Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

Reexamining the Kiss Principle

“Keep it simple and stupid.” That was the acronym coined by aircraft engineer Clarence Johnson during the early 1930s. He proposed the “H” style tail for airplanes which helped stabilize flight.

Keeping it simple is always easier said than done. What may appear visually simple, took a deduction of complex details.

We don’t get to simplicity without amassing a pile of disparate parts first and then building shitty first drafts.

Complexity is often hidden within the design — such as the case with Apple products and apps like Instagram which appear simple on the outside but contain convoluted architecture and code on the inside.  

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said Leonardo da Vinci, who painted over pieces that didn’t meet expectations. Artists like Pablo Picasso and writers like Ernest Hemingway edited down their pieces, again and again, to reduce their craft into the most practicable and understood forms.

Erasing difficulties requires patience of experimentation. It takes both head and heart work to minimize the unnecessary while maximizing utility in powerfully simple ways.

With a bit more curiosity and execution, we can turn less into more.

Categories
Arts Creativity Culture Tech

Are video games design objects?

René Magritte’s ‘'Le Blanc Seing' (1965) © National Gallery of Art, Washington #art
René Magritte’s ‘’Le Blanc Seing’ (1965) © National Gallery of Art, Washington

Do video games belong in the museum? 

I remember checking out the old Tetris and Pong video games at a MoMA exhibit in 2013. They certainly seemed to fit as artistic artifacts. 

The world’s leading museum of art and design in London, V & A, is making its new exhibit Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt even more contemporary. 

The show’s curator Marie Foulston wants to illustrate the concept work behind mid-2000s video games by showcasing the notebooks and paintings that influenced the designers. She tells the Financial Times:

“We’re trying to position games as design,” says Foulston. But how do you display games? Surely the point is to play them, and that hardly needs a museum. Wouldn’t it be better suited to a website?

“As with all design,” says Foulston “the process usually begins with a notebook, with pencil sketches. Games designers are always looking at other parts of the culture: at film, painting and architecture. We have the Magritte painting ‘The Blank Signature’ [from 1965], which influenced the design of the game Kentucky Route Zero. Then there’s the controller for the game Line Wobbler, which was inspired by its designer watching a cat on YouTube playing with a sprung doorstop. It’s such a tactile thing.”

What digital art could museums adopt next? My guess in addition to video games and iMacs, iPhones, and Angry Bird could be the worldwide sensation of the invisible digital, like Bitcoin.

Categories
Culture Productivity & Work

The design of the classroom from 1750 to today

The design of the classroom from 1750 to today
The design of the classroom from 1750 to today
The design of the classroom from 1750 to today
The design of the classroom from 1750 to today
The design of the classroom from 1750 to today
The design of the classroom from 1750 to today

The design of the classroom is a technology, and you can interpret that in a lot of different ways. Architects can make that look more, and less, typical. But the point is the instruction, the interaction in the classroom, not that it looks more like a circle or more like a square or whatever else.

The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids by Alexandra Lange 

(via NPR)

Categories
Arts Creativity

Coles Phillips “fade-away” technique

The story goes that he developed his “fade-away” technique as a money-saving exercise. Upmarket magazines would typically print covers in full-colour, but Phillips’ style allowed them to print a single or two-colour cover and have their magazine still look great.

Artist Coles Phillips (1880 – 1927), via

Categories
Psychology Tech

How design dictates behavior

A gif of eyeballs moving around in trippy, Psychedelic fashion

Left, right, top, and bottom…

Designers make decisions every day that dictate human behavior. The social media notification–in Instagram aesthetics the heart–is what keeps users opening the app more than a dozen times a day.

How many likes did we get on our last post? Any new followers? We crave the variable reward, chasing persistent novelty in the cocoon of candy-colored lights.

Site architecture, like a map, is a mere representation. It’s an illustrated abstraction of territory just as skeuomorphism makes an icon for trash look like a garbage can.

Design is everything. The user interface makes no distinction between a screen and reality–it just wants us to stick around and navigate. The distinction between what we see versus the actual pixels creates a fragmented perspective, with a deliberate me and a hooked me.

gif by @sguimaraens

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy

The self that signals

What signals are you giving out? Everything from your wardrobe to your attitude goes on display in to convince or dupe others of who you really are. #gif #selfawareness

What signals are you giving out? Everything from your wardrobe to your attitude goes on display in to convince or dupe others of who you really are.

Led by imaginings, you chase the perfect external note. But sometimes the creation of the ideal self sends you in the wrong direction.

Trying to change from outside in, the internal battle succumbs to inauthenticity. Acting like somebody you’re not is exhausting.

By listening to yourself, like a trampoline you can bounce off and out real such signals. Once you free yourself from the false expectations that may be limiting, the world becomes your oyster.

gif by xavieralopez

Categories
Arts Culture Tech

‘Toys are preludes to serious ideas’

Those shiny toys, they give us all the answers and leave little to the imagination. What could unleash creativity like a blank paper does for a pack of gel pens instead turns off the lite-brite of ideas. #technology  #tech #ipad

“Toys are preludes to serious ideas.”

Charles and Ray Eames

Those shiny toys, they give us all the answers and leave little to the imagination. What could unleash creativity like a blank paper does for a pack of gel pens instead turns off the lite-brite of ideas.

Charles and Ray Eames knew about the risks of shiny objects all along.

Categories
Arts

Retrofuturistic art by Simon Stålenhag

Art by Simon Stålenhag
Art by Simon Stålenhag
Art by Simon Stålenhag
Art by Simon Stålenhag
Art by Simon Stålenhag #art #artist

Art by Simon Stålenhag

If you like this particular vibe of retrofuturistic dystopian art, be sure to check out Beeple

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy

How design controls behavior

Design dictates behavior.

Put a feature front and center like Instagram or Facebook Stories and it’s nearly impossible not to click.

Keep a smartphone around while you’re doing work or eating and you’ll fight the urge to pick it up.

Listen to enough conspiracy theories and you’re bound to think that they’re true regardless of the evidence.

Design strips the will of its own control. But it also provides a two-way street.

Design gave Macs an identity. Before Apple, computers looked like refrigerator units. SATs are designed to filter out lazy students. International airport queues divide national and international passports.

Design regulates everything from impulse, order, to culture. Knowing what’s marketing, what’s propaganda, and what’s pragmatically useful is a practice in design.

When you step back and reset the framework, all the design features are up to you.

Categories
Tech Travel

Airbus Beluga XL 🐳👨‍✈️

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Loving the whale-inspired design of the Airbus BelugaXL, due to launch in 2019.

According to the plane’s official photographer on Twitter, the aircraft is currently on its 17th test flight.

You can read more about the plane’s “whale-inspired eyes and enthusiastic grin” here.