In the last few days leading up to the juried review of our collaboration with Poltrona Frau, our studio workspace descended into complete disarray—with tools and materials scattered everywhere. The last bits of scrap leather were hotly contested and, naturally, the industrial sewing machines had failed just days before the presentation was due! As a result, some projects ended up having to be hand-stitched as time was pressing and quality had to be kept to a high standard. Sleep deprivation, minor scrapes and bruises notwithstanding, we managed to pull it together in time for the juried final review.
The jury panel consisted of legendary designer Massimo Vignelli, Paul Makovsky (Editorial Director, Metropolis Magazine), Sara Gobbo and Federico Materazzi (Poltrona Frau), Mark Bechtel (Interim Director of Product Design at Parsons) and our instructor, designer Andrea Ruggiero. We presented 15 projects, ranging from cigar cases and drink coasters to picture frames and candle holders. Per the design brief, we were required to address wastelessness and how we would envision the potential production of our pieces to enable the least amount of material waste. In a few cases, there was some disagreement between the judges as to the complexity and labor involved to produce a few of the objects. Regardless, the critics met privately after the presentations to decide the three winners of the competition, who will get to visit Poltrona Frau's factory in Tolentino, Italy, in the second half of July.
Starting this Friday night, the students of the new MFA in Products of Design will be appearing at WantedDesign from May 17–20, where they will present ALSO!, a series of interactions that explore how we experience new design.
Through a roving set of mobile interventions—both cart-based and human-worn—visitors to the show will participate in "an unfolding narrative around celebration, sustainability, digital mediation, storytelling, and scale, each expanding the conversation around design beyond form, function, and materiality." There are teasers up at www.alsoproject.com, and ALSO! on Facebook, but here are some intriguing particulars:
A smartphone kaleidoscope and lift apparatus expose the distortion of constantly consuming experiences through our screens; a set of ViewMasters lets us peer into speculations around the unseen, "un"wanted, and marginalized; a sound crew with microphones and headphones invites visitors to listen in on the untold stories of objects; a digital microscope on a remote cable reveals hidden design details invisible to the naked eye; and a die-cutting station prompts guests to transform their printed materials, ennobling ephemera and inviting visitors to reflect their experiences to one another.
Through this series of moving, participatory installations, the work hacks the exhibition at large, prompting visitors to see design through a variety of new lenses.
The event is free. Located at 269 11th Avenue, New York City, WantedDesign is a creative destination for the design community that offers innovative installations, student workshops, and engaging discourse.
This year, WantedDesign is being held in concert with NYCxDESIGN, New York City's inaugural citywide event to showcase and promote design of all disciplines.
These projects are the culmination of a course I've been teaching in conjunction with Sandrine Lebas, Chair of CCA-ID, building on a 'research' semester last fall, which I co-taught with Raffi Minasian. Per the syllabus:
This studio will investigate the role, mechanisms, history, and potentials of the concept of comfort. We will leverage this foundation into a particular project in which the students will use the mechanisms and conceptual paradigms of comfort to challenge, lead, or disrupt a chosen facet of human life. We will use comfort to alter behavior through the practice of Industrial Design.
The application of comfort as a theme for the studio was to explicitly address the emotional component of product design. Comfort is a deliberately slippery theme—highly variable from client to client and context to context. Students immediately grappled with the 'goal' of the products, the various means by which that goal may be physically manifested, and the mechanisms which lead and reinforce feelings and behaviors. It allowed the group to ask the deeper questions, not just "What's a better version of device X?" but "What's a better solution for problem Y?" The theme also lent clear guidance to decisions of detail, material, and brand aspirations—how does this engender that?
The students really ran with the theme. Each applied their own interests and career aims to the effort. Responses range from hyper-ergonomic cutlery, open-ended construction toys—ahem. the world's best blanket-fort kit—new notions in play and childhood fear, furniture that encourages the new habit of working from bed, novel snowboard bindings and a superior chemotherapy sling.
CCA's Industrial Design class of 2013 is excited to share its thesis work: Comfort Objects, the culmination of eight months of design and research covering a wide array of expertise, including soft goods, furniture, sports products, and homewares. Come hang out, eat some good food, and don't miss the opportunity to see 24 unique projects in the field of Industrial Design.
This spring, Poltrona Frau is pleased to partner with Parsons The New School for Design on a Product Design Studio with a focus on responsible design. With the guidance of instructor Andrea Ruggiero, students will design and develop new objects using leather scraps at Poltrona Frau's factory in Tolentino, Italy. For the first time, the brief is to design everyday leather goods for the home and office, elevating waste material into a premium product.
