A recent visit to NYC found me at the venerable Moscot store where I became a subject in a piece published in the NYT.
“All I can tell you is zei gezunt,” Mr. Moscot said, encouraging Mr. Schneider to be careful on the way out. “Hold the railing,” he said.
Four days later, a Sunday afternoon, a different scene and a lot more facial hair. David Goligorsky, 28, was trying on solid frames not unlike Mr. Schneider’s, but with a wholly different mind-set. Mr. Goligorsky is a product designer from Cambridge, Mass., visiting the city on business. He wore a backpack and trousers rolled at the ankles. “I like archetypal things that have lasted a long time and been pretty much unchanged,” he said. “It’s not that it feels old. It feels more timeless. I like the New York heritage.”
My good bud, the inimitable graphic designer Tim Hoover, wrote a book with Jessica Karle Heltzel called Kern and Burn.
It’s a highly anticipated (and exceptionally beautiful) book featuring interviews with 30 design entrepreneurs. Here’s a sample interview with Peter Buchanan-Smith, the founder of Best Made Co., a brand that has turned a beautiful story into a never-ending flow of lovely American-made products.
I just ordered mine and so can you.
A patent has just been published for some work that I had lead at IDEO with my colleague Tim Proulx and others for our clients at Faurecia.
In short, we collaborated on the development of an automotive seating solution that provides comfort and support while eliminating the need for complex electromechanical systems in car seats. Those systems are costly, complex, and present a negative environmental impact. By leveraging research in biomechanics, we were able to develop this new solution that also reduces the need for foam in car seating, which saves weight and volume in the car cabin. The seat back passively responds to your movement to provide optimal support and comfort.
The design was presented by Faurecia at the 2012 LA Auto show and got a favorable review by c|net. They’re calling it the Urban Rhythm seat and it’ll hopefully be in vehicles by 2016.
IDEO’s original logo was created by the inimitable and asymptotically mythical Paul Rand in 1991. The world has changed and so has the firm. Pentagram got the keys to the identity in 1997 for a refresh and we’re left with an elegant identity system that I feel has served the firm well.
IDEO is in the process of exploring our identity to see if the brand’s clothes still match its personality 16 years since the last makeover. It requires considerable discipline for a design firm to go at designing its own identity, so the experiment is non-trivial. To make matters more interesting and complex, the team driving this effort chose to make the process entirely transparent, journaling the progress through Core77 (a design blog that you should be following if you aren’t already. I’ve been an avid reader since 2005.) I’m not at all sure where this will lead us, which is exciting since projects like these are energetically chaotic, as a rule. Never linear. What I can say is that the exploration is messy and playful and true to the spirit of this crew. It’s the kind of chaos whose intent is to find order, principle, and merit. In this I can trust and I’m along for the ride.
It’s not easy creating an identity system for a place like IDEO. The company is rooted in methodology, mindset, and content creation. All of these have spread our portfolio across the globe and across every industry you could think of. IDEO executes concrete design solutions perhaps as often as the firm is asked to develop high-level future-facing strategies. And one of our mantras is that we don’t work for clients, we work with clients. As a long-time fan of IDEO, I’ve always held the firm in high regard, even while the identity of the brand is quite humble. We don’t manufacture products or advertise our services in journals (not for a long time, anyway) and the logo rarely if ever finds its way onto a product that we took part in bringing to market. So what does a strong identity look like for a company comprised of talented individuals marked by that similarity in methodology, mindset, and great content? For a company that aims to makes its clients successful and largely pushes the limelight to clients? What kind of marque makes its home in financial services, consumer electronics, personal care, food + beverage, and beyond? How does the flag for this brand be bold and elastic? Can’t wait to see where the journey leads.
I’m really excited to visit Yale University’s Center for Engineering, Innovation, and Design at the end of the month. Planning to cover two themes. First is about how the barrier to entrepreneurship is getting lower, how corporations are using the same tools as hobbyists, and why everyone should be taking advantage of the various tools and resources that are enabling this shift. The other part of this talk will be about setting up for success in your projects. Being intentional about Content, Process, and Relationships has been a key to my own growth and happiness in work (and life) so I hope to share some thoughts and resources in the event that this is useful to other people.
My gracious friend and host, Dr. Joe Zinter, offered the opportunity to create the poster for the event, which my gracious friend and colleague, Nick DuPey, took into his capable hands. These are getting screen printed at 18″ x 24″, 4-color process on flat natural paper. Can’t wait to see how they turned out.
