Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tesla Electric Roadster is Faster Than Your Car

American and German auto makers dragged their feet for decades claiming they couldn't produce a practical electric vehicle, so folks from the computer industry decided to create their own auto company to show that it could be done.

Because one of the biggest complaints about electric cars is that they won't have the kind of power of a gasoline powered engine, the founders of Tesla set out to produce a fast, powerful sports car. Once having proven they could do that then they could go ahead and produce regular sedans for the rest of us.

The Tesla Motors roadster is an all-electric vehicle with zero emissions. There’s no engine, no fuel tank, just a deep bank of lithium-ion batteries and a single-gear, direct-drive motor that hits maximum torque instantly. The sport edition goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds - faster than a Chevy Corvette, the Porsche 911 and the Ferrari Spider.

The Tesla roadster is a low-slung, two-door, hard-top convertible with cockpit seats that has a range of 244 miles on a full charge, (proven in real-world driving tests). It meets all the standard safety requirements and looks and handles like any other exotic roadster, including the Lotus. Tesla is an all-electric car that can compete with elite gasoline sportscars at about the same expensive price. The company has now begun offering a four-door sedan for $49,900 that will be delivered in 2011.

Click on the heading above to go to Tesla's Web site.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sorting Out Educational Priorities

A group of influential educators called "Common Core" is critiquing the recommendations of another set of education experts called the "Partnersip for 21st Century Skills".

The dispute is over how much emphasis to place on content and how much to place on skills. The organization Common Core, which calls for giving students strong content grounding across academic disciplines, has organized an open letter critiquing the skills-based program put forward by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and calling for the group to revise its goals.

That letter is signed by some big names in education policy, including Randi Weingarten, of the American Federation of Teachers; education historian Diane Ravitch; Core Knowledge founder E.D. Hirsch Jr.; Chester Finn, of the Fordham Foundation; and John Silber, the retired president of Boston University. Some of those people have been on record previously as opposing the 21st-century-skills push.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills promotes the cultivation of a broad range of critical-thinking, creative, and analytical skills among students, including technological know-how, as well as "soft skills," in areas such as communication (right). Those skills are vital to succeeding on the job and in life, the organization argues, and schools should nurture them. Supporters of that approach say they are not overlooking the importance of hard-and-fast academic content, but critics of the skills movement have not been assuaged.

In its open letter, titled "A Challenge to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills," the letter-writers say the approach of the Partnership, or P21, "marginalizes knowledge and therefore will deny students the liberal education they need." They add that "skills can neither be taught nor applied effectively without prior knowledge of a wide array of subjects."

The letter accuses P21 of attempting to "teach skills apart from knowledge," and calls for the program to be "fundamentally revised." As it now stands, it is "undermining the quality of education in America."

There are at least three ways to slice the educational agenda:

Common Core is approaching it from the direction of subject areas: history, science, literature, geography, civics, mathematics, the arts, technology, and foreign languages.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills emphasizes skills such as such as critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving.

I have another way to look at it.

(1) CONTENT - Place the subject areas in historic evolutionary perspective starting 13.8 billions years ago, (A) the universe (Physics), (B) our solar system and Earth (Geography, Geology), (C) life (Chemistry, Biology), (D) consciousness (Neuro-Science, Psychology, Philosophy), (E) civilization (Civics, History, Religion, the Arts), (F) technology (the Industrial Revolution, technology), and (G) Information (computer science, information technology, Web).

(2) TOOLS - Place the tools for learning in a separate list without confusingly co-mingling them with content:
(1) Words (English, foreign languages), (2) Numbers (mathematics), (3) Sounds (speech, music, acoustics), (4) Movement (physical education, sports, dance, robotics), (5) images (drawing, painting, photography, mapmaking, video), (6) objects (manipulatives, museums, sculpture, products, artifacts), (7) environments (architecture, urban planning, landscape, environmentalism), and (8) experiences (theatre, children's museums, theme parks, field trips, video games, toys, experiments, virtual reality).

(3) SKILLS - Place processes for using the tools within content areas in a separate list to include:
(1) Ideation - goal-setting, brainstorming, problem-identification, creative thinking, (2) Research - inquiry, investigation, experimentation, (3) developing Criteria - analysis of needs, assessment rubrics, critical thinking), (4) Visualizing - more brainstorming, generating many possible solutions, sketching, planning, diagramming, (5) prototyping - model making, testing, more hands-on experimenting, craftsmanship, problem-solving, (6) development/production - selecting the most promising possibility, creating the solution, completing the process, fabricating, (7) implementation - distribution, putting the idea into action, making something happen, trying it out, and (8) evaluation - testing, assessment, evaluating, observing results, looking for room for improvement.

