Saturday, September 30, 2006

Alors que le design dans le noir

I know, I know... I keep promissing to post regularly... but I just want to finish the Special Kiwis catalogue, instructions, etc. Anyway, a couple of months back was the design workshop at ITESM. Roberto sent me a brochure with the 6 best projects and pictures of the event. This year's topic was emotional design: "Objeto con-sentido" and I was amazed by some projects. My favourites are the 2 person raincoat and "Salvador" (a first aid kit). Congratulations to all students!

I haven't got the chance to read Don Norman's book on emotional design. It may not sound strange that people prefer a nice looking ATM over an ugly one... but that they actually describe their user experience based on the looks: the ATM hardware was the same for both machines, but people rated the bad looking one worst than the nice looking on things like: it takes a lot of time to load the next screen, the menus are complicated, etc... when in fact, both machines took the same ammount of time to load, and their menus are identical. That is being emotional about design!

Looks are not the only emotions we feel about objects... However, emotional attachment to a teddy bear may fall into kitschig emotions, unless the object has something more to it than that. Like the Luminou... q'on peut le voir! I am serious! The idea of a glow on the dark teddy bear is fantastic! That is an emotion that stands out from the normal emotional attachment.

Let's take another example: many people love cars... even their "crappy toyotas"... the thing is, to develop stronger emotions on the user(s)/buyer(s). Look at the new VW slogan: "Aus liebe zum Automobil" It's not just about caring about a car... it's about lifestyle and emotions.

Now, back to the "noir". One of my teachers once said that the official uniform for industrial designers is a black turtle neck. I always wore black when I was a student... I looked like an FBI agent wearing a black coat during summer! And now that I think about it... it's a good thing that "emos" or "goths" are common just recently... or I would have ended up wearing black and white makeup! Just think about it: what were we thinking listening to this:

"So you go and you stand on your own... and you leave on your own, and you go home, and you cry and you want to die!"

or... heaven knows I'm misserable now... etc... nowadays, I watch these Emo podcasts... !!! I agree that SUV's are just a terrible, terrible thing... and then there's the issue of global warming, etc. But I still believe that good design should be not only nice, but also emotional and responsible, and user friendly, and evironmentaly sound, and many other things. That's why I don't believe that creativity or ingenuity alone would do, when you have to take those many things in consideration. That's why I was glad to see that this year's workshop included at least some level of research, analysis and design methodology. Good on ya' mates!

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's not in the can...

Sandra was the one who took pictures from the architecture week cans. (now on my yahoo pics) And just as we expected, it was nothing extraordinary... I mean, the can constructions are nothing some kids couldn't build with lego bricks... they don't feel like being done by prestigious studios around NZ.

Anyway, I found this children's paper chair (literally)... what a great idea! (via)

The chair encourage people to buy environmental friendly products, intended to make a comment on our use of paper, is shaped as a toilet-roll. As the paper is being used the size of the toilet-roll increases, such the small child sits on a small roll and the older child on a bigger roll!

The Chair is made with drawing paper, as the paper is being “drawn upon”, the size of the front
cylinder increases and thus follows the child’s growth!- age 2-7 Years. Clean paper is transferred from the back cylinder to the front simply by rolling the front cylinder backwards. The amount of paper is approx. 500 meters, which means that the paper can be changed twice a week for 5 years.

(In periods the child might draw all the time, in others the chair provides a personal and decorative element in the playroom).

The Chair also comes in a carpet-variation.
Bookmark and Share

Monday, September 11, 2006

It's in the can...

I wanted to see the "food cans" constructions but the weather was really miserable this weekend, so we rented a bunch of movies and stayed home. Let me see if I am in good mood tomorrow to take the britomart tour... I am talking about the Architecture week in Auckland. I guess it would be interesting to see the pictures of old houses (a 100 years ago)... from the one on the cataloge... they look exactly the same as the current ones!!! Same weather boards, same tin roof, same box shape, same picket fences, and same wooden window frames... I wonder if they are going to use those cans to make roofs.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ich spreche Gibberish

I already told you the anecdote when I heard some students in the halls saying: "why don't you go biodegrade"... and I realised, I was old. Well, at least the semiotic analysis of "biodegrade" could be quite interesting, that's why it's funny. But nowadays it's like: that's kinda cool, and I am like, whatever!

I always insist that design is a language. A language that must be learned in order to be able to articulate ideas, thoughts and meanings. Roberto (LDI director at ITESM) had a flyer of the Milano fair that had the motto: "do you speak design?" Some people think that design it's just using shapes and colours to make nice things... but you can use the same shapes and colours and get a horrible or a nice composition. Why? Well, not everyone speaks design fluently. Some speak like Tarzan... others are more articulate, others are just as offensive as the kind of language used by the Sopranos, while others are just like, that's sweet Dude! Just like any spoken language, there are also design slang and dialects (I guess).

I mean, for example, I just hate the snicker tennis shoes that look like gangsta rapper shoes... I do not like window shopping for fashion, but when I have to buy tennis, it's like an endless quest to find something decent. Most of those tennis are like, If I'm still a looser when I'm 40, I'd like to look like Eminemo P, and I am like, No way! and the guy at the store is like: what? and I am like, Hey, I'm not 17, Dewed!


Update: check out Sandra's cousin (Paris Hilton) interview.
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, September 07, 2006


The NZ Government has today very generously agreed to providing a $14m interest-free loan to Right Hemisphere a 3D graphic design world leading brand, as an incentive to keep their business in New Zealand. The company employs around 100 staff in New Zealand and in the U.S. (via)
Well... I don't know what to say. There goes some of our tax money to a USA company, that makes software to convert CAD files into nice looking powerpoints...

Meanwhile, you know that I have been too buisy this last couple of months trying to speed-up all the graphic work that we should gladly outsource, but we have no money to give that work to a professional graphic designer! I could be working on my area, research and development of new products, but no. Here I am, stuck to the photoshop.

From my point of view, it is a terrible idea to give money (with cero interest) to foreign companies... or give free design consultation, audit and funding to NZ companies that are already exporting more than 3 millions NZD a year! Excuse me, but companies like Methven or Fisher & Paykel should be spending their own money on design development and market research... not be funded by other companies tax money! The small companies are the ones that need money to get into global shape!

I know, because it has been really hard for Special Kiwis to strategically put ourselves as a multinational company... there are many things that we have to do like "the big leagues" in order to be competitive (like having somehow acceptable graphic design). I am still quite motivated about that, but it's sad to see that there's little or no support for companies like us, while the big ones get free government funding. How can we compete (even locally) with that?

This like the Pink Panther story about taxation... our Kingdom taking money from the poor to give to the rich. Shouldn't that be the other way 'round? Specially with a labourist government.


Bookmark and Share

Friday, September 01, 2006

Brunch week

It's not lunch, and it's not breakfast... but I guess there will be some snaks at the SolidWorks 2007 launch week. Sad, that there will be no seminars in New Zealand... but it would be nice to visit Romania, Slovenia, Emirates or some of the countries that will host the event.

Bookmark and Share