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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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    Ford F-150

    At least for the Big Three automakers, sedans are a dying form factor. Last year it was announced that all three companies were largely abandoning them to focus on pickup trucks, which generate much more profit per unit. But just how much profit?

    Chevy Silverado

    Clickbait aside, the answer may surprise you.

    Dodge Ram

    In 2013 Automotive News guesstimated that Ford made a profit of roughly $13,000 per pickup.Autoblog had the figure a bit lower, quoting an estimate from industry analyst Dave Sullivan: "The rough guess has been $10,000. Obviously that is a little different for a $60k truck vs a regular cab 4x2 work truck, but $10,000 is the ball park that is used." Now, however, we've got more concrete data from one of the companies themselves. According to Reuters,

    Large pickups generate at least $17,000 a vehicle in pretax profit for GM, the company has indicated in disclosures to investors. By contrast, many Detroit Three sedans are so unprofitable, their manufacturers have decided not to build them anymore.

    It's no wonder that Ford, GM and FCA have yielded the sedan market to Honda and Toyota. Seventeen large is a gigantic chunk of change.

    Another interesting tidbit from the Reuters article: For years, the F-150 has been the bestselling pickup (indeed, motor vehicle) sold in the United States, with Chevy holding second place "by a wide margin" and Dodge "a distant third." The sales figures for Ford's F-series were so reliably robust that in 2011 they stopped making their mid-size Ranger in 2011. But now the trio of competitors appear to be nearing equilibrium: In 2018 General Motors sold more overall pickups (across both the Chevy and GMC brands, and including midsize ones like the Colorado) than Ford's full-size F-series--the numbers are GM 973,469 vs. Ford's 909,330--and in Q4 of 2018, Dodge's Ram brand tied Chevy for the #2 spot.

    Ford's Ranger is making a comeback

    So not only are the Big Three going all-in on pickups, but the market is getting pretty darned competitive. (Ford is even bringing back the Ranger to ward off Chevy's higher figures.) We will be watching closely to see if any of the manufacturers will use design, not just engineering and image, to gain supremacy.

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    So some jerk (not you, it's never you) accidentally cross-threaded a bolt, and now you're stuck trying to clean up said jerk's mess. If the bolt is removable and replaceable, no problem; but what about when you can't get it out of your part, and/or the store is closed? Enter the DOMOM Deburring Tool:

    On the one hand, this is one of those tools that looks so satisfying to use that I'd look forward to encountering the problem it was designed to fix.

    On the other hand, they make it look easy--too easy. I'm always suspicious of such videos. Have any of you actually tried this thing?

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    Meghan Maupin, CEO of Atolla, will be speaking at Core77's speaker series at CES 2019, "Reaching Future Customers Using Design and Tech" at 2:00 PM on the Design & Source Stage, Wednesday, January 9th.

    The dilemma of finding the right skincare is an age-old rite of passage that often involves buying a deluge of skincare products—some effective, others doomed forever to the back of the medicine cabinet. With the advent of new models for skincare coming from companies both big and small, it's clear the demand for change is sky high. Companies like Atolla, led by CEO Meghan Maupin, believe the magic formula lies in the collaboration between design and science. Developed at MIT during her thesis year of grad school, Atolla is a skincare system that involves a skin test, app analysis, and finally, a customized serum that is recalculated on a monthly basis to deliver optimal skincare based on climate, oil production, and other environmental factors.

    After wrapping up with their recent Kickstarter campaign to launch the brand, we recently sat down with Maupin to hear more about the development of Atolla and how she views the future of the skincare industry as more data scientists involve themselves in the field.

    How did the idea for Atolla begin?

    In grad school, I began having autoimmune problems and getting rashes on my skin. Despite keeping an extensive diary that tracked everything I ate, what products I used, what the weather was like, I still couldn't figure out what was going on with my skin. I had the realization that I was at the best school to solve my skin puzzle using data and machine learning, and set out to find a more technical person to help me. That's when I met Sid; he's a retail data scientist who has eczema and went through a similar frustrating trial and error process of trying every moisturizer in the aisle to help with his dry skin. We knew there was a better way, and together we started building Atolla.

    Can you explain how Atolla works? What factors is your technology taking into account in order to create an ideal formula for a user's skin?

    The process is simple; you do a short at-home skin analysis, our algorithms design a custom serum for you based on the analysis, and we adapt the formulation each month based on how your skin changes. In the analysis, some of the inputs we use to evaluate an individual's skin include: their physical skin attributes (oil, moisture, pH), environment, lifestyle, diet, other products in their routine, previous sensitivities, and their preferences. We also keep track of user's visual progress through selfies, and are working on applying Computer Vision to calculate the severity of a user's top skin issues, i.e. redness or dark circles. Our machine-learning algorithm recognizes patterns in what's causing your skin to react positively or negatively, and we use this information to always provide users with the best solution.

    What did the beginning stages of prototyping and testing for a product like this look like? Who were you working with to make sure you're not only developing skincare that meets industry standards, but goes beyond expectations?

    We actually designed the process and built the technology first. We were excited to have Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a cosmetic dermatologist, join the team and help in the development of our platform. It was important to think holistically about all the factors that could impact skin health, and how to measure them. We leveraged the AI and ML expertise at MIT to create the automated feedback loop that allows us to learn from every interaction with the customer. And we have amazing chemists we're working with to make data-driven serum formulations.

