What is Design Fiction?
"the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change. That’s the best definition we’ve come up with. The important word there is diegetic. It means you’re thinking very seriously about potential objects and services and trying to get people to concentrate on those rather than entire worlds or political trends or geopolitical strategies. It’s not a kind of fiction. It’s a kind of design. It tells worlds rather than stories." — Bruce SterlingExamples of Diegetic Prototypes in Design Fiction. [more inside]
Animal Families - A collection of animal illustrations that explore the relationship of parent and child. By artist Michael Sutton.
The NYTs announces a new exhibit at the Austrian Museum of the Applied Arts on Josef Frank, architect and designer now best known for his surreal and wonderful wallpaper and fabric designs. [more inside]
Megalithic Robotics is a recent class at MIT that resulted in a very interesting object: a 2000-pound megalith that can be moved with a fingertip.
“They’re probably the most familiar interfaces on the planet: the numeric keypads on our mobile phones and calculators. Yet very few notice that the keypads’ design has remained unchanged for nearly half a century in the face of evolving global design norms and conventions. Even fewer users notice another startling design feature: the phone’s keypad is the inverted version of the calculator’s.”Graphic designer C Y Gopinath explains the science and research behind his decision to change the numeric interface layout of his calculator app, Calcuta, from square to circular.
The Paint and Sip Industry has been steadily on the rise since 2007. You bring wine or beer, there are snacks, and you tie on an apron to make some art. Yes, the paintings tend to look similar; one instructor writes that "There is real merit to what is being done, but it is a whole different animal than what some artists want or feel about art." [more inside]
GrowUp: the future of food - "The new concept of commercial aquaponics, argue Hofman and Webster, has a much-reduced environmental impact. Companion farming fish and crops dates back to the Aztecs, but it took until the 2010s, in Chicago, to move it indoors at any scale. In the UK, only eco-smallholdings have so far attempted it, and the only European aquaponics farms of note use purpose-built greenhouses. GrowUp's model, by contrast, is to fit out empty urban buildings, use no chemicals, employ LED lights, source 100 per cent renewable energy and, crucially, be based within five miles of its customer base in a dense urban area."
Chris Donovan was a telephone technician for 25 years, when in his early 50s, he decided to change careers rather drastically. He sent his designs to Polimoda in Italy to enroll in fashion design, specifically shoe design. He was accepted, and graduated at 55, and now designs high fashion women's shoes, inspired by everything from gnarled trees to hip replacements, architectural features and plumbing fixtures, as seen on his Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest accounts.
Pantone did something wild and, for the very first time, named TWO colors for 2016's Color of the Year – Rose Quartz and Serenity. [more inside]
Transport for London recently released a comprehensive set of design guidelines for building works on their stations. I don't think I'll look at an underground station in the same way again. [more inside]
The Art of Punk (previously) is a documentary series from MOCAtv, the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Arts’ YoutTube channel. The series looks at the visual language of the punk rock movement by focussing on three legendary punk rock bands and the seminal artists behind their iconic logos. [more inside]
Eugene Tssui designed the “Fish House” – based on the tardigrade, a segmented marine microanimal – for his parents in Berkeley, California. But that’s not the only interesting thing about him. . . . [more inside]
Sending and receiving emails are important parts of his job. On average, he gets an email every 45 minutes. Sometimes, the interval between emails is only two minutes. Other times, it’s three hours. Although many of these emails are unimportant or stress-inducing, some of them are fun. Before long, whenever Michael S has an internet connection, he starts refreshing his email inbox every 30 minutes, and then every five minutes and then, occasionally, every two minutes. Before long, it’s a compulsive tic – the pecking pigeon of web usage.If the internet is addictive, why don’t we regulate it?
Sorry We're Closed is "an awareness project by designer and educator, Kelly Holohan", designed to bring attention to LGBTQ human rights around the world. It's on at the AIGA Philadelphia, but you can see the posters here.
For years, Apple followed user-centered design principles. Then something went wrong. Former Apple designers Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini on how Apple has sacrificed core principles of usability and good interface design on the altar of visual simplicity and prettiness.
Malaysian illustrator Charis Loke designs geek culture-inspired traditional South/South East Asian outfits, primarily baju kurung and kebaya. Some of her inspirations include Tolkein, Pacific Rim, Watchmen, and the Hunger Games.
