Articles on this Page
- 10/19/18--06:16: _Entertaining Video ...
- 10/19/18--06:16: _Primitive Timing/Li...
- 10/20/18--06:38: _Jamie Wolfond Think...
- 10/23/18--07:27: _Kyocera's Tiny, Min...
- 10/23/18--07:27: _Task Lamp with a Di...
- 10/23/18--07:27: _Machine and Fabrica...
- 10/23/18--07:27: _Functional Workwear...
- 10/23/18--07:27: _Design Job: Interns...
- 10/23/18--07:27: _TODAY is Your Last ...
- 10/23/18--07:27: _Reader Submitted: M...
- 10/23/18--07:27: _Design Job: Sago Mi...
- 10/23/18--11:23: _Two Farmhands Inven...
- 10/23/18--11:23: _Airline Pilot's Stu...
- 10/24/18--11:50: _A Graphic Design Cr...
- 10/24/18--11:50: _7 Tips To Get the M...
- 10/24/18--11:50: _Mesmerizing GIF of ...
- 10/24/18--11:50: _Design Job: (RED) I...
- 10/24/18--11:50: _Charts Showing the ...
- 10/24/18--11:50: _Man Devises Clever ...
- 10/24/18--11:50: _Could/Should You De...
- 10/19/18--06:16: Primitive Timing/Lighting Device: A Self-Extinguishing Coiled Candle
- 10/23/18--07:27: Kyocera's Tiny, Minimalist Credit-Card-Sized Cell Phone
- 10/23/18--07:27: Task Lamp with a Difference: The Herston Self-Balancing Desk Lamp
- 10/23/18--07:27: Reader Submitted: Marie-T: Prosthesis for Ballerinas
- 10/23/18--11:23: Airline Pilot's Stunning Long-Exposure Photos From the Cockpit
- 10/24/18--11:50: A Graphic Design Crash Course For ID Students
- 10/24/18--11:50: 7 Tips To Get the Most Out Of Your Next Critique
- 10/24/18--11:50: Mesmerizing GIF of How Chicken Wire is Made
At a Sotheby's auction this month, Banksy had one of his pieces on offer, mounted in a baroque, self-created frame. After the bidding war ended at a staggering £860,000 (USD $1.1 million), an alarm sounded and the frame revealed a surprising capability. Here's how it went down, followed by footage from Banksy of how it was supposed to go down:
This seems like an industrial design student project that actually got picked up by a manufacturer. It's a coiled beeswax candle made by a company called Candle by the Hour, and it was supposedly "part of the 1600s dating scene. Known as a 'courting candle', protective parents would light one to limit the time prospective suiters [sic] could spend with their daughters."
I say it seems like a student project, because I can just imagine the copy about how this "Urges us to reconsider the nature of time" or "recontextualizes the passage of minutes by forcing us to manually advance the candle," you get the idea.
In any case, the object is popular enough that they've scored Home Depot distributorship.
This interview is part of a series featuring the presenters participating in this year's Core77 Conference, "Now What? Launching & Growing Your Creative Business" , a one-day event aimed to equip attendees with tangible skills and toolkits to help produce and promote their products or service.
Many designers follow a traditional design process, where selecting a factory to manufacture with comes after the design process is completed. Jamie Wolfond and his brand Good Thing, however, choose to put an emphasis on specific materials and production methods at the beginning of the design process, working with factories, manufacturers and outside designers to bring unexpected twists on classic home items to life.
Jamie will be speaking about this method of "backwards design" to explain how it works and how it fits within Good Thing's unique business model at the 2018 Core77 Conference, happening next Thursday October 25th at A/D/O in Brooklyn. Ahead of his talk, we sat down with Jamie to learn about Good Thing's origins, understanding your customers and why putting materials and process first can help your products in the long run:
How did Good Thing start?
I started Good Thing because I spent a year after graduating from school attempting to license my designs to manufacturers for production before finding that there wasn't much of a licensing infrastructure in North America to work with. Or really very much of an infrastructure for young designers to see their work produced at all. My intention was to create an opportunity for myself to get work out there, and I pretty quickly figured out that by involving other people whose work I also admired and appreciated, I could go create a much more sort of visible platform to sell these products.