    We first designed the system at a high level; bringing the scientific method to skincare through 3 simple steps of analyzing, formulating, and tracking. For the analysis, we used existing dermatology equipment and an intake survey we developed with Dr. Hirsch. We were able to refine the process down to 10 minutes after testing with several pop-ups! Some interesting learnings came out of our early pop-ups. One key learning was how important it was to show logic of how the algorithm was working, especially why someone matched with particular ingredients. This has been key in thinking about how we educate the consumer at every interaction and give them information to help make better decisions about their skin health.

    Another key learning was how important it was to understand a user's preference, in addition to what will scientifically work best for their skin. You could give someone the most effective product in the world, but if they don't like how it feels or smells, they won't use it. Preference testing is a wonderful, tactile part of the Atolla experience that helps create a truly customized product.

    Because we were designing an experience that was unlike anything that existed in skincare, we stayed open and listened to what the customer wanted. We wrote down every question people asked us in the pop-up about their skin and thought about how we could help them answer it through the Atolla system.

    As a designer with a UX background, what excited you most about tackling a problem as complex as skincare using technology?

    I strongly believe good design can make technology accessible to everyday users. Before I was at MIT, I was a designer at Formlabs focusing on making 3D printing more accessible through content and education. Now, concentrating on skincare, I believe the future of health is making personalized products available to the average consumer and educating them about their skin. Most people don't have time or can't afford to see a dermatologist; we want to help them easily manage their skin health day-to-day. To do that was a great design challenge!

    The skin analysis tools had to be precise, yet simple and easy to use. The personalized product had to be at an accessible price point, in order to ensure everyone can get the most efficacious product, no matter who they are. These constraints really motivated me creatively, especially thinking about the impact that a system like this could have—on people's confidence in themselves and in their skincare.

    We took a dermatological process and tools, and made a previously inaccessible process available at home, for a price that starts at $20 a month. The greatest feedback I've gotten is that the "science behind Atolla is anything but simple, but the outcome can't be more streamlined or efficient." Taking something complex and making it simple for the customer is the #1 goal. The skincare industry can do better than making a mass product that doesn't really work well for anyone. Instead, let's take a customer-driven approach and allow the user's input to create the best product for them.

    How do you think a product like Atolla can affect consumer habits to be more sustainable, and why is it important for designers to now get involved not only in products but product systems?

    It's important for all designers to consider the entire lifecycle of the product they are creating and what impact it will have on individuals, society, and the environment. My thesis was about "The Social and Environment Impact of the Skincare Industry" and I mapped what impact different skincare ingredients had on individual health, as well as the health of our environment once those ingredients enter our water system.

    The most sustainable thing we can do is consume less. In skincare, the amount of waste is insane. People buy and throw away almost $2 billion worth of products per year. The way to consume less is ultimately to buy the right things, and at Atolla we're taking that one step further to enable customers to make better, safer decisions by knowing more about their skin.

    Additionally, AI and Machine Learning can be applied to innovate on the supply chain side. Predictive modeling can reduce waste in manufacturing , and mass customization ensures that you are only making what needs to exist. Rather than making 10,000 units of one product designed to sit on a shelf for 2 years, you can use better ingredients and make a customer a precise product for them, and continue to adapt based on how their needs change. The future of manufacturing is mass customization and we're excited about moving the skincare industry towards a more sustainable future.

    After your experience so far with Atolla, what advice would you give to any designers or innovators who are trying to develop a product that could potentially disrupt an industry?

    Always start with the user! We interviewed at least 100 people when we were first starting in order to understand what was broken in the skincare industry. We came to the conclusion that fundamentally people didn't understand what was causing their skin issues, so they could never find the right solution. It's a highly emotional problem too- our skin and our appearance is very tied to self-confidence.

    For Atolla, it's been important to combine qualitative and quantitative research on the customer and continue to test and learn. We set up micro pop-ups and every test we did to answer a key question to get us towards what Atolla is today. We try to learn what we can from analogous industries as well; the tracking part of the Atolla app today is more akin to what you might find in fitness than anything that has previously existed in beauty. Those types of metaphors help users relate a new experience to something that they know (like other forms of health tracking).

    Another learning we've had in thinking about communicating our machine-learning platform is to keep the language simple and focus on the benefit for the consumer. As designers and technologists, we all can easily get lost in the high-tech aspect of what we are doing. But in the same vein of making technology accessible is making people feel like it's for them, and that it doesn't go over their heads. We've asked our earliest users to describe what Atolla is to them, and use the same language in our marketing in order to make what we're doing clear and comprehensive.

    Learn more about our CES Event "Reaching Future Customers Using Design & Tech" here.

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  • 01/04/19--23:18: Meet Core77 at CES 2019!
  • The Core77 editorial team will be diving into CES next week, making sure that what happens in Vegas is shown to the whole world. We'll be hosting a series of speakers on Wednesday, and teaming up with friends to host a party on Thursday. Hope to see you there!

    View the full content here

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    I never thought I would become someone who slept on the floor at trade shows. It's gross, people can steal your stuff, and I will repeat one more time that it's gross. As a general principle, I also believe that naps are a waste of time. As Drake once reiterated, "I don't take naps. Me and the money are way too attached to go and do that." In fact, I used to be the person who took photos of people sleeping at trade shows for entertainment. So what broke me? How did I become the person I've been trying to avoid becoming my whole career as a Core77 Editor? The answer is a three letter acronym: CES. 

    Going into my first CES experience, I had confidence: "I'll be fine. CES is just a regular trade show." 

