What makes good Inforgraphics – Juan Valesco


“You have to become an expert yourself to be able to explain this information to others” says Juan Valesco, an expert in Inforgraphics.

In this video by Gestalten, Valesco compares the work of designing an inforgraphic to the work of a writer for a newspaper, where precision, simplicity and clarity are key to its success.

IDEO – design thinking process – in the good old days…

This video is a beautiful demonstration of the design thinking process in product design. The IDEO team received a challenge to design ‘the shopping cart or the future’ (mind you, it was quite some time ago…).

Even though this video is from quite some time ago, core aspects of ‘designerly thinking’ are right there – focusing on the customer, getting to the heart of the problem by looking at it through different lenses, being optimistic about the possibility to solve the challenge, thinking creatively and practically together.

Enjoy!

Behind the scenes of facinating technology and artwork by Liron Kroll

lironKroll

I recently had the chance to go to a Pecha Kucha event in Tel Aviv.

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a unique presentation format that brings creative people together to share their work. I was lucky to get tickets as the 4 thousand tickets sold out within about 20 minutes!

It was a lovely event. One presentation in particular caught my eyes – an artist called Liron Kroll shared some of her work and I’d like to share some of it with you as well. She demonstrated a new technology she is working with, that transforms a normal-looking postcard into an animation when pointed at a camera. This video (although very rough…) explains it:


Another project I found interesting, was her way of depicting the reality that lays behind the “picture perfect” moments represented in family photos.

The animation is beautifully done. The first video shows a short clip, and the second shows how it was made:


You can see more of her work here.

Enjoy!

The Collective Action Toolkit by Frog Design

https://i2.wp.com/www.fastcodesign.com/multisite_files/codesign/imagecache/slideshow-large/slideshow/2012/11/1671237-slide-cat-44.jpg

A new Design Thinking resource is out. The Collective Action Toolkit from Frog Design is a resource that is designed to help people create change in their communities. It offers resources and activities to allow groups of people to design solutions together.
Your can download it for free from this website.
Enjoy!

Notes from: The A-Z of visual ideas – How to solve any creative brief

This beautiful book by John Ingledew aims to ‘brainjack’ readers and lead them to a world of inspiration. Ideas emerge when you look at a challenge from different perspectives, and these a-z concepts help in finding them.

Some of my favorite quotes are:

“What are ideas? An idea is a sudden mental picturing of possibility – the realization that there is a possible way of doing something.”

“Imagination is the part of the mind where ideas are sparked and received, to transform inspiration into something new.”

“Other languages and cultures also have terms for fresh and exciting ideas…. Italy… ‘third horizon thinking’ and in France they have ‘jumped from one river bank to another’ while in China… ‘ideas that jump out of the frame’… Brazil… ‘from the magician’s top hat’.”

“It is necessary to hold two seemingly opposing requirements in the mind at precisely the same time.”

“Philosopher John Dewey said ‘A problem well stated is half-solved’.”

“Creativity should be like child’s play – truly pleasurable.”

“Ideas often solidify when we are not actively thinking.”

Another interesting element the book recommends, is to use a list of random questions to generate new ideas. Josh Harrison has a very nice interface that leads to a random question every time you click on it. You can also download an App in certain countries.

A crash course in design thinking

I was so pleased when a colleague pointed this resource out to me.

D School in Stanford found an interesting way to let people who are not familiar with the concept of design thinking engage with the whole process in one hour. This video shows the full process and gives you time to try it out yourself, as well as provides resources you can use to facilitate such process.

The topic is “redesigning the gift giving experience” that I thought was very cool, however, at parts I wondered whether it is a bit too vague to deal with. Guiding the participants through the empathy stage though was very interesting and inspiring to me.

Anyway, enjoy the experience and I’d love to hear your thoughts about it too.

A comparison of Design Process Diagrams and attitudes

As designers, we are taught to follow the design process in order to find solutions to complex challenges. However,this process seems to be described in many diverse ways.

