T H E B L O G
This blog serves as an informal opportunity for me to share anything and everything that I find interesting in the world of design - from talks I've enjoyed and exhibitions I've visited to works that inspire me and creatives that I admire.
Hopefully you can find some inspiration, and if there's anything you'd like to share with me, feel free to email me or contact me through Instagram!
I L Y - A I
18.10.20 // #122
This scooter, designed by Mikita Kobayashi, has been crafted out of wood, giving off a friendlier aesthetic to improve how it is accepted when being used in indoor and outdoor public spaces. The scooters electronics are all hidden beside the wooden body, and touches of leather on places like the seat add a sense of sophistication to the object.
While it can be used by anyone, it is aimed at those with mobility issues. It is refreshing to see a design for this niche market step away from the conventional, rather bland design language usually used for mobility scooters. I think giving buyers the option to show their personality through their mobility device (or any product that provides aid) is hugely important.
Kobayashi stated that he chose wood for its proven positive psychological, emotional, and health effects, such as stress relief, due to its "relaxing scent”. I think senses other than sight and touch are often pushed to the side when it comes to design, and this is a great reminder to me to consider absolutely every possible impact from materials and design choices when crafting a product.
Check out the Dezeen article on the ILY-AI HERE
V E R T P L A N T E R
05.09.20 // #121
The vert planter is designed for plants like the Pothos (a type of ivy - I didn't know what it was either) that tend to grow beyond plantpots and often require space to hang downwards. The vert planter was designed to allow the branches to groow downwards and intertwine with the legs, actually encouraging growth. As well as aiding plant growth, I think the proportions make it appear tall and elegant, and the shelving makes clever use of otherwise unused vertical space.
The full project on Behance showcases some interesting development, and I particularly liked the rendered sketches and the refined prototypes!
Check out the full project HERE
D Y S L E X I E
03.09.20 // #120
Design is an extremely powerful tool that can make life easier for people. Christian Boer, who has dyslexia himself, realised that most fonts were difficult for those with dyslexia to read, as the letters would look identical when flipped and they would often blend together. To fix this, he designed his own font, Dyslexie. Dyslexie features heavy bottoms of each letter, to add a sense of gravity and prevent the reader flipping the letters upside down. Each letter also has an individual shape, so that similar letters, like b and d, will still be noticeably different when flipped. Some letters are also elongated, to further differentiate them and avoid confusion. Lately, the start of each paragraph features a bolder first letter, as dyslexic readers can struggle jumping between sentences and Boer found this to be a useful solution.
I think this is a really good example of design being utilised to create something that can add huge value to a users life and I hope to see a lot more of it.
Check out the Dyslexie website HERE
A V A N G U A R D I A
02.09.20 // #119
Pierpaolo Lazzarini has just unveiled this stunning new design for a 137 meter long yacht that makes an instant impression. The yacht has many impressive features, such as the two heliports, 5 decks, and 500 million dollar construction cost, but the standout feature is the swan-inspired control centre. The control tower can be fully attached to the yacht, raised above the yacht for the full swan-appearance, and even lowered into the water where it can completely detach from the yacht and function as its own smaller boat. I can only admire the bold choices to create such a unique yacht, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that someone with a lot of disposable income desires that they want to have it built.
Check out the full article, with lots of amazing renders, HERE
M A G I C
01.09.20 // #118
Products, particularly premium products, can often often be over-engineered - often just ending up as marketing tools to stand out from competing products and with no tangible benefit to the user. Admittedly, this is what I thought Apple’s Magic keyboard was guilty of - at least until I got one of my own. When I first saw the photos of the keyboard on release day, it struck me as another case of Apple making an over complicated part (in this case - hinge) so they could slap a meaningless fancy name on it and then explain how they reinvented the wheel to get this cool floating screen. Having used for a few days, I can confidently say I was wrong. I now understand that the hinge is a fantastic, out-of-the-box way of overcoming the issue of having a top heavy device, as all the weight is in the iPad and barely any on the base keyboard section. Letting the iPad hang over the keyboard the way it does allows it to use itself as a counterweight, perfectly balancing itself out and keeping the whole thing remarkably stable. Of course, the obvious solution would be to keep making the base section heavier until it Simply weighs more than the top section, but that type of solution is boring, uninspiring, and quite frankly a disservice to consumers now that we know this type of solution is possible. This is the type of design and thinking that I admire, this is the type of unorthodox solution I want to create, and this is the type of interesting product I am happy to invest in and support, even if it was painfully expensive for a few keys and a trackpad.
