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I’ve posted my presentation that I prepared for Parson’s Design IV class. It’s quite similar to the talk that I did in Dallas for the AIGA in February though I shuffled the order up for a more appropriate context for the class. On Monday night James A. Reeves asked if I’d like to come in to his Wednesday class to talk about Design Notes and Agile Design. What is interesting today is that a lot of people that are now in school have grown up through Facebook and don’t even consider the potential of publishing online and how that communication can help them.
The first section is about publishing, why I do it, the type of content that I write about and the benefits of keeping an active mind. The second section which was somewhat titled differently from my previous talk was called Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. In that space I talked about a couple projects that I continued day after day for a lengthy period of time. By trying something day in and day out it has allowed my to experiment, edit and take the pressure of trying to be perfect. By taking a step back over time it’s helped my to see patterns emerge that I wouldn’t have seen and in turn allowed me to self analyze to improve. The last part of the talk was a high level idea about Agile Design and using my experience at the successful start up Daylife as my case study.
Through all my examples I hopped that they remembered to:
· Learn through experimentation
· Experiment with technology
· Repeat and edit
Afterwards we as a class talked about their projects that were using a bodega as a starting point to gather data and visualize information in a meaningful way. It was a fun conversation and I appreciated the chance that James gave me to share some of what I’ve been working at.
Piers and PSFK have been pretty good supporters of the blog and helpful to me, so when he asked if I’d mention PSFK Conference New York 2010 on Friday, April 09, 2010 I said sure. Below are all the speakers—I’ve seen and heard a couple of them before and can attest to their smarts.
While attending SenseMaker Dialogs for their second event I was quite impressed with Richard Saul Wurman, the first of the two speakers last night. The term speaker is probably not the correct term to describe him though. As I walked in fifteen minutes early he was already on stage having a conversation with the audience that was there. That conversation continued until he stopped just before 8pm. His fluid approach as a conversationalist as opposed to lecturing was quite refreshing.
I probably wouldn’t do justice to his talk by trying to relive the whole conversation in a post though a couple points and observations did stand out for me. He strongly suggested that listening is a skill to strengthen at all times and to hold of on writing stuff down. That’s a contrast for me because I’ve always thought it was best to write something down as I’m more likely going to remember it. In terms of concepts he talked about the interplay between familiar and strange and the inverse of strange and familiar. Recognizing those patterns often lead to insights that in turn be acted upon.
Here’s my 140 tweet review of Richard…
Following Richard’s talk there was a brief introduction of the SenseMaker Dialogs series and their speaker format of inviting two guests to present for forty five minutes each a couple times a year. While they have a Facebook page I hope they launch a normal site for SEO purposes. As far as I can imagine they have no way to check the analytics to see who’s visiting the site, who’s pointing to them or what’s being said outside of Facebook.
After that introduction Garry K. VanPatter talked about Humantific’s approach to design. I winced at seeing the concept of design mashed together with numbers like 3.0 or 4.0 because it felt forced. I think we’re passed the versioning thing. With that said there were a lot of points that I could consider as I continue to design. I’m just not a fan of someone on stage suggest that they’ve been at the forefront of a generalized concept of design for the last ten years and now everyone is ripping him off. The most fascinating part of his talk for me was the sketched design processes of a number of different types of people—students, to designers to business people. He could have easily just talked about that for the entire time and would have kept people interested.
Last Thursday I traveled from NYC to Dallas to Arlington to hang with the AIGA Dallas Fort Worth Chapter and present a talk I titled Unexpected Narratives and Creating the Right Conditions. Jimmy Ball and the the Chapter treated me extremely well and made the experience great for me. I’ve attached the deck and made note below of all the posts that were covered in the talk.
I’m excited to mention that I’ll be speaking February 4th, 2010 in Dallas with their AIGA chapter. I’ve titled the talk Unexpected Narratives and Creating the Right Conditions. I’m going to talk process stuff in terms of agile design, using a blog as a testing lab and tool for learning, why content is now the UI and how graphic design has and should evolve. All of those things have created a lot of stories that I think others will gain some value from.
You can get more information about the event on the AIGA Dallas website. I’m not sure where the event is going to be held yet but I will update that information once it becomes available. If you happen to be in Dallas February 4th please say hello.
It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that Michael Beirut’s talk at Creative Mornings was going to be so well received. While it’s hard to guess if each of Michael’s slides talking about clients was less than 140 characters on purpose or not, a quick scan through the interwebs shows what audience members on Twitter appreciated and a full break down from Soulellis Studio. Here’s a couple quick notes of my own that I took while he spoke.
A couple traits that great clients have are “Brains, Passion, Trust and Courage” and in return what designer’s owe good clients are “Loyalty, Honesty, Dedication and Tenacity”. There great things to file in the back a your mind as a mental checklist. If some of those things aren’t going to happen—just be prepared for the type of okay results that might happen. At this point most people probably know Michael’s work really well, but I thought how he tied it in the end through the context of his ten best clients was smart. The visuals really tied everything up about what he was talking about. I could be wrong but I also think a majority of the people he listed off were women. You could really tell through his body language that he was enjoying the early morning talk. After he finished and the applause started I saw him give a slight kick of the leg, sort of like when Emeril goes Bam! but in a more subtly sophisticated way.
Last week I received a tour from Alissia Melka-Teichroew whom is a friend and one the curators of Bits ‘n Pieces which was on display at Material ConneXion. At first glance it was pretty easy getting sucked in with all the cool looking things. But stepping back for a moment helped me understand the concept of the exhibition which was looking at how technology both digital and analog are intermixing. There’s a bold statement suggesting that the digital revolution is behind us, and “whether an object is digital or analog is no longer of importance, since digital technologies are now embedded in the way we think, work and play”. I’m not entirely sure that’s the case just yet—this confused NYT review seemed to have missed the point. For the time being I still think if a designer can merge both digital and analog technologies seamlessly it should be studied because it’s not as common as we might think. So in that respect this exhibition is quite fascinating to examine.
