On Physicality of Media
Media -- stories, songs, art pieces, dance performances, and movies -- is a tricky idea to get your head around. Even setting aside our present copyright/copyleft/freeware/myware/yourware conundrum, it's still a complicated little fella. And in our present technological state, where digital systems allow everyone access to anything all the time, it's important to keep in mind why people get such a kick out of their iPods, TiVos, and little forwarded videos of chubby singing Romanians. In an age where media has no physical embodiment, users seek status by becoming curators.
Online privacy has been the hot topic of the minute for quite a while now; It seems that many people are distrustful of the internet, and the ability of shadowy figures lurking at some far off computer to peer into their hard drives most intimate secrets. But the truth is, people are infinitely more vulnerable to identity theft from the papers they leave lying around, and the contents of their wallets. Luckily, this is precisely where designers can help them out.
Trading Up and The New Design Middle Class
After our post on Wednesday about the widening design middle class, we got some great E-mail responses with what you all thought (Incidentally, we think we finally may have the spam trouble under control. Look for comments to be back up next week). Particularly interesting was John Jenson's comment about the concept of "trading up" to selectively chosen luxuries. We thought it was worth a closer look.
The Growing Design Middle Class
Much of the recent history of the developed world (And probably a lot of the history of design) is built around the emergence of a middle class. This social structure gets a lot of hype, probably because so many people consider themselves a part of it. But this group has given rise to a phenomenon within products that is similar enough to be called a "middle class of design". And its effect on the world is just as profound as its social twin.
Don't Be So SAD
The utter gloom that falls over Chicago this time of year reminds us that SAD -- Seasonal Affective Disorder -- is a significant, and growing problem for people in far northern latitudes. But, despite our current SAD induced funk, this sickness is one of the many that insightful design is helping to make less of a burden.
If You Can't Beat Em, Raise Your Prices!
In the wake of Apple's Macworld announcement of the pared-down Mac Mini, you might not think you would see lots of PC makers jumping the bandwagon going the other way. But sure enough, this morning's news trawl had this little nugget
Rebels Without The Cause We Think: Part 2
So yesterday, we talked about this This Magazine article, and how the trend of rebellion against a "Mass Society" has lead to overconsumption in an effort to constantly re-define ourselves so as not to be ordinary. We promised that the outlook wasn't hopeless, so lets poke around and see a little more about how this trend effects the market, and also how maybe designers can effect a little change toward something more mellow and sustainable.
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Dominic Muren and IDFuel Team