"How many students does it take to work a sewing machine?"
Although a classmate humored us with this joke (while observing four others attempt to operate an industrial sewing machine without much success), the reality is that all of us are somewhat new to working with some of the tools of the trade in our collaboration with Poltrona Frau, in which 15 Product Design juniors at Parsons are creating concepts for premium leather goods out of materials leftover from the manufacturing process. The industrial sewing machines are also temperamental—they stop functioning properly with the slightest abuse, complicating the process. Those who have worked previously with these machines understand how they should perform and behave, but with others adjusting every knob in sight, something bad is bound to happen...
We are now four weeks into the project: Deadlines are rapidly approaching and we are trying to maintain our sanity before the chaos hits the fan. We try to keep our minds clear and focus on two objectives for our first deadline: working hands-on with the leather, and creating concepts for our design review with Federico Materazzi and Sara Gobbo, the executive vice president and senior marketing manager of Poltrona Frau USA.
Aaron Chan presenting his concepts
During the design review, my classmates and I had proposed concepts that range from home, office and travel accessories to toys and electronics. Federico and Sara, helped us narrow these ideas down to ones that truly define Poltrona Frau and complement their brand. A magazine rack, piggy bank, picnic basket and a wineglass tag are just some of the prototypes that we will present at the final juried review on May 10. Throughout the decision-making process, it became clear that Poltrona Frau is looking beyond just aesthetics but is really invested in tactility, and how that will be integrated into the final product. In short, do our small leather goods capture the essence of Frau?
To hear PENSOLE founder D'Wayne Edwards tell it, "Our mission is to provide aspiring footwear designers a platform to create their own brand and become the future of the footwear industry. This year we are welcoming Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and Coroflot as scholarship partners to reach an even larger base of emerging talent."
Future of Footwear entrants are required to "submit an original shoe design drawn by hand and rendered in color, using a marker" on the Mesh01 platform by May 26. PENSOLE will announce the 20 winners live on Google+ the following week, each of whom will receive scholarships to experience PENSOLE's rigorous "learn by doing" curriculum, in which students are assigned projects in the following categories:
1. Athletic - Footwear designed to help perform a sport or activity better
2. Dress - Footwear designed to wear at formal events
3. Kids - Footwear designed for kids of all ages
4. Made in USA - Footwear designed for manufacture in the USA
5. Sustainable - Footwear designed with recyclable materials and more efficient manufacturing processes
Coroflot will award one scholarship in each of the five categories, as will our friends at IDSA; the last ten will be selected by PENSOLE. All students will have an additional merit-based opportunity to present samples of their work at a major tradeshow:
At the end of the third week of class, a panel of industry judges and the PENSOLE Google+ community will vote to select 10 semi-finalists who will have samples of their designs made and be awarded a trip to Las Vegas to have their designs on display at the PENSOLE booth at FN PLATFORM, August 19-21, 2013.
As we saw with Conquest Vehicles, armored vehicles with windows do not come cheap. That's why if you and six of your squadmates are sitting in the back of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle with the door closed, your only view is of armor plating. And the lack of windows has a potentially deleterious effect beyond promoting motion sickness: You have no idea what you're about to step into when the ramp drops open and you're meant to deploy.
That's why the U.S. Army's TARDEC (Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center) put a bunch of ID students from the Transportation Design program at Detroit's College for Creative Studies in the same room with experienced Army officers and soldiers for a brainstorming session. One result is the Virtual Window concept, whereby a super-durable 46-inch flatscreen is mounted to the interior of the rear ramp; it's basically a back-up camera with a big-ass screen strong enough for soldiers to stomp over while they pile outside. "The video feed from the camera appears on the display, which gives soldiers the ability to see outside the vehicle with the ramp closed," explains TARDEC engineer Andrew Kerbrat. "This visual situational awareness could be a game-changer in how the Soldier proceeds out of the vehicle."
Of interest is that this particular "Innovations Solutions Training Event," as it was called, wasn't spread over a semester but was instead crammed into just three days. By all accounts the CCS students were up to the task:
[Warrant Officer] Charles Fannin commented on the design session's aggressive agenda. "I thought, 'Wow, how can we talk about ideas and solutions and have them drawn up or visualized in such a short amount of time?' [But] It was fascinating. As we were talking, things were being drawn up instantly with concepts and designs. I'm just in awe of what the students were capable of doing."