At this point in time I think we take the visualization on screen for granted. It doesn’t have as much emotional impact as it once did. There’s a million ways to show information and very few that can make an impact. Contrast the screen to what Mellitus by Doug Bucci does is fascinating. He has taken the data from a Continous Glucose Monitoring system that was monitoring his red blood cells while having Type 1 diabetes. Over time the first rings show from a stressful event, the second is a normal state while the third full ring is while on holiday. Being able to see that rendered in real life brings the internal into something very actionable. While everyone can’t be on permanent holiday, understanding what stressful situations are doing to people internally helps. Maybe we all should chill a bit more.
Most exhibitions have some sort of display explaining what the piece are about. However it’s a missed opportunity to open more information to viewer if they’re interested. For this show they realized that by using QR code to the info that it opened up the use of their website. When I scanned the info of the code from my iPhone it gave me a direct url to the actual product in the exhibition web site. Super simple but extremely helpful. This type of info display should be the norm. The catch is that few people still have a QR reader on their mobile device, yet I hope that could change due to helpful cases like this.
Two multiple pieces that showed the morphing and evolution of chairs was interesting. Jan Habraken & Willem Derks explored what a common chair cross–bred with a more well known design. They call it Chairgenics. In a different process Joris Laarman displayed the results of to strip the chair to essential pieces. These type of models help display what only a handful of years ago would be difficult due to cost and speed.
This exhibition is on view from November 4th to December 4th, 2009 though I’ve heard rumours that it might be extended. Until I can confirm that it’s best to visit before than. It’s being housed at Material ConneXion60 Madison Avenue, 2nd floor in NYC during normal weekday business hours.
As a fan of typography it wasn’t hard to love what was on the walls of the newly opened Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography. Last night I checked out the packed opening of Lubalin Now at the Cooper Union. It was a type fan’s dream of inspired works of Herb Lubalin. There was a healthy combination of work that I was familiar with and a few surprises. The only unfortunate thing was that there was no display information on the wall so at times I could only guess who was responsible for the work. Above are a couple pieces that really got my attention. I was introduced to the top image via a great video and post from Volumeone some time ago. While I don’t recall seeing the video at the show, it’s really worth watching. Another person with a good showing of work was Marian Bantjes. What I really liked about her work for with Saks Fifth Avenue’ Shoe Bootie is that even at an extreme angle that I shot at, the perspective was still intact. I’d be really curious to experiment more with angles and see how the type holds up.
Over the weekend I took a second trip to the Cooper Union to take a closer look at what I missed during the packed opening. What I didn’t notice the first time around was how much each work flowed into the pieces side by side. As I mentioned above I recognized some name while others I wasn’t familiar. One person’s work that I had seen before but wasn’t able to put a name or face to was Jessica Hische(for those that already know her, don’t role your eyes at me). It wasn’t until recently when I saw her speak at a Young Guns event that I actually found out who she was. Considering the amount of work she already has under he belt I’m really curious to see how she evolves in the next couple of years…
Monday–Thursdays 12–7 pm, Saturday 12–5 pm
Closed Fridays and Sundays
Closed November 26, 2009–November 29, 2009
The CW Network in-house department
Ariel Di Lisio
Justin Thomas Kay
Like Minded Studio
Strange Attractors Design
and Herb Lubalin
Bits ’N Pieces to debut at Material ConneXion®
November 4-December 4, 2009
Interactive exhibition to examine dialogue between the analog world and digital technologies transforming design in a post-digital era
Curated by Dutch and Belgian designers Claire Warnier and Dries Verbruggen of UNFOLD, Lucas Maassen, Jan Habraken and Alissia Melka-Teichroew (byAMT), the exhibition will feature work by an international group of designers, architects, computer scientists and material and technology researchers that anticipates the next phase of the digital revolution. Through objects such as furniture, architecture, jewelry, graphic design and products, by the creative minds of Steve Breman, Doug Bucci, Edhv, Willem Derks, Jan Habraken, Ilona Huvenaars, Joris Laarman, Thomas Lommée, Jennifer Leonard, MakerBot, Lucas Maassen, Alissia Melka-Teichroew (byAMT), Dries Verbruggen, THEVERYMANY, Alex Timmer, UNFOLD, Remon van den Eijnden, and Tyche van Eijndhoven, Bits ‘n Pieces will examine how design is both conceived and consumed in the post-digital age. Projects like Lucas Maassen and Dries Verbruggen’s Brain Wave Sofa, whose shape was entirely determined by recording Maassen’s neural activity while thinking of comfort, and MakerBot’s open source 3D printer, which enables individuals to turn out complicated 3D forms quickly and affordably, highlight not only what is possible in the realm of manufacturing and design, but also what is to come.
While in the past I’ve had my issues with the AIGA, I’m actually pretty excited to be heading down to Memphis for the Make/Think AIGA Design Conference. I tend to go to a lot of design talks so being part of something bigger for a couple days is quite appealing. Back in the day before I lived in NYC, there was Michael the designer in Canada who was part of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) and worked his way from student rep, to Chapter VP of Education, to Chapter President and for a brief period National VP of Communication. It was a ton of design volunteer work that I enjoyed because I got to meet, talk and work with a lot of smart people. It wasn’t all fun but I really looked forward to the GDC National AGM’s because I got to hang with people that had put in the same effort from across Canada. While it wasn’t a conference because an AGM is actually about meetings, they did have a conference feel in the evenings. The real fun was away from the board rooms and back in the hotel. There were many nights that I didn’t sleep at all—and we’d geek out on design talk. That type of stuff isn’t for everyone but it was something I looked forward to. Now I find myself a couple years later as a member of the AIGA heading down to hear a lot of talk, and hopefully see some cool stuff that will make me think.