You've created a system where you consider materials and the manufacturing process first. Why is this approach important to you and how has it shaped your business model?
Good Thing, in general, works with designers who think about materials in a particular way, but I also have a process that I use in my own design work, whether or not it's a product for Good Thing or a product for someone else, that is a little bit more specific. Broadly speaking, at Good Thing, we like to make things that are asking to be made.
"If the manufacturing process is not involved in a very literal way at the beginning, then sometimes the result is stifled by someone's preconception about what that process might do."
This usually means that the design process starts not with a particular category and product, but with an ambition to get more from a process that we already know something about. For me, that manifests as this process that I sometimes call "backwards design", which refers to sort of reverse engineering or solving an unexpected problem with a technique or process. I think for some of our external designers, that's present in varying degrees. Of course each designer that we work with has their own perspective but it is, I think, at the end still tied together with this idea of changing what's possible, not by introducing new technology, but by using existing technology in a new way.
What does "backwards design" mean to you?
On the other side of the supply chain there's usually a person who's making the product. If you involve the person, their tools, their equipment, their machines, their skills and even, in some cases, their personality in a product before you determine what it's meant to become, you end up with a product that is ultimately stronger for the way in which it's been shaped by different influences. Whereas if you come up with something and you know how it has to look and the surface has to feel exactly this one particular way, independent of the forces used to construct it, sometimes there's an unpleasant kind of tension left in the object, where what somebody envisioned it to be and what it was able to be. If the manufacturing process is not involved in a very literal way at the beginning, then sometimes the result is stifled by someone's preconception about what that process might do.
Even if you have a metal laser cutter locally that you usually work with, what you know about the parameters of that laser cutter doesn't normally help what can be done with some other laser cutter somewhere else. It takes practical experience working alongside the actual vendor with the actual machine in the actual place where the thing can be made to really shape an object such as it is.
What are some materials and processes that you've been particularly excited to work with over the years?
We've had the chance to work with a lot. They all have their different strengths, and we like having a big toolbox to work from. We know that there are certain methods that work really well at small volumes and they make for you a prototype and test things. Early in the beginning, we worked with a factory that would dip things in rubber. That one didn't last awhile. That was the best example of when we backwards designed ourselves out of a vendor. I think we've hit the gamut of conventional industrial practices. Of course, we're always interested in unconventional ones, but it's extra hard to find a open-minded factory ready to do something completely different. And that's when outsourcing work overseas can become very challenging.
When working so heavily with manufacturers from the start, how do you also consider your end consumer?
That's where my talk at the conference will fall, so I don't want to give away too much. It's a very challenging thing, and it's not something that was intuitive in the same way that working with the factory to figure out how to make something was intuitive. When I started Good Thing after graduating from art school, I knew that products that adhere to conventional industries and norms were not the kind of things I wanted. For that reason, it seemed like making something that a large audience wants and making something that I think is beautiful were mutually exclusive because there are so many things our audience buys that are not inside my canon of beautiful things. I think the way that we came to understand our consumer at the beginning was really with a lot of trial and error. By analyzing the soft data that came out of releasing products and seeing how they sold over and over, we were able to figure out a collection of items that sort of operate on multiple levels.
You want to start a creative business. Now What? Come to our 2018 Core77 Conference to learn more about launching & growing a product line or design studio of your own on October 25th in Brooklyn!
When Punkt released their Jasper-Morrison-designed "dumb phone," above, it sold out instantly. The $295 MP 01 only did two things--make phone calls and send text messages--and in 2016 that was an attractive alternative for those seeking respite from smartphone addiction. Two years later, the phone is either still sold out or they've stopped manufacturing them; the "Buy" button on their website is greyed out.
Now another manufacturer, Japan's Kyocera, is rolling out a minimalist phone. While not quite a "dumb" phone (in addition to phone functionality and text messages, there is a browser, calculator and calendar), their new KY-01L is extremely tiny and features a black-and-white ePaper display.
