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Launched in 1995, Core77 serves a devoted global audience of design professionals, corporations, students, enthusiasts and fans.

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    At quip, we design and deliver delightful products and services that keep your mouth healthy. In order to support our rapidly growing user base we are looking for an Industrial Designer to help continue with this growth. The ideal candidate would be an industrial designer to

    View the full design job here

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    This week the Twittersphere witnessed an unusual PSA: Actor Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie, taking a break on the set of "Top Gun: Maverick," urging you to turn video interpolation off on your television set.

    What does this have to do with UI? Everything, but first a little background explanation is required. (Skip the rest of this paragraph if you already know what video interpolation is.) Video interpolation is a "feature"--really a fix--that new TV manufacturers came up with to compensate for a technological flaw. That flaw is that LCD and LED screens do not display frames at the same rate that they're shot in. When watching a fast-motion action sequence or sporting event, that motion becomes blurred by the LCD/LED that cannot accurately depict it. Video interpolation thus generates and drops in extra images between existing frames to fill the gap. Depending on how sensitive your vision is, this can lead to a jarring effect where something looks "too real."

    Video interpolation, to Cruise and McQuarrie, essentially makes the action sequences they've worked so hard to execute, look like crap. So they want you to turn the feature off:

    Now you can see where the UI problem lies. First off, different manufacturers don't even call video interpolation the same thing. "Motion smoothing," "motion interpolation," "video smoothing" et cetera are some different names for it cooked up by each manufacturer's Marketing department.

    Secondly, television interfaces have become incredibly complicated. There is no singular knob, button or switch by which you can turn the feature off; as Cruise and "McQ" (I heard Cruise call him that in a DVD extras) point out, you have to doa freaking web search including your brand of TV in order to figure it out.

    This is what you call a hot mess

    The lack of standardization in television UI design is understandable for manufacturers--and undesireable for consumers. It reminds me of getting into a rental car and figuring out where everything is (not least of which, which side the fuel door is on). Or going to a hotel and trying to decipher their climate control system, or their weird designey shower control interface. If everything was the same and we could undertake consistent actions to achieve results, without having to refer to some tome-like manual, that would be the ideal UX.

    The problem is that manufacturers have zero incentive to get on the same page. The TV marketers think that calling video interpolation some sexy new name is a competitive advantage. Plumbing fixture manufacturers want some sexy new way to turn the shower on, when all consumers want is to be able to easily set the temperature and the water pressure.

    How could intercompany standardization of UI be enforced? Well, there is one precedent, and depending on your political leanings, you may love or hate the two things that can lead to inter-company standardization: Government intervention and capitalism.

    During the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers learned how to mass-produce their own fasteners. If you built a machine, you also built the nuts and bolts that held it together. With no McMaster-Carr in existence, you had no choice.

    Other manufacturers of similar machines also made their own fasteners. There was no standardization of thread sizes, no possibility of attaching one company's component with another company's bolt. There was no Society of Automobile Engineers to impose SAE standards.

    Screw standards, man

    It was a Wild West of fasteners. But in the 1860s, the U.S. government decreed that anyone who wanted to bid on a government contract had to use fasteners with Sellers threads (a popular thread profile of the time because it was easy for machinists to produce). Around the same time, the major railroad corporations also moved to Sellers threads, presumably to make procurement and repairs easier.

    This paved the way for the formation, in the early 20th century, of the Society of Automobile Engineers and their resultant standards, which we happily use today.

    Now that that's out of the way: Do you folks reckon "Top Gun: Maverick" will be any good?

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    Now out of the city, I do miss writing those Urban Design Observation posts. Down here in farmland I thought about writing a rural variant, but haven't been able to get it to work yet. That's because I'm rarely off-farm, and when I am, only see things like this aisle-capping Spill Response Station at the nearest Walmart:

    I know, it's hardly interesting enough for a blog post: It's just some cleaning product and pole-based cleaning tools for when someone drops an open bottle of Mountain Dew. Perhaps what is interesting, is that those spill response stations' days are numbered. Walmart is rolling out autonomous robot floor cleaners.

    What I found most interesting, is that the rep states that the machine frees up employees to do other things. Like…apply for unemployment?

    Make no mistake: Your job is less likely to be stolen by someone with a foreign name, and more likely to be stolen by something called C-127A-15X.

    Go back to your factory!