The great equalizer for someone that likes to write about design talks is to put the said publisher on stage. While it will be brief I’m part of 20/20 which is 20 presentations in 20 minutes! I’ve done a thirty second design video talk so it was only natural that I’d move up to doing something for a minute. What I mean by a great equalizer is that while over the weekend I’m going to be hopefully questioning what I’m hearing, it’s only fair that people might look the same why at me. I’m lucky that what I’m a part of is a fun kick off to the conference so people probably are going to be a bit more forgiving. In any case I’ll have some of the experience of knowing what it’s like to feel before going on stage to share ideas. Hopefully that won’t make me soft when it comes to (dis)agreeing with ideas over the weekend.
As for the actual conference I’m hoping to hear more about designer’s working within the realities of technology and less about how print is going to come back even stronger after business starts picking up again. There looks like there’s enough different tracks that I shouldn’t be bored. And outside the conference walls I’ll hopefully meet up with some people I’ve never had the chance to say hello to. If you happen to be reading this and are going to Memphis—let me know. As for the concept of live blogging, I’m not sure if I’ll be doing that or not. I’ll be carrying my laptop with me, but I’ll also have my iPhone too. The more likely scenario is that I’ll tweet some of the more interesting sound bytes that I’ll build into a post later. But at this point it’s all tbd which is kind of cool.
Of all the well known graphic designer’s of a certain hype, I find a lot of them are living off their reputation more so than the work that’s out there. One of the few that I respect and have been a fan for quite a while and doesn’t fit that categorization for me is Paula Scher. Her book Make it Bigger is in my top five books a designer should read and I’ve always learned something worth remembering from the videos and interviews with her. She’s also one of the few designer’s that if I met I might be a bit nervous about. So when Josh Berta who is part of the Piscatello Design Centre which organizes FIT’s Visiting Artist Program mentioned to me that Paula was speaking, I marked it in my calendar. Now that I’ve heard her in person I would have been pretty disappointed if I had missed it.
The line was long to get in, and once the doors opened it was mayhem. I’ve actually never seen a mad rush like that for a design talk before. But it was all good, everyone in the audience seemed to be fans whether they were students or people like me. She broke her talk up into two parts, work before Pentagram and work at Pentagram. She started with a story of getting lost as a child trying to find her house because they all looked the same—if all the houses looked the same, were all the people inside the same too? It seemed like a good foundation to react against Modernist design that she’s talked about disliking.
But like any Libra, they’re always trying to stay in balance. I know this as I’m a Libra myself, but we the audience also found out last night that her birthday is today because a cake was brought out before her talk. For all the free = exercise = play, there’s her corporate identity work that balances the play. Prefacing the Citi work, she described identity design as being more than just placing the logo on the corner of an envelope. But as this audio clip that I recorded last night shows (you might need to turn the sound really up), there’s a lot of selling to get it up the chain. On the flip side there’s her giant map paintings. When she exhibited a series at Maya Stendhal Gallery last year, I visited twice, something that I don’t recall ever doing before for an art exhibition. Again here’s a brief audio clip of her explaining why she does the maps.
Another beef that I have with a lot of know it all designer’s is their attitude towards other people’s work. It’s as though by criticizing the work they’re somehow above it. Paula who’s work is replicated a lot talked not so much about that but the pragmatic nature of corporate design life. If the right people aren’t aren’t allowed to make the right choices, the design isn’t going to work. If you contrast that understanding to others that speak as though they know everything, her attitude was refreshing. She also briefly talked how each recession was brought on with technological advancements, and that this current situation is no different. That was both settling and unsettling for me.
But of all the quotes she spoke, my favourite had to be her talking about some of her environmental typography. “I actually had an A fall off a building. The top of the A is sharp. This stuff is really dangerous…”
Last night I visited JWT to hear PSKF’s latest Good Ideas Salon with Nokia researcher Jan Chipchase. Recently I’ve slowed down on the advertising and marketing talks because the speakers tend to be a bit flaky and more about their own ego. I’m happy to report that Jan’s talk wasn’t like that at all, and if I was a Design Chair for a University trying to encourage design undergrads to continue with school—they should bring in Jan to talk about his experiences. The presentation itself was an overview of a number of his adventures out in the field away from Nokia. While the images and stories he shared were interesting, to keep the audience engaged he was quite active in asking people questions about what they thought he was documenting.
While I wasn’t skeptical of his talk before it started I did hold some biases about being forward thinking research as a general concept. I live in a very closed world of the iPhone. While I don’t know what the worldwide penetration of the iPhone vs. Nokia as a whole is, I did wonder how mobile phones didn’t really evolve much until the iPhone came to market. Again that’s my bias and I’m guessing that fans of Nokia would say that they were ahead of the curve on a lot of the features, but if that’s the case why did the iPhone get all the press and shake things up? I know it’s a pretty weak argument on my part but it was something I was thinking about.
But as the talk progressed, the ideas were less about technology and features, and much more about observing behaviour. Typically he and a team will be out in the field for two weeks. He described how they often collect over 10,000 images and have procedures in place to sort and organize them. He stayed away from talking about methods and geared the conversation to what I think the audience was more interested in. Stuff like symbols that have multiple meanings. In China a woman sitting on a curb with a baby might suggest that she’s selling porn. That kind of stuff for an evening talk is probably more appropriate than methodologies of field work. Or maybe not…
One example that really stood out for me was when he showed a hacked sim card that could switch from one network to a different one. Something that closed loop systems kind of frown upon for obvious reasons. The card represented a way to undermine a business model. That got me to think about business strategies. If someone has taken the time and resources to create a system that busts a business model, why not study it, replicate it and turn that thinking into an advantage. Perhaps that what Nokia is doing and we just haven’t experienced it yet.
