Friday, June 29, 2012

Housing design

Polis writes on Urban Housing Design, identifying these seven important elements:

1. Proximity 
 "Internal proximity can make a community feel sheltered..."

2. Enclosure
 "...courtyards are more enclosed than fenceless yards, creating interior space without ceilings..."

3. Scale
  "Smaller buildings tend to be associated with comfort..."

4. Accessibility
 "Amenities include public transportation, shopping areas, kindergartens, parks and libraries."

5. Materials
  "Certain materials hold up especially well over time, from visual and/or structural perspectives, and they are not always the most expensive."

6. Additions
 "...trees, parking lots, benches, playgrounds and sports facilities — serve as shared resources..."

7. Style
 "Structural variations and details can add visual interest or aversion."

Read the post at:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Remote design

Slate magazine writes on the history of the remote control and awful design.

There's an excess of buttons ... —92 of them, to be exact, arranged on my nightstand in rubbery rows, seven different colors' worth, with overlapping labels that range in tone from clear and aggressive ("POWER," "FREEZE") to meek and mysterious ("SUR," "NAVI"). Following the model of usability expert Jakob Nielsen, I counted up the buttons I've actually pressed—not the ones I've pressed most often, but the ones I've pressed, period. The number was 34. I had a surplus of nearly five dozen.

So why should my television, a simple device that's not so interactive, spread so much clutter and confusion? Imagine if there were a separate door for each shelf of your refrigerator, and each of those doors had its own combination lock. That's the state of the modern entertainment center, and the hand-held devices we use to manipulate it. The remote control was supposed to make life easier, but instead it's led us into a labyrinth of bad design. How did we get here, and where are we going?

Read the whole article at:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Retail seduction

Lifehacker reports on several recent articles on store design.
From the pleasant music to the choice of floor tiles, retail stores are cleverly designed to do one thing: make you spend money. Here are some of the marketing tactics you should know about so you can shop with a clear head.
How the Apple Store gets customers to touch the machines (and why) (from a Forbes article.)

Pricing gimmicks (from Smart Money)

Defend yourself from manipulative marketing tactics (from Men's Health.)

Read the whole post at

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Better bottles

Slate magazine writes on more environmentally-friendly plastic bottles

The differences aren’t merely aesthetic. Making the 2005 bottle required 14.6 grams of resin. The 2012 bottle uses only 9.2 grams of resin. (Plastic is a general term describing a moldable material. The plastic in many water and soft drink bottles is made of PET—a specific type of resin.) “We used to go through 600 million pounds of resin each year,” says Jeffery. “Today, even though we’re making more bottles because the business has grown, we use 400 million pounds of resin.”
That’s less material waste (and, by the way, note the smaller label on the 2012 bottle, which conserves paper). It also leads to less energy waste. The resin for each bottle starts out shaped like a test tube, before a machine heats it and blows in air to stretch it out. With less resin in each bottle, it takes less heat and air to stretch the bottle into shape. “That’s an immediate 10 percent energy savings on the bottle itself,” says Jeffery. And the company’s machines produce 1,200 bottles every minute.
The lighter weight of the finished bottles also reduces the carbon footprint of the trucks that transport them.

Read the whole article at:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Web typograhy

Simon Pascal Klein writes on the Top 10 dos and don’ts of Web Typography

1. Apply no more than three typefaces per design (or page)
2. Set headlines large and invitingly, at the top of the page
3. Size body copy 14px+
4. Ensure a good text to background contrast
5. Apply stress and emphasis discreetly
6. Do not set continuous text in full capitals
7. Give the type space to breathe; set ample measures and leading
8. Be wary of fonts not designed for screen use
9. Ensure webfont assets are subsetted and cached
10. Don’t use Comic Sans

Read more at the original article.