CCS Transportation Design Associate Professor Thomas Roney said that kind of collaboration is essential to the process. "It gets people who maybe aren't used to being together all in the same room bouncing ideas off each other. You get some better ideas out than you probably would have without that happening," Roney noted.
TARDEC engineers will review about 140 sketches to identify potential ideas that could move forward.
While the format of the highly-compressed brainstorming session was new, it isn't the first time TARDEC and CCS have collaborated; at least one student, in fact, got a job out of it. James Scott was a CCS student back in 2010 who participated in an earlier team-up, and he's now been hired as an industrial designer on TARDEC's Advanced Concepts team. (He's the guy who did the rendering seen above.) And as a former design student who's presumably sat in on his share of brutal design crits, he knows the math: "At the end of the day, 80 percent of the ideas are unfeasible," he says, "but perhaps 20 percent have nuggets of innovation that could be further investigated."
There is at least one thing I'd like to see design schools develop as a result of collaborations like these: It ought to be integrated into crit sessions that if you turn in a crappy rendering, all of the other students do push-ups.
This spring, Poltrona Frau is pleased to partner with Parsons The New School for Design on a Product Design Studio with a focus on responsible design. With the guidance of instructor Andrea Ruggiero, students will design and develop new objects using leather scraps at Poltrona Frau's factory in Tolentino, Italy. For the first time, the brief is to design everyday leather goods for the home and office, elevating waste material into a premium product.
Reporting by Jenny Hsu
Two weeks ago, a group of 15 Product Design Juniors from Parsons The New School for Design could be found examining two boxes of beautiful scrap leather in the Soho showroom of Poltrona Frau, the leading Italian leather home furnishing company, seeking inspiration for their next project. With instructor Andrea Ruggiero, designer and Parsons alumnus, the group had officially begun the school's third collaboration with Poltrona Frau, but it was nothing like years past.
We were all anticipating being asked to design a new furniture concept for Poltrona Frau, but instead we were surprised with a fresh challenge—to design and develop new product concepts for the home and office that complement the Atelier Poltrona Frau collection. And there is another catch: we must create these products out of scrap leather from Frau's upholstery production—the material that traditionally ends up in the factory's waste stream.
The competition kicked off on Friday, March 22, with a quick brainstorming exercise. There were some cliché, mainstream ideas, such as an iPad case, wallet, or keychain, but also some that were new and unusual. As these concepts developed, a new terrain of potential ideas emerged, such as a neck cushion, elbow rest, or even a one-hundred-dollar leather bandage. Perhaps these ideas are too absurd and unrealistic, but the best ideas always originate from the unlikeliest of sources.
"Creative technologist" Ubi de Feo is part of Hello Savants!, an Amsterdam-based creative collective. In recent years he's been teaching—or trying to teach—Arduino coding to creatives, but ran into the following barrier: "For the beginner, the artist, the industrial designer who wants to start prototyping, [the difficulties of learning to code] can appear as walls they constantly have to crash against," de Feo observed. "If you ask them why, most of the times the answer will be something along the lines of 'I'm a creative person, this structured stuff is not for me.'"
Realizing that the traditional approach to teaching coding was not working for this type of student, de Feo created a new coding workshop called "From 0 to C," starting with a rather radical step: Removing all of the computers from the classroom. Instead, he introduced physical objects the students are meant to interact with.
There will be no code, no editor, no screen. The tools to become a programmer are paper, pens, tape, candy, ping-pong balls, wooden boxes, cups and other common objects.
...The whole class moves through several stages of interaction with the teacher, in which they execute simple tasks [with the objects] and are able to document them. In a few hours the class is (unwillingly) turned into the human representation of a program. This program becomes more and more complex, but because the whole class is involved, it is simple for the single student.
At this point the student has a clearer vision of what he/she has to deal with, and when the logic is clear, the techniques and the virtuosism that will be implemented over the years are just the result of getting better at it, and the scope of this primer is not teaching you to be the best C/Processing/Flash/Arduino/MSP coder/hacker, but one who knows what he/she is dealing with and has a better attitude towards problem solving.
This sounds like a fascinating way to teach abstract concepts, one that even a computer dummy like me could potentially pick up, and I'm eager to try it out. If you're in the same boat, we just may get our chance, eventually. Though he considers "From 0 to C" as still in the pilot phase, De Feo launched the workshop last year in Amsterdam, was subsequently invited to hold one in Italy, and is currently fielding offers to bring it to other parts of Europe as well as America. For updates, watch this space.
