We all know what Oprah's Book Club has done for authors. Can Martha Stewart do the same for MakerBot?
Apparently that's the hope. Today MakerBot and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia announced that they've launched an exclusive partnership, whereby not only will there be co-branded PLA filaments available for sale—forget yellow, blue and green, shortly you'll be printing in "Lemon Drop," "Robin's Egg" and "Jadeite"—but Martha's team of designers will also be producing downloadable designs for consumer purchase.
It's easy for the hardened ID'er to snicker, but this actually signifies a potentially massive shift, or at least the start of one, for 3D printing to go seriously mainstream. If Martha Stewart's gigantic audience can be wooed into paying 99 cents to download a design they can print as many times as they want, it's entirely possible MakerBot will start seeing some sales spikes.(more...)
Many, many designers have experienced creative breakthrough by taking something apart and putting it back together. Over this past weekend, thinkers, makers, hackers, know-it-alls and novices around the world threw down on The Deconstruction. The premise is simple, but the outcome is not: make... something. Strictly open-ended, The Deconstruction is somehow both a creation competition and a collaboration-focused conference while having no set theme or topic. This vague but fun event kicked off on Friday, as teams livestreamed and documented their projects through the weekend.
Projects can be physical, digital, mechanical, social, multimedia... Regardless of the mode, the only criteria is to "create something that did not exist 48 hours before" and to highlight interesting problem-solving. Fun interviews and updates will be happening at their HQ "inside the internet", and prizes will be given for teams' summary videos, problem-solving, and outstanding student contributions.(more...)
If we are to believe the 'Ad-land' hype, the border between design and advertising are blurring—Cannes Lions 'creative communications' awards now featuring of course a 'Product Design' category amongst their accolades and marketing in some organizations finding increasing foothold in the innovation processes (something we heard a stark warning about recently).
If this unholy alliance is the destiny of design and designers—I'm imagining all manner of manufactured demand horrors—what are we to make of the videos coming out of advertising agencies in recent weeks? Firstly, at the end of last month, Toronto-based John St. (already well known for their Catvertising stunt, below, from a couple of years back) released a hilarious, if all too believably dystopian mock marketing (mock-eting?) video announcing a 'new agency model'—Reactveritsing™. Then only a day later, local competitor 'lit up' social media with a similarly self-deprecating video celebrating the agency's supposed "Employee Appreciation Day"—showing weary creatives being released momentarily from the desks to be reunited with long-forgotten families.(more...)
Forgive me, actual bike mechanics of the world, for what I am about to share. But if you, the common bike fancier, have ever thought bamboo bikes looked really cool, or read about their enjoyable ride qualities, or dreamed of someday making your own, check this out. Bamboobee is a DIY bamboo bike building kit. Pony up for the kit in the next nine days, and you'll receive seven precut and mitered pieces of bamboo, the necessary frame hardware (aluminum headset and bottom bracket sleeves, cable guides, dropouts...), a couple simple tools, and an interesting flat-pack snap together frame jig. Just supply the epoxy for wrapping joints, the basic ability to follow directions, and virtually every component, and you could be zipping around town and country on a distinctive stiff-yet-compliant bamboo bike of your own making. The campaign was created by a seemingly experienced bamboo builder and it's already 300% funded, so you're at risk for very little except impatience.
SmartLab Toys makes educational toys with a book component for kids ages 4 - 12. They believe that kids learn best through hands-on exploration, so they offer that experience wrapped up in a fun toy and a cool book. This is your chance to unleash some serious fun with SmartLab as an Industrial Designer on their Bellevue, WA Product Development team. Your experience with full-cycle consumer product design will come in handy when you become responsible for developing outstanding products for SmartLab Toys.
If you are right for this role, you'll conceptualize new educational toys, executing the product design, prototyping, and refining the product in preparation for production. It takes 3-5 years of product design experience in toys/consumer goods, managing multiple projects (10+) at any given time. Don't let someone else snap up with great opportunity. Apply Now.
As beautiful as Edison Light Globes' bulbs are, it is their lamp designs that really shine, if you'll pardon the pun. The company's deep line-up of fixtures are heavy on brass and exposed hardware, yielding steampunkish pieces like this Multi Bulb Heavy Table Lamp with adjustable neck:
Another wall lamp of theirs that it's hard not to love is this Bronze Medium Bulb Cage Upright Wall Lamp:(more...)
