Art, process and design blog of an aspiring industrial designer.

Posts tagged ‘design’

Anthropologie Display and Store Design Part I

One of my dream jobs (that I will land in the near future..) is doing display design for Anthropologie. I think that store (umm, I should say religion…) is miles ahead in that regard. They’ve had the most inventive, brand-relevant display designs for years.  It strengthens the styling of their products within the store tenfold, in my opinion. You feel cool and individual and arty and interesting and cute just entering that place.  Its like I half expect Michelle Williams or somebody to walk past me on my way out.

I’ve featured Anthropologie’s display design on the blog before, but I have researched so many of their displays (and they are so fabulous) that I feel that they warrant individual posts. For the same reason why I love The Office or Flash Mobs, the display designers at Anthropologie make the everyday, ubiquitous, boring and annoying items fascinating and romantic. The really quiet, unassuming items.  Paper and cups and cardboard and 2×4’s and forks and cupcake liners.  I also love that they don’t ‘repurpose’ these materials because they’re making a statement about the environment. Nope, they do it because they’re available or cheap or just the shape they wanted.  To me, its like the designers are inspired by the crappy garbage items they choose to use.  I freaking love that.  That is catnip for me.

Here are some winter-related (even though its June) pictures for you:


IMAGES: green circles, winter wonderlandmarshmallows, winter paper hangings.
ornament window, milk carton igloo, snowball bike.
window full of fluff.

Great anthropologie display design image sources: , , anthropologie+you flickr,

Art: Fashion As Art (Duh)

Everyone knows fashion is art. Duh! So, here is some incredible art-y fashion pieces that I love.

Fendi Fall 2012 here

Always remember when you wake up in the morning that fashion is art.  How you look is not hot or not-hot, it is only like-yourself or less-like yourself.

Comme Des Garçons Fall/Winter 1990/91 here / Colleen Atwood, costume for Snow White and the Huntsman here

Alexander McQueen Spring 2012 here / Balmain Spring/Summer 2013 here ( / Alexander McQueen collar here

Also, remember :  It is okay. Be romantic if you want. You can do it. It is lame, but whatever. If you do it in your own way, usually not so bad.


So James Dyson is a person with whom I feel is THE COOLEST. (NOTE: He is British so he also probs writes/talks with more right grammer. And spelling.)  He is on my list of top favorite people.  And I know that by saying that ‘out-loud’ that decreases the probablity that I will ever work for him (never let them know you are a fan! Because if you are a fan, you are not their equal!), but it is the truth, AND he probably has people to read my blog for him.  Since he is really busy, his secretary summarizes my blog posts, so he’s always up to date.  He does look at all my pictures though…

OKAY! back to serious talk. His commercials, oh his commercials.  As a future industrial designer and almost-engineering graduate, it makes me emotional when he says, “I just want things to work properly.”  James, that is all I have ever really wanted.  I just want things to work properly.  His company-approach and values.  How his business began -with strife, with people that stole his idea, and then with lots of patents.  The engineering of his products – there is metal inside those vacuums and lots of centrifugal force.  How he gives back to students (he has a school now!).  The fact that his products all are designed around use and purpose and engineering, and goes outwards towards industrial design – the way design should be done, in my opinion.  The fact that after his initial success, he continued to PUSH BOUNDARIES, research, try new things, make interesting, risky, products – his fans? Come on. Awesome. All of his other types of vacuums, new and different and cool and I want them.  And last but not least, his industrial design and color choice.  Sporty and mech-y, but never cheesy. Dude knows how to work, and how to hire good people, clearly.

To me, Dyson is the Apple of home-wares.  Doing business and making their product their way, and still being financially successful at the end of the day.  Anyway, if you are into ID check out James Dyson, I guarantee you wont be disappointed.  Read some stuff about him, watch some youtube videos, and love him as a role model as much as I do.