From May 26th through June 9th, SVA will once again be running its Masters Workshop in Italy. You can check out last year's blog, projects, and videos, and learn more about the program at the site. To get you started:
Study graphic design and typography this summer in Rome—the birthplace of Western typographic tradition. This workshop is a unique way to learn about type and typography, book and lettering design, as well as architecture, art, archeology, epigraphy, and even Italian cuisine. Work with the best typographers and designers in Italy. Tour the Trajan Column and partake in exclusive guided visits to the Roman and Imperial Forums, the harbor town of Ostia Antica an ancient site that best reflects the grandeur of Rome and a "behind-the-stacks" tour of Biblioteca Angelica, the oldest library in Europe that houses original Bodoni type books. Participate in hands-on workshops. Examine the inscriptions on Roman structures that have long been accepted as a typographic ideal. Your appreciation of type and relationship to typography and design will be forever transformed.
Choosing courses in design school was occasionally agonizing: Do I take Transportation or Furniture Design? Why the heck are they on the same day? but after you graduate, you realize what a luxury it was that you had those options at all.
Now let's say that you're out of school and you want to pick up a new skill. A company called Skillshare aims to offer the same wealth of creative educational options, within a miniature timeframe and decidedly lower tuition: Three-hour sessions are as low as $20 a pop for an intro to graphic design, while heavier classes, like how to make objects out of concrete, clock in at $65.
Skillshare's tagline is "Make, Build & Create," and most of the classes subjects reflect this; but there are also outlier courses like "Life Hack: How to Live Rent-Free in NYC" ($70.) Taught by a retired Sotheby's realtor, most of the four sessions are, unsurprisingly, already sold out.
Classes are either local or online; you search for the former by entering your zip code, while the latter are globally available. (The course examples I listed above are all NYC-area classes.) And if you've got an area of expertise that you're looking to share with prospective students, you can apply to teach a class either online or locally. Skillshare lets you keep 88% of the tuition. The other 12% goes in their pocket, as that's how they keep the lights on. Not a bad deal, considering they take care of the promotion and sign-up, leaving you free to plot your syllabus.
Upon entering the lobby of the Harvard Graduate School of Design last Wednesday, one might be surprised to discover a line of people from the GSD auditorium doors, down the hallway, and spilling into the ChauHaus (i.e. student cafeteria).
First thought: What are all these non-architects doing here?
The chance to hear a world-renowned, Pritzker Architectural Prize-winning and former Harvard GSD faculty architect inspired an impressive turnout for good reason. As one of the few contemporary architects to gain widespread fame outside of design circles, Zaha Hadid holds a unique place in the contemporary architectural landscape—pun intended. Over the course of her wildly successful career, she has been referred to as everything from an architectural trailblazer to a design diva (and not in the good way).
Whether you love or hate the sweeping curves or fragmented geometry that have become her trademark, the hype has vaulted Hadid to the upper echelon of fame and recognition amongst the black-turtleneck-wearing architecture crowd and mere mortals alike. If you're not sold, she also designed the London Aquatics Center for the 2012 Olympic Games and some great plastic shoes.
Photos: Paul Fiegenschue
The lecture began with a brief introduction from Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the GSD, friend and former classmate of Hadid's. Mostafavi said of Hadid:
When she first started to develop her work, some people talked about how it was about the calligraphic line.It's interesting to see how the office has managed to bridge that line, between the calligraphic and the whole domain of digital culture and the impact of computation on the firm.
The auditorium was abuzz with GSD students anticipating a talk from a giant of contemporary architecture. Likewise, several impromptu simulcasting rooms throughout the GSD were also abuzz with muffled complaints about not being able to see Zaha in person.
The presentation was a rapid-fire roll-call of conceptual and completed works from across the globe by Zaha Hadid Architects, the London-based studio Hadid founded and runs with partner Patrik Schumacher (also in attendance at the lecture).
CMA CGM Headquarters, 2010
A particularly interesting view into Hadid's process came in her discussion of a series of tower concepts that the firm had been working on for over a decade. The concept renderings and sketches shown appeared to develop their own distinct language for how the towers met the ground, often splaying out and connecting to the preexisting urban topography.
Of all the design lectures we've sat through, either as part of our schools' curricula or in postgraduate events, the most interesting ones are where you can't quite decide if the speaker is crazy or not. It is those lecturers right on the edge whose bizarre-yet-articulate, incendiary-yet-well-reasoned statements often inculcate long-lived, resounding thoughts. I will sometimes look at an object or space and still hear then-professor Karim Rashid's words echoing in my head.