The mistake we are making in education is not in choice of content or development of skills but in not providing the learners brains the full range of tools they need to take in information, process it, and output results. The brain is physically structured to process words, numbers, sounds, movement, images, objects, spaces and experiences. Cutting learners off from any one of these (no matter the differences in learning styles) is like cutting out key elements of the food pyramid. All brains work better using the full range of tools they are built to use in solving problems (skills) in a variety of contexts (content)

The Precision of Animation Drawing

Design professionals have styles of drawing particular to their professions to which students should be exposed. There are distinctive drawing conventions that differ for auto designers, animators, comic book artists, fashion designers, architects, product designers, and movie concept artists. Students should see examples of these different ways to draw and understand the advantages of each form.

Animators are held to one of the highest standards of drawing of any profession. They must draw frame after frame with characters in different positions without distorting the features or going "off model". In addition, the line quality of animation and comic book artists is elegant, clean, and precise.

Every animated film or TV show has a style book that they refer to on a regular basis to keep their work consistent. You can get a look at the style book for the Simpsons in a book called "The Simpsons Handbook: Secret Tips from the Pros".

Test your observational skills to see if you can draw a Simpsons character even while looking directly at the model and then look at the tips to see how close you got. There are many videos on YouTube with people claiming to show you how to draw Simpsons characters who would never get hired by Matt Groening (the creator of the Simpsons).

Anime Festival in New York City

Fans of Astro Boy, Robotech, Speed Racer, Voltron, Fullmetal Alchemist, Naruto, and Pokemon convened in New York the last weekend in September. The New York Anime Festival is an annual anime convention held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan. It features exclusive anime screenings, guests from America and Japan, manga, cosplay, video games, live-action Japanese cinema, fashion, food, and the cultural treasures that gave birth to Japanese pop culture.

Anime is a Japanese term based on the word "animation" and is used to describe animation originating from Japan.

Many participants dress up as an anime character which is called "Cosplay". Cosplay is a combination of the words "costume" and "play" and is used to describe the act of dressing up as an anime character.

While most animation in America is shown on Saturday mornings, there is a wide range of genres of anime in Japan. There are any number of anime series and movies perfect for children, but there is also anime with stories and subject matter aimed for teens and even adults.

Hayao Miyazaki (the Walt Disney of Japan) is the most famous anime creator who did Kki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, and the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away. Other popular anime include Animation Runner Kuromi, Fruits Basket, Grrl Power, Hikaru No Go, Munto, Panda-Z, and The Prince of Tennis.

Apparently the convention of drawing characters with large eyes started with a Japanese comic creator named Osamu Tezuka. When drawing his comics, he was inspired by the large eyes found on Disney characters. Since then, big eyes have been an inseparable part of anime.

Many anime characters often have vibrant hair in a range of colors you'll never see in real life. Outlandish hair is one way creators are able to easily differentiate one character from another. While every anime face will have its unique traits, giving characters blue, green, orange, purple, and pink hair is a way to easily and immediately tell who is who.

Click on the heading above to go to the Website for the New York Anime Festival.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Robotics May Help Wheelchair Designs

Dean Kamen's team of designers created an advanced wheelchair, the ibot (http://www.dekaresearch.com/ibot.shtml), that used some of the features of his gyroscope-aided Segway personal transport.

Now a team of design students in Austria has created a concept for a similar chair that attempts to make the wheelchair a beautiful and functional accessory.

The CARRIER was developed as semester project at the University of Applied Arts in the Studio Industrial Design 2 Esslinger. (www.creativednaaustria.com). The CARRIER Wheelchair attempts to take into consideration everything confronting a wheelchair user making sure the user is fully independent, capable of traversing any terrain and situation (left).

The frame is specially shaped to maneuver over a commode. A “trap door” opens so you can use the toilet in a dignified manner without awkward transfers or assisted lifts. Stairs and inclines are managed with a “Galileo Wheel” that combines a wheel and track into a single drive with advantages from both. The entire chair even lifts to help you reach higher objects (right).

