Mind and metal benders, compliments of Chris Labrooy. View more via jalopnik.
Don Koberg: The Universal Traveler
Early thoughts and primers on the creative process and design thinking.
William Lidwell: Universal Principles of Design: 100 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach Through Design
A good reminder of 100 things to check when designing. (****)
Christopher Alexander: The Timeless Way of Building
Revisiting the themes put forward in this first of three books in a series by Christopher Alexander.
NEIL POSTMAN: Technopoly : The Surrender of Culture to Technology
A classic gut check for those enamored with the technology pervading our lives. (****)
Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice : Why More Is Less
Trying to choose wisely.
It's happening right now. In those special places. Those places of solitude that are all yours and yours alone. The shaded nook amongst the red rocks just outside Moab. The show white bowl below the redwoods. That special bit of high plains desert that kept you so exposed yet safe through the night. It's happening right now...our passage through the darkness...that makes the light so truely brilliant.
Thanks to NationalGeographic for the gorgeous reminder.
The "Able" font made a debut some time ago but I wanted to send out props to the very talented Matt Desmond for creating it. Able has been updated to pro status with many more glyphs and a companion Bold weight. Available at fontspring, myfonts.com, and Font Bros. To view more of the nice work by Minnetonka, MN based typeface designer Matthew Aaron Desmond, visit his studio site MADType
Architectural inspirations are on the rise at the bivouac due to SimCity becoming available for the Mac on August 29th, 2013 and a fresh Lego Architecture Studio arriving at the bivouac. Shoreline City (pictured below) is on the rise too. Lego's Architecture Studio kit, while expensive, is as good as anything they have offered in terms of getting one thinking about patterns, the scale of buildings, the inter-relationships of forms, volumes, linear elements and everything else that goes in to making our cities the best they can be. My fingers are sore, but in a good way.
Future User Interfaces (or FUIs) have been all the buzz here lately at the bivouac. This got me thinking about how my interest in FUIs and things like "science faction" were initially sparked. For clarification, "science faction" refers to things that were once represented in science fiction works as fiction actually come into being. I am a firm believer in the power of science fiction. At its best, it provides us with design inspiration and a powerful means of looking ahead at possible futures. One of any number of moments in our future when today's science fiction becomes tomorrow's matter of fact or "science faction". For more on the power of "science faction", feel free to watch a recent TEDx talk I gave on how "science faction" might inspire us collectively as we design for the future of education.
As to that original spark of interest, it was Christmas 1979. At the age of 12, I was still reeling from my exposure to "Star Wars" two years earlier. Looking back now, realize just how fortunate I was to have caring parents who encouraged my creative endeavors. That year, I received a particularly precious gift. It was a book entitled "Great Space Battles". A Terran Trade Authority Handbook, the publication chronicled futuristic space exploration and conflicts retrospectively. Written by Stewart Cowley and Charles Herridge with the authority of all the history textbooks I had read to that time, the stories captured my imagination.
Moreover, I studied the exquisitely detailed illustrations of Peter Elson and others for hours on end. Through attempting to replicate their various masterpieces, I was learning about light sources, shadow play, proportions, shading, perspective, implied materiality, physics in some cases, and last but certainly not least...”greebles”. The later of which I was later to learn, came quite naturally to me. I certainly enjoyed adding details to my creations. So much so that my local hero artist named David Morris made note of it. At the time his praise meant so much to me.
That early praise drove my creative confidence and It has been continually reinforced through the years as David has proven out his own talents by working at such notable places like Industrial Light and Magic. In fact, in a further twist of the space time continuum, some two decades on from our time together spent working on our visualization skills in a tiny appalachian town, David would come to find himself appearing, even if just for a fleeting moment, in the very same "Star Wars" film we were so in awe of when it was re-released in 1997 as a special edition.