One professor whose lectures I wish I'd been exposed to in school is Peter Schjeldahl, senior art critic for The New Yorker and former art critic for The Village Voice. I've just come across this snippet of an older lecture of his, delivered at Boston University's College of Fine Arts, on why "Good Artists Tend to Be Bad Students." The clip below is choppily-edited and too short to work up any kind of conclusive momentum—the end of the clip leaves us none the wiser as to why the title might be true—but I do miss hearing crusty, quotable thoughts like this:
I don't believe in the existence of beautiful things. I believe in experiences of beauty. I think it's a regular occurrence in the mental economy of anyone who is not clinically depressed.
The entire lecture is available for viewing here. It's 80 minutes long so you'll have to carve out some time to watch it in full.
We don't often think of undergraduate industrial design students as being able to influence their schools' curricula, but Jack Shepard is not your average student. First off, Shepard was a Sergeant and Anti-Terrorism Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, and after two tours—that's eight years—he spent a few years in China, studying Chinese medicine.
"I sustained a pretty bad foot injury [in the 'Corps]," Shepard told Core77. "Western doctors told me my foot was 'done,'" i.e. permanently damaged; but while subsequently vacationing in China, Shepard encountered an Eastern doctor who restored his foot in three weeks. Impressed, Shepard moved to Chengdu to study the techniques, as well as the language.
After returning from China to his hometown of Portland, Oregon, Shepard started a small apparel company with some friends. Eventually he became interested in industrial design and enrolled at the Art Institute of Portland. From the Marine Corps to China to Industrial Design is not your typical educational trajectory, but "I am a think-outside-the-box type of guy," as Shepard's resume states.
As part of that outside-the-box thinking, Shepard took a hard look at his school's ID program and decided it was missing something. "While the school offered multidisciplinary business courses to better prepare design students," a local-area newspaper reports, "Shepard felt the classes were too detached from industry and real-world problems."
Around the same time, Shepard had attended the Portland edition of Startup Weekend, a traveling entrepreneurial program that visits cities to marshal creative brainpower--developers, designers, marketers, et cetera--and has them go from open-mic pitches to workable startups over the course of a 54-hour weekend. A panel of relevant experts oversees the proceedings, providing crucial real-world expertise and advice.
Inspired by this set-up, Shepard decided his ID program would benefit from a similar process. "At first I figured I'd just start up a club [to mimic the Startup Weekend process] at school," he says. But while discussing it with Molly Deas, the Art Institute's then-chairperson for the ID department, she pointed out that this would be a fantastic for-credit opportunity. Soon they'd hatched plans for it to be a semester-long course, run by Justin Pyle, a designer and adjunct professor Shepard had hit it off with.
As the inaugural year of SVA's new MFA in Products of Design program nears the spring, they have opened up applications for their summer program, this time around the growing field of food design. Headed up by faculty member Emilie Baltz and Core77 Design Awards Favorite Marc Bretillot, the program takes place in France from July 7–13, 2013. Below are more details:
This immersive workshop is a delicious foray into the growing field of food design. Taking place in the French capital of Champagne province, the program will be hosted in the kitchens of L'Ecole Supérieure d'Art et de Design de Reims (L'ESAD), home to one of the first culinary design program in the world. Emphasizing a maker-driven, cooking-centric approach, the program will reveal new perspectives unto the ways that we engage and identify with our food.
Under the direction of Marc Bretillot, founder of the food design program at L'ESAD, and Emilie Baltz, artist and food designer, the program is based on the understanding that food is our most fundamental form of consumption. In recent years, we have seen a growing awareness around the quality of the food we ingest and the industrial means surrounding our most basic foodstuffs. With the rapidly expanding reach of the design industry, designers are now uniquely situated to explore and affect these systems.
Using materials, gestures, forms and interactions, participants will investigate the role that ingredients, taste, shape and service play within food design. Throughout the workshop, critiques and performances will be held to emphasize the authentic development of personal "taste." Students will likewise be challenged to consider the sensory experience of their work and its ethical, aesthetic, historical and political implications. A professional chef will assist participants with technical needs. Scheduled visits and tastings to neighboring distilleries, vineyards, local farms and food producers will be an essential component of revealing the complex, and delightful, space in which food design exists.
Located 80 miles from Paris (45 minutes on the high-speed train), the City of Reims is one of the cultural centers of France. Participants will stay in centrally located apartment-style housing with full service amenities.