    I was not fine, and CES is not a regular trade show. 

    Around four hours into each day, the exhaustion would hit me—almost like getting hit by a truck but exponentially less graphic. My feet began to swell from the heat generated inside my most comfortable sneakers. It hurt to take another step. I became my worst level of hangry seemingly out of nowhere, even though I ate a snack just 10 minutes before. I wondered if I could physically and emotionally attend the interview of a lifetime I scheduled with Yves Béhar in 30 minutes. That's when I cracked. 

    My power nap lasted 20 minutes, and I have to say it was quite productive and invigorating. I learned a lot during this experience, and I feel my expertise on this subject is necessary to share with everyone attending this year. So, ahead of next week's madness, here are my 5 tips on how to take the perfect nap at CES (assuming you can't find a crazy sleep booth like the one below).

    Step 1: Rid Yourself of Shame

    At CES, your image means nothing, and no one cares about you. Just get over yourself and take the damn power nap. Worst case scenario you'll end up being a meme sensation in another country without even knowing it. Best case scenario you'll end up being a meme sensation in another country without even knowing it.

    Step 2: Location, Location, Location

    Once you accept yourself for who you've become and what you need to do, scout a location that has an outlet and wall space to support your weight. Once you find the perfect location, understand that you may have to physically fight people off who try to take it from you (Refer back to Step 1).

    Once you sit down (it's okay if you're on the ground), immediately set an alarm on your phone. I guarantee you will not wake up unless you set an alarm. In fact, set it at full volume while you're at it. Be that person because drastic times call for drastic measures.

    Step 3: Charge Everything

    The real goal of CES is to take as little breaks as possible, so now is the time to charge all of your devices. If you have a portable phone battery on hand (which you should), that is the most important item to charge unless your phone is on 20% battery or less. 

    Step 4: Secure the Bag

    Everyone carries expensive electronics at CES. iPads, laptops, fitness trackers, Samsung Galaxys, VR headsets—anything goes. Sometimes people even attend CES as expensive electronics via teleconference robot, and you definitely can't trust people who do that. So, beware of thieves and take the appropriate measures to deter them. Act like your bag and its contents are the last resources you have left to survive during the apocalypse. In reality, that's not too far off of an analogy.

    Keep your valuables in a bag or backpack at all times during your nap. Sit on the ground with your back against the wall, hug your knees to your chest and place your bag in between your knees and chest. Loop your arms through your bag's straps to attach it to your body. Keep your electronics secure in your bag while they charge (except your phone, which you should hold in your hand so you can hear your alarm) by running the cords out through the top and zipping the zipper all the way to one corner. Make sure your arm covers the opening with the cords as you sleep. Rest your head forward on your knees/arms/bag as a pillow and to keep your valuables as out of sight as possible (See illustration below).

    Illustration by Connor Pelletier-Sutton

    Step 5: Try to Wake Up

    Waking up will be tough, even with your alarm. I recommend putting on eye masks during your nap and waking yourself up with a travel sized bottle of face spray(Refer back to Step 1) to make the process easier and to ensure you don't look too exhausted during your next meeting. Before you get up an go, pop a snack or two (I recommend these) and double check that you're not leaving anything behind.

    After following these 5 steps, I made it to my interview with Yves on time. He couldn't tell that I had just been napping, but he did say that I looked dehydrated and handed me two bottles of water. They were both gone in under 10 minutes. I very much appreciated the kind gesture, and it goes to show that everyone's a tired, dehydrated, jet-lagged mess at CES. Even Yves Béhar. 

    On that note, my thoughts are with everyone who is attending CES this year! I hope your journeys are filled with rest, plenty of snacks and portable batteries for days. Oh, and if you see me around, don't say hi because I'll probably be asleep. 

    If you really want to say hi, come to one of the awesome events we're throwing at CES this year! Learn more and RSVP here.

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    G18, stands for the 18th edition of the graduation show, one of the main presentations during the yearly Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. The 208 projects from 185 graduates – and over 11 miles of power cable to get everything wired– demonstrate the scale of this year's presentation by the students of the Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE).

    For the first time, the exhibition takes place at the Campina site instead of the "De Witte Dame" academy building which has become a familiar visit for its audience. Until 2020, the DAE's graduation show will enjoy this larger venue while the former dairy factory site is being transformed into a residential area. Next door to the Robot Love exhibition we took a closer look and put together a selection of projects. With 185 graduations this is far from complete but meant as inspiring extract in ten projects.

    The Condition of Air

    G18: The Condition of Air
    The Condition of Air
    The Condition of Air
    The Condition of Air

    Instead of using new resources, Italian designer Michaela Segato focuses on rethinking and reusing what is already available, and often overlooked. Inspired by the abundance of short-lived inner tubes she started an investigation into the possibilities that go beyond its traditional use. With an intuitive and playful approach this overlooked resource made of vulcanized rubber is turned into inspiring objects through bonding, restraining and cutting. An almost athletic exercise to stretch both the material and our way of thinking.

    The Arson Archive

    G18: The Arsons Archive
    G18: The Arsons Archive
    G18: The Arsons Archive

    The Arson Archive is one of the most confronting contributions at the G18 exhibition. Thomas Stratmann presents a record of arson attacks against refugee and immigrant accommodations since Germany was reunited in 1990. With over 400 burnt scale model shelters chronologically sorted in shelf systems, he turns abstract numbers into a tangible reality. Each burnt house is labeled with the time and place of event.