As the main supplier of fashion prints to nearly half a continent, the textile company has continued to dominate that fashion scene there for almost 170 years. How’d that happen? Rooted in European colonialism and a testament to African ingenuity, creativity, and cultural pride; it’s a surprising story…
Weird, or future, or both! There's the "car-like thing," the "three-seater with a swiveling cabin," the boat that's not a boat, the one with eight wheels, an "extreme super pickup truck" with scissor doors, a sidestep into the Toyato RV-2, and the one with the cute little head on the dash. [more inside]
Sketchnotes, Graphic Recordings, Visual Notes, you may have seen them at the last conference or big corporate meeting you attended: beautifully hand drawn notes that summarize big ideas using simple visuals. This Web 3.0 generation has adopted the term "sketchnotes" which was coined by interface designer, illustrator, and author Mike Rohde. The field is actually called Graphic Recording which is "capturing everyone’s most salient points and making them stick", as described by experts at ImageThink. Practitioners call themselves all sorts of things, Sketchnote Artists, Visual Note Takers, Graphic Recorders, Scribes, Visual Notes Artists, Live Sketch Artists, Group Graphics Practitioners and more. [more inside]
RockPaperShotgun asks the British game industry how they would make a game out of The Great British Bake Off.
Brandon is a 23-year-old software engineer who is saving over 90% of his income by living in the back of a 16' box truck parked at his work. He answers questions and documents his experiences on his blog. Instead of an apartment or a house, less than one hundred square feet may be all you need.
Feministing has done an article on Flirtmoji's recent release of 15 vulva emoji, realistically asymmetrical and in a variety of pleasant colors. Designer Katy McCarthy did an interview on her work on these sexually explicit emoji and the necessity of inclusivity.
Sly Stone leaping and kicking the air in his ultra-70s platform heel boots. Thelonious Monk at the piano, a weapon slung across his shoulder and surrounded by the accoutrements of underground resistance. Bruce Springsteen grinning and leaning on his buddy, sax man Clarence Clemmons. If you're any kind of music fan, these iconic album cover images will probably be familiar to you. And they are only the tip of the iceberg: there were so, so many more designed for Columbia Records, over the years, by art director John Berg, who has just passed on at the age of 83. So long, John, and thanks for all those killer record covers.
With the introduction of Google's new logo, why not take a look at the extensive documentation explaining the details of their Material Design philosophy?
Sara Hendren talks at the Eyeo Festival about how she, as an artist, came to work at an engineering college. Hendren teaches at Olin College in Needham, MA and runs the site Abler, a site about "art, adaptive technologies and prosthetics, the future of human bodies in the built environment, and related ideas." Hendren's talk name-checks the artist Claire Pentecost, who has elaborated idea of the artist as "public amateur": the learner who is motivated by love or by personal attachment, and in this case, who consents to learn in public so that the very conditions of knowledge production can be interrogated. [via Text Patterns]
Typography design and illustration is still an active artform, and you can get an idea of the skills at play by looking at two rather different young penmen: Seb Lester (previously) and Jake Weidmann. While both started as self-taught artists, Seb designs fonts and draws free-hand typographic art pieces with no formal education in type design, while Jake mentored under calligrapher to the White House, Rick Muffler, and is the youngest of the 14 Master Penmen (one of the few programs where inductees must craft their own certificates). As an introduction to the craft and these artists, here's more of Seb Lester and his craft, and an interview with Master Penman Jake Weidmann, with displays of his works. [more inside]
Adrian Frutiger, the Swiss type designer responsible for a number of classic typefaces including Univers, Avenir, OCR-B and the eponymous Frutiger, passed away on Saturday in Bern, aged 87. [more inside]
Subtraction surveyed 4000 designers from 198 countries to identify the tools they liked and used for brainstorming, wireframing, interface design, prototyping, project management and version control.
Ian Parker from the New Yorker managed to secure time with and access to Apple's chief designer, Sir Jonathan Ive so as to write this extended profile of the man, his obsessively secretive workplace - and his dislike of orangey-brown..
