Diet pills such as Dinitrophenol are one of the newest ways to lose weight. They are preferred by more people simply because unlike the traditional exercise or dieting regimens, diet pills are a great, fast and easy alternative to shed off those excess pounds. But if you are still hesitant about the safety of using these drugs, then not to worry there are several brands in the market that has been tested and proven by health professionals to be safe for use. So if want to take this alternative, the key to effectively lose weight is to pick the right pill from a reputable company that can give you genuine and high quality products. new prescription weight loss drug Plus, make sure you have all of your meals, don t skip any of them. Skipping meals is one of the first strategies many people employ when they want to lose weight. Whilst reducing food intake will assist fat loss weight loss, skipping meals is not the best way to achieve this. The human body has many contingency plans to overcome this strategy. It will reduce its output of thyroid hormones, which slows down the metabolism, it increases the production of cortisol, which breaks down muscle and slows the metabolism even further. The human body also increases appetite, which leads to over-eating and it also increases the activity of fat-storing enzymes so it tends to store more food as body fat, which will prevent future ‘famines . side effects of weight loss pills Below I ve included 3 absolute beginner must-dos, if you “really” want to lose weight. drugs that help you lose weight So if you want to lose weight quickly and safely with the help of an expert start looking at programmes today – you won t be disappointed! weight loss fast and easy When a professional football player is having a rough time on the field, they are told to get their head back in the game. Coaches will often set strict guidelines on what their professional players can and cannot do the day or sometimes week leading up to an important game. These players have to get adequate amounts of sleep, avoid fighting or other drama with loved ones, and watch their diet so they are extremely healthy and well focused on game day. hier
Professionals in any field should always keep business cards on them because you never know when you’ll meet a potential client, partner or a like-minded person. Despite their small size, business cards are one of the most powerful and handiest marketing tools. Not only do they create a link between you and your new contact, they’re also a quick way to give a great first impression. Business cards promote your skills and achievements and serve as a little container for big ideas.
Designing a business card is not particularly an easy task to accomplish. Aside from deciding from the various types of visual appearance one can employ to create the card, there is also the matter of how well you can present the necessary information with as least elements as possible. One of the main things to consider while designing a business card is to make sure the immediate attention goes to the name and the number. The other elements are often not given enough importance when one glances at the card. As always, simplicity is the key.
Here are the business cards of some of the most famous people in the industry:
Sources and references:
1) Design you trust
2) Amass blog
4) Print Business Cards
5) Business card design starter kit
6) Designing and Producing Creative Business Cards: Techniques and Details]]>
High speed photography is the science of taking pictures of very fast phenomena, usually at a very high rate of more than 1000 frames/second. To achieve a good high speed photo, you need a digital camera, a fast-moving subject (like a bullet or a water drop), and a bit of knowledge about the technical aspects of high speed photography, such as shutter speed, exposure, reciprocity, spatial resolution etc. With enough practice and patience, you can capture some of the most interesting photographs and analyze some of the complex physical phenomena known to man.
Although some blurring can be effective in communicating a sense of high-speed motion, some photographers want the subject to be frozen in time to get some pretty special and detailed photographic effects. The things that aren’t perceptible by the human eye can be seen and understood using the method of high speed photography. There are many talented photographers today and we’ve seen many of their work till date and it has continually blown our mind.
High speed photography isn’t quite a modern application in photography. The first practical application was Eadweard Muybridge’s 1878 investigation into whether horses’ feet were actually all off the ground at once during a gallop(as seen above). The first photograph of a supersonic flying bullet was taken by the Austrian physicist Peter Salcher in Rijeka in 1886. Since then, high speed photography has advanced a lot. Lex’s works are a prime example of what one can achieve today if one has the right set of tools and the adequate knowledge and expertise on the subject, of course not to mention the control and the patience required to capture the right moment.
Lex Augusteijn is a multi-talented photographer whose domain of expertise in photography(along with high speed photography) also includes crystal and insect macro photography, architecture and abstract photography and much more. A scientist and an engineer by profession, he certainly knows the tools of the trade and is very eager to capture nature’s phenomena which remains elusive to the naked human eye.
As soon as I came across Lex’s works, I knew that it took a unique and a sophisticated approach in achieving what he has achieved and I was very curious to know how he did it. As an engineer and an amateur photographer myself, you wouldn’t believe my joy when he replied to me about the specifics of his creation. What followed was an amazing interview with him.
So, I wanted to share his knowledge and his thoughts about his work and his world of photography with you guys. I hope you find it useful and informative as I did.
1) When I first saw your high speed photo of the water droplet and the bullet, I couldn’t believe it at all.. but now I’m amazed that you were able to achieve something that redefines accuracy and precision. Take us a few steps into your process—I assume producing these images requires an extraordinarily controlled environment?
Indeed, control is everything in high speed photography. You need to orchestrate events with a high accuracy of timing, and the probably of shooting anything useful is just too small without sufficient control.
I started out by using electronic timing, based on some home-brew circuits, but when the experiments grew more complex, I replaced that by software control. By now, all devices involved (camera shutter, flashes, electrical valves, and gun) are connected to a laptop that runs a program which dictates the timing. The accuracy of this is 1/1,000,000 second (1 microsecond) though typical required precision is no more than 1/10,000 (100 microseconds) to 1/1,0000 (1 millisecond).
2) Breaking things is not really something that one would choose as a hobby but when looked deep enough, the observations are fascinating. How much of what results in your pictures is by chance and how much is by design?
As you will understand from the description of the equipment, all the images are orchestrated. So I have a particular image in mind, and then build it up, step by step, until I can produce it. Of course, a digital camera is required here, such that you can see on every step the result and adjust it in the right direction. E.g., if an a test shot a drop is too soon, I will adapt the timing to release it a bit later.
Having said this, there is always some fluctuation that is not controllable. When you look at the Mother and Child picture, you will see how two colliding drops by accident form a very strong image.
3) I wonder, when you look at your own finished work, do you see what you’ve just destroyed, or what you’ve made from the transformation?
The images are not about the result of destruction. They expose events that we can imagine in our minds but the eye is unable to see. They make us peak into a world that exists but is normally not accessible to us. That is what makes these pictures attractive, not the destruction itself.
4) Crystal photography : I’ve seen a few of these that were taken with a microscope in a lab. These crystals looks so geometrical complex at such a microscopic level. What motivated you to capture these photos and how did you achieve this?
I saw some of this work on the web and thought is was fascinating. Again, it reveals a beauty in nature not visible to the naked eye. Of course they require technical equipment and technical skill. However, this crystal photography is not very complex. A decent macro lens and proper lighting and filters already bring you a long way.
5) One of the questions that arises to my mind, looking at how photography has been constantly evolving ever since the analog camera is, Do you also employ some cross-processing techniques… such as, do you still shoot some film and scan it in and use Photoshop? and how important do you think these digital tools are? Also, How do you keep both sides of your brain (analytical and creative) engaged?
I only use digital techniques. I need the immediate feedback so I can adapt my settings and move stepwise to the image I want. I hardly do any postprocessing though. I limit myself to cropping, some level adjustment, mild sharpening. The creative part of my brains is the part that imagines the image, and appreciates it later. The analytical part is there to make it possible.
6) What are some of the software and photography equipment you employ in your work?
