Publisher’s Note: Anyone that’s visited this blog knows that I try to mention Nooka as much as possible without over killing it. They’ll also note that there’s an ad from Nooka on the right rail—they’ve been a great supporter of this blog. I’ve also worked with them on the redesign of their website that I mentioned in this post. With all that said this post like everything else I mention form Nooka is from the point of view of a fan and not as someone that just got paid with a briefcase of cash.
When I first saw a prototype of the Zayu it was an instant favorite. It had similar face to a couple of the other Nooka’s that I owned but had evolved it enough to be something new. The worst thing a designer can do is show another designer something really cool, and than mention that the cool thing won’t be available for months. So for the last six weeks I’ve been emailing weekly to find out when the Zayu would be finally out. It came in this week so here’s the pics I took above and below is an interview that I had with Matthew of Nooka while he was still in Japan for Tokyo Design Week.
MICHAEL SURTEES: Can you talk about how the Zub Zayu came to be. To me it looks like an evolution of the Zot, Zen and outer shape of the Zirc together.
MATTHEW WALDMAN: The zirc is my favorite design we’ve released in terms of form. It sits on the wrist almost weightless as the weight is transferred to the wrist bone when worn correctly. It also allows the watch face to be worn over a sleeve. Unfortunately we as a brand need to get better at telling these kinds of stories as well, and I think this was lost when we launched the zirc. Wanting to tell this story to a broader audience (i.e. More democratic price point) was my main motivation that led to the design of the zayu. To be honest, as a designer, I am never 100% satisfied with my own work and combing the appeal of the zubs with the things I like with our higher end models is definitely an evolution.
MS: One of the other features mentioned in the press release is a new battery power saving mode. I remember you mentioning during Design Week talk with Joey Roth that batteries are what’s constraining the features that a watch can do. Has the new battery technology influenced the design of the Zayu?
MW: Unfortunately it’s the old technology that forces us to innovate in this way. Necessity is the mother of invention right?
MS: A couple practical words that I’m picking up a lot in the press release and from other blogs is time capsule, ambidextrous, and asymmetrical. That’s a bit of a shift from the futuristic philosophy that I’m used to hearing. Has Nooka’s philosophy shifted much from the last year?
MW: Who says the future is not practical? It’s all rooted in futurism. The Zayu is a universal communicator of both time and cool—what can be more Nooka?
MS: Speaking of the future, are there any materials that you’d like to use yet haven’t been able to because of cost or are hard to manufacture?
MW: Tons! low power ELs, kenetic electric batteries, flat integrated LCD and OELD, self-cleaning surface coatings, bio plastics… The problem is that being a small company, we can never afford the license fees and minimum order quantities. I’ve reached out to the 3Ms and Duponts of the world, go to the industrial trade shows and we are active with the material connexion here in NYC, so making the effort is not the issue. Perhaps some high level people reading your blog will see this and reach out to do some cool collabs?
MS: One of the strongest brand attributes that Nooka has in my opinion is how fans share what they love about the company on Twitter and Facebook and how you and others at Nooka seem to respond to almost everyone online. How do you all keep up ?
MW: Convergence! I have Twitter and facebook on my iPhone so there’s no excuse not to check in. When I’m traveling I ping people in the Nooka lab to pick up the slack. Of course, it’s a bit of an addiction as I love attention, however virtual it may be.
MS: This time next year what can fans of Nooka expect to see that’s being thought about right now?
MW: I hope apparel, new strips (belts), new sunglasses, more watches and expanded fragrance offerings.
MS: Any plans for any more pop up shops in NYC or are you focused more selling online at Nooka.com?
MW: BOTH! Thanks to you and Yumi Asai, nooka.com looks HOT and i’d love to see more purchases there. We are planning more pop-ups as well as they are doing well in Japan for us. I’ll keep you posted.
MS: What’s the most misunderstood thing about Nooka?
MW: That our product is a really the philosophy of universal communication and not the physical objects themselves. Also, people think we are a larger company than the 8 people start-up we are which actually can get in the way of some things. Of course, it’s not a bad problem to have I’m always told.
