In the past month, two major sports teams have completely overhauled their visual identities–much to the chagrin of their respective fan bases.
In the past month, two major sports teams have completely overhauled their visual identities–much to the chagrin of their respective fan bases.
Steve Jobs has been granted 347 patents in the past decade, many awarded posthumously. By contrast, Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page only have a combined 27 over the same period. It’s a telling statistic about how Apple and Google operate differently.
Tony Fadell’s wife likes to remind him when their three children’s eyes are glued to their screens that it’s at least partly his fault. Hard to argue.
Minimalism has held a tight grip on the modern design industry for the past decade. We embraced the Apple aesthetic, extolled the logic of Helvetica, and worshiped at the church of Dieter Rams. It served its purpose, most recently, as a correctional to the excesses of the 1990s.
How do you measure “innovation?” It’s something that every organization seems to be after–just look at AT&T’s Innovation Pipeline, Sephora’s Innovation Research lab, and the University of Pennsylvania’s punny Pennovation Center–but it’s extremely hard to quantify.
Amazon is undoubtedly the most significant force in the digital transformation of commerce: an estimated 44% of all online sales are on Amazon, and more than one in three U.S. adults are estimated to be Amazon Prime members. The company had $5.
To you and I, that passage looks like nonsense.
A friend and fellow writer I hadn’t heard from for a while sent me an email the other day. She wanted some advice, and I readily offered it. Then she wrote me a nice response–the sort of casually witty, stupidly impressive little thing that no one I know could have written but her.
Nothing is perfect. So even for the most successful platforms, design needs to continuously evolve.
Traditional advertising went after “share of mind”–the idea was to get you to associate a brand with a single idea, a single emotion. Volvo: safety. Jaguar: speed. Coke: happiness. The Economist: success.
We’ve all been frustrated when talking to a computer. Maybe it can’t understand what you’re saying. Maybe it hears you, but doesn’t understand what you mean. Or maybe it’s just a tedious chat with a cloying personality with whom you’d never choose to associate in real life.
The year is 1986. Steve Jobs meets Paul Rand, the genius responsible for branding IBM, UPS, and Westinghouse. Having just been ousted from Apple, Steve asks Rand to create a logo for his new company, Next Inc. Rand accepts the job.
The upside: Designers thrive on questioning convention–on unearthing solutions to seemingly intractable problems. If 2017 revealed anything, it’s that good design has never mattered more; it’s just the parameters of “good design” that have changed.
When was the last time you were lost on your smartphone? Because for me, it was just this morning.
For centuries, people have relied on the same types of maps. Whether a map is interactive or hand-colored in a book, it offers latitude and longitude as the key indexes for getting from point A to point B.
Monster. CareerBuilder. GlassDoor. LinkedIn. When you’re looking for a new job, you’re required to dig through countless job boards, managing logins and apps. Or it did. Now you can just google it.
The day before the election, as millions of Americans were feeling confident that the vast majority of the country shared their opinions, a pair of researchers at the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute published a paper that looked closely at something many of us ignore
Apple design chief Jony Ive keeps a low profile, but he’s social with a handful of Brits who sit atop the world of industrial design, including Jay Osgerby and Ed Barber, founders of the studio Barber Osgerby. A few years ago, the duo paid Ive a visit.
As upscale outdoor shopping centers go, Seattle’s University Village is unusually forward thinking. There’s a Starbucks, of course, but also a sushi place where the dishes roll by on a moving belt and each plate has an RFID sensor on the bottom to digitally track its freshness.
Last week, Shake Shack went public in an IPO that ballooned to $1.6 billion–cementing the brand’s journey from a one-off boutique stand in New York’s Madison Square Park to a multinational burger titan with restaurants reaching Moscow, Istanbul, and Dubai.
I was a late adopter of Snapchat. When it first surfaced in 2011, I didn’t relate to its intended audience of college students who wanted to “chat” with photos that only lasted seconds. Fortunately for Snapchat, millions of others were savvier.
The din started on May 7, 2012, the day Fawcett and his colleagues at Fuse Chicken, a four-person design outfit in Akron, Ohio, launched their first Kickstarter campaign.
That’s the question behind the new Chrome extension Data Selfie.
This year the inimitable branding firm Chermayeff Geismar & Haviv celebrates its 60th anniversary. Over the past six decades, these godfathers of corporate graphic design created logos for PBS, MoMA, PanAm, NBC, Chase, and more.
When we first wrote about Polar, an addictive app that invites you to make and take “this or that”-style quizzes, we called it “an object lesson in mobile design done very, very right.
We’ve never met but I feel confident telling you this: It’s going to be okay, I promise. Put the coffee down, and the whiskey. The killer robots aren’t coming for us, despite your warnings last month (and, more recently, your call for an outright ban).
I’ve had my fill of empathy. Or to be more specific, all the talk of empathy in recent years. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a human-centric approach to design, one that puts users first and attempts to understand how the world looks to them.