In this post I collected a few approaches taken to describe the design process. My aim is to better understand the emphasis and variety of angles taken in describing what may essentially be the same process. Hopefully, this will also allow me to offer an alternative way to describe the process.

#1. The Iterative “Step by Step” models

These models represent a set of actions to be followed sequentially, and suggest that the process is continues – when you reach a solution, you can probably make it better by following the process again. It is interesting to note the different actions the models highlight in the process:

Hugh Dubberly’s representations of Kobegr’s models

One 2 One Media Solutions

Global Ideas

Mint Creative Solutions

 

#2. Stepping back

The following models introduce are simmilar to the first group, however, they add arrows going back as well as arrows going forward. This implies that the steps are introduced sequentially, however, are revisited and refined throughout the process.

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Hugh Dubberly’s representations of Kobegr’s models

#3 The design process as more complex interactions between activities 

As described so nicely by Typographic Design – Form and communication (fourth edition): “…perhaps it is more helpful to think of the process as five fields of activity that overlap each other in a multidimensional environment of intellectual discourse. The process is not linear; rather, it is one of interaction and ambiguity where paths appear to meander aimlessly towards durable and innovative solutions.”

Typographic Design – Form and Communication

“A holistic approach to design requires attention to all three areas during every phase of the project. If we spend too much effort in any single area, we put our potential for success at risk.” – UX Magazine

IDEO’s model from MWO blog

#4. Partial iteration

Some models describe the prototype section as an iterative part of a linear process.

Emma Whiteside

Ponoko using a model from PBS design squad program 

Fictiv

 

#5 Re-framing the process

Design thinking process description from “Designing for Growth” by J. Liedtka and T.Oglivie, taken from Ingo Rauth’s website

#6 Highlighting user-feedback

Diana Stutz Design

 

#7 Using the term ‘design’ to express only a part of the process
In some cases, the term ‘design’ does not capture the whole process but rather refers to parts of it.

 

Brannen

Graphics and Templates

PRD UK

After exploring some of the different attitudes towards communicating the design process, I share Benton Barnett’s notion that describing the process in boxes may be a bit far from reality:

Benton Barnett

However, I’m not giving up on trying to find a way to communicate the process in a way that would be meaningful to me and will hopefully make sense to others.

* What is your design process? Did you identify different attitudes towards describing the design process? Please add your comments or send me a message so we could continue the conversation. Thanks!

Ron Gutman: The hidden power of smiling

This is one of my favorite TED talks! You really can’t help but smile…

I usually use this video as an example for the use of PREZI, which, if you are not familiar with it, is a presentation tool that seems to be used more widely everyday.

Many desperate PowerPoint casualties are seeking a change, a way to visually communicate their ideas in a non-linear manner. PREZI is proving to be the answer for many of them.

What PREZI offers is basically a large canvas into which you can insert text, images and other media. You create a presentation by marking the areas you wish to zoom into on your canvas, and the order in which you want to zoom into them. PREZI then creates a zoom-in and out movement between those areas when you present. This particular function is what captures most viewers in the first minute, and makes them totally sea sick for the rest of the presentation in most cases… This unique ability had also granted it the glorious nickname “PowerPoint on Steroids”.

Like in the video above, some presenters create a presentation that uses a full zoom out function at the beginning or end of their presentation to demonstrate the relationship between the different parts of the presentation.

Due to this function, PREZI is considered to be less “linear” than PowerPoint. However, I find that using PREZI on presentation mode,the “linear” aspect is exactly the same as it is in PowerPoint.

So, if I try to summarize what I think PREZI’s pros and cons are, this is it:

Pros: working on a PREZI presentation invites the presenter to think about the relationship between the different parts of their presentation. This is due to the fact everything is laid-out on one large canvas.

Cons: The transitions are incredibly destructing and it is very easy to create a BAD experience for your audience.

I’m looking forward to the day PREZI will make their transitions more seamless!

Until then, we can smile anyway (or eat a lot of chocolate…) enjoy the video!

