Lunar Rethinks Rock Climbing Walls, Making Them Slicker And Smarter Few things say filthy rich more succinctly than an indoor rock-climbing wall. But even those lucky enough to have them, must contend that the hulking structures don’t match their surrounding décor. As Lunar Europe puts it, “Pro gear is out of place. Since it lived in the gym, no one has re-considered the design.” That is, until the Munich-based design studio decided to put its spin on the climbing wall, transforming the standard pebble-like holds into a wall art comprised of indented ripples. The concept, called Nova, is the second in Lunar Europe’s series of home-gym upgrades. The conceit behind Nova--to make gym equipment less of an eyesore--is smart. Infographic: North Carolina’s Gay Marriage Ban Seems Downright Predictable At a time when many U.S. states have legalized gay marriage, North Carolina just banned it. (Now technically, gay marriage had never been acknowledged by the state, so for all intents and purposes, nothing changed. And maybe that’s why the move feels like such blatant bigotry.) But while many of us have responded in collective shock, in light of The Guardian’s extensive gay rights infographic, North Carolina’s actions feel downright predictable. The Guardian breaks down specific gay rights radially by each state. What you realize quite quickly is, there sure aren’t a lot of washed-out colors in the grid. North Carolina is Wonder Bread. Now, what’s a bit deflating--and what the graphic may convey best--is that there are very few true battleground states on this map, with a mixture of laws that might soon go either way (New Mexico, Delaware, and Wisconsin are pretty much it). Click here to see the interactive version.
Don Norman - The Design of Everyday Things The Design of Everyday Thingsby Donald Norman Norman, D. A. (1988). The Design of Everyday Things. New York: Doubleday. ISBN: 0-385-26774-6. A popular book that will motivate the importance of human factors in the design of everything we use. Jump To: About the author: Donald Norman wrote this book and “The Invisible Computer”. Reason for writing the book: Donald Norman wrote the book for many reasons. (top) Summary of the Book: Chapter 1: The Psychopathology of Everyday Things Chapter 2: The Psychology of Everyday Actions People feel bad, sorry, frustrated, stupid for not knowing how to operate mechanical things, especially if the task appears to be trivial The world, and everyday things, are filled with misconceptions Aristotle's naive physics - our 'naive' way of explaining the phenomenon we witness in everyday life - often very practical but incorrect. Chapter 3: Knowledge in the Head and in the World (Memory) Chapter 4: Knowing What to Do Chapter 5: To Err Is Human
Daring Fireball An Espresso Machine That Exudes Warmth Instead Of Industrial Cool I’m an incorrigible caffeine addict and a hopeless collector of all coffee accoutrements--from French presses and stovetop espresso makers to percolators and milk steamers. So when I saw this porcelain wall-mounted espresso machine, I found myself wiping away some coffee-tinged drool. Arvid Häusser, a 23-year-old German design student at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, has revamped the industrial-looking espresso machine, with its metal body and plastic knobs, and made it friendlier, adding warm wood tones and creamy ceramic. But the improvements extend beyond mere aesthetics: Porcelain is a good insulator and doesn’t impart a metallic taste. And by adhering the appliance to the wall, Häusser has managed to free up valuable counter space and even create a place for resting a few mugs securely on top. Note the height-adjustable drip tray, which accommodates a latte glass as easily as an espresso cup.
(Slide 1) | SoundCloud's Founder Creates An Album From Church Noises Eric Wahlforss was living in Stockholm in 2007, making music and art, when he became frustrated with the lack of music sharing and collaboration tools online. Working with a friend, he decided to build his own alternative to the prevalent platforms of the day--remember MySpace Music or Muxtape?--and SoundCloud was born. Less than two years later, the company had become a model for scalable startups, and Wahlforss and his partner Alex Ljung had raised 2.5 million euros in Series A funding. But Wahlforss continued to make his own music, working under the nom de electronic Forss. Last week at legendary Berlin club Berghain, Forss debuted Ecclesia, his first album in almost a decade. Wahlforss, who grew up watching his mother sing in church choirs, calls Ecclesia an attempt to “recreate the experience of church through electronic music.” The album sounded and felt spatial, so Walhforss decided to follow his instincts and explore the idea of adding a visual element to the music.