As a self-taught designer, I’ve often felt like a creative imposter. The label “creative professional,” and even more so esteemed “creative director” title, always felt somehow awkward to wear.
It arrives in a glossy black box, its sensual shape traced in shadow. My fingers grasp at the perfectly positioned pull-tab and slide the box open. There it sits, the product of the creative minds that helped birth Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone and projects for NASA and DARPA.
Before you upgrade your next iPhone, you may want to consider a $29 battery instead. Not only will the choice save you money, it could help save the planet.
When I started the digital design agency AJ&Smart in 2011, UX design was still so misunderstood that I spent the next three years just explaining to my clients what it actually was and why it was valuable (while also defining it to myself).
On the eve of a historical election, last year’s Fast Company Innovation Festival was about hope and potential. In the wake a historical upset, this year’s festival was about resilience, values, and impact that we as individuals, communities, and organizations should strive for.
The product designer and mechanical engineer Tamiko Thiel was working for the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company Thinking Machines. She and her colleagues were building a supercomputer that proposed a radical new concept.
In the design world, the term “persuasive design” tends to be met with a mix of intrigue, skepticism, and occasionally repugnance.
The following is the second of two excerpts from The Way to Design, a guide to becoming a designer founder and to building design-centric businesses. It was adapted and reprinted with the author’s permission. Read the first one, on the case against empathy, here.
We’ve all been there. On Android or Gchat or Gmail, you try to send a crying emoji, or a grin. Basic stuff, really. But when you click the icon, you’re suddenly reminded that Google’s emoji are atrocious. Call them melted marshmallows, or congealed dollops of lard.
Design thinking has a lot of downsides. It can be very superficial. It can be very misleading and the outcomes that it produces can be disappointing. It can lead to bad design. But it offers a useful lesson on how designers think about democratization of our craft.
A lot has happened to me in the past month. I had a beautiful baby girl. I started cold brewing coffee. And after micro-slicing my thumb open for the thousandth time on its shattered screen, I swapped the SIM card out my iPhone to a pristine Pixel 2 on loan from Google.
Chinese researchers have discovered a terrifying vulnerability in voice assistants from Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and Huawei. It affects every iPhone and Macbook running Siri, any Galaxy phone, any PC running Windows 10, and even Amazon’s Alexa assistant.
A bearded man stands before you. He is dressed entirely in black, sporting a polo neck, tight blazer, and a silver chain. He is not, you realize, a Blackpool hypnotist but, in fact, head of innovation at a major brand. He is talking about chatbots. At this point you are permitted to sigh.
In the days after a police officer shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, August 9, 2014, Antionette Carroll watched as her hometown erupted in protest. For weeks, hundreds of people showed up to the suburb of St. Louis to demonstrate opposite police in riot gear.
How do we make sure we’re designing artificial intelligence that takes human behavior into account? How do you integrate machine learning into a product or service while ensuring that it doesn’t perpetuate bias, oversimplify nuance, or bombard everyone with fake news? To put it bluntly, how do
Consider the last time you made a decision with data. Chances are, you used some kind of visualization to help understand the bigger picture. In visualizations, color is often key; you use it to associate data with meaningful information like groups or categories.
About 15 years ago when I started at my first tech company, design was seen by most as an afterthought. Even as a senior designer, I wasn’t invited to meetings to present my work and couldn’t imagine anyone asking me to weigh in on a product decision.
Her eyes command a warm confidence. Her hair ripples as an ocean wave that laps provocatively over her breasts. As the face of Starbucks since 2011, the Siren logo is alluring by design, beckoning you into the store to grab a latte or pastry.
When product designers Koen Bok and Jorn van Dijk were working at Facebook in 2013, they often found themselves pitching new app ideas with traditional presentation slides.
Adobe, one of the world’s largest and most powerful software companies, is trying something new: It’s applying machine learning and image recognition to graphic and web design.
Everyone thought 2016 was bad. That was before 2017. Over the past year, we learned Russia used social media ads to meddle in our election. Our data was stolen from Equifax, Yahoo, and Uber. It felt like virtually every man in a position of power was revealed to be a total dirtbag. The list goes on.
Most designers have a set of principles upon which they loosely base their work. Dieter Rams, famously, had 10. But how often do you satisfy all of these tenets of your practice at once? Once in a while, if you’re lucky.
Ogilvy felt it was important to tune into younger consumers. This meant having a team of young copywriters, stating that they “understand the psychology of young consumers better than I do.”
“I have to say, coming into that space really challenged me as a designer to really rethink a lot,” she remembers of her two years building HoloLens. Creating a holographic version of reality requires you to be part architect, part cinematographer, and part developer.
Facebook is a political battleground where Russian operatives work to influence elections, fake news runs rampant, and political hopefuls use ad targeting to reach swing voters. We have no idea what goes on inside Facebook’s insidious black box algorithm, which controls the all-powerful News Feed.