If you’re in New Haven, CT at 5pm on Friday, March 29th… hope to see you there.
Here’s the follow-up to my earlier post about 3D printing and ceramics.
The cup arrived and I’m quite happy with it. There are some details I would change, and I might do that. Thought about coloring the zits with a Testor’s enamel paint pen, but I might leave it as is.
My friend and colleague and IDEO Boston’s Managing Director and shoegaze musician and graphic designer Michael Hendrix wrote a post at Metropolis Magazine about creative leadership. It’s called Creative Leadership is Gardening, Not Architecture. Hendrix found that one of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, “Gardening, Not Architecture” lends itself well to running a Design studio full of wayward creative types.
Give it a read!
(Also, I make a cameo appearance!)
60 Minutes just ran a follow-up segment to the IDEO feature that ran in January. It covers a bit of the design challenge that we worked on, which was a very short and fast sprint through the IDEO design methodology. The challenge was to get kids more engaged in their nutrition and make healthy eating decisions.
One of the concepts that came out of the brainstorm session was idea for an eating utensil that gave you audio/visual kinds of feedback depending on what you’re eating. With sensors, electronic components, and microcontrollers getting more ubiquitous, inexpensive, powerful, and sipping less power, you could instrument a fork pretty well if you set yourself to it. Well, we had two hours to realize a few brainstorm concepts before children came in to give feedback on some of our ideas.
I got to jam with my colleague Jimmy Chion from IDEO Palo Alto. We dug around and found an RGB color sensor and pieced together code from a few open-source projects in the Arduino and Processing communities to make a musical fork. We mapped each channel of the RGB sensor to create a unique blend of instruments, tones, and rhythms so different foods would have different sounds. Weird stuff, but it was pretty fun to play with this rough and rapid prototype.
Felt really great to see that idea come to life, then tested by kids, all in a short afternoon! Glad 60 Minutes captured this.
Last weekend New England got hit by a Blizzard that the weatherpeople called Nemo. It was sufficiently grim outside to justify setting up a home station that included a Bootcamp Mac running CAD and an iPad, streaming Star Trek The Original Series off of Amazon Instant Video, perched on top of the complete Jacques-Yves Cousteau Undersea Discoveries series of books.
3D printing has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue lately. I am a 3D printing cynic. As an Engineer and Product Designer, 3D printing definitely has value and I’ve used it to great effect as a tool for validating fit and form before committing to “real” materials undergoing production-worthy manufacturing processes. I’m concerned that 3D printing has become a panacea for not knowing how things are made.
Nevertheless, I am a proponent of the “Made” movement and have the utmost respect for anyone who hopes to know the feeling of bringing an idea to life. In this way, 3D printing is definitely an accessible means of production and can win hearts and blow minds.
While the snow came down in sheets, I put together an espresso cup (in SolidWorks) and added those vicious growths (in Rhinoceros,) rendered the model (in VRay) and sent an .stl file to Shapeways. Shapeways is a service that accepts 3D files and offers a selection of media from ABS plastic to stainless steel from which your part will be made. Shapeways offers ceramic as a 3D printed material, which was most interesting to me because it allows for a material to be formed in a new way (this method beats slip-casting) but undergoes similar processes, like kiln-firing and enamel painting, to result in an uncompromised final product.
Suffice it to say, I’m willing to change my tune about the value of 3D printing to the layperson, and I’ll post photos of the real cup when it arrives.
UPDATE: here are some photos of the actual cup!
During the summer of 2012, Charlie Rose filmed a feature on IDEO for 60 Minutes.
The feature highlights one of IDEO’s founders, David Kelley. He’s an incredibly charismatic and brilliant Engineer-gone-Designer. Kelley is phenomenally forward-thinking. He has helped people find their creative confidence through IDEO, Stanford’s Product Design program, and the d.school. His career path and boundless energy and enthusiasm have been an inspiration for me. Learning about IDEO’s methodology and culture helped me take a leap of faith from Engineering ON the world to Engineering IN the world through Human-Centered Design.
While the 60 Minutes crew was on location, a team of IDEO designers from around the globe converged on Palo Alto to work on a special design challenge. It was so inspiring to spend a few power-packed days with a baker’s dozen-worth of incredibly talented IDEO’ers. Most of them I’d never met before and it felt like some kind of long-lost family reunion. So much love for this crew.
Anyway, thought I’d post these fleeting frames of “fame.”