Wednesday, July 30, 2008

International Design: Plus Minus Zero

I long for the opportunity to visit Japan just to see the quality and range of products available. I have a belief that the products are of exceptional quality and styling.

Plus Minus Zero is an example of the design consciousness around product design I believe I would find in Japan. The TV's in the 1st collection are so very cool.

Their Collections

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Product Design: The Machine that will Strenghten Starbucks

Like the Dyson vacuum, the Clover (a commercial single serving coffee machine) was developed by a product designer who applied his skills to improving an existing device and in-turn moves an entire industry forward.

How it works: The Clover looks like just another countertop coffee machine. But peek under the hood and you'll find an innovative brewing system. Here's how it works: 1. A barista selects dose, water temperature, and steep time. 2. A piston pulls down the filter platform while freshly ground coffee is poured into the chamber. 3. Hot water flows into the chamber. 4. The barista briskly stirs the grounds with a whisk, and the water and beans steep for several seconds. 5.The piston rises, creating a vacuum that separates the brew from the grounds, then lowers, forcing the joe out of a nozzle below. 6. The piston rises to the surface again, pushing up a disc of grounds, which are squeegeed away. (wired magazine 2008)

Wired Article

NY Times Article

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fashion Observation: What User Research Isn't

We have visited this topic before, but in light of a recent posting on ethnographic research, this video from the NY Times is a fitting example of how one observer, though untrained, seeks to understand and find meaning in the dropping waist lines of young men.

The point here is that user research isn't simply an untrained observers opinion, but a structured approach to uncovering the deep seated meaning behind people's thoughts and actions, as it relates to the products they purchase and how they use them.

NYTimes Video

Friday, July 25, 2008

Design Research: Video Primer

Here is a really great introduction to the basics user research presented by students at the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology. The techniques of getting people to talk are discussed and demonstrated in a first rate video production.

Getting People to Talk: An Ethnography & Interviewing Primer from Gabe & Kristy on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

2008 IDSA/BusinessWeek Design Excellence Awards

The expanding influence of design is clearly evident in resources below. The greatest expansion has been in the support and understanding coming from the business community. Design seems to be finding its way into the business mind set especially for those in the tech industries where innovation is a common buzz word.


BW's Videos, Podcasts and Articles

Typography: Font Play the Video

This staged video of a play on typefaces as people is admittedly corny but it does offer a view of the variety of fonts available to designers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Does America Need a National Agency to Create Innovation Policy?

I remember how surprised I was to find out, in a Design Policy class (2002), that America was the only industrialized nation without a government led, formal institution or stated policy around design. Other countries like Japan and China had very formal approaches to ensuring that their national resources were all directed at addressing the opportunities that technological innovation would offer, by crafting policy that included refocusing its entire educational system K thru University.

The report sighted below presents a case for a government led initiative for America.

"In the last decade, an increasing number of economists have come to conclude that innovation—the creation and adoption of new products, services and business models—is the key to improved standards of living. The United States has led the world in innovation since World War II, and it continues to have many strengths, including entrepreneurial culture and expertise, a strong science base, healthy technology companies, protection of intellectual property, robust financial markets, relatively good working relationships between business and universities, and leadership in constructing and managing complex technology-based processes and organizations."

Industry Week Article

The Information Technology and Innovation Report

Obama's Technology Policy View

UK's Design Council Strategic Plan

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Postal Stamp: Charles and Ray Eames

The USPS has released a sheet of 16 Eames inspired stamps.

This design couple known most for their furniture, also created textiles, graphics, film, exhibits, architecture and more.


Architectual Record

NYTimes Article

Monday, July 21, 2008

Design as Business Strategy: Method's Household Products

From its start Method embraced the power of design by hiring designer Kahrim Rashard to design its original packaging.

The organization has continued to produce ecologically friendly household cleaning potions in innovative and distinctive packages.

Methods Website

Interview with Method Designer: Danny Alexander

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Design Honored at the White House

The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum honoree's for 2008 were acknowledged at a White House ceremony with Laura Brush officiating.

Industrial Design pioneer, Chuck Harrison was awarded with the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions which includes 30 years at Sears, Roebuck and Company where he was responsible for shaping hundreds of American made household products, though he is most recognized for his redesign of the Veiw-Master.

Unfortunately, one of the take aways for me was recognizing that the Head Quarters for the nation was not as finely appointed as I would expect. It appears this is yet another design opportunity waiting for an answer. And so, my humble recommendation as a designer is that the White House should incorporate consciously some of the great design pieces created and produced in the U.S. over the last century.

Washington Post Article

Cooper Hewitt Slideshow

A Life's Design

What Laura Said...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Product Design: Personal Climate Control Device

The furniture manufacturer and design leader, Herman Miller, has extended its business strategy to include consumer products that focus on the users personal space within the work place.

The C2 climate controller joins the Babble noise cancel device, both designed to offer the consumer personal control over their environments.


C2 Product Page

DesignExhibtion: PreFab Dwellings at MoMA

I am looking forwarding to making a trip to NYC to take in this exhibition and Design for the Elastic Mind. Both are looking at the direction design is moving and its potential of shift our thinking.

Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling

NYTimes Article

NYTimes Article

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Parking Problem in Search for a Solution

San Francisco has taken a bold step to provide citizens a way of locating available parking by employing available wireless sensor technology to its curb sides. This represents one part of the proposal I offered in my graduate thesis project- theLINC Parking System(2003).

The real opportunity to address the issue of managing the physical space within cities will be found in a systematic solution that is linked to a boarder definition of public space. Cities most at the same time search for solutions to managing their virtual (digital) spaces as they continue to rethink their approach to managing the physical parking spaces. In doing so, municipalities will be able to truly discover and provide for their citizens a sustainable solution that offers access, control and new revenues to fund the upkeep of public spaces.

NYTimes Article

Streetline, The Company

RFID Technology

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Reflections on the Creative Process: Ira Glass

I found this series of three Youtube videos inspiring to know that it is a time consuming and difficult process to find and master your creative voice but it is a beautiful thing once it is formed.

Ira Glass is an award winning radio personality/ journalist and force behind public radio program,This American Life.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A List of 30 Books for Product Designers

This list is not meant to be exhaustive, I know I would add "The history of Industrial Design" by John Heskett.

The List - Design Sojourn Blog

The Meaning of Modern?

The article linked below discusses the often misunderstood meaning of Modern as it relates to the aesthetic movement that took hold in America in the 1950's.

Washington Post Article

Mies Exhibitions'


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Professional Design Organization: IDSA

I am at a point where I can better appreciate the value a professional design organization like the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). My past experience with the organization led me to view it as irrelevant for its failure to address the issues facing design and designers, admittedly this was my humble opinion.

But recent changes in the organization give me new hope that it will live up to its potential to serve as a positive force in the promotion of design.

But with a talented new executive director I have a renewed hope that the organization's potential will be realized.

IDSA'S Homepage

2008 Conference

Frank Tyneski Podcast

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Book: Emerging Technologies and Housing Prototypes

New materials offer designers new avenues to explore and provide opportunity to add interest if not functional charcteristics to a design solution. This book looks to explain some of the opportunities that technology is currently offering design professionals.

Book Review

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Chicago: A Great City and Creative Hub

My second home and "the best run city in the nation", which is my personal opinion of my old stomping grounds - Chicago; is now making the best of list more often.

Fast Company Article

Buisness Week Article