Inspiration: 2 New Zealand artists that made me smile

Crispin Korschen

Barking and Mad Full Moon, Drawing by Crispin Korschen

I thought I’d share with you 2 “Kiwi” artists that always make me smile.

Crispin Korschen, from Wellington, creates the most beautiful and dreamy paintings. Looking at her drawings I seem to dive deep into a world of fantasy, a world in which adventures are always around the corner, where friendships are meaningful and trusting, and where every moment is important.

Crispin’s joyful illustrations touched me when I saw them first on a greeting card (if you’re interested here’s the online shop ). I was lucky enough to see some drawings at a gallery here in Dunedin at a later stage. Here’s another one of my favorites:

Always take the weather with you

Always take the weather with you, Drawing by Crispin Korschen

You can see some of her inspiration on her blog.

At the same gallery show, I got to see a first glance of another highly talented artist named Tony Cribb. I found his Tin-Man character fantastically amusing. His unique perspective over day-to-day life is shown through the humerus adventures of his Tin-Man.

You can buy some of his work here (have a look at the “dry humor towel”…)

Until you do so, here are a couple of my favorites  :)

The Poet, Gordon Walters, oil and pencil on canvas, (1948) Te Papa collection, NZ

Last week, while visiting Wellington, we went to the Te Papa museum. I always love going there and enjoy its aesthetic and unique way of telling the story of NZ, looking at so many aspects of this country. 

As a part of the art exhibition there, I found this absolutely stunning and touching drawing. I rarely connect to drawings in this level, and I have to say, it is so very nice!

How lovely it is when someone manages to capture a moment you can relate to, to bring the beauty in it to life, and to help you re-connect and re-live a moment.

When sound meets visuals – The Chemical Brothers – Star Guitar clip

If you look closely you will find that each element on the visuals is representative of a different sound which the track is compiled of. Taking the idea of separate tracks (like in garage band) and turning them into visuals is so very inspiring in my eyes. What a wonderful combination of sound and visuals, thanks Oriku for pointing this one out to me!

If anyone is thinking about another example of what happens when sound meets visuals, please do share it with me. Thanks!

Complex challenges in teaching: can design thinking help?

Last week I participated and presented in TERNZ (Tertiary Education Research in New Zealand) 2011 conference. Participants were higher-education lecturers and researchers who came from across disciplines and had a common interest in research into teaching and learning in higher education.

This conference has a unique spirit that asks presenters to present a research work in progress rather than final results, and look at the conference as an opportunity to discuss their ideas and directions with colleagues. In this way, conference participants are helping each other in the journey towards better understanding higher education.

Another interesting thing about TERNZ is its unique format. Instead of the expected 15min presentation – 5min for questions, each session lasts 45min and is compiled of 10min presentation and 35min discussion. After each session, you go to your “host group”, in which you meet with about 9 colleagues and reflect on what you’ve learned from the session you participated in. Since there are 6 parallel sessions, when you get to the host group discussion you get to hear about some of the sessions you have missed.

The discussions in the sessions and in the host groups were so inspiring and I am now left with many new understandings, and mainly – new questions.

The session I presented was called “Complex challenges in teaching: can design thinking help?”. The abstract for this presentation is available here under Day 1, 1pm.

The design thinking process according to how I see it

(Above is a sketch of the design thinking process as I see it).

Basically, in this session I tried to give participants a quick experience of the design thinking process, as well as some design tools they can apply for solving complex teaching problems/challenges (e.g. prioritizing their expectations for a solution under what Must/Should/Could this solution contain?, ideation process – using de Bono’s “random word” as an inspiration for a solution to help break your patterns of thought…).

The challenge that was raised in the session was “How can we help students develop critical thinking across disciplines?”. Obviously, we didn’t get to solve this question in the time-frame we had, however, we did use the process to address it and gain some of the strategies that are being used in the design world and can be applied to teaching.

Personally, I was interested in learning more about the thought processes teachers use to address challenges, as well as finding an answer to whether or not having an explicit thought process is helpful? If so, is design thinking a valid option for that?