviation - Micro Jets

The growth in the number of Very Light Jets (VLJ) landing at regional airport has been propelled by the development of small, efficient but powerful jet engines.

Amazing as it might seem, I had a design planning class that tasked teams to look into various aspects of the emerging small plane industry in 2001. It was the same week as September 11, and no one in the class saw a value in considering any proposal that would result in encouraging more planes to leave the ground. The class petitioned for a different subject but to no avail.

So to Larry Keeley's credit he asked the class to continue on, in his view this "disruptive technology" had the potential to change the airline industry. And to my surprise, it actually proved to be one of my fondest memories of my graduate studies. The synergy on the team produced a presentation and solution that was so "tight" that it became the envy of our peers.

Popular Mechanics Article

Microsoft's New Table Top Interface - Surface

This product targeted for commerical applications literally moves us closer to desktop computing promised years ago, whereby the keyboard and mouse are disposed of in lieu of the human finger or direct connections between the computer and other objects.

Microsoft Surface

Popular Mechanics Article

The Evolution of the GUI Interface

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The White Chair and the Power of Low Cost Production

An often overlooked aspect of designing is the means of production.

Materials and production can force compromises in a design. But in the case of ubiquitous white lawn chair, the low cost and the ease of producing its simple design from a single piece of plastic out weighted a more asethically pleasing seating solution?

White Chair Article

Monday, May 28, 2007

Design Prespectives Beyond America

The future looks really bright for designers from outside of America.

I am working on developing a view of what is happening around the world in design. Its going slow but it is under way. One source that has been helpful and affordable is the magazine Monocle which reports on design and culture from far flung corners of the globe in each issue.

Monocle Magazine

Also, if you are in the NYC area next week there is an interesting looking symposium on Japanese design and technology.

Design and Technology Symposium

Typography: Assignment III - Step 3 Results

The second step taken on the way to developing an identity for a chosen retail was to research the company to understand: how it view itself, its history, its direction and how it is perceived by the public at-large. Each student was to used their insights from step 1 (found type exercise) and their research (step 2)to develop a series of concept directions from which they would select one (step 3).

What I found was that at the end of the second step most students had closed in on a driving concept though it was not initially clear to them that they had. The student who selected the catalog retailer EastBay the concept was the idea of directionality and how to express that in the company logo. By tilting the 'e' counter clockwise he was able to incorporate direction in the solution.

For another student, updating the retailer Old Navy's logo was to work in a nautical theme into the logo. The student's solution incorporated sails, patriotic colors and shadows to convey her key concept.

Another retailer, Forever 21, the student discovered that the aspiration of many young women idealize the age of 21 and once reaching it wanted to remain there, and so incorporating the infinity symbol in the company's logo became the goal.

Back From a Blogging Break

My blog posting really have dropped off as of last month, well life does get busy at times and its takes the mind on different journeys. But, I have more mind space available after wrapping up the semester teaching a Typography and Layout course. I'm still reflecting on the experience but my thoughts can be summed up to say it was a great experience.

As I think back and review the semester, I can say I appreciated the efforts of the students and the results that were produced. I also like the way the content of the course developed in such a way that it allowed the students to connect the dots between a design problem, a driving concept and a realized solution that is appropriate.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Secrets of Apple's Design Success

One could devote a course to Apple's ability to rewrite business/design strategy during the past thirty years - the information age.

The company under the leadership of Steve Jobs seems to fare much better than other companies at growing a profitable and stable organization.

Their latest success that was profile in the NYTIMES is Apples venture into retail has succeed when others: Sony, Gateway have not. Apple's successes seems so simple as to think their choices were obvious, but if the key decisions were that obvious more businesses would be successful. I would say the key factor is that the value given to design and users experiences allows the organization to keep its eye of on the elements that engenders committment/connection with its customers.

MIT Techonlogy Review Article

NYTimes article