Another topic that was briefly touched upon was the digital divide between people who have the ability to track their personal data over a lifetime and those that do not. While I don’t think he had a definitive answer, he seemed optimistic that it wasn’t a bad thing for people to collect their own data. (Once the video of the talk goes live I’ll re-watch what he said to make sure I’m quoting things correctly.) Other things that got my attention was the idea of wearing in, not out—making stuff from nothing new, making stuff that’s interesting and relevant, and even the business culture of needing to be in the office after short periods of time away. Apparently being away for more than two weeks can cause you to be out of the loop.
In support of Tim Brown’s new book Change By Design, Bruce Nussbaum interviewed him at the New School to a full audience. While the diy mentality wasn’t explicitly mentioned, it seemed like a lot of what was being talked about was a natural evolution of that ideal. The other big issue in the room that was mentioned was the economy. Along with those discussion points I felt I was hearing a lot about the advancement of process and tools that allowed more people to be involved, and in terms of measuring value through profit—talking about other value metrics which makes sense considering where the economy is at this point. Though with all that said there was mention of how small design changes can save enormous amounts of money—one example that was briefly talked about was how one hospital reduced shift changes with nurses from 45 minutes to twelve minutes and the cost implications of that. Bottom line is that design can make things more efficient, hence savings in profit.
With out trying to replicating a play by play of the discussion, here are some of the points that stood out for me. Business people are great for analyzing ideas that are in front of them, but not necessarily good for new choices and options about what to create. As people reflect on their jobs a common question is “what do I do, where do I go?”. It’s a participatory culture we’re in. When people are involved, things are more likely to happen. Agile was briefly mentioned but speaks more to the idea that the days of the “Grand Project” where all change happens at once isn’t the best practice. Constant design tweaks that happen over time are more appropriate. Another theme that I hadn’t come across much of, but makes sense is “tinkering”. Back in the day when cars weren’t mini computers people could keep adding to their car. Customizing, working on it—etc, the concept of making got lost when vehicles became closed systems. Because of that there’s a generational gap that is making a comeback due to tools that allow people to customize their personal sites and online applications. Because of the economy there’s more opportunity and experience (or lack of, no one has it) to take on big issues that most people haven’t considered before. Again this falls into diy that people don’t have the resources so they have to take it on themselves. Where design practitioners can lead is through leadership and direction to co-participate.
As things have changed from industrialization through consumption to info and value based knowledge through interaction changes, there’s other ways of measuring value. It’s hard to disagree with the assessment though if there was any weakness in the discussion it was that there wasn’t any follow up questions about this. How are these things actually measured aside from same yardsticks of efficiency?
In the last presidential election the theme was hope. For this talk it was about being positive. It’s not a new idea, being a designer is an optimistic pursuit. If you’re not positive about it, how can you help people? There was talk of personal experience where Tim was listening to scientists talk about how people had to give things up which leaned more on the negative side. Turn that around to be about choices and options and things suddenly become more positive.
There was a smart question in the Q & A afterwards about what skills a designer needs these days if everyone else is participating in design. Tim’s reply: 1. being able to observe and understand, 2. connect strategies, 3. be a visual thinker, and 4. have the ability to prototype and evaluate. Those seem to be skills most people are striving for these days.
The above image captured some of the more memorable quotes that I heard last night at the successful AIGA NY MEMBERS SERIES: MY DOG AND PONY II. Each of the invited presenters ran through a project as though it’s been presented for the first time to a client. Just like the previous event held last April (review here), I think these types of events are incredibly valuable. They help grow the profession through best practices in a somewhat real environment. If there’s a catch, I don’t think a local design group should hold them more than two or three times a year. If they’re done too many times they loose a bit of steam.
Trends and ideas news site PSFK hosts a Good Ideas Salon on October 1st with special guest Jan Chipchase. Good Ideas Salons are designed to bring likeminds together to share ideas and positivity around inspirational subjects.
Jan Chipchase conducts design research for Nokia, bringing insights and experiences from the real world to inform & inspire the design process, and guide corporate strategy. His research has taken him across the globe, providing a unique perspective on how ideas and technologies travel. He currently works out of Los Angeles but spent the last eight years as Principal Scientist in Nokia’s Tokyo research laboratory.
According to the New York Times, “His mission, broadly defined, is to peer into the lives of other people, accumulating as much knowledge as possible about human behavior so that he can feed helpful bits of information back to the company..”
Chipchase will present his thoughts on ‘Pattern Recognition’ at the salon followed by a Q&A with the audience.
6.30pm – Doors open
7pm – Talk starts
8pm – Q&A
8.30pm – Mixer
9.30 – Close
Last Friday I attended the CreativeMornings talk with Allegra Burnette, Creative Director of Digital Media at MoMA. After entering MoMA where the talk was being held I was greeted at the door, not by security but by a welcoming person that politely asked for my name to sign off the list. After giving me a pass she shook my hand and thanked me for coming. I’ve been to a lot of design talks and I’ve never had quite the welcome like that before, so I did the polite Canadian thing to do which was to thank her back and ask her how she was connected to MoMA. She didn’t really come across as a security person so I had to ask. She was happy to reply that she was Allegra Burnette and that she was the one giving the talk. To be honest I was really impressed that she took it upon herself to essentially meet every person coming to her talk ahead of time. It’s something that I’ve never seen before but will stay with me for quite some time.
