Tuesday, December 9, 2008

digital to physical

Thingiverse helps take digital design into the physical world.

"Thingiverse is a place for you to share your digital designs with the world. We believe that just as computing shifted away from the mainframe into the personal computer that you use today, digital fabrication will share the same path. Infact, it is already happening: laser cutters, cnc machines, 3D printers, and even automated paper cutters are all getting cheaper by the day. These machines are useful for a huge variety of things, but you need to supply them with a digital design in order to get anything useful out of them. We're hoping that together we can create a community of people who create and share designs freely, so that all can benefit from them."

Thanks to Geekdad

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Phone design

Slate writes on the design of the Google G1 phone and its debt to the iPhone.

"Like the iPhone, the Google phone's best feature is its attractive, well-designed interface. The most important thing about the G1 is not what it does but how it does it. This sounds obvious: Doesn't every mobile phone company set out to create a usable interface? Spend a minute trying to navigate deep lists of drop-down menus on a Windows Mobile or BlackBerry device and you'll have your answer. Before the iPhone, phones were pretty to look at but a pain to use; the last blockbuster mobile phone, Motorola's RAZR, induced aneurysms when you tried to do anything but make a phone call."

Read the whole article at Second Bite at the Apple: What the Google phone stole from the iPhone.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

End of the clamshell?

The New York Times reports on a new trend in packaging:

"A number of retailers and manufacturers have a gift for holiday shoppers: product packaging that will not result in lacerations and stab wounds.

"I shouldn’t have to start each Christmas morning with a needle nose pliers and wire cutters," said Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon.

The companies, including Amazon.com, Sony, Microsoft and Best Buy, have begun to create alternatives to the infuriating plastic “clamshell” packages and cruelly complex twist ties that make products like electronics and toys almost impossible for mere mortals to open without power tools.

Impregnable packaging has incited such frustration among consumers that an industry term has been coined for it — “wrap rage.” It has sent about 6,000 Americans each year to emergency rooms with injuries caused by trying to pry, stab and cut open their purchases, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission."

Read the whole article at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/15/technology/internet/15packaging.html

Thanks to Patrik Hultberg for sending the article.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Seth Godin posted on the importance of design details.

"If a book has cheap color separations, the wrong sort of gloss on the cover and the wrong hue to the paper, it just feels cheap and self-published and unlikely to be the real deal. It doesn't matter a bit what's inside, who wrote it, anything. You've already decided because this book reminds you of untrustworthy books you've encountered before.

"Visit a website with a brown on brown color scheme, a stock photo of a nautilus, some flashing graphics, a bunch of widgets and a typeface that's not quite right, and you've already decided how you feel. Entirely based on the fact that this site is like those sites, and you didn't like those sites."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Presentation advice from Garr Reynolds

Before your next presentation read Organization & Preparation Tips by Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen. He covers valuable ten points concisely.

1. Start with the end in mind
2. Know your audience as well as possible
3. Content, content, content
4. Keep it simple
5. Outlining your content
6. Have a sound, clear structure
7. Dakara nani? (so what?)
8. Can you pass the "elevator test"?
9. The art of story telling
10. Confidence — How to get it

Read it at www.garrreynolds.com/Presentation/prep.html

Friday, October 3, 2008

Art Hop tonight

The Kalamazoo Arts Council's monthly Art hop is tonight, Friday Oct 3 from 5-9
Art Hop is a free event that features new art exhibits in a fun, casual atmosphere. Numerous galleries and businesses host the show, and you can hop around from one exhibit to another. Meet the artists and make new friends at the Art Hop.
more info

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Design factors

Here's a list of design factors developed on our first day of class.

1. comfort
2. durability
3. style
4. price
5. function
6. ease of use
7. materials
8. packaging
9. popularity
10. mobility
11. size
12. shape
13. color
14. quality
15. efficiency
16. value
17. producer
18. environmental impact
19. health impact

You can see more class photos as part of this online album

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Welcome class of 2012

Welcome to Kalamazoo College and to the Design Intelligence seminar!

If you're interested, you can use the links at the right to browse earlier posts or look at student blogs from last fall.

Here's a short course description:

This course will look at the role of design in the world around us. Our emphasis will be on features, feel and function rather than on the aesthetics of design. We will consider why some designs work well and others work poorly. We will think about how and why things are designed in particular ways. We will look at the economic and environmental implications of design choices.