I noticed something strange a couple days after I changed the time on my watches back an hour. Working away on my laptop I’d glance up to my microwave time which I hadn’t been bothered to change. A couple days passed, I’d glance up and continue to work. It hit me—I realized that by having one clock an hour ahead I was getting a lot of more work done and leaving for work on time. There’s probably reasons why my work flow is better like being more focused however I think there’s something helpful to being able to see slightly into the future, even if it’s just on the surface level. If you’re game I’d set one clock an hour ahead and keep track to see if you notice any different work habits.]]>
Sure, people sometimes call Twitter the lazy web, but I also call it the helpful web. Case in point, Nooka is a supporter of DesignNotes and has an ad on my left rail. I’m also a big fan of the brand and its design—it would be hard not to. But when I wanted to post about the new Nooka Zem Zenv Mr S I wasn’t sure how people would react reading this post and seeing the ad on the rail. So I asked… The general consensus of friends that I trust said it’s fine as long as I’m upfront about the support. So yes Nooka is advertising on DesignNotes, and no they did not ask or influence how I wrote this post. Hopefully that keeps things transparent.
If you’re familiar with DesignNotes I do post a lot about Nooka and shoot a lot of pics too. What I really like at the base level of Nooka’s time pieces is that they’ve chosen to visualize the measurement of time in an original way (that has many people emulating now), that is actually very intuitive. Typically units in the bars are represented geometrically with squares showing hours and minutes. At a glance it’s easy for me to know how much time is left in an hour much like a second hand of a normal watch works.
However that’s not really what I want to talk about today. A couple months ago when Matthew invited me to the Nooka studio showing some unreleased Nooka things, I was really interested in how his new line of gem like cuts transferred from his time pieces to his fragrance and belts. A simple branding trick to measure the success of a brand’s visual communication is to place a thumb over the logo. If a person can still identify the brand, the design is doing what it needs to too. In much the same way, if a person where to take off the Nooka logo and compare the products of in this post, they’re very much part of the same identifiable family. In terms of brands that I interact with on a daily basis, there aren’t that many examples that I can think of that do that well. I might be misquoting Matthew but I think he attributed the shapes to glam futurism. It certainly has that type of feel.
Of all the cases from Nooka, I’m starting to think that the Nooka Zem Zenv Mr S is my instant favourite. It’s bright, has an awesome heavy weight to it and the band is constructed nicely. There are very few days when I’m wearing any of my Nooka’s that someone doesn’t ask about it. “How does it tell time” is a common one, but people are also drawn to the uniqueness of it. With this latest one it really turns the volume up with the silver chrome. I’m not usually a fan of big shiny things, but this time I’m willing to make an exception. Things that are heavier feel more luxurious—nothing new with that. But the combo of weight and brightness really make the watch nice on the wrist. As the watches evolve, so do the bands. While I really liked the clasp of the Nooka Zon, it’s now been tweaked to perfection. Instead of disconnecting, the band opens like suicide car doors.
Nooka has been around for a while, but over the last three years that I’ve known Matthew I’ve been pleasantly excited each year to see how things have changed for the better. There seems like a definite trajectory of moving into a number of different design categories. The Nooka Zem Zenv Mr S feels much more classy than the pop colors that the rubber watches provide. But with that said each has a place at the table that is smart just like those that are a fan of the brand. Don’t believe me, just check Flickr and Twitter to see what fans are showing and talking about—again there aren’t a lot of core fans like Nooka’s. That’s a design case study in itself.]]>
I’m a huge fan of anything that shows time in a slightly non typical way. Nooka is a great example of that. Another is QLOCKTWO who has been making the blog rounds. The clock basically shows time in words, every five minutes. While the jpgs of the clock are ok, to really get a sense of the coolness you have to have it in front of you working live. Luckily if you don’t feel like buying the big one, there’s an iPhone App for .99 cents. While I wish it could take over my wallpaper, pressing the app button is all I can use for now.]]>
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With only a couple weeks left I thought it was time to visit a friend to DesignNotes blog, the Nooka pop up shop. When Matthew told me about the idea a while ago I was intrigued to see some of his new products that he had been mentioning for a while. There was a new wallet, a vegetarian friendly belt (sans leather) and a fragrance. What I didn’t expect to see was all the collaborative watch projects he has done to be on display too.
Often I talk about the benefits of digital. Online is great for this, that and everything else. But what it doesn’t do well is show jpgs of things in real life. That’s why a seeing products in person gives an entirely different experience and why a pop up shop that can display designs in person is helpful. Sure you’re reading about this online, and hopefully my photos convey scale, but to walk around enjoying everything in person is much more fun.
Nooka has a unique cult following that transcends a lot of logic. People are always mentioning it on twitter and shooting pics on flickr. Matthew probably interacts with his fans on a level that I haven’t seen anyone else attempt. His blog allows him to pass on info about the culture around Nooka which I think is cool. So to see all of that extended to a store for a limited time was nice. Now if there was a way to connect all that digital stuff to the outside world what an experience that would be.