    By confronting people with the ugly effects of growing nationalism and xenophobia, he aims to show that the need to protect against violence is as urgent today as ever.

    MOCA Ceramic Research

    G18: MOCA Ceramic Research
    G18: MOCA Ceramic Research

    Carla Joachim and Jordan Morineau, two French designers graduating in Eindhoven, present an alternative approach to working with ceramics. A dripping machine allows liquid clay to drip trough a nozzle on a rotating platform. The self-made tool is slowly rotating a curved mould allowing the liquid clay mixture to come together. After drying, thin and fragile shapes are revealed with a unique aesthetic. They started of with dripping graphic patterns but discovered that the strength of the material is enough to create these beautiful, fragile, pieces of ceramics. What's next? After their graduation project they decide to stay in Eindhoven and continue their design works as Studio Joachim–Morineau.

    Shoe Lab

    G18: Shoe Lab

    These various shoe models are all made of a single thread of polyurethane. Inspired by the way spiders weave their web, French designer Martin Sallières experimented with 3D-weaving techniques, creating a similar structure for footwear design. The polyurethane mesh is created with a back and forth movement along the shoe mold and will keep its shape after heating the result. Unlike the common multi-material sneakers which are hard to recycle, this could become a promising alternative for the future.

    Better To Transport Bike

    G18: Better To Transport Bike

    With the Better To Transport (BTT) Bike, Thomas Hoogewerf wants to provide a transportation alternative made of recycled plastic in Mexico City. During his design internship in this mega city, he experienced a combination of traffic jams and noticed large amounts of wasted plastics ready to harvest. This lead to a clear solution for Thomas, saying: "Since I'm Dutch, it only felt natural to introduce a bike". By making the design freely available on Wikipedia (BTT BIKE page) anyone should be able to build this bicycle, or suggest improvements. With this project he presents an interesting approach to urban mining and demonstrates how large cities can become valuable sources for future materials.

    Ornament Now

    G18: Ornament Now

    For designers, kitchen tools and processes are a wonderful source of inspiration. Swedish designer Erika Emerén took a closer look at the creation of Spettekaka, a traditional Swedish cake which is made by piping batter on a rotating tube (warning: googling this process might get you dizzy). By replacing the dough with clay, a crafty decorative technique from the Swedish kitchen becomes the starting point of a new form language in ceramics. Erika's vases challenge the rather minimalist world of Swedish design with an enjoyable dose of folklore tradition.

    Made with Pleasure

    G18: Made with Pleasure
    G18: Made with Pleasure

    When we first saw this piece of work we thought someone forgot his bazooka. Fortunately, this project is less about conflicts and more about pleasure. Romain Kloeckner's Made with Pleasure stands for adding a fun factor to the monotonous tasks of the factory workers that might be manufacturing the things like designing and users like using.

    In short, choose your clay, load up the gun and experience the thrill of hitting the target on the wall — which happens to be a mold. Watch this video to see how it works and Romain pulls the trigger.

    Tamar Wood

    G18: Tamar Wood
    G18: Tamar Wood

    When Dan Porat hands over an unusual piece of wood we are impressed by its lightness. We learn that this wood-like material comes from Tamar which is Hebrew for date palm tree. So far, date palm trees are grown mainly for their fruits which are enjoyed all over the world. Dan visited the date plantations and believes it makes sense to explore the wood-like resources of the palm date itself for construction and woodwork. He created a video showing the everyday life at the plantations and created a series of objects to demonstrate the materials qualities.

    #akkt Instagrammable Activism

    G18: Instagrammable Activism #akkt

    If you want to reach a lot of people, a photo posted by an influencer with millions of followers can be more effective than a street demonstration. With this in mind, Mariska Lamiaud proposes a campaigning method to support NGOs in spreading awareness by designing special objects that are designed to be photographed, liked and shared on Instagram. These products have bright colors and eye-catching designs such as this giant blue whale that can highlight issues such as plastic pollution threatening marine ecosystems. The hashtag #akkt will show you what happened so far.

    Thonet Lab

    G18: Thonet Lab

    The last piece of work we see before we leave the exhibition halls is an inflated blue chair that seems to be familiar. When we get closer, we realize that Baptiste Labat has manipulated the iconic Thonet bentwood chair with 3D animation tools. With this physical chair he is stretching the boundaries of our physical world by rethinking iconic designs and giving them a new look and feel. With this chair, Baptiste demonstrates that the impact of digital creation is not limited on screen but should find its way on stage.

    Read More

    G18: Exhibition catalogues

    If you missed this year's Dutch Design Week and want to read more about the graduation show you can still find an online summary of all 208 projects at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Alternatively, you might consider getting the English catalogue of the graduation show, a great piece of graphic design by Studio Joost Grootens (see video preview).

    More of Dutch Design Week 2018 at Core77 at:
    - Dutch Design Week 2018 : "If Not Us, Then Who?"
    - Dutch Design Week Highlights: Robot Love
    - Dutch Design Week Highlights: New Material Award

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    Annie is a beauty and cosmetics company based in North Wales, Pennsylvania. We are a wide ranging team that develops innovative products from start to finish. Our products include electrical hair styling tools, manicure/pedicure tools, cosmetics and more. We are looking for a senior designer to join our team.

    View the full design job here

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    "My handwriting sucks, very much," says Alex Breton. When he's using the PrintBrush XDR, live on Kickstarter now, that doesn't matter. His small handheld printer can apply lettering and imagery—in exact hex-code color-matching—to paper, whiteboards, fabrics, or just about anything else in your home or office.