DC23 Motorhead vaccum. here and here.
The Dyson Airblade, hand dryer here and here.
The DC30, handheld vacuum. here and here.
Dyson Air Multiplier fans. here and here.
DC29 Multi Floor vacuum. here and here.

And if you have some time, check out some of these videos. Ahhhhh… “Solve the obvious problems.”  Duh, but so necessary to say.

ID: Cable Organizers

This week’s industrial design products:

Quirky makes so many amazing products, but these are two I’m lovin right now.

The Plug Hub organizes all your cords under your desk.  I like how it holds the extra cord, hides everything and groups your cords so they ‘look’ neat.  Sometimes, that is all you can do, and this appears to do it well…

Another great product they have is this flexible extension cord called Pivot Power, so you can fit oversized plugs on every outlet.

The only thing with this one is that I wish there was a cord or something to fasten it around a table leg. I can just see this sliding all over the room, because its such an odd shape, and wouldn’t sit comfortably by the wall and wouldn’t stay put around my table leg.

In case you are not familiar with Quirky, they are such an awesome company that basically asks consumers what products they want to see made, and after a bunch of voting and deliberation, they actually make it.  And they pay all the random different people that helped to come up with the idea and edit it.  They’re like a product-design-Kickstarter…. I would love to work for them oneday…. ahhh, a girl can only dream… Anyway, have a great Wednesday!

Artist/Designer Round Up: Dieter Rams!

Dieter Rams (born May 20, 1932 in Wiesbaden, Hessen) is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design.”  Rams is largely considered one of the most influencial industrial designers of the 20th century.

Braun TS 45, TG 60, L 450 (Germany, 1964/1965)

He most well-know for his work while he was the head of design at Braun (from 1961 to 1995), during the company’s most successful period, and also, for his design systems approach. “Together with his design team, he was responsible for many of the seminal domestic electrical products – and some furniture – of the 20th century.”(here) During his time at Braun, Dieter Rams created the ‘Ten Principles of “Good Design” ‘ which has greatly influenced the education and approach to the design process.

Deutsch: Steuergerät (Receiver) Braun regie 51...

Deutsch: Steuergerät (Receiver) Braun regie 510 von 1972, Design: Dieter Rams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the time when Rams was first appointed as head of design at Braun, a new movement in design was changing the way the modern physical world was built and being perceived. This was driven strongly by the Bauhaus School popularity and the many famous architects that were promoting this new idea of minimalism.

Instead of copying this approach, Dieter Rams took it one step further. In the past, electronics were made with wood casings and were often made to look like old, classically made, honest furniture out of natural materials (wood, wood-looking plastics, etc.). Even throughout Mies Van Der Rohe’s famous minimalistic work, simplistic, minimal spaces were enriched with heavy, lush, elaborate natural materials.

Rams moved forward to make machines look like machines. Using new and industrial materials, like plexiglass and metals, he used a similar minimalistic approach to Mies Van Der Rohe or Adolf Loos, but without rich and deceiving heavy materials. His work embraced new technology, instead of hiding it. Instead of following Mies’, “Less is more”, Rams’ said, “Less, but better.”  Rams’ design approach and ‘Ten Commandments’ were so strong that he was able to apply them to almost every household product that he designed while at Braun.

This can be seen in one of his most famous works below:

Dieter Rams put in the clear cover. So simple and obvious, but so new for the time and totally brilliant.

When he first began working at Braun, the company was undergoing a total company re-design, and this new approach fit in exactly with Dieter Rams’ uncompromising approach. After a very successful first exhibition of Braun’s new radio designs, Dieter Rams’ beliefs were confirmed that good design would help a company sell products.  Because a good design, would already be marketable.

Stylus Force Gauge – Design Dieter Rams – 1962

Stylus Force Gauge – Design Dieter Rams – 1962 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rams’s Ten Principles of “Good Design”

Good Design Is Innovative— 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.

Good Design Makes a Product Useful—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 while disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

Good Design Is Aesthetic—The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

Good Design Makes A Product Understandable—It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.

Good Design Is Unobtrusive— 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.

