Talkin’ Design-Related Stuff

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by: C. Sven Johnson

I’d mentioned elsewhere that I should probably post a couple more “round-up” posts, so here’s an additional one primarily concerning Industrial Design. As with my previous entry, this is in no particular order and I’ll keep this to links and short comments.

Proving the Value of Design – This is like some political topics: it never seems to go away. I would have enjoyed it more if this had been a round table interview with other design disciplines represented, but you take what you can get.

The Space of All Possible Bridge Shapes – I’m not convinced generative design solves everything, but I do think it can help solve a lot of engineering design problems. Reminded me of the 3D plug-in Genometri (Link) .

Feature Creep – Yep. If the competition comes out with a 15-button blender, lots of people (you know who you are) want to introduce a 16-button product. Even Dante was afraid to describe the part of Hell we designers have created for people who force development teams down this path.

Tech design’s new philosophy – nice follow-on to the featuritis piece above. I have to wonder though: between the “Tech” tag in the headline and entrenched attitudes in the field, will this so-called new philosophy move beyond the Apple’s and Google’s of the world… in the near term? Wish I could say definitively that it will, but I’m not so sure. It’s still frosting and gravy to a whole lot of companies.

Design as Business Fodder – I’ve been meaning to mention Metropolis‘ interview with former Apple design director and now former Pentagram partner Robert Brunner. As I’ve said before, I preferred Apple’s forms back when he was running the show, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing what his new business develops.

An Artist and His Sub Surrender in Brooklyn – when I grew up, reading Jules Verne’s tales and history books about early submarines was a favorite pastime, so the author of this New York Time’s article has me at the headline. Of greater interest to those who don’t share my affinity for submersibles is how little this guy actually knew about what he was doing. Stupid, but inspiring nonetheless. Check out the Make: blog for more (Link).

Swifts inspire morphing-wing plane – you all should know by now that anything related to aerospace engineering and biomimetics is going to get my attention.

A Patent Is Worth Having, Right? Well, Maybe Not – There’s been plenty of online talk about patent reform; from a recent Wall Street Journal piece (interesting read but hidden behind paid access, sorry) to the recent Peer-to-Patent efforts. I’m linking this one because it’s the most relevant to me as a designer and because it’s an ongoing discussion that I believe is worth tracking.

Cyclists can breathe more easily – not only a sensible product (imo) but I appreciated that a site called “The Engineer Online” carried it.

Time Running Out For Shed Spot Competition – I caught an earlier mention of this competition on Treehugger (Link) and at that time collected another couple of shed-related links: “The Orb Has Landed” (Link) and the Shedworking blog (Link) which has plenty of cool stuff. Anyway, take a look at the current competition entries – Link. Fun stuff. Also worth mentioning, Core77 had a recent, related entry that’s pretty cool: “Green houses that stand up to ‘quakes” (Link).

Bertone Roadster Concept – when I was a kid I had a die-cast 386 Bertone Barchetta toy car. This new toy reminds me of that old thing. Only thing is, I can only afford the Corgi. With the lead paint.

Ceramic pinhole camera – As someone who once tried to make a set of ceramic “spider” speakers, it goes without saying I’m partial to the material. But this rocks.

GM Design Chief Talks Competition And the Merits of American Design – with American car manufacturers now holding onto something like 48% of the American market, I figure I’d be remiss if I didn’t post something… anything… about American automotive design. And Welburn’s last answer gives me some hope.

A mouse that waves – I’m not sure if the form is appropriate, but I’d like to try this thing.

The Future of “User-Designed”: How one company worked with end-users to design their perfect product – not exactly my idea of “user-designed”, but a decent article none-the-less. Best part: “All but three of the students in this contest resorted to ideas they were comfortable with; ideas that were similar or even identical to the units they were allowed to take home and evaluate.

The Relentless Lisa Strausfeld – impressive.

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