A tripod, DSLR (Canon 300D, then 40D, then 5DII), macro lens (Tamron 90), flashes (that can be stepped down to 1/128 for short flash duration), a laptop running a program I developed myself, and some electronics translating signals on the parallel port of the laptop into controls for the equipment. Photoshop for mild post processing, as mentioned.
7) What are the most important things to keep in mind to get a very good high speed photograph?
You need basic equipment (DSLR, macro lens, proper flashes, some kind of electronic control). On top of that you need imagination, control, control and control, and of course, patience, patience, patience. Also perseverance and technical creativity. When you can not get the shot you want in the way you thought, you need to keep thinking hard about other ways, This can be a long and painful process. However, the harder the process, the more you will appreciate the end result!
8) What’s your typical schedule like? Do you have a lot of free time to play and be creative?
I have very little free time. Fortunately, the equipment I have now is sufiiciently precise and flexible, so there is little need to invest into that any more. A typical image takes one or two evenings to set up, calibrate and shoot till I like it. But of course, some are more stubborn than others.
9) Any turning points in your career that may have contributed to what you have become today?
When I bought my first DSC in 2002, I did not touch my analog SLR any more. I pittied that however, and that made me buy the 300D in 2004. The immediate feedback, together with the control of a DSLR, started a period of wild experimentation that learned me a lot, about technique, about my own style, about creativity. Btw, I participated strongly in the cracking of the 300D firmware in the so called UnDutchables firmware release. Since I am an electronics engineer by education with a lot of software experience, I can build my own equipment.
10) You do multiple types of photography. Which type do you market the most and/or is the most successful in terms of money(revenue). Also, what type of photography would you do all day long every day if you could?
My most successful images are the high speed ones. That is primarily because it is a niche where not many people (can) participate. But then you need to combine technical skill with artistic drive to come to interesting results. If I had time, I would dive more into crystal photography, astro (which I do not do yet), and even more high speed. And I would travel a lot more to interesting landscapes.
11) The evolution of photography has been quite phenomenal over the past several decades. Where do you see the future of photography heading towards to?
Image quality is saturating. The limiting factor is in 99% of the cases the photographer, not the equipment. And then I do not just mean the technical skills of the photographer, but much more his artistic skills, patience (e.g. for the right light) and imagination.
12) Any favorite photographers or influences?
www.1x.com. There is amazing skills and creativity in the world and it is a privilege that we can share that nowadays.
13) And lastly, what is your advice to the many budding photographers who are eager to follow the same path as yours?
Get some decent equipment (www.hiviz.com, www.cognisys-inc.com) if you cannot make it yourself. Have patience and realize that without control you will not succeed. Start by duplicating what others have already done, that will give you technical skills. And from there grow into your own style. But most of all: have fun!
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us, Lex. We all wish you the best in your journey and we hope to see even more in the near future. Good Luck.
Lex Augusteijn’s profile : http://www.lex-augusteijn.nl/Gallery/index.html]]>
How can we define Minimalism? Is it what makes things easier to understand? Or is it the least possible use of elements? Minimalistic design(or simplicity) is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful. Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. The term “minimalist” is often applied colloquially to designate anything which is spare or stripped to its essentials.
The broad definition of the term ‘Minimalism’ and its application exceeds just the definition given above and is beyond the focus of this article, so we shall keep the discussion for another day. Today, I wanted to showcase some of the best minimalistic movie posters that not only send the message with the least elements possible but also give you the idea what the movie is all about, with least the visual clue possible. I think that’s the key here in understanding and appreciating the minimalism. I’ve seen many minimalistic posters and, don’t get me wrong, they are all very creatively done.. but these recent ones captured by imagination and impressed me quite a bit.
1) Superman by Quibe
2) The Machinist by Daniel Norris
3) The Matrix by 3ftdeep
4) Fight Club by Pedro Vidotto
5) The Truman show by Hesir
6) Edward Scissorhands by Vasilis Magoulas
7) The Sound of Music by Jon Correll
8) The Hangover by Cameron X. Coleman
9) Reservoir Dogs by Vincent Gabriele
10) Juno by Kenzo Giunto
11) Kill Bill by Guillaume Vasseur
12) 127 hours by 3ftdeep
13) Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Rowan Stocks-Moore
14) Being John Malkovich
15) Tron Legacy by Travis English
16) 300 by Daniel Keane
17) Blood Diamond by emreweb
18) The God father by Forge Design Works
19) Forrest Gump by Joel Amat Güell
20) Prestige by Olly Moss
Sources and links for further inspiration:
1) Minimalistic Movie Posters
2) How to incorporate simplicity in your designs
3) Printing Services from Print runner]]>
Students(and in some cases adults) sometimes have trouble trying to comprehend the meaning of the term ‘theory’. We usually hear a common phrase, ‘It’s just a theory‘ when people try to refute certain facts. This is a common misconception among people, they assume that theories are based on conjecture and not evidence.
In order to debunk this common misconception among the lay folk, here is a clear and concise graphic that explains the fundamentals of building a theory and also illustrates critical thinking in a simple and an elegant manner. We often say that information is best communicated via pictures rather than text. The series of images below is one of the very good examples that demonstrates that.
Basically what the artist is trying to say is that you start off with a hypothesis, which is basically a claim based on pure conjecture… for example, stating that “The moon is made of cheese“. There is absolutely no evidence to support this claim and there is none to disprove it either. So, basically you can claim anything that comes to your mind. That’s a hypothesis.
So what do you do? You conduct experiments to test your hypothesis. In this case, you build a rocket to go to the moon and then you come back with samples of the moon’s rock/surface. The next step in conducting the experiment is to make two sandwiches, one with actual cheese and the other with the moon’s rock and then you give these sandwiches to other people to eat. The result of this experiment gives you ‘evidence’. The evidence being both sandwiches taste different. Hence, this evidence points against your initial hypothesis and disproves it. More such experiments and the subsequent evidences leads to a theory, which in this instance being ‘Moon does not taste like cheese but rather like dirt.” The truth may be different but we get closer to it every time we experiment and keep eliminating bad hypotheses, and build theories upon theories with facts and evidence.
As the last picture cleverly points out, our theories are based on limited facts but are true to an acceptable degree(hence the approximation of a hexagon with 5 points) but if you look at the truth, it is a circle, which is made out of infinite number of points signifying that truth is nothing but infinite evidences put together. Quite simple yet profound..
Credit goes to the artist, KTR2 who designed these set of images. Here’s the source where I found it : http://goo.gl/0Kf9S.
[source for cover image]
Nature is an endless inspiration for designers, photographers and artists alike. After all, nature has managed to create a complex self-sustaining system of life supporting millions of species over billions of years that has given rise to some of the most beautiful and elegant living beings that we have ever gazed our eyes upon. Evolution has resulted in transforming these living beings over the course of several millions of years. Today, there are literally millions of species of plants, animals and insects that inhabit the blue planet. And it is beyond the scope of our comprehension about how each one of these species are so unique in terms of its appearance and behavior. They are unique in terms of their organization, the way they protect their own species and also by trying to survive using complex defensive tactics that we are yet to fathom completely.
Despite their reputation as pests, the trillions of insects, bugs, and spiders that inhabit the Earth can make some of the most fascinating and dramatic close-up photography subjects. Insects and their tiny environments offer the macro photographer an unlimited amount of color, texture, and physical architecture to explore. They are as unique as we are, and they are obviously much more plentiful.