S T A N D Y B A O
27.08.20 // #117
Standby Bao is an assistive device designed by Ming Hsiu Lee that takes the stress of the users lower body when performing standing-up tasks for an extended period of time.
The full project on Behance shows the research and development in detail, and it was really interesting to see the various prototype ideas and the analysis of what they were supposed to achieve and whether they performed successfully.
Check out the full project HERE
T E N N I S M A N
22.08.20 // #116
N A T U R A L F I B R E C O M P O S I T E
22.08.20 // #115
The McLaren Formula 1 team recently revealed that they had collaborated with Bcomp to pioneer the use of sustainable composites in F1, starting with the drivers seat. They argue that the benifits of the new composite they created are clear to see, claiming that the new Flax fibre is 9% lighter than the equivalent carbon material but with a 75% lower CO2 footprint., while still being equally strong and better at absorbing vibrations. Seeing this kind of development is extremely interesting, especially as it seemingly improves on a material that has been the go-to choice for many uses for decades now. As a product designer who constantly looks for new sustainable options in materials and manufacturing processes, this will be something I keep an eye out for in future.
McLaren go into a lot more depth in their article, so check out their post if this seems interesting to you, it's a roughly 15 minute read.
Check out McLarens article HERE
L I N K
21.08.20 // #114
Link is a "sleek, unobtrusive, and visually cohesive modular keyboard" according to designer Evan Stuart. The keyboard is the main hub, with additional units featuring NFC, bluetooth, and wireless charging connecting to add additional functionality. Additional 'tiles', as they are named, include a drawing tablet, touchpad, wireless charging pad, and extra keyboard keys.
The full project is one of the most detailed projects I've seen on Behance. It takes us through the full design process, showing the designers inspiration, sketches, and prototypes. The project is filled with extremely high quality renders of the full range of products, with the photorealistic detail going all the way down to the inside of the keycaps. The full project is definitely worth a look.
Take a look at the full project HERE
H U M I D I F I E R
20.08.20 // #113
This humidifier concept struck me as another example of products being designed to be as cute and friendly as possible; with this example using soft curves, friendly colours, and a warm hued light to make the product seem like a friendly part of the home. The steam coming out of the product coupled with the light being omitted gave me this weird sensation of it being alive and made me view it more like a pet than a product.
This friendly styling is continued in the feedback the user gets when interacting with the device. The designers put particular attention into having tactile feedback from knobs and buttons, even focusing on the "ding" sound when rotating the knob. I'm a strong advocate of tactile feedback, and I am putting immense thought into the tactility of a product for the blind that I am beginning to develop, so this friendly style is an interesting route to look into.
Check out the Behance project HERE
E L E V A T E D P L A N T E R S
17.08.20 // #112
OK, this is the last of my Chris Ference spam today, I promise. These planters have a clever slot design at the bottom allowing them to attach to other planters, stacking upwards. I really like the simplicity of the product, especially considering how much freedom it gives the users to create their own layouts. I like that it leaves room for users to express themselves (either through colour choice, plant choice, or layout choice) without any need for DIY skills or extra equipment. From a business side this product could be expanded to include the slots on a range of different items of varying sizes, allowing dedicated fans of the brand to create entire wall covering displays of interlocking planters, clocks, lights, and shelving.
Chris shows more renders, explanations, and some really smooth animations on the full project post, so definitely take a peek at that.
