Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book: Designing Media

Where is the internet taking media? This question is considered in the many interviews that makes up the substance of Bill Moggridge's latest book.

Review of the book

The Video Interviews

Article: ...Can Designers Save the Newspaper

The Challenge of the New - Once Upon a Time There Came Along the Book

Embracing a new technology is a challenge for many of us, but a good coach, a well design product and an open mind can make it a little easier.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Product Design: Electric Snow Blower for Urban Dwellers

It was nice to discover that a great new product has reached the market that is affordable, well designed and a durable snow blower before any significant snow has fallen.

This electric snow blower is idea for snow fall greater than 2", and its 12" wide mouth can quickly clear my and the neighbors walk way with minimum physical effort. It compact size and electric (clean energy) motor allows ease storage.

The only comparable product I found was by Toro, but it was more expensive and its construction appears less durable.

Amazon Link

Friday, December 17, 2010

Medical Device: Mobi Legs

Few things inspire a designer more than being forced to use a poorly design object. This seems to be the case with the redesign of the crutch, called Mobilegs.

After product designer Jeff Weber broke his heel placning him for several weeks on crutches he had time to consider the flaws of the object and to propose a thoughtful solution.

Mobilegs Website

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Beautiful Architecture: IAC Building by Frank Gehry

On a recent trip to NYC I was struck by the attractiveness of the first NYC building design by Frank Gehry. Its glass facade changes color and opacity as it responses to its external environment.

IAC Building Website

Design Classics comes to the iPad

The content of the three volume design conpendium "Design Classics" has come to the iPad which allows more flexibility to accessing to the wealth of design content.

IDSA's Design of the Decade Awards

The Industrial Designers Society of America has announced its selections of designed products that have best demonstrated the professions influence at adding value at the nexus of culture and business.

Designs of the Decade Winners

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Design Education: Where Do We Go from Here?

AIGA's Design Educators conference explored how design education should change to better equip students to be functional design professionals in the 21st century.

AIGA Conference Website


The Design Observers Group Reflection on the Coference

Monday, November 22, 2010

Design History: Who is Eliot Noyes?

A pioneering advocate for design in 20th century corporate behemoths like IBM, Mobil Oil, Westinghouse and Cummins Engine Company.

An architect,designer and businessman Noyes worked for Gropius and Breuer, served as MoMA’s first director of industrial design, led Eliot Noyes and Associates, and lived his prescription that “Design is a means by which you see yourself and a means by which you express yourself to others.”

As the first industrial curator at MOMA, his design competition introduced the world to Charles Eames, Saarinen and other budding design talents.

Book Review

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beauty and Function: The Mark Albrecht Desk

This is a strikingly beautiful piece of furniture. The clean lines, durable construction and rich materials (leather desktop) makes this an object of desire, at least for me.

More Images

The Story of Eames Furniture

The authors of the latest book on the Eames LA office discuss in the video how the organization came to be and their first hand knowledge of the people and workings of the group.

The Book: The Story of Eames Furniture

Product Design/ New Business Model: Tik Tok

This is cool as a product extension, but also as a innovative business model. Apple's Nano music player is creatively integrated into to a wrist band thus extending its use as a multi-touch watch.

The Chicago based product design firm MINIMAL has developed a plan for financing the production of this idea to the public. So if you wanted to be a venture capitalist here is an opportunity to seeded a new idea.

Funding Options

MINIMAL's Website

NYTIMES Article: An iPod Watch Project Explodes Online

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Product: Nail Clipper

The graphics and name hold the concept and function of this product together as a whole.

A great gift for the season.

The Klhip Website

Typographer: Michael Bierut

Michael Bierut was featured prominently in the film Helvetica sharing his knowledge of graphic design history and adding context to the discussion.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Short Film on the Production of Linen (French)

I am really like the use of the documentary film format as a tool to inform and educate. Here is another example of story telling done really nicely. The appropriateness of the music and poetic quality of the french language enhances the qualify of the presentation.

BE LINEN MOVIE from Benoit MILLOT on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The FDA: Proposes the Redesign of Cigarette Packaging

The FDA is proposing the addition of very graphic images covering half of cigarette packaging to better inform and persuade users of the dangers of smoking.

Their are some that would argue that this move will have no image on those who smoke. I personally think the gross images covering 50% of the product packaging will eventually have an influence on how those using the product will view it. Specially for those who have long stopped seeing the written warnings that have been on the packaging for decades.

FDA Proposals

Design Writer: Ralph Caplin Audio Interview

One of the first books I read on design was Ralph Caplin's book - "By Design: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis XIV and Other Object Lessons".

Design Observer's audio interview with Ralph Caplin

Monday, October 18, 2010

Architecture: Living with Mies

Lafayette Park, an residential area near the downtown in Detroit Michigan is the home of a community of Mie's designed townhouses.