Macro photography is a very daunting task to achieve. It requires a lot of patience and attention to detail. To achieve a very good looking macro shot, one needs to balance the magnification factor along with the depth of field(DoF). Sadly, both of these lie on the opposite sides of the balancing scales. Depth-of-field is “how much” of the picture is in sharp focus. As i said, there is an inverse relationship between magnification and DOF…the more magnification you get, the less DOF you get. Lighting the environment around the subject is also very tricky. The usage of the light and any external flashes must be carefully organized to highlight the most fascinating detail of the subject. Care must be taken to avoid unnecessary reflections and glares as well.
As you try to magnify further, there is another limitation that begins to surface and it is the ‘camera shake’ factor. To get a perfect macro shot, there must be virtually no movement at all(both from the camera equipment and the subject). The latter is not under out control(for the most part) so the key is to stabilize the equipment as much as possible.
Apart from all these factors, there is also the factor of mental focus and patience. Bugs and insects are incredibly restless(most of them) and it needs a great amount of patience and trials to get the right shot. The time of the day and the weather also plays a role in determining whether the insects are going to oblige with you or not.
Here some of the best macro(portrait) photography of common insects that I’ve seen. Some of the them are so terrifyingly beautiful that it gives me goosebumps. It is so fascinating to see and understand how much detail such tiny insects have. It feels as if they have been so “intelligently designed”, it makes me want to rethink the definition of perfection.
Wasp by soheil shahbazi
KILLING MATCHINE by POPUMON TiH
TREASURE by POPUMON TiH
Dancing Ant by teguh santosa
Big by Ondrej Pakan
Housefly 3 by soheil shahbazi
oOOon the DRAGON by POPUMON TiH
E-T by Ondrej Pakan
Predator by Ondrej Pakan
Grasshopper Kids by Vincentius Ferdinand
Ant 3.0 by Nicolas R.B.
Colgate by Ondrej Pakan
Wett? by Ondrej Pakan
Frisure by Ondrej Pakan
Tiger Beetle portrait and jaws… by Nicolas R.B.
Parasitoid Wasp’s eye by Yousef Al Habshi
Panorpa communis by Kvejlend (Dusan Beno)
Chrysopa carnea by Kvejlend (Dusan Beno)
Here are a few terrifyingly detailed macro photography of insects shot by the talented photographer, Igor Siwanowicz. If you are a fan of macro photography in general, I urge you go and visit his portfolio page and look at his work. They are absolutely stunning. It might raise a few hairs on the back of your neck but the effort he puts into getting the shot and his attention to details are staggering : Igor Siwanowicz at Photo.ru
Kings of Leon – Bumblebee
Thankfully they are small
I am also very excited to mention that one of the most talented high speed photographers, Lex Augusteijn has agreed for an interview exclusively for this site and I am very eager to publish it in a week or so. So, watch out for some tips and advice from a master himself, along with a showcase of his amazing work…]]>
Steven P. Jobs, the Apple Inc. chairman and co-founder who pioneered the personal computer industry and changed the way people think about technology, died Wednesday at the age of 56. This is a great loss to the entire world (especially of art and technology). Steve Jobs’s contribution has had an immeasurable impact in our lives and it will be felt for generations to come.
During his more than three decade-long career, Mr. Jobs transformed Silicon Valley as he helped turn the once sleepy expanse of fruit orchards into the technology industry’s innovation center. In addition to laying the groundwork for the high-tech industry alongside other pioneers like Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison, Mr. Jobs proved the appeal of well-designed products over the sheer power of technology itself and shifted the way consumers interact with technology. He redefined the experience of personal computing and showed the world that when products are created with art and passion, it will change the way we interact with it forever.
“The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.” said by Mr. Bill Gates.
In fact there are many instances where Steve tried to prove a point to his employees that had an immediate impact on how the rest of the lives would turn out. Here’s one such instance:
One day, he was so upset by his employees’ lack of creativity that he grabbed a chair and started hammering it against the wall and used so much force that he smashed a hole big enough to see into the next room. He dramatically made his point: there’s more beyond the four walls of a room and the “walls” of our minds.
Jobs shook up our reality in order for us to “Think Different,” as the Apple slogan goes.
As a tribute to his unprecedented contribution to the world of design and innovation, I have handpicked some of his most memorable quotes and shared them with you. It is guaranteed to change your lives as it did to many of his ardent followers and fans, those who loved him for his work and vision. Those who believed in him and those who love and embrace innovation.. which includes all of us :)
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Here are a few quotes that impacts deeply in our lives as designers and innovators:
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”
“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn’t what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that.”
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”
and last but by no means least..
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Thanks for being insanely great, Steve. We’ll miss you :’(
All thanks to AllaboutStevejobs.com for their wonderful collection of his photos. Make sure you visit the site and browse through the pictures. Here is an obituary from WSJ which touches deeply to those to admired Steve.]]>
Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along and changes everything. We have been very fortunate to live in this generation which has transformed the conventional design culture into a uber-geeky one. Companies are continually striving to create new products equipped with cutting edge technologies. Such nail biting competitions can only most often give way to innovation and progress.
Today, we are on the verge of a technological breakthrough where our handheld devices are becoming faster than our desktops and laptops. Components are shrinking at a considerable rate and providing opportunities to design engineers to come up with lighter and more powerful products. This an example of how design and engineering is mutually evolving at an alarming rate. What is new today will become obsolete tomorrow. Amidst all this changes, how do the product designers and engineers make sure the product meets the expectations of the consumers and also keep evolving from time to time creating not just a renewable environment but a sustainable one.
Design is not just about making things look pretty. It gives a product structure and function more than just form and style, but in a general sense however, it doesn’t matter whether it is a product, a building or even a web application, unless the underlying structure isn’t given enough attention (to the very last detail), the final product will ultimately be a failure regardless of how good it looks from the outside.
Product designing has been through a lot of transformations in the past couple of decades. When the consumers were getting bored of conventional aesthetics, they needed something that would brighten up their living spaces and eventually making their lives a lot more interesting. The advent of newer and more durable materials made it possible for design engineers to think beyond the box and create products that would not only function with a high degree of perfection but also create products that would make users fall in love with them.
Product design, itself, is often difficult to define to non-designers because the meaning accepted by the design community is not one made of words. Instead, the definition is created as a result of acquiring a critical framework for the analysis and creation of artifacts. It is critical to the product development process that the industrial design and engineering aspects of a product are considered simultaneously.
Wikipedia puts it this way, “Product designers conceptualize and evaluate ideas, making them tangible through products in a more systematic approach. Their role is to combine art, science and technology to create tangible three-dimensional goods. This evolving role has been facilitated by digital tools that allow designers to communicate, visualize and analyze ideas in a way that would have taken greater manpower in the past.”
In this article, we will learn what product design means, and how we can strive towards creating great products. We will also learn the principles of design, as practiced by the ‘Father of modern product design’ -Dieter Rams, and also how the world of product design is going to shape itself in the near future.
Note : This is a pretty detailed article. I urge you to read it completely so that you get a clear picture on how to approach product design in a more sophisticated way.
Product design is not just about creating a great product. It also reflects the culture upheld by the brand. Innovation has a different impact when the product is something you can hold and love. A tangible product tells you much more about a brand than an advertisement. A product (or service) also gives you insights into how that business sees the world–your world–and the role that they would like to play in it. There are several methods employed in the product design process that enables the design engineers to come up good ideas and eventually a great product. Although most of these methods use the general aspects of ‘Creative problem solving and analysis‘, one such methodology commonly referred to as ‘Design Thinking‘ is a proven and repeatable problem-solving protocol that any business or profession can employ to achieve extraordinary results.
