Friday, August 31, 2007

Resource: An On-line Materials Database

This is a great source of information on materials.

The site is well organized and provides useful descriptions as well as photos. The structuring of the data is also a short lesson in information architecture.


Thermoplastic Folding Technique: CUT'N FOLD®

This answers a question that I have been entertaining regarding simple methods of producing low fidelity protypes for design students.

Foam and Wood both tend to be pretty costly and messy materials in which to create 3D models.

So it would seem ideal for design students to explore the art of Origami, to construct representive 3D models then repeat the process in plastic to create a finished model. The goal would be to allow students to explore in 3D and better understand how forms are constructed.

Hannecke, Inc.

Graphic Design: Album Art

This CD cover caught my attention with its straight forward use of 2D design principles.

Here we can see the use of negative and positive space manipulated in a way to enhance the contrast between the forground and background. The designer may use of two strategies used to make compositions interesting. First, the of the subject, musician Kirk Whalum, is pushed to the far right of the frame and cropped. The second technique employeed was, the centering of text within the negative space which provides balance to the composition which is comforting for the viewer. Finally, within the text itself is an expression (symbol) of the driving concept behind the album and the cover graphic. The circle with an arrow head substituted for the letter 'O' reflects the artist revisiting older works and mixing them with newer pieces.

The use of these few graphic design techniques results in an appealing visual message.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fashion Trend: Exposed Belly Buttons and Bottoms?

I have admitted in earlier postings to finding it difficult to relate fashion design to the other design disciplines.

And here I ask, How would a fashion designer explain the trend of exposed belly's and bottoms?

Article: NY Times

Interior Design: A Vibrant Solution

Parking garages are often boring and difficult to navigate, but this award winning solution found a way to add excitement and communicate direction in an interesting way.

"This solution transforms the space and cleverly uses words, dimension, and color to help you move around. It would have been typical to use large type and arrows, but this design works by breaking out of the box and claiming the whole landscape, so that you ignore your surroundings and are grabbed by the humor and boldness."

More Photos

Building a Wireless Internet Infrastructure in Chicago?

I tackled this question in 2003 as one part my graduate research and demonstration project. (See the concept map below)

My research lead me to recognize the opportunity for municipalities to extend their control of their public spaces, in this case virtual space, as they had for decades with physical spaces. My solution idea rested on rethinking the parking meter, extending its functionality to include service as a wireless node, thus allowing cities to parse virtual space as they have for physical space.

So it is of interest to me that cities continue to struggling to find a viable way to provide wide spread Internet access to its citizens.

Maybe I should drop a note again to the parties mentioned in this news report to see if they would be interested in my thinking on the subject.

NPR Audio Report

San Francisco Plan

Monday, August 20, 2007

Designing Business: Six Tips for Success

The intersection between Design and Business is discussed in an article by Mark Dziersk. He provides some insight in the form of six tips on how to navigate the narrow path to productive collaboration.

"Business is hungry for design thinking and needs strategy to have a reason to believe. Designers have to understand their role in the business imperative and embrace business strategies.

"Visual thinking, storytelling, DNA, and adaptable processes all help enormously. For designers today, a good understanding of the" business comfort zone" with ideas and concepts is a tool as powerful as any Alias rendering or beautifully executed aesthetic prototype."

Article: Design Meet Business...

Article: Design Spotting

New Material: Aerogel (Frozen Smoke)

When new materials appear, finding appropriate applications for their use can lead to new design solutions.

The propeities of Aerogel, this weight light solid also known as "frozen smoke" has the lowest density of any material.

"It is expected to rank alongside wonder products from previous generations such as Bakelite in the 1930s, carbon fibre in the 1980s and silicone in the 1990s."

London Times Article

Houseware Design: The Smile Bowl

There are times when a design solution is simple and addresses a function without much fanfare.

The appropriately named product Smile bowl does more than just hold small food items it puts you in a good mood.

The decorative bowl from Eva Denmark A/S won the Formland Design Award – Autumn 2007.

Practical Design: Wrist Magnet

A great gift for the craft person in your life. A very practical solution, useful for the seamstress or other engaged in task based cores with a need to keep small parts close at hand.

Uncommon Goods

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Student Film: What Is (Product) Design?

Stanford Design School student David Ngo asks and answers - What is Design?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Study in Type Design

The efforts to make road signs more functional is told in detail in the NY Times article: Road To Clarity.

This is a marvelous example of design (typography) being used to improve life by addressing the changing needs of America's driving population.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Package Design: What It Is and Isn't

Package design is the execution of a solution that protects a container's contents, facilitates shipping and storage, communicates with customers, allows repeat use, ensures safety and limits environmental impacts just to name a few considerations. It isn't simply pasting bold graphics on a container.

More companies are striving to match the constitency of great package design as demonstrate by Apple Computer, whereby the packaging itself has meaning for the consumer.

There are a number of blog postings on the subject of how many customers prefer to hold unto and even display the Apple product packages.

NY Times Article

Apple Packaging Article

Doing Packaging Right

Slide Show of Barbie's Packaging Redesign

Package Design Magazine

MS 2007 Box Poor Packaging

iPhone Packaging Video

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Design Management at the Internal Revenue Service

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Dr. Elizabeth Tunstal on how organizational values are translated into user experiences. This idea takes on a special meaning when it comes to the public sector, especially because design has to date played such a minor role in public policy and governmental decision making.

So the fact that a small group of design advocates at the IRS have spearheaded a program "The IRS Design Management Project" is noble in its aim to build design thinking into the organizations decision making.

The presentation and discussion pointed out Design's capacity to strenghten the communication of the organization's values and core intentions through the products that reach the hands of "the citizen user", and thus having the potential to shape their perception of government.

Conference (aka: About, With and For)

Its that time for me to consider checking in with other ID alumns that have made this annual conference a time of renewal and reconnecting.

On the other hand, the cost of attending a conference is not cheap, so given the number of conferences scheduled in the coming months I must weight which one, if any, will provide the professional development I need?

AWF Conference Details

IASDR Conference

MX East Conference

ICSID Conference

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

New York City From A Designer's P.O.V.

Having just spent this past weekend in NYC, I can testify as a designer that there are more than a few things in the city that will inspire.

The New York magazine provides us with ten maps for ten persona's.

Map 1 is a short list of places in NYC for designer's to check out.

The List

Design Ideas: Thinkering Spaces

Its good to see Dale Fahnstrom, my thesis adviser, continuing to explore new areas of opportunity for designing users experiences.

Armed with a grant from the MacAuthur Foundation the Institute of Design is investigating opportunities for digital technology to support knowledge building and how that might fit in spaces like librarys and musuems.

Project Summary

Project Link

MacArthur Foundation

Review of the Concept

Design Classic: The '1006' Navy Chair

One of the key qualities that lends to the beauty of this chair is the material and its indestructability.

The “Navy” chair was designed by Wilton C. Dinges in 1944 for use on US Navy submarines and aircraft carriers. The task was to create a corrosion-resistant chair that was light and strong.

The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted the 77-step process that produces the chair the rarest of all design protections.

Patent Protection

emeco company site