1 comment

Weekend Pairing: Design Edition

The Design of Everyday Things and Objectified Many of the best examples of industrial design are things that people don’t think were designed at all. Take the Post-It note. It’s something we take for granted that people don’t think of it as being designed. And what they don’t realize, is that from the moment they wake up almost everything that fills their world has been designed one way or another.
-Alice Rawsthorn, Objectified

Have you ever been absolutely confounded by something as simple as an office door, a landline phone, or an unfamiliar microwave? It’s not your fault.

The Design of Everyday Things, by Donald A. Norman, was recommended again and again by interface and user experience designers and finally by one of my instructors at University of the Arts. I finally paid attention, and I’m glad I did. When I can’t figure out whether to push or pull a door open, I no longer feel like it’s my fault for not being able to figure it out. If I have to think about how to use something, there wasn’t enough thought put into it by the original designer. Design solves a problem and makes things easier. If an item or experience creates problems or makes things more difficult, something is lacking in its design. Every object tells a story if you know how to read it. Henry FordI just started going through Hack Design. It is, as its name implies, a free design course for hacker/developer types. Every week a new lesson shows up in my inbox. The very first one, Lesson 0 (remember, they’re geared toward developers, so it makes sense), consists of watching Objectified. It immediately reminded me of DOET. Both focus on product and industrial design rather than interaction or interface design, but the concepts are applicable to any situation. Design, after all, is nothing more than thoughtfully, intentionally, and deliberately solving a problem.

Good design:

  • should be innovative
  • should make a product useful
  • is aesthetic design
  • will make a product understandable
  • is honest
  • is unobtrusive
  • is long-lived
  • is consistent in every detail
  • is environmentally friendly

Last but not least, good design is as little design as possible.

-Dieter Rams

Together, DOET and Objectified offer a really helpful introduction to the concepts of good design. I find myself thinking about the objects and experiences I encounter every day — the most mundane little things — and appreciating the person or team who spent countless hours thinking and prototyping their way through a problem to make my life easier.


Lunchtime Reads 7.17

Lunchtime ReadsErin Loechner has been absolutely killing it lately with incredibly thoughtful posts that ask meaningful questions about style, design, and life. This is one of my recent favorites.

I’m learning a ton about myself and my needs and wants during this sabbatical. I’m also learning a ton about design and development, and taking every opportunity I can afford to learn more. This method of hacking your own grad school education definitely won’t work if you want to work in academia someday, but for the rest of us, it seems like a really great option.

This article makes me so glad I left my last job when I did. That, and it makes me appreciate the beautiful adjustable standing desk I just bought all the more. No job is worth your mental health. Ahem. I repeat, NO JOB IS WORTH YOUR MENTAL HEALTH.

I really love this post from Roz Duffy on giving yourself permission. Just because my educational background is in the humanities doesn’t mean I can’t pursue a new technical career. I am allowed.

A Practical Wedding takes a critical look at feminism and domesticity. I love the idea of the family being a unit of production rather than a unit of consumption. Also, I love and identify with this quote: “I love my frilly aprons and KitchenAid stand mixer because they are reminders of the things my kick-ass feminist family members taught me to do for myself. They are not symbols of a secret desire to stay home and raise babies, but reminders of my mom’s and grandma’s lessons to stay strong and raise hell.”




Leave a comment

Classes at 3rd Ward Philly

I’ve written before about the beautiful coworking space up at 3rd Ward. I’ve been working from there about once a week since it opened, so I was really excited to see their class schedule start filling out.

I decided to start with a Photoshop class to get some more structured practice and experience with the program, and I’m really excited to start implementing some of the things I learned into this blog. Sometimes it’s nice to get someone else’s perspective on something you’re already a bit familiar with. Even though I’d been splashing around in Photoshop for awhile now, I learned a ton and came away more visually inspired.

This is the image I’m most excited about.

Hallgrimskirkja church, reykjavik

You can read more about my experience at the 3rd Ward Photoshop class over at Femme & Fortune today! Check out the rest of 3rd Ward’s current Digital Media class offerings, too.