The audio tips from the owners and photos of their spaces reveals a diversity of styles fitted into within a common floor plan.

NYTimes Article: Living with Mies

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grading Car Designers

It is surprising to admit that auto designs coming out of GM are looking good of late. I guess after so many years of disappointing design decisions its that much harder to believe that they have gotten serious about building a products that can compete with the best of the foreign brands.

It is surprising to agree that auto designs coming out of GM are looking good of late. The sharp angled aesthetic that defines the Cadillac brand, or the attractive well portion musculer stance of the Camero or the pleasing though conservative appearance of the Volt, GM's electric car, is all pretty impressive.

Car & Driver Magazine Grades Car Designers

Article: GM Makes Big Stides in Reliability

Monday, October 11, 2010

Design Pioneer:Type Designer - Matthew Carter

I was first introduced to Mr. Carter's work in the documentary of the famous type HELVETICA.

In his words: “There aren’t a great many people around the world who do what I do…like any industrial designer, what I produce has to work. There is a sort of struggle within the straitjacket of conforming to the conventions of the alphabet and yet not letting yourself get too depressed by these constraints and learning to express some small part of yourself within them.”

Mr. Carter's Bio

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Desk: Considering the Personal Work Spaces of Creative People

I will need to reflect on what my office desk and my home office desk say about the way I work in each space. A quick analysis would note that my work desk is void of personality where in contrast my desk at home is surrounded by personally inspirational stuff.

Design Observer Article: Massimo Vignelli's Desk

From Imaginary Forces, a short documentary about the desks of creative people.

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Gap's New Logo

The retail giant's new logo seems to have missed leveraging any visual ques or reference to what the company is or what the word gap implies. The old logo's extended letters and defining blue box was distinctive in a way the new logo fails to capture.

I will say the new logo is clean and cute with its use a san sief type(type without the little extensions or feet) and the use of a lower case 'a' and 'p' communicates simple and basic, which does fit what I about the company. I'm not sure if the floating blue box really serves any purpose other than a slight reference to what existed before.
The Gap Scraps its New Logo

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Emily Pilloton: TED Speech/ IDSA Webinar

This talented, young, fresh face of design speaks on her views and projects.

IDSA Link to the Webinar

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fast Company Magazine: 2010 Masters of Design

Who are the up and coming design super stars? Fast Company each year considers who are those doing significant work in design and showcases them.

2010 MOD List

Walter Hood a landscape architect is speaking this weekend at the University of Michigan's, Future of Technology conference, so if you not able to attend the presentation will be posted online (see the early blog entry dated 9/16 on the conference).

Super WiFi and the Things to Come

The Federal Communications Commission has agreee to open new unused airwave for wireless broadband networks. The prediction is that this move will spur the development of new wireless device within the next twelve months.

This is an example of how government policy can be used to stimulate innovation and economic growth.

Huffington Post Article

FCC: Future of Media

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Design Philosopher: Leonard Koren

Leonard Koren, a trained architect who is better known for his writings which are reflections on the subtile things of life.

Leonard Koren Website

NYTimes Article

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

National Design Week Oct 9 - 17th - Cooper Hewitt

Over the past decade Design has become part of the national conversation. The Smithsonian institution brings with it a legitimizing authority that says Design has a value in American culture.

The organization's new leadership has demonstrated that it is in support of enhancing the nation's knowledge of design's history and place is American life through its programs.

National Design Awards 2010

Video: The Future of the Book by IDEO

The changes in the print industry is visualized in the video below showing even more convergence of media tools than is currently available, but around the corner.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Future of Design Conference Presentions 2009

The aspiration of most designers had been focused on big corporate high end projects, I've noticed a shift in the generation of young designers of who see opportunity in serving the low end, every day kinda problem opportunities.

Conference and Other Video Presentations

The Future of Technology Conference 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Video Interview: Marc Newson

In this new series Morning T by New York Times the subject of fashion as a design discipline is touched on. It sounds as though Marc does not see fashion designers as fitting within the same category with other design professionals.

Video Interview

Friday, September 10, 2010

Winner of 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe: Virginia Tech's Lumenhaus

The home of the future is here now, Virginia Techs winning entry into the Europes solar decathlon competition incorporate energy reducing technologies that are available to most home owners.

Lumenhaus Experience

NYTimes Article: This New House

Interactive/ Audio

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Washignton DC Redesigns its Website

One of the indicators of a well managed city is the ease of access to information provided to its residents. DC is demonstrating that it is serious about being a leader in its use of technology to make government more transparent and efficient.

Washington DC's Government Website

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Proposed New EPA Mileage Stickers

EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are updating this label to provide consumers with simple, straightforward energy and environmental comparisons across all vehicles types, including electric vehicles (EV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and conventional gasoline/diesel vehicles. The agencies are incorporating new information, such as ratings on fuel economy, greenhouse gas emissions, and other air pollutants, onto the label as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007.