Tonight I slipped out of work for a bit and walked across the street to meet up with AMT and Jan. We were heading over to IDEO to see the launch of the book I Miss My Pencil, by Martin Bone and Kara Johnson. While I can’t really review the book in any depth because I only thumbed through it, I did get to experience a number of the objects in the book. Martin Bone was nice enough to walk me through a couple of the themes and objects that were on display in their office. The booked was based on three sections: Aisthetika, Punk Manufacturing, and Love+Fetish. While I don’t want to directly quote him, I think he described it as ideas that feel into senses, materials and emotions.
My favourite object wasn’t an actual piece but a mold for an object. It was the casing for a cork wine bottle. It looked like a bottle in cased in a block of ice. I’d be happy to put it on my desk and stare at it for a while. The other concept design that I thought was memorable had to do with music. It was a vinyl player that from the top looked like a square record. To play music a RFID card would be thrown onto the player to indict the song. As more cards are tossed on to the player, they would be played sequentially.
Last night I made my way to White Rabbit one last time to hear the Dot Dot Dot SVA MFA in Interaction Design talk: The Service Designers. In the preamble we learned that the series will pick up in the fall every Wednesday evening at SVA. As a way to build community around a new program and share knowledge I really enjoyed the entire series—I think I missed one talk, maybe two over the course of its start last winter. Comparing all the talks, I think the Service Designers group was probably the most informative of all the Dot Dot Dot’s in my opinion. They all had a lot of points to consider as a designer and I would recommend any of them as speakers for events to anyone that is looking for people on the brainier side of things.
Chenda Fruchter, Assistant Commissioner, Director of Content & Agency Relations, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication, New York City
It probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise that with a title the length that Chenda has it would take some time to explain what she does. She talked a bit about NYC 311 as a whole and briefly about the newly launched www.nyc.gov/apps/311. Unfortunately the ten minutes went by really quickly so there wasn’t a lot of time to go in depth. Hopefully as the new 311 site get’s used, more information about it’s design and evolution will be published.
Jun Lee, Partner, ReD Associates, New York
On one level the talk was fascinating to hear about the role of play in children’s lives, and in theory even more so when combined with doing work with Lego as a case study. However I suspect there was an NDA signed with Lego. None of the implementation nor suggestions of what Lego should do came out except some generic points that could have been associated with a lot of toy brands that are in competition with video games.
Jennifer Bove, Principal, Kicker Studio
This presentation played well to the time limit of ten minutes. I hope that Jennifer’s slides become available online because this morning I can’t remember all of the five points she mentioned—but for what it’s worth I thought they all seemed pretty sound. The only thing that struck me as a bit strange was the questions afterwards. I couldn’t tell if it was staged or not. Something about the question of designing for failure seemed a bit expected, though on the role of iteration I didn’t think she gave a strong answer…
Sylvia Harris, Information Design Strategist
I always have a fear of hearing a speaker that I’ve already heard before. Are they going to talk about the same thing as the last time or something completely new? Thankfully her talk about her fixing the experience of the Hospital that she’s been to with her child was new to me and worth the listen. The questions afterwards were really good about how the project actually came to be as it wasn’t explained by Sylvia in the beginning.
Three of the four talks were streamed live at the time of the event at www.theuxworkshop.tv/the-service-designers. It looks like that url will also host the archived presentations which I would highly recommend watching once they go live.
I’m really happy to mention that my Agile Design talk at Creative Mornings can now be seen on Vimeo at http://www.vimeo.com/4831538. The entire video is about half an hour with the Q & A—I guess I went over my ten minute slot, ha. I just want to thank Tina and the entire Creative Mornings team for giving me the opportunity to talk, setting up the event and producing a great video that ties my talk together. I also wanted to thank James A. Reeves who was hanging out in Finland and was the virtual skype guest, and Core Industries for sponsoring the talk.
And please let me know what you thought of the talk. I’m kind of curious to hear from designers who are working in a more traditional framework of waterfall. Does agile seem like a good idea or something that should be left to engineers? And to save some time, here’s the links from the last slide…
The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It by Joshua Cooper Ramo
Instead of just talking about ICFF this year, I thought I should actually go to the Javits Center and see everything for myself. Thanks to my friends at Metropolis Magazine they passed me on a pass. Before I started walking around I made a couple guidelines. I didn’t want to be there for more than an hour, I was only going to walk through the aisles and when I got home I’d check the listings of the sites to see what I actually remembered seeing and liking. Sure that’s kind of a strange process but for me to be objective I really felt that the designs had to stand out for themselves. By going through so much stuff the best natural filter for me would be trying to remember afterwards what I thought was worth talking about. Below are the things that I remembered and thought were worth taking a second look at. Did I miss anything?
A lot of the booths were kind of predictable. Some people had a decent budget while others didn’t. Personally I think an overwhelming budget for a booth is a bit strange to me. Pretty much the only stand out for me was from Kikkerland. I’ve seen can’s used to create stuff before but this was a nice evolution. Great use of an iconic brand, the booth had a lot of life and at the end of the show nothing will be wasted.
I’m not familiar with Deadgood, but I was immediately struck by their great use of typography and memorable name. It again stood out for me because they were unique and had some life to what they were showing.
I like things that can scale modularly while not looking just like a box. It seems to me like this thing can grow in all sorts of unimaginable ways.
Another idea with lots of potential. It’s pretty cool to see what a thin piece of glass and light can do.
I thought the shapes and colours were interesting. Another really cool starting point to do some interesting stuff with.
I though Areaware had a great roster of products that I’d want to buy.
Nice to be able to see these in person, didn’t actually get to hear them. I hope they sound as good as they look.
Any time there’s something designed to control fire it’s going to score highly with me. These mini fireplaces are things I’d want in my apt.
It’s kind of surprising that I think this was the only site that actually showed where they’re located. I saw a ton of tweets about how I should visit booth numberwhatever, but I literally had no context for numbers, and I don’t recall seeing any numbers listed anywhere on booths.
