design thinking

What the Heck's a “Guilloche?”

In my never-ending quest to re-integrate ideas of artistry and technology, I’ve been shown another example. Here’s a gorgeous video showing how a guillocheur creates his work. A guillocheur is sort of a machine operator, sort of a craftsperson, sort of an artist, who creates the beautiful rosettes we’ve all seen engraved into the...

Design Isn't a Job. Discuss.

I’m a big fan of Alice Rawsthorn’s thoughtful writing on design; did everyone see this piece she did for the Times yesterday? It’s full of big implications. She’s discussing a show curated by Ai Weiwei in which designed objects are considered to be the artifact of not necessarily a professional endeavor, a basic human...

Botany Blueprint: Tara

Specimen #18: Tara (Caesalpinia spinosa) ith its flaming beans and razor-sharp noli me tangere spines, the tree we call, simply, “tara” (Caesalpinia spinosa), is a striking figure, in any landscape. My encounter with tara was by a Pacific tide pool, on a stormy day. The fiery-hued seed pods seemed to advise that we venture...

A Glimpse At Life A Century Ago Through The Sketchbook Of W.G. Read

One of the pitfalls of amassing an eclectic collection of “stuff” is that it’s often difficult to remember where and under what circumstances you acquired something. That’s the case with this sketchbook of W.G. Read’s. I came across it at least 30 years ago after having moved to Brooklyn from Madison, Wisconsin – that...

Fail? No, Win!

Hey, weekend, how you doing? Been looking forward to this one ending. This is a silly thing called Going to the Store, by David Lewandowski. There’s not much reason you’d know his name, but you’ve seen his work—he created the animated titling for last year’s Tron:Disappointme—uh, I mean Legacy. He’s currently getting into comedy...

Sutnar's Controlled Visual Flow

Back in the pre-digital days, when paper companies could afford to produce ambitious promotions (the kind that drove environmentalists crazy, but made designers ecstatic), some of the promotions were more than sales tools. They were and have become seminal documents of design practice – especially modernist pursuit. Among the most progressive were Marquardt’s DESIGN...

Following Up From Yesterday

Yesterday, David Ramos commented upon my conversation with Adobe’s Lea Hickman: Design curricula are failing to teach students how to work programmatically, and the best response, then, is to make software that tries to compensate for designers’ lack of knowledge? I can’t agree. …and I couldn’t agree more. In fact, that’s the actual reason...

Guy Fawkes Is Going To Be Remixed Soon

A story used over the weekend as a funny-haha from New York Times tech reporter Nick Bilton talks about an ironic chain of money: the Guy Fawkes mask used by Anonymous members is an image owned and licensed by Time Warner, who created the film V for Vendetta in both comic and film forms,...

Fake Science in Design Writing

I’ve thought for a while the design disciplines in America have a too-cozy relationship with the same entities that separate our society by class and race—advertising and self-proclaimed tastemakers. It makes me deeply uncomfortable to hear design writers speak about ideas of “highbrow” and “lowbrow” culture without ever referencing (or realizing?) that those terms...

Design Is an Echo Chamber

Social studies about the web are intriguing—they show just how social we are, with ideas and people flitting about like an unstoppable hive of bees, always looking for the next blossom. One thing I wondered about, in light of last week’s discussions about ShopSanity’s el cheapo logo, which turned out to be a chop...