Archive for the ‘Design culture’ Category
Recently, Behance Network held their two-day annual conference, the 99U. The entire mission of the conference is to focus on bringing ideas to life through action – as Thomas Edison is famously quoted: “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”
Method held the kick-off studio session for the conference with a workshop that aimed to get attendees taking ideas to action. We led participants through a 90-minute Lightning Brand Hackathon, working through potential design opportunities for IKEA and Airbnb.
We quickly broke attendees up into groups of 7-8 to dive deep into their assigned brand. The goal was to develop uniquely branded product and service experiences that engage users in ways that are authentic to the brand and true to the core brand values. Teams were assigned either IKEA or Airbnb to explore. The final deliverable was a one-minute elevator pitch for that product or service that the team might deliver to the CEO.
The first part of the workshop focused on articulating attributes using various stimuli to generate both literal and abstract ways of expressing the brand. Then, each team built on specific product or service extension opportunities and evaluated them against the brand attributes to determine if the proposed solution was on point with the brand.
The selected solution was storyboarded and then summarized for each group to present. In 90 minutes, teams generated product or service solutions around bespoke furniture and food offerings such as the official IKEA furniture hacking community, IKEAhacks.org, an interactive diary of a Airbnb host that gives visitors “keys to my life,” and a network of “local chefs” that invite traveling guests for authentic, homemade meals.
After the kick-off workshop at Method, myself and our attendees headed over to the conference, held at the Lincoln Center. Throughout the duration of the two days, the conference maintained an incredible energy with thought-provoking discussions around how to become more action-oriented and persevere through the creative process. Experts from all walks of life shared their experiences: social/behavioral psychologists, startup founders, brand gurus, authors, educators, and designers.
After it was all over, three major takeaways emerged that resonated strongly with me.
1: Feedback is important for more than just building a good product. It helps you persevere through the darkest times.
For many speakers what kept them motivated during challenging times wasn’t a blind passion, but a constant remainder that their work was having some, big or small, impact in the world. And the best way to see that was by getting feedback from users.
Jane ni Dhulchaointigh, the founder and inventor of sugru, talked about staying motivated through a rough patch by sending samples to her friends and family and requesting that they send in a photo of themselves using the product. Seeing her product in action gave her a sense of pride, joy and responsibility to get the final product out to the world.
2: It’s not about building awesome products, but building products that help people be more awesome.
Every product idea is born out of a need, superficial or deep. But sometimes the vision for addressing that need can get blurred by the pursuit of perfection during the creative process. The result is a product that makes sense to the one who created it, but not to those who would benefit the most by using it.
For example, Ramit Sethi, author of a NY Times bestseller and a dedicated personal finance blog, talked about a personal investment guide offered by the Wall Street Journal. Although written by investing experts, the guide was way too complex to the average American. Because there was a mismatch between what the creator considered as an “awesome product” and what the user needed to become more awesome in managing their money, the product became irrelevant for many.
3: Being action-oriented is less about tactics, and more about the mindset.
The topic of fear came up consistently throughout the conference. Mainly, creators talking about the importance of looking beyond users’ needs to gain a deep understanding of their fears and concerns.
For example, Josh Reich, CEO and co-founder of Simple, an intuitive digital personal banking solution, had observed that people think they need complexity in tools that help manage their finances. But after digging deeper into the users’ minds, he realized that their fears boil down to simpler things like carelessly spending way more than they can afford. To address the latter, Simple incorporated a feature that tells the user how much money it is “safe” for them to spend at a given point in time.
The 99U Conference was a valuable escape from everyday life to get fully immersed in thoughts that inspire reflection and realization. I left both inspired and ready to bring these learnings to practice at Method.
London has positioned itself as the up-and-coming global hub for tech, design, and innovation. With US industry giants like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft all taking notice, the city is quickly becoming grounds for a highly competitive, and entrepreneurial tech-oriented market – predicted to contribute to the next generation of leading startups and organizations
The Evening Standard reported on the growing tech scene in London, speaking with leaders from the innovation sectors, including Method Managing Director and co-founder of Method Design Lab, Santiago Matheus.
“London is inexhaustible,” says Santiago Matheus, who in 2011 set up Method Design Lab, a programme run in conjunction with London’s Central Saint Martins School of Arts and Design. “Even when things are really choppy London keeps flying, because you have the government, the media, the creatives, the finance … At any one time, even if two or three of those are struggling, the others keep the engine going. That’s what makes London the capital of the Western world.”
Read the full article here.
We really enjoy the diversity in our workspace here at Method. Our NY studio specifically has seen a small gathering of talented individuals from the country of Turkey. In celebration of their culture, we got together for a Friday happy hour to enjoy some Turkish delicacies.
Baykal Askar, Visual Design Lead; Alis Cambol, Interaction Design Lead; and Asli Leone, Global Resource Manager invited the studio for a small gathering in our kitchen to taste their homemade recipes. It turned out to be quite the mini-feast with a full spread of mercimek koftesi, leblebi, patates salatasi, zeytinyagli bezelye, zeytinyagli fasulye, sucuk.
We’re a diverse group of creatives at Method, always looking to learn from other thinkers and makers in the field. So, we’re especially thrilled when someone as talented and interesting as Sha Hwang is able to visit us.
A data visualization expert, Sha is the founder of Movity and current design technologist at Trulia (Trulia acquired Movity in 2010). He’s also been listed as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, has given data visualization presentations at the White House, and as we found out, is and incredibly funny, kind and patient teacher.
Over the course of one week, Sha came to Method’s San Francisco studio and led us in two private workshops, taking us from understanding the principals of data visualization to prototyping our own projects.