    Glide the PrintBrush XDR over just about any surface for a quick print.

    Breton, now in his 50s, has been an inventor since he was 17. He started out making mechanical bike locks and specialty multi-use pens, which in 2000 attracted the attention of a rubber stamp company hoping to develop new digital products.

    Breton started plugging away at the assignment—and secured three patents—but the company balked at the material costs for his rough, slow, early prototype. So he set off on what would become a nearly 20-year, career-defining journey. He's since raised over $10 million in venture capital, shipped out more than 100,000 printers, and partnered with industry leaders like COLOP and HP Specialty Printing Systems to fine-tune the product that's on Kickstarter now.

    The PrintBrush XDR printer fits in the palm of your hand.

    Breton began his pursuit of "random movement printing technology"—the "magic wand" that makes handheld printing possible—almost 20 years ago.

    Breton's first $1 million in funding, which he secured in 2001, allowed him to hire dozens of engineers and launch a product without his initial partners. "With such a large team of smart people we could very quickly put together the first prototypes that show what we call RMPT, random movement printing technology." It's what allows the PrintBrush to sense where it is on any surface in real time and print an image without mechanical paper feeders.

    By 2006 Breton licensed his first real handheld printer product, a scrapbooking tool with preset memory cards of images, to Lexmark, a printer company, and Xyron, a sticker-maker manufacturer. He hadn't figured out color printing yet, and the product didn't connect to computers or phones, but it caught the interest of another rubber stamp company that was eager to form a partnership.

    His proof-of-concept products made more ambitious collaborations possible.

    COLOP, the company Breton still works with now, produces several thousand stamps every day, and ships them to more than 120 countries around the world. "Stamps maybe aren't used so much in American and European offices anymore, but there's still a massive market for them in China, India, Russia, and the Middle East." COLOP saw that an internet-connected digital device could significantly smooth business and bureaucratic processes, and worked with Breton to make one.

    They call it the COLOP e-mark. "The e-mark opens up a new era in the stamp industry," Breton explains. "It's not a printer but a brand new type of stamp—a truly digital one."

    Breton also saw the e-mark's potential beyond that commercial use. He knew that, with just a few tweaks, it could double as a more freeform consumer printer. So he used the existing e-mark platform to create the PrintBrush XDR.

    Building on an existing commercial product significantly speeds manufacturing.

    The PrintBrush XDR is market-ready thanks to that creative repurposing of existing technology. Whereas similar projects have stalled out as they run into product design and manufacturing challenges, Breton is confident in his ability to deliver. He's already prepared the production tooling, secured his component supply chain, and tested hundreds of units.

    "Partnerships are very important," says Breton. "Partners champion your project. Without the series of partners we've had embrace and support this technology throughout the years, it would make no sense to continue for such a long time."

    The PrintBrush XDR cracked the code for great color.

    HP Specialty Printing Systems has been another one of those essential partners. Breton has worked on formal projects with the company, and found lots of technical help from friends there. But, for legal reasons, they aren't allowed to share any information about their parent company's proprietary color-matching technology. Nevertheless, Breton has kept tinkering away at it, and now he's excited about what he has to offer: his team independently architected a system to print precise colors, down to exact hex codes. "We call it the magic brush. It's a PrintBrush XDR app that can produce any color you want—you can basically use it as a spray can with 16 million colors and 342 different tip thicknesses."

    Now Breton wants to see what uses you come up with.

    After decades of work, Breton is excited to open his invention to more creators and developers—one of the reward tiers is a developer kit for those who'd like to make new apps for the hardware. "The PrintBrush XDR is something that we want to put out as a consumer product for many purposes—arts and crafts, scrapbooking, educational purposes. But one of the biggest reasons we're bringing this to the Kickstarter community is that we want to see the new uses they come up with."

    PrintBrush XDR is live on Kickstarter through January 31, 2019.

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    As a design student in the early '90s, I was fortunate enough to visit the big three auto manufacturers in Detroit on a class trip. One highlight was meeting Michael Santoro, who was then a brash young designer for Chrysler, and he showed us some revolutionary sketches of the then-forthcoming second generation Ram pickup truck.

    I didn't realize it at the time, but what he showed us would change, at least in my opinion, the course of all future full-size pickup designs by all of the major brands. (I'm sorry I don't have photos of Santoro's sketches to show you, but this was a pre-digital camera era; you'll have to rely on my descriptions.) 

    First off, consider what your average pickup truck looked like in 1993, the year before the 2G Ram came out. In particular, pay close attention to the front ends:

    1993 Ford F-150
    1993 Chevy C/K (predecessor to the Silverado)
    1993 Dodge Ram

    Between the three brands, all of the front ends look relatively square and pretty similar. There are disparities in the shape of the headlamps, but one commonality is that the tops of all of the headlamps and level with the tops of the grills.

    Now look at the redesigned ram, which came out in model year 1994:

    1994 Dodge Ram (Image by Brian Cantoni, CC BY 2.0)

    To understand what we're seeing, consider what the front end of big-rig trucks of the era looked like:

    1993 Peterbilt
    1993 Peterbilt
    1993 Mack

    The headlamps on all of the big rigs are down near the bumper. The grills and cowlings for the massive engines stretched upwards between two fenders. Chrysler's aesthetic innovation was to borrow this look, dropping the headlights, creating discrete fenders and streamlining their previously boxy form, in order to recall the appearance of a big rig truck.