There are several steps involved in ‘design thinking’ process, starting from ideation to the evaluation of the final product. I would like to share some of my thoughts on what steps one must employ to create products that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functionally great.
1) Define the problem
2) Identify the need
3) Research the problem
4) Brainstorming possible solutions
5) Engineering analysis
6) Construct a prototype
7) Evaluate/Manufacture the final product
Now let us look at the above steps in detail. Please remember that steps are in order. We start by identifying the problem and end up evaluating the final product.
Sounds simple but doing it right is perhaps the most important of all the seven stages. Another way to say it is, ‘defining the right problem to solve’. Design thinking requires a team or business to always question in brief, the problem to be solved. To participate in defining the opportunity and to revise the opportunity before embarking on its creation and execution. Participation usually involves immersion and the intense cross examination of the filters that have been employed in defining a problem.
In design thinking observation takes center stage. Observation can discern what people really do as opposed to what you are told that they do. Getting out of the cubicle and involving oneself in the process, product, user experience and the operating theater is fundamental. No one’s life was ever changed by just a PowerPoint presentation.
Design thinking is a very powerful tool and when used effectively, can be the foundation for driving a brand or business forward.
After having formulated the problem in a way the entire team comprehends, we start out by identifying the need for our product. Instead of asking “what do we want to design?” we ask “why do we want to design that?” and “what problem and or need will our design ultimately be solving?”
Next, we may want to identify our target population, which is the group of people who will benefit from our product. Is the target population ultimately one individual, a group of individuals, a specific community, or a larger, identifiable population? Is the target population from a specific location (country, region, town), demographic (age or gender), or other identifying characteristics (health condition or employment)? How is our target population connected?
After we understand our need and our target population, we will identify our requirements and constraints. A requirement is a need or a necessity; it’s what a particular product or service should do. A constraint is a restriction on the degree of freedom you have in providing a solution to a need or problem. For example, a child may be required by its parents to receive good grades. At the same time, it may be constrained by other activities such as work, sports, sleep, spending time with friends, and so on. Although worthwhile, these time constraints may impinge on the amount of time it has to study. So, its challenge would be to find out how to meet the requirement of receiving good grades under the given time constraints.
Back to our product design — our final step today is to develop a project definition within each of our design teams. This includes relating the product design or need to some aspect of our personal lives. Ultimately, we want to design something that would help us if we were experiencing the same problem or need as our target population.
Similar to real-world engineers, we must develop a thorough knowledge base of the information related to our design to determine if a similar product already exists or if any regulatory and standards issues (such as intellectual property issues, safety or environmental issues) exist that must be considered in the design of the product. We do this by conducting a variety of information searches and compiling all the information in a useful way.
Sometimes it is hard to know what information we need to find before we have a product design. One way to identify what information we should be looking for is to break down our problem statement or “need” into an idea web. An idea web starts with the main need or problem in the middle of a piece of paper. Then the team draws branches from the main problem to represent different parts of the problem, such as audience, requirements, constraints, and questions. Each designer on the team may choose to or be assigned to focus on addressing one particular part of the problem or the team may work together to establish the knowledge base. Often, new questions arise, requiring the team to do additional background research in order to answer them.
A patent search is another way to find existing information about a related product. This type of search is often done by design engineers in the beginning stages of product design and is really helpful for avoiding designs that infringe on an idea that has legal protection. Many websites offer information on existing patents, including the US patent and Trademark Office.
Standards and codes developed by industry or federal, state or local governments are also important to know for product design. Standards are any agreed-upon common criteria, item or process that helps to ensure the safety and interchangeability of a product. For example, having standard bolt sizes helps designers communicate to manufacturers located elsewhere exactly which bolt to use in making a product. A code is a collection of standards that are mandatory for use in the development of a particular item. For example, building codes specify the height and area limitations for certain types of buildings in a city.
Reverse engineering an existing product is another way to learn about technologies that relate to the design of a new product. When possible, design engineers test competitor’s products to determine how to make their new design even better. They take products apart to figure out how they work, and then they often reassemble them to see how the parts interact. Reverse engineering requires careful observation, dis-assembly, documentation, analysis and reporting.
Lastly, user interviews can give us valuable insight into a product design. We have already identified our target population, and, when possible, interviewing members of that population about our product can be extremely helpful. After all, it is the customer who ultimately determines whether a product is a success or failure. It is important to communicate often with the user during the design process. It is useful to use props during the interviews to watch how a user interacts with a product. Sometimes how the user uses the product is more telling than what they say about it. Gathering initial data from the user helps the engineering team identify which aspects of the problem are the most important to address for its audience.
Brainstorming is a team creativity activity that helps generate a large number of potential solutions to a problem. By this point, you should have a good understanding of your design challenge. You and your team have worked to define the problem, identify the project’s constraints and requirements, and complete some background research.
When we are working to first come up with ideas, we want to keep open minds and encourage all ideas — even if they don’t seem realistic. We want to withhold criticism of our ideas and those from our team members. Also, when we brainstorm, we are striving for quantity of ideas, not quality. It also improves your chances that you will find your main prize!
Brainstorming is meant to encourage creative thinking; however, some basic ground rules make it more successful. Most importantly, when you are brainstorming, remember to withhold criticism of any ideas, including your own. Don’t worry about saying something that seems silly or unrealistic. Silly ideas can lead to excellent creative design solutions!
Engineering analysis distinguishes true engineering design from “tinkering”. It can be described as the breaking down of an object, system, problem or issue into its basic elements to get at its essential features and their relationships to each other and to external elements. Often, a thorough and varied analysis of a design prior to implementation leads to increased safety and efficiency in using the product.
Engineering analysis helps us make decisions and guide the design process. A design project without analysis is like a softball team without a coach, a ship without a sail, or a class without a teacher. Basically, it is the breaking down of an object, system or problem, into its fundamental parts to understand their relationships to each other and to outside elements.
For example, let’s say you are a part of a team of engineers working to reduce the number of car accidents that occur during rush-hour traffic. You might start by generating a set of design alternatives to this problem: Expand the roads and highways? Build more bike routes? Design a new subway system? Let’s say your team determines the best alternative is the expansion of roads and highways. Now another design analysis is needed: How many new stoplights should be constructed? How many lanes do we need? How much money will it cost to maintain these new roads? Will many trees need to be cut down? If so, will this displace birds and other wildlife? Even in the case of building a new road, engineers must analyze the impacts of the new road on the city budget and the surrounding environment and impacted wildlife.
Prototyping is underutilized in product development. And you don’t need specialized knowledge to develop them. Fearing failure stifles creativity and progress. If you’re not failing, you’re not going to innovate. Do your product or service a favour: embrace failure and blueprint a plan that affords you the opportunity to do it early and often. Prototyping can help you do just that.
A prototype is a working model of a product that is used for testing before it is manufactured. Prototypes help designers learn about the manufacturing process of a product, how people will use the product, and how the product could fail or break. Getting the idea out of the designer’s head and into a demonstrable format is an effective process for eliminating initial shortcomings and misplaced design assumptions.