If you’re curious to see the Nooka pop up shop and you’re in NYC, it’s located at 330 east 11th street for a limited time.]]>
I’m not entirely sure why but I’m pretty happy how this week turned out for Link Drop. Lots of Design process, typography, NYC, social and business stuff. Art doesn’t usually get mentioned that much, but there’s a couple mentions of it. Usually by Wednesday I’m wondering if I’m going to have enough stuff that keep me interested, and it was the same this week. Yet I managed to find more then I’ve been able to post for a couple weeks—go figure.
This is one of my new favourite reading sites. While they don’t have a ton of free books to choose from, the option of having small chunks of the story emailed on a daily basis is nice. Through a five or ten minute read on a daily basis the chances of completing the book grow exponentially. There’s also a really nice UI that goes along with the options when a person chooses a book.
Focusing Design Solutions on Social Problems
Happy to read about design in a non flashy way once in a while. Using process to get to a better understanding and changing behavior is what it’s all about.
One of the most interesting aspects is the first comment suggesting that volunteering isn’t just a thing of socialists but also of religion—I just found that interesting in a non obvious way. And by my suggesting this, probably way too much of a generalization but, I’m pretty sure most people that are on the digital side have never considered how closely those two ideals in sharing knowledge are. I know I didn’t.
Making Policy Public: Predatory Equity
Every once in a while I get email from Urban Omnibus mentioning posts that they’ve put up. What I appreciate about the info is that the posts really dig into using design for improvement and talk about how they did it.
Great post for anyone that’s motivated about their career. If you’re successful you’ve probably already been in the same mindset, but it’s good to remember those ideals once in a while.
Web Visions 2009 Presentation
These pdfs are a really great source of information for people in the business of design. Like REALLY helpful—go there now and download them!
A collection of information on Agile Process—happy to see my presentation included.
The New New Economy: More Startups, Fewer Giants, Infinite Opportunity
This is why I wanted to go to a startup to learn what big business couldn’t teach.
How David Beats Goliath
I haven’t had time to read this, but I think I’m going to like it…
Not by Links Alone
Smart post that anyone interested in news, search or google should read.
Advice For NYT’s Social Media Editor: Don’t Fix What Isn’t Broken—And Do A Lot Of Listening
Advice that anyone working on the interwebs should probably take a look at.
Nice simple search results page combining google and twitter.
Some tips from Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt
A collection of quotes.
Ebon Heath and his visual poetry
Really novel way of using letters in art.
Typography in China
Fascinating breakdown of type design in China.
OFFF 2009 | Sponsor Titles
I’m not usually a fan of motion design, but this is really smart though it does get a bit long. Great concept and well worth taking the time to watch the whole thing.
way shape form
Nice illustration/art thing.
Saddam’s Palaces: An Interview with Richard Mosse
I find it actually quite amazing that I can read something like this on a blog and probably wouldn’t expect to see it in a mainstream magazine. Kind of telling for the state of publishing.
Apple Pie Charts
Info design that is actually kind of meaningful and interesting. And can’t really be created on the computer the same way everything else seems to be being pumped out these days.
37 Data-ish Blogs You Should Know About
I found a couple new blogs in this list that I haven’t seen before.
2009 Indy 500 Car Tracker
Really fascinating way to watch the race within a couple minutes. There’s some interesting patterns that happen, and some that don’t emerge at all.
Interesting concept that I think can be built on.
I really like this combo of real life imagery and arrows juxtoposed together. It tells a story and then shows the actions afterwards. I don’t think I’ve come across this kind of visualization before.
This clock both makes me feel smarter and hurts my head at the same time.
Self Control App
Who couldn’t use a little help in terms of time management.
I’d like to hang out in a room drinking fancy drinks while this dj table was bouncing around. A couple super model would be an added bonous…
The book is here
Great idea from a talented illustrator, order his book from him and he’ll add one more illustration by hand. I also noticed that he was giving shout outs to people via twitter that were buying it.
Cover Story: Finger Painting
I think by now we’ve all seen the cover of the year from the New Yorker. What you may not have known is that I mentioned him in early March, which I found via twitter a couple days before that…
If you’re in Manhattan this weekend, be sure to be facing west around Saturday, May 30 — 8:17 P.M. It’s when you can see the sun fall directly down the streets of NYC.
Mannahatta in Miniature
I love looking at anything that has to do with Manhattan, especially with this project. I think I’m going to have to check out the exhibition this weekend, can’t wait to get my hands on the book at some point soon either.
