I'm a huge fan of Marc Newson's work with Ikepod. The Hemipod watch is on my lifetime wishlist. Occasionally I'll visit the website just to drool a bit. This time I was totally captivated by the intro video that features a beautiful film about their hourglasses. I love so much about this... the film itself, the celebration of craftsmanship, the fact that they make such a simple ode to time itself. As another hero of mine (Dieter Rams) once said: "Great design is as little design as possible." I'm sure this is exactly what he meant.
Three decades ago, only the brightest minds of academia could pore over the dense pages of journals in the libraries of prestigious universities. Then, with the advent of the internet and databases like LexisNexis, any university or college could distribute the same information over a telephone line. Now anyone with a smartphone can instantly download studies with pages numbering into the thousands in a matter of seconds. When was the last time you downloaded a white paper on your iPad? Did you read it in its entirety? Our data-driven economy has created data-driven businesses, data-driven thinkers, and a data-driven society. Ironically, the same technology and medium which made so much information accessible has shrunk our attention span to the length of exactly 140 characters. Yet, in another ironic twist, the internet has become a place for two-way information that relies on a loosely knit assembly of content creators. Everyone is fighting for their voice, and fighting even harder for an audience. This makes it more difficult for academics, governments, businesses, non-profits, and others that often have to tell their story in numbers. Enter the infographic. When was the last time you read a tweet, clicked on a bitly URL, and loaded a one page graphic full of facts and statistics? Did you read it in its entirety? A better question is, was it meant to be read, skimmed, or simply viewed? No longer are we living in an age of poorly constructed pie charts and bar graphs, rather we find ourselves surfing through a gallery full of canvas worthy digital graphics. In a stroke of creative and quantitative genius, advertising agencies have mashed up the strengths of their analysts and designers to creatively tell the story of their clients' research and data. They've packaged it perfectly into a compact and concise attention-getting visual format. Data visualization has entered its renaissance era. If ever there was a Michelangelo, it would be Jesse Thomas of Jess3. Checkout some of his team's work on the Jess3 blog.
I'm loving the tape art that Stephen Doyle (Doyle Partners) created for the latest NYTimes Magazine article "What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?" Click on the link to see the article and a short film about the process. Illustrates the beauty of using simple, everyday materials to create a profound image. I also love the human element to this art... with school kids literally participating in and around the message, making them both the subject and the observer at the same moment.
Most Americans don't understand bidets. Ironically, they're considered uncouth when the truth is... well, it's pretty disgusting to take matters into your own hands. And that's not even discussing the literal, sub-par hygiene of it all. All to say, when I first visited Japan and experienced the supremacy of a $5000 bidet... well, game over! Totally sold. That's why I've got my eye on the new Kohler Numi which is the Porsche of bidets. Toto may have the corner on the market but this gorgeous design is both functionally and aesthetically amazing. Other than the price point, why wouldn't more Americans want this? Makes me wonder if our Puritanical roots are at play here... creating a mental block to an obviously superior product. Anybody got the doctoral dissertation on this one?
This is student work for a newly conceived forensics file from a dude named Jackson Dickie (great name) that I found on Lovely Package. I love it because it's student work -- and I love that LP features so many up and comers -- and it's also just beautiful materials. Very much in vogue with craft resurgence. And, of course, simple... which to me is the hallmark of great design.
I've been flipping through David McCandless' "Information is Beautiful" book. It's not new but remains a timeless reminder of how great design can make information come to life -- engaging not only our intellects but our emotions as well. At Egg, we believe the way we convey information is as important as the information itself... both the content and the delivery are like different instruments playing the same song. When we weave the two together and create harmony, the result can persuade and touch us in powerful and beautiful ways.
I'm not really a Smart Car kind of guy but I love how they are still so far ahead of the industry. And while we've been "skinning" our phones and Twitter pages for quite some time, you sure don't see many car manufacturers giving this kind of customization. Check this out to see how they sell it. Amazingly affordable too.
Two great examples of big companies doing excellent things with their packaging. They aren't the most recent innovations, but it feel good to hear about more of this gathering momentum.
The first example is Sun Chips' 100% compostable bag. Frito Lay took 4 years to develop this and it's a perfect fit with the Sun Chips brand. Hopefully more of Frito-Lay's brands can be packaged with bags made from polylactic acid...which frankly doesn't sound bio-degradeable, but breaks down in 14 weeks as captured by this time-lapse little ad/movie.
The second piece is Coke's Naked Can - designed by Harc Lee - no toxic paints required in production, no paint-stripping required in recycling. Too bad "red" is such a significant part of the brand iconography.
In honor of one of the simplest, yet best innovations of all time, let's celebrate July 7th as "Sliced Bread Day". 82 years ago today, Otto Rohwedder sold the first loaf of pre-sliced bread made by his innovative new machine. Rohwedder had been working on the machine for 16 years, and it was a secondary problem that he needed to solve before it became a success. Slicing the bread was not the issue, but keeping the bread fresh was the more important factor. He was only successful once he developed a part of the machine that wrapped the sliced bread in wax paper immediately, thereby packaging it fresh for sale. Two years later, Wonder Bread commercialized the idea and the rest is history. Good innovations don't become great until all the angles are covered. Rohwedder stuck at it for 16 years. Perseverance pays.
We have a lot of runners at Egg. A couple of us have experimented with the "freerunning" movement. In short, minimalist footwear to produce close-to-natural footstrike. While still within the minority, this freerunning movement is gaining traction (sorry, had to do it) and is proving to be a cost-of-entry innovation for most mainstream footwear companies. New Balance, Adidas and Nike have joined the race (there we go again).
These races against similar products inevitably produce a battle of differentiation (messaging, colorways, sponsors). Ultimately, the winner will harness an element of distinction its competition can't match. I'll propose Nike's getting there with the below video. Always attentive to its ownership of the convergence between athletics and pop culture, Nike produced a video with the help of a couple Japanese DJ's (not going to pretend I have the street cred to elaborate) that while absurd, highlighted the core attribute of its Nike Free shoe (next-to-natural flexibility) in a way that resonates with runners and peaks the interest of those profitable fashion-forward sneakerfreaks.
This is a challenge to rethink the way we communicate our most important attributes. Re-imagine how our targets experience the benefits we shout from the rooftops. Turn a simple function into art and in one down-beat, beat down the competition.