Looking back, I gained so much from all of those hours spent pouring over Elson’s masterpieces. More often that not, those illustrations that moved me most powerfully to a new place bore the initials “PE” bounded by a rounded rectangle somewhere in the composition. Sure enough...there they were...in the corner, or along the panel of some epically scaled starship. I feel fortunate for having been exposed to Elson at just the right time.
But by far and away what I feel most fortunate to have learned from all that time spent with Elson’s creations was that the power of the imagination can take us to special places. Peter Elson and David Morris, I thank you for bringing me ultimately to such a special place as IDEO. And I thank David Kelley for creating this place called IDEO, where, everyday we have a hand in imagining and building the future together.
Below are a few specific pieces that were my early inspirations from Peter Elson:
To take a closer look at Peter Elson's work visit: www.peterelson.co.uk/gallery/category.php?cat=11
This recent IIHS crash test footage is scary stuff and good to keep in mind the next time find yourself following a semi truck. Why not back off just a bit? Oh yeah, and while you are at it, write the makers of Manac/Trailmobile and thank them for desiging and producing proper trailer underride crash components.
Todd McLelllan's new book "Things Come Apart" sets itself apart with photos of classic objects which have been disassembled and photographed as masterful compositions. In the digital age, McLellan's work serves as a poetic reminder of all that goes into the objects that play a part...big or small...in our every day lives.
This "Hyper-Matrix" work from the media artist group Jonpasang made the rounds a whlie ago but seeing it again, as well as the "making of" video gives me new found respect for those out there who are taking experiences like this squarely to new levels of execution and excitement.
Sometimes I find myself noting something as interesting but it takes a while to really appreciate it to its fullest. That was the case with the New York Times Budget Puzzle which came out last November.
While in an information visualization brainstorm today, this came back to me as a great example of how to empower users to relate to a very abstract concept...our federal budget deficit. Its minimalistic approach and small details like representing 1 billion dollars with small blue squares that tally up in real time depending upon decisions users make is a nice touch.
BMW has long been breaking performance barriers with each successive model in their M range and the new 1 Series M is no exception. In this nicely choreographed video they take things to a new level which would no doubt make Tanner proud.
Lately, my nephews and I have had the opportunity to spend some quality time in Seacrest County, the fictional land featured in Need For Speed Hot Pursuit. Thankfully, designers of this racing game have foregone obsessing over telemetry and torque curves generated on the world's most famous race tracks. Leaving that to those crafting Grand Turismo 5, NFS creators instead made the solid decision to offer up a dynamic new twist on a childhood favorite: Good Guys vs. Bad Guys.
Adrenaline levels run high as convincing near photo-realism is placed in just the right places. It starts with the diverse and beautifully rendered vistas of Seacrest County, which span coastal roads, open desert highways and snowcapped alpine routes. These stand out as heros of the title alongside the fastest police response units. Creators of the game follow through with a great range of the world's most exciting vehicles. I for one was most happy to see the BMW Z4 sdrive3.5is and the Lamborghini Reventon among the list of beautiful cars one can try their had at.
The game delivers on a few well-honed gaming principles:
1. Support immersion- Convincing visual details in the landscape and vehicle modeling are convincing and invite drivers into the world of Seacrest County.
2. Cause and Effect Loops- Dramatic and sufficiently detailed damage simulation reinforces just enough cause and effect consequences to keep things interesting.
3. Collectibility- An impressive range of vehicles each with their own overview provided by an ecosystem of manufacturers keeps one engaged and moving forward in the game as does the addition of technological enhancements.
While there are surely a number of alternative driving games out there with more realism that would be far better to use as training platforms for your next trip to the Nurburgring, few can match the levels of sheer joy that come along with busting bad guys or racing at high speeds across the deserts of Seacrest county. Thanks goes out those who put quality time into creating the vistas of Seacrest County and Need For Speed Hot Pursuit.
Artist Chris Burden creates a toy freeway with 12,000 cars in a work entitled "Metropolis II". Depending on how you look at it, the work is either a powerful statement about what it feels like to live in Los Angeles or the best gift an eight year old could ever find under...er...make that over the tree.
