Friday, January 30, 2009

Museum Design: National Museum of Africain American History and Culture

Six design teams will compete for two months to design a national black history museum on the National Mall.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was granted a prominate position on the national mall between the Washington Monument and Capitol.

Museum director Lonnie Bunch, who will lead a jury to make the final selection, is looking for a design that "speaks about resiliency, optimism and spirituality".

In early April, the six design proposals will go on display at the Smithsonian Castle for the public to help choose a winner by April 10.

Press Release

NYTimes Article

Washington Post Article

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What Managers Could Learn from Steve Jobs

Looking at the tenure of Steve Jobs the founder and CEO of Apple is a study on how to develop successful technology products that few companies have mastered.

* Consider the users needs/desires

* Embrace the potential of new technologies

* Use design to simplify the product and its interface

* Integrate all three into a viable business model

NYTimes Article: Steve Job Timeline

Friday, January 16, 2009

Type Designer: Wim Crouwel

As I make preparations to teach the Spring semester course: Lettering, Typography and Layout it is helpful to reflect on historical figures that have contributed to the body of knowledge, and whose work helped to legitimize the role of a type designer. Wim Crouwel is one such person, his work is not only outstanding and spans the formative years of the discipline but he still is producing works worth noting.

Resource: Thinking with Type

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Exhibition: Green Community

Interaction design is on full display at the Nation Building Musuem here in Washington DC.

The exhibition produced by Potion, a design and technology firm specializing in interactive installations.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fashion Designer: Marc Ecko

Over the holidays my search for a youth friendly gift for a teenager led to the discovery of a line of clothing that was noticeably well made, with a unique urban aesthetic and funky edge.

The Marc Ecko lines of clothing have grown out of the urban underground during the past two decades, arrive today on the most fashionable avenues with out me even recognizing it. Go figure the godfather of the Hiphop mogul Marc Ecko (pictured with Kanye West) a New York based entrepreneur led the pack of those who have defined "the urban aesthetic".

Marc Ecko's Site

As in the image on the left he successfully mixes great fabrics, uses bold colors, unique details, mashing up peepy and street styles that work really well.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jobs Ranked: Industrial Design in Top Ten

Ranking 200 jobs from best to worst is no easy feat. To compile this year's report, researchers relied on five criteria to compare jobs as different as librarian and sheet metal worker. Those criteria: stress, physical demands, hiring outlook, compensation and work environment.

Top Ten Jobs

Documentary on Industrial Design: "Objectified"

Coming in 2009 from the same director, Gary Hustwit, that give us Helvetica delivers a documentary on Industrial Design.

The Gary Hustwit Interviewed

Objectified the Film

Documentary on Typography: "Helvetica"

PBS's Independent Lens will be airing the landmark film on type this season. Check your local listing for the time.

PBS Independent Lens

Quiz: What Type of Font are You?

Wim Crouwel speaks on the value the type face Helvetica has for him as a graphic designer.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Design History: The Burham Plan

The Burnham Plan, named for its principal author, the Chicago architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham, was formally unveiled in 1909 and proceeded to transform Chicago, then one of the ugliest cities in the world, into one of the most beautiful.

I describe Chicago as the best run city in America, whenever I am asked my opinion of the city, which is a result of a passionate and design conscious mayor but also because of the comprehensive blueprint for smart growth proposed over a century ago in the Burnham Plan.

The newest chapters to the regions length story will added in the coming months in the form of The Metropolis Plan: Choices for the Chicago Region.

The Future of the Chicago Region Looks Green

The Chronology of the Burnham Plan

Friday, January 09, 2009

SamSung: Using Design to Change a Company

Samsung is a company that has committed significant resources in the last five years to leverage design as a strategy to better compete with in the international consumer electronics market, including mobile phones, printers, televisions etc...

The image to the left is an example of the integration of multi-media and interaction technologies being applied to the vending machine. The article linked below describes how Samsung approached redesigning the laser printer. As a company Samsung is demonstrating design leadership in the same way Apple has been for the more than two decades, by identifying innovative ways in which technology can be successfully applied to support user needs, create new business opportunities as well as build attractive products.

Article: Rethinking the Printer Business

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Year Ahead... Whats a Designer to Do?

With all of the hope of progress being assigned to the incoming Obama administration ,there also looms a palatable sense of dred as I read between the lines of many noteworthy commentaries on the year 2009.

Economic downturns have a specific impact on design related services and opportunities, but what are they? This is the question that is on my mind and that I will certainly be exploring in the coming weeks and months.

Designing Through a Recession

NYTimes Article: Design Loves Depression

A Response to "Design Loves Depression"

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Design History: Russel Wright

An influential Industrial Designer during the post depression years, 1930's, whose career if studied could reveal insight into opportunities for designers facing simuliar economic challenges today.

"Wright was notable for introducing modern functional forms, simplified shapes, and cheerful colors in furniture, appliances, ceramics, fabrics, and many other products used in daily life. He was largely responsible for the popularity of furniture of modern industrial design made with light-colored wood, and for the use of spun aluminum as a decorative material. His simple, sturdy forms in china, glass, and flatware were widely used and imitated. Manitoga, the Garrison, N.Y., estate and grounds he designed and once occupied, is open to the public.

Russel Wright Biography

The Russel Wright Design Center

Article: The Man Who Was Martha Stewart Before She Was