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    This year, we've watched the foam-as-furniture trend emerge and develop at shows during Milan Design Week and NYCxDesign. The use of foam blocks is intriguing from an artistic choice standpoint, but within the white hallways lined with brightly colored furniture at this year's DesignMiami lied something even more intriguing—a furniture designer that develops and designs his own foam that's ideal for functional furniture. 

    South Korean designer Sang Hoon Kim's family has been operating a foam factory for the past three generations, and after taking up a job at the factory, the designer became fascinated with the manipulative properties of the material. Equal parts science and chance, his Foam Series speaks quite accurately to his current mindset—a structured designer who wants to break free and experiment with a more fluid material and aesthetic. 

    I expected the furniture to sink in when sat on, but Kim's unique foam formula is feels almost like the memory foam found in mattresses but with a tougher exterior shell. Even through two densities are experienced, the furniture is entirely made from the same foam material. We sat down with Kim to learn more about this material and his process of combining science with design:

    Core77: What inspired you to divert from your previous style to work with foam for this collection?

    SHK: My interest in architecture has allowed me to apply the methods and elements used in architectural ideas to my work. However, I grew tired of my previous design work because it was not different enough in design language or method from what other architects and designers are doing. The Foam Series is totally different than my previous work because it is very free and intuitive. I designed as if modeling with clay or drawing pictures without any formalities. I wanted to design differently from other designers, so I tried to find my own way to make furniture. 

    Why did you choose foam as a material to express more design freedom? 

    My family business has been operating a 'foam factory' over the last three generations, so experimenting with this 'flexible foam' material came naturally to me. I became interested foam as a material when I joined the factory to develop a new mattress line in 2015. I was able to learn about the characteristics of foam materials and discovered the possibility of making unique furniture with them. I found the properties and advantages of the foam materials and tried to apply them to my furniture. I would practice and study the properties of foam materials after I finished working at the factory and on the weekends.

    Color mixing process

    The Foam Series is the result of 3 years of research about the material 'flexible foam'. Flexible foam is widely used to make artificial skin, medical goods, artificial leather, mattresses and pillows like TempurPedic. It is harmless to humans, and it has no smell. Polyurethane foam (memory foam) is made by a chemical reaction of different solutions including Polyol, and I learned this particular technique from working at the factory. It allows me to modify the mix ratio of chemical solutions so that I can adjust the foam from a soft to hard feeling and change it to various colors. The surface increases the density of the foam so that it does not tear easily, and it delays foaming time to express my desired shape and texture. These forms become a new piece of work due to their adhesiveness. The pieces don't need a finish like lacquer or paint because the foam builds its skin itself. Flexible foam is a very suitable material for furniture because it feels very comfortable.

    What was your design process like for the Foam Series?

    The Foam Series is made with a very different process than other furniture. I do not need to drill, cut or finish anything. I use an electric scale, mixer and scientific formulations to make the furniture. The furniture is basically made out of chemical reactions, so I can control the properties and make some spots soft like cushion and other spots hard to support the structure.

    My design perspective has begun to change after studying and using foam materials. I've become interested in naturally occurring phenomenon that happen everywhere in nature. The foam material brought my interest to reality. I only plan basic ideas when I start to make a piece of foam furniture, and then the specific design details come during my making process.

    Each piece changes in design and color many times during my design process. It is very free and intuitive. I try not to be affected by trends or any ideology with this collection, so I add colors very freely. I improvise with my favorite color of the day according to my mood. I change and layer the color of each piece daily as I work on them, and I consider them finished when I feel that the color looks complete. Sometimes I even change the color and shape after I finish because everyday involves different feelings.

    Foam Series is currently on view at Christina Grajales Gallery's booth at DesignMiami.

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    Which book do you place at the end of a row on your bookshelf? Regardless of which, our favorite books, our paper friends, need bookends. And for those Italo-meets-Madrileño design-loving bookworms on budgets, new design brand TORTUGA Living presents these colorful little partners: Dumbo Bookends, designed by Ciszak Dalmas.

    Two styles, three color ways. They're friendly, serve as solid support for classic stories, and are just modular enough to blend quietly in one space and pop in another.

