My Little Pony

Applejack. Yes, I’ve entered into the world of My Little Pony. Yes, I saw the movie. I listen to the soundtrack, its actually not that bad. Sia and CL sing on it…

ipad leapfrogs all

So lucky for me that Nook had production delivery problems. That just saved me $500. Now I’ll just wait for the ipad to come out.

On that note of products being late…that’s just a killer when it comes to generating sales and making business numbers. Designers should know this, but often don’t really assimilate the impact of being late and its consequences on the business.  What does that mean to the design process?

nook leapfrogs kindle

Ok, i want one of these…there was something about the kindle, that made me wonder if I should plunk down $300, uh ok, $250 (since the intro of nook).  I was unsure when I wrote about this a while back and am now certain, that i won’t buy a kindle.

nook

For now, until i can go to Barnes and Noble to buy one, my thoughts based on what i’ve read on the web and what i can see in pics:

Look: winner Nook – ok the Nook is nice and clean, not a stunning design, the Kindle 2…pretty darn bland, i can see the braun/rams/bauhaus inspiration, but, still just too plain. And the original Kindle, well honestly, that thing was pretty ugly, I mean, look at that keyboard.

Kindle-orig

Technology: winner Nook – dual screens, gotta love it
UI: winner Nook – jury out, but the potential of, the dual screens!
Experience – Nook – bring it to a Barnes and Noble and read stuff for free. Phyigital Reality, making digital things act like real life things
Cool Factor: Nook

kindle-2

Crazy post card – even pictures need context

mom-look-at-my-machine-gun

Ok, so this is a old vintage crazy graphic.  Not sure what to make of it. Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes its just a few WORDS that really shed light to the context.

Here are some captions that change the thought:

“i wish this babysitter would go home”

“don’t move, let me shoot that fly off your shoulder”

“there’s a really scary man behind you wanting to steal your rasta hat, i gotchya back”

any more???

minus ten July 1999

id-mag-cover-july-1999

“minus ten”. A look back 10 years to see what was going on. I’ll pick out what I feel got Stuck in Time, good or bad design that was clearly of the moment. Ahead of Time will be a look at something that had brought some insight to the future and finally, the Test of Time will soon be design classics, at least imho.

Hey how about that, my friend Paul Pierce’s work ON THE COVER!  I wonder what he thinks of this thing now!

ID Annual 1999, there’s gotta be some good pickin’s for this post:

Stuck in Time:

astro-1999

group shots are always stuck in time…can you say big balls!

Ahead of Time

audi-tt-1999

OK i may be biased, I lined up and paid extra to get this car…call me a sucker.

Ahead of Time AND Stuck

ebooks-1999

above, dated, below better, but those triangle buttons, dated, the concept of ebook readers….AHEAD

WAY Stuck in Time, actually BEHIND the times…

printer-1999

Memphis Group disbanded in 1988, this was designed in 1999…uh hello?

Test of Time

fluke-1999

So this may not win a beauty contest, (oh wait, it did!) but this aesthetic has definitely stood the test of time for this type of product.  The colors have a stood the test of time…Rugged.

So I’m a little disappointed that there weren’t more things that stood the test of time or were ahead of time.  Some things that made this issue I had already covered…Karim for Issey Miyake but that’s about it. LOTs of stuff that got stuck, frog, lunar (me!), apple, ideo, phillips all guilty.

There was one product from Design Central that was way ahead of time, but only got a shitty black and white spot and honorable mention. They did a rubberized shoe, form fitting, all one piece, molded in tread…copied several years later, or uh borrowed or mistakenly reinvented by the likes of fuseproject, crocs and any student who did a shoe project and knew how to use alias.

shoe-copy

From ID Magazine July 1999

why so deep?

strategic design

cultural invention

experience design

meaningful experiences

design thinking

business design

design for business

service design

world design centers, california, london, tokyo, silicon alley, etc.

design research

human centered design

changing people’s behaviour

changing the way people see the world

analysis paralysis

what ever happened to the simple pleasures, passion and beauty that good old fashioned design brings?