Check out the full Behance project HERE
D E G R E E K E T T L E
17.08.20 // #111
After discovering Chris Ference's Behance page earlier, I came across this project on his 'degree' kettle. As weird as this may sound, I actually like the Behance post more than the design of the kettle itself. Don't get me wrong, I love that the angular design of the kettle stands out against the increasingly dull, rounded kettle designs on the market. I like the unorthodox handle design and the interesting lip that looks like the metal has been ripped open by hand, but despite all of this, the thing that impressed me the most was the detail and presentation of the design process.
As a viewer looking at the project, I can immediately see development of the design, starting from various rough sketches before quickly narrowing down to more detailed sketches of the final idea. I'm then treated to some well-presented prototypes of varying quality and sizes as well as a range of digital prototypes tested in AR and VR. This culminates in the final renders of the product, which (again, rather strangely) were the least interesting part for me to see, but this is only as the standard has been set so high by the previous work.
I HIGHLY recommend looking through the full project HERE
U N F O L D E D O B J E C T S
17.08.20 // #110
Chris Ference created a zine exploring the minute details of objects he interacts with daily. What started as an exercise to improve his design skills turned into a great little showcase of his sketching and prototyping as well as the thoughtful choices that went into the objects he studied. I really like the self-driven brief and the project can easily be repeated with more objects in future. I highly recommend having a quick scroll through the project, the sketches were particularly interesting to me.
Check out the Behance post HERE
F O G O F F
14.08.20 // #109
The Essential Mask Brace is another product I came across on Kickstarter. It stuck out to me as a reminder that design doesn't have to complicated, revolutionary, or game-changing - it can often be a simple idea that fixes an issue. In this case it solves a very current issue of masks causing fogging on glasses. It's a simple looking bit of silicon that you wear over the mask, keeping gaps between the mask and your face sealed so hot air doesn't steam up your glasses.
The product has quickly found its target market, already tripling its fundraising goal and looking like it will hit $100,000 any day now. By highlighting the problem and offering a convenient solution, the creators have found a way to take advantage of the current pandemic to start a business whilst improving the lives of mask users facing this issue.
A N A L O G
07.08.20 // #108
Analog is a simple little organisation system that I came across on Kickstarter. It's an interesting decision to create a product to actively go against the dramatic rise of productivity apps. Instead of becoming yet another software alternative, Analog leans into the old-school, physical style of note taking and checklists. The pitch makes some good points, notably highlighting how it's easy to make notes and checklists on apps but not actually check said apps consistently enough for them to be effective. Analog combats this by pushing the user to list their goals and tasks on a small card. The cards are split into three sections - 'today', 'next' and 'someday' to help users clearly separate immediate responsibilities from long term goals.
While it's not something I'd personally buy, I'm intrigued by the design decisions to make physical products that aim to replace digital alternatives, a complete reversal of the digital boom of the last decade. Clearly there's a market for this sort of thinking, the Kickstarter raised over $450,000 from a $6,000 goal, so it'll be interesting to see what other physical creations come out attempting to take back market share from digital apps.
W A V E
06.08.20 // #107
The ocean has the ability to be so calming and so ferocious simultaneously. This public art installation in Seoul beautifully captured the power and grace of the waves, as it creates the look of a contained ocean smashing against the glass container it's in. Making such a convincing animation is no small feat, especially as it wraps around multiple faces of the huge screen. The installation looks like a great focal point to encourage busy city-goers to take a step back and soak in their surroundings or take a moment to reflect before carrying on with their hectic day.
I really hope to see installations like this become more common place, especially in cities near me, as I think the digital medium offers a great opportunity to have a wide variety of art, artists, and ideas to be exhibited.
V E L O C I P E D I A
04.08.20 // #106
I discovered a great article from WePresent about Italian designer Gianluca Gimini's project, titled Velocipedia. I was immediately fascinated by the project. Put simply, Gimini got people to draw bicycles from memory - a simple sounding task that rapidly proved to be harder than expected and quickly knocked overconfident responders down a peg (The WePresent was much more eloquently put so I'd definitely recommend reading it next). He then used his design skills to recreate those drawing as photorealistic renders, which turned out to make the slight mistakes in the sketches a lot more prominent (and amusing).