    Oh, and they're relatively affordable. The small bookends are $28, the mediums are $30 and the larges are $32. On TORTUGA's website, all of their modular products are divvied up this way. The categories "small spaces," "medium spaces," and "large spaces" conscientiously separate their products by scale. Call the two-woman team at TORTUGA nuanced, or call them as they see their designs—timeless.

    Laguna Family
    Alpine Family
    Sahara Desert

    And their colorful collaborators, Ciszak Dalmas, share similar values: "Resourcefulness, inventiveness and entrepreneurialism inform their designs," said TORTUGA CEO and Founder Andrea Hill about the Madrid-based designers.

    A collection of bookends in brass, copper and stainless finish are coming soon, but for now, treat your favorite bookworm to an affordable design that will make them think more carefully about which book to snuggle at the end of each row.

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    Reid Schlegel is a NYC based designer and educator. He is currently a Senior Industrial Designer at Aruliden and previously worked at frog and SMART Design. Reid teaches at the Parsons School of Design and lectures at universities globally. Additionally, Reid runs an Instagram account with 140k+ followers showcasing his work and other design related content.

    View the full content here

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    This holiday, share your Ultimate Gift Guide with Core77 for a chance to gift yourself some fun prizes. We're on the lookout for your favorite 5 holiday gift ideas and will reward the best gift guides with awesome rewards, including gift certificates and designer-approved products. It gets better—one Editor's pick will take home a Spin Bag from IAMRUNBOX, and one Community Choice winner with the most votes will win a Core77 ~Mystery Box~!

    This week, three submissions chosen by our editors have earned their curators a $25 gift certificate to Tetra and a spot in the running for the grand prize come December 18th. And remember, the more guides you submit the better your chances are of one of them getting selected!

    Here are our 3 Editor's Picks:

    Oscar Salguero's "A Holiday from the Panopticon" gift guide is all about identification, whether it's identifying electronic "birds" or concealing your identity from biometric facial recognition technologies. Creepy, but we like it.

    Dogs have feelings too, and if yours has been a good boy this year, treat them with the high quality objects found in Sam Watson's "Top Dog" gift guide. Only thing missing? Anything with peanut butter.

    We love a good steal, especially when it's coming from a world renowned designer. that's why we gravitated towards the Revision Team's "High Brow, Low Budget. the Biggest Designer Names Under $100" gift guide—bonus points for the creative title. Stock up, people! 



    Want in on the fun? MAKE YOUR OWN ULTIMATE GIFT GUIDE HERE— three of next week's winners will be receiving a gift certificate toTetraso you can gift yourself some designer-approved smoking accessories. If you didn't win this week, get your friends to vote for your guide, and you could still be crowned the Community Choice winner!

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    Fetch for Pets! (Fetch) has been the leading pet product manufacturer bringing major CPG brands to the pet industry since 2008. We develop cross category pet product lines based on retail and market demand as well as industry trends. Fetch also provides private label development and manufacturing. Working closely with

    View the full design job here

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    Disappointed by Congress? Forget those losers and check out the Library of Congress. Because these archive-happy nerds have millions of items in their collection from creative industries--"books, newspapers, manuscripts, prints and photos, maps, musical scores, films, sound recordings and more"--and have made tons of them available to download, for free, right here.

    The "Architecture & Design" section alone has some cool shots:

    Century Hotel, 140 Ocean Drive, Miami, Miami-Dade County, FL
    "Top o' the world" landing field: Architectural drawing shows ice airport with futuristic airplanes and igloo-shaped hangers. By architect Wilbur Henry Adams, 1943
    Ritter Ranch, Barn, Old Dolores Highway, Dolores, Montezuma County, CO
    Fallingwater (duh), by architect Frank Lloyd Wright
    Architectural drawing shows visionary view of Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio ca. 1930, by architect Wilbur Henry Adams
    Cutaway perspective of TWA Terminal, John F. Kennedy International Airport, by Eero Saarinen & Associates
    The White House ("President's House") Washington, D.C. Site plan and principal story plan, 1807
    Work area at the Johnson Wax Building, headquarters of the S.C. Johnson and Son Co., Racine, Wisconsin
    Architectural drawing showing framing plan for the Chrysler Building in New York City, including "observation floor" and "top floor," 1929

    We're 90% sure you won't get in trouble for downloading this stuff. Just 90% because the LOC's language is vague. Statement theirs, italics ours: "The Library believes that this content is either in the public domain, has no known copyright, or has been cleared by the copyright owner for public use."

