Monday, December 15, 2008

ID is the least defensible field in product development
(and that is why design is powerful)

Hear me out on this. I've given some thought over the years about the core responsibilities of industrial designer. What could you take away form our workflow- and still be considered an industrial designer? Concept engineering is something that we do all the time, as is market and brand analysis. Life cycle analysis could be something we might have to do more of. But take them all away and you would still be considered an industrial designer. To me it seems like styling and ergonomics are the two things that you cant take away and be an industrial designer- ie: design a product to make sense to the user, and make a product that is beautiful.

What are the technical skills that we possess that no-one else could take responsibility for?
Ergonomics is a field unto itself, and the level of ergonomics that we practise is something that most people can pick up quickly. Most people I know from various departments can come up with good ergonomics given some effort.

Beauty on the other hand is something that needs years of experience to generate. The generation of usable beauty for all seems to be the core of industrial design. Beauty is hard to generate, and hard to defend- but I think that even above ergonomics beauty is what drives industrial designers.

What about design thought?
Personally I am not a big proponent of the term design thought. It is my belief that everyone is creative, and we box in other peoples thoughts by saying that designers are the only ones that can brainstorm, prototype and make connections. Sci-fi writers make new connections all the time, as do businessmen and software engineers. To say that we are the only ones to think of a product or service from the customers point of view is simply not true. We happen to be the ones earlier in the product development cycle and have to generate those ideas. You could even take away functional innovation and brainstorming and still be a designer.

So what?
I posit that beauty is what drives designers. Beauty is also the most subjective aspect of what we do and the hardest to analyse. Is the Ipod 25% or 200% more attractive than the Zune? ID runs into the fact that beauty is very low on the totem pole of importance in product development (I think that it should be that way). Functionality >ergonomics> beauty.

It is like the curse of oil. Oil rich countries tend to be unstable, and non-innovative. Oil-poor countries like Japan, and China tend not to be one-trick ponies, and have mulltiple economic and innovation strategies.

Industrial design is like a resource poor country. We have very little to call our own. We have difficulty defining our own profession. We cant afford to rely on one set of expertise or technical knowledge. It also means that we jump through more hoops outside of our core expertise to shepherd what matters to us through to the final product.

This constant weariness and position of defence makes us hungry and that is what makes us potent product developers.

Just some jetlagged thoughts from my hotel early in the morning :)

Reason why its awesome #1: JJ Abrams.
He of Cloverfield, Lost and wellspring of awesome plotlines
Reason #2: Villains resonating their way through steel walls.

Reason#3: Said resonating villains and henchmen have good taste in power tools. They are using the the Ridgid R1020 angle grinder for their nefarious purposes. Yes thats right- discerning villains use tools I design in their plans to conquer the world.
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

I will be going to Ningbo China tomorrow. That should be interesting. Will be there for about a week.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The techniques of Mikael Lugnegård from Mikael Lugnegård on Vimeo.

Mikael Lugnegård posted a great sketching demo on vimeo. It is good to see how he achieves his great line quality.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Beardos of the office No-shave-mber contest.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Test Renders from Photoview 360. Will be making a video of this 360 techniques shortly.
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R69030CFA Final Product
You can find specs and purchase here

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69030 CFA Combo Kit Compressor

A lot of thought went into how the the hose reel was integrated into the toolbox, as well as how to push blow molding. This was such a fast paced program- drove everyone to the limit.

The bent-tube frame went through minimal changes through development, but the blow-mold vendor was new so we had to do quite a few iterations of the toolbox. Render from Photoworks.

Maxwell Render to give an idea of scale. You can really tell the difference between a Maxwell render and one from Photoworks. The guy in the picture is my good friend Ben Thomas. Maxwell is awesome, but you really need a strong PC.
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I did the modelling on the handle section of this Ridgid compound miter saw. It was a bear tuning the design to get rid of pinching points on your finger. Model in Solidworks, and render in Photoworks.
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Friday, November 21, 2008
Great music to design to.
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Interesting use of rapid prototyping technologies for personalized gifts.
I am really surprised at the low price. They are using a 3D printer to output Christmas ornaments.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fred Maroon has a great sketch dump here
and a cool blog as well
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Images from Design40 at The Ohio State University design school.
Examples of student work.
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Ohio State's design program just had its 40th Anniversary, and it was great to catch up with classmates and alumni.
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Really wicked magazine for product developers.
Highly recommend-all you do is sign up.
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Update from Eric:
"With the camera closer and a smaller calibration printout the detail is showing up much better now. Still not completely satisfied though. I may go pick up a better webcam soon, and try to get a better laser."
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When my friend Eric Lagman does something he does it 150%.
I sent an email around with my rough scan and he went ahead and purchased the David Scan Software and relayed his setup.
This is his experience:

"The web cam and laser I already had. The calibration panels are white melamine, but gator board would work also. Those panels can be scaled to as large as a plotter will print. One guy scanned a boat hull by painting the pattern at the corners of a warehouse wall. There is a free version of the software, but you need to take it into another free software called meshlab to merge all the scans from rotating the object. The software that comes with the scanning software does such a good job of merging that I went ahead and just bought it.

The better the camera and laser the higher resolution scan you can get. Better camera=higher resolution at high frame rate. Better laser=Thin as possible and bright as possible. This guy has done some amazing scans of toy action figures that are extremely detailed.

Here is his equipment.

Camera = 890.00

Laser = $234.00

But there are guys like this getting nice scans with a $100.00 webcam and $100.00 laser
I would be happy with the level of detail he got.

I will be scanning a Ren model of the Ridigid 12v that had clay patched onto the handle area to fine tune the comfort of the grip area. This can then be taken into Solidworks so that the existing parametric model can be adjusted to fit over the “tracing mesh” that the scanner output. I will let you know how it turns out with the current equipment I have at home."
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