Why Focus Groups Kill Innovation, From The Designer Behind Swiffer Think about it: How many great ideas have you had sitting around a table? If you are like most people I know, not many. Yet, time after time, companies looking for a winning idea gather a group of people around a table to ask them what they would like. Other times, companies may actually develop innovative ideas--but then their impulse is to convene a focus group to critique them and, more often than not, undermine them. In my 40 years working in design and innovation, alongside some of the most brilliant minds in the business, I have never seen innovation come out of a focus group. Let me put it more strongly: Focus groups kill innovation. As Steve Jobs famously asserted, true innovation comes from recognizing an unmet need and designing a creative way to fill it. But when the team members actually used an early “experiential model” of the shoe during practice, they were won over by how cool it was to have a shoe form-fitted to their feet. 1. 2. 3. 4. Focus groups aren’t useless.
Dieter Rams and the products he designed for Braun and Vitsœ Dieter Rams was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1932. He was strongly influenced by the presence of his grandfather who was a carpenter. Rams’s early awards for carpentry led to him training as an architect as Germany was rebuilt in the early 1950s. Prompted by an eagle-eyed friend, Rams applied for a job at the German electrical products company, Braun, in 1955. He was recruited by Erwin and Artur Braun following the death of their father and his job was to modernise the interiors of the company that was launching revolutionary electrical products. Rams became a protégé of the Ulm School of Design (successor to the Bauhaus) luminaries Hans Gugelot, Fritz Eichler and Otl Aicher. He quickly became involved in product design – famously adding the clear perspex lid to the SK4 radiogram in 1956 – and was appointed head of design at Braun from 1961 to 1995.
(Slide 1) | Watches Inspired By The Glamour Of Classic Cars Super-syncing smart watches are so hot right now, but Bradley Price is banking on the appeal of an entirely different kind of timepiece. The industrial designer (and avid auto enthusiast) launched Autodromo last November, and the company’s growing collection of driving watches is meant to evoke cloudless days hugging curves on Italian roadways with the wind blowing in your hair. No, they won’t remind you to pick up milk at the grocery store--but that’s also kind of the point. “They’re emotional touchstones that remind you of driving, even when you are doing something mundane, like sitting in a meeting,” Price tells Co.Design. Price, who has previously worked on the award-winning HomeHero Fire Extinguisher and Skiff Reader, named the latest series Vallelunga after a particularly tough road circuit in Italy, and actually creating the chronographs came along with its own set of challenges. Not quite sure if the look will suit?
Going For “Pretty First” Is Wrong: A Designer’s Take On App Development Editor’s note: Chloë Bregman is a product designer working on a new communications startup. Most recently, Chloë designed DrawChat, a drawing based messaging iphone app which is currently being auctioned off, and helped ignite Changemakrs, an inspirational quote site meant to help people inspire and be inspired to change themselves and the world. Follow her on Twitter. Startup founders often ask me to take their app ideas and make them pretty. They feel that they need a beautiful product in order to get funding. I call this “pretty first,” and it’s when a startup focuses on creating a visually beautiful design for an app before determining whether the product has purpose and is useful. This newfound emphasis on pretty first is, in part, a response to the increased importance being placed on visual design within tech products. First, let’s look at products that have been successful: Not all startups, however, are realizing this kind of success. How To Design A Product
1960s Braun Products Hold the Secrets to Apple's Future Kickstarter Rescues Startups That VCs Won't Touch, But Here's What's Missing It may seem like we have entered a golden era of product design, in which the world’s most valuable company has built its entire business on a dozen consumer products while heightening our appreciation of the subtleties of industrial design immeasurably. So why do I get a pervasive feeling of doom and gloom when I hang out with my product design pals? Maybe its because all of the action has moved to software and apps. There is a real startup frenzy out there with designers playing a meaningful role this time around. Yet it is still damn hard to get a VC to go along with any startup involving hardware unless you have already locked in distribution with Best Buy or Walmart. When will hardware hit the masses, with MakerBots and 3-D printers on our desktops? The Good 1. Product design is governed by the laws of supply and demand. 2. Now, consumers can look at one image of the Nest thermometer or the Fitbit and fill in all the blanks (while rushing to pre-order). 3. The Bad 4. 5. 1. 2. 3.
Building a Design-Driven Culture Lately, it seems like every company is presenting themselves as design-driven. They tout accomplishments like hiring a designer as part of the first set of employees, striving for simple and straightforward user experiences and deploying visually beautiful sites and apps that garner first-glance kudos from Dribbble and the tech press. This promise of design-led culture is pushed with high frequency on design job boards and recruiting emails. Join our team, they say, we really care about design. The problem is that being design-driven doesn’t simply mean caring about user experience or stunning look-and-feels. Being design-driven means treating design as a partner (and a leader) in the product creation process. The reality is that many companies hire designers, but still treat that part of their product as a resource instead of a thought-leader. When I worked at Zoosk, there was a lot of concern from my CEOs that I would accidentally become a resource. Kudos