NBA draft picks

nba-logo2

The recent NBA draft got me thinking, what does this have to do with design?  You might think, “nothing” since American team sports and designers in general don’t seem to mix, maybe its that “I’m an artist” vs. “I’m a team player” mentality, but that’s for another post.

Work with me here for a sec. Let’s look at some NBA draft results over the course of a few years.

Atlanta Hawks – 2005 – Selected Marvin Williams ahead of Deron Williams and Chris Paul

Detriot Pistons -2003 – Selected Darko Milicic ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

Golden State Warriors – 1996 – Selected Todd Fuller over Kobe Bryant,  Steve Nash

kobe_bryant

Los Angeles Clippers – 1988 – Selected Michael Olowokandi ahead of Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitki, Paul Pierce

And arguably, the biggest mistake…

Portland Trailblazers – 1984 – Selected Sam Bowie ahead of Micheal Jordan

michael-jordan

The process of the NBA draft is full of analysis.  Players come in for workouts (testing prototypes), lots of statistics (intensive research), analysis on how they fit as part of the team (portfolio analysis), then ultimately making the selection (placing the bet on the product).  The “companies” spend 2-3 years doing this research on any given player.

Look above again, all that testing, research and ultimately, placing the bet on how to move forward, sometimes, just doesn’t pay off.  Look at how many “bets” ended up as busts.

The Design connection: lots of research, data and testing doesn’t always pay off, especially if the data is wrong (duh, but lots of people don’t realize they are looking at just bad data), as in the examples above.  Even if the research was right, just seems like there are so many other factors that can turn things upside down that data doesnt seem to uncover.  What’s the current economic condition? What’s the competition doing? Did your product have a hidden flaw? Your product tested well, but just didn’t perform in the real world, that’s full of so many unknowns. But that’s what’s great about life, it always throws you a curve. (sorry for the mixed sports metaphor)

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate research, but i also think you can’t go overboard and you can’t let that drive every last decision you make.

minus ten June 1999

id-magazine-cover-june-1999-1

ID’s first cut at judging media in 1999.

“minus ten” Is a look back 10 years to see what was going on. I’ll pick out what I feel got Stuck in Time, good or bad design that was clearly of the moment. Ahead of Time will be a look at something that had brought some insight to the future and finally, the Test of Time will soon be design classics, at least imho.

Issue of ID before the Annual is always light, not very many ads from the consultants as they we all saving their pennies for the Annual.  Regardless, I was able to find a couple of nuggets.

John Maeda was making jaws drop in 1994 with Reactive Square, Flying letters and in then in 1998 with Tap, Type, Write.  This stuff is still great and WAY Ahead of Time. Its a shame that it only runs on a PowerPC.

tap-type-write-june-1999

Oh, and look at young John back then!

john-maeda-june-19992

Heres something that i think i used to like.  The Motorola iden phone was clearly a memorable design.  But does it stand the test of time?  It’s Stuck. Those damned ellipses!

iden-phone-june-19993

From ID Magazine, June 1999.

tropicana packaging

tropicana-packaging

Arnell Group did the design of the new Tropicana package.  Seems like a lot of people hate it, so much that Tropicana are going back to the old design. Designers like it, most of my non designer friends don’t. Tropicana went back to the old packaging stating that consumers liked to see the orange with the straw, but they still paid the consultant a lot of money to make the change.

Was this a case of consultants trying to convince the client to do something that was “designed well” and to ignore consumer sentiment?  Well Tropicana agreed to change the package, at least for a while.

The clients ARE responsible for making decisions, regardless of what famous consultant is providing the advice.  That’s a big part of why I’m getting a taste of being the client…I know that I have the ultimate responsibility and accountability for decisions that get made, regardless of who might be whispering in my ear.