Helsinki x New York
Sometimes I think NYC is small and then I read a post like this and it shrinks even more. Nice write up from a couple friends on different sides of the pond at the moment.
Heralding the Latest Street Closures
Hopefully you’re not tired of me talking about NYC because what is going on in Manhattan with the streets is very special. Super cool to see what in my backyard. I’m so looking forward to not bumping into so many people at rush hour once the roads have been taken back to pedestrians.
While DesignNotes isn’t officially sponsored by Nooka (yet), I’m happy to pass on a mention from friend Matthew Waldman that they’ve added some new spring colours. While super nice, I’m really digging the poster typography and poster designed by Yumi Asai. Especially the “P” and “R”…]]>
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…
Do you have an iPod shuffle… and live in New York?
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?
Copywronged Google Map
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 post gave me the first really big pop traffic wise for the year. There were a ton of people that thought the map was pretty cool.
Architecture wrapped up as a shoe
I didn’t see as many women wearing these shoes as I hoped (probably b/c they were stupidly expensive). But it’s still true that NYC has the most beautiful people anywhere in the world…
Actually seeing those Obama posters outside
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.
Orange Bicycles in New York
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.
Making something understandable as opposed to just simplifying
I still luv this design, I wish everything I design could be as smart as that tag.
I was fascinated with how this post happened. Took a photo of a cool sticker, the person that designed it contacted me and this was the diagram that tracked it.
36 days of New York Sky: January 16th 2008 – February 20th 2008
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.
Looking at MoMA’s Design and Elastic Mind Exhibition
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.
Can you exist without a permalink?
Until people realize this concept they’re toast.
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.
A Tagger in your midst?
I feel bad for whoever had to make this and deal with the text.
Love Me, next come the t-shirts – maybe on Etsy?
Here’s to wishful thinking.
Taking a quick look at Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior
Of any of the books I blogged about, this by far had the most hits coming from people wanting more info on it.
This post was the start of me sketching more fluently for blog posts.
Pure genius via Wooster Collective
Faux Eiffel Tower Extension
Clay Shirky on Stephen Colbert
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.
Thinking about Mind 08 after the Symposium
I’ll really liked the design I did for this tag cloud, nothing more nothing less to this post.
find, define, design
then refine the redesign
do it one more time
A friend wrote this for me over im as I talked about work…
Over at Paul Smith in SoHo – MAY 68: STREET POSTERS FROM THE PARIS REBELLION, and other poster finds around New York
I hope the start of next May has some great posters like this year.
I Hate Perfume, Ideas I Love
How cool would it be to commision someone to make a scent for you?
Today’s Sky Mention
This unexpected use of my sky pics made me smile.
Looking at yourself as a Graphic Designer
Very smart diagram…
If you care about your stuff, make sure people can duplicate it
This concept was an addendum to Permalink post.
This was another post where I got back some unexpected responses. I like going back every once in awhile to read the dialogue.
What are you doing today?
While this ad could be just about for anything, there’s some subtle and smart things going on past the surface. Too bad I couldn’t embed it and had to take a screen shot.
The Flo in Florent
This is why people need to hire designers.
NPR Cancels The ‘BPP’ (Bryant Park Project)?!?
I’m still not happy about this. More surprising (or maybe not), no one has picked up the ball on voice news since. The Daily Beast is starting to pick up the pace but it’s just txt for now.
Scrolling Through Photos
I can’t say enough positive things about this startup. There’s a ton of smart things going on with them.
People interpreting news events and information
I don’t understand why this hasn’t been fixed or updated. There’s so much potential for Google Hot Trends to be a go to source.
Everyone is not just a designer, but also a photoshop expert too
It’s not bad enough that everyone wants to be a designer, now they think they can art direct photos too.
Hypothetically Say You Lost your Mac Book Pro
Possibly my best blog post of the year imho.
Clean iPhone psd template
I’m surprised that Apple never made a psd themselves so people could sketch out apps.
Say what you mean w/ a click
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.
What can I say? A lot of people are interested in sex.
Walking around NYC finding the David Byrne Bike Racks
I like to walk and this gave me an excuse to go to some areas that my normal routes wouldn’t take me.
Banksy at work in NYC: Broadway & Howard St.
There’s a saying about being lucky to be good, but you have to be good to be lucky. Sometimes it just helps being in the right place at the right time.
How I Find Good Stuff on the Web
This post kind of blew up things for me. The number of smart people that checked out my blog after this was pretty amazing. Hopefully I can build on that in the new year.
What’s your internet?
