April 14, 2006

Design Meme: Artifacts from the Future

Over the past month or so, I've noticed a thread of discussion in the design community on the value and power of crafting artifacts from the future.

It first came up on a project at Adaptive Path. We're working with a Big Media client, and encountered difficulty communicating our design vision. The client has offices bedecked with posters touting a variety of successes. A team member proposed a working session with the client to design a poster declaring this project's success. This activity succeeded wildly, with the client passionately embracing the project vision.

Later, I attended Jess McMullin's presentation at the IA Summit, which was about designers creating shared references with stakeholders in an effort to communicate the idea. One tool he uses is "Design the Box" -- even if the project doesn't involve a packaged good, pretend that at the end it goes in a box on a retail shelf. What does the box look like? (One hopes, not like this...)

Victor has a series of posts on what he terms "tangible futures," and how they can communicate to business leaders. I take issue with the over-broad nature of Victor's exemplars (and the rhetorical gambit of associating with such luminaries as Leonardo da Vinci), but, fundamentally, it addresses the same basic point.

And then last night a few Adaptive Path folks went to see a talk at SFMOMA featuring partners from Pentagram. According to a report on one of our internal mailing lists, Michael Bierut explained some of their design process for developing the identity for Ted, United's low-cost carrier, and how they mocked up fake articles from the Wall Street Journal as a way to communicate a potential future.

Given all this speculative thinking, perhaps it's no surprise that the person who is perhaps the best design writer at this time is better known as a science fiction author.

Posted by peterme at 10:55 AM | TrackBack

April 13, 2006

What does it say...

that none of my contemporaries all over the internet pointed me to William Safire's interview of Jesse Sheidlower, wherein the origin of the words "weblog" and "blog" are discussed, and that it took an email from my dad to alert me to it.

Click that link, and head to 36:40. [UPDATE: It seems that they allow access to the full show only on the day following broadcast. You can now only see a three minute preview of the show, or pay $0.99 for the full show.]

Posted by peterme at 01:51 PM | TrackBack

Milo Foundation and the Bloggerati

Stacy volunteers for the Milo Foundation, a Bay Area animal rescue group. We have fostered dogs for them, and when we can't do that, Stacy helps maintain the photos and copy for the animals.

Just a few minutes ago, we had this exchange via iChat (yes, we iChat to each other even though we're in the same house):


(I've known Ben and Mena for a while now... In fact, I worked with Ben a bit on some Adaptive Path stuff before 6 Apart took apart.)

A few days ago, Mena shared a photo of Maddy.

I hope Milo can find a way to use this adoption to help spread the word: Don't Buy, Don't Breed, Adopt!

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Posted by peterme at 08:39 AM | TrackBack

April 10, 2006

A good movie, with great titles

A few days ago, I saw Thank You For Smoking, the first film I'd seen in a theater in a long time. The movie was: pretty good. Not great, but funny, and very well executed. It successfully satirizes without being either heavy-handed or too polite. Aaron Eckhart is great. Rob Lowe looks weird after his plastic surgery. Adam Brody is delightfully unctuous. My only issue with the film was Katie Holmes -- she's all wrong as the randy upstart reporter. Though, I can't think of a movie where she'd be right. But that's another matter.

Being a bit of a design geek, I loved the films opening titles. And you can enjoy them, too, without having to watch the film. Shadowplay Studio, who did the title work, has made the opening available on their site.

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Posted by peterme at 02:51 PM | TrackBack


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