This Week in Extending the Reach of Industrial Design: At Home in the Lab and Vice Versa with fuseproject and Quirky+GE
L: The Fluidigm Juno, designed by fuseproject; R: Quirky+GE's "Tripper" sensor
As an editor at Core77, I often find myself attempting to explain what industrial design is, and I'm sure those of you who are actually practicing designers often find yourselves in find yourselves in the same position. It's regrettable that ID is a widely unsung (if not outright overlooked) force in the world, to the effect that it falls on a precious few star designers such as Karim Rashid and Jony Ive to speak for the profession. The latter made a rare public appearance at the Design Museum this week in a conversation with museum director Deyan Sudjic, making a strong case for design-led business model (perhaps RE: suggestions to the contrary), hands-on education, and maintained that failure is part of the design process.
If Apple represents the paragon of industrial design in the post-industrial age—hardware that is as much a vessel/vehicle for digital UX (i.e. a screen) as it is a beautiful artifact—so too are we always curious to see new developments in other the frontiers of design. A colleague mentioned offhand that insofar as space exploration is constrained by the logistics of astrophysics itself, there isn't exactly a 'design angle' to the Philae lander that, um, rocketed into headlines this week. (That said, we have reported on design at NASA, where problem-solving is paramount... whether you call it design thinking or not.)
Which brings us to fuseproject's recent work for fellow SFers Fluidigm, a B2B life sciences company that called on Yves Béhar—a star designer in his own right—for a complete design overhaul in a traditionally un-(or at least under-)designed category. From the now-dynamic logo to the genre-busting form factor, the entrepreneurial design firm has risen to the challenge of expressing the genuine technological innovation behind the Juno "single-cell genomic testing machine" with equally revolutionary design.The shape is sculptural and practical; a delicate balance between a futuristic piece of machinery and something more familiar. The aluminum enclosure is machined at high speed and the rough cuts visible and used as finished surfaces, which is a cost saving. The resultant ridges run along the exterior in a fluid, yet pronounced way, and resemble the miniature functional traces on the cell sample cartridge that enable single cell manipulations. (more...)
Today, Londoners were treated to a dual celebration of the highest order: The historic Borough market on the south bank of the Thames marking its 1,000th year (nope, not an not an extra zero added in error) in business AND the observance of Apple Day (a technically international festivity marked mainly by Brits). Having clearly anticipated this momentous concurrence for some time, the market commissioned London based agencies TinMan and Teatime to create an installation befitting of such an occasion—and what better way to celebrate this humble fruit than pay homage to the brand that has usurped its image.
The installation parodying the tech giant's distinctive retail spaces—mildly amusing but also fairly brave considering Apple's recent nailing down of the rights to 'own' the design of their spaces—featured 1000 apples of all manner of varieties displayed en masse on walls and individually laid out on clear acrylic pedestals on counters with accompanying specs, of course.
Whilst of course mainly nonsense, it is a rare occasion that we're given such an education and moment of quiet contemplation of the incredible nutritious creations of mother Earth in all their fascinating sorts—I refer you to the charmingly named "Knobby Russett" below. Perhaps our relationship with fruits and vegetables would be very different if we gave them such forums more regularly, and afforded these wonders of the natural world the reverence we reserve for our electronics.(more...)
In the Details: A Stylish Poncho? The Arrivals on the Making of Their 'Wearable, Waterproof Shelter'
Winter is coming. Between blustery winds and slushy streets, sometimes it can be a challenge to decide whether you need an umbrella, an overcoat, a trash bag or all of the above. Enter the Häring Poncho, a lightweight, multifunctional solution from The Arrivals, a New York City-based clothing company focused specifically on American-made outerwear.
The Arrivals' creative team is made up of architects, designers and engineers, championed by creative director Jeff Johnson, who originally hails from Amsterdam. "Living in Amsterdam, the weather is unpredictable, likely resulting in a soaking wet afternoon," Johnson says. "I wanted to design something light, packable and functional." Taking its name from the German architect Hugo Häring, known for his obsession with place and condition, the Häring Poncho is a "wearable, waterproof shelter" constructed of weatherproof poly-spandex and rubberized twill.
"Our fabrics for all of our garments are chosen for their performance properties," Johnson says. In the case of the Häring Poncho, that means an Italian twill undergoes a rubberizing process where an impermeable layer of matte rubberized film is laminated onto a portion of the material. This creates a double-face effect to the fabric, resulting in a water-resistant and windproof coating. For the body of the poncho, the designers fused a breathable yet water-repellent Korean Din-Tex micro-knit mesh to the rest of the shell.(more...)
LEDs are the wave of the future, but plenty of folks aren't ready to give up Edison-style filament bulbs for their classic aesthetic. What's a manufacturer to do? in the case of Australia-based Edison Light Globes, the answer is to make both.
For those that need to see a burning wire, they make classically-shaped bulbs like this E26/27 Edison:
If globes are more your thing, they've got you covered:
Not feeling the spiral? No problem, they've got tungsten "squirrel cage" filaments as well:
Not to mention less typical bulb shapes:(more...)
The success of the recently Kickstarted Wolffepack, a backpack that can rotate from the wearer's back to front, proves some consumers want a rotateable, wearable storage system. Along similar lines, firefighter and photographer Chris Landano realized that tradespeople could use a rotateable system for gear. But he didn't get the idea from seeing the Wolffepack—he got the idea after a near-death experience several years ago.
While working as a forensic photographer for the FDNY, Landano was trying to escape from a collapsed building when he became stuck in a narrow space. His photography belt had caught on a piece of debris, and Landano was only able to extricate himself by fiddling with his belt to undo it and squeezing through. He escaped and suffered little more than damaged gear, but you can imagine how disastrous the results would have been had their been, say, a beam about to fall on him while he was attempting to unbuckle the belt. "It was in that moment of panic," Landano writes, "that the idea for TrakBelt360 was born."
Landano has invented a clever belt system that can take any kind of pouch, holster or toolbag, have it clip on, and allow it to rotate completely around the user's waist. Aside from the safety benefits of someone stuck in the situation described above, it's likely to be a boon to contractors and repairfolk; while they need to wear bulky toolbelts, one job might see them lying on their side to repair an appliance, another might have them crawling under a house on their belly, a third might have them scaling a steep ladder. To be able to quickly get whatever's hanging off of the belt rotated out of the way is far more appealing than having to remove the entire thing (and not have the tools required at hand).(more...)
If you haven't yet heard of it, Hampton Creek is an awesome West Coast startup with a mission to redefine mass manufactured food, one product at a time. Having asked themselves what we could do differently if we reimagined food products from scratch, founders Joshua Tetrick and Josh Balk have already found a serious following—and indeed serious funding—in their attempt to make healthy food alternatives as affordable and tasty—as well as more sustainable—as their traditional counterparts. Just three years in, the brand's first product, 'Just Mayo'—an eggless sandwich-spread alternative, celebrated by loyal customers and celebrity chefs as being better than the real thing—has been flying off shelves from Whole Foods to Walmart.
Well, a dark shadow is looming over Hampton Creek this week as Big Food behemoth Unilever filed a lawsuit against the Just Mayo producers, claiming the plant-based product is deceptive to consumers because it doesn't contain any eggs, bemoaning that the product is already taking a nibble out of their billions of profits by outcompeting their Hellmann's brand. Clearly these food innovators have spooked the food industry.(more...)
This thing is making rounds and we'd normally be too embarrassed to post what by all means must be a hoax, but for the fact that this souped-up bike helmet is a compelling example of design fiction. As Bike Snob pointed out, Toby King's "Smart Hat" essentially turns a cyclist—specifically, a cyclist's head—into a car. It's a patently absurd concept that, as far as this bike nerd can tell, is intended to insinuate that cyclists and motorists are very different classes of road user indeed, and that urban planning and policy ought to reflect that simple fact.(more...)
As a professional organizer, I often work with clients to label their file folders and their storage bins so everything can be readily found. While I'm often using a basic label maker, there are plenty of other products to help with the labeling—many of them specifically designed to address specific labeling needs.
This limited edition Craftsman Dry Erase Tool Chest is no longer available, but it sure was a cool idea—coating the tool chest with dry erase paint, making it easy to indicate what's kept in each drawer, and change that as things get re-arranged.
Another way to label the tool chest would be the Z-CALZ labels, available as magnets or adhesive decals. With preprinted sets like this, there's always the concern that the labels provided won't match the items the end-user has. However, with a basic set of 70 labels, an advance set with 46 more labels, and a 22-piece socket set, the company has made a good attempt to provide for the most commonly owned items.
As someone whose eyesight is far from perfect, I think these socket labels are a wonderful idea.(more...)
It's far easier for a standup comic to do drama than it is for a dramatic actor to do standup comedy. Because nuanced comedy has drama within it, but the reverse is not true.