EPA Website

Design History: David Rowland

The design of the 40/4 space saving stacking chair was an alternative to the often used folding chair.

David Lincoln Rowland (1924 - 2010) an Industrial Designer who studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1951 and later worked with Norman Bel Geddes, designer known for popularizing the 1930's streamline aesthetic.

NYTimes Article on David Rowland

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Social Design: What's in a Name?

I just came across another branch of design, the name social design is being used to describe design services applied to real "world" concerns.

Emily Pilloton
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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This seems to be a move toward relevance for the product design professionals whose care for the profession is leading them to look for ways to be useful and use their skills. Architectural professionals have and are facing the lack of opportunity to practice their craft as technology has shifted building design planning into the hand of construction management. Likewise, traditional product designers are refocusing on new opportunities to provide value by taking on real world task.

Essay by Ramsey Ford

Design Impact website

NY Times Article: Project H in North Carolina

Project H website

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Graphic Design: Analyzing Election Signage

Public radio, WAMU's Kavitha Cardoza spoke to Robb Springfield, former head of the Graphic Design department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He analyzed the signs of the DC mayoral race as an outsider, and has not been following the campaign.

Audio: Campaign Signs, What Do They Say About The Candidates?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Design Thinking: What Habits Do Designers Have that Allow Them ...

Warren Berger pens an article for Harvard Business Review that sums up his findings about the behaviors of successful designers.

Aricle: Four Phases of Design Thinking

The IDEO Approah:

2010 Winner of the James Dyson Award

This bike hub is said to transform any bike into a hybrid electric bike.

More information on the competition and the bike hub

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Interview with Architect Richard Cook

The role to the architect has been replaced to a large extent by construction enginners, the move to more energy efficient buildings provides architects a new opportunity to regain a leadership role in making building.

Images of the Bank of America

Ricard Cook, a partnter in the firm behind the largest buidling to recieve a platinium LEED(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)certification, the high rating possible.

The New Yorker's Interview with Richard Cook

Friday, August 06, 2010

What is Design?: Bill Moggridge Presentation

Bill Moggridge seems to be everywhere since being selected to head the Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. The truth is he has been an instrumental player at key turning points for profession for more than forty years.

Video Presentation: What is Design?

Audio Interview: Technology and Design

Monday, August 02, 2010

New Material: Sensitile

This light responsive product (a polymer with embedded fiber optics) will offer creative opportunities, bringing interest and beauty to a variety of interior applications.

Sensitile Website

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Design in Africa?

Noted Architect David Adjaye is leveraging his influence and is looking to Africa.

He has begun to document the richness of the continent's art and design.

Article: Drawing Inspiration from African Houses

Expo: GEO Graphics - Art Practices in Africa, Past and Present

Thursday, July 22, 2010

2010 Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards

It is nice to see the increased visibility of Design. See the first lady and the winners in the video below.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A Designer Reflects on the City of Detroit

The essay linked below considers the city in enlight of new technological paradigms.

"Borderland/Borderama" is excerpted from Distributed Urbanism: Cities After Google Earth, an anthology just published by Routledge.

This work explores the decentralized systems through which cities are increasingly organized.

"Distributed Urbanism highlights architectural practices that are emerging in response. Unlike early forms of urbanism, in which production, communication and governance entities were sited within a central business district, contemporary urbanism is shaped by distributed mechanisms such as information technologies, (i.e. Google Earth) cooperative economic models and environmental networks, many of which are physically remote from the cities they shape.

Distributed Urbanism presents a series of case studies highlighting the architectural implications of these remote design agencies on 21st-century cities. Edited by Gretchen Wilkins, Senior Lecturer at RMIT in Melbourne, it features work, both imagined and real, by leading architects and theorists worldwide, including projects in Rotterdam, Tokyo, Barcelona, Detroit, Hong Kong, Dubai, Beijing and Mumbai."

Borderland/Borderama Part 1

Borderland/Borderama Part 2

Borderland/Borderama Part 3

Thursday, July 01, 2010

India Redesigns it's Census Form

The U.S. is still in the process of counting its 300+ million inhabitants which is only a fourth of what India's census operation has to account for.

With a herculan task ahead it is good to see that the design of the form has been considered.

Article: India's Epic Head Count

DIY: Security Systems

Ok, the time has arrived were wireless technologies could allow apartment dwellers and homeowners alike a peace of mind that their domiciles are secure without the subscription fees required routinely by security firms like ADT and Brinks.

There are some products reaching the market that provide Do it yourself options for monitoring and securing your home.

NYTimes Article: Installing Your Own Home Security System

Simplisafe Website

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Design Classic: Togo Sofa by Michel Ducaroy

In 1973 French designer Michel Ducaroy introduced the first fully foam settee for the furniture manufacture Ligne Roset. I find this sofa shouts causal comfort with a bold and modern design sensibility.

