DesignThinkers 2015, Day 1

1.1) James Victore
James Victore Inc., Brooklyn, NY
"Beauty and Magic"
  • always balancing the sacred and the profane
  • "we're living in the future"
  • check the url availability before naming your baby
  • 4 million years ago, apes climbed down trees, and decided to get inside a cave (to evade flying poo)
  • hand became most versatile tool: spoon, toilet paper, backpack, etc.
  • this "spoon" was the same for millions of years
  • spoon became "my spoon" - a totem/talisman - infused with energy, human emotion - CUSTOMIZED
  • tattooes = another form of customization
  • Maslow's hierarchy:
    • CREATIVITY - where beauty and magic begin
    • esteem
    • sex
    • shelter
    • food+water
  • can't have creativity without confidence
  • amazing things happen when you start thinking about the needs of others
  • if you don't have beauty and magic, you can stop your work. You're adding nothing.
  • we need more beauty and magic. We don't need more business.
  • creativity is dangerous - the people in power fear it
  • should be able say "I infused my coolness in _______."
  • "design like you give a damn"
  • "I want all of my work to be love notes." (referring to daily "coffee machine notes" with wife)
  • emoji - a new form of shorthand, language customized
    • a step backwards towards pictographs (history repeating)

1.2) Josh Clark
Big Medium, Brooklyn, NY
Author: Designing for Touch
"Magical UX and the Internet of Things" (slides here)
  • "no pain, no pain"
  • objectives:
    • to make designs physical
    • to change the way we interact with information
    • to move designs from screen to environment
    • to bridge the gap between the digital and the physical
    • take everyday technology and infuse it with imagination, wonder and delight
  • "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -Arthur C. Clarke
  • goal of Alan Kay (1982): make the computer disappear from the environment
  • the smart phone is the first magic wand for everyone - brings computing power to immobile objects
  • problem: people spend an average of 3h16m on their phone - phone has wedged itself between humans; more connected, more disconnected
  • engagement was too easy, and now has become an Achilles heel
  • phones should caption lives, not frame them
  • key: interaction at the point of inspiration
  • screens are the just the medium of the moment - will not always be the case
  • automatic / "automagical" tech makes us weary, worried about the "how", who's in control, big data
  • magical tech is intentional - a human connection between devices; a graceful flow of info
  • real magic is about PEOPLE
  • don't just add data, add insight
  • it's up to us to challenge imagination
  • make technology that
    • bends to our lives
    • strengthens social connections
    • creates joy
    • empowers individuals
  • the magic problem: imagine the world, then make it a reality

1.3) Coralie Bickford-Smith
Penguin Books, UK
"Shelf Appeal: How Design is Helping Put Classics in the Hands of Readers
  • as a introvert, books become  best friend - "the most patient of teachers"
  • surrounded by books as a kid
  • in elementary school, won an award for "hard work and politeness"
  • inspired by William Blake, who wrote, illustrated, designed, printed and bound his books
  • attended Reading University - analyzed 200 covers of Robinson Crusoe
  • while working at a magazine, fighting over the placement of a cat graphic, asked herself "is this my life?" - decided to move on
  • took job at Penguin Books - started designing classics
  • challenge: books that get less marketing - need to grab attention on their own
  • "what can I bring to the party?"
  • with cloth bound covers ("new old"), wanted to explore book production, create books that people want to cherish and possess as physical items
  • challenges of foil: 
    • limited palette
    • some foils don't adhere to some cloths, and you don't know until you ry
  • spines are just as important as covers (perhaps more)
  • "I wanted to blow people's minds and create something of beauty."
  • with pattern design and use of icons, it entices those who know the symbology
  • drink coffee, panic, drink coffee, panic...
Editor: "Stop being so historically obsessive."
CBS: "No."
  • The Fox and the Star - new solo book about love, loss and learning to accept change
    • wrote, illustrated, designed
  • "failure is an option" - keep calm and carry on
  • "just draw and draw and draw..."
  • "the blank page is my nemesis"

1.4) Art Chantry, Seattle, WA
"Art Speaks Posters Yell"

"stop faking design"
grunge poster design: "add boobs"
"grunge" was a marketing term used to sell punk rock to people who hated punk rock
"calling Rocky Horror sexist is like calling water wet"
take everything you know about graphic design and throw it away
teach yourself to work with nothing
universal language of design (line, colour, shape, text) - constantly evolving
graphic design is a powerful language - the power "to change people's minds"
"we're mind blowers"
graphic designers will do it for anyone who pays them (even Ronald Reagan...)
decided "I wasn't going to work for *ssholes"
become involved in community, started doing work that mattered
"want to do cool work? work for cool clients."
"sometimes, the only way to move forward is to take one step back first"
use your hands - engage in the process
drag the client into the work so that it becomes theirs too

1.5) Jean-Fran├žois Porchez
Typofonderie, Paris
"Adding Value to the Invisibility of Typefaces"
  • typefaces often "invisible" - need to express language
  • make thought tangible
  • "type breathes voice"
  • "Fashion fades. Style is eternal." -Yves Saint Laurent
  • heritage - the importance of knowing what's come before
  • educate clients about type design
Projects shared:
  • Parisine
  • Geneo
  • Anisette
  • Retiro
  • Sephora Europe
  • Nespresso
  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Galeries Lafayette

1.6) Annie Atkins
Graphic design for films,
"The Secrets of Designing Worlds for Film"
  • designs any and all graphics which appear on camera - sets and props - notes, signage, patterns, newspapers, etc.
  • "don't like" doesn't mean "not good"
  • make it by hand if it was originally made by hand
  • temporal nature of props - several identical copies needed, sometime in "before" and "after"
  • take responsibility for details - imitate tactile world
  • small details seem unnecessary, but make all the difference for actors - create the experience
  • Fascist business cards - "Hitler was the fanciest Fascist."
Projects shared:
  • The Tudors
  • Box Trolls
  • Grand Budapest Hotel

1.7) Karim Rashid
Karim Design, New York, NY
"The Business of Beauty"
  • design is not well-defined
  • graphic design is the bridge between industry and human life
  • world started as a grid because it was easier to cut straight lines
  • we are having more informed experiences than ever before
  • old vs. new, analog vs. binary, material vs. immaterial
  • "bioneers of the digitial age"
  • trying to bring analog back into digital world
  • "I want to make a better world."
  • design is a creative act, a political act
  • obsessed with ovals - "corner represents an obstacle"
  • straight lines to not exist in nature – anywhere
  • nature is cruel, dangerous, dystopic (no order) - we want order
  • make world better, more beautiful, or don't bother.
  • we are hyperaware of our mortality in a digital age
  • "kitsch" is a cheap replica of the authentic; meaningless adornment
  • problem with humanity is the fear of everything - HAVE NO FEAR
  • as humans, we are original (fingerprints, iris) so we want to create something original
  • we are all born with the gene to create; therefore we are all creative
  • find a new way
  • the power to change the world is reliant on YOU
  • the most pivotal moments in history where changed by single people
  • the future is shaped by us, which is the purest form of democracy
  • digital age is actually humanizing us
  • what is luxury in the digital world? freedom.
  • make your hobby your job
  • eradicate banalities
  • don't die saying "I wasted my time"
  • time is limited - don't waste it, use it to shape a better world
  • act like you're not from this planet
  • any dreams can become reality

Day 2 here.