Speculative Everything

Are designers too wedded to a realist vision of today, and of tomorrow’s prospects? Are they complacent about design’s contributions to society? The answer to both is a resounding yes according to Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming. The authors, design duo Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, argue that designers are interested mostly in that which can be produced and marketed under existing or too-comfortably imagined future conditions. Designers tend to think they are...

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Design Transitions – author interview

With its obsession with creating the new and improving the old, design is naturally a field that is in constant flux. In the past decade, design has been grappling with its identity somewhat. Whilst traditional skills are still important, increasingly sub- or über-disciplines such as design thinking, service design and strategic design have marked a significant shift in the roles designers and their clients and partners play on projects. Design Transitions documents this flux, by...

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Ken Garland: Structure and Substance—review and interview

The smell of Cow Gum rubber cement and the fascination of stacked Letraset trays form a large part of my childhood memories of afternoons spent at my father’s graphic design and advertising agency. The bookshelves were also a place of wonder for me. I would leaf through Graphis annuals, reference books and other monographs and frequently come across the work of Ken Garland. Of course, I did not know his name back then, but reading through Ken Garland: Structure and Substance from Unit...

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Design Anthropology: object culture in the 21st century

Design Anthropology: object culture in the 21st century, edited by Alison J. Clarke Publisher: Springer, Vienna, 2011. Review by Maria Blyzinsky ‘This book describes a seismic shift in the way experts and users conceptualize, envisage, and engage in object culture.’ Lofty claims like this always catch my eye because I’m in the business of trying to understand material culture. I work in museums and my curiosity regarding objects is twofold: as something to collect...

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Comparison Review: Graphic Design Theory

For those interested in graphic design theory, there are two compelling books on the market with nearly identical 
titles: Graphic Design Theory: Readings From the Field, by Miami University professor Helen Armstrong, 
and Graphic Design Theory: Graphic Design in Context by NC State professor Meredith Davis. 
Although the books sound similar, they take different yet complementary approaches to the subject. Armstrong’s book is a collection of excerpts from groundbreaking texts written...

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Bracket

Brackets, when writing, are usually used to contain extra information that may support one subject or another. The publication Bracket takes a look at some very serious issues that are often neglected in our every day lives and usually overlooked when writing about designers, illustrators and artists. It takes a look at these in-between issues by asking a curated selection of artists and designers a short series of questions centered around a specific topic. (Click to enlarge) The ideas are...

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Make Space, How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration

As a designer, I’m always thinking about how spaces function and how they affect the way we interact with each other. When I visit design studios, I curiously observe the space and I’m typically surprised by the lack of spatial design. Work spaces are evolving as companies move toward more transparent, collaborative environments – thus the dynamics of space must be considered. Make Space, How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration offers insights, tools, and templates...

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Just Design, Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes

“Designers are the mediators of our daily experience. The easier my compost bucket is to use, the more appealing my reusable grocery bag, the more likely I am to participate in environmentally sound practices. Designers carry a heavy responsibility, but at the same time they can offer our future the greatest gift.” So says Gavin Newsom, current Lt. Governor of California and former Mayor of San Francisco, setting the tone for Just Design, Socially Conscious Design for Critical...

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Thoughts on Interaction Design, Second Edition

How often do you read a design text that impacts your life dramatically? As someone relatively new to the field of Interaction Design, John Kolko’s Thoughts on Interaction Design, Second Edition has allowed me to understand so much about the way I think, and the approach I’ve taken towards designing over the years. It’s content has shed light on many thoughts and ideas I’ve contemplated at one point or another, regarding design and its role in many aspects of human life...

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Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

This is going to be a short review because there have been so many reviews and commentaries about the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson (Amazon: US|UK|DE) that it seems there is almost nothing left to say. The question this review sets out to answer is, “why should designers read Steve Jobs’s biography?” On a personal level, reading through the history of the development of Jobs’s main two successful companies, Apple and Pixar, was fascinating and at times moving...

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