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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  12 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


Earlier we showed you a movie Hayao Miyazaki never made, and here we can show you a piece of one that he did. The last piece, in fact, of the last movie he'll ever make, by most accounts; though the globally-beloved animation master has announced—and rescinded—his retirement before, this time he's rumored to be quitting for good.

So here we have something akin to watching Frank Lloyd Wright draw his last line, or Harley Earl shaving his last piece of clay. And it happens in a cramped-looking, low-ceilinged office lit by fluorescents, with an actual pencil and paper.

Not sure if you caught it, but the clip is significant as he changes the final meaning of the entire movie (The Wind Rises) by changing a single syllable of a single word uttered by one of the characters.


Posted by Carly Ayres  |  12 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


For centuries, scientists, thinkers, makers and—of course—designers have looked up to the sky and stars for inspiration. From satellite imagery on silk scarves to the movie Interstellar, some great stuff has come from celestial-oriented thinking. One of the latest examples is a set of tableware by Chi and Chi that takes its cue from astronomical objects and other cosmic phenomena.

Founded last year, Chi and Chi is a product design studio based in Taiwan, run by brothers Stephen and Leo Chiu. The duo were approached by a close friend, Sappho Wong, who wanted to develop a set of tableware for her brand Saniyo. Wong offered to provide her expertise in OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing) consulting and her connections in the ceramic industry, while giving the Chiu brothers free rein over the ideation and creative process.

The designers started off by thinking about the concept of "gathering"—a natural point of entry for tableware "We think that it is very interesting how people meet and get to know each other and become friends; it is something very natural and we never know if there is a law or pattern behind it," Stephen Chiu says. "We think it is similar to the universe—everything is in order, and when all the things join together, it brings harmony and diversity. It is exactly like the relationship between humans."


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  12 Dec 2014  |  Comments (5)


I greatly enjoyed Barry Berkus' "How to Think Like an Architect" videos, and have been searching in vain for an industrial design counterpart. To have a creative designer walk you through, in plain English, a design as it unfurls is immensely edifying, but I can't find an ID guy who's done it.

I did, however, luckily stumble across Field Notes man and Curiosity Club veteran Aaron Draplin breaking down a graphic design project. Learning website tasked Draplin with designing a logo—something that can take months—and condensing it all into a sit-able video. Not only does Draplin render his process completely transparent, there's a bonus starting around 15:00, when he discusses what happened after he decided to go freelance.


Posted by Sam Dunne  |  12 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

PizzaHut_SubconsciousMenu8_Dec14.jpgJust look at those vacant expressions—if only there was an easier way

Something's definitely been cooking in the R&D department at Pizza Hut this year. In a market showing trends to polarization—the rise of the high-end, handmade, hipster-friendly, small batch, sourdough, pizza-craft on one hand, and the quick, easy, cheap, delivered-to-your-door stuff still going strong on the other—the middle of the road pizza chain has been struggling with a lack of relevance in recent years. Moderately priced, average pizza (to be kind?) and '80s salad bars are clearly doing it for nobody in the 2010's. And by the looks of things, they know it.

Earlier this year, we reported on the Hut's first foray into interactive ordering technology with the release of their concept touchscreen table top for (playing at) designing your own pizza (with some games and phone interconnectivity thrown in for good measure). Last month, the chain announced a total revamp, launching both an attempt at a bold and contemporary new menu—whipping out on-trend big guns like Sriracha sauce, Buffalo drizzle, "Skinny Slice" and more premium toppings, all under a pretty nauseating (and fairly offensive to Italians) campaign "The Flavor of Now" (I'm not linking to that shit)—and a big identity update; the company's fourth refresh in 15 years.

As if Sriracha, touchscreen tables and insulting geriatric Italian's (ok here's the video) wasn't enough innovation for one year, Pizza Hut have released a new concept that claims to be "the future of dining"...