This was possibly one of the worst logos I came across for ICFF. However the energy that all the designers brought to their sections of their design booths was cool. I noticed that there were a lot of people hanging out in this area.
Bouncing around Greene St last night in Soho I took in a couple openings that were close in proximity. Droog was by far the best suited for holding an evening event of the three with their large bottom floor available to pack in a lot of people. Up until yesterday I hadn’t actually been inside droog so I took the opportunity to take some pics of stuff that grabbed my attention. One of my fav. things was the Lucky Cat table. Just like a pinball machine you shoot a metal ball. Sounds are made once the glass kittens are hit. I did notice that the ball didn’t randomize as much as one would expect though. Moss’ party was again full and while it seemed like a cool place there was literally no space to walk around nor real opportunity to look at anything. Ya it’s a party but it still would have been nice to have a glass of wine, shoot some pics, have a convo and move on. Last of the three on my list was Cite. I’d already been to a preview that I thought quite highly of already so I wasn’t really expecting much more. Unfortunately I got there about twenty minutes before eight and they had stopped serving drinks which was too bad. But on the bright side I saw a couple other objects that hadn’t arrived the day before.
Walking around taking in the work I def. was asking myself about the object as design or art question. Part of the issue is the scalability of it—simple production methods that could be replicated quite easily versus those one of a kind things that aren’t really easy to produce en masse. What’s better? I think that’s an open question that is replied with “it depends on the context”. So while I don’t have a definitive answer I was happy to see a bunch of stuff that I hope I don’t see in Target anytime soon.
If you’re a fan of design it’s really hard not to luv the Dutch. This morning I got to walk around and view a lot of design pieces that until know I’ve only seen as jpgs at 400 Years Later—CITE Goes Dutch. As much as online is the future it will be impossible to replicate the experience of seeing objects in person. To me it was nice to finally see some of this stuff in person, though for a media preview I’m not sure why they had to in case anything. Aside from that hmm there were a couple stand out’s for me that I was wanting to buy on the spot. The first was a natural glass blown water filter called Primal Water desinged by Anouk Omlo. It was the first thing that curator Alissia Melka-Teichroew talked about. It was a smart start as the sound of the water descending through the talk echoed the parallel to the water visuals dripping off the walls and floor it represented.
There’s only so much one can take in during ICFF this week. I’ll probably float around the Javits over the weekend but as a start I’m not going to be so sad if I don’t see every single design show as I got a pretty good blast today.
This morning Tina and the CreativeMornings team gave me the opportunity to talk about agile design. I really liked the vibe in the room which made it pretty easy for me to talk about a design process that is going to be used more often in non traditional areas of design. To make things easier, here’s the links from my resources slide. For those that came out—thanks so much for taking some time out of your day.
The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It by Joshua Cooper Ramo
Last night I was the guest of friend’s Alissia Melka-Teichroew and Jan Habraken for the Diesel’s “Only The Brave” New York Launch. Alissia had her Acrylic Medal of Honor as part of the show. The one piece that I think everyone was taking note of was a full wall detailed image that makes me tired just thinking about. While I don’t know much about the artist (or his name), I did find out he drew all the 8.5” x 11” sketches on the subway.
The Keystone Design Union X Diesel Presents:
Diesel’s “Only The Brave” New York Launch – Thursday April 30th starting at 8pm, Private Launch party.
201 Mulberry St (between Spring + Kenmare)
New York, NY 10012
I’m excited to announce that next Friday (May 8th, 2009) I’ll be presenting at CreativeMornings. I’ll be talking about a design process that’s known in software development but is starting to emerge in a lot of other areas of design called agile design. It’s a process that we at Daylife try to work in, and something that is constantly on my mind as I update DesignNotes. As a concept it’s still new and there isn’t just one way of doing it—personally I see it more as a philosophy then a step process of different stages. Coming from a design and agency background, and then jumping into a start up, I don’t know if I could not at least try to bring some of agile back into those other design worlds if I moved back there. The question that I wonder that I’m hoping can be discussed during the conversation is it possible for something to be only designed 51% of the way, give it life in the outside world, observe how people are reacting to the design, and iterate the hell out of it as time moves forward. Typically a project goes live, people forget about it and move on. The way communication works these days I don’t think that’s a smart way to adjusting to too many unknowns. The other catch with agile design is it sometimes feels like you’re designing in a slightly uncomfortable state—what you’re putting out on first attempt isn’t perfect which in itself is a hard concept for designer’s to consider.
So if you’re in NYC next Friday and find that topic interesting please r.s.v.p. via email soon as they tend to sell out. It starts at 8:30 and will be held at 444 Broadway. And if there’s anything that you think I should cover about agile, or even about DesignNotes, please let me know before the talk.
Last night I headed off the island to see AIGA NY’s Stories From The Front: My Dog and Pony. The event was billed as as a showcase of five designer’s presenting their work as though the audience was being pitched the project. What was great about such a design event was that everyone got to learn a bit more about how an assortment of creatives tackle a project, some of their process, their presentation style and personal schtick. I’ve never been to such a design event and if there were others I def. would want to attend. The venue on paper probably seemed like a good idea, but as it got packed there wasn’t much wiggle room for everyone. If a viewer wasn’t sitting at a table it was a bit painful. But as a concept I found this type of design event to be much more realistic when compared to how I’ve read about designer’s and their process for presentation. On paper it’s easy to say what you want, but when you’re in front of a live audience of peers, the action of their presentation speaks volumes which I appreciated them for sharing.
The Line UP: Michael Gericke of Pentagram: Arizona Cardinals Stadium
· I thought how he broke up the colour elements of the Cardnals logo into a percentages was a smart way to decide how much of each colour should be used.
Karin Fong of Imaginary Forces: The Pink Panther 2
· She showed how to deal with a client interjecting on the spot and incorporating “feedback” on the fly.