Good Design Is Honest— 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

Good Design Is Long-lasting— It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

Good Design Is Thorough Down to the Last Detail— Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.

Good Design Is Environmentally Friendly— 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.

Good Design Is as Little Design as Possible— 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.

(Taken from here.)

I cannot think of anything more true, or more self-supporting or self-encompassing, about product design. (Or really, about any sort of design-type thing.)  These intentions, I think, are the things that make the entire difference between a good and bad designer. It is this simple.
(………And, of course, is not really simple at all… But, it is kinda this simple.)

This is the design bible!  If ever stuck, read these again, and ALLOW yourself to get out of your design rut!  Let these help you edit, but also let these ‘commandments’ help to dictate your solution.  Constraints or limitations in projects are often SO helpful.  So when you are at a loss, give yourself limitations, or let these be your limitations.  It can give a new sense of freedom.

His approach to design still is used and seen in so many different media:

– a weather iPhone app built based on Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles. (

-SFMOMA (that is, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) did an film series called INSPIRED BY DIETER RAMS on pieces of design, art and industry that were immediately, significantly effected by Dieter Rams. SFMOMA also currently have an exhibit called LESS AND MORE which includes more than 200 models and objects by Rams and his team, as well as contemporary designs influenced by his Ten Principles of Good Design, such as Apple computers.

-All the products on this great pinterest board.

-“The Braun Digital Watch BN0076 is based on the original DW30 that was designed by Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs in 1978. Only 3000 units of the DW30 were ever produced and this design hasn’t been available in 30 years. The BN0076 features a stainless steel face, black leather band, and a 12/24 hour digital LCD with light.” (

Fabulous interview:

For more info, check out these sources: here, here, here.
Look into these awesome Dieter Rams flickr sites!: here, .

(Click on all images to go to their original webpages.)

Art/Designer Round Up: Ross Lovegrove

Ross Lovegrove is probably one of my favorite industrial designers of all time.  And since I am currently moving towards devoting my life to ID, that is saying a lot.  That is saying that this man get’s my raison d’etre.

“Inspired by the logic and beauty of nature his design possess a trinity between technology, materials science and intelligent organic form, creating what many industrial leaders see as the new aesthetic expression for the 21st Century. There is always embedded a deeply human and resourceful approach in his designs, which project an optimism, and innovative vitality in everything he touches from cameras to cars to trains, aviation and architecture.” (quote found here.)

What I love about Ross Lovegrove and his work, is his idealism and his refusal to compromise the need for an absolute harmony in his designs.  All the components of his design not only work well together, but often work so harmoniously that they are co-dependent.  The idea of a product working cyclically as a result of the dependancy of different components, is an elegant design to me.  When the product assembly, product materials, the usage of the product, the purpose/s of the product, etc. all work to bring the design in the same direction, it is totally miraculous.   Although his ultra-minimalistic, all-white/grey aesthetic is not personally my taste, his process, ideology and final products are still the closest to what I aspire for myself in my designs.  They are crazy awesome!  No moment of realization is better than that eureka moment, when a design or use-ability of a product comes from an obvious place to create a more accessible end product.

He considers himself to be an organic essentialist, and his work is often nature-influenced.  In a great interview he did with designboom, he said,

I’m an evolutionary biologist, more than a designer.
I don’t know what design is anymore, I create form,
I understand form and I’m enjoying the digital age to create it.
I’m hoping to push that even further. my work also relates to nature,
in an evolutionary sense as I’m concerned with reduction.
I exercise what is called ‘organic essentialism’ which means using
nothing more – nothing less than is needed.
I feel comfortable in this organic, isomorphic, anthropomorphic,
liquid age of making things, but I try not to force it into things that
don’t need it.


