It is items like MisoSoupDesign's Anti-Loneliness Ramen Bowl (below), from earlier this year, that fuel my "Hell in a Handbasket" posts and tweets.
But now Brazilian art director Mauricio Perussi (and his team at ad agency Fischer&Friends) have designed an opposite sort of device with their Offline Glass, which can only stand if there's a cell phone under it:
Yes, it's just a gag, done in conjunction with the Bar Salve Jorge in Cacador, but it's a trenchant one. The idea of creating a co-dependent drinking glass for the sole purpose of subsuming your drinking mate's celly is sadly attractive. So why does this post still get the HIAH moniker, given that the design is attempting to rectify a social ill? Because the fact that Perussi needed to make this comment at all shows we're all going to Hell in a Handbasket. Put your freaking phone down or find more interesting people to drink with.
Get your cameras ready. On June 23rd the celestial event known as the Supermoon will happen. The sun, Earth and moon will be in alignment, with the moon hitting its perigee; that means it will be closer to the Earth than normal, making it bigger and brighter. And yes, it will be full.
A Supermoon isn't as rare as, say, a comet sighting; it happens every 14 months or so. During this time, NASA says, it will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than when it's at its furthest, and you're surely going to see a rash of awesome photos.
You're also going to hear all kinds of kooky theories. Its scientifically documented that the Supermoon will only raise the tides by a matter of a few feet, but Tweeters will insist it's causing flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis and tornadoes, none of which will be true.
Conspiracy theorist and comedian Bill Burr will probably use the Supermoon to once again insist the moon landings are fake. "How come when you look at the moon," he's said onstage, "you can't see that jeep we left up there?"
This is a true story. Descriptions of companies, clients, schools, projects, and designers may be altered and anonymized to protect the innocent.
Editor: This True I.D. Story is a good one! Fitting in that it comes to us from "Good Ol' Boy." Enjoy!
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The Design Grad Blues
Maybe it's not fair to say my school's industrial design program, at a well-known university in a big-ass city, didn't adequately prepare me for the real world. But I'll say it anyway. As one example of the low demands placed on us, during my final year I basically spent an entire semester making Muppets. And I got an "A."
By the time I graduated, I had a portfolio full of weird stuff. The school encouraged us to do bizarre conceptual work and my portfolio was loaded with it. When I look back at that stuff now, I don't know how anyone made heads or tails of it. And people who interviewed me for jobs, particularly the job that I badly wanted, couldn't either.
My Plan to Get a Job
During senior year I'd heard of [Hot Design Consultancy], and I very badly wanted to work there. That was the only ID job I wanted. They did awesome work, they had great clients and they were located in [Cool City], where I really wanted to live.
But I figured I'd better cover my bases. I moved back home to [Below the Mason-Dixon, East of the Mississippi] after graduation and looked through I.D. Magazine—remember them?—to locate 50 ID firms, then I faxed out 50 resumes. And waited. And waited. And waited.
Turns out 12 of those fax numbers were no longer in service. I got two faxes back saying Thanks But No Thanks, they weren't hiring. Then I got two other faxes back saying I could come in to interview.
Elemen'tary Screwdriver sets are made in a London workshop, based on the design of a cabinet maker who was dissatisfied with the grip of screwdrivers that he had purchased. As any maker worth his salt would do, he sat down and crafted grips that fit his hands comfortably. The handles are made from beech and are finished by dipping in linseed oil. Unlike rubber, the wood surface is kind to hands and won't encourage blisters. After prolonged use the handles will develop a natural patina. Available from Hand-Eye Supply as a set for $50 or individually for $24 and $35, respectively.
When we last heard from Bruce Nussbaum, on the occasion of the HarvardxDesign Conference, he mentioned his forthcoming book, Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect and Inspire (HarperBusiness 2013). Available now, it makes for a surprisingly good beach or travel read (Kindle version recommended, as the print version comes in hardcover), at least for those of you who prefer nonfiction for leisure reading.
But the insights and learnings from Nussbaum—a former editor at BusinessWeek and current professor at Parsons the New School from Design—are applicable for a broad audience, from recent grads to practicing designers to C-suite execs. We had a chance to speak to Nussbaum about those very insights.
Core77: What is Creative Intelligence?
Bruce Nussbaum: Creative Intelligence is a way of amplifying our creative capacities. It's a series of five competencies that we can all learn to bolster our skill at generating originality that has value, often economic value. Individuals and business organizations can increase their Creative Intelligence by getting better at Knowledge Mining, Framing, Playing, Making and Pivoting or Scaling. The concept embraces the notion that creativity is crucial to capitalism and the source of most economic value.
You write about "creativity anxiety, noting that "creativity scares us." Why do you think that is?
We have false notions of creativity. We are taught that creativity is rare, random, and reduced to special brains. We feel we should be creative but can't perform creatively. Rubbish. We are all born creative and can easily learn to be more creative and innovative. Creativity is a social activity, an ensemble or team play, not an individual gift of genius.
Many of us picture so-called creative types sitting alone in a studio or office, either filled with inspiration or waiting for it to strike, yet you write of interactive creativity and collaboration. Is there a difference between the two?