Iteration is when design engineers try again and re-design, re-build and re-test. Designers often iterate many times before determining the final solution to a problem. Once a successful prototype has been developed, the engineering team can use it as a mock-up for full-scale manufacturing.
Including quick prototyping in the design process will not only help communicate your ideas but allow you to harness one of the virtues of creating something truly innovative: failure.
Creating a final product is the culmination of the product design process. Although you will be manufacturing a final product, you won’t be doing so on a large industrial scale. Instead, to create your final creation, you will work with more advanced materials than what you used to make your prototype.
Prototypes are used to explore design alternatives, test theories, confirm performance, and ensure a product is safe and user-friendly. A successful prototype is used as the basis for creating a final product. The goal is to extract the most successful features of the prototypes and integrate them to create a final product.
Before constructing the final product, it is important to have a detailed engineering drawing in hand. An engineering drawing is a type of technical drawing used to fully and clearly define requirements for manufacture of the product. These drawings usually provide information on materials and dimensions, as well as multiple drawing views of the product.
What you want to do is select the most successful attributes of your final prototype and incorporate them into your final product. For example, maybe you designed a promising hinging mechanism for your prototype that could work even better with sturdier materials—say pieces of sheet metal and screws. Now, you can apply advanced techniques to achieve a step of improvement in the final model, by understanding the shortcomings in the prototypes.
In this article, Robert Brunner explains how a company must use the aspects of design pervasively. Instead of making design just one of the several steps in the process, encourage every person in the project to understand and embrace the principles of design in their contribution. Let design take the center stage instead of just a cameo appearance. Look at the entire system as a whole instead of just isolating the design concept.
The problem is that, most companies look at design as a single step in the process to deliver a product. The better ones also view it as a corporate identity or brand function to control their outward image. But typical management thinking isolates these functions to ensure consistency and rule-keeping. “Design it please, then get the hell out of the way so that we can do our job.”
The relatively few companies in the world that are really design-driven know how to use design as the motivational factor to achieve great results. Design is, in fact, everybody’s job. Rather than making design a single step in the process where requirements flow in and ideas flow out, they see design as a constant topic of discussion across all disciplines and steps in the process. It is not a vertical stripe in the horizontal process flow, but a horizontal one that extends from inception through customer service and end of life. Apple has shown us that true consumer experience starts right from the box. So that is why even the packages in which the iDevices are shipped are so creatively designed to let users enjoy the experience even before they lay their eyes on the product.
So if you really want design to be in the driver’s seat, better start giving everyone the keys.
Back in the early 1980s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him – “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colors 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’.)
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.
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.
The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.
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.
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.
It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
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.
We are getting better at understanding what needs to happen to develop great products. The product/service development tool kit has expanded greatly in the 20 years. There is design research to ascertain the needs of the user. There is design narrative to give meaning to products and product interactions. There is design strategy to consider the things we make in broader context. Designers are striving to answer larger questions and calling on a broader set of specialties. We’re doing more and more to understand design problems and search for opportunities. We must be careful to balance this new understanding with a vocabulary that allows for us to express it.
We need to take more responsibility for the uncertain state of the world around us; to consider how we can continue to live on a planet with finite resources if we simply throw everything away. We must live in a way which meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The need of the hour is not just to create renewable products but sustainable ones.
Sources and references:
1) Teach Engineering – Creative Engineering Design
2) Industrial Design – Wikipedia
3) 4 fields of Industrial design
4) 30 most important books for product designers]]>
A sunflower, symmetry of a microbe, fur of a zebra, flocks of birds, ocean waves. These and thousands of other images are the kaleidoscope of patterns and forms that nature presents to us over a lifetime. Nature has provided artists with inspiration since the beginning of time.
An appreciation of patterns in nature involves both art and science. Some of us enjoy the art and leave the science alone. And a few of us cannot take that hike into the woods or along the beach without absorbing the beauty of the moment and then searching for a new understanding about why things happen as they do. And the rest of us just admire nature and are just baffled beyond explanation to say anything.
Taking inspiration from Mother Nature isn’t a bad idea. After all, nature has managed to create a complex self-sustaining system of life supporting millions of species over billions of years. There is a lot we can learn about design from natural systems, and many designers, engineers and thinkers over the last century have found inspiration in nature. From buildings and bridges to machines and medicine, examining the intricacies of the natural system in which we exist has aided in the development of improving almost every aspect of human life. Our relationship with nature’s patterns yields both an infinitely rich display of beautiful things and a manifestation of the underlying order in our world. Enough material for many lifetimes of contemplation and study.
When observed deeply, it becomes quite apparent that the Nature’s design follows certain mathematical aspects. To try and understand how Nature extrapolates its design, mathematics is and has been a great tool which designers and mathematicians like Fibonacci have used since times immemorial. Artists and architects have also used since ancient times many geometrical and mathematical properties : we could take some examples simply by observing the refined use of the proportions by architects from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome or other Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci or Raphael.
Now, these patterns that we see in Nature are not a direct influence of how our human race has evolved since the beginning of time but rather have manifested itself in a enigmatic manner which the human being will probably never be able to comprehend (or might take a few more thousands of years)
The natural world abounds in eye-catching patterns. Consider the synchronized movements of a school of fish gliding through deep ocean waters; or the coordinated turns and swoops of a flock of starlings whirling among tall trees before coming to rest on a telephone wire. How do all the individuals in the school or the flock avoid collisions with their neighbors? How do they orchestrate their graceful movements?
Think of the striking regularity of alternating light and dark stripes on a zebra’s coat, or the scintillating pattern on a sunflower. On a still smaller scale, magnified several hundred times, similar patterns emerge on the surface of a pollen grain.
The living world is filled with striped and mottled patterns of contrasting colors; with sculptural equivalents of those patterns realized as surface crests and troughs; with patterns of organization and behavior even among individual organisms. People have long been tempted to find some obscure “intelligence” behind all these biological patterns.
For some people who come to appreciate this point, it then becomes tempting to attribute such complex patterns and processes to innate behaviors, instincts, or genetic information encoded deep within the chromosomes of the organism. But such “simple explanations” are not likely and, in the best of cases, they merely sweep the question under the carpet. What then is the origin of all this stunning complexity?
The very fabric of Nature has always allured me and kept me swimming in the sea of astonishment. I often wondered how such patterns arose, but never found an explanation. Looking back, I think part of the difficulty was that people didn’t have the tools needed to explore the question. But today, we have highly sophisticated tools and devices which help us understand (to a certain extent) and appreciate the beauty and intricacy of nature.
In the past several decades, however, a rich convergence of insight has come from a wide range of scientific disciplines, including biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and physics. Out of that mix the field of complex systems emerged. I consider myself extremely lucky to be living in this generation to be given a chance to witness such a magnificent advancement in science and research. To understand them, the dynamic and often remarkably complex interactions among the subunits must be taken into account. One has to see rather than just look to notice the amount of attention that has been given to the smallest of details.
Now you may start to ponder on how this pattern exists in all life forms and who initiated such a brilliant design. As far as I can understand, Randomness does not exist in nature. What we assume is random seems to be a cleverly choreographed play that takes a lot of time to understand. Although, I cannot fully explain how these patterns have manifested in nature, I can help you appreciate the beauty in these patterns and motivate you to look deeper into the realms of nature and get inspired from it.