    1993 Mack
    1994 Dodge Ram (Image by Brian Cantoni, CC BY 2.0)

    The redesign yielded immediate and profound results. In 1993, Ram sales were 95,542 units annually. The redesigned 1994 model sold a whopping 232,092. Annual sales figures increased into the 400,000s for the remainder of the '90s.

    The pickup trucks of today are all distinctly different than their pre-1994 forebears. While the low-headlights trend has withered and disappeared, all full-size pickup manufacturers--Dodge, Ford, Chevy and the newer Nissan and Toyota competitors--now have massively blocky front ends with enormous air dams and a big-rig-like appearance. I believe that this trend all started with Chrysler and their second-generation Ram. This was a significant milestone for auto design, in that you had a clearly flagging brand whose fortunes were reversed by bold design changes.

    2019 Ford F-150
    2019 Chevy Silverado
    2019 Dodge Ram

    For those of you interested in another design rescue story of the era, check out the New York Times' 1993 article "The Designers Who Saved Chrysler."

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    If you're an industrial designer working with a U.S.-based manufacturer of injection-molded objects, you've perhaps encountered a bit of chaos lately in your manufacturing process. Here's why.

    First off, every industrial designer knows that getting products made can be extraordinarily complicated. Even objects putatively manufactured in the U.S. may be assembled from parts made elsewhere. This is also true of production lines themselves, which may have American factories ejecting parts from injection molds…made in China. Understanding these complexities is, obviously, the first step towards managing them.

    There's no doubt that the U.S. runs a trade imbalance with China, and that it is in America's best interests to rectify that. But to accomplish that requires a careful analysis of how things are made, and a structured plan to protect American workers with minimal disruption. That's not possible if you have policymakers who won't read even basic briefings because they prefer to go with their guts.

    President Trump famously said that trade wars are "easy to win." He holds that belief because he doesn't understand the complexities of manufacturing. And the result of his oversimplified views has been uncertainty and chaos for manufacturers. What's currently going on with injection molds is a prime example.

    In July, the Trump administration imposed a $34 billion round of tariffs on Chinese-made goods. This included Chinese-made injection molds. Sounds good, right? After all, there are U.S.-based manufacturers of injection molds, and they are getting trounced by Chinese moldmakers, who are currently far faster. "U.S. tool shops typically take 18-20 weeks for each tool build," custom injection molder Sajar Plastics wrote to the U.S. Trade Representative, as reported in Plastics News. "Many of the tools we currently have in China are ready to ship within the next four weeks and be in production in the next 10 weeks."

    So if we were to slap a 25% tariff on Chinese-made molds, U.S. moldmakers will thrive. U.S. workers win! Easy, right?

    Well, not really. The problem is that a lot of U.S. manufacturers--particularly in the auto industry--use Chinese-made injection molds in their American factories, for precisely the reason quoted by Sajar Plastics above. That's why, following the July tariff announcement, the USTR received "a flood of more than 200 requests from plastic injection molding companies, many in the automotive supply chain, to exempt their specific mold imports."

    As a result, last week the Trump administration abruptly put a hold on duties for Chinese-made injection molds.

    And now U.S.-based moldmakers are unhappy. In July they thought they would be protected, and just six months later, learned they will not be.

    It seems like a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation. How is it possible to please both parties? How can the U.S. government correct the trade imbalance and protect the maximum amount of U.S. jobs with the least disruption? What could the Trump administration have done differently?

    What's needed here is smart leadership making carefully-planned decisions. We need intelligent people who can study a fiendishly complicated problem, and who will communicate with the relevant industries to learn about the potential repercussions in each direction. They must then craft a well-considered and multifaceted plan--helping American moldmakers boost capacity, for instance, while compensating U.S. manufacturers who rely on Chinese molds--and see to its execution.

    The trade war, now begun, cannot be swiftly wound down. The genie is out of the bottle. And it's possible that the U.S. can "win" it. But it won't be easy unless the powers-that-be are in command of the relevant facts first.

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    Something we're surprised that we don't see more of in the 3D printing space is printed sheets that can be folded into 3D objects. While bed size limitation is certainly a factor, Australia-based industrial designer Mart Cherednik's Stealth Bag, which is printed in one piece and has embedded hinges and snaps, should give you a good idea of the possibilities:

    "It features special Swarovski stone settings that do not require any tools or glue," Cherednik writes. "The crystals just 'click in' to the setting."

    We could see this technique being used for custom-fit electronics cases, tool holsters, knife holders, et cetera.

    Check out more of Cherednik's work on Coroflot.

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    On the third day of 2019, the new direct to consumer furniture company Dims. sent out a family letter that may just be the greatest piece of literature I have ever read from a capital-seeking entity – in this letter, the luxury design retailer announced major price cuts from two of their best products, but as nice as that is, the poetry came from the truth that followed… In this letter, Dims. revealed the very things that give them power, and by doing so, Dims. gave us power: they showed us the numbers. 1.9, for instance.

    Dims.'s Caldera Table designed by John Astbury and Kyuhyung Cho

    1.9 is one of the details that make this email magical. When you hear the word Dims., you might think of a candle bathing a room in soft light (1.9 could be the number of lumens the wick emits as it dies out). But 1.9 actually has to do with the coffee table in that room – the Caldera Coffee Table, with its large central dip, where a goldfish bowl might proudly stand surrounded by beer bottles. It's a square and petite sold-ash-wood table that costs exactly $154.04 to make, according to Dims. In their Gettysburg Address of an email, founder Eugene Kim lay everything out on that table:

    "One month after our November launch, we solicited feedback from our mailing list on how we were doing. Hundreds of conversations and survey responses later, we learned that you (almost universally) love the furniture from our designers. BUT (big but!) too many of you found our prices to be prohibitively expensive. Turns out we were only following through on half of our promise.