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    Engineers would say that you can't let us designers run unchecked, otherwise everything would be touchy-feely and impossible to make. I get that. But by the same token, when you leave the engineers in charge, you get super creepy machines like this:

    Look, I'm not denying the thing might be useful. They demonstrate it making the correct choice between Corona and Michelob Ultra, and the design is such that you can kick it over and it cannot get back up to pursue revenge. But there's a reason they don't show a dog in the video, even though it fills a dog bowl with water; I can't think of a single canine that wouldn't attack this thing.

    More proof of an entirely engineer-based development team: The voice-over states that they'll make it "in various colors to suit any taste or décor." Right, because the main way you adapt something for, say, a a Victorian interior versus a modernist one, is to make it magenta.

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    Worried about leaving your pet home alone? Your pet suffers from separation anxiety and is overweight? Meet Varram. This smart robot equipped with artificial intelligence is created to keep your pets active, healthy and never alone. Varram settings are customizable especially for your pet through an intuitive app.

    View the full project here

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    The deadline for applying to SVA's MFA in Products of Design program is just one month away on January 15th, so if you're interested in grad school, you'll want to give this a hard look. Chaired by Core77's Allan Chochinov, the program sits at "the sweet spot between design thinking and design making"—but it's courses go far beyond traditional ID education.

    The Datalogue at NYCxDesign 2018
    Swift Prosthetic for short-term use

    "To design anything means to design everything—that's the beating heart of what we believe," offers Chochinov. A designer needs the skills, methods, and fluencies from almost every design discipline, so we teach systems, interaction design, smart objects, design for social innovation, design research, branding, service design, sustainability, strategy, and business design. And we do it in a 2-year MFA program."

    Cara Menstrual Product and Waste Carrier for multi-day trips outdoors

    "Also we're in New York City, so the students take a lot of classes at professional consultancy offices like IDEO, Frog Design, and Material ConneXion, and we partner every year to design products for MoMA's wholesale division. There's also a ton of ethics and professional practice built into the entire two years, so we're fortifying designers with a point of view and a personal mission for their creative lives."

    Want to change the trajectory of your career? Check out student work on their project blog, read 14 THINGS THAT MATTER: What distinguishes the MFA in Products of Design? , check out some thesis projects and apply to the program starting at their apply page.

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    When I was in design school, one of the professors was telling the class about different production methods, and how imagination could be used to adapt those methods to create new, useful things. The example he gave us was with blow molding, which was used to create plastic bottles. He told us that in the 1960s, some industrial designer wondered if blow molding could be used to create much larger things than bottles. At the time, all garbage cans were made of metal and looked like this:

    These metal trash cans could take a beating, but they created a terrific din on garbage day, with much clanging and banging. The industrial designer in question wanted to see if he could make a tough garbage can that was far quieter--so tried blow molding one out of plastic. He succeeded, and to this day most of us have plastic garbage cans in front of our homes.

    I later learned that that industrial designer was Charles Harrison, and that the garbage can was designed for his employer, Sears. 

    We wrote Mr. Harrison up in 2013 when his memoir, "A Life's Design: The Life And Work of Industrial Designer Charles Harrison" was still in print. Sadly, Mr. Harrison recently passed away at age 87, and we're going to reprint our write-up on him here.


    In 1950s America, few people at all were pursuing careers in industrial design. Charles "Chuck" Harrison was one of them. He had talent and degrees from both the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology, but after applying to Sears for an ID gig, he was rejected for a single reason: Because he was black.

    Sears' hiring manager, however, recognized Harrison's talent and was able to secure freelance work for him. Not having any African-Americans on staff was the unwritten rule of the time, but the freelance workaround enabled Harrison to start gaining real-world experience.

    One of Harrison's former professors at Chicago was Henry P. Glass, the Viennese architect and designer. As a Holocaust survivor, Glass knew the ugly face of discrimination well, and having observed Harrison's skills first-hand, helped him secure work at a design firm. In 1958, while working at Robert Podall Associates, Harrison updated the design of the popular View-Master toy, creating the iconic form many of us recognize today (even though Harrison's Bakelite had given way to plastic by the time of our childhoods.)

    By 1961 American society had begun poking small holes in the racial barrier, and Harrison got a phone call from Sears: They wanted him on staff. Harrison accepted, and embarked on a prolific career in design.