James Spindler of Radical Media: 19 20 21
· While I probably wouldn’t recommend a lot of young designers trying what James did, he showed how ignoring a bad logo was a really good idea. By the end of his talk there was no way the client was going to go back to the old one. Design work wise, this was my fav.
Jill Nussbaum of R/GA: Nike: The Human Race
· Very steady presentation, curious to see how she would have dealt with a question and answer period.
Drew Hodges of SpotCo: West Side Story
·Interesting board room strategy where all the work is covered backwards by magnets. By the end of it he described how magnets are always flying around which was an interesting visualization.
Last night I headed over to Le Poisson Rouge to see Pecha Kucha NY #6. This was my third PKNY event that I’ve been to and it was by far the best of the three. The thing with all these events is the venue is always in a different location and is more akin to a gig then a ppt presentation. The people on stage are performing as opposed to just presenting. Below are a couple initial reactions to each that were front and center.
I should also note that the opening group from the Sam Barsh Band was pretty good too.
Daniel PerlinListens Closely
As he was sound artist I kind of had hoped that to hear some of his pieces, but what he left me with was an interest in checking out his website to actually hear some of his things.
Eric SandersonMaps Mannahatta
This was my favourite performance by far. I’ve been getting more and more skeptical of the data/info craze though by seeing his work and questions I have a better bar to judge from. What he’s doing with data and projecting it on Manhattan and surrounding area is quite amazing. I would be very interested to hear him give a longer talk between 45 minutes to 3 hours at some point.
Allegra BurnetteRedesigns MoMA.org
I thought this talk started off a bit slow—it did seem like a ppt presentation. But by the end I was quite taken back by the depth of the new site. I think she could have focused less time of the nav and more on some of the social aspects of the site, especially the flickr stuff as it’s quite unique that they have opened up their space for public photos.
Tina Roth EisenbergBlogs to Inspire
What can I say, she’s a friend so anything I say about how good it was will be somewhat biased. However as a more condensed version of her AIGA NY talk I saw a month ago she seems a natural on stage as her first talk.
Jonathan HarrisGoes Whale Hunting
I’ve seen Jonathan talk a couple times now and I’m always impressed that each talk has been unique. I also thought that people should take note of the fact that he never talked about the online work that went with the Whale Hunting project that he did for this even. His ability to describe the same thing in a couple different ways is something we should all try to be able to do.
Dr. Jay ParkinsonFixes Healthcare
While I think his idea is a bit controversial, I think it’s completely brilliant. I also think people tend to slough off online stuff like that as easy which is anything but.
Dickson DespommierFarms Vertically
I thought it was interesting to see all the different ideas for farming but was left wondering if he should have talked about energy consumption that would be needed for some of these projects.
Glen CummingsOn NYHC-X
Speaking as a graphic designer his presentation was in my top three for things I learned. I really enjoyed seeing the breakdown and historical context for the X mark in NY. Will be on the lookout to see him speak again at greater length in the not so distant future I hope.
Eviana HartmanTakes Apart Her Clothes
I’d say her talk is still a work in progress. Curious to see how her business evolves over the next year.
Dan FogelsonSells 122lbs. of Aluminum
This one started off a bit slow but captured people’s attention pretty quickly when he started talking about Philip Starck’s Hudson Chair. What was pretty crazy was seeing the collaboration between him and his team with the sketches that Frank Gehry provided for the designs of a couple chairs and benches.
Deborah FisherSows Seed Bombs
This might surprise people that were there last night, but this was the other talk that I’d include in my top three. While it wasn’t great that she read from sheets, I really admired what she was trying to do and some of her metrics for success were quite smart. I’m looking forward to seeing the results this summer.
Paul D. MillerSamples Ice
It was interesting to see him combine a couple different arts for exploration between music and graphic design. Again sound would have helped this performance, guess I’ll have to check out his results on his site…
A couple nights ago I went to hear Shepard Fairey, Lawrence Lessig and Steven Johnson speak at Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. I had pretty high hopes for the event that couldn’t possibly delivered on. Lessig spoke for about 30 minutes to put the case against AP in context. You can see the slides and hear it http://blip.tv/file/1821209. There’s a decent synopsis of the entire talk at PSFK. I’ve pulled some of the notable quotes from Fairey above. What disappointed me was that in one sense I’ve heard most of what Fairey has said before. Possibly because I’ve heard a lot of his interviews already and due to the nature of what he can say due to the lawsuit. I’m glad I went to see the talk in person, but I would have preferred to have had at least one person from an opposing pov there to cause a real debate.
Last Thursday we at Daylife presented Jeff Jarvis talking about his new book What Would Google Do? We got a bigger response than we expected so we’re holding one more event this Thursday February 12, 2009. You can get more info about the event on Facebook.
I’ve listened to about 3/4 of the audio book and recommend it if you enjoyed books like Here Comes Everybody, Everything is Miscellaneous, or even older books like the Cluetrain Manifesto. In some respects I think the book title WWGD is kind of misleading – while the book is about Google it’s more about the “interwebs” today and the open culture of tech and how industry should follow opportunities that were not available before Google. What was cool about our last event aside from the free beer was that the event was relaxed enough that there was a good discussion between the audience and Jeff. And there was of course all the familiar faces too. Hopefully I’ll see you there.
(Left Image: North View) (Right Image: South View)
Last night (Wednesday Jan. 14th, 2009) I took in the third in a series of SVA MFA Interaction Design Lecture’s. The previous two lectures that I took in at White Rabbit were pretty good. I can’t say enough how much I like the idea of the series (though not the name DOT, DOT, DOT – isn’t there already a magazine called that?), not just for the people that are presenting but having SVA’s newest program getting a lot of those in the industry together in a low pressure setting to hang and talk. I’m not going to review the four the people that talked last night but instead mention a couple more conscious and unconscious things I noticed during the four presentations.
