As the recession bears down on us, at times in the design world it's hard to avoid the worry that our roles will be the first to go. However, maybe the one thing in our favour is the thing that gives us a job in the first place … that people are understandable, but not entirely rational. Take the report from the New York Times that craft supply shops are experiencing a boom.
It's a reminder that people still have a desire for self-expression and actualisation even when they have a bit less money. Similarly, the PR Web report of healthy Blu-Ray sales shows that while the format for entertainment may change, the need for it will not. (Not that that helps the movie industry though!) The UK's The Independent notices the same for food: Londoners might have less money, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're prepared to cook. However, the most intriguing exception to the recession rule has to be this one: a booming trade for spy gadgets (see Reuters video interview.) Apparently it's a reaction to concern about finances. I can see Bruce Sterling having a field day if this one continues ….
You know it’s the end of the year when everyone does their “Best of” lists. Fast Company’s “Business Books of 2008″ is one worth checking out. My favourite is Dan Roam’s “Back of the Napkin”: a guide for businesspeople to making diagrams for expressing ideas. (Since everyone in design knows you don’t actually need to be able to draw to do them!)
Other notables on the list include Nicholas Carr’s look into the future of computing “The Big Switch, and the IDEO map books series “Eyes Open”. (Via Fast Company)
Christoph Niemann has created a great story (with coffee and napkins!) of his lifelong relationship with coffee. While it isn’t as disarmingly simple as Jessica Hagly’s Indexed (where she diagrammatises something everyday on an index card), its charm lies in its embodiment of the content (does anything other than coffee stain napkins that exact shade?)
(Via Good Experience)
Service Design seems to be getting more and more attention these day. UK's Design Council has launched a new programme known as Public Services By Design, while the Netherlands recently hosted a Service Design conference. The idea of service design has been around for a while: IDEO has been doing it for years, and NextD's similar concept of design leadership is also nothing new. However, there are some other consultancies coming to the fore such as Live|Work (case studies) and Engine Group (case studies). It's also becoming especially relevant as science and technology drive more and more companies. Saïd Business School (SBS) at the University of Oxford also have online their results from their study into “Designing for Services in Science and Technology-Based Enterprises”. (Via Putting People First)
Or as a poster on the IXDA put it: “Happy Birthday Mouse”. There is a great BBC article up about it. Designing Interactions is also worth checking out. What’s amazing is that since the mindblowing presentation that gave Doug Engelbart a standing ovation from the audience, not much has changed. (See the video yourself. 40 years on, and the screen may be more GUI, but wouldn’t you think we’d have moved on a lot more?
Since finding out about Mark Hurst's Good Exerience blog, I've been a huge fan. Also on my list of things to do one day is attend the annual GEL conference he is involved with organising. What's great about GEL is that it's truly interdisciplinary – you can see rising stars from design, art, computing, and general culture. So I'm happy to see that Hurst is posting videos from the previous conferences.
Already up include talks from Alex Lee from Oxo, Kelly Dobson from MIT Media Lab, and choreographer Henning Rübsam. http://gelconference.com/videos