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Posted by core jr  |  18 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


Michael Bierut, certainly one of the most insightful and entertaining design lecturers there are, visited the MFA Products of Design department at SVA last month with a talk that was unprecedented for him: No slides. It turns out that "since his daughter's wedding" he has never given a design lecture without the use of visuals, and in this unbelievably personal talk he delivers something very special.

(The start of the video shows MFA chair and Core77 partner Allan Chochinov introducing Michael, referencing a little-known story about the genesis of Bierut's forever-fantastic 2009 Core77's Hack2Work feature article "How to Make your Client's Logo Bigger Without Actually Making Their Logo Bigger.")



Posted by core jr  |  12 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

RedHook_HUB_branding.JPGPhoto by Anke Stohlmann

By Laetitia Wolff, Design/Relief Program Director

How can graphic design positively transform communities and the practice of design? The New York chapter of AIGA launched Design/Relief, a participatory design initiative targeted at New York City neighborhoods still grappling with the effects of Superstorm Sandy, in the fall of 2013. To fund the project, AIGA/NY received an innovation grant from Artplace America, a consortium interested in advancing the practice of creative placemaking. Engaging in this emerging movement, AIGA/NY believed graphic designers could leverage their agile, creative process while testing their community organizing skills on the ground.

We handpicked three teams, composed of graphic designers, storytellers and community engagement experts, to catalyze three New York waterfront communities. The teams were tasked to help these communities imagine a more vibrant future for themselves—the three neighborhoods were still struggling to overcome the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy, even a year after the disaster. While learning about the reality of multi-disciplinary collaboration, urban territories and public engagement processes, designers were given a framework to act locally and dispatched for a 9-12 months period to Red Hook in South Brooklyn, Rockaway at the Queens shoreline and the South Street Seaport enclave in Lower Manhattan.


Revisiting the Design/Relief Manifesto a year later, AIGA/NY is proud to have engaged designers in tackling tough civic challenges while generating new knowledge about design as a creative placemaking tool. As we conclude this endeavor with the recent launch of the Red Hook team project, the HUB, we wanted to take a moment to highlight a few insights before sharing a more detailed case study (coming soon, early 2015). Here they are:

  • Places are made by people. Yes, before anything else.

  • Graphic designers are particularly apt at connecting the dots, building bonds, visualizing futures, and enhancing communication between people and places.

  • Our placemaking projects focus particularly on public spaces in which community information and communication can be shared.

  • Improving a place successfully comes along with social justice, inclusion and opportunity-building—our creative placemakers tried to remain aware of the fine line between gentrification and displacement.

RedHook_HUB_library_board.jpgThe Red Hook HUB includes a board at the local library branch on Wolcott Street. Photo credit: David Al-Ibrahim

The Red Hook HUB is a 21st century bulletin board
Seen on Brooklyn streets and in the digital space

Over the past year, through their engagement with the communities of Red Hook, Brooklyn, Rockaway, Queens and the Seaport in Lower Manhattan, our Design/Relief teams often acted as catalysts for latent desires, lingering community needs and long-lasting aspirations. Red Hook residents had expressed a need for a coordinated communication system that would allow them to more effectively share trusted information. Although the need was in the air, no one had formulated the appropriate format, place and process.


Posted by core jr  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


As part of a new interview series on the Autodesk Foundation's new blog, ImpactDesignHub.org, Allan Chochinov, Editor at Large of Core77 and Chair of the MFA Products of Design program at SVA discusses impact design and the role of designers in social change with Robert Fabricant, Co-Founder and Principal of the Design Impact Group (DIG) at Dalberg Global Development Advisors. The series, hosted by Core77, will investigate the intersection of design and social innovation. Here, Robert Fabricant shares three of the most vital things to understand about the field of social design. Read the full interview on ImpactDesignHub.org

* * *

Avoid the "Big Idea" trap: We are missing the boat if our partners think design is only good for the next cool invention that tries to change the world. The only path to impact is through deep engagement with systems, applying the design lens to participants at every level. Single product strategies fail consistently as I saw on a recent trip to India.

Respect the practical bits: Social impact takes patience, discipline and follow-through. Failure happens between concept and implementation. As my dear friend Fabio Sergio from frog recently put it, we need to be investing in small things that can "tip the system into a slightly different state." On a personal level, I have spent five years trying to get right a simple piece of packaging and instructional design (for an HIV self-test kit), working with an amazing partner in South Africa to "tip the system" with the support of the design team at frog. The concept (of self-testing) is more relevant than ever, but success will be determined by the littlest things as we prepare to enter the market.


A "fresh perspective" will only get you so far: Designers are used to playing the "outsider" card, emphasizing our unique perspective. This capacity is critical to our value in highly competitive markets like chat applications. But it can backfire when designers give the impression that we invented user research or prototyping. We have a lot to learn from fields like community organizing and behavorial economics. I like learning :-)

Read the full interview with Robert Fabricant on ImpactDesignHub.org

Posted by core jr  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)
Content sponsored by the Ford Motor Company

For our fourth installment of Ford and IDSA's 'Designing Innovation' series, we've invited a diverse group of experts panelists to discuss ways designers can innovate to fortify the relationships between a brands' products and the consumers who enjoy them. Moderated by Rama Chorpash, the Director of MFA Industrial Design at Parsons, tonight's conversation highlights the broad influence of design in today's marketplace and features Ingrid Fetell, Design Director at IDEO; Steve Schlafman, Principal at RRE Ventures; our very own Allan Chochinov, Chair of MFA Products of Design at SVA; and Craig Metros, Exterior Design Director of the Americas at Ford Motor Company (read our recent Q+A with him here.)

The discussion kicks off at 7pm EST. Remember, you can join the conversation by submitting a question on Twitter using the hashtag #DesigningInnovation—we'll be selecting a few to ask the panelists live on stage. Tune in below to see the 'Designing Innovation' panel live from New York City's Cooper Union.

Read up on the panelists onstage:


Posted by core jr  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

In their most recent presentation, RKS brought us a discussion about the very chair you could be sitting on right now. This RKS Session, "Designing for Function and Style" was led by Bernard Brucha of Mashstudios, a firm well-versed in the art of honoring function when designing furniture with style.

As Bernard puts it, work doesn't just happen at the office any more. When his team approaches the design of office space and furniture application for clients like Uber, Pinterest and Jacob Engineering, they examine more than just the physical space to ensure technology can be leveraged to serve everyone best. The result is a highly functional and pleasing environment in which to spend a good portion of your day. Watch the entire presentation after the jump: