Results tagged “design”

Saying "No"

Love this:-) Jason Santa Maria on saying no

I spoke on a topic that's become very near and dear to my heart in the past few years: saying "no". It might be saying no to a project or job, or even something that you think you can't say no to, but finding the strength to set your own priorities for what you want is one of the most crucial things you can do in life.

Maximisation isn't

Wow, sure I love Jason as much as the next guy but this really really resonated...

Do I want to make things better? All the time. But do I want to maximize "betterness"? No thanks.
I don't mind leaving some water in the cloth, some drips in the glass, some money on the table. I like knowing there's headroom. And once in a while it's a fun challenge to chip away at that headroom. But that's not for maximization's sake - it's for curiosity's sake. "Can we do it?" is a lot more interesting to me than "we must do it because that's what you're supposed to do."
Having fun, exploring ideas, creating, solving, building great things for you and your customers, being proud of your work, challenging yourself, learning, growing, building a self-sustaining company on your own schedule, adding something useful to the world, and working with great people - that's what this is all about. Not maximization of a metric.

Referencing references

Just walked past an optician in Soho with a poster for Michel Henau glasses in the window. Love these mashups of 60s and 70s French celebs with Japanese names (Deneuve = Namaste? not sure how that works but I smiled).


Can you name the faces? My best guess is: Bardot; Coluche; Fernandel (Tati?); Deneuve; Belmondo

Service design: Pashmina or patio heater?


Love what this London restaurant is doing on their outside tables. All the chairs have pashminas neatly folded on them for use by customers (that's the pashmina on the chair-back in the left image, on the customer's lap on the right).

This is so perfect on so many levels, the pashmina responds to the context of use ("I'm trying to feel good and enjoy being here with my friends") supporting the need for comfort. The service design angle is great too. Users say they want the freedom to smoke and to be comfortable but they don't want their services harming the environment and so on...

Just perfect:-)

Mesh, morph, swarm: Life with impermanence

Interesting vid of my old boss talking about a theme we uncovered in a "what's next" project.

The first 5 minutes are rough going but when he defines "life with impermanence" in terms of three service design prompts "mesh, morph & swarm" it gets really interesting (also, knowing what came before, it's really interesting to see how he synthesizes across industries, audiences, needs etc--he does a really good job of defining a vision for potential change. I'm less bought into the idea of creating a "vocabulary" to spread the word in a corp. environment but nice work).

At Vodafone I worked on a number of transactional prototypes based on the "impermanence" concepts and while these may seem a bit wanky fartsy bollocks they're actually happening all around us and will increasingly colour how we compete in the marketplace.

If our ecommerce platform used mesh thinking we might be completely distributed across Europe and be resilient enough to withstand peak without going belly up.

If our website architectures were based on swarm thinking we could be adapting in real time, from displaying products or groups of product areas on the basis of local, current needs and be more likely to convert some of the huge numbers of Currys visitors.

Actually, I'm hoping the Rich Relevance dynamic product recommendations we're testing in January will take us a little bit closer to a swarm-driven experience.

Also, re new stuff, if we experiment with ways to involve the crowd and the cloud in merchandising (group buying, price negotiation and transparency, individual deal structures etc) we could probably do worse that thinking along the lines of the Mechanical Turk (imagine the Turk scanning for price matches and returning value estimates of the items customers propose for swap or part exchange--could be very cool).

Project 2012 theme candidates

(for those that are curious I've uploaded the PDF of the "themes for 2012" document that was our team's contribution to "life with impermanence")

Is Google's design process broken?

Really interesting article on the Google un-design process by the guy who writes on design for Fast Company:

The chief mandate of design thinking is empathy -- and I'm pretty sure Google's engineers didn't have too much empathy for all those over the age of 28 who don't find it all that useful to have their eyes assaulted by information they weren't looking for in the first place.

Which brings me to my last point. Testing can only tell you so much -- and it often only reveals that people only like things that are similar to what they've had before. But brilliant design solutions convert people over time, because they're both subtle and ground breaking.

This is really tricky. I love Google's design and mostly agree with the testing process. That said, I also love Apple and agree with Steve (who in paraphrasing Henry Ford) states that had he asked his customers what they really wanted they would have said a smaller portable CD player.

Design today benefits from our understanding of how people think about the world (6 hats etc.) and codesign and collaborative ideation are a vital part of successful product design. While that's true, we tend to forget that ideation techniques provide the raw materials for a design solution but not the solution itself.

In the context of interactive design or information architecture, the discovery and research phase exposes levers that an information model can pull on but it doesn't give us the model. The choices about structure, connections and relationships needs to come from the creative thinker.