    To make good, this is what we're going to do. Starting today, the Caldera Coffee Table (originally priced at $350) can be purchased for $295. Our actual cost of goods for each Caldera is $154.04. Traditionally, a product like Caldera would be sold for $750 (5x markup). You will get the same product at a 1.9x markup."


    The Caldera Table price breakdown

    Originally priced at $350, the 1.9X-markedup table is now just $295. The Barbican Trolley (which I desperately want to surprise my wife with) is down from $350 to $260. Dims. admits that the Barbican costs $131.26 to produce, leaving the Barbican at a clean 2X markup. All this info came from an email. No news on their Rove Side Table, priced at $120. But dang, this is a lot of info to receive from people who want us to buy things.

    Barbican Trolley designed by Visibility
    Barbican's cost breakdown

    It's a fascinatingly personal email to receive. One month after their launch last November, Dims. solicited feedback, surveys, and reviews. They acted on their findings, displaying their research in a digestible way for buyers, visually and in writing.

    The Rove Side Table designed by Kenyon Yeh

    Dims. mission is to democratize great design, highlighting up-and-coming designers like Visibility and offering their products at good price points. But there's a third thing they're doing. They're being vulnerable. And as the influencer bubble gets that much closer to popping in 2019, it's about time. The business world is changing quickly and only the fearless ones with nothing to hide will survive the transition.

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    Ammunition is an international design group providing services in product design, brand strategy and identity, UX design, graphic design, and packaging. While Ammunition’s strengths are diverse across design disciplines, our real expertise is to redefine markets by using design to create new business territory, and to communicate and connect with

    View the full design job here

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    One of my gripes with designers of multiple fields--architecture, interior design, industrial design--is that they'll often design things with no thought to basic maintenance. By which I mean cleaning.

    Here's a second-story window in my house. It is festooned with cobwebs, dirt and dust, and is impossible for me to access and clean (never mind open the window) because it is sited over a stairwell. In the photo it might look like it can be reached from the landing; trust me, it can't. I'll need to buy one of those funky stair-straddling ladders, or rig something up, in order to get up there.

    This is the silicone keyboard crumb-catching cover I had to buy for my MacBook. Laptop designers don't consider, or don't care about, the sad reality that many of us take meals at our computers.

    Here's my OXO can opener. Works great as a can opener, but is just about impossible to clean with a dish sponge and even a toothbrush.

    Here's an egregious example: Imagine you're an exhibition designer hired by the UK's Royal Air Force Museum. You come up with this visually striking scheme of suspending the planes, some of them vertically, within the exhibition space via cables. You deposit your paycheck and move on to the next project. Meanwhile, once a year these maniacs from Arco Professional Safety Services have to climb up there with industrial Swiffers to dust the things:

    After mentioning this to my wife, she brought up a hospital room she'd visited where the phones were specially designed with flush-mounted surfaces, including the keypad, that made them easy to wipe down and disinfect. So, a shout-out to you medical designers out there.

    Looking around your home, office, garage or even car, what are some of the items that you find difficult or impossible to clean?

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    Another year, another surge of designs being pushed out into the world: some great, some good, and some, well, not worth mentioning... But what separates the good from the best? That's something the 2019 Core77 Design Awards are here to distinguish and recognize.

    Core77 is excited to announce the 2019 Core77 Design Awards, recognizing excellence in all areas of design expertise for over 9 years. Since the awards' inception in 2011, the program has welcomed nearly 10,000 entries from professionals and students in over 49 countries around the world. It stands as an annual opportunity to take a look back and celebrate some of the best design of this year. It's a chance to be a part of a global conversation, get recognized by your peers, and pick up an award or two.

    2018 Built Environment Professional Winner, Compound Camera

    Good design lives in many subsects, and our 14 original categories aim to recognize these many facets of the design world. With distinctions for Professional and Student entries alike, the Core77 Design Awards has awarded over 250 individual design firms including IDEO, frog, Pentagram, and fuseproject, as well as countless students from around the globe. 

    What's new for 2019?

    We're also excited to announce some newcomers to the 2019 awards, including the addition of categories such as Crowdfunding and The Design Academy Awards for Best Studio and Best Company of 2018— each of these categories recognizes the importance the effect of good design on commerce over the past year.

    2018 Visual Communication Professional Notable, Callen-Lorde's Brand Identity

    The judges

    Each year, the program hand-picks a jury of international design talent to judge each category. This year's lineup is no exception, including design all-stars like Global Experience Design Director at Slack, Kristy Tillman, Anagrama partner Daniela Garza, FOOD Co-Founder Dong-Ping Wong, Google Senior Industrial Designer Linda Jiang, and plenty more fantastic folks. These professionals are each asked to build their own judging teams that promise a wide swath of experience and perspective, ensuring a diverse point of view for each category.

    The winners

    The best part of this process, however, is the announcement. Not just to finally satiate everyone's anticipation for who the winners are, but to kick off a conversation on the current state and future of design in the years to come. After reviewing, jurors announce their decisions via a video where they describe, in their own words, the process, observations, and discussion that led them to their final choices. It sheds light on a process typically kept behind closed doors, and sparks a meaningful discourse in the weeks that follow.