A credit card is about 86mm x 54mm, and the 47-gram KY-01L isn't much larger, at just 91mm x 55mm (and a tad thicker at 5.3mm).
While Kyocera obviously can't put photos of it next to an iPhone in their marketing materials, we can. So here are some side-by-sides, to give you an idea of how much less space the KY-01L takes up:
Sadly, Kyocera is planning to roll it out for the Japanese market only.
In last week's "Currently Crowdfunding: Notable Campaigns of the Week" we printed a brief mention of the Herston self-balancing desk lamp, but it's such a kick-ass design that we want to take a closer look at it here. A task lamp is one of the most important things you can have on your desk, and the Herston, by industrial designers Oliver and Greta Chambers, is a clear improvement over what came before.
Ever since design school I've always owned your standard drafting table swing-arm lamp. The problem with these is that the springs and plastic joint-tightening knobs always wear out, and in short order the lamp is no longer capable of providing its chief service, which is putting light exactly where you want it. On top of that, the cheap stamped metal and plastic parts don't feel particularly nice in the hand.
In contrast, the Chambers' design is made from oak or walnut, and the metal parts are brass (and cast-iron for the precision counterweights). Conductive joints mean the ugly power cables are hidden, and the base rotates smoothly on ball bearings.
At £260 (about USD $340) for the Early Birds, the Herston isn't cheap, but you get what you pay for, and the campaign has already been successfully Kickstarted. There are still nine days left if you'd like to get in on it. Once it goes to market, it will retail for £450 (about USD $586), so the Kickstarter price is a pretty good discount.
Over the summer we wrote about Xometry, an on-demand manufacturing platform (and, full disclosure, a Core77 advertiser) that helps industrial designers get instant quotes. Now Xometry is trying to help out a supplier of theirs, Maritech Machine, whose Florida-based shop was destroyed by Hurricane Michael last week.
Following the loss of their facility Maritech Machine, which is a woman-owned precision machine and fabrication shop, is reaching out for help through the Xometry Manufacturing Partner Network to get up and running again. Xometry has set up a GoFundMe for the company--and agreed to match the donations up to $5,000. If you've got a little scratch to spare, please consider pitching in here!
We all know clothes are disposable, but it feels a lot better to throw away a garment that you have worn the hell out of and caused to fail, rather than because it's no longer stylish. Tradespeople know this better than most, and if you talk to them, they'll happily tell you what brands they rely on; but most of them are too busy climbing into crawlspaces and digging ditches to set up Instagram accounts and become "influencers."
So I was happy to see that an actual working electrician took the time to put this review up on YouTube. Carl Murawski works with his hands for a living, and here he runs down the differences between two brands he's evaluated over the long haul: Carhartt and Duluth Trading Co.
I would've liked to see him tackle Dickies too, though maybe a three-way comparison would've been too long.
I wear Carhartt simply because it's the easiest thing for me to find in my size, and the price is right. Shop denizens among you, can you vouch for Duluth and/or Dickies? I have no experience with either brand.
Matter Made's Design Internship offers qualified candidates the opportunity to work with a growing design manufacturing company. The Design Intern will work with our design team to help improve existing products, add to our product resources for clients, draft manufacturing drawings, and help develop ideas for new projects. This isView the full design job here
This Thursday October 25th we'll be gathering in
sunnyfreezing cold Brooklyn for the annual Core77 Conference. This year the conference will consist of talks and workshops focusing on how to launch and grow your own creative business, a topic typically not taught in design school. Our series of talks and workshops will focus on the realities of branching out on your own, and along the way we have plenty of fun twists, turns and surprises in store. We're hoping to make this daunting topic more approachable and exciting for everyone, so what are you waiting for? Check out our lineup and get your ticket before it's too late!
2018 Core77 Conference ticket sales end October 22nd at 11:59pm EST.
Don't miss out on the best design party of the year—join us this Thursday October 25th for the Core77 Conference in Brooklyn, NY. Buy your ticket today.
Marie-T is a prosthesis that allows amputees to perform ballet.