Posted by core jr  |  12 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

RedHook_HUB_branding.JPGPhoto by Anke Stohlmann

By Laetitia Wolff, Design/Relief Program Director

How can graphic design positively transform communities and the practice of design? The New York chapter of AIGA launched Design/Relief, a participatory design initiative targeted at New York City neighborhoods still grappling with the effects of Superstorm Sandy, in the fall of 2013. To fund the project, AIGA/NY received an innovation grant from Artplace America, a consortium interested in advancing the practice of creative placemaking. Engaging in this emerging movement, AIGA/NY believed graphic designers could leverage their agile, creative process while testing their community organizing skills on the ground.

We handpicked three teams, composed of graphic designers, storytellers and community engagement experts, to catalyze three New York waterfront communities. The teams were tasked to help these communities imagine a more vibrant future for themselves—the three neighborhoods were still struggling to overcome the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy, even a year after the disaster. While learning about the reality of multi-disciplinary collaboration, urban territories and public engagement processes, designers were given a framework to act locally and dispatched for a 9-12 months period to Red Hook in South Brooklyn, Rockaway at the Queens shoreline and the South Street Seaport enclave in Lower Manhattan.


Revisiting the Design/Relief Manifesto a year later, AIGA/NY is proud to have engaged designers in tackling tough civic challenges while generating new knowledge about design as a creative placemaking tool. As we conclude this endeavor with the recent launch of the Red Hook team project, the HUB, we wanted to take a moment to highlight a few insights before sharing a more detailed case study (coming soon, early 2015). Here they are:

  • Places are made by people. Yes, before anything else.

  • Graphic designers are particularly apt at connecting the dots, building bonds, visualizing futures, and enhancing communication between people and places.

  • Our placemaking projects focus particularly on public spaces in which community information and communication can be shared.

  • Improving a place successfully comes along with social justice, inclusion and opportunity-building—our creative placemakers tried to remain aware of the fine line between gentrification and displacement.

RedHook_HUB_library_board.jpgThe Red Hook HUB includes a board at the local library branch on Wolcott Street. Photo credit: David Al-Ibrahim

The Red Hook HUB is a 21st century bulletin board
Seen on Brooklyn streets and in the digital space

Over the past year, through their engagement with the communities of Red Hook, Brooklyn, Rockaway, Queens and the Seaport in Lower Manhattan, our Design/Relief teams often acted as catalysts for latent desires, lingering community needs and long-lasting aspirations. Red Hook residents had expressed a need for a coordinated communication system that would allow them to more effectively share trusted information. Although the need was in the air, no one had formulated the appropriate format, place and process.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  12 Dec 2014  |  Comments (1)


The Fletcher Capstan table, like the Jupe table before it, has undoubtedly been copied in garages and workshops around the world. And while it's unlikely that anyone can duplicate David Fletcher's fastidious and multimaterial construction, some enjoy the challenge of DIY'ing something similar that's more within reach.

Contractor Scott Rumschlag falls into this category, and has put more than 400 hours over a couple of years attempting to produce a self-built version of the Fletcher Capstan, complete with star-shaped center and multi-level leaves. Here's what Rumschlag had come up with by February of last year:

While he was not able to duplicate the always-round design of the Fletcher Capstan, here's the version he posted a video of last week, where he explains the mechanicals he devised to achieve Fletcher-like results:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


I have to be honest—I wasn't going to say anything to you, but now I feel I must. It's not that your gift-giving skills are bad—I know that you've faithfully perused both our 2014 Gift Guide and the offerings at Hand-Eye Supply—it's that your gift-wrapping skills suck.

That's why everyone looks disappointed when you bring them a gift; the way you've wrapped it is so conventional, so pedestrian, so blah, and you use too much tape. So here I'm going to show you how they do it in Japanese department stores. They rig up little slots at the corners so the gift-opener can get some purchase with a fingernail, and they only use a single piece of tape on the entire package. Sure they might offset the tape savings by wasting a little more paper, but this is the holidays, buddy, not a goddamn Greenpeace mission.

Now step up your game. You can thank me later.

Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


Having the right hangers is critical for ensuring well-maintained clothes. In most cases, normal good-quality wood or plastic hangers will work fine—but sometimes a different type of hanger can be useful.

The Cliq hangers from Flow Design have no hooks; they attach to any metallic tube or surface with magnets. For users who are tight on vertical space (and willing to add a metallic surface if one isn't already in place), these could help; they save about 6 cm of space. They might also be easier than normal hangers for some users to handle, since there's no manipulating of a hook over a bar.


The blow-molded polypropylene Hercules coat hanger from Magis, designed by Marc Newson, has a shorter hook than many hangers, which can also be a bit of a space saver. However, the opening on some of these short-neck hangers is smaller than on more traditional hangers, which can make it a tight fit on some rods.


Posted by core jr  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


As part of a new interview series on the Autodesk Foundation's new blog,, Allan Chochinov, Editor at Large of Core77 and Chair of the MFA Products of Design program at SVA discusses impact design and the role of designers in social change with Robert Fabricant, Co-Founder and Principal of the Design Impact Group (DIG) at Dalberg Global Development Advisors. The series, hosted by Core77, will investigate the intersection of design and social innovation. Here, Robert Fabricant shares three of the most vital things to understand about the field of social design. Read the full interview on

* * *

Avoid the "Big Idea" trap: We are missing the boat if our partners think design is only good for the next cool invention that tries to change the world. The only path to impact is through deep engagement with systems, applying the design lens to participants at every level. Single product strategies fail consistently as I saw on a recent trip to India.

Respect the practical bits: Social impact takes patience, discipline and follow-through. Failure happens between concept and implementation. As my dear friend Fabio Sergio from frog recently put it, we need to be investing in small things that can "tip the system into a slightly different state." On a personal level, I have spent five years trying to get right a simple piece of packaging and instructional design (for an HIV self-test kit), working with an amazing partner in South Africa to "tip the system" with the support of the design team at frog. The concept (of self-testing) is more relevant than ever, but success will be determined by the littlest things as we prepare to enter the market.


A "fresh perspective" will only get you so far: Designers are used to playing the "outsider" card, emphasizing our unique perspective. This capacity is critical to our value in highly competitive markets like chat applications. But it can backfire when designers give the impression that we invented user research or prototyping. We have a lot to learn from fields like community organizing and behavorial economics. I like learning :-)

Read the full interview with Robert Fabricant on

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (5)


Consider how broad industrial design is as a field: Maybe you designed the product that sits on a store shelf. Maybe you designed the box that the product sits in. Or heck, maybe you designed the actual shelves.

If you've done any of these things for a major retail client, you're probably familiar with what are called plan-o-grams, or POGs, or visual merchandising, or "shelf schematics," or whatever fancy jargon your client used for it. Plan-o-grams are that often un-fun but necessary breed of design work handed down by marketing gnomes, who emerge from their caves with The Data, sacred market-researched algorithms on "shelf presence." It's essentially a diagram of what object needs to go where in a retail display, with the ultimate goal of drawing customers into the store, increasing sales and "reinforcing brand." This eye-grabbing grid can be seen through the window and will draw the customer inside. Put this sparkly gewgaw at eye level so the consumer will spot it. Place these floor-demo items and waist level so the consumer will want to pick them up and touch them. Splash it with the company colors.

Back when I was on active duty, we designers had little to zero input on where individual items went, but were the ones tasked with graphically laying the diagrams out for printouts that were later given to the frontline retail employees. Sometimes late at night if you walk past, say, a closed Banana Republic or a Modell's, through the window you can see staffers setting up new displays and consulting binders filled with the latest diagrams.