The question ask myself would this low profile couch fit into my living room space?

Ligne Roset

Auto Design: Update of the Jeep CJ3B

Entrepreneur Jonathan Ward is rethinking some auto industry classics. First out of the garage is an updated version of the army jeep.

Icon's Website

NYTimes Article: The $80,000 Army Jeep

Q&A with Icon CEO

Friday, June 25, 2010

Product Design: New Versions of The Air Multiplier

James Dyson continues to lead in producing innovative updates to practical household products. It is rare that a single person is able to maintain control from concept to manufacture. Dyson develops and patents the technology, design's and manufactures the product leverages his brand to secure top line distribution.

Product Video and Consumer Reactions

AM02 Tower Fan

Monday, June 14, 2010

Toy Design: The Vuvuzela

The talk of the World Cup Soccer Games is not the colorful uniforms of the players but the plastic trumpet, known as the vuvuzela.

According to SouthAfricainfo, the vuvuzela may be a descendant of the kudu horn - "blown to summon African villagers to meetings." One of its modern day chief manufacturers/distributors, however, Boogieblast, has an entirely different story:

"The vuvuzela was introduced to South Africa as a toy for kids to blow, and hardly got off the ground. Selling the vuvuzela proved almost impossible, until the full potential was realized by the local soccer supporters.

The first prototype was from America and changed somewhat for more comfortable blowing and effectiveness. We have researched the history of the Vuvuzela, and follows a trail back to a women's Chinese basketball team, AMAZING...

The word, VUVUZELA, was first used by a few soccer supporters. There are many claims to what the word really means, but more generally it means to pump up one's performance in a truly South African manner."

A High Volume Business

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Getting a Product to Market?

After you have settled on a great idea what's next?

This is where so many aspiring designers have stop short of fully committing to their idea as a solution that others will purchase.

Article: Finding a Manufacture vs. Licensing the Design

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Product Review: Composting Made Simple?

Caring for the environment is growing, and products that support that goal should do well in the marketplace.

Composting is one way to reduce food waste, energy and enrich the earth (literally). NatureMill is betting that consumers are ready to add a new appliance to their kitchens - a composer.

Product Review Food Composer

NatureMill's Website

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Product Designer: Todd Bracher

As with most professions there are the rock stars and the rising stars, Todd Bracher falls into the latter category.

And as product designers go he is being anointed as the next great American designer. His intentional training balanced aesthetic does set him in a position to rock.

Todd's Studio Website

Friday, May 28, 2010

Conference: Designing Change/Changing Design

The Society of Environmental Graphic Design will hold there annual conference here in Washington DC June 2-5th.

If you ever wondered who designs store layouts, musuem exhibits, airport wayfinding signage that makes spaces navigable the members of this professional society are the ones.

SEGD Conference

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Graphic Design: Album Art What Does it Mean?

Certain album covers can serve as meaningful expressions of a time, or a performers point of view as well as a visual extension of the music inside.

These released images of Eminem's soon to be available CD seem to be communicating a point of view?

The cleaver use of type in the way the title is presented and the photos of Detroit, Eminem's home, chosen as a back drop for his solitary figure is loaded with potential meaning.

Article: Eminem Album Image...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fashion Design: Is Vensus Channeling Victoria Secrets?

The tennis star Venus Williams a student of design recently launched her own clothing line, Eleven. As her designs are put on display on court tongues have begun to wag.

I can say that I can appreciate the expression femininity she bring to her sport wear line. This is in contrast to the WNBA who simple have cooped the masculine jerseys and shorts which fail to flatter its players and in many ways promote a stereo type of female athletes.

More Photos

Graphic Design: For the Love of Type

One of the latent benefits of having computers in our mist is an increased exposure to type styles by the masses.

With exposure comes some knowledge of the variety of choices and for the others that have grown to love typography many opportunities to cringe at how type is used.

Article: Mistakes in Typography Grate the Purists

Type Explorations

Monday, May 24, 2010

Aircraft Design

New FAA rules have spured a growth in small personal aircraft according to a featured piece on the CBS Sunday Morning program that took a wide ranging look at design.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More Type Choices Coming to the Web

Several firms that own the rights to several popular type styles have decided to make the fonts available for the web. This means that more than the embedded fonts of your Apple or Microsoft operating system.

Article: The Changing Typography of the Web

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Design Exhibition: Why Design Now?

The Smithsonian's National Design Museum: Cooper-Hewitt has opened its National Design Triennial exhibition celebrating significant design for 2006 to 2009.

Exhibition Website

Custom Capert Designer: Malene B

This NYC based textile designer has a way of capturing cultural references and reinterpreting them into floor coverings.

Malene B"s Website