Prosthetics is discussed in two manners. A artificial limb to imitate the organic human body or one to excel above it. However, Marie-T is a prosthesis aimed to inspire creativity. There is a community of Amputees that lives life with a prosthesis. They are a community that lives uniquely in their own style. Marie-T is a prosthetic leg that is designed to allow amputees to dance in a way that is uniquely their own. In ballet ballerinas move up and down from a pointe position in order to create a beautiful and ethereal affect. However, pointe puts immense strain on the foot and ankle of a performer, and even with practice starting from a young age, it is near impossible to perform constantly at this position.
However, I wanted to explore what would happen if you could allow a person to perform on Pointe 100% of the time. How would ballet change? I wanted to create a tool for someone to take and let their imagination define the capabilities of the product.
Sago Mini creates beautiful and thoughtfully designed apps & toys for preschoolers and toddlers. We’re looking for a Senior Product Designer to join our Consumer Products team to help develop unique and clever toys and activities for preschoolers. As a Senior Product Designer you willView the full design job here
Following my recent move, I've learned that farms have a unique waste situation that doesn't exist in urban life: While farms are filled with tons of useful buildings, tools and infrastructure, the periphery is often a graveyard of discarded materials and broken machinery. In the city we throw these things away or recycle them. But on farms, there's enough room to leave large piles of non-biodegradable garbage for decades, and the eyesore is considered a worthwhile penalty versus the trouble of hauling it away.
Some of these items cannot be repaired. On this property we have a derelict riding mower that's been broken, repaired and hacked so many times, Mad Max's mechanic couldn't get it running again:
Other items are made from essentially valuable raw materials like metal, yet are so bent out of shape that they are essentially worthless. One example of this is old fence posts.
In the area of the American South where I live, six-foot fence posts like these run about $4 a pop brand new. Farms may require miles of fencing, and the post costs get pricey. Sometimes vehicles run into the posts and damage them; other times circumstances change, and the fences need to be removed. If removed hastily or stored improperly, the posts can get bent. They're then cast off to the side of the property, where they sit and rust.
In the field, a farmer can straighten a few bent posts out using a hammer and the tow ball on his truck as an anvil. But this isn't viable for an entire field's worth of bent fence posts. So two Australian farm workers, Daryl Irving and Dan Robinson, spent eight years designing and prototyping a machine that would solve this problem:
Irving and Robinson launched their company, Post Straightener, in 2016. Today, in addition to selling the machines, they travel to farms in Australia straightening fence posts by the hundreds. The math makes good sense, both for Post Straightener and for farmers:
"Using our service will save you money by recycling posts you already have at a fraction of the price of new posts. We come to you and don't charge a travelling fee. We will also clean up those unsightly piles of useless twisted metal for you. Furthermore, older posts are of much higher quality than the new ones being made which are .6 kilograms lighter than the old posts. New posts can cost up to $7.20 whereas we can straighten up to 1,000 posts in one day at $2.50 per post."
"I'm very proud how the machine functions," Irving writes. "it is extremely strong and can straighten up to 1,000 posts in one day. So far we have straightened 34,000 posts."
Another benefit of having invented the machine is that the two now get to hit the road:
"Part of our job involves a great deal of traveling. We enjoy this aspect very much as we get to see the country and meet new and interesting people along the way, some of whom have become great friends. We look forward to sitting around the fire with you after a long day, telling yarns and enjoying a few beers. This makes the job even more rewarding."
Airline pilots see all kinds of cool stuff which we, riding in the back of the plane, will never get to. Enter Christiaan van Heijst, who's not only a commercial cargo pilot on a Boeing 747, but a photographer as well. Van Heijst brings his camera gear aboard and, once aloft, shoots some magnificent sights:
Photography geeks among you, van Heijst has written up technical descriptions of how he shoots these on PetaPixel.
In a perfect world, all industrial design programs would require a visual communications class that teaches students how to properly arrange a poster. Unfortunately, unless graphic design is already your passion, most of us are essentially dropped in the deep end when it comes to how to make a nice poster for your presentations. It can be really overwhelming, and calling your friend in ComD every time you open InDesign just isn't sustainable.