    The breadth of Harrison's work is like an industrial designer's dream: Over the next thirty years he designed Craftsman power tools, radios, hairdryers, sewing machines, kitchen appliances, steam irons, televisions and more, spanning objects that you'd find in every room of the American house, including the garage and the toolshed.

    Harrison's favorite project was a humble one with a profound effect: The first plastic garbage can. At the time of its release all other garbage cans were metal, which made a terrific racket when the trucks came to pick up the trash each morning. Harrison's plastic can was decidedly quieter. And he doesn't mind that his contribution is largely unsung: "As an industrial designer especially, your audience is neither history nor fame," he writes, "but a couple who worked hard to buy their first home on a quiet street and would love just one more hour of sleep in the morning, even on trash day." On the practical side, he designed the can to nest, meaning they took up far less space for shipping and warehousing.

    Harrison, who became Sears' first African-American executive, retired in 1993. Throughout the 2000s he taught product design in Chicago. His full story is captured in his memoir, A Life's Design: The Life And Work of Industrial Designer Charles Harrison.


    Harrison was one of the designers interviewed for Aileen Kwun and Bryn Smith's "Twenty Over Eighty: Conversations on a Lifetime in Architecture and Design," and you can read an excerpt of his interview here.

    R.I.P. Mr. Harrison.

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    I live out in the middle of nowhere, but I still get tons of scam-tastic Mandarin robo-calls. It makes me miss the days of being e-mailed by Nigerian princes. Scams evolve as technology improves, and nowhere is this more evident than in the proliferation of click farms.

    Click farms set up banks of inexpensive computers and smartphones, and staff them with low-paid workers who artificially boost your social media accounts, download apps to boost rankings, load the same YouTube video to inflate views, or repetitively click on ads to fool advertisers into thinking they're getting their money's worth. Seeing inside these click farm operations is truly astonishing:

    This operation in China reportedly has more than 10,000 phones in use:

    In this one, which has a combination of computers and smartphones, the employees even appear to be wearing uniforms:

    By the bye, to set up a click farm you needn't buy tons of phones. This farm in Thailand, which was reportedly set up by a trio of Chinese nationals to boost WeChat stats, had less than 500 phones--but rotated nearly 350,000 SIM cards between them:

    Police got wind of it and arrested the men running the operation. They reported that they earned USD $2,950 to $4,400 per month, which comes out to $35,400 to $52,800 per year. That's presumably a lot more than an actual farmer earns in China.

    I wonder how much the woman who recorded the Mandarin robo-call was paid, and how much her handlers earn.

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    People rave about the painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but few discuss the scaffolding used to get Michelangelo up there. Sometimes when you're creating something, whether it's a work of art or an object, you first have to make an absurd amount of supporting jigs, fixtures or structures just to execute the work.

    Frank Howarth was recently confronted with this reality. After designing a carver's mallet with a unique, radial joint between the handle and the head, he needed to devise a yet-to-exist method of holding the workpieces in place on his CNC mill. Here's what he came up with:

    And if you'd like to hear the design story and witness the execution of these eye-catching mallets, that was captured here:

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    Editor's note: Although this is not sponsored content, the subject, MakerBot, is an advertiser at Core77.

    Typically, small studios and independent designers have only had a couple of choices when it comes to producing performance-quality 3d prints during the prototyping process—either use a standard desktop 3D printer and expect to do some serious touch-up, or turn to a printing service bureau where designers work with machine operators to return their final print, causing a lag in the ideation process. With MakerBot's drop today of their new METHOD performance 3D printer, it looks like the days of the middleman may be quick to fade away.

    METHOD is a performance 3D printer that fits on a desktop, and boasts several features rarely seen on the low-end (aka under $20,000) 3D printing market today, including water-soluble PVA support systems, incredibly high tolerances, and intuitive touch-screen UI features that allow designers and engineers to unbox and get going on prints within minutes. 

    The introduction of METHOD not only marks a shift in the design industry in terms of high-end tool availability but also for MakerBot as a producer in the hobby and consumer space—President & CEO Nadav Goshen says when he came on board in 2016, the team set an entirely new market strategy that focused on engineering their products for the education and professional market. As the company dug into user research, they saw a huge opportunity. "When we looked at the professional segment," says Goshen, "we saw there was a huge shortcoming in the market because industrial designer and engineers are lacking the tools to iterate faster. We thought, 'how can we make something that's as reliable and precise as an industrial printer, but make it accessible to the individual engineer?'"