Posted by Hand-Eye Supply  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


The Shine Case is the newest home for cool tools from Trusco! They feature tough formed steel construction, collapsible handle, lockable clasp, and a sneaky disco paint job. The perfect size for a traveling tool kit, these will also happily accept your most precious pens, curios, sewing supplies, dopp kit, or swanky lunch. The colors are great, with enough subtle glitz to make your other tools jealous. Pick your protective poison - $60 at Hand-Eye Supply.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (1)


As cool as its design is, the central drawback to the Jupe table is that the leaves must be stored separately. In this video of a Jupe reproduction, at 0:28 to 0:36 you can see they've got the leaves tucked in a rather ugly separate cabinet off to the side:

Enter David Fletcher. While the UK-based designer, mechanical engineer and ex-antique-furniture-dealer appreciated Jupe's design, he figured he could improve upon it. "[Jupe] tables could not store their own expansion leaves, were not truly round in every stage, plus they were slow and laborious to operate." In 1997, Fletcher set about developing an updated design to address these issues.


Posted by Sam Dunne  |  11 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)


The latest scientific discovery kicking up a storm in the tech world (or at least on its blogs) is news coming out of the UK that researchers at the University of Bristol are claiming to have developed the first iterations of technology enabling users to feel entirely virtual 3D objects.

Something straight out of a science fiction thriller, the team's research published this month outlines a method for producing the sensation of touching physical objects with the use of focused ultrasound waves in a way that mimics the intended form. By linking up their ultrasound emitter with a Leap Motion sensor the device is able to recognise when a hand comes into contact with a virtual form and focus ultrasound waves to give the corresponding 'haptic feedback.' (See a video demonstration after the jump.)


Posted by core jr  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)
Content sponsored by the Ford Motor Company

For our fourth installment of Ford and IDSA's 'Designing Innovation' series, we've invited a diverse group of experts panelists to discuss ways designers can innovate to fortify the relationships between a brands' products and the consumers who enjoy them. Moderated by Rama Chorpash, the Director of MFA Industrial Design at Parsons, tonight's conversation highlights the broad influence of design in today's marketplace and features Ingrid Fetell, Design Director at IDEO; Steve Schlafman, Principal at RRE Ventures; our very own Allan Chochinov, Chair of MFA Products of Design at SVA; and Craig Metros, Exterior Design Director of the Americas at Ford Motor Company (read our recent Q+A with him here.)

The discussion kicks off at 7pm EST. Remember, you can join the conversation by submitting a question on Twitter using the hashtag #DesigningInnovation—we'll be selecting a few to ask the panelists live on stage. Tune in below to see the 'Designing Innovation' panel live from New York City's Cooper Union.

Read up on the panelists onstage:


Posted by core jr  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

In their most recent presentation, RKS brought us a discussion about the very chair you could be sitting on right now. This RKS Session, "Designing for Function and Style" was led by Bernard Brucha of Mashstudios, a firm well-versed in the art of honoring function when designing furniture with style.

As Bernard puts it, work doesn't just happen at the office any more. When his team approaches the design of office space and furniture application for clients like Uber, Pinterest and Jacob Engineering, they examine more than just the physical space to ensure technology can be leveraged to serve everyone best. The result is a highly functional and pleasing environment in which to spend a good portion of your day. Watch the entire presentation after the jump:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (2)


In the 1830s, an upholsterer and cabinetmaker named Theodore Alexander Robert Jupe was awarded British Patent No. 6788 for an expandable table design. The round six-seater table contained a particularly ingenious mechanical mechanism that must have astonished citizens of the Georgian era. Before we get into the mechanism, have a look at the table from overhead:

Round Dining Table by Robert Jupe from M.S. Rau Antiques on Vimeo.

Here's what's funny: In my opinion, the auctioneer actually uses the table mechanism incorrectly! Watch the footage from 0:21 to 0:27, and you'll see he turns the table counterclockwise to separate the wedges, which is correct. But after adding the inserts, at 0:44 to 0:48 he rotates the table clockwise to tighten the leaves. I feel he has missed the most important point of the table's mechanism, which is called a Capstan mechanism. Watch the CG animation below to understand how it works:


Posted by Don Norman  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (2)

For many years, together with a number of design educators, I have been discussing how design can address the complex socio-technological systems that characterize our world. The issues are not new: many people and disciplines have grappled with them for some time. But how can design play a role? Do our educational methods, especially the emphasis upon craft, prepare designers for this? What can design add?