One of the things missing from Kamen's ibot and, for that matter, his robotics competition for students (FIRST), is design. Focusing on engineering alone creates products that look like WALL-E while we fall in love with EVE.

Click on the heading above to see more pictures and learn more from Yanko Design.

Edutopia Provides Tips for Teaching With New Media

Edutopia is the vision of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) headed by Executive Director Milton Chen (left). They have a Web site, magazine, videos, professional-development series, and online community sharing success stories in K-12 education to help create better schools for the 21st century.

Edutopia's Ten Top Tips for Teaching with New Media (right) is a new resource available as a download or in print from Edutopia. This resource provides succinct tips on how you can use the latest technologies to prepare your students for success - from tips that will "Break the Digital Ice," to how to start "Working Better, Together." Download your copy today at edutopia.org/ten-top-tips. Click on the heading above to go to the site.

Viewing Holographic 3D Images on Your Computer

Click on the heading above to see an amazing application that presents a holographic 3D image that you can rotate/tilt, etc. right on your home or office computer. There are a few easy steps to get it set up but I guarantee it is worth it.

This effect is created using a variety of free software programs like ARToolKit. ARToolKit is a software library for building Augmented Reality (AR) applications. These are applications that involve the overlay of virtual imagery on the real world.

For example, in the image to the left a three-dimensional virtual character appears standing on a real card. It can be seen by the user in the head set display they are wearing. When the user moves the card, the virtual character moves with it and appears attached to the real object.

You can get this same effect on your computer right now without any special glasses by clicking on the heading above. With a few minutes of set-up time you can see the image (right) projected in front of you and manipulate it yourself. When you move, the image moves.

And not only that, but you can create your own as well with free software.
http://www.hitl.washington.edu/artoolkit/ is a website that contains a link to the ARToolKit software, projects that have used ARToolKit, sample ARToolKit applications, a discussion group and full documentation. All the information needed to be able to easily develop AR applications with ARToolKit can be found there.

One of the key difficulties in developing Augmented Reality applications is the problem of tracking the users viewpoint. In order to know from what viewpoint to draw the virtual imagery, the application needs to know where the user is looking in the real world. ARToolKit uses computer vision algorithms to solve this problem. The ARToolKit video tracking libraries calculate the real camera position and orientation relative to physical markers in real time. This enables the easy development of a wide range of Augmented Reality applications.

ARToolKit was originally developed by Dr. Hirokazu Kato, and its ongoing development is being supported by the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab) at the University of Washington, HIT Lab NZ at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and ARToolworks, Inc, Seattle.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Learn About Industrial Design from the Professionals

Looking at the program of the Industrial Designers Society of America's national conference, one can learn a lot about what industrial designers are thinking about, who they are, and how they see their role in the future.

Peter Bressler (left) is founder of Bresslergroup, a design firm in Philadelphia, PA. He is one of the speakers at this year's Industrial Designers Society of America national conference held in Miami.

In his presentation he provided an overview of the historical roots of the Industrial Design profession. According to Bressler, depending on the source, industrial design began the first time a rock was lashed to a stick in order to "do lunch", or it was born of the transition from craft to mass manufactured functional devices as exhibited in the 1870s centennials in Philadelphia and London, or it began with the philosophical design teachings of the Bauhaus under the leadership of Walter Gropius in 1925.

Industrial Design is a profession that creates useful and beautiful artifacts and interactions. The field has changed profoundly with each decade. Industrial Designers have variously been seen as crafts-persons, doer-philosophers, and problem solvers. They are faced with the irony of trying to solve society’s problems with beautiful objects that also consume resources, fill landfills and choke the planet. He challenged designers at the conference to see if they can gain insight into the best future course for Industrial Design by examining how they evolved to where they are.

Click on the heading above to see what the BresslerGroup does.

Industrial Designers Have a New Executive Director

The Industrial Designers Society of America has a new Executive Director at their headquarters in Dulles, Virginia. Clive Roux became IDSA's new executive director September 14, 2009, replacing Frank Tyneski, who resigned in April after 18 months in the post. After a five-month search, North America’s largest industrial design trade association choose Roux, a South African with worldwide business experience. He will be introduced at IDSA’s annual international conference, scheduled for Sept. 23-26 in Miami.

With significant global experience across the design disciplines—including four years working in Africa, seven years in Europe, seven years in Asia and nine years in the US—Roux will bring both design thinking and business management skills to his new role, which will help him represent the Society both within the design world and to the business community.

