John Maeda once explained, “The computer will do anything within its abilities, but it will do nothing unless commanded to do so.” I think people are the same — we like to operate within our abilities. But whereas the computer has a fixed code, our abilities are limited only by our perceptions. Two decades since determining my code, and after 15 years of working in the world of branding, I am now in the process of rewriting the possibilities of what comes next. I don’t know exactly what I will become; it is not something I can describe scientifically or artistically. Perhaps it is a “code in progress.”
Back in the late 1970s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him – “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.” Aware that he was a significant contributor to that world, he asked himself an important question: is my design good design?
As good design cannot be measured in a finite way he set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered was good design. (Sometimes they are referred as the ‘Ten commandments’.)
Here they are.
Good Design is innovative – The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
Good Design makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
Good Design is aesthetic – The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
Good Design makes a product understandable – It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
Good Design is unobtrusive – Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
Good Design is honest – It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
Good Design is long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
Is thorough down to the last detail – Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
Good Design is environmentally friendly – Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and Visual pollution throughout the life-cycle of the product.
Good Design is as little design as possible – Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.
An interesting article comparing Apple Design with Dieter Rams designs for Braun…
Braun vs. Apple: Inspiration Or Peculation?
“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs
Interesting insight by Robert Greene…
“…the difference between people who are successful and not are that those who are successful seemed to know from the age of 7 or 8, maybe older, they’re very in tune with what they love. I compare it to a voice inside their head, not literally a voice but something that says “you really are drawn to this subject” and they hear it throughout their lives. For me it was writing and books, since I was a kid. At any time I deviated from that love and went into something else, I was just so unhappy and I knew that I wasn’t doing the right thing. It’s just this voice that keeps drawing you back to what you really, really love.”
I’ve just finished watching Jerry Uelsmann & Maggie Taylor: This Is Not Photography. a documentary released by Lynda.com
and I can’t believe that I’ve never come across Jerry Uelsmann’s work before.
During the 1960s at a time when most photographers were focused on documenting reality, Uelsmann began exploring creative compositions in the darkroom with his photographs. Unlike Cartier-Bressons view, Jerry Uelsman’s decisive moment doesn’t occur at the click of the shutter, they happen in the darkroom. By using multiple enlargers, combining multi exposures and sandwiching negatives together he began making dreamscape compositions that got him his own one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967.
The fixed image on a piece of paper is an antique photographic process which he has managed to keep fresh even in todays modern digital age. I love the way he describes the magic moment when the developer reveals the image in the liquid bath. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to experience that when I studied photography at Uni. It makes me wonder how many students if any have that chance now that we have the convenience of digital cameras.
Whilst his images pre date photoshop, his partner Maggie Taylor embraced photoshop back in the early Adobe days and also creates surrealist images that are oddly bizarre and magical. She scans items and he photographs items on a light table. And together but separately they lean on each other for advice and inspire each other to work in their own mediums. He in the darkroom and she on the computer. A Lovely partnership or art, love and companionship.
Here is the preview:
Journey by illustrator Aaron Becker is a charming and empowering wordless story about a lonely little girl who finds herself in an imaginary world and learns to bend it to her own imagination by drawing with a magical red marker. Take a look at this lovely short film about his creative process.
Janet Echelman creates interactive artworks that are breathtaking and inspiring, watch the TED talk by Janet Echelman: Taking imagination seriously.
Excerpt from Ted Blog:
These were some of the comments heard at TED2014 about Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks, a collaboration between sculptor Janet Echelman and data artist Aaron Koblin. This monumental sculpture stretched 745 feet, from the Vancouver Convention Centre where TED was held, over an open-air plaza on the edge of Vancouver Harbor and up to the top of the Fairmont Waterfront hotel. Every night while the temporary sculpture was installed, from March 15-22, 2014, dozens of people could be seen across the street setting up cameras and tripods to capture the glowing spectacle. Meanwhile, underneath the sculpture, even greater numbers of people gathered, most of them with their phones out. Using a phone, they could draw lines, squiggles, webs, and water drop rings onto the sculpture’s lush purples, blues, pinks and oranges.
Aaron Koblin: Visualizing ourselves … with crowd-sourced dataAaron Koblin: Visualizing ourselves … with crowd-sourced dataKoblin, of Google’s Data Arts Team, told us a little about how it worked.
This is a short film about the processes by which mountains are created and eventually destroyed. It is based upon the work of British geographer L. Dudley Stamp, and was shot in Iceland.
Despite their great size and age, their lives pan out in much the same way that a living creature’s does: They have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and as such, the life of a mountain mimics our own — it is a life that carries the weight of being and anticipation of sadness that one day things will change.
“So what I want to argue for is not that we should give up on our ideas of success, but we should make sure that they are our own. We should focus in on our ideas. and make sure that we own them, that we are truly the authors of our own ambitions. Because it’s bad enough, not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of a journey, that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.”
~Alain De Botton, A kinder, gentler philosophy of success
“if you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, and music, you will automatically explode every morning like old faithful. I have never had a dry period in my life because I feed myself well.”