Well, you're in luck. I called two of my best Graphic Design friends, one in ID and one in ComD, to layout the basics you need to know to get started when making a presentation poster—from layout to fonts to photoshop tricks.
Line up all elements on your poster with a grid. The grid can come in columns of 2, 3, or 4 and your text and images should align with those columns.
When things line up, it will help things feel less chaotic and more organized, even with lots of information. If you don't know where to start, open up a magazine and look at the layouts of its pages. Do some research and reference design magazines.
Are you worried you need a background? It's okay to leave it white if you're new to making posters. The more references you look at, the better you will get at understanding when backgrounds work. If you really want to add something, try a super subtle pale gradient or an off-white.
A lot of text will make your poster too busy. Leave breathing room, and don't include full paragraphs—nobody will read them. Try separating your poster into two or three big sections and subdividing these sections. Group relevant information, and use the natural reading from top to bottom to convey important info first.
Step away from the screen and look at your poster from a distance. Squint. See what sticks out the most. It's almost never the part you want. The hero image should be what sticks out—that little blue box with text you didn't want anyone to read is not supposed to be the focal point.
Really think about what is most important for people to know, and make that the first thing they see. In most cases, an image should stand out the most, and a title/tag line should explain your product. Try one big image, and several smaller images to explain various features.
Do a test print at full size (as cheap as possible in B&W) to check if your text is too big. It probably is (pro tip: Arial at 32 is disgusting). This test print can also check colors and contrast if you do it in color.
Have friend outside your major who is unfamiliar with your project look at your poster and find out what they understand. If they don't easily understand the gist of your project, try again.
Use one or two fonts only: one title font for your main title and one body font for the rest of the text. Do not mix serif and sans serifs. Experienced type people can manage this. You most likely cannot.
It's also good to pick 3 or 4 font sizes. Sort information by importance and assign it one of the font sizes accordingly. Larger, bolder fonts will stand out more. Make all subtitles the same size and all explanatory text another, smaller size.
Avoid using colored text except, for maybe the title. Color is fun, but it can very easily go awry. Understand saturation is and proceed with caution. What appears fine on the computer screen might look bad printed out (again, this is why test prints are useful). No color should be 1000 percent saturates. Ever.
Photograph everything. Even if you already have photos, take more. The worst situation to be in is when you think you have a photo of a sketch model, but it turns out you don't at 3AM before the project is due.
What do you do if you only have shit photographs?
If you don't have a way to take good photos, try simple line art in illustrator. You can easily trace over an image. Make some diagrams, or if possible SolidWorks renders/drawings.
If you want to try and retake some photos last minute, try holding your model in front of a white wall, under the softest light you can find. If you can't find a white wall, try an in-context photo.
If you don't know Photoshop well and are looking for a place to start, look up masking and adjustment layers. You're probably familiar with adjusting things like brightness, contrast, and saturation, but adjustment layers give you a lot more control over where those effects take place. And maybe feather the edge of your images a little so that they don't look too harsh.
I learned almost everything I know about crit from my Sophomore Design Professor, Willy Schwenzfeier. He was kind enough to let me share the rules we used in class to make crit days enjoyable—for both presenter and audience:
Don't Pat Yourself On the Back
The whole point of a critique is to make your work better and to make you a better designer—not to prove or validate what a great job you did. Of course, it's nice if you did do a great job, but there's always something to be learned to make your work better.
Keep Your Presentation Short
You should be able to distill all the important information you need to get your project across to your audience down to two minutes. Keep things brief and succinct, or you will lose people's attention. Keeping things short also leaves more time for constructive feedback.
Practice What You're Going to Say
Rehearse your intro until you can say it in your sleep. Starting off strong will set the tone of your presentation, and it will help if you get a wave of stage fright when you get in front of your audience. You don't need to have a word for word script for your whole presentation, but at least take note of your main points and the order you want to say them. Get some friends together and go through a test run to make sure the volume and speed that you're talking at is understandable.