Roux most recently was chief marketing officer for Baumgartens, the Atlanta-based, environmentally focused supplier of office supply products. Before that he ran his own consulting firm and spent 17 years as a design leader in Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States with Philips Design, a unit of the Dutch healthcare, lighting and consumer products giant Royal Philips Electronics.

Like many trade associations, IDSA has experienced declining membership, from roughly 3,300 to less than 2,800 over the past few years. IDSA faces the challenge of remaining relevant to its constituents in an increasingly global environment.

Click on the heading above to learn more about the new Executive Director on the IDSA website.

Industrial Designers Meeting in Miami

The Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) is meeting in Miami September 23-26, 2009. The conference theme is Project Infusion:
Project: An interactive endeavor accomplishing an end result
Infusion: the act of infusing, pouring in and instilling, as in infusing good principles into the mind

IDSA members and other domestic and international attendees across diverse disciplines, are meeting to exchange ideas, opinions and insights at this annual gathering of industrial designers.

Even though we might not have a chance to attend conferences like this, just by looking at the conference information - the speakers, the topics - we can learn a lot about what issues face industrial designers today. We can get hints for how to include industrial design into our curricula.

Look at the conference program and speakers bios to see the range of people who are in the field of industrial design and what is on their minds today. You might even be surprised that you have an important industrial designer that you didn't know about right in your own back yard.

Click on the heading above to learn more about the conference.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Finding Design Centers Across America

In addition to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City (left) and the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. (right), you can find regional design centers all across the country. You can find design exhibits and events in your state, wherever you live, if you know where to look.

The World of Coca-Cola, for example, is a museum in Atlanta, Georgia that traces the history of the company and the changes in design for its iconic bottles, logo, and advertising over the years. Click on the heading above to check it out.

Wisconsin has several museums devoted to design icons. They have the Harley-Davidson Museum and the William F. Eisner American Museum of Advertising and Design both in Milwaukee and the Kohler Design Center in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Take a look at the three articles below about these design centers. Can your students find the design centers in your state?

The Kohler Design Center Features Product and Interior Design

The everyday things in your home are part of product design - including the fixtures in your bathroom and kitchen. When you put them together in pleasing ways you are doing interior design.

The Kohler Design Center in Kohler, Wisconsin is a three-level showcase of innovative product design and technology, creative achievement, and American history reflected in this family-owned business.

A fusion of old and new, the space offers a comprehensive representation of Kohler Co.'s state-of-the-art products and examples of the company's contributions to gracious living and interior design. While Kohler's products are designed by people who might belong to the Industrial Design Society of American (IDSA), many of the products are displayed in bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms designed by members of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

The building was originally used as a recreation hall for residents of the Village of Kohler. In 1985 it was transformed into a 36,000-square-foot showcase for the extensive array of quality products offered by the Kohler family of businesses.

The Design Center has grown to become a dramatic exploration of design ideas, the quintessence of Kohler's commitment to providing products that contribute to a higher level of gracious living.

Click on the heading above to learn more about the Kohler Design Center.

Harley-Davidson Museum Traces the Evolution of Iconic Motorcycle's Design

The history of product design includes household items, furniture, cars and even motorcycles.

The Harley-Davidson Museum, located near downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, opened its doors to the public on Saturday, July 12, 2008. The 130,000-square-foot Museum adds a new dimension to the Harley-Davidson experience.

Visitors get a feel for the freedom, camaraderie and pride that Harley-Davidson riders experience every time they fire up their motorcycles. Inside the Harley-Davidson Museum are motorcycles and artifacts that tell the story of the Motor Company's history and heritage.

At the Harley-Davidson Museum you can:

Walk through exhibits that tell the stories of the extraordinary people, products, history and culture of Harley-Davidson. In addition to the fantastic motorcycle collection, stories are told through photographs, videos, apparel, rare documents and other artifacts.
Peek into a portion of the Archives never before open to the public, home to over 450 motorcycles and thousands of artifacts the Archives team pulls from for exhibits.
Read the personalized messages created by individuals worldwide on the Living the Legend rivets, found on the Living the Legend walls and plazas.
Stroll around the 20 acre Museum site, enjoy the riverwalk or just sit back along the waterfront taking in the Milwaukee skyline.
Check out the unique Museum-inspired items at The Shop.
Examine the industrial architecture and attention to detail found both inside and outside the Museum's three buildings.