Observation of nature can give many insights in the form of practical wisdom and understanding patterns of events and forms in order to embody them in design. From a careful observation of the functioning of biological ecosystems we can learn wisdom for an alternative way of how to inculcate the patterns in our design. Asking questions such as: “what are their characteristics, what are the forms and structures, relationships?”, allows design to be based on patterns in nature.
The opalescent feathers of a hummingbird, the bold texture of a zebra’s stripes or the fine intricacies of a fern all provide ideas for the looking designer. A stained glass artisan would certainly be inspired by the beautiful colors of the feathers, as would a fashion and textile designer towards the zebra and fern textures. Everyone may get something different from each of these patters, but the fact remains that these creations are all around us if we take the time to notice them. And if we let our imagination wander they will indeed inspire us.
This is not a simple task, as it must be remembered that there is no clear line to be drawn between nature and human centered design. One has to start developing an empathy with natural processes, rather than an arrogant conviction that one understands the whole of an objectified nature. It is about an attempt to observe without judgment and to feel with all of the senses.
In contemplation of patterns, we find more refined, profound, or subtle insights into good procedures. One of the ways in which we can learn from nature is through the understanding of patterns and forms.
The geometry of Fractals brings us a new appreciation for the natural world and the patterns we observe in it. The nautilus is one of the most famous examples of a fractal in nature. The perfect pattern is called a Fibonacci spiral. Approximate fractals are easily found in nature. These objects display self-similar structure over an extended, but finite, scale range.
Examples include clouds, river networks, fault lines, mountain ranges, craters, snow flakes, crystals, lightning, cauliflower or broccoli, and systems of blood vessels and pulmonary vessels, and ocean waves. Coastlines may be loosely considered fractal in nature.
“Fractals are not just artificial constructs, they shape us and the world we live in.’ (Gleick, 1987).
An understanding of the form of a fractal structure has many implications for design. It is worth asking what happens if you take these forms and push them, using them as an analogy for design, as opposed to drawing straight lines. The edge of a fractal allows a dense packing of space and a large surface area between systems.
Here is a beautiful short clip on the Fibonacci series and how we can relate it to Nature’s wonderful designs:
The word pattern can be a slippery one. It has a multiplicity of meanings, from a shape, to blueprint, to structure, thread of development or repetition, or a concept. This implies that there are simple patterns which are repeated in nature to more complex ones that manifest itself in the largest to the smallest organisms. Many different structures develop from these patterns due to different evolutions and conditions in place, however there is a deep underlying similarity between the forms produced .
This can be seen as analogous to the creation of fractals in chaos theory, where a simple equation is applied over and over and produces different, but self-similar patterns each time. A complex pattern is built up of the interaction of simple parts.
“Each pattern describes a problem which occurs over and over again and again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.” (Alexander, 1977)
Observation and the Process of Design:
A creative process of design should involve an increasing depth of experience and perception. Patterns in nature should not be seen as a static blueprint for design. We should understand what to look at, then how to look and how to go about making changes. Careful observation and making small changes which allow regeneration to occur allows us to learn to follow a process of design and not a set of rules.
Design springs from observation without judgment. Action is prefaced by wide-eyed observation and an attempt to understand the processes at work in shaping our work. We need to open all our senses to a wide array of imagination to be able to create designs that resonate with nature. Design should be a fluid process, as it is impossible to take all variables into account in one go.
1) Nautilus Sea Shell
2) Pattern on the Zebra’s skin
3) Fractal pattern on a Broccoli
4) Giant Lobelia
5) Antelope Canyon, Arizona
6) Dallol Volcano, Ethiopia
7) Arizona Canyon Mud
8) Swirling Aurora
9) Aurora Borealis, Churchill, Canada
10) Salt Piles on Shoreline, Senegal
12) Curled Millipede
13) Basket Sea Star, Cuba
14) Dendrite Snowflake
15) Star trails radiate in the sky above trees in the Salmon River wilderness of Idaho
16) Puffer Fish Eye
17) Bright feathers
18) Scales on a Boa snake
19) Cactus flower
Sources and References:
1) A Pattern language of Sustainability
2) Bio-mimicry : Getting inspired by nature
3) Techniques for creating designs inspired by Nature
4) Visual Math Natural Fractals
5) Fresh Vista & National Geographic]]>
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but it is also in the eye of a honeybee, the eggs of a lobster and the surface of petrified wood. Nature looks fundamentally different depending on scale. This diversity is especially striking in the world of Biology, where matter assembles itself in constantly renewing configurations, offering our eyes — aided by scientific instruments — limitless perspectives.
Thus, we can find beauty in places we did not suspect — inside a flower from a roadside weed, in the anatomical details of a flea or under a mushroom growing on a dead tree. Some people explore microscopic worlds for scientific reasons; others do it sheer adventure. By doing so, one gets to see things that a lot of people can’t really see.
Every year scientists and hobbyists alike submit their microscopy art to the Olympus Bioscapes International Digital Imaging Competition. These are images whose purpose is to capture the combined essence of Science and Art.
Here are some of my favorite shots from that competition(2010). Enjoy and embrace the eclectic beauty of nature and the science it withholds in its every seemingly insignificant speck of life.
1) Specimen: Frontal section of Harvestman/Daddy longlegs eyes (a spider)
2) Solitary Coral
3) Red Alga
4) Eye of a common blue damselfly
5) Adhesive pad of the first leg of a beetle
7) Cyanobacteria on rice plant roots
8) Mouse Retina
9) Arabidopsis thaliana Seeding
10) Ctenoid scale of a sole
11) Wing scales of Sunset moth
12) Yellow Dung Fly
13) Azalea lace bug
14) Black Fly
15) Head and thorax of an Argentine ant
Here are a few amazing shots from the previous year winners:
1) 2009 – Water Flea
2) 2008 – “Fairy Fly” Wasp
3) 2007 – Mitosis Spindle
4) 2006 – Zinnia Flower Primordium
Head over the Competition website to explore more such nature’s beauty or perhaps you can even try and enter the competition if you admire nature and love photography.
[via Scientific American]
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Designing is the most prestigious job in the entire world. It not only allows you to create stuff that will be used by million other people everyday but will also create a benchmark for the future products that will be inspired from today’s. However, the life of a designer is not as glamorous as many people think it is. It needs more than just skills to produce a work of art that will stand the test of times and influence everything on this planet.
Like our society, design is riddled with myths. Not all are harmful. Indeed, there is often a symbiotic relationship. Myths are also useful as a learning device in which the unintelligible is reduced to the intelligible, randomness to pattern. However, if we are striving, as designers, to gain understanding, then an awareness of the role of myth in design is essential. Myth in design is important because, in casting ideas into tangible forms, it affects the way we think and behave; it not only reflects our past and present, it can also determine our future.
It’s time to take a step back and reassess some of the myths and misconceptions circulating in the world of design. With our sword of truth and shield of keen analysis, we’ll begin to break the cycle of bad advice and free our minds from outmoded dogma.
We live today in a society that is riddled with myths, that we both use and are used by. Design both uses and is heavily influenced by myth, which has often underestimated effect on the way we think. Far from being a neutral, inoffensive artistic activity, design, by its very nature, has much more enduring effects than the ephemeral products of the media because it can cast ideas about who we are and how we should behave into permanent and tangible forms.
Here are a few myths in today’s world that I feel must be debunked.