Google Tropicana packaging, lots of passionate dialog on this.

Which Tropicana design do you like better?

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minus ten – May 1999

minus-ten-may-1999

“minus ten” is a look back 10 years to see what was going on. I’ll pick out what I feel got Stuck in Time, good or bad design that was clearly of the moment. Ahead of Time will be a look at something that had brought some insight to the future and finally, the Test of Time will soon be design classics, at least imho.

Karim Rashid’s work for Issey Miyake = Ahead of Time simple clean lines and forms, so clean that maybe even puts this in the Test of Time category. What year was it that he went the way of the blobject? I wonder if Issey was heavily directing the project?  If you don’t think the square, simple lines were ahead of time…then take at look below, won’t find a sqaure or a simple line in what got stuck.

karim-19991

How many ellipses can you put on a product?  How many ellipses can you use to shape a product?  How many ellipses can you put together, to make other shapes, that, look like ellipses?  Ellipses = Stuck in Time

altitude-1999

And back to the sharp edge, this design from what I understand, put the Cadillac division in the black.  4 years after the concept, the 2003 CTS  showed up in the Matrix Reloaded and whether or not you think this car started the chamfer/sharp/edgy forms, it was clearly Ahead of Time.

cadillac-1999

Oh and frog on the back cover, touting web design, for the SFMOMA.

From ID Magazine, May 1999.

swine flu and design

swineflu

On my way home, NPR was interviewing a psychologist about people’s fear of the unknown, in this case, Swine Flu. Basically, the Doctor was saying that people are afraid of Swine Flu because no one can connect the dots around who might get it or not, hence it seems, random. He went on to say that even though statistically, more people die from driving cars and crossing busy streets, people and the press don’t seem to obsess over this. Why? His theory was that driving cars and crossing busy streets puts the user in control, hence it feels like a normal experience, nothing noteworthy to speak of.

caraccident

So your chances of dieing are greater on the streets but since people aren’t in control of Swine Flu, it becomes a larger issue in their minds. So is it fair to say that people start to act irrationally when it comes to things unknown even though statistics prove there are larger issues at hand?  Why don’t people wear bright orange safety vests when crossing the streets?

swineflu1

So how does this connect to design? In design research, consumers are asked to comment on something really new. Ask a bunch of people about something they aren’t sure about, have no prior knowledge of and something they haven’t experienced before, basically, the unknown, how do you think they’ll respond? What is the psychology of the response? Will they be able to provide a rational answer? Will they try to tap into what they know but can’t since they are being asked to comment on the unknown and answer irrationally? People don’t want to sound stupid, yeah? So will they hide their fear of the unknown and pull a response out of their ass, hence sounding stupid?  Dooohh!

Good researchers will say that HOW the respondents are recruited and HOW research itself is conducted should prevent those irrational answers.  But does that weird psychology take over?

minus ten – April 1999

id-mag-apil-19981

Here’s a new series that I’m going to try and keep up with call “minus ten”.  It’s a look back 10 years to see what was going on.  I’ll pick out what I feel got Stuck in Time, good or bad design that was clearly of the moment.  Ahead of Time will be a look at something that had brought some insight to the future and finally, the Test of Time will soon be design classics, at least imho.

id-mag-april-mac-1998

Stuck in time: Apple blue G3, man those colors…

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id-mag-april-kodak-1998

Ahead of time: Give Kodak credit for going green on this recyclable camera, BUT
Stuck in time: this design got hit with the ugly stick.

—————————————————————

id-mag-april-knifes-1998

Test of Time: Knifes, the dots are a bit stuck, and the colors are more neutral than they look above, but I wouldn’t be unhappy pulling one of those knifes out of my pocket today.

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id-mag-april-house-1998

Ahead of time: This aesthetic for the mini home was definitely ahead.  It looks like it could have come out of Dwell magazine last year.

 

From ID Magazine, April 1999.