Labor Saving VS Saving Labor
If, as a kid, you ever had the good fortune to read about Homer Price's exploits in Centerburgh USA, then you are already primed for this post. If not, you're in for a question that might shake the foundation that your design ideals are built on: Now that we have more people than we know what to do with, why are we still making labor saving devices?
Beat The Blahs With Dots
It happens to all of us: You're cooking along really well, and then you cross some threshold, and the blahs set in. Even we here at the Fuel Station get a case of the design blahs every once in a while. Part of being a successful designer is being able to shrug them off. So today, thanks to Steve Jobs, Dots, Death, Randomness, and Stanford's class of 2005, we've got a little dollop of de-blah balm to set you right.
O & E: Slow, Slower, and Slowest
Summer is going strong here in Chicago, and that means that everybody's slowing down. Since today is definitely an Odds and Ends day, we thought that a little gathering of slowness was in order. Maybe looking at these timescales so different from our own will inspire you to explore one in your next design.
Start From Scratch
The invention of information storage, in words, stories, written records, and now, computerized data has made technological advancement almost blindingly fast, and seemingly inevitable. Many people are fond of the "don't reinvent what's already there" attitude. And it's probably a good idea, a lot of the time. On the other hand, doesn't just having that rule there make you want to throw everything out the window and start over completely? Well, you're not alone.
Chaos and Sync
Let’s face it, life is spontaneous and random. That’s the only way one can explain how things like this happen. For that event to take place there had to be a combination of circumstances that led to their defining moments; a human scale demonstration of Brownian Motion. In fact the mathematics of Brownian motion has been used to describe and predict everything from the stock market to “the evolution of physical characteristics in the fossil record”. Now one of humanity’s most coordinated activities is being used to describe one of the universes most random. And this coordination born of randomness must cross design somewhere.
Design is: A Paycheck On Your Terms
Yesterday, we talked about, and pointed out some designers and other people who might not fall exactly into design, who were able to develop "jobs" which allowed them to pursue their passions, and make a living. As you know, we're big fans of passion, and we want to see more of this sort of rule-bending and interest-mixing -- especially in light of the developing world design environment. However, we understand that many of you have passions which might not fit perfectly with some ancient Irish legend, or venture capitalist's funding ideal. So, today, we want to talk about three examples of passionate people who developed radical new ways to make money off of their products, in order to keep doing what they loved.
Design is: Your Vehicle
What do you really want to do? Oh, yeah, yeah, design, right. But what's really driving you? Religious outreach? Fun? Environmentalism? Political Activism? Teaching? Have you put these other goals aside in favor of having a stable wage? Or a corner office? Is this sacrifice really necessary? Consider this: A designer is someone who finds new ways to solve problems using the materials, processes, and understanding that we have now. Is there any reason that the problem has to be "What should next year's toaster be?" Why not ask a question with your goals in it? Why not design a vehicle which allows your goals to be reached, and your living to be made as well?
If Everybody's Somebody, Then No One's Anybody
As designers, our profession is on a cusp. And we don't mean a nice flat peak or anything; this next few years in history will likely be remembered as either when things got really exciting, or really bad for designers. There are a lot of factors contributing to the point we are balanced on, but one of the most important ones may be this: So far, none of our machines can have kids. This won't be true for long.
Dreams Made Real
Design can be the fountain of pragmatism. Building an understanding of society, making personas which accurately describe users, crafting interfaces for optimal usage, using materials which are environmentally and economically frugal; These are the foundations of our art. And together they work to make our products as efficient and functional as they can be. But this is only the aspect of design that makes the world move smoothly. Just as books, and art, and music can be simply technically thrilling, or something beyond that, good design has the opportunity to challenge what we believe is real and imaginary. Beyond what merely sustains our lives, design can be part of our wonder at the world. Part of what we stay alive for.
Designs that Seem VS Designs That Are
Ever since Enzo Mari's lecture a month or so ago, we've been mulling over one of his many ideal-shaking phrases: Design that is versus design that seems. What the heck does that mean. And, if it's really as bad as it sounds, how can we avoid it? Well, a couple of recent news bits have given us a little clarity on the issue. It all starts with a question: Have you ever burned a body?
Dominic Muren and IDFuel Team