    Given the origins of MakerBot as a consumer-friendly desktop printer, the team had extensive experience in taking very complex technology and making it easy to use. MakerBot Vice President of Engineering Dave Veisz notes that, "typically, to print something complex on a desktop [printer], you really need to understand that printing process to say 'ok, in order to remove my support, I need to print this vertically because that's going to give me the best chance of success'—but we don't want the user to have to go through that. We want them to be able to shoot that from their CAD program to the printer and have confidence they're going to get what they want." Thankfully, the user interface of METHOD takes away much of the barrier to entry when it comes to using a 3D printer, even one built for professionals. The touchscreen is simple yet allows for customization, the material loader allows for quick, easy insertion, and it's compatible with a variety of CAD software.

    To accomplish their goal of developing an attainable yet uncompromisingly high-quality printer, the team behind METHOD also looked at critical features for industrial designers and engineers. First, there was the issue of reliable tolerances. Most desktop 3d printers offer up an estimation of a final product, i.e. it's often hard to print moving parts that will fit together flush. With METHOD, CAD tolerances as close as 1/2000th of an inch on CAD can be achieved within a printed piece (goodbye, sandpaper!). To get to this point involved some highly complex engineering, including perfecting heating temperatures for different materials using a circulated heating chamber and dual-performance extruders that provide an ideal environment for consistent liquefication of material. 

    The incorporation of PVA supports is another exciting feature. PVA, a primary component in Elmer's glue, is tap-water soluble. "When printing on METHOD, any supporting surface is printed on top of [PVA], "says Veisz, "the result is that when you dissolve it, you actually have a functioning [moving part]." The pieces can also be printed on top of one another, saving overall printing time, material, and bed space. 

    A moving claw part printed in one piece on MakerBot METHOD
    Mouse parts printed off of METHOD

    The overall mission, Goshen tells us, of producing a machine like METHOD is allowing less time for troubleshooting, and more time for ideation and learning: "the starting point for a professional grade printer is very high; but when we have this tool closer to an individual designer, the amount of iteration will extend. If you iterate more, and you have more touching points with your product, I think you'll develop a better product."

    MakerBot METHOD is available for order now and retails for $6,499, so while it won't be going in the studio of all designers, it's certainly something that's going to be worthwhile for slightly larger companies and studios with in-house design teams who want to save serious time in the product development phase. 

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    Here's a fantastic project where Laura Kampf demonstrates what we consider solid design thinking: A combination of analysis, problem-solving and outside-of-the-box thinking.

    Here's the problem she faced, and how a more conventional thinker would have solved them:


    Laura works in an unheated shop. The shop is massive, and thus too expensive to efficiently heat.

    Engineer's solution:

    "We'll heat the whole space using radiant floor heating with energy supplied by solar panels. The equipment will pay for itself in just 25 years."

    Architect's solution:

    "We'll knock out the south-facing wall, and replace it with energy-efficient glass. The sun's rays will warm her and it re-contextualizes the space by removing the fourth wall, just as Laura 'removes the fourth wall' by speaking to the camera, creating a perfect mirroring of human activity and the structures that enable them."

    Interior Designer's solution:

    "We'll build an interior 'heating space' room, filled with a heating system, warm colors, images of warm places, handmade blankets created by Kurdish tribespeople and an expensive but cushy couch where Laura can recharge and restore herself."

    Laura / Industrial Designer's solution:

    "The space is too big to heat. I have observed that I am most cold when I sit down. Therefore, it would be the least expensive, and most efficient, to warm myself when I am sitting down."

