Putting A Band-Aid on a Severed Limb

It’s not a secret that the smog in Beijing is bad. So bad, in fact, that last year the New York Times published an article titled On Scale of 0 to 500, Beijing’s Air Quality Tops ‘Crazy Bad’ at 755.

“Crazy Bad” simply isn’t sustainable – the air is actually killing people. So an architecture and design firm called Orproject has decided to do something about the need to breathe in China’s capital city: they’ve created a massive, transparent bubble that will give people the feel of being outside without having to consume the awful air. The bubble is to be made out of the same material that was used in the Beijing Olympics aquatic stadium. Its bumpy-looking structure (which you can check out in this Fast Co. article) gives the space the capability of having several different climates in one big biosphere. It lets in the sun, provides an outdoorsy atmosphere and keeps the bad air out. (more…)

Diving Into Design with Deeper Impact

While it may be easy not to think about what goes in to producing your lightweight cotton tee or your favorite pair of jeans, it’s always better to be aware of the creation process … including the harvesting of the material and every worker that touches it. Everyone is cloaked with the issue of wearing clothes, right?

Nike, ever the innovator, has been referencing an in-house application for the past eight years that informs the producers which materials are more sustainable by comparing them against one another. An example of something this app (until now it was considered more of a sustainability index) provided was the amount of water required to produce a certain material. Then you could look at another material to find out how much water goes into that one. It was a simple index that, according to this piece in Fast Co Design, assisted Nike in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent from 10 years ago. Considering how big of a player Nike is in the garment world, 18 percent is a massive reduction in gas emissions. (more…)

INFOGRAPHICS — A NEW LANGUAGE FOR OUR NEW WORLD

If you’re a frequent reader of my blog, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of empathetic design; products and services that are made from the prospective of the user.

What you’re about to read about is something that far too often we think of a merely a service: how we get information.  But the information itself is indeed a product as well and too often it’s not designed with the consumer of that information in mind.  Usually, the focus is built around what the producer needs to say.  But a truly good story – one that really sticks with you – is built to be heard not just stated, and infographics are emerging as a wonderful design constructed for that purpose.  The need has never been greater as each day we are introduced to another information aggregation website or application.  Listen, I’m a big fan of big information – but sometimes it can be a challenge to keep all of the data straight or pay attention to one story while there are a million others out there equally as deserving of our attention. (more…)

COMPLEXITY BUILT TO BE HEARD … AND UNDERSTOOD

Last month I wrote a blot post called Making the Veggies Taste Like Candy about BrainPOP, an outstanding website and iPad application that makes learning sweet as candy. I did my raving about it, but what I didn’t do was note that it’s a tool for children. It really is fantastic … but not aimed for adult needs.  But then, why shouldn’t the grown ups get some brain treats too? (more…)

GET KNITTING. NEEDLES NOT NECESSARY.

If you happened to be on FastCompany.com a couple weeks ago, you likely saw an article called “Why In-Person Socializing Is A Mandatory To-Do Item.” In it, Kevin Purdy, a young writer that works from home, says that the most idea-generating part of his week is his time spent in a knitting circle.  But instead of knitting threads and fibers, his knitting circle weaves ideas and opportunities. (more…)

BOYS AND GIRLS

If you haven’t read Daniel Pink’s 2005 book, A Whole New Mind, you’re really missing some top tier thinking … thinking that’s got me thinking again.

Dan points out that in our emerging and ever dynamic world, it’s going to take both right and left brain thinking in order to thrive.  The fact of the matter is you better show up with both sides of your brain ready to perform these days. (more…)