The "Aha" moment of insight, when we connect the dots of different things to come up with something new, are often done alone, walking or running, taking a long shower or slowly drinking your morning coffee. These insights come after intense social interaction and observation. They come after the research, the learning, the gathering of information and the engagement with the world. You need both.
One hundred and seven degree heat. The height of the monsoon season. A country recently ruled by a brutal military dictatorship where US sanctions have just been lifted and foreigners are free to investigate and invest: time, thinking, money. What could be a better location for a design workshop?
Last week, 300 colleagues of mine—fellow members of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders cohort - convened in Myanmar for our annual meeting. About 100 YGLs are selected each year from around the world for their work in the public and private sector to serve a five-year term to exchange ideas and collaborate on projects that create new value on topics such as the circular economy, gender parity, food security, human trafficking, and political reinvention. The mission is to help reinvent our global economy by advancing the concepts of dignity, equality, and fairness in innovative ways.
Before attending the WEF East Asia meeting in the new strangely sci-fi capital of Nay Pyi Taw, eight of us representing six countries went into the field to collaborate with Proximity Designs, a 10-year old social enterprise founded by Skoll Entrepreneurs Jim and Debbie Taylor. Proximity is a Myanmar organization that looks for high-impact opportunities to increase income for the 70% of the Burmese population (of 60 million) who are dependent on agriculture to survive, and they use design methodology to try to lift them out of poverty. Our goal for the daylong workshop was to brainstorm solutions for two important strategic issues with Proximity and to come up with actionable plans.
You know the iconic gold and black logo that tells you your deli serves products backed by a 100+ year old commitment to quality. Boar's Head is known all across the country for their dedication to serving only the best, and they'd like you to bring your best to their team.
If you'd like to work for this famous brand as their Senior Graphic Designer, you'll need to live for creative challenges, work well independently as well as with others, have the leadership skills to lead photo shoots, and be an all around graphic design dynamo.
This is the third profile in our series on American design entrepreneurs, looking at how they got where they are, what they do all day, and what advice they have for other designers running their own businesses. Read last week's profile here.
Growing up, Aaron Lown's mom had a saying: "Why buy it when you can make it?"
That mantra inspired Lown, now 44, to launch the company Built NY in 2003 with business partner John Roscoe Swartz. Built's first product was the now iconic neoprene wine-bottle carrier. When the totes debuted at the New York International Gift Fair in 2004, the company received $100,000 in orders within 48 hours. A year later, Built logged its millionth sale. "Wine was on the rise at the time, yet the wine accessories market had nothing young and hip and cool," Lown says. "We had a great product and a niche in the market that wasn't being filled."
Aaron Lown (left) and his business partner, John Roscoe Swartz
So how do you grow a good idea and a modest $30,000 investment into a multimillion dollar company with a full line of products and 40 employees? Lown attributes his success, in part, to his upbringing in Bangor, Maine. "My mom played an important role in my ethos," he says. "She taught me how to sew and there was always a crafts project happening."
Meanwhile, Lown's father ran a shoe manufacturing business and Lown remembers the smell of glue on the factory floor and seeing the components of shoe patterns strewn around their house. "The influence of my father gave me the entrepreneurial part of my personality, while my mom gave me the making gene," Lown says. (Not to mention an uncle who invented the defibrillator.)
At 13, while his other friends were shipped off to sports camps, Lown threw pottery at a crafts retreat called Camp Horizons (where he accidentally broke fellow camper Jonathan Adler's ankle in a basketball game.) After that summer, Lown built a woodshop in his parent's basement where he made objects like jewelry boxes that he sold to local crafts stores. In high school, he and a friend became interested in skimboarding, "so we spent the winter coming up with a brand and making skimboards in the garage," Lown says. "The first day out in the spring, we tested the prototype and I fell and broke my wrist. That was my first taste of failure, which is something that you have to let fly off your back."
My ID classmate kept getting burgled. His second-storey East Village apartment was broken into multiple times, and in frustration he signed a year lease on apartment 6B of a six-flight walk-up. He reasoned that no thief would be willing to haul a television down six flights of stairs. But within a month, he was robbed again—this time they broke in through the roof door. And my TV-less buddy spent the next 11 months going up and down six flights of stairs every day.
Six storeys (some say seven) was the maximum height they'd build residential buildings in New York, prior to the elevator. No resident was willing to climb more stairs than that. After Otis' perfection of the elevator, that height limitation was gone, and within a century we had skyscrapers. Then the new height limitation was building technology.
Advanced construction techniques have since skyrocketed, if you'll pardon the pun; as the World's Tallest Building peeing contest continues, it is rumored that Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Tower will be a kilometer high. But the new height limitation is the thing that smashed the old one: Elevators. Steel cable is so heavy that at its maximum elevator height of 500 meters, the cables themselves make up 3/4s of the moving mass. You can stagger elevator banks to go higher, but the heaviness of steel cable makes long-haul elevators prohibitively expensive to run.
Finnish elevator manufacturer Kone believes they have the answer. After ten years of development they've just announced the debut of UltraRope, a carbon-fiber cable that's stronger than steel, lasts twice as long, and weighs a fraction of the older stuff: