Can you call a concept a cultural phenomenon if different people conceive of it at the same time? Within the past few months, three publications have come to similar conclusions. The digital media agency Avenue A | Razorfish released a study called "Fast Forward: Designing for Constant Change." It consists of thirteen essays as well as research exploring how consumers' digital media habits are changing, and how this affects the design of user experiences and brands. The key take-away is: Today's online users are forced to adjust to constant change in increasingly volatile rich media environments, and they … Read more
If you've always wanted to create your own design on your Bluetooth headset, here's your chance. The company behind the Jabra brand is holding a contest in Singapore for budding product designers.
Create a winning faceplate look, the company promises, and you'll get to see it in a new headset. The "Design By You" contest, which runs until December 14, hopes to pick five top designs to be made into faceplates for the upcoming set of Jabra BT3010 headsets.
The current BT3010 headset already comes with 33 interchangeable faceplates designed by winners of an international … Read more
CHICAGO--Fewer than half of architects were building with green features in mind five years ago, but 90 percent will be by 2012, according to Autodesk.
Seventy percent of respondents to Autodesk's Green Index survey said client demand is accelerating efforts to design buildings that use less energy, cut material waste, and cost less to operate.
Autodesk, which makes professional, 3D drafting applications, announced at the Greenbuild convention last week that it's developing software, code-named "Project Chicago," to help designers score ratings points from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system run by the U.S. … Read more
Like most news about Microsoft's oddly-named media player, it was leaked well in advance. But now it's official: consumers buying the new Zune devices, which are set to be released on Tuesday, will be able to customize them with laser-engraved text and select artwork.
Now that explains the tag line "you make it you."
Called "Zune Originals," the new Zunes will feature a selection of artwork by 18 artists and design studios: Colletivo Studios, Catalina Estrada, Laurent Fetis, Sam Flores, Klaus Haapaniemi, Pierre Marie, Kenzo Minami, Parskid, Mike Perry, Phunk Studios, Chisato Shinya, Skwak, … Read more
Those of us who are artistically challenged need all the help we can get when it comes to design software. A new tool called Vector Magic--the result of Stanford University Artificial Intelligence Laboratory research project by James Diebel and Jacob Norda--seems to be a valuable addition to the arsenal of free apps available for creating and editing images online.
Basically, Vector Magic takes rasterized images (composed of pixels) and converts them to vector (or scalable) images. The result is an image that can be easily resized with no blur or pixelation--an ideal format for logos or other images that need to appear both large and small. Vector Magic supports the uploading of JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, and TIFF formats, and can export its final products as EPS, SVG, or PNG files. A warning on the Vector Magic blog today warns users to be patient because of a recent upswing in the load on its servers, but I had no problem at all converting JPEG images of various sizes into vector images in no time at all.… Read more
Aside from the outlandish loudspeakers that seem to come out on a regular basis, some of the more interesting designs we've seen lately in musical hardware have come from an unlikely source: CD players.
Some are compact systems that are fitting for a SoHo loft, but others are destined for the serious audiophile market as well, such as the "Mini Droplet 3.1." Despite its unfortunate name, this is the most drool-worthy high-end player we've seen since the "Eagle"--and, according to Audio Junkies, it comes with some impressive credentials.
We would hope so, … Read more
If you think you're seeing iPods wherever you turn, there's good reason. Not only do people carry them everywhere, but their design is being copied increasingly for household appliances.
In the bedroom, for instance, we just saw the "Dr. Light" alarm clock with its iPod-wannabe appearance. And now we've gotten word of a Williams-Sonoma kitchen timer, of all things, that sports the ubiquitous click-wheel look as well.
My colleague Hunter Smith of frog design has used his entrepreneurial spirit to launch a budding start-up based on his two greatest passions: eco-design and skateboarding. Hunter's company, aptly named SuperGreen Boards, employs some of the most advanced eco-friendly technologies for producing custom longboards, slalom, and speedboards.
SuperGreen Boards uses bamboo, which is not only beautiful, strong, and flexible but is also sustainably harvested. Maple wood, known as the gold standard for skateboards because of its strength under the pressure of the rider, takes a minimum of 100 years to mature before it can be used. Bamboo, in comparison, … Read more
The recently concluded K 2007 conference in Düsseldorf, Germany, featured a variety of recent advances in materials science that will change your life. No hyperbole there--just a safe prediction.
I didn't make it to the show, but I've been following the announcements on the Web site of Design News, a trade publication for mechanical engineers. The K Fair is all about plastics...but in truth, the line between plastic and metal is getting pretty blurry these days.
Natural sound as we hear it in "real life" is pure analog, but recorded sound is, with few exceptions, chopped up into digital bits. So other than live music concerts pretty much every note you hear is digital. Whether you're listening to an iPod, the internet, TV, CDs, DVDs, or the radio, they're all digital in one way or another. We have as a species evolved over the eons to hear analog sound, and it's only over the past 25 years that digital has taken over. And it hasn't been very pretty. The only … Read more