His advice for students:

‘stay positive whatever happens’ because people like positive
people. have stamina, this job is very demanding.
you are always busy (that can be a good thing though, if you
like what you do).
try to remain individual and don’t copy others.
to begin with it’s okay – as a point of reference – but then try
to move on. watch out for a corner of this earth and make it your
own, do something that has relevance, that ‘has legs’ and
can go forward.
also, think about good environmental solutions.
we are going to go through a new industrial revolution of sorts
at some point, because we can’t keep using resources the
way that we have.

I first heard about Ross Lovegrove years ago from this TED talk he did. Seriously, if you are a design nerd like me, watch it.

(photos from here, here, here, here, here, here, here.)

Drawings are Hatch-ing…

I was going to write about hatching today. All the romances of using cross hatching, and shading, and how it adds grit and depth.  And blah, blah. And ‘look at my portraiture drawing!’

But, I just read a post that Swiss Miss did (Tina Roth Eisenberg) about the 15 things to learn from the Eames’, and I needed to share it.  I love the Eames’ (Eames’s? Eames? Eames’?).  Their work, their workplace environment (so open and weird, even though it was the freakin 60’s), their colors, their personalities, their home, their ideologies, their funny marriage and how they worked together. [Awesome documentary]  These 15 points are so important to me, and I hope I never ever, forget them.  Every point is essential, as a human and as a future designer. I hope when reading them, you guys totally read them slowly, too :)

The 15 Things Charles and Ray Eames Teach Us

01. Keep good company
02. Notice the ordinary
03. Preserve the ephemeral
04. Design not for the elite but for the masses
05. Explain it to a child
06. Get lost in the content
07. Get to the heart of the matter
08. Never tolerate “O.K. anything.”
09. Remember your responsibility as a storyteller
10. Zoom out
11. Switch
12. Prototype it
13. Pun
14. Make design your life… and life, your design.
15. Leave something behind.

(Taken from this whole essay, here.)

Anything to add to the list? Thoughts? Please leave comments below!

P.s.: get excited! Because hopefully sometime soon, I will have completed this art project I have been planning on doing for MONTHS! And, I’m just gonna be real: I think its seriously going to be awesome and I really hope it turns out the way I picture it in my mind…

P.p.s.: About hatching: You’ve just gotta practice hatching a lot, I think.  It is SUPER important for industrial design sketches and really good to have a handle on for all types of shading. Also, remember that hatching is meant to indicated existing planes, and the hatching direction can indicate ‘plane direction’, so be careful when you chose the angle of your hatching lines!

My First Top-Ten Round Up

Here are my favorite (mostly, kind-of art-related) things that I am into this week! I will post these round ups every Friday, since I’ve always loved them so much from other blogs. Enjoy!

(Friday photo above by Mel Mijares called ‘Here Comes The Sun’.)

1. Super cool wobbling wall of nine cubes origami DIY.
2. The Design Exchange! (a design museum in Toronto! How did I not know this existed?!?)
3.  Joy the Baker’s things she’s learned in 30 years… Love her.
4.  Film: Beautiful Losers
The punk-art movement in San Fransico and New York in the 80’s.
5. I’d rather be short. Damn straight.
I can wear heels as high as I want! And thank you, I will go gangbusters. (Thanks Tracy Shutterbean!)
6. Ira Glass (the creator of This American Life podcast) quote. Thanks Ira, you’re the best. (And, put into video form by David Shiyang Liu)

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
― Ira Glass

You can also watch the whole video of his talk here.
7. Katie Shanahan’s online comic. So cute and funny, and her illustrations are awesome.  Also, she’s from Canada!
8. The Thonet Chaise Longe, c. 1910
(one of the many variations that were made)

9. I think I am totally the last person that was invited to the party, but anyway, grooveshark is pretty great.  You make an account and can basically listen to any song you’ve EVER WANTED (spice girls, no scrubs, the arkells, fidy(50cent)…) online.  Its like listening to music on youtube, except better.  And they make suggestions for you. And you can keep your playlists if you make a free account.  And it loads a bit faster than youtube if you are listening to a long song.  Although, there are no fingers of Charlie on grooveshark…  (What a gem..)

Happy Friday.

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