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Archive for the ‘design’ Category

  • Less, But Better – an interview with design legend Dieter Rams

    29th June 09

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in culture, design, process

    “Good designers must always be avant-gardists, always one step ahead of the times. They should – and must – question everything generally thought to be obvious. They must have an intuition for people’s changing attitudes. For the reality in which they live, for their dreams, their desires, their worries, their needs, their living habits. They must also be able to assess realistically the opportunities and bounds of technology.”

    (Dieter Rams, 1980 speech to Braun supervisory board, from his Design Museum profile)

    There can’t be many more legendary & respected designers around today than Dieter Rams. For over 50 years Rams has been one of the most influential industrial designers around, producing elegant, stripped-down and flawlessly balanced everyday objects in such enduring forms that one is hard-pressed to identify a design of his that hasn’t stood the test of time.

    picture-6

    Electric shaver, 1970; Control ET44 calculator, 1978; LE1 loudspeaker, 1960. All Braun.

    In fact, if you own an iPod, iPhone, or iMac you almost certainly owe thanks to Dieter Rams for some of the look, feel and simplicity of these products. His influence is explicit in the work of Jonathan Ive at Apple, most literally, perhaps, in the design of the calculator on the iPhone, but in fact across almost the entire range of Apple products.

    The influence of Rams on Jonathan Ive at Apple is profound (image: Jesus Diaz)

    The influence of Rams on Jonathan Ive at Apple is profound (image: Jesus Diaz)

    (For more, including Q&A with Rams, click below)

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  • Information needs architecture, but they’re not the same thing

    13th June 09

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in design, interactive

    Slightly spooky voiceover (always unnerving to have recorded ‘live’ pauses thrown in), but we’re enjoying the simplicity of these pieces about information architecture, stripped down to the bare essentials, and split into a piece on architecture and another on information. Cool animation too.

    http://www.vimeo.com/3248803 http://www.vimeo.com/3248432

    From MAYA Design in Pittsburgh. And here’s how they talk about the nature of information architecture.

    “By thinking about the architecture of how information is used, how it flows, and how it fits within the user’s world (its context), you can capture the essence of how to build a system that is not only intuitive but futureproof.”

    Thanks to @daveElf for drawing it to our attention.

  • Note to Self: Stop Making Sense

    4th June 09

    Posted by Adam Glickman

    Posted in creativity, culture, design, music

    This is simply a note of appreciation to David Byrne, who continues to remind me that interesting ideas don’t always require explanation and that great success can occur from the oddest of experiments.

    Byrne doesn’t simply make music. He also designs chairs:

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  • “Data tells stories about our lives”

    11th May 09

    Posted by Patricia McDonald

    Posted in creativity, data, design

    Mind blowing: Flight patterns by Aaron Koblin http://www.aaronkoblin.com/
    Mind blowing: Flight patterns by Aaron Koblin http://www.aaronkoblin.com/
    If data visualisation is the new rock and roll, Elvis has (just) left the building. Aaron Koblin played to an enthralled audience of BBH-ers this afternoon, blew our minds and incredibly kindly agreed to be interviewed by Labs afterwards.

    Our interview to follow soon, but to whet your appetite, a quick download of our (and your) key questions for the rock star of the data visualisation world.

    Balancing immediacy and intrigue: A frequent criticism of data visualisation is that while often extremely beautiful, sometimes it doesn’t make the information contained any clearer-it can sometimes even seem to obfuscate in the name of art. Should great data visualisation simplify or should it embrace complexity and reward exploration? Should it be reductive or expansive in intent?
    Where left brain meets right brain: When embarking on a project, which comes first, the data or the technique? How critical a role does software play? Do the themes and memes recurring in data visualisation reflect the artists’ preoccupations or the data sets available?
    Proliferation versus privacy: One of the key enablers of data visualisation is the phenomenal explosion in the amounts of data we now generate everywhere we go. We live in a golden age of open-ness around personal data but will we reach a tipping point where we reclaim our personal privacies? Or will we opt in to share anonymised data for the common good?
    The power of synesthesia: Some of the most compelling data visualisation projects are those which express one medium-almost one sense- by means of another. Visually representing dance or music, aurally representing data sets-what is it we find so compelling about this “synesthetic” effect?

    Crowd-sourcing versus the wisdom of the crowd: Koblin’s recent work experiments with crowd-sourcing but suggests an ambivalence about the process. While a central theme of data visualisation is the wisdom of the crowd, how does it skew the data if hamile sex the crowd knows it’s being watched? Is the unconscious wisdom of the crowd purer and more compelling or is conscious collaboration of the masses the future? How important is the role of the curator in that process?

    Answers – or at least compelling and considered answers – on a blogpost near you shortly….

  • Crowdsourcing Our Logo: The Crowd has Spoken

    24th April 09

    And boy, did we get an earful.

    picture-1To quickly recap: As a innovations unit tasked with exploring new models in communications, we needed a logo that can convey our mission and philosophy. So it made sense to try crowdsourcing to experiment first-hand with how all this might fit into our industry down the line. In the process, we hoped to find fresh talent who are marketing their skills in new ways.

    A lot of people asked why would we do something like this? Don’t we have great designers in-house? Doesn’t that stuff commoditize design? Isn’t that exploitive?

    That’s beside the point: the pros and cons of crowdsourcing design can be debated ’till we are blue in the face but the fact is, the model seems to work and therefore deserves our attention.

    Currently, we believe it works best for small or start-up clients. But as the model evolves it has a lot potential to work for larger clients with more demanding needs.

    These new technologies aren’t going away, so it’s now our duty to understand how to work with them. We can continue to insist that us trained professionals are irreplaceable by the untrained crowd (and end up like our poor friends in journalism), or we can start figuring out how to turn eggs into omelets. From our viewpoint, this isn’t about preparing for the day that creative agencies can outsource design, it’s about preparing for the day that clients can outsource creative agencies.

    BBH Labs believes that in the not-too-distant future, creative agencies are going to resemble expanded networks, with core teams overseeing expansive partnerships rather than the more vertically-integrated models existing today (more to come on this topic later). We see these kinds of partnerships and platforms happening across media increasingly already.

    The task now is to find out how to build these new models in a way that is fair to all involved. Crowdsourcing our logo was the first tiny step in a larger Labs process to come – the medium was the message.

    (For full post click below)
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  • We are the Robots!

    20th April 09

    In eager anticipation of the new Terminator film, I’ve done a little poking around into what’s happening in the world of robots.

    The main action in this area is clearly in Asia. And while Korea pushes ahead with plans to build robot parks, even going so far as to introduce legislation for a robot code of ethics to “Prevent Android Abuse and Protect Humans,” it’s the Japanese who appear to be in the quickest sprint to building a creepy robo-future.

    Due to strict immigration laws and a quickly aging population (its expected that 1/3 of its citizenry will be over 60 by 2050) the country is racing to realize a day when robots can provide care for their elderly, clean homes and provide administrative office tasks. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is actively involved in supporting the development of intelligent robots and hopes to introduce many of the models in development into the marketplace by 2015.

    Here’s a cross-sample of what’s in store…

    PARO
    According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Paro is the “World’s most therapeutic robot.” It uses an array of sensors to respond to audible, visual, and sikis tactile stimulation. Each Paro attains a unique personality of sorts due to its ability to be trained to execute (or refrain from) specific actions. Pet Paro and he knows he is being rewarded for good behaviour, smack him and he will do his best not to repeat that behaviour.
    (For full post click below)

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