The amount of traffic I received after this post kind of made me eat my words about tumblr and ffffound. I just wished tumblr would archive things better…
The old and new MetLife Signs above New York
It’s amazing to watch the stats on how many people from MetLife check out this post everyday.
Looking at the Nooka Zon
I’m guesstimating that I got an extra 9,000 unique hits b/c of this post. A couple blogs and twitter really sent a lot of extra traffic my way b/c of that watch.
What Graphic Designers need to understand
I’ve probably had more face to face conversations about this post than anything else I blogged about this year.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the time pieces that Nooka puts out. I think I’ve reviewed just about every product that I have. So in that long tradition I’m going to take a look at their newest watch – the Nooka Zon.
At first glance the Zon looks to tell time in a manner that’s either extremely easy or a bit of a challenge. One function displays the time in big digital numbers while the other way shows time in squares. Each square represents a minute and collectively those squares fill a line. One full line is thirty minutes, two lines is a hour. Those lines fill up a box that makes twelve hours. Hopefully you’re still with me as I explained that. What makes Nooka unique is that they’ve managed to show time in a way that’s intuitive. With the Zon display showing squares you get a good overview of twelve hours, but if I wanted to quickly glance down and see that it’s ten fifteen in the morning it’s not that easy. Of course I can just change the function to the numbers and see things perfectly.
There’s a couple other cool functions with the watch at first glance. You can set the display for either positive or negative background. The numbers (and squares) can be displayed either in the foreground or background. I’ve found myself during the day to have the background turned on while in the evening turning the background off and just having the numbers on. That same feature makes the time feel like it’s disappearing through an hourglass when I have the squares telling time.
The biggest surprise for me is the world clock. When I first read about that feature I was wondering why? If I want to know what the time is elsewhere I can check with my iphone. But I’ve found that by pressing one simple button I can tell what time it’s in London or Samoa, Honolulu, Anchorage, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, New York, Caracas, Rio De Janeiro, Recife, Azores, Paris, Cairo, Moscow, Dubai, Karachi, Dacca, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, Nourmea, Wellington quickly is actually quite practical. In some respects I think that’s a more valuable feature than the square display. The only issue is that I wish if I clicked on the world time feature that it would stay showing that time until I turned it off. Currently it goes back to default after sixty seconds. The functional UI would have be a pain but I also would have liked to type in a city of my own choosing – maybe for v2 of this watch? The other nice thing to have would be a timer – the square display for that would have made things perfect. When Matthew was setting the time for me, the system for the buttons seemed a bit unintuitive. However once I started pushing things when I got home it was pretty easy. Typically each button does something on one click, and if you hold the button down for three seconds a setting changes. Simple once you’ve tried it once.
What is perfect about the watch is the construction. It’s got a great weight and the leather wristband strengthens over time. It also has a butterfly buckle that’s new to me. I’ll have to admit that the first time I tried putting the strap through I didn’t know how to do it. There’s also no mention of buckle in the instruction booklet either. Once I finally figured out how to open the buckle everything was ok, but I would have saved a couple minutes if I had seen something instructional. You can also change the strap position. The original setting is to the right of the watch though you can change it so it’s centered. I haven’t tried unscrewing the straps to try that, but it’s nice to know that I can.
The whole package or brand for the Nooka Zon is quite impressive. The box is pretty cool and there’s def. a wow factor when you open it up for the first time. But there’s something missing I think – there’s no story when you open up the manual. It’s not a huge deal, but I would love to read a quick (or even long) blurb about what the watch is about. Was it a reaction to something, an inspiration while in the shower or something else that makes the thing even more real. It’s already a great watch, but it was also designed by a person, so why not share those ideas? With all that said the watch does seriously kick some ass and is a great addition to the Nooka family.]]>
Ever since reading about the Nooka Zub Glow on sites like Core77 I knew I had to buy one. There’s something kind of fun w/ a glow in the dark watch. Last Monday I noticed on Nooka’s blog that they were starting to sell them so I put in my order right away and by Friday night there was a Nooka ZUB ZENH GL 20 on my wrist. Of all the different watch faces the Zen H is my personal fav. As I’ve mentioned before on my blog what I like about the it is the fact that there’s no numbers – just units that represent time. The top two bars are hours, the third line is minutes and the fourth is seconds. As the time goes bar the bars fill.
I thought it would be interesting to take a couple photos showing the difference between the glow in the dark states and what it looks like in normal light. The only thing I would change about the watch is to give this special edition a longer time limit for the light – possibly doubling it, maybe make it an on off state. Of course if the watch did have those light features who knows how long the battery would last. In any case, you can get more info on the Zub Glow HERE.]]>