Happy holidays and here's to more shared commuting rides in 2011.
The Hitchcock Mobile Storyboard Composer by Cinemek is a great example of a wave of new content creation tools (versus content consumption only apps) that we hope to continue to see being released for the iPhone and iPad. The application allows for those visualizing storyboards to use photos and markup icons as an alternative to sketching.
It's on the way...and ready for the touring motorcycle of the future. Anxious to see what they wrap around what seems to be an impressive bit of engineering.
For motorcyclists, the image below might set the mind wondering about just what is it that you are riding. Looking somewhat like those circulatory diagrams outlining how blood flows through the body, the image highlights the lightweight integral anti-lock braking system (integrated ABS) and automatic stability control (ASC) system which BMW has continued to refine for its motorcycles.
Although as BMW states, no system can mitigate all road condition risks, it is inspiring to see a company care so much about safety and to see how beautiful (and intelligent) the systems are from an engineering perspective...even if they really are not intended to be seen.
To learn more, see webbikeworld's overview of BMW's Integral ABS and ASC systems. Very informative.
Scott Listfield captures poignant moments of irony in his paintings that juxtapose a Mercury Program era astronaut with commercialized symbols of today's "progress" It was one thing to see Hilton or Pan American Airlines promoted in orbit in "2001: A Space Odyssey", but this is something entirely different. One can only wonder what the astronaut is thinking during these encounters. Perhaps something close to what we might be thinking when we try to do things which should long ago been made far simpler or better like printing a document or taking a flight.
Sometimes the essential functionality of an object is best revealed from angles seldom seen. Take the redesigned 2010 R1200RT for example. Seen from the side, the bike appears familiar... a fine design iteration of the venerable long distance tourer.
However, the true genius and dynamics of the design are best revealed from a eagle's-eye view. From above, affordances for generous wind protection and ways to obtain comfort for miles on end really stand out. Undoubtedly this type of "form follows function" creativity is stirred up during long hours spent shaping the design in a wind tunnel. Regardless of how it came into being, the bivouac is once again blown away by the refinements taking place in motorrad land. Perhaps you too are thinking about your designs from all angles?
Key structures placed with meticulous care within video story lines have been popping up lately. See Rampenfest for a slower-paced story or take a look at this nice counterpoint and particularly uplifting visualization from Hydro's Norweigian advertisement. It highlights the promise of a new generation of young, up and coming engineers. Thanks for the link Thomas. 8)
For those of you that may not have caught the original ramp up to the US launch of the BMW 1 Series, this piece Jeff Schultz and Bite the Bullet Productions, stereotypes notwithstanding, sheds some light on how you might have missed it.
Visit www.rampenfest.com/ for the full story.
Video is playing a larger role in website design as is evidenced by the recent BMW Concept 5 Gran Turismo website. Hyundai adds further interactivity and multiple perspectives as well as offers a new twist on the 360 degree view of its Genesis Coupe on its Genesis Coupe website.Thanks to Engin for pointing this one out.
BMW provides a grand tour of its Concept 5 Grand Turismo model via its informative film format website. Take a closer look both inside and out at this new category of vehicle. View the Concept 5 Grand Turismo website
Conveying the richness of an offering online has long been a challenge. Muji and Hema have managed to find engaging and informative ways to feature their products online in remarkable ways.
Muji leverages video in a strikingly straightforward way...http://www.muji.com/playmuji/
Hema plays with physics...http://producten.hema.nl/
Visit here for a more searchable experience: http://www.hema.nl/
Although somewhat puzzling initially, Echochrome offers Escher-like environments that players navigate by "filling" broken pathways as they change their perspective view on the scene. This title offers a refreshing angle on brain-enhancing gaming.
High fidelity rendering of girl follows your cursor. You decide on creepiness factor. Powered by Motion Portrait. This is a good exploration regarding the attention to detail and nuances needed to represent the human form in an appropriate way.