20 June 2009

Where are you going?

The great thing about having a path... is than when you wander, you have a place to come back to.

11 June 2009

Resistance is not futile… it is optimal.

Ever ridden down a steep hill at such a fast rate that you could not pedal? Your feet just can’t keep up. It’s an uncomfortable feeling… almost out of control. Riding the flats or uphill… with some resistance gives us the choice to go faster or to slow down.

An experienced salesperson lives for an objection. It is only at that point that they get to do their job. If you ever want to frustrate a salesperson, just smile and nod as they run out of things to say.

When I was a young designer I used to bristle at constraints. Constraints were definitely the things that held me back from doing great design. What I later discovered was that those very constraints that I loved to complain about, were the foundation of my work. They were the problems I solved, the edge that gave me grip, the launching point of discovery. I began to seek those challenges that afforded both opportunity and accomplishment. Learning to embrace constraints was possibly the single greatest lesson I ever learned in design. 

07 June 2009

a city of design

I could not be more excited about my relocation. The city that became home to the bauhaus... a city that so embraces industrial design and architecture. Just walking around the city... whether it be the burbs, the midtown areas or downtown... you know that people thought about this stuff... and made it work. 


So much design... so much design education. It already feels like home. 

product perfect... perfect products

As a teenager working in the sign shop down the street, I was surrounded by bikes and bikers. Not the pedaling sort, but the motored kind. Outsiders might recon that this meant some ruff influence with unruliness not fully endorsed by the parents. But the influences that stuck were from the music and art. Rock and roll is obvious… but the other was pin striping. In their spare time these guys were decorating bike fenders, gas tanks and were often paid for striping trucker’s rigs.

When body ink began gaining traction a dozen or so years ago, it was not a huge surprise to see many of those visual elements from striping find their way to shoulders, arms, lower backs and other more discrete locations. The immergence of graffiti as a legitimate art form was a bit of a surprise but its influence on body art was not.

So none of this is really news, and you might be asking what is the point?

More and more these forms and imagery have been showing up in mainstream items, from t-shirts, dress shirts, jeans and even household fabrics. It is a far less committed way of wearing body art. What is striking about the third or fourth iteration of these visual elements is the embrace of what a product manager might deem a defect. None of these canvas, the human body, a brick wall, or a truck body panel constitute anything close to a perfect canvas. The uncontrollable elements of shape, dimension, texture and material effect, in a substantial way, the outcome of the final product. These ‘defects’ or artifacts have come to be embraced. The imperfections are a huge part of what makes this cool to those willing to fork over a few bucks… and display it. It’s worth noting even when generating technology products, that the consumer has influence here… and that perfection is not always perfect. Those imperfections may in fact become desired attributes.