Archive for the ‘design’ category

Givin’ Some Blog TLC

September 11, 2007

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Content may be king, but giving him fine threads to strut in rakes you in royal points. If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to spice up your blog visually or just plain want to browse some eyecandy, Smashing Mag picked out their creme de la creme of blogville, 45 Excellent Blog Designs. Check it out. Very cool and smart designs, some don’t even look like blogs.

So pretty, makes me want to pick up a book on CSS and learn the whole technical shebang. Well, almost.

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90/90 Vision

September 9, 2007

The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (NY) is showcasing life-changing works from designers out to make a difference. The exhibition Design for the Other 90% features innovative designs from individuals, organizations and private companies with the objective of providing most needed solutions to underserved populations, especially from Third World countries.

Modern design largely benefits people who are in the position and opportunity of access, unfortunately, this is a minority as 90% of the world’s population stuggle even with the basics to survive, such as food, shelter and livelihood. Admirably, a movement has been gaining steam as more and more designers desire to address this imbalance and invent products that not only would be gratifying, but sustainable and productive.

Six areas are covered by the exhibit: Shelter, Health, Water, Education, Energy and Transport. Start here for the product briefs.

Three favorite picks:

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Q Drum: “Millions around the world, especially in rural Africa, live kilometers from a reliable source of clean water. Water in adequate quantities is too heavy to carry. The Q Drum is a durable container designed to roll easily, and can transport seventy-five liters of clean and potable water; rather than lifting and carrying it, this eases the burden of bringing water to those who need it.”

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Pot-in-Pot Cooler: “Consists of two pots, a smaller earthenware pot nestled within another pot, with the space in between filled with sand and water. When that water evaporates, it pulls heat from the interior of the smaller pot, in which vegetables and fruits can be kept. In rural Nigeria, many farmers lack transportation, water, and electricity, but one of their biggest problems is the inability to preserve their crops. With the Pot-in-Pot, tomatoes last for twenty-one days, rather than two or three days without this technology. Fresher produce can be sold at the market, generating more income for the farmers.”

Best of all, a product designed in 2005 and has been reaping awards left and right since then for its revolutionary application:

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LifeStraw: “About half of the world’s poor suffer from waterborne diseases, and more than 6,000 people, mainly children, die each day by consuming unsafe drinking water. LifeStraw, a personal mobile water-purification tool is designed to turn any surface water into drinking water. It has proven to be effective against waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea, and removes particles as small as fifteen microns.” And this nifty gadget costs only $3.00 each!

House call!

August 10, 2007

FabulousStationary.com and decor8 recently concluded a competition that got some interior design juices flowing. They received more than a hundred entries, viewable on flickr. Highly enjoyable compilation of ID eye candy all in one place, and by motif.

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Love the typeface decor up there; neat wall drama down here:

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Check out the entries.

Via the YBNY grapevine

IDEA

July 30, 2007

The International Design Excellence Awards released its 2007 IDEA Winners.

Some picks:

e-Sullivan by the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology: “This portable handheld communicator for deaf-blind people, who rely solely on tactile sense to acquire information, can convert all types of printed material into Braille. It can also provide assistance with such computer-related tasks as instant messaging and Web browsing.

 

Stanley® MaxLife™ 369™ TriPod Flashlight by Stanley Works: “Offers you the convenience of a typical flashlight and the option of hands-free lighting.” (No more holding you penlight with your mouth or by the crook of the neck if you need both your hands. Something so simple, yet so useful. I can’t believe it took this long to think of this.)

 

Stanley® FatMax® Xtreme™ FuBar™ Utility Bar by Stanley Works: “FuBar combines the four most-needed tools—hammer, crow bar, board bender and splitter—into one solid, properly weighted, ergonomically correct tool. Unexpectedly, FuBar has also become popular with fire and rescue professionals as an effective life-saving tool.” (It may not address the kazillion types of wrenches I can never keep track of, but this definitely unclutters the toolbox. Neat tool.)

And my favorite:

HomeHero™ Fire Extinguisher by Arnell Group for Home Depot: : “Most importantly, because of its fashion-conscious array of materials, colors and finishes, homeowners won’t want to keep the HomeHero hidden out of view, ensuring it will be in reach when seconds matter.” (True dat. So pretty.)

Rummage through the winning entries via a more convenient slideshow on Business Week.

Uglee!

June 5, 2007

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The logo for the 2012 London Olympics has just been unveiled and was met by, what I assume to be, polite clapping and a backlash of resounding disgust.

“Unlike previous Olympic emblems, the logo does not feature an image from the host city. (snip) This is the vision at the very heart of our brand,” said London 2012 organising committee chairman Seb Coe.

“It will define the venues we build and the Games we hold and act as a reminder of our promise to use the Olympic spirit to inspire everyone and reach out to young people around the world. It is an invitation to take part and be involved.”

And everyone is taking part, mostly taking potshots– the more uncanny would be a commenter who describes it as “London 2012 Olympics Logo resembles Lisa Simpson giving head.”

(snicker)

The main target is the youth, hence the “radicalization.” I’m not exactly convinced it gives off that vibe. Nothing about it reflects British pride. Nothing about it is aspirational or youthful. It’s different, I’ll give them that, but the design really lacks appeal. Especially merchandising appeal. Who would want a shirt of that?

The cost of this logo? A whopping £400,000 (!) awarded to brands consultants Wolff Olins. Hefty sum you got there. This has naturally sparked some outrage given that the organizing committee’s budget has already quadrupled since the initial stages of planning.

Organizers must take a look at these, uh, creative alternatives.

Source

UPDATE: Think the logo was bad enough? Oh, it just got worse. “The media regulator Ofcom has begun an investigation into claims that TV footage promoting the London 2012 Olympics has triggered epileptic seizures.” Jesus.

 

Toast 2.0!

May 17, 2007

I’d be happy if my kitchen consisted of this nifty thing and a spoon… so pretty…
Great work, Mr. Fancypants!

¡Burbuja grande!

May 15, 2007

A gem from China: Beijing National Aquatics Centre. “The official swimming facility of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, will span 7.8 acres, house five pools, and seat 17,000 spectators, yet it doesn’t contain a single steel cable, concrete column or structural beam. Instead its walls and ceilings are composed of a network of slender steel pipes linked together by 12,000 load-bearing nodes. These nodes evenly distribute the weight of the building, making it strong enough to withstand Beijing’s most severe earthquakes. A plastic Teflon-like foil—just eight one-thousandths of an inch thick—covers the entire structure like skin. It lets in more light and heat than glass does, helping to keep the pools warm and slashing energy costs by 30 percent. Construction wraps up this year with the official opening scheduled for the Summer Olympics.” Snipped from here (+ more photos)

The Water Cube was designed by Australian firm PTW with the soap bubble pattern in mind, keeping in line with the aquatic function of the venue. Very cool, no columns, just hollow matrices. Want to geek out some more? Go here.

This is actually so 2003, winning a few design awards along the way, but construction finishes this year. Pretty and eco-friendly, what more can you ask for? Can’t wait to see the images of the final product.