A question more relevant to this blog is, is it easier for an industrial designer to do architecture, or for an architect to do industrial design? Obviously this is a broad question, but which one do you think is "harder?" As ID'er Karim Rashid has shifted towards architecture—he's currently working on some 11 buildings around the world, from Russia to Latvia to Malaysia to Tennessee, and four in New York—he gave an interview to The New York Times where he discusses the crossover. The third paragraph below is the one that working industrial designers are likely to find gratifying:There's a lot of press and remarks, "Oh, Karim is a designer, not an architect," which is strange because there are many architects who are very successful that were not necessarily educated. A lot of the design architects tend to use what they call an architect of record who tends to be doing the construction implementation. I have a team of nine architects. And we work very closely with mechanical engineers and structural engineers and all that. There's no naïveté here. I have to say, and I don't mean this in a pejorative way, that architecture, in a sense the more pedestrian architecture, is generally quite simple compared to industrial design. In other words, it's far more sophisticated to do something like a mobile phone than it is to do an average building.
Read the rest of the interview here.
Home-cooked food, hands-on learning, healthy living and modular design are all potent buzzwords. Through the Charlie Cart Project, they can be put to real social use. Both what we learn and what we eat as children affects how we develop, and our young habits can set us up for success or failure. To help build healthier skills around nutrition and inquiry, this project aims to take cooking directly into classrooms, bringing healthy food and tactile learning to kids in multiple cities. The project's current aim is to produce more of their modular "Charlie Cart" prototype and get them into use in public schools. The prototype, already tested in classrooms, incorporates space for food preparation and cooking into a single mobile unit, with storage, a full set of tools, a manual sink, counter area, oven and stove. The compact station would cut down on wasted resources and increase flexibility and expand cooking programs into multiple classes per school.
For every name-brand designer cranking out well-known, mass-produced products, there's an army of unknown designers quietly producing excellent work that most of us will never see. While not as sexy as a gadget that sells 50 million units, projects like visual identity and branding are often the bread-and-butter of many a designer and firm.
Like this beautiful laser-etched book enclosure. Designed by the UK's NB Studio, it's part of a branding campaign's assets for Park House, a fee-yancy mixed-use building in London.(more...)
Brookstone Products Elevate Everyday Experiences. You Elevate Brookstone Products With Your Industrial Design Expertise
Brookstone is one of the nation's most exciting specialty retailers, known for its high-quality, innovative products and gift ideas. They are committed to providing their customers with unique products that solve common problems in uncommon ways. And this philosophy translates into a corporate culture that's collaborative, creative and receptive to new ideas. How would you like to join the Brookstone team as an Industrial Designer and work in a dynamic and challenging environment where you'll have the opportunity to help shape a leading national brand?
If you're the right person for the job, you'll be responsible for the industrial design activities within the Brookstone Product Development Process for Brookstone Laboratory projects. You'll also be a team player with a strong work ethic who is willing to go above and beyond ("whatever it takes" attitude) to deliver time critical assignments without sacrificing design intent. Apply Now.
Desktop CNC Milling Productivity Tip: Cut a Grid Into Your Spoilboard [Core77 ShopBot Series, Episode 06]
When you're mounting a workpiece to a CNC mill by screwing it into a spoilboard, that spoilboard of course becomes riddled with holes. If you keep hitting the same hole over and over again--by, say, continually mounting your piece so that its lower left corner corresponds with the lower left corner of the spoilboard—the screw no longer has enough material to bite into.
One solution is to keep mounting successive workpieces at different locations on the spoilboard, to find "fresh" MDF to screw into. But you then have to drive the spindle over to the lower left corner of your piece and indicate that as 0,0 in the X- and Y-axes, so that the machine knows where to start cutting.
A quicker solution is to simply draw a grid in your spoilboard. Now you can mount your workpiece wherever you'd like, and then use the grid to figure out where your workpiece is—for example, if you've placed it at x3, y4, then on your drawing you simply use guidelines to locate the piece at x3, y4.(more...)
Yesterday was Veteran's Day, the U.S. holiday where we Yanks honor the members of our military, past and present (and get our annual Band of Brothers fix on TV). The timing of the holiday is based on Armistice Day's 11-11-11—that's the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, which in 1918 marked the official cessation of World War I hostilities.
The project was designed by Palmer Jones, engineered by Jim Martin Oscar Oliden and Steve Rusch and constructed by the Haydon Building Corporation.(more...)