    2018 Interaction Professional Runner-Up, Melab 

    What do you get for all this? Well beyond another line on your LinkedIn profile, you'll get your work showcased across the Core77 blog and beyond, adoration by your peers, visibility by esteemed designers in your field, as well as a very swanky trophy designed by none other than New York studio Rich Brilliant Willing. Inspired by the kind of group effort that designers and their clients engage in every day, the trophy doubles as a mold, allowing you to, well, make more! As many as you like.

    Sound up your alley?

    Get at it. The 2018 Core77 Design Awards are currently open for entry now. Like right now. Early Bird pricing ends on January 31st, Regular Deadline ends March 7th, and the Final Deadline to enter is April 1st. That's it. Winners will be announced June 12th.

    Here's to 2018!

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    Back when I was driving an ambulance, we got a call that a big rig had crashed on a nearby highway. Arriving on site, we saw tire marks going off of the road, then disappearing over an embankment. The driver had driven off the edge and tipped the vehicle over; the entire eighteen-wheeler lay on its side in a valley at the bottom of the slope. It was too steep to get the ambulance down there. The driver was a big fellow, and after the (considerably difficult) task of extricating him from the cab, we had to strap him to the spinal board and muscle him up the slope. We surmised he had internal injuries and, obviously, if we dropped him it would've been disastrous.

    That's why an anime-style vehicle with legs doesn't sound crazy to me, but very useful.

    As with Toyota and Honda, Hyundai is now viewing themselves as a mobility company rather than a car company. To that end they've designed this Elevate UMV (Ultimate Mobility Vehicle) concept that can both drive and walk over uneven terrain:

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    Last year we saw an amazing bicycle that had been hacked so that it could change height on-the-fly. Like this:

    I could not deduce how it worked, but Rachel over at Rako Bikes figured it out--and even made an Instructable showing you how to build your own. You'll need a way to cut metal, access to a welder and a budget for some basic bike parts and tools--and, of course, a full-suspension mountain bike you're willing to hack up--but she makes it look pretty do-able. 

    Check out the build instructions here.

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    Yesterday afternoon amongst the unfinished halls of CES, technology company MSI gathered journalists and gamers to announce that they have officially partnered with Discovery Channel to create the PS63 Modern laptop. MSI is known first and foremost for their slim and powerful gaming laptops, but through their PS63 Modern, the company is now hoping to expand to reach a community outside of the gaming world: designers and mobile creative content creators.

    The PS63 Modern isn't MSI's first attempt at appealing to a more creative audience—during last year's CES, the company unveiled two laptops to kick off this new range, the PS42 Modern and the P65 Creator. Both were a notable first step into the market, but the new PS63 Modern solidifies MSI's interest in appealing to creators even more.

    So, what sets the PS63 Modern apart from anything else on the market? This laptop in particular puts emphasis on convenience and mobility above all. It features a 15.6-inch IPS-level display, crafted in a compact thin bezel chassis for optimal screen to body ratio. The entire laptop weighs in at around 3.6 lbs, but the real kicker is its whopping 16 hour battery life accompanied by Qualcomm® Quick Charge ™ 3.0. This long battery life enables you to stay mobile for an entire day without carrying charger, and it is able to support your phone charge without compromising power. For those times when you will need a charger, like when traveling, the PS63 Modern's power adapter is 38% smaller than those of previous MSI laptops. 

    Slim profile

    The PS63 Modern features the latest 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor and NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 graphics, a powerful system for multitasking and rendering. Also included in the PS63 Modern is MSI's effective Cooler Boost 3, which has the ability to reduce the laptop's temperature, ensuring that it performs at its best without overheating. If Cooler Boost 3 can work for gamers, we have a feeling that it can work during the various stages of the digital design process. The touchpad also features an increased size and includes a fingerprint sensor for added biometric security. After using the touchpad to do basic tasks like open an Internet browser, we noticed a clear upgrade in the touchpad material from any laptop we've used—it's extremely silky smooth and touch sensitive.

    Enlarged touchpad

    But as we all know, designers aren't solely attracted to processing power and screen size. As appealing as that battery life is, we (for better or for worse) tend to gravitate towards shapes, profiles and subtle design details that fit our lifestyle. We want to feel like we're designers while we're working on the go. MSI took this psychological desire into account when designing certain surface details of the PS63 Modern. 

    Our favorite example is the subtlety of the MSI logo on the front of the laptop because with many of MSI's previous models, especially their gaming range, the MSI logo placement and color choice begs to be noticed (think red logo on black laptop). The PS63 Modern, however, takes MSI's identity in a different direction—its slim profile, carbon gray color with blue accents and subtle logo instead begs for curiosity, for people to see the laptop for the first time and ask, "What type of laptop is that?" A sentiment that can be much more powerful than loud brand presence.

    The PS63 Modern certainly makes a statement during a time when the general public is starting to rebel against certain tech moguls and product ranges. Through the release of the PS63 Modern, MSI has proven their dedication to further developing their laptop range until they fully meet the needs of designers—a statement we believe is worth paying attention to.

    Learn more about MSI's new PS63 Modern laptop in collaboration with Discovery Channel here.

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    Are you tired of the corporate grind or of working in dull product categories? Do you want to work on exciting projects with a great team, in a great location? Lifestyledesign is growing and we are looking for a very talented and passionate designer to join our team.

    View the full design job here

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