Updated: 18/08/2003; 12:47:38.
mobile, product design, user experience, project and team management ... and various things

21 July 2003

Taipei Times: Vietnamese painters profit from copying craze:
Demand for look-alike masterpieces is so great that Dong has to turn away "vanity" clients who want their portraits done.

On average, Dong's studio of six workers churns out 400 pieces a year with about half sold locally and the rest exported.

Prices are calculated on a basic rate of US$50 per square meter and US$20 extra for paintings with more than one face due to "more intricate copy work", Dong said.
If his studio was in the Western gallery system, Ngo Dong would be Andy Warhol or Mark Kostabi.

Related: Rome is making all of its street artists perform a test to ensure that they are the artists of the work they're selling - some people have been importing pictures from Thailand at a few dollars apiece.
9:08:20 PM     comments

illuminates the process by which designers transform their often groundbreaking ideas into functional, manufacturable products. Drawings, cardboard models stuck together with tape and ultramodern computer animations are more significant here than the finished products, for they illuminate the designer's process in a way that the finished product--unless it is a deconstructive design object!--does not
Buy in UK. Incidentally, some interesting looking related books here too.
[via MachineLake]
9:07:12 PM     comments

"For designers who collect, the cluttered workspace is a library of inspiration". The desks of designers Rob Cristofaro, Maira Kalman, Scott Stowell and Milton Glaser.
[via MachineLake, itself via manAmplified]
9:06:44 PM     comments

This weekend we met a bunch of bike couriers at a barbecue. Interesting people, with a strong sub-culture - sub in the sense that non-couriers know very little about what they are like, how couriering works etc. Unsurprisingly, most of them are mad about bikes, and it's a way to earn a crust. So there was much talk of the Tour de France. They knew only one person who'd gone on from couriering to 'proper' road racing. There are 600-1000 couriers working London at any one time, and they do about 70-80 miles a day in town, mostly within the Circle line area, though they may travel further west to Notting Hill, and further east to the Docklands. This bunch had a strong sense of identity and shared culture/community. Some have expensively tricked-out rides, some something seemingly more standard (the playoffs between lightness/efficiency, reliability and cost being the key equations couriers run in choosing the tools of their trade), with single/no brakes and single gears common.

About 50+ of the London couriers are into "alley cat racing": illegal checkpoint-to-checkpoint race where the racers only know the next checkpoint. Ie: orienteering on a bike, in (and often against) the traffic. AC Racing was imported from US couriers in the mid-90s. Last night they showed a video made by film students by mounting a camera on one of the alley cat racers. 8 minutes of crazy, often-dangerous riding through traffic and people; ends with the cyclist getting hit by a truck when he attempted to zoom across a red-light and straight across the traffic going both ways (he'd successfully done this a few times already in the film). He wasn't hurt too badly, but the bike probably was. "Oh well, that's racing", he concludes.

Even though you don't quite get a sense of the true speed on film, it was fantastic, and reminiscent of several other illegal car or motorbike films (Claude Lelouch's infamous C'etait un Rendezvous, the Getaway in Stockholm films, Black Prince Peripherique).

Couriers, alley cat racing, etc: Other films: (Update: Struan correctly reminds us that alley cat racing perpetuates the image of 'cyclists as arrogant, self-righteous grumps with only limited respect for the law'. Which, together with the rest of us non-courier cyclists going through red lights, really doesn't help. Perhaps the racing is symptomatic of a bike culture that sees itself as *against* motor traffic. Alley cat racing isn't safe or particularly clever, but we have to admit it was quite exciting to watch.)
8:35:01 PM     comments

Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, interviews with Master of Design MIT Tech Review (free reg reqd). Two interesting nuggets: first a slightly confusing vision of email + blog-like timeline = good way to organise (confusing to us anyway: we're not sure how this is significantly different from sorting emails by Received):
There's something about e-mail that demands a reply, demands a response. But when you're getting thousands of these things, it becomes an impossibility to respond to everything. So we've got to shift the etiquette, and maybe make e-mail more like publishing: that is, you send something out and you might get one percent response. I think that the paradigm of e-mail as letters, as objects, is inappropriate. I'm waiting for a shift to the timeline, rather than the object, as the organizing principle. If you think about a blog for instance, that's a timeline. And it's a really good way of organizing huge amounts of information, because we're quite good at sequencing. We're quite good at remembering when things happen. That has meaning for us. But imagine creating an individual document around every one of those individual blog entries and just having them there on your desktop or in a folder. It would be completely meaningless to you. And that's how we treat e-mail now. But imagine keeping e-mail a bit more like a blog. Then suddenly, you've got instant messaging qualities and e-mail qualities happening at the same time. So I'm guessing that we'll start to see that sort of timeline become more and more important. Because I think it's the way that we as human beings tend to organize massive amounts of data.
And here's the well-known IDEO formulation of design as an often-*subtractive* process:
The naive view of designing is that it's purely an additive process, about adding more and more and more. Actually, design is a funnel-shaped thing. It becomes an editing process: What is appropriate? What can be stripped away? So design is a holistic way of thinking. It's about being able to create the whole of something, and in such a way that somebody who’s using that product, whether for the first time or the tenth time, understands it can interact with it as seamlessly as possible

8:33:06 PM     comments

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