The Netflix queue is one of the most dangerous time-sinks on earth. But to designers, it can actually be a great source of inspiration, with everything from design documentaries to films that are pure visual art. Here are 22 must-see design movies and shows on Netflix.
In April 2017, the Ford Motor Company–114 years old, the second largest carmaker in the country behind General Motors, a stalwart of American manufacturing–was suddenly worth less than 14-year-old Tesla.
Four years ago, FiftyThree—the team of ex-Microsoft creatives who launched a wildly popular iPad sketching app called Paper—was flush with venture capital and full of expansion ideas that they put into action. They started producing hardware: an iPad stylus called (unluckily) Pencil.
Why do so many tech companies’ logos look the same? From Google and Airbnb to Spotify and Pinterest, these companies have gradually shifted their branding from idiosyncratic typefaces to remarkably similar sans-serif fonts.
Four Google Brain research scientists–Barret Zoph, Vijay Vasudevan, Jonathon Shlens, and Quoc Le–recently released the results of a fascinating project with two objectives.
Austin-based design firm Argodesign is betting on the latter. As a thought experiment, the studio mocked up a provocative series of concepts suggesting what an Amazon Foods could look like, if powered by drones, Echo refrigerators, and a sharing economy model reminiscent of Airbnb or Uber.
The Apollo 13 Mission Control team faced a huge number of seemingly insurmountable obstacles after an oxygen tank exploded on board the 1970 mission to the moon.
Decades before Marie Kondo became the go-to Japanese organizational guru—transforming her name into a verb and selling more than 6 million copies of her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up—another declutter philosophy became one of Japan’s biggest exports.
Do designers have an ethical responsibility toward their users? It’s a question that designers struggle with, as the products and interfaces they help bring into the world can have unintended consequences, from spreading fake news to exacerbating mental health problems.
The federal government doesn’t stray too far from a few familiar topics when it comes to its agenda: the economy, health care, national defense, immigration, reproductive rights.
Reading is a fantastic way to start a new year. These Co.Design favorites from 2017 can help you gain knowledge about the design world and the world around you; others are just great eye candy. Whatever your goals for 2018, crack open these books, and get inspired.
There are countless to-do apps designed to help us be more productive–but no matter the strategy, it’s very easy to lapse back into old habits after a few weeks. The designer Jake Knapp knows the struggle, having fallen off the wagon himself.
Let’s get this out of the way: Public space is, and always has been, political. Public spaces are the sites of protest–the places we exercise democracy. And as 2017 made unabashedly clear, many are also spaces of institutionalized oppression.
But for John Maeda, the head of computational design and inclusion at WordPress’s parent company Automattic, designers should see the rise of AI as an opportunity to focus their attention on the types of skills that algorithms don’t have.
When Alexis Rivas was working for a high-end residential architecture firm in Toronto, he marveled at what big budgets–think between $40 and $100 million per project–could accomplish: beautiful finishes, custom millwork, door handles that had a subtle glow so you wouldn’t have any trouble find
Apps as we know them will disappear. Luxury will trickle down to the masses. VR will go mainstream. These are just a few of the major design and technology trends shaping the world in 2016.
There is nothing quite like an artist’s palette. With this humble piece of paper or wood, the artist can mix infinite pigments, each of which can be dipped into again and again without a second thought. FiftyThree’s Paper did an incredible job at streamlining the palette for iPad screens.
Today, incorporating physical objects into digital design is a way to create a unique aesthetic or a new perspective on a project.
There’s a joke about a quality control guy in a match factory. He picks up every match, strikes it, says, “This one works,” blows it out and puts it in a box. The joke is funny because instinctively we know that he doesn’t need to see every detail to understand the big picture.
Think about all the frustrating products you’ve used at work. Expense reporting apps. Outdated CRM systems. Database management tools. In the world of B2B products, UX has historically been an afterthought. But the status quo is changing.
As Logitech’s CEO since 2013, he sketched out a quick presentation for me that he’d probably given 1,000 times by then. His plan was this: Reimagine Logitech–one of the world’s largest hardware companies, with $2 billion in revenue–as a design-led company.
When I first joined Frog design, a global innovation firm, my role was as an individual creative contributor. I was responsible for making things that helped clients better understand the business problems they faced, and offering creative solutions to those problems.
Nonprofit think tank the Urban Land Institute has just released a new report on the future of micro-housing. Here’s what to expect from the burgeoning world of compact urban living: Apartments will be small, but not too small.
The fact that National Geographic continues to be a collector's item when other print magazines are struggling—there's even a popular eBay guide for selling them—is testament as much to its artwork as to its articles.
From the sun, moon, and planets, to the eyes that give us sight, the circle is everywhere in the natural world. But it’s also stamped everywhere in the human-made world: From wheels and domes to logos and infographics. It’s a form that is utterly pervasive.
There’s no perfect way to wash a few dishes. The modern dishwasher is designed to hold place settings for more than a dozen people . . . yet hand-washing is extremely inefficient, using more water and energy than a dishwasher. Given that the average U.S. household is only about 2.