"You can say that 'form follows function' has been abused as an excuse for shitty design and absolutely boring, inhuman architecture." So says frogdesign founder Hartmut Esslinger, a man who clearly does not mince words. Esslinger's Design Forward: Creative Strategies for Sustainable Change book was finally released over the weekend, and there's an attendant teaser video where Esslinger shares five lessons (occasionally delivered with colorful language ) learned on the job:
Industrial design isn't the only field suffering from a dearth of women; the engineering sciences have the same problem. So it's interesting to see that Etsy, through concerted effort, has increased the numbers of their female engineering staff more than four times over.
Before you get too excited—First Line Capital's headline of "How Etsy Grew their Number of Female Engineers by Almost 500% in One Year" might skew your expectations—that simply means they went from four to eighteen female engineers. But the effort is still laudable, particularly since few people in charge seem capable (if they're even truly interested) in solving issues of workplace gender inequality, and here we have a concrete example of how to go about it.
In this nearly 20-minute talk, Etsy CTO Kellan Elliott-McCrea discusses specifically how they enacted the increase—and isn't shy about revealing the failure of the initial foray, which led to a female decline.
My favorite point of Elliot-McCrea's is the bit about "more data." Forums are fine for airing feelings or bringing up individual tales, but it is a comprehensive and data-driven structural analysis of the problem, undertaken by many different people working together, that can yield true results.
Also fascinating: His "Zero or 2+" female statistic, which I wish we could hear more about.
What do you think—is it possible for there to be an ID equivalent to the Hacker School? And if so, which firm or organization do you think would be well-placed to enact one?
Years ago, while studying ID at Pratt I had the pleasure of taking a sculpture class taught by the master crafstman Toshio Odate. It was in his class that I first used a block plane, and I was all wide-eyed at the gossamer shavings that came out of it.
I was reminded of this as I came across this video from the William Ng Woodworking School in California, where they offer a class where you make your own plane. (The video is not a tutorial but an unnarrated look at what you'd be doing in the class.)
For those on the West Coast, the three-day class will run you $385 plus another $75 for materials.
In an earlier interview we did with Otherlab's Saul Griffith, he discussed the importance of creators fabricating their own tools. While he was referring specifically to modern-day digital fabrication, his point was something that woodworkers have understood for centuries. "Using a finely tuned wooden hand plane you make yourself," reads the hand plane course description, "is probably one of woodworking's ultimate experiences."
In the world of design, the portfolio is paramount, often more central than one's credentials or awards. As a designer myself, I'm more concerned with the work someone has done and is capable of. Some designers I know have found great success without a master's degree, and others with master's degrees still struggle. The reverse is true as well, of course.
An apprenticeship is a structured program of work-based learning and classroom-based instruction that leads to certification in an occupation, and it involves a high level of skill demands and it covers many occupations, depending on the country. In our country, we focus more on the skilled trades in construction and in manufacturing, but it can work in many other fields.
Could that include design? With rising tuition rates, the idea of going to college can be daunting. Some professions, like medicine and law, require strong credentials. But others, like design, are more about the portfolio. Are there other ways to develop that portfolio?
The tech world might reveal some examples. A recent New York Times piece looked at one young man, Benjamin Goering, who joined a company without a college degree:
So in the spring of 2010, Mr. Goering took the same leap as Mr. Zuckerberg: he dropped out of college and moved to San Francisco to make his mark. He got a job as a software engineer at a social-software company, Livefyre, run by a college dropout, where the chief technology officer at the time and a lead engineer were also dropouts. None were sheepish about their lack of a diploma. Rather, they were proud of their real-life lessons on the job.
But not everyone is able to just take the leap. We all need training, especially when it comes to the complex ins and outs of design. Should we be seeing more apprenticeships? Should design studios consider offering them? I can imagine they'd be distinct from internships; the connotation of an apprenticeship suggests learning on the job, and not just serving coffee between college classes.
Lerman might agree. Here's what he said in the above-mentioned blog post: "Shouldn't we have space for people who like to learn by doing, who like to combine classroom activity with real employability at the workplace and skill development at the workplace? I think we need both."
To help all of our App to the Future entrants create stunning designs, we've asked the Lightning Design Review team to send us their favorite tips for designing Windows Phone Apps. SIGNUP BY TUESDAY for the following Thursday's weekly Lighting Design Review!
- core jr
Senior Interactive Designer Lincoln Anderson, who hosts the reviews, analyzed common issues he sees and shares his top eight design tips for Windows Phone.