OK, I'm rambling now 'cause I didn't sleep much last night. Jim Coudal does a great talk on the creative moment based on a game born in the toilets of his studio in Chicago. (see booking bands)

Objectified, the movie

Paul Rand's cigar box

For the benefit of those of us who are not diehard design nutters, the cigar tin above was created by the man who defined IBM's entire visual language and created the iconic IBM logo. He did loads of other stuff as well (of course) but this is one of his weirder efforts.

This is an attempt to work the meaning native to a product experience (that in the 1950s a way of sharing the joy of a baby's arrival was to share cigars) into the product design itself. If you can park your horror at seeing a baby on a tobacco product for a second, you can appreciate the boldness and insanity of the experiment.

Another interesting thing about this effort is that it points to how important context of use is (in many cases I believe this is a more important and more useful tool than market segmentation). One of the reasons men shared cigars is that they were excluded from the birth itself.

I've compared the experience of my first child's birth with my Dad's experience of my own birth. While I was alone in the room (for two minutes) with Nicki pushing and watching the crown of CLF's head showing, my Dad was alone in his car wondering what it all meant.

As the context of our experiences changes, so does the experience of the products and services we allow into our lives. In the future, I hope we will be working closely with others in the business to create product narratives that will allow us to work much more closely with our customers (and sell a whole load more tellies).

I'm just about to download the film Objectified and if it's half as good as his other work Helvetica I expect it'll be an inspiration to anyone who makes a living out of asking people to buy stuff.

Why would you want to work at the beeb?

Look around your office, now imagine being a part of this massive redesign

We set out to broaden our ambitions; to create a design philosophy and world-class design standards that all designers across the business could adhere to. We wanted to find the soul of the BBC. We wanted something distinctive and recognisable; we wanted drama. We knew whatever we created needed to be truly cross-platform and that we needed to simplify our user journeys.

Together, over the last four months, we've spent countless hours and created countless iterations of designs, components, mastheads, footers, polar maps, word documents, pdfs and grids... and whilst it's still a work in progress, I'd like to share with you where we're at with both the design philosophy and the latest version of our global visual language styleguide.

Oh to have a license-payer's fee eh? Oh, to have a thinking space with a wall big enough to share and iterate over the big picture...

I'm glad Neville Brody is keeping busy and lovely stuff and top marks all around to the BBC but I'm reminded of a talk I just attended where Christian Crumlish made an interesting point:

Pattern libraries are more useful, more engaging and have a greater longevity in the enterprise than design guidelines.

I think his point is that most styleguides start becoming obsolete the moment you complete them. Clearly a large and complex design resource needs guidelines, but I think Christian felt that giving a team a system of patterns and the understanding of the user needs they satisfy was a bit like teaching a man to fish instead of handing him a tuna steak.

LED traffic lights don't melt snow

Franco just sent me this utterly wonderful example of what happens when design is divorced from context-of-use:

It turns out, perhaps in an homage to bad engineering everywhere, that the inefficiency of incandescent light bulbs was previously relied upon to keep traffic signals unimpeded.

Also, there is just something so 'human factors', so deliciously broken about humans relying on what is--on paper--a defect to support their activity. It reminds me we should never assume we fully understand a system, and we certainly shouldn't be afraid to claim that without testing, we can't be sure.

Score +1 for user-centred-design:-)

Really good stuff (thanks @malbonster)

The third stream as I see it is the propositional strand. In this discourse, service is best placed to effect strategic innovation due to it's holistic perspective and freedom from material constraints. Typical clients are innovation teams looking for game changing proposition development.

Check out the article

Eames on design

David sent this through on Sunday. I didn't manage to read it properly until this lunchtime...


Wow, as a service designer, the above warms my heart :-)
(Charles Eames 1907--1978)

Life-work balance

I was just about to shutdown and head hamewards when I noticed this fab iPhone app, a game by designers for designers. Don't know if the game is any good but I loved this comment from Craig Thomas


Is there an App that informs you when you've crossed the work / life threshold? Perhaps it could detect games like this and automatically suggest suitable punishments.

Craig Thomas
19/Feb/09, 11:54 am

So still no Seed notes eh? I'm struggling a bit because I filtered a lot out and on balance didn't really pick up anything practical that I wasn't doing already...

View Anna's awesome collage

Jason made a comment about hospitals being broken in response to Peter's question "if you could fix anything what would it be? and earlier on in the day Carlos Segura had made a comment about only ultra-creative types using the collage medium.

This triggered a memory, check out this awesome collage by Anna Sandberg which was supporting MUF's proposal to CABE's Healthy Hospitals project.

The full MUF proposal is still online and is well worth a look :-)