The American Museum of Advertising and Design is One-of-a-Kind

The Eisner American Museum of Advertising and Design is an interactive educational center located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin focusing on advertising and design, and their impact on our culture. It may be unique in the world as a museum with its focus on advertising and design.

The Museum's goals are to:
Honor and lend recognition to past achievements within the scope of advertising and design
Foster public awareness of the influential role of advertising and design on society
Serve as an educational resource for advertising and design students and professionals and the community at large

With its unique emphasis on the social, historical and aesthetic implications of advertising and design, the Eisner Museum is an important center for research in and discussion of advertising and design.

The Eisner Museum invites school groups with interactive exhibits exploring historical and contemporary topics in advertising and design in ways that relate to daily life. Docent-led school tours are tailored to fit a variety of age groups and curricular subjects, beginning at the elementary level.

The museum offers year-round resource and services for educators. Online Teachers’ Guides are offered as a supplement to a tour and are available on their website in PDF format.

Click on the heading above to learn more about the museum.

Visual Science Takes Another Big Leap

A 360-degree Virtual Reality Chamber brings researchers face to face with their data. Scientists can climb inside the University of California, Santa Barbara's three-story-high AlloSphere for a life-size interaction with their research.

The AlloSphere, a unique virtual reality environment turns large data sets into immersive experiences of sight and sound. Inside its three-story metal sphere researchers can interpret and interact with their data in new and intriguing ways, including watching electrons spin from inside an atom or "flying" through an MRI scan of a patient's brain as blood density levels play as music.

Housed in a 5,760-square-meter space in the California NanoSystems Institute building, the AlloSphere is essentially a house-size digital microscope powered by a supercomputer. Its outer chamber is a cube covered with sound-absorbing material, making it one of the largest near-anechoic (nonechoing) spaces in the world. Inside are two joined hemispheres of perforated aluminum that contain a suspended bridge.

More than 500 audio elements—woofers, tweeters and the like—are suspended in rings just outside the hemispheres. High-resolution video projectors can project images across the entire inner surface. The result is something far beyond other virtual reality systems such as a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) or a planetarium: 360 degrees of sounds and images in a chamber large enough to hold 30 or more researchers at once.

It is a real research instrument, not a virtual-reality environment for entertainment. The bridge is often crowded with physicists, engineers, computer scientists and artists working on projects for weeks or months at a time. Researchers interact with their data, which can be streamed live, using 3-D glasses, special wireless controllers, and sensors embedded in the bridge's railings. (Gesture control and voice recognition are in the works.)

Inside the AlloSphere, researchers can use a joystick to maneuver through three-dimensional constellations of the atoms. There is a project to visualize measurements of the background radiation of the universe made by the European Space Agency's Planck satellite. Viewers can see the microwave residue from the big bang "painted" across the sphere of the sky, and—after the data are translated for human ears—hear a version of what the early universe may have sounded like.

Another ongoing project is attempting to model the time-dependent Schrödinger equation, which describes the electron's changing quantum states. The instrument has been operating since 2007, but its systems are continually being developed and upgraded. In a year the school plans to have it operating at levels approaching the limits of our perception of actual reality: a visual resolution of 24 million pixels [on the entire surface] and a full 512-channel sound system.

Click on the heading above to see a video about the Allosphere.

News Stands Full of Design Magazines

Beside the publications of the major design organizations there is also a wide selection of magazines about design available in the magazine section of your local book store. There are also several magazines (including Fast Company, Wired, U.S. News and World Report, Time, etc.) that do an annual issue devoted to design.

Dwell magazine delivers intelligent coverage of modern residential architecture and design by presenting examples of well-designed spaces that integrate the residents and their ideas and values.

Metropolis magazine examines contemporary life through design--architecture, interior design, product design, graphic design, crafts, planning, and preservation.

I.D. magazine, published since 1954, is America’s leading critical magazine covering the art, business, and culture of design. Winner of five National Magazine Awards, the publication appears seven times a year. Issues include the Annual Design Review (America’s oldest and most prestigious juried design-recognition program) as well as the I.D. 40, and Design + Business.

Cinefex is a quarterly magazine devoted to motion picture visual effects. Since 1980, it has been the bible for effects professionals and enthusiasts.

HOW strives to serve the business, technological and creative needs of graphic-design professionals. The magazine provides a practical mix of essential business information, up-to-date technological tips, the creative whys and hows behind noteworthy projects, and profiles of professionals who are influencing design. Founded in 1985, the HOW brand now extends beyond the print magazine to annual events for design professionals, yearly design competitions, digital products and books.