Write a "best-at" statement that clearly outlines what makes your app great and unique from the rest. Use it as a mission statement that guides design and development. Think about how different types of users will employ your app and focus on the top three "user scenarios" that truly support your best-at statement. Make these user experiences truly stellar before adding more features.
Create a navigation flowchart, showing how the pages in your app interrelate. It will give you a clearer picture of how users should get around in your app. Group like pages and then decide if each group should be in panorama, pivot or app bar style based on how users will interact. Even if you're not artistically inclined, sketch simple wireframes for your pages and try different iterations. Sketches are always easier to modify than code.
3. LOVE THE GRID
Grid based design is nothing new, but did you know that Windows Phone has its own grid? Use it while sketching or creating design comps. There is even a handy overlay included in page template. (It's hidden in the XAML comments.) Flip it on and see the grid in your own application. Snap to it!
4. THEME IT
One of the great things about Windows Phone is that users choose light or dark themes as well as personal accent colors. The entire phone takes on those themes. Don't let your app get left behind, or worse, perform opposite the user's intent. Theme and accent colors are available as resources you can use throughout your app.
5. IT'S ALIVE
Users love apps that feel like they're an organic part of their phone. Make a great live tile experience, even if that's not the main feature of your app. Live tiles pull users back into your app, and give you an edge over the competition. Take a look at the templates and come up with some ideas.
When Morpholio Projects released their Trace app for iPad at the end of September, the architectural community was abuzz with the possibilities that a digital version of trace paper would afford the profession. The app allowed users to instantly draw on top of imported images or background templates, layering comments or ideas to generate immediate, intelligent sketches that are easy to circulate.
Developed by architects, Trace allows users to trace over images in order to offer feedback or convey information quickly and graphically. Additionally, the app easily connects to an online community through their Eye Time function allowing a global community of users to provide feedback on work shared in public arenas: Crit, Pinup and Community.
Today, Trace announced the release of Automotive Design and Jewelry Design templates for their growing base of users. Working with Brett Stoltz, Industrial Design Transportation Track student from the University of Cincinnati, on the automotive templates and Liz Ricketts, co-founder of design education organization (the)OR, for the jewelry design templates, Morpholio Projects hopes to enhance the interative process for product designers. In conversation with Core77, Ciara Seymour, Morpholio UX Director, tell us, "The inherently iterative process of design lies central to the ability to reimagine within known constraints. These templates begin to provide students with a variety of basic and advanced perspective views as a foundation from which to begin designing."
If you're getting prepared for grad school, the MFA Products of Design priority application deadline is coming up on February 15th. The progressive program, launched at SVA, chaired by Core77's Allan Chochinov, and having just now completed its first semester, is casting a wide net:
We are looking for all kinds of applicants for the MFA program: the highly-skilled, seeking more meaningful applications; the deeply-knowledgeable, looking for greater scale and impact; the passionate, looking for more rigor and process; and of course the iconoclastic, looking for a home.
A: We've had great interest from working designers, a few years out of school and looking for more meaning in what they do with their acquired skills. Designers at this stage are often disillusioned by pumping out toxic garbage, but they haven't given up on their belief in the power of design. These kinds of people are precious, because they've got the skills in place, and they've got the passion to put them to more meaningful use. They just need a nurturing, challenging place to discover new opportunities in the world of design, and to really dig deep into what they uniquely have to contribute. Here I'd say, "We want you back."
We are also looking for extraordinarily creative individuals who actually should be in design. The skill sets and vocabularies required of a design person are rapidly changing, and there are now many many places for creative people to contribute to the enterprise of design. We are looking for people with deep, comprehensive skills in a couple particular areas, and who hunger for ways to integrate those skills into something bigger. That's the thing--we're in the business of training people to become great designers--sure. But we're also in the business of empowering creative, strategic, and fearless people to do great things in the world of design. Designers crave influence from the edges, so we welcome people with excellent chops in something vital, who are intensely curious about making a difference and who are enamored of the fact that design deals in scale; that a single action can multiply out to great effect.
(Some nice special effects: The Design Research class will be taught at IDEO; the Material Futures class at Material ConneXion; Design Narratives class at Project Projects; working professional faculty with deep industry connections, including Paola Antonelli, Masamichi Udagawa, Sigi Moeslinger, Jason Severs and more; heart of NYC.) Apply Page is here.