I had a look through his Behance post on the project and it was interesting to see the pile of sketches from others that made up the premise of his project. It got me thinking about doing something similar, and rather quickly the idea for a truly user-designed product came to mind - a product where I would get a random selection of people to draw an item they want (a toaster, a kettle, etc.) and eventually I would collect enough drawings to blend them into a final combined design, a design by the people. It's just an idea for now, and I have no idea how I'd do it and what kind of mess it would turn out to be, I'm sure theres even some scope for an Artificial Intelligence element of the project that does the combining for me - Either way the seed is planted in my head now and only time will tell what comes of it.
Check out the article from WePresent HERE
Check out the full project on Behance HERE
A R R I V A L
01.08.20 // #105
I wasn't planning on having two vehicle-focused posts in one day, but this video came up in my twitter feed and after being hooked for 16 minutes I couldn't help but share. The video is a look into the new Arrival electric delivery van currently being developed, and while I really like the user-focused design decisions such as the wide viewing area and tall roof for the driver, I was particularly intrigued by the business decisions the Arrival Head of Product explained. Decisions such as vertically integrated manufacturing, exclusively selling to large businesses, and creating multiple small manufacturing plant (especially starting off in the UK) all seem to be rather different choices, but as the interviewee explained, going off the beaten path is often a must when you are aiming to completely disrupt an established industry.
H O N D A U R B A N E V
01.08.20 // #104
Yesterday’s post about retro-inspired design got me thinking about Honda’s Urban EV concept, a concept car they unveiled that took very obvious styling cues from their cars from many decades ago. It's one of the more obvious blends of classic styling and modern technology, with the simple, boxy design of days gone by getting fused with modern options such as LED lights, large interior touchscreens, and most practically - a battery powered drivetrain. The cream paint and yellowish wheels further emphasise the nostalgic appeal, replicating the yellowing effect of plastic on electronics as they age over the decades. Overall, I absolutely love it. It looks exciting, modern, retro, and useful all rolled into a single product, and it makes me miss an era I didn't even live in. I'm a fan.
A N A L O G U E P O C K E T
31.07.20 // #103
The Analogue Pocket is a newly announced video-games console, or a "tribute to portable gaming" according to the creators. It is essentially a modern remake of the Gameboy, compatible with over 2780 previous Gameboy games. One clever feature that I found particularly interesting was the option to choose the quality of the screen at will, with users being able to switch between the low quality, single colour display of the Gameboy, the colourful but still pixelated screen of the Gameboy Colour, or the more detailed Gameboy Advanced experience. While the $200 device won't be added to my basket any time soon, I do hope the product is a success. I think there deserves to be a place for niche products like this to do well and hopefully this can help to prove to other companies that there is a market for retro-inspired creations.
If you fancy taking a look at their site, click HERE
B E N D Y
30.07.20 // #102
I came across this project on Behance by Ayush Singh Patel and my attention was immediately grabbed by the stunning visuals. I was impressed to learn that the project was done in just 15 hours which has certainly given me a push to do more quickfire self-driven projects. The ‘Bendy’ toothbrush gets its name from the bendy silicone neck and the neck, bristles and handle are all detachable so individual parts can be replaced – a nice effort to extend the life of the product and reduce waste. The blend of the modern looking black or white necks contrast well with the natural base and do a great job of making a great looking product with the underlying impression of nature, cleanliness, and modern design.
Theres some great closeup renders in the full project, take a look HERE
N I K E F L I G H T
29.07.20 // #101
Nike just unveiled their new football for the upcoming Premier league season, named the Nike Flight. The new football seems to be the result of a huge effort by the Nike team, reportedly taking 8 years of research and 1700 hours of testing by the Nike Equipment Innovation Lab. The end product is a sculpted ball that has uses grooves to achieve a 30 percent more accurate flight trajectory than the previous ball. The grooves act in a similar way to the dimples on a golf ball, allowing the ball to cut through the air without being disrupted. I’m also a big fan of the aesthetics of the ball, with the plain white base being complimented by the informational graphics printed on top in the Virgil Abloh-inspired style that has taken over fashion lately.