    You can't exactly pick up a heated chair at your local furniture store, so Laura then DIY'ed her solution into existence, starting at an automotive junkyard:

    Freezing Cold Shop Space? Here’s How to Create a Heated Shop Chair Here’s a fantastic project where Laura Kampf demonstrates what we consider solid design thinking: A combination of analysis, problem-solving and outside-of-the-box thinking. Here’s the problem she faced, and how a more conventional thinker would have solved them: Problem: Laura works in an unheated shop. The shop is massive, and thus too expensive to efficiently heat. Engineer’s solution: “We’ll heat the whole space using radiant floor heating with energy supplied by solar panels. The equipment will pay for itself in just 25 years.” Architect’s solution: “We’ll knock out the south-facing wall, and replace it with energy-efficient glass. The sun’s rays will warm her and it re-contextualizes the space by removing the fourth wall, just as Laura ‘removes the fourth wall’ by speaking to the camera, creating a perfect mirroring of human activity and the structures that enable them.” Interior Designer’s solution: “We’ll build an interior ‘heating space’ room, filled with a heating system, warm colors, images of warm places, handmade blankets created by Kurdish tribespeople and an expensive but cushy couch where Laura can recharge and restore herself.” Laura / Industrial Designer’s solution: “The space is too big to heat. I have observed that I am most cold when I sit down. Therefore, it would be the least expensive, and most efficient, to warm myself when I am sitting down.” You can’t exactly pick up a heated chair at your local furniture store, so Laura then DIY’ed her solution into existence, starting at an automotive junkyard:

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    Design Phase is an award-winning retail display company located in Waukegan Illinois. We build innovative display solutions that heighten a brands visibility at retail. Our goal is to make our clients brand stand out and win sales with consumers! Our clients are fortune 500 companies like Amazon, Microsoft, LG electronics,

    View the full design job here

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    No matter how good we are at something, there's always room for improvement. Think of any professional project team that you have participated in recently. Chances are good that, like most modern project team, your group relied heavily on content collaboration to get work done. Chances are also good that, while your content collaboration strategy worked, improving it could have boosted your team's productivity and creativity, leading to a better result overall.

    The quickest way to take your content collaboration game to the next level is to pinpoint your team's bad habits and replace them with good ones. In this article, we'll cover how your team can:

    - Annotate shared documents effectively
    - Organize shared folders and files
    - Keep important project data from getting lost or forgotten

    Annotations are a great way to further your team's discussions, but only if you do it the right way.

    Bad Habit #1: Vague or Ineffective Annotations

    Content collaboration platforms offer project teams plenty of advantages, and everybody seems to have a different opinion of which advantage is the biggest. No matter how you slice it, this major perk is somewhere close to the top of the list: content collaboration makes annotating your team's shared files with comments and suggestions super easy.

    The only downside is that not everybody knows how to leave effective comments on shared files in documents. Ensuring that your annotations truly contribute value to the project takes a little bit of practice, but it ultimately makes your team's communications more effective and helps you achieve better outcomes.

    How to Fix It 

    If your team has a bad habit of leaving vague or ineffective annotations, improving your content collaboration can be as simple as adopting these simple strategies:

    Use detail. Two word annotations aren't super helpful. Whether you are commending a colleague's work or offering a suggestion to help them improve, make sure you explain as thoroughly as possible. Including detail creates clarity, and clarity is key to effective annotations.

    Maintain a growth mindset. This is especially important if you're offering up some constructive criticism. Always find a way to look towards future opportunities for improvement in your annotations rather than simply criticizing the work in front of you or work that has been done in the past.

    Use annotations to start a conversation. The biggest benefit of working in a group is that it allows you to build on each team member's unique skills and experiences. If something in the file or document seems like it could be improved, but getting more people involved in the process of determining exactly how it can be improved is good way to go. The more brain power you have behind a solution, the stronger it will ultimately be.

    Staying organized is always important, but it's particularly important when you're working collaboratively.

    Bad Habit #2: Inconsistent File and Folder Organization

    It's no secret that projects tend to take on a life of their own after you kick them off. In a lot of ways, that's awesome—it means your team is likely going to end up with an innovative, nuanced, and effective finished product. However if your team doesn't set up (and stick to!) a clear file organization system from the beginning of the project, keeping track of all of your files and folders can quickly become way more time-consuming than it needs to be.

    How to Fix It

    Don't want to waste time sifting through files and folders until you find the right one? Keep your collaborative efforts organized from the get-go with these tips:

    Group files by category. When you walk into a grocery store, you can pretty quickly find what you're looking for. Why? All of the bread items are in one section of the store, the dairy products in another, the frozen TV dinners in another. That makes it easy to quickly get to the general area you need. You can use the same tactic to organize your shared files and folders also—make your highest level folders broad categories like HR, Clients, Products, Digital Initiatives, etc.