The broader goal of this class is to develop and refine skills necessary to succeed in college and in your career. We will work on discussion skills, presentation skills, analytic skills, and writing skills

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Design at Disney

Mickey's Ten Commandments

1. Know your audience
Don't bore people, talk down to them or lose them by assuming that they know what you know.

2. Wear your guest's shoes

Insist that designers, staff and your board members experience your facility as visitors as often as possible.

3. Organize the flow of people and ideas
Use good story telling techniques. Tell good stories not lectures.

4. Create a "come to me" (the castle, the Epcot dome)
Lead visitors from one area to another by creating visual magnets and giving visitors rewards for making the journey

5. Communicate with visual literacy

Make good use of all the non-verbal ways of communication - colour, shape, form, texture.

6. Avoid overload
Resist the temptation to tell too much, to have too many objects. Don't force people to swallow more than they can digest, try to stimulate and provide guidance to those who want more.

7. Tell one story at a time
If you have a lot of information divide it into distinct, logical, organized stories. People can absorb and retain information more clearly if the path to the next concept is clear and logical.

8. Avoid contradiction
Clear institutional identity helps give you the competitive edge. The public needs to know who you are and what differentiates you from other institutions they may have seen.

9. For every ounce of treatment , provide a ton of fun

How do you woo people from all other temptations? Give people plenty of opportunity to enjoy themselves by emphasizing ways that let people participate in the experience and by making your environment rich and appealing to all senses.

10. Keep it up
Never underestimate the importance of cleanliness and routine maintenance. People expect to get a good show every time. They will comment more on broken and dirty stuff.

Source: Marty Sklar, then head of Walt Disney Imagineering

thanks to boingboing

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fight death by PowerPoint

Alexei Kapterev's slideshow on avoiding death by PowerPoint.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

Webpage design process

from stopdesign, A Design Process Revealed

Some excerpts:
1. Research & Discovery

Jumping into any design project before examining the problem or task at hand might spin the wheels, but won’t get you very far. Any project, no matter how big or small, can benefit from research and planning before the work begins.

2. Competitive Analysis

Another helpful task in the process involves looking at pre-existing ideas and executions created by peers, mentors, heros, and/or competitors. Competitive analysis identifies the strengths and weaknesses of those existing designs.

3. Exploration

When tackling a design project with limitless creative boundaries, I like to begin by creating lists of relevant words, topics, and phrases. By creating these lists, I try to gain a broadened perspective of the problem I’m attempting to solve, and often uncover additional ideas and concepts which weren’t so obvious at the outset.

4. Thumbnail Sketching

Once I exhausted the idea branching, I started drawing thumbnail sketches on a pad of paper. Thumbnails are small sketches which can literally be as small as your thumbnail, or as big as a couple inches in width and/or height.

5. Typography

To me, typography is a crucial element in setting the formalness or informality of a design. Evocations of different typefaces are subliminal to most people, but a designer will go to great lengths to ensure the selection and construction of type complements the mood of the piece.

6. Imagery

Imagery is not always necessary in design. In fact, some of the most beautiful designs use type alone. However, selectively chosen photography or illustration can create enormous visual impact for a design, adding dimension, implication, and a deeper level of understanding far beyond a well-written headline or paragraph of text.

7. Execution & Implementation

I started writing the CSS for the design at a high-level, focusing on the layout structure, major backgrounds, and large regions of the page. Groups of elements were positioned in correct locations.

8. And More
The ever-changing design process does not end here. This summary is not an exhaustive one. Additional review and approval cycles, more design iterations, and frequent user testing all may be inserted anywhere into this process.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Present like Steve Jobs

Business Week writes Deliver a Presentation like Steve Jobs

1. Set the theme.

2. Demonstrate enthusiasm.

3. Provide an outline.

4. Make numbers meaningful.

5. Try for an unforgettable moment.

6. Create visual slides.

7. Give 'em a show.

8. Don't sweat the small stuff.

9. Sell the benefit.

10. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Designing webpages

Ben Hunt writes on the principles of web design

The Golden Rule
Everything that goes into your web site must have a purpose.
Every single element and decision must help users achieve their goals and support the site's goals.

How people use web pages
They move quickly because they don't like looking at the screen
They're impatient - they tend to click the first promising link, and often don't wait for pages to finish loading
They don't like to read, scanning text quickly for clues
They're looking for things to help them do what they want to do

Ideal web design process
1. Know what you're doing
2. Know what the site needs to do
3. Know what the site's visitors want
4. Get a good picture of the personality and style of the web site
5. Sketch out highly successful scenarios
6. Organise views into a site map
7. Sketch the essential features & look
8. Map your visitors' attention
9. Arrange the visual elements to work together