See how many design magazines your students can find at their local bookstore.

Who Owns Spider-Man?

The estate of comic artist Jack Kirby is trying to regain copyrights back from the newly formed alliance between Disney and Marvel Comics.

The heirs of Jack Kirby -- the comics legend who made Marvel what it is today -- are using a little-used copyright rule that lets them take Kirby's creations away from Marvel (soon to be Disney-Marvel) and put them back under the estate's control. There will be trademarks covering the characters that still belong to Disney-Marvel; and the collectively created characters, stories, art and situations will be jointly held by two hostile parties: Disney-Marvel and the Kirbys.
The Kirby estate may end up with the economic right to the characters and get a share of the profits but not control over the right to veto various uses and licenses.

The Kirbys are being represented by Toberoff & Associates, a Los Angeles firm that helped win a court ruling last year returning a share of the copyright in Superman to heirs of the character's co-creator, Jerome Siegel.

Sony has the film rights to Spider-Man (left) in perpetuity, while Fox has the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. Paramount has a distribution agreement for Marvel's next few self-produced movies, including a second "Iron Man" film. Meanwhile, Hasbro has certain toy rights and Universal holds the Florida theme park rights to Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, among other characters.

Jack Kirby, the Artist Behind Marvel's Super Heroes

When you look at a comic book cover you will see a list of five names of people who created it. The first name is the writer, the second is the penciller, the third and fourth are usually the inker and colorist, and the fifth is the letterer.

Stan Lee is practically a household name now because he created many of the comic characters (Spiderman, the X-men, the Hulk, etc.) who have been the basis of today's blockbuster movies (and he has a cameo role in most of them).

His friend and partner, Jack Kirby, is the person who actually drew these characters however. Stan Lee is a writer - Jack Kirby was the artist.

In 1941, Kirby and writer Joe Simon created the highly successful superhero character Captain America (left) for Timely Comics. During the 1940s, Kirby would create a number of comics for various publishers, often teamed with Simon. He contributed to a number of publishers, including Archie Comics and DC Comics, but ultimately found himself at Timely's 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics. In the 1960s, Kirby co-created many of Marvel Comics' major characters including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk along with writer-editor Stan Lee. Despite the high sales and critical acclaim of the Lee-Kirby titles, Kirby felt treated unfairly, and left the company in 1970 for rival DC Comics.

Jack Kirby passed away in 1994. His former assistant, Mark Evanier, published an authorized biography of the man who would come to be commonly known, and widely thought of, as the King of Comics (right). It’s a fitting tribute to the man who co-created much of the comic world today.

The Alphabet Soup of Design

For every area of design there is a national organization, often with state and regional chapters, a website, conference, publication and a variety of activities and events.

Keeping track of all these organizations isn't easy. That's one of the services this magazine provides for you.
Here are just some of the acronyms that represent different areas of design:

AIGA is the American Institute of Graphic Arts. www.aiga.org
IDSA is the Industrial Design Society of America. www.idsa.org
AIA is the American Institute of Architects. www.aia.org
AAF is the American Architectural Foundation. www.archfoundation.org
IxDA is the Interaction Design Association. www.ixda.org
ASID is the American Society of Interior Designers. www.asid.org
ASLA is the American Society of Landscape Architects. www.asla.org

See how many of these national design organizations your students can recognize and see how many more they can find. Check out their websites, see who their top designers are, check out their award winners, see what books, magazines and resources they provide.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Andres Duany and the New Urbanism Movement

Imagine that you got tired of suburban sprawl and tried to design an idyllic small town neighborhood like many people grew up in and found that it is against the law.

That's what Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk found when they tried to recreate the old neighborhoods where kids could play ball in the street, people walked and met their neighbors when they went to the corner store to get some milk for tomorrow's breakfast, and you didn't have to get in your car to take the kids out for ice cream.

Andrés Duany (left) is a founding principal at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ), a town planning firm. DPZ is widely recognized as a leader of the New Urbanism, an international movement that seeks to end suburban sprawl and urban disinvestment. In the years since the firm first received recognition for the design of Seaside, Florida, in 1980, DPZ has completed designs for close to 300 new towns, regional plans, and community revitalization projects. This work has exerted a significant influence on the practice and direction of urban planning and development in the United States and abroad.