Creativity depends on a number of things: experience, including knowledge and technical skills; talent; an ability to think in new ways; and the capacity to push through uncreative dry spells. Intrinsic motivation — people who are turned on by their work often work creatively — is especially critical. I believe most people aren’t anywhere near to realising their creative potential, in part because they’re labouring in environments that impede intrinsic motivation.
Design is an attribute which doesn’t come just out of thin air and it is not a skill acquired from birth. It is a trait developed through constant dedication to who you are and what you do and from extreme hard work put in understanding and learning the principles of design and applying it effectively. Not every “designer” is able to produce outstanding designs just because he has a degree in applied or natural arts. Designing often requires the “designer” to consider the aesthetic, functional, and many other aspects of an object or a process, which usually requires considerable research, thought, modelling, interactive adjustment, and re-design.
This is certainly NOT true. In fact, if you look at the design community today, most of the designers are actually self taught and have not attended any sort of course remotely related to design and their talents/skills are beyond mundane imagination. A few of them actually do not belong to the domain of design(including myself). I know a few people who have majors in psychology and are extremely talented designers. If you have the passion for what you do and what you love, you can achieve anything. Having a passion to become a great designer and produce impressive artworks is really helpful as it keeps you motivated and inspires you to work harder and better and eventually producing great results.
“People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do.” – Steve Jobs
So, if your goals are set straight and if your ship is pointed in the right direction, you will succeed no matter what. It might take time and a lot of sacrifices, but you will get there, eventually. Every one is creative, you just need to unravel your depths of creativity by constantly thinking, being curios and conceptualising ideas.
Many of us think design is a fairly easy endeavour. Just because you have ‘successfully’ completed a course on design at your university doesn’t mean you have the necessary skills to tackle the real world where design is the forefront of every innovation. It needs more than just a couple of university degrees to actually understand the design problems in the real world today. You need to nurture your creativity and talent through experiences, downfalls and experiments. You need to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them.
Some people assume whoever is working as a designer or has received a design education is naturally a design thinker. That’s not true. It is like saying anyone who is a graduate from a business school with an MBA is naturally a strategic thinker. Just because you are a MBA degree holder, doesn’t necessarily mean you will become a successful CEO of a company. Being a scion demands more than just academic expertise. It needs you to understand your customers and resonate with your clients.
So what makes a good designer? What makes a strategic thinker? Design is not just the domain of designers. Design (beyond form and function) encompasses a broader set of influences and is (should be) part of any complex decision making process. Designing for Social Change; Designing for Business Transformation; Design for New Organization Structure; Design for Social Participation; and Design for Strategic Agility etc. Most of these are beyond the training of designers and many great traditional industrial design companies. Designing is no more about just designing a cute logo or poster or chair.
Many people just follow tutorials blindly on the Internet, do some stuff on Photoshop and finally decide for themselves that they are full fledged designers. NO!… Just because you know how to do some tricks in Photoshop, Illustrator or any other software, doesn’t mean you are a designer. Designing needs much more than just knowing how to use these tools. It requires you to understand the purpose behind designing something. Having the right tools for a job is important, but using a tool without the skill, knowledge and experience to back it up only leads to inferior work.
In the world of design, sketching is nearly as important as your final product. It clearly delineates how your design took its birth.
Those are the words of an irresponsible designer. Sketching is very important because this where ideas take birth and evolve. Sketching can take different forms from doodling to brain storming. In a broader sense it comprises everything that doesn’t involve the use of a machine/tool to aid you completely while you sit there and click your mouse buttons.
A good (web)design product is a result of an amazing design work and also a flawless coding in the backend. Also, I think there are many coders out there who probably feel that design always gets the majority of the attention.This is definitely a bad thought. Design and Code are like Yin and Yang. There is absolutely no harmony if both of them do not co-exist. They equally contribute to a great design and are responsible for the design to serve its purpose. However, many designers think that coding is a ‘developer’s’ job and is totally not related to designer’s job. In realilty, there is no clear distinction between a designer and a coder. If you want to be a good designer, you pretty much have to learn coding, as it just makes you more valuable and independent.
The other side of the story is, many people think that designers can’t ‘do’ technical stuff, that developers build ugly sites, or that print designers can’t ‘do’ web design. This may have been true during the earlier years but most ceratinly not today. We are now in an evolving industry where each side has grown together in perfect harmony. Successful projects are usually built by designers and developers that co-exist, knowing more – not less – about each other’s disciplines.”
Well, unfortunately it’s NOT. It’s not a game, and it’s definitely not a joke. Designers work long hours, under extremely tight deadlines, for demanding clients. We are expected to do design work, customer service, accounting, and sales. To be honest, we are the ultimate multi-taskers, working on several projects at once , and we are expected to constantly come up with fresh creative ideas. Any designer who owns their own firm has all of the responsibilities of any other company owner. Just because the end product might be clever or beautiful, that doesn’t mean that a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears weren’t sacrificed for that end result. If you love design, you should do it.
A designer’s job is filled with challenges, risks and failures. Success without taking risks is impossible. Mistakes are a part and parcel in the process of achieving extraordinary results. A good designer is not taken apart by such mistakes, rather he learns from it. Gain wisdom from your own mistakes and use this to accelerate self-improvement. Learning from mistakes along with risk taking are very essential to be a success designer. The important thing is to view mistakes as a useful stepping stone to a higher reality and better outlook on life.
The word ‘transparent’ takes a different meaning in this context compared to the quote, ” Good design is obvious, great design is transparent.”
“Design is only prevalent in good websites, posters, typography work and other digital art forms.” This is one of biggest misconceptions in the community today. To be honest, Design is everywhere. It is at the heart of every structure, every product, every thing that has a shape and which works. Design plays a very vital role in everything we use and perceive, and is prevalent in the very fabric of our lives. Design is that which lays the foundation for making an object or an artwork. Design in something which sends out a similar message to a wide range of audience because it was intended to serve just the purpose for which it was created.
Design is at the core of every commercial activity and perhaps at the core of every innovation. Every endeavour that connects the customer to the company and every process inside an organisation is heavily influenced by design. Design is demonstrating how beautiful something can be. Design is a way of changing life and influencing the future.
This is one of the biggest and most widely perpetuated myth I have come across. There are inumerable articles that explain why your client sucks when it comes to design. Well, most of the times, it may be true but you have to consider the fact that your client’s goals and objectives are a bit different from yours. If you ask a designer what makes a good design, they’ll rattle off a list of impressive sounding terms: good contrast, effective use of type, good use of white space, logical hierarchy and so on. However, if you ask a client, they’ll tell you one thing – it needs to increase sales.
For some designers, that is a hard pill to swallow. You may think your design totally kicks ass but if the market says otherwise, you failed. By failed, I don’t mean artistically, I mean failed in not meeting the goals of the client. You client doesn’t care about your design theories – this is a business, and businesses must make money or die. Make your clients money and they will take you very seriously. This is certainly true in the corporate world we live in today and there is nothing wrong in it. This is how one needs to look into if he/she has to improve the company. As a designer, we have different stand points of view but instead of throwing bashful comments on your clients and hating them internally, it is best to educate them about the current trends/standards and let them know that you are an expert at what you do and he is an expert at his job.
If things go out of control and if your client ticks your ‘Patience Radar’, then you start to think about your role! Until then, learn and let learn :)
One of the biggest weaknesses of many designers is their ego. Most of the times, we are filled with so much self esteem that we think we are always right. This is one of the biggest misconceptions that could make our career take a disastrous U-turn. One of the traits of a being a good designer is to be open to any sort of criticism (good and bad). Unless you value your peer’s opinions, you will never improve and most certainly, never succeed.