    Don't be afraid of subfolders, but also don't go crazy with them. Subfolders are a quick and easy way to organize shared files, but having 15 levels of folders to navigate before you hit your actual files simply isn't practical. Try to limit your organizational strategy to 3 levels, at most.

    Build a naming convention that will grow with your project. Some ways of doing this include using YYMMDD format for files that include dates (so that the project has room to grow over multiple years, if necessary) and using sequential numbering (001, 002, 003 instead of 1, 2, 3).

    Documenting your team's meetings is more important than you might realize.

    Bad Habit #3: Skimping on Documentation

    Everybody's been there. You have a meeting on something super simple and straightforward, so you don't take any notes. Then later in the week, you're frantically emailing a coworker for meeting notes because you forgot that one essential detail you swore you weren't going to let yourself forget. When you have a lot going on (and we all do), keeping all of the information you need in your head can be tough.

    How to Fix It

    Proper documentation is a simple way to save yourself and your team from unnecessary stress and project delays. Follow these tips to make sure your team's documentation is up to par:

    Make it digital. Create a folder in your shared storage space for documentation, and commit to keeping it organized. This way, everybody always has access to your team information.

    Take notes before, during, and after meetings. Meeting agendas are essential if you want to make sure your team hits all necessary points during a meeting. Meeting notes help you recall the flow of your conversation and trace the development of ideas. Taking some time after the meeting to jot down a recap of decisions made and tasks assigned helps keep everyone organized and accountable. At every stage, documentation is essential.

    Establishing an effective content collaboration strategy is easy when you break these 3 bad habits.

    Content collaboration is a key part of any modern project team's strategy. Taking advantage of these simple tips and tricks will help your team break its content collaboration bad habits, be more productive, and ultimately produce better content.

    What are your team's content collaboration best practices? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!

    This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.

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    I'm writing this from window seat 37A of Delta flight DL2288—nonstop service from New York City to San Diego, California. Up here, with Manhattan pinched between an index finger and thumb, one remembers forgotten perspectives.

    Down there, Chisel & Mouse do something important; they digitize and 3D print our favorite architecture. They handcraft with moulding and plaster-casting the cities that we hold close to our hearts. Scaled to the nearest meter at 1:5000, Chisel & Mouse develops elegant shrinking machines for our fears and dreams. Chisel & Mouse is now offering three series' of precise 3D cityscapes—three also being the number of menu choices for 2288's in-flight breakfast.

    New York 'Blue River' Cityscape By Chisel & Mouse

    Classic Series: nine precise cityscapes—London, Manhattan's southern tip, Venice's Canal Grande, Berlin, Los Angeles, Rome, Paris, Chicago, Boston, and Amsterdam. All Classic Series' models measure 30 cm x 30 cm, are enclosed by a removable perspex frame, and about half of them are 20 percent off.

    Chisel & Mouse London Cityscape

    Blue River Series:similar to the Classics, Chisel & Mouse adds confident strokes of a brilliant blue hue to highlight the waterways of each city in their Blue River Series—Amsterdam, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, New York, London, Venice, Rome.

    Chisel and Mouse Cityscape Detail

    Large Cityscape Series: London at 1:2500. New York at 1:5000. Both models, made in resin, measure 70 cm x 70 cm and are displayed via a wooden frame. 

    Three series, meticulous details — Chisel & Mouse truly captures the geography and presence of each grand, glorious, populated city, but looking out the window at an unrecognizable town topped with snow reminds me of Zimbabwe artist, Zayd Menk. Zayd spent 3 months supergluing a .0635:100 scale model of midtown Manhattan out of e-waste earlier this year. He wished to re-create a town, local to him in Zimbabwe, to shrink his world by the thousands, but there wasn't enough readily-accessible information online for him to do so. We don't all live in Paris, New York and Venice, and Zayd shouldn't have to be looking out the window of a Boeing to hold his world between his fingers.

    London Chicago New York 'Blue River' Cityscapes

    On that note, a magic piece about Chisel & Mouse is that they offer a bespoke model making service. It doesn't come cheap, but the heavy research, the amount of work and the quality of the end product is well worth the priceless reminder of perspective.

    To dreamers, these models are one thing, but to the people living inside of them every day, they are much different. Towers and rivers shrink. Crowded streets empty. We can hold our worlds in our hands. We can look down on our fears. We can hang our aspirations on the wall.

    New York 'Blue River' Cityscape by Chisel & Mouse

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