Zoning laws accumulated in such a way that corner grocery stores, garages off the alley in the back of the house, and small, safe streets became illegal in America. No longer could you have an apartment over the garage for a son coming back from college or a grandparent to live near the family or live above your law office or bakery.

Laws are designed to keep a college professor from building a modest house next to the business executive's McMansion. You must get in your car to drive to work, get kids to school, or pick up a dozen eggs. Suburban Nation (right) is a good introduction to the problems and the promise of New Urbanism.

Click on the heading above to see an interview by Charlie Rose with with Duany and his partner Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.

Fast Company Magazine Features Today's Design Masters

The current issue of Fast Company magazine is devoted to contemporary Masters of Design. Fast Company is a full-color, (10 issues per year) business magazine launched in 1995 that reports on innovation, digital media, technology, change management, leadership, design and social responsibility. Included in the current issue are articles about:

David Butler, the man challenged to make Coke even bigger (and staying ahead of Pepsi).
David Adjaye, starchitect-in-the-making and his love of light and social conscience with projects in London, Moscow, and the National Mall in D.C.
Lisa Strausfeld who, after seven years as a digital designer at Pentagram, is redesigning government.
Alberto Alessi, an Italian designer and his flexible system for enforcing creative discipline.
David Rockwell, who has created designs from the first Nobu to this year's Academy Awards set to the new Walt Disney Family Museum.
Barbie World, a flagship shop in Shanghai, and emerging-market ambitions for the iconic American doll.
Femme Den and how an internal think tank at Smart Design is helping companies tap the $2 trillion female market, and others.

Click on the heading above to read about these Design Masters on Fast Company's web site.

Michelle Obama Honors National Design Award Winners at White House

The 10th Annual National Design Awards Gala will take place on October 22, 2009 when the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum will celebrate the 2009 National Design Awards with its annual Awards ceremony and dinner held at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

This summer, however, on July 24, 2009, Michelle Obama, the First Lady, (right) hosted a ceremony at the White House for the winners and finalists of the 2009 National Design Awards, part of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She praised the recipients for their innovative ideas, and for serving as inspiration for future generations of designers. Click on the heading above to hear Mrs. Obama's speech and hear who the award winners are.

At her request, before the White House event, the public was invited to 5 Smithsonian sites in Washington, D.C. to meet some of the award winners and be part of the celebration. Events for students and the general public were held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, National Building Museum, the National Museum of the American-Indian, the Hirschorn Museum, and the Smithsonian "Castle".

The National Design Awards were conceived by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum to honor the best in American design. First launched at the White House in 2000 as an official project of the White House Millennium Council, the annual Awards program celebrates design in various disciplines as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world, and seeks to increase national awareness of design by educating the public and promoting excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement. The Awards are truly national in scope–nominations for the 2009 Awards were solicited from a committee of more than 800 leading designers, educators, journalists, cultural figures, and corporate leaders from every state in the nation.

The National Design Awards is one of the few programs of its kind structured to continue to benefit the nation long after the Awards ceremony and gala. A suite of educational programs will be held in conjunction with the Awards by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s award-winning Education Department, including a series of public programs, lectures, roundtables, and workshops based on the vision and work of the National Design Award winners.

National Design Awards are given in the following categories:
Lifetime Achievement
Design Mind
Corporate and Institutional Achievement
Design Patron
Architecture Design
Communication Design
Fashion Design
Interaction Design
Interior Design
Landscape Design
Product Design

Interaction Design is the Fastest Growing Design Field

Interaction Design is one of the fastest growing fields in design. There are several books (right), websites, organizations, and other resources for those interested in learning about interaction design.

Interaction Design (IxD) defines the structure and behavior of interactive products and services. Interaction Designers create compelling relationships between people and the interactive systems they use, from computers to mobile devices to appliances; Interaction Designers lay the groundwork for intangible experiences.

IxDA is an organization for interaction design. The IxDA Manifesto is " We believe that the human condition is increasingly challenged by poor experiences. IxDA intends to improve the human condition by advancing the discipline of Interaction Design. To do this, we foster a community of people that choose to come together to support this intention."

IxDA is an online network for interaction designers. With the help of more than 10,000 members since 2004, the IxDA network provides an online forum for the discussion of interaction design issues as well as other platforms for people who are passionate about interaction design to gather and advance the discipline.

Click on the heading above to go to the IxDA website.