Don't Get Defensive (Shut Up and Listen)
Feedback from others is a gift. Someone is putting effort into helping you. Accept that goodwill with grace, and reinvest that energy in your work. That's why being quiet and listening is so important. No one wants to hear you scramble to justify yourself. You had your chance to frame/position your work with your presentation. Now it's time to take in what others thought.
You Don't Have to Take People's Advice
Just like in user research, you're not supposed do what the subjects of your research say. You are supposed to deduce WHY they said what they did and figure out if you can devise a way so they don't need to say that again in the future. Same with critiques, especially the early on ones: What's driving this concern? How can you alleviate it? Should you alleviate it?
Don't Waste Time Answering Questions
You have a limited amount of time to get feedback. Acknowledge the question ("Oh, interesting, I'll have to think about that…") and then try to garner more of the same from the others. Some kinds of questions from the audience are good: if they're probing more deeply into your ideas, etc that can be a great sign that you've got something worth chewing on. If the questions are about clarifying the very basics of your proposal, oooof, something's not right with either your concept itself or the way you shared it. But there are lessons to be learned even in that: Where'd you go wrong?
When Feedback Gets Off Topic
If someone is saying things that do not exactly align with what you meant, you could probably still learn something. I'm mean, they're still saying it in reaction to your presentation/work so there's probably some kind of link. Serendipity might lead you somewhere…
I guess the unofficial final tip is to have fun and let your passion for your design show. If you look bored or disappointed up there, it's going to affect how people see your work. Don't sell yourself short.
When looking at the hexagonal negative space in chicken wire, you have to wonder: How the heck do they make that? Well, this GIF shows you the gist of it:
It took me a few moments of watching it to register that those wire-feeding cylinders are actually splitting in half.
Here's what the entire contraption, called a gabion machine, looks like in action:
ABOUT (RED) (RED), a division of The ONE Campaign, transforms the collective power of consumers into a financial force to help others in need. (RED) works with the world’s most iconic brands – including Apple, Coca-Cola, Belvedere, Bank of America, and Starbucks – to drive contributions toView the full design job here
Remember Raymond Loewy's illustrative chart showing the evolution of form factors over the decades? Inspired by this, NeoMam studios created their own version in a promotional for SavingSpot. They've overlapped categories with Loewy with cars and telephones but went more product-design-based with home stereos, TVs, vacuum cleaners, fans, headphones and sneakers. Take a look:
Seeing the timeline extended into the 2010s reminds us of just how far recent form factor evolution has gone. From the 2000s on, the products bear incredibly little resemblance to their forebears. It will be interesting to see these charts updated in another 50 years.
A couple months ago I foolishly purchased a roof rack for my station wagon, thinking I would use it to carry 4x8 plywood and sheetrock from the home supply center back to the farm. Then I realized how dangerous this would be--at highway speeds (which I would need to travel), the wind could rip them right off if I didn't strap them in correctly or if a connection failed. I don't want to kill the guy behind me because I was trying to save money on delivery fees.
That being said, plenty of people do carry sheet goods on roof racks, and for short trips where you can do less than 30 MPH, perhaps it's safe. The biggest hazard might be to your back, trying to muscle the sheets atop your car. So this fellow here came up with a clever way to load the sheets by himself:
Do any of you use roof racks to transport sheet goods? If so, over what distances, and at what speeds? The tow eyes on my car are the lousy kind that are mounted off-center and hidden behind panels on the bumper, and I'm not confident that I could use them to create a robust connection front and rear.
For accessing the beds of pickup trucks, or even roof racks on cars, lots of companies make these simple, portable wheel steps:
So I've been wondering: Would it be possible, or practical, to build this feature directly into the wheel itself? It would be a neat design challenge to create something that folded out of the hubcap, always stayed perfectly level and provided a wide, stable step.
Then again, maybe I'm suffering from designeritis. Companies like AMP Research already make aftermarket box-side steps, and perhaps those are the more practical solution, even if they provide a much smaller platform.
Well, I'd still like to see someone develop a wheel-deployed variant, if only for designeritis sh*ts and giggles. If the step was wide and sturdy it would come in handy, and would be one less thing to have to carry in the vehicle itself.