Barbara Knickerbocker-Beskind has been an occupational therapist, inventor, author and recently started a new career as a designer for famed firm IDEO. Her work there is on products to support the ageing community - which benefits from her perspective as a 91-year-old.
David C Roy designed and handcrafted over 150 different one-of-a-kind kinetic sculptures. Common elements in his work include motion and wood. They are powered by constant force springs. [more inside]
A Germaphobe’s Guide to Buying a Metrocard starts off in favor of BART fare machines over MTA machines, but that's before the author learns about the designer's "leave no rider behind" ethos.
“The soda machine is like [the MTA’s] first prototype, you start the transition by inserting money, then you make a selection and hopefully the selection comes out, which may not happen,” Udagawa said with a laugh. “[At] a store, no one pays upfront. So you go in, you check out the products, check out the prices, you gain confidence and then you decide to pay.”
"The good people at Morphy Auctions gave me permission to show you these vintage (~1930s-50s) condom package designs." -- Cardhouse on historical condom packaging and design.
In the '70s, NASA commissioned a redesign of their "meatball" logo. They wanted something to make it more modern and better designed, so eventually the "worm" logo was unveiled. Unfortunately a lot of NASA engineers hated it.
”Google’s new logo is its biggest update in 16 years“ (says Fast Company) “[I]t's now using a sans-serif typeface, making it look a lot more modern and playful. The colors are also softer than they used to be. The logo bears a bit more resemblance to the logo of Google's new parent company, Alphabet, as well.” (says Verge) The Google Blog has more. And, of course, there’s an introductory doodle.
These are all very different services. Several of them are cool and useful, but it’s hard to tell them apart. - Send In The Clones
Taxi Fabric - connecting designers with taxi drivers – turning seat covers into canvas’ for young Indian designers to show off their design talent and storytelling skills. [via Art Radar]
"Pee-wee’s Playhouse is where you can stop at every roadside attraction in the world." Patreon's Art of the Title speak with Prudence Fenton, Phil Trumbo and Paul "Pee-wee Herman" Reubens about the two-minute animation that opened each episode of the classic 1980s television program Pee-wee’s Playhouse
Daniel Dennett, known for having previously explained thinking, religion, and consciousness, recently spoke at the Royal Institution where he did a most excellent job of explaining memes [1-hour video].
Tufte CSS : "Tufte CSS provides tools to style web articles using the ideas demonstrated by Edward Tufte's books and handouts. Tufte's style is known for its simplicity, extensive use of sidenotes, tight integration of graphics with text, and carefully chosen typography." via mefi projects from Mefi's own daveliepmann, 'maker and maintainer'. [more inside]
You probably haven't thought about curb cuts recently, but you've almost certainly used one. Curb cuts were originally introduced to benefit mobility impaired people in wheelchairs, but they're used by nearly everyone. This is an example of the curb cut effect: accommodations are often initially developed for disabled people but prove to make everyone's lives a little easier. The philosophy of inclusive design incorporates building accommodation for disabilities into products and architecture as a way to improve the product for everyone who might use it.
New Zealand is considering a new national flag design. The Flag Consideration Project recently published the group of forty flags which made the long list from more than 10000 subscriptions. The official website also has resources on what makes a good flag design; and presents the results of public polling on "What New Zealand stands for." [more inside]
"The tension, the promise, and the peril of the exoskeleton: It is great for some, but in the gusto for technological solutions, for stories that “inspire” and for devices that pull people into the “normal” world, people can lose sight of a future that could be much better. " Rose Eveleth at The Atlantic writes about exoskeletons and other forms of assistive technology for people with disabilities, the life-changing things they can do, and the possibility that they are blinding us to other ways to look at disability, accessibility, and infrastructure. This is part of Remaking the Bodies, a series on how science and technology are re-engineering the human body.
Dear Design Student - In Praise of the AK-47 (NSFW language)
The AK-47 is often cited as a well-designed object. And this case is usually made by pointing out that the AK-47 is easy to use, maintain, take-apart, modify, and manufacture. It’s a model of simplicity. And the original design, introduced in 1948, is still in use, even as the AK family has continued evolving...[more inside]
The Twitter account Diana_Vreeland pays tribute to the celebrated fashion editor/social maven by coming up with colorful suggestions for how to live your life.
Books in the films of Wes Anderson - a video essay.