“Have no fear of perfection, you will never reach it.” – Salvador Dali
Many young designers are impervious to criticism egos. You cannot blame them because you couldn’t succeed as a designer without it. The problem is that with a lack of experience and real-world knowledge, that ego needs to be kept in check to really succeed and to avoid all these other myths. I think it’s the toughest part to overcome; to know your actual worth, stick up for it, and not let an inflated self-idealized persona take over. You just can’t be successful as a designer if you don’t take the time to listen to your clients. They know what they want and they are paying the bill, so most of the time, that makes them right!
So, strive for improvement rather than perfection.
What gets me is when someone think that design is so “easy” that they actually ask me to teach them how to design. There is nothing wrong in asking someone to teach design but one must also look into the fact that it is not as easy as teaching a kid learn how to ride a bicycle or perhaps water the garden. Many of my friends ask me to teach them Photoshop so that they can learn everything there is to know about design and start designing posters, websites and other stuff. It takes many years to understand and embrace the beauty in design and to become a good designer. However, I feel it is possible through very, very hard work to learn how to design, but the results vary by individual.
Not only do clients not understand the time it takes to do any type of design work, but friends and family have a hard time with this as well. People will look at a logo and say, THIS is what you’ve been working on for the last three weeks?!?! Nobody realizes that it took 200 designs to get to the final product.
So many students live with the belief that they will start their own multi-million dollar company the day after they graduate. I’ve seen many graduates gathering their friends and designing business cards so they can all partner up and rake in the money. Now, I’m not saying that it hasn’t been done, or that it’s impossible. But, I am saying that it is highly unlikely that you will go straight from the classroom to owner of your own company with no prior experience. And, it’s not smart to assume so.
You do learn a lot in school. But, you don’t learn half of the things that you’ll need to know to run a company. Those are things that you learn on the job. You’re not going to learn how to deal with clients, how to handle contracts, estimates, and billing, or how to hire illustrators and printers at school. You’re not going have a network of reliable people right out of school. You’re not going to know how to run a meeting, how to set up a conference call, or how to keep track of hundreds of open jobs. It is important that you build a foundation for yourself with professional experience before you venture off on your own.
If you’re hoping to start your own design business someday, try to find a job in a smaller company where you can have your hands in many departments. You’ll learn a lot that way. If you have the patience, work for a few different companies so that you can see that there are different ways to run a successful firm. Start building your freelance clientele, make sure you have some savings, figure out your taxes, get your insurance and a retirement plan in order, and THEN take the leap and start your own company. The road will be much easier this way, and much more likely to end in success.
Many people regard web design as decoration; the art of making a website look good. However, design is more about how something works than how it looks. Design is about both form and function. In contrast with art, good design is not only visually and emotionally appealing but is made for use. The goal of design is to efficiently solve problems. Design is based on the understanding of how users see the world, how they think and behave. And the toolset of the designer is broader than just colors and font-styles, as it also includes user-research, prototyping, usability testing, and more.
Sometimes, we all forget that a true design process starts in our brains and we then transform it onto a paper. All of us have been “blessed” with a few awesome digital imaging tools in the computer that we have forgotten about drawing, with our hand. If you ask any good designer, he will most certainly justify that sketching alone gives birth to a great design. Once you have the sketch ready, you can use Photoshop or any other similar tools to enhance your idea and bring it to life.
I can’t believe how many people have told me they want to do something themselves so they’re planning on buying and learning Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop or whatever. Somehow they think that because we work on computers, the computer does all the work. The knowledge we gained during all those years we spent learning about typography, design, usability, HTML, CSS, marketing, etc. are supposed to be magically included in a program’s feature set. This is certainly not true. Computers are mere tools to help you fasten up your process and hold least contribution in the development of your product/design. Unless you put a lot of effort and use your head, you will end up nowhere even if you own a supercomputer!
One of the most annoying facts about being a designer geek is that people start to assume you know everything if you know how to use Photoshop. Not everyone will get exactly what your job is. You are a designer, you probably work with Photoshop or some other graphic editing program, and you create digital, artisitc graphics, but that does not mean you know everything else. Just because you are a designer, people might overestimate your abilities with other things like web development or a different field of graphic design. You, as the designer might also overestimate your abilities with other fields of similar fields, but remember all the work you’ve put into becoming a designer, and know that for all the other fields, it takes just as much!
This comes from Flash overuse during the days of slow bandwidth. Flash is also used for annoying adverts, so when people picture Flash they see ads. But what they don’t see is that with the help of Flash you can deliver rich content to pretty much everyone, offering great perks over HTML. And without Flash, there’d be no YouTube – so how can Flash be evil?
In the earlier years of the internet, many web designers preferred overusing Flash animations, ignoring users with slow internet connections or without Flash player. These early implementations often neglected basic usability principles, too, therefore the whole technology was criticized for being unusable and inaccessible. Flash technology has improved a lot since: it is now SEO friendly, has rich accessibility features and even supports the use of the browser’s back button. Most users have no problems with Flash itself, suffice to mention the popularity of online video sharing sites.
However, there are still a lot of poorly designed Flash sites and the technology has several limitations, so you should always consider whether it’s the optimal choice for your design.
Freelancing is one of the most courageous thing a designer can do in his/her profession. This is because, most of the times, freelancing doesn’t guarantee expected results and you must work extremely hard promoting yourself and your portfolio to make sure your works are recognized and you get design contracts. This is a calculated risk many designers take. However, if you are a budding designer and have graduated fresh out of school and still searching for a job, freelancing is probably a wiser option as it lets you experience the real world for the time being.
Also, if you are planning to freelance, you must have enough money bundled up to able to sustain your requirements and needs for the next 6 months or so. It is not easy to get clients when you are starting up because there are some many talented web designers out there why should someone new instead hire you instead? This is not to scare you or anything but just to give you an idea on how to get ready if you plan to become a freelancer.
But there is definitely a bright side to this. Being a freelancer has its own advantages, like :
Comic Sans is unique: used the world over, it’s a typeface that doesn’t really want to be type. It looks homely and handwritten, something perfect for things we deem to be fun and liberating. Great for the awnings of toyshops, less good on news websites or on gravestones and the sides of ambulances.
But why, more than any other font, has Comic Sans inspired so much revulsion?
Partly because its ubiquity has led to such misuse (or at least to uses far beyond its original intentions). And partly because it is so irritably simple, so apparently written by a small child. Helvetica is everywhere and simple too, but it usually has the air of modern Swiss sophistication about it, or at least corporate authority. Comic Sans just smirks at you, and begs to be printed in multiple colours. Perhaps the most comic thing about Comic Sans is that it was never designed as a font for common use. It was intended merely as a perfect solution to a small corporate problem.
So, there is nothing wrong in using Comic Sans in the right places for the right occasions but if you use them inappropriately, you will find yourself banging your head against the walls. So, be wise with your typography. The fact is, being a designer, you wont be using Comic Sans anywhere. Will you? :)
Do you think you have the same thoughts too? Does any other myths strike your mind that needs immediate attention. Please share them with us. Let us help build a better community of designers.
Sources and useful articles on design:
1) UX Myths
2) Net Mag – Exploding the myths of Web Design
3) Creative Opera – 8 Design myths]]>