In our first session, Sha covered how we can look at data as a material and the various questions and strategies that can drive visualizations of data. We looked at examples from various sources and discussed ways to find, gather and organize data. We also explored ways to start collecting data about ourselves and our neighborhoods. Asking questions, like ‘How do I spend my money?’ ‘How often do I check an electronic device each day?’ and ‘How many steps do I take during my commute?’
By the end of session, we brainstormed the type of data we wanted to collect over the next few days, so that we could begin to sketch and further refine, and figure out the best tools to turn our prototypes into built projects.
With Sha’s help, we were set with data and new tools for exploring how to visually bring our information to life. The entire workshop was truly fascinating and inspiring. We couldn’t be more grateful to Sha for spending his time with us!
To celebrate the end of summer, the SF studio decided to raft 18 miles down the Middle Fork American River. What can we say, we’re thrill seekers!
Hitting the water in the early morning, we had our trusted guides at American River Recreation to lead us through the wild rapids–the most exhilarating rapid being the Tunnel Chute, which we learned was created when miners blasted apart a granite wall to create a tunnel to redirect the river. There were also plenty of long, mellow stretches on the river; perfect for relaxing and attempting to splash water into each other’s rafts.
Some Method team members stayed and made a camping trip out of the weekend, enjoying burgers, camp fires, and river swimming. It was the perfect way to say ‘see ya’ to summer. Can’t wait for next year’s trip!
Which application should you use when designing for screens? It’s an old argument for which I’ve heard designers put forward the case for Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks and even InDesign.
I’m a Fireworks fan (a conversation for another time), however the majority of the designers I have come across tend to favour Photoshop. What both of these applications have in common is the pixel. Traditionally we pick a canvas width such as the ever popular 960, set up a grid, and start giving the elements within the page nice exact pixel dimensions.
Even in the age of fluid design with varying screen sizes, we still pick a base size to design to and then convert these values into percentages so it all scales nicely. The important thing here of course is that the fluid design stays true to the proportions of the original design.
With vector based applications such as Illustrator, the concept of the pixel doesn’t exist in the same way. You can zoom to your heart’s content and never will your design turn into a bunch of tiny little squares. We see these “pixel-less” assets in the form of SVGs being used more often for exactly this reason. While you can still design in Illustrator using pixels as measurements if you choose to, this feature is really there to enable you to export your assets to those measurements. Once you remove the concept of a definitive output size, those pixel measurements become somewhat meaningless.
With the introduction of the Retina display on the new Mac Book Pro and presumably more and more hi-res screens on all kinds of shapes and sizes of devices, the concept of a pixel-orientated “base size” becomes irrelevant.
The new MacBook Pro has a 2880-by-1800-pixel resolution. That’s 3 million more pixels than an HDTV.
[Photo credit: Apple.com]
In the future, when we open a document to begin designing, will we simply enter the aspect ratio we are targeting, with all following measurements then being entered in percentage values of the width and height? How will designers define type sizes if there is no constant base unit to which they can refer? Or, to make matters even more complicated, what if there isn’t even a constant aspect ratio, such as on a scrollable page with indeterminate height, or a design which needs to target multiple devices with variable dimensions? If there is no constant dimension within the canvas we are designing, for how can we begin to define measurements?
The majority of the software designers use today is an evolution of software initially designed for print. When designing for print, we know the dimensions of the canvas for which we are designing. Elements can be positioned on the page using any number of units: millimetres, centimetres, inches. Take your pick. As these units are all constant, their relationship to the canvas is fixed, unlike our little variable sized friend, the pixel.
Will the tools we use to design for the screen need to be rethought so as to be “pixel-less?” Or will the pixel remain as a comfortable legacy unit? Furthermore, if the tools and mindset required to design for screen evolve, will we start to see a larger and less breachable gap between the disciplines of design for screen and design for print?
These are questions that will become more urgent as the industry and the platforms and technologies we design for and on continue to evolve. It’s also an exciting opportunity for an update in work processes and tools to match the new strategies and ways of thinking we are already adopting.
What do you think will happen to the software we use? Should we be prepared for a pixel-less future?
Back in April, we posted some entertaining pictures from our Lon...
Back in April, we posted some entertaining pictures from our London studio warming party. You might remember seeing a very interesting tetrahedron light sculpture that was also a photobooth. Ever wonder how the uber-creative minds in London created this strange little beauty? Your questions are about to be answered!
Watch the video below and see how Method London made their party photobooth with just some cardboard tetrahedrons, a projector, and an iMac.
Lucky for us, every year we get to meet up with like-minded TV lovers at the annual TV of Tomorrow Show (TVOT), the live events division of [itv] – InteractiveTV Today.
Held at The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts–only a few blocks from Method’s San Francisco office–the conference is a global gathering for executives, technologists and creatives working in the Interactive and Multiplatform Television industry and community.
This year, Method Principal and Managing Director, Jason Meil, moderated a spirited roundtable on interactive TV design. The group discussed a lot of interesting topics, but focused on the increasing importance of creating cohesive experiences across multiple platforms and exploring the inclusion of social in a non-invasive way. The limiting factors around TV interface design were also touched on, as well as the collective acknowledgment that we’re still very much in the early days of both TV UI and second screen design.
The night before Jason’s panel, we wanted to kick off things right by hosting an intimate gathering with our friends and peers to discuss what we believe the future of television to be. It was a fun night for all and the delicious food and wine was only upstaged by the excellent company!
Last week, Method San Francisco opened its doors as part of AIGA’s Design Week Open Studio Tours. We had quite the turnout! Over 300 people showed up to get a glimpse into our culture and interact with Method employees. We had drinks, snacks, and the fantastic DJ David Siska and VJ Nina Mehta entertaining the crowd.
Want to see more photos? Check out our Facebook album.