Archive for the 'Product Design' Category

Getting things Made

Make Works is an excellent directory of fabricators, factories, manufacturers and makers. Set up by GSA Product Design Graduate Fi Scott, Make Works is a fantastic resource if you need to get ‘stuff’ ‘done’.

Stiicks : : For Hanging Stuff



A Kickstarter idea for hanging from these guys.
Simple idea get 2 bits of wood and some magnets to hang stuff.


MakLab Glasgow

Our friends at MakLab, Scotland’s first open access digital fabrication workshop, have been chosen as a finalist for the Google UK Global Impact Awards with nine other innovative social enterprises from the UK. If you would like to vote for them you can do so here, and help support this emerging facility for designers and makers.

Little Printer: Behind the Scenes

This in-depth article about Little Printer looks at the process behind the product, (which is probably more of an indication of future products than a fait-accompli), with some really interesting observations about design process, ‘discipline’ and more.

Design & Thinking

With more depth of field shots than you can shake a stick at, and enough plinky-plonky ‘folk’ music to fill an International Whimsy Expo, Design & Thinking at the GFT (Tuesday 15th Jan) could make for an evening of design insights, contentious opinions, and ambitious claims. Not recommended for a first date.

Spime Weapons

Defense distributed raise an interesting spectre of the point (in the not too distant future) when we will be able to access (any) object as data and fabricate it ourselves as a 3D printed object. In this case, their focus in the gun, (or as they call it the ‘personal defence system’). The project, as I’m sure it’s intended to do, raises a number of ethical and social issues, and while I personally feel that their libertarian manifesto is a bit muddled (not seeming to recognise individual and collective rights as being connected in any way), its interesting to think about whether we feel any different were we to contextualise this technology in the arab spring, or other recent uprisings, and how this makes us feel about the more traditional methods of arms manufacturing, distribution and control.

Thanks to the person from 2nd year who raised this in a discussion group (and whose name unfortunately I don’t have to hand), as i think it raises some really interesting questions.

Mule Launch

Vis Com Des person Alec Farmer (Trakke) is launching their 16 Mule Mk2 this friday.

Image: Brian Sweeney

Martin Boyce and the Design Research Unit, (unbeknown to him).


“The machine is accepted as the essentially modern vehicle of form. Our designs will therefore be essentially designs for mass production, but at the same time we hope to rescue mass production from the ugliness and aesthetic emptiness which has so far characterized the greater part of its output”. —Design Research Unit, 1943

Another post-talk train ride, another blog write up. Again, seizing on the time allowed by this journey, I’m going to try to condense an interesting talk from Martin Boyce, and an interesting peruse around the Design Research Unit exhibition, currently at the Cooper Gallery in Dundee, into a succinct and coherent blog post.

The talk for me raised some pertinent issues which were hinted at in an earlier post covering an interview with Metahaven, where the politics of aesthetics raised their head, and the point was made about how the politics of a design piece can fade over time, (or at least not be directly replicated in a different place and time). Boyce’s work heavily references, and in some cases perhaps directly appropriates, design forms of various types. And he talked eloquently about about how by processing and representing these forms in a contemporary art context, their meaning is changed, “distorted by the process of recollection”.

While it might be possible to question this appropriation of accepted ‘well’ designed objects – is it primarily for their forms and aesthetic value? – he pre-empted this by talking of his lack of ‘academic’ insight into his work, and interest in “wild knowledge”. He talked about following his eye and instinct, and this reminded me of an idea of Brian Eno‘s, where he talked about the “intellect catching up with the instinct”. I think there’s probably a studio project in this, and the same could be said for his approach to his typographic pieces. It was interesting to hear how these pieces came into being and how they then went out into the world, with seemingly little reference to typographic history or conventions which we perhaps get a little fixated by.

The Design Research Unit exhibition which this talk ran alongside was a concise and functional display of some of the projects undertaken by that design organisation between 1942 and 1972. Again, the key thing it raised for me was that the politics of the time, while implicit in the work, often get overlooked by designers who seem fixated with this orderly way of working in terms of stewarding design and identity today. It’s difficult to put my finger on, but I’m fascinated by why the template laid down by this early move into corporate compliance is so resilient. Maybe it connects to ideas about why a particular way of looking at design, productivity and manufacturing, (and I guess by all this we mean the free market economy in its many facets), achieved such traction in the post-war years. Definitely a subject for further thinking, and a very good exhibition, well worth a visit.


N.b. Apologies for the use of ‘Boyce’ during this post. ‘Martin’ seems overly familiar, while ‘Boyce’ sounds a bit pompous. Rock and a hard place.


iPhone 4S – The most amazing iPhone yet“, they say. We wonder if the reality is stranger, or worse, than the parody.

On ‘Thinkering’

From States of Design 03: Domus.


This looks completely Useless. (Image R2)

Talk to Me

Talk to Me is the latest exhibition from Design and the Elastic Mind curator Paola Antonelli. This coincides with a recent purchase of mine, a HP desktop printer/scanner which not only talks to me (giving me printing ‘tips’ via its built-in lcd screen), but via its own I.P. address and a wireless connection to the network, talks to Hewlett Packard HQ… about me? about what I print? about how I’m not very good at loading the paper? The Internet of Things is well and truly here.

A Domus review nicely summarises some of the key questions;

“In the catalogue text, these changes are read along the long wave of opposition to cold 20th century rationalism: “The clichés of the twentieth century, such as ‘form follows function’, the modernist motto borrowed with some variation by Louis H. Sullivan, and ‘design means solving problems’… have been responsible for soulless and lobotomized architectural design.” On the contrary, the experiences shown in Talk To Me go back to the 1960s and the fruitful experiences of the radicals with their first ideas regarding cybernetic, mobile and interactive architecture.”

via Talk to Me – Design – Domus.

Poker Face Design

‘Marriages – like that of Ive and Jobs – are less common now than they were in the Seventies and Eighties, because ‘the great financial forces of darkness have taken over. Braun, Pirelli, Olivetti, Hermann Miller, they all had powerful design identities. But now if shares drop, firms will bring in someone like Lady Gaga [to boost the brand’s image, rather than rely on real design thinking]. That’s straight forward heavy duty commerce, the share price drives everything.’

via Blueprint Magazine – Architecture & Design.