At Apple's keynote presentation at the WWDC yesterday, scorn for Scott Forstall – their recently-fired VP of iOS software – ran rampant. His preference for skeuomorphic design (calendars that look like leather and so-on) was mocked repeatedly by Craig Federighi: “Look! Even without all that stitching, everything just stays in place.” But the real shocker was the completely redesigned iOS 7, created under the supervision of Jonathan Ive, who prior handled all of Apple's hardware design and none of its software. Previously Ive and Forstall were much at odds, reportedly refusing to even meet with each other—and it should be noted that Ives' famous idol, the legendary industrial designer Dieter Rams, famously rejected artificial wooden furnishings with his breakout design, the record player that was nicknamed "Snow White's Coffin" for its transparent lid. Forstall's ousting placed Ive in charge of interface as well as industrial design, and it was expected that the shift would lead to a change in iOS design philosophy. But the change was perhaps more radical than expected—a complete overhaul that looks simple to the point of cartoonishness, with abstracted icons and stark layouts. Some critics are already complaining that iOS 7 goes too far in the other direction; others note the deep rigor of its new rules-based design. You can hear Ive talk about his design here [warning: obnoxious Apple promo video]. And Apple threw its support behind Ive with an unexpectedly lovely short video about the design process [warning: possibly also obnoxious]: "We start to confuse convenience for joy, abundance with choice. There are a thousand no's for every yes."
Bill Moggridge, 1943-2012 "I think it's always wise to remember to use the dirtiest method you possibly can at the time. Use the quickest thing and the simplest thing for the stage you're at." Bill Moggridge, designer, co-founder of IDEO and director of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, died after a battle with cancer on September 8 2012. [more inside]
Prototypes are usually the missing links in the evolution of human technology, the dead-ends of ideas that give way to the refinement of the final physical product. Prototypes aren't just for Darth Vader. While the legal back and forth between Apple and Samsung continues, a treasure trove of prototype designs for Apple devices has been released to the public, showing insights into various design approaches and feature enhancements, including larger form-factor iPads with and without kickstands and landscape ports and iPhones that parody the Sony logo, show a different layout for camera elements, and look remarkably like fourth-generation models, as far back as 2005. On the other hand, some have made prototypes into the end goal itself, such as the folks at Dangerous Prototypes, a site which features a new open-source electronic hardware project each month. Some are just gratuitous fun, while others are a bit more practical, such as one project that recycles old Nokia displays and another that provides access to infrared signal, useful for hacking together remote controls for all sorts of IR-based devices. Other prototypes of tomorrow's technology are less concerned with shrinking down the guts of the invention itself, to make it disappear, but rather on how we interact with and integrate physical representations of these ideas into our daily lives. Above all else, prototypes are always forward-looking and are therefore inherently optimistic expressions of human creativity: Even children are getting into imagining the world of tomorrow.
Start Ups: This is how Design works.. A guide for non-designers by designer Wells Riley. [more inside]
With only about as much effort as manufacturing one’s own Great Pyramid of Giza, Atlanta prop-builder Harrison Krix designs and constructs his own Daft Punk–style helmet, complete with 320 red LEDs along the visor and twin cooling fans. (Delightful time-lapse making-of video [YouTube]. Design process: Part 1 ¶ Part 2 ¶ Part 3.) Now, what are you supposed to do with a prop like that? Pop it on and pose next to a DeLorean, obviously.
Creation process of the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. Putting together previous coverage by Treehugger and Vitra, Belgian standardista/Web designer Veerle Pieters offers a step-by-step breakdown, designed in her characteristically beautiful and feminine style, of how the iconic Eames chair and ottoman are constructed. Spoiler alert: It involves a lot of bent plywood.
"The design brief had at least one interesting bulletpoint: The chair had to be 'torpedo-proof.'" Making, testing, more testing, history, design, redesign. [more inside]
Apple’s Tablet Computer History - A collection of beautiful prototype designs for some of Apple's early tablet computers from the 1980s and 90s, including the famed Newton [ related | via ]
A brilliant industrial design (IMO) for a slimline UK power plug. The UK plug is an exceptionally chunky and large lump; a real pain in the computer satchel. This video shows what appears to be a manufacturable design that turns it into an elegant device. SLYT. [more inside]
Product Panic - Bruce Sterling on industrial design in the slump.
Grace Jones in chocolate. That isn’t a clever illustration of an assembly line of Grace Jones heads on the cover of her new album, Hurricane. Those are real chocolate Grace Jones heads made from 16 moulds of her head and body.
If you can make it through the glacially paced intro and can put up with the typically clunky, often laughable and jingoistic fifties-style narration, this 1958 film from Chevrolet, The American Look is worth viewing. Chock full of futuristic telephones, toasters, blenders, office machines, architecture and more, it's a mid-century design lover's dream. The film is visually striking and elegant, and presented in widescreen format. Here's part 2 and part 3. Or see it here in its entirety. [more inside]
Hi-fi spheres, bacon toasters, translated Pravda on demand, and other changes to come in 1975 A.D. [ via Bostworld ]
The birth of a gadget. [Wired]
The son of industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger (creator of the distinct styling of the Apple IIc and subsequent products, as well as founder of frog design) shares memories and photographs (auf Deutsch; Google cache) of Apple's early attempts at an iPhone.
"The difference between BJ and AJ, Before and After Jobs, is not the process," [Don Norman] continues. "It is the person. Never before did Apple have such focus and dedication. Apple used to wobble, moving this way and that. No more."
Best designed stuff of '06. The Industrial Design Excellence Awards. Winners include the 2 second tent, a new coffin and the hover creeper. Want more design? See what shaking in ecodesign, gadgetry, or concept cars. Perhaps you just want to know what's cool or what those crafty Germans are up to. Then again, maybe it's all just too much to handle.
Forget the world for a minute, darlings. It's suppertime. Let's use our fabulously round and colorful dishware from America's premier champion of casual living, the handsome Russel Wright. An artist, industrial designer and marketing genius, Wright was a pioneer in spun aluminum before his innovative American Modern dinnerware (designed for the masses, not the classes) made him a star. Housewives would line up for blocks when a new shipment arrived. Some of his pieces are truly museum-quality. Cooper-Hewitt Museum quality, to be exact. Only 3 weeks left in the exhibition. And if you see Carmen, one of the world's top Russel Wright collectors, do tell her hello.