In Fall 2014, a number of us found ourselves in Shanghai where we were serving as advisors to the newly formed College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University. (The list of participants appears below.) We decided it was time to act. As a result, over the next month we wrote a position paper, describing the nature of the issues and the framework for working on the problems. We didn't know what kind of design we should associate with this approach, and after many iterations on a name, we simply called it X—as in the algebraic variable that can take on multiple values. Hence, DesignX. The next section presents highlights from our statement.

Collaboratively authored by (in alphabetical order): Ken Friedman (Tongji University, College of Design and Innovation and Swinburne University Centre for Design Innovation), Yongqi Lou (Tongji), Don Norman (University of California, San Diego, Design Lab), Pieter Jan Stappers (Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering), Ena Voûte (Delft), and Patrick Whitney (Illinois Institute of Technology, Institute of Design). Contact email:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (6)


"I noticed I was using packs and packs of mechanical pencils at work as disposable items," writes Andrew Sanderson, who spent six years as an aircraft propulsion technician and a decade as a gas turbine engineer. He subsequently switched to product design, with the goal of creating a mechanical pencil that you could keep and use forever.

"I set out to design a mechanical pencil that would reduce the waste, be a testament to U.S. manufacturing and design, and not break the bank," Sanderson explains. "Having a single mechanical pencil that replaces the endless packs of plastic that end up sitting it landfills and floating in our oceans has to be a good thing."


What most impressed me about Sanderson's design is how he endeavored to hide the seams. It really does look like the conical tip and the shaft are one solid, machined piece, though of course they're not. Take a closer look:


Posted by core jr  |  10 Dec 2014  |  Comments (1)

DoshiLevien-QA-1.jpgPortrait by Peter Krejci

This is the latest installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. Previously, we talked to Sam Jacob.

Names: Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien

Occupation: Founders and partners of the design studio Doshi Levien

Location: London

Current projects:

Doshi: There are many. We're working on a range of textiles. We're working on quite a few projects for Galerie Kreo, which is a gallery based in Paris. We're working on new collections for B&B Italia, Moroso, Kvadrat—there are quite a few different projects going on.

Levien: The work is very varied. Which is great, because we hop from one project to another, and they tend to feed each other in terms of ideas—there's a lot of crossover between the different areas.


Doshi: "Mission" sounds a bit too New Age to me. I think that when you work as a designer, your aims and your ambitions develop over time. Considering that we have worked a lot on product and furniture, I see the next step for us as working on space—it could be a public space, a hotel, a gallery.

Levien: As you go into a larger scale, the social aspect becomes a factor in the work, and I think that's really interesting for us. We designed our perfect house not so long ago, for an exhibition called Das Haus at IMM Cologne in Germany. I think that was the beginning of a new way of working for us, a new direction for our studio.

DoshiLevien-QA-2.jpgDoshi Levien's Almora lounge chair for B&B Italia, released earlier this year

DoshiLevien-QA-3.jpgAn early sketch for Almora (left) and the first model of the chair

When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer?

Levien: I didn't know that design existed as a profession until I had been to cabinetmaking college at 16. Design was not really a focus at that point, more the idea of making things perfectly and learning about wood. I value that experience so much now, as it established a kind of tacit understanding of and feeling for materials, a kind of sensitivity that I now apply to any production process. After making for a couple of years, I realized that what was missing was a design element—considering why things exist, and not just focusing on how things are made. So, in a way, design was a natural step from a making background.

Doshi: When I was growing up in India, design as an organized profession didn't exist. I applied to study architecture, and then one of my tutors told me about this design school which was founded on the manifest of Charles and Ray Eames, the National Institute of Design in India. And it was after having applied there that I really understood what design was. Up until then it was just an idea for me, but I first fell in love with the campus and the whole environment, and I knew I wanted to be creative in that way. It was actually through studying design that I understood I wanted to do design, if that makes sense.


Posted by Coroflot  |  10 Dec 2014

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