In seeking a way to promote both charity and Detroit's heritage while engaging youngsters, Ralph Gilles (Senior Veep of Chrysler Product Design) and his team partnered up with co-sponsors CCS, the Autorama custom car show and United Way to sponsor a high-school-targeted design competition. Anyone attending a Detroit public high school is invited to draw up a Chrysler luxury vehicle for the year 2030. Winners will get passes to the Detroit Autorama (plus an iPad for first prize winners) and more importantly, free admission to summer auto design courses at CCS.
"This year our product design team has been looking at creative ways to further support United Way for Southeastern Michigan as part of our overall corporate initiatives to help improve lives for people and communities in need," said Ralph Gilles, Senior Vice President - Product Design, Chrysler Group LLC.
"With additional help from the College for Creative Studies and one of the best custom car shows in the world-our own Detroit Autorama--we'll hopefully inspire some new and aspiring automotive designers right here in our own backyard."
The deadline for entry is February 8th. While news of the competition was just announced yesterday, there is no official competition website; apparently the entries will be collected through the high schools themselves.
Launch day is still a couple of weeks away, but as of today Frog Design founder Hartmut Esslinger's new book is now available for pre-order. Entitled Design Forward: Creative Strategies for Sustainable Change, the 308-pager details case studies from Esslinger's Frog years, when he was designing for Wega, Sony (the company that gobbled Wega up) and of course Steve Jobs, with both Apple and NEXT. Mac geeks will enjoy seeing photos of Esslinger's early Apple concept work, like proposals for a Macbook laptop and flatscreen workstation circa 1982.
Examinations of his personal work aside, Design Forward is not intended to be a vanity piece, nor a mere look backwards; Esslinger's current position as a professor of industrial design at Vienna's University of Applied Arts provides him with exposure to plenty of young students, and he incorporates select examples of their work in a series of case studies.
This year, PENSOLE has partnered with the Two Ten Footwear Foundation and FN Platform tradeshow at MAGIC to award scholarships to their footwear design class to 210 lucky students. The programs will begin in January 2013 for a 3-week online class and a 4-week masterclass at PENSOLE HQ in Portland, Oregon. Students and schools are encouraged to apply for either program. But most exciting, work from the program will be showcased at the FN Platform footwear tradeshow in Las Vegas, February 19-22, 2013.
When analytic thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process. That is fairly well understood, at least in the arts... Something is always killed. But what is less noticed in the arts—something is always created too.
-Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance
I teach design process to people with very little experience in design, at a thing we call the Design Gym. The response from our attendees is always very positive. People, with this new knife of analytic thought, feel excited and energized to go and use it in their lives, to organize their thoughts and to approach their problems in a new way. When I tell other frameworks for non-designers to better understand design, the responses are sometimes controversial.
A few months back, at an Interaction Designer's meetup, I brought up what I do at the Design Gym. A new friend protested adamantly against the idea of process. He insisted that he just got in, rolled up his sleeves, and got the job done. He insisted that he followed no process at all. Plus, he derided process as rigid and no fun. And in one way, he's right: something is killed when you think about and describe what you do. He feels that a certain freedom is killed. But what is created?
One of my friends from Industrial Design school recently had me over to discuss her portfolio as she considered her options for jobs. She's been working at a design-driven consultancy for the past several years as a senior designer... and the feeling is that it's time to start getting ready for the next step. The consultancy she works at doesn't have an explicit process—companies come to them for their brand power and aesthetic. So when showing the story of a project, there are too few pieces around to speak to. There are a few sketches, then some renderings, then the object. Which is a story, after all...but it doesn't speak to the why or the how—the sort of things employers say they love to see in portfolios. I think she realized that this was a problem, which is why she had me over: to help her find and tell her story, through the lens of process.
What is created when we apply a process? When process is used consciously you have evidence of work for each part of the design process. Those groupings of work help tell the story of the project, and the decisions made at the transition points in the process.
Although yesterday saw the launch of the Design Salary Guide, we were also interested to hear that Pratt's student-designed, -managed and -organized magazine the "Prattler" recently did a survey on the student body. The data covers a range of categories, from Cumulative Debt by Graduation to Sexuality and Who's Voting.
Pratt's student run magazine illustrates data, through, well illustrations
Many third party sites offer statistical data about colleges, such as rate of acceptance or more importantly male to female ratio. This information, however, is a current representation of the views and opinions of students, putting a face to the data point.
The execution of statisitcal data, which can be relatively uninspired, is presented in a refreshing and clear manner in this month's "Prattler." For example, the dominating theme of dollar bills is used to illustrate the various ways that students spend their money.