For the second talk I was a bit late in coming so I was stuck to the back of the talk. Unfortunately the sound was only coming from the front and there were a lot of people in front of me so it wasn’t the most engaging experience. It was my fault that I was late so I had no one to blame but myself. One of the simple yet smart things that the lecture series has done is send out an e-survey afterwards. For that survey I made a simple comment that those at the back couldn’t hear. So, I was really happy to see that they put a second screen in the back of the room with extra speakers. By doing that they really made the room a much better venue for everyone that was there to hear and see the talks.
I sketched out a quick map from memory that’s def. not to scale but it illustrates where I was in respect to everything going on. The images sort of help show my viewpoint though the image on the left looks worse then what I was actually able to see. What was interesting though, for the first of the four presenters more people were interested in looking in the direction of the speaker with less viewable space of both the screen and the speaker while they would have had an easier time looking to the back (north direction) screen. I’m still trying to decide whether that was a conscious or unconscious thing people were doing. For the subsequent speakers more people drifted their view position to the better viewpoint (north). Either way I thought it was a good fix and fascinating to observe that people at first still felt the need to look in the direction of the actual person talking even if their view wasn’t optimal.
I thought I would pass on this info just in case you haven’t seen this event via me or anyone else that works at Daylife in Facebook. I’m kind of curious to see how we’re going to fit everyone in as it is – but it should be interesting to hear. Hearing Clay Shirky talk about his book Here Comes Everybody before it was released last year was fascinating, I’m sure this will be the same. All the info is below and if you’re interested in attending please rsvp via Facebook.
Date: Thursday, February 5, 2009
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Nightlife @ Daylife returns with its first event of 2009! Cocktails and conversation. Jeff Jarvis will discuss his new book, “What Would Google Do?” which the USA Today calls “eye-opening, though-provoking, and enlightening.”
Past speakers have include Nic Fulton of Reuters, Clay Shirky presenting his book “Here Comes Everybody”, and Haider Hamoudi and the launch of his book, “Howling in Mesopotamia.”
All are welcome. Drinks start at 6:30, talk at 7pm. Hanging out till 8:30 or ?.
Wanting to take a look back so I can figure out how to proceed with 2009, I grabbed a bunch of notable posts that I thought were worth spending a bit more time with. Below each image I’ve made a note now that I’ve had some time away from each of the original posts. Here’s to the new year and thanks for visiting, and linking and commenting and…
This seemed like a great idea at the time, trade my shuffle with someone else and hear some new music. I ended up trading but due to my own business it took way too long to trade back with her. I learned my lesson – anyone else want to try trading?
I wanted to combine some of my photography with a listing of location. Another idea with good intentions, problem was it took a lot of time to map it out and I had no way of exporting the data offline if I wanted to. So after a while I stopped posting to that map.
This was before things really took off with Obama, I had seen the Hope graphic floating around the web but this was the first image I saw of it actually on the streets. A while after that post someone mailed me a couple of the posters. That was a very good day.
There was an interesting discussion after I posted this – unfortunately when I installed Disqus after the fact that comment stayed in the old database of comments. In effect the person was objecting to the commercialization of the idea of the Ghost Bike. At the time I was pretty much on the opposite side thinking that a company shouldn’t have to worry about worry such things. As I’ve walked a lot through the city and seen those white bikes out there, that person may have been correct with their objections.
This project is still going on for a couple weeks, but the number of people that saw it and contacted me after this post was quite amazing. Not sure where this project will end up but up until now it’s been interesting to watch it grow.
There was three events that were sort of art, sort of design that I really enjoyed seeing. One was MoMA’s Design and Elastic Mind Exhibition, Murakami at the Brooklyn Museum and Buckminster Fuller at the Whitney. I would have luved to have blogged more about the last two exhibitions but since they don’t allow photography inside I’ll just mention that it’s a stupid policy that will hurt them more than what it will help. Banksy’s installations would be up there too in really good things to have seen now that I think about it.
Just like the Frietag instruction booklet I mentioned above, Camper’s shoes are a product that other designers should want to strive for. They are perfect for the weather of NYC and never wear out. There’s only two brands of shoes that I buy, Camper and Giraudon.
There’s a lot of really smart stuff in this book. In my top 3 of things to read, and more interestingly I don’t think this book will date itself as much as some of the others along the same genre that came out this year.
For all the chatter of sites that tagged brands, I think Dear Adobe changed the game more so than any other UGC site. If I was wanting to study site concepts for company’s, this is where I would start. And no, Adobe didn’t design the site.
“I was seeking the thrill of learning something new” and so the ten minute talk (it was actually 23 minutes, but who’s counting) started with Zach Klein and Casey Pugh presenting at Creative Mornings which was held in MEET. In the short time that they had, they talked about the basics of physical computing to a bunch of people that probably hadn’t made a circuit before. Within the context of expanding what web 2.0 is/was, there was an explanation of how physical computing will make that information useful while taking it offline
Probably my fav. quote was in reference to a simple resistor – “for a LED, you don’t want to send too much electricity to it because it will explode. hehehe”. All the info that Klein and Pugh mentioned can be found at www.10minchat.com. Among other things that the audience learned was that the Arduino is either named after a bar or an Italian word for masculinity by some geeks with an insecurity complex.
What I appreciated about the talk was that they laid out a couple simple principals and then showed examples that got progressively more complex. While doing that they included a couple of reference books that anyone could pick up and replicate on their own time. If there had been more time I would have been interested in hearing about their thought process on actually creating something. Did they already know what they wanted to build before they started or was it like playing with lego – did they come up with an idea as they were working on connecting the LED’s? Aside from that I was just happy to meet up with some familiar faces and meet a couple new ones.