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Posted by core jr  |  11 Aug 2014  |  Comments (3)


The 2014 IDSA International Conference is next week and if you're into industrial design and want to exchange ideas with other ID enthusiasts from all over the world, the Austin Convention Center is the place to be from August 13–16. Just in case you're on the fence, perhaps the Austin Design Firms Tour will sway you? The Austin Design Firm tour will take you from the conference center in a luxe, air-conditioned bus to a variety of top design firms in the Austin area. You'll get to see the work/idea space of these firms, meet the teams and chat with them about their upcoming ideas. Here's what two of the firms have in store for lucky visitors:

First, we have Fahrenheit Design, who, on a whim, decided to go the less-traveled route when it comes to their tour giveaways. They're all big LEGO fans and decided that their schwag should mirror their interest—so they designed a series of famous designers minifigures. Can you identify all of them?

In addition, IBM is hosting an open house as part of the tour and they're looking forward to reviewing your portfolio. That's right, IBM designers from the best design schools around the country can give students feedback on a variety of aspects, from storytelling and visual appeal, to content and providing direction for ID students interested in a future career in UX. Who knows? Maybe this will open a door for you at IBM...

The other firms on the tour are Axis Design / FES International, M3 Design, (make+SHift)atx, mixer design group and Pump Studios. Once you've had your portfolio reviewed by the folks at IBM and/or picked up your designer minifigs at Fahrenheit, head on over to the Core77 Party that starts at 9pm at the historic Scoot Inn. If you don't have your tickets for the conference yet, you can still register on-site or by calling IDSA before they sell out. We'll see you at the Scoot Inn!

Posted by Deena DeNaro  |   4 Aug 2014  |  Comments (2)

Tartan-Kinloch_Anderson.jpgTartan samples from Kinloch Anderson

Humankind has been weaving textiles for nearly 37,000 years, and no place in the world has as rich a history and tradition with woven fabrics as Scotland does. But the Scots take enormous pride in invention and discovery and their willingness to experiment has in textiles alone created revolutionary results such as Tartan, first recorded in history from 16–18th century; cable knit sweaters, featuring braided patterns that identify the occupation and home village of the wearer; and Coco Chanel's tweeds and jersey fabrics.
But long before the Industrial Revolution, Scots have been at the forefront of innovation and discovery across a wide range of spheres and continue this tradition today.

Another area they seek to explore and exploit is the development of miniaturized wireless Body Sensor Networks (BSN), which, when combined with textiles, can provide real-time feedback and in situ analysis of the biomechanical indices of athletes during training and performance.


So with strategic convergence in mind, on Tuesday, July 29, the Scottish Enterprise Textiles Team, held an event entitled "Textiles and Telemetry" at Scotland House, the business event venue in Glasgow during the XX Commonwealth Games. This event sought to explore and confirm business opportunities for Scotland in the design and development of sports clothing with telemetric sensor technology that will broadcast performance data to handheld devices. This allows for the monitoring of individual performance by coaching staff and governing bodies.

The information derived from such devices will allow coaches and organisers to spot performance dips, potential injuries or even cheating. Combined measurement of heart rate, breathing, footfall impact, blood sugar levels, sweat analysis even mental performance could be assessed from a distance to inform decisions and advice offered to the athlete.


Posted by Coroflot  |   7 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)



From August 13th thru the 16th, the 2014 IDSA International Conference is bringing a list of provocative speakers to Austin, TX, all in the name of sharing valuable, practical and enlightening information with the masses. Core77 is proud to sponsor the event so we wanted to introduce you to one of this year's Conference speakers, Maria Boustead of Po Campo. Maria will be speaking about Designers as Entrepreneurs, a topic she is quite familiar with as the founder of her own bike-centric bag company. We asked Maria about her journey from designer to entrepreneur, where she finds the best creative exchanges and for a preview of her Conference presentation.

What limitations in circa 2008 era biking gear led you to start Po Campo?

At the time, I was working at a design agency. I liked biking to work or to meetings or wherever; I found it to be enjoyable and a good source of both exercise and new ideas. Of course, you need a way to carry your stuff and I quickly learned that backpacks and messenger bags would make my back sweaty and that they would be uncomfortable if loaded up with too much stuff. Therefore, I was on the hunt for a bag I could attach to my bike while riding and then easily detach and carry around as my normal bag throughout my day. There were plenty of good quality bike bags on the market, but they were built more for bike touring and weren't really designed to be carried around, both aesthetically and functionally. When I couldn't find a bag that fit the bill, I decided to design my own.

How did you get into softgoods/bag design?

I graduated from college in 2001, just when the first tech bubble burst. Hardly anyone was hiring junior designers so when I got a job at Arctic Zone, a manufacturer of sewn coolers and lunch bags, I was beyond ecstatic. I had always enjoyed sewing and was interested in softgoods, but hadn't had any experience in cut-and-sew manufacturing before that job. I really fell in love with it; it is perfectly suited for how I like to create. It is a truly iterative process because there is little to no tooling that you have to invest in, so you can literally update and tweak with every production run. I also enjoyed discovering new fabrics and experimenting with textures and colors and prints. Your palette is so much bigger than with other materials, and I find that to be a lot of fun from a design perspective.



Posted by core jr  |  24 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)

C77Con-Lunchtime.jpgPhotos by Alex Welsh unless otherwise noted

We briefly recounted the ongoings at the Core77 Conference in near-real-time last Thursday, breaking up our crowdsourced coverage into two recaps: morning and afternoon. In case you missed it, take a look at what folks were saying on Twitter:

Now that you've had a chance to see what everyone else had to say, we'd like to present the highlights from our inaugural one-day conference. Instead of going in chronological order, we've organized the speakers' collective wisdom into several recurring themes that surfaced over the course of the day.

Thanks again to everyone who attended and we hope to see more faces at future events! Make sure to check back for videos of each presentation to come in the upcoming weeks.

C77Con-PlusPool.jpgDong-Ping Wong had the unenviable task of going first...

The Transformative Power of Educational Initiatives

To kick off the conference, Dong-Ping Wong of +Pool [Plus Pool] came to discuss a project looking to change the way urban dwellers define what their water is. By educating the masses with slightly gross statistics relating to what, exactly, lives in our drinking water, Wong and his collaborators at Playlab have created the plans for a giant, floating pool that filters water and provides data in real-time. +Pool—which was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 25 best inventions of 2013—filters water through the walls of the pool, like a "giant Brita filter," as described by Wong onstage. We've been hearing about the water crisis for years, but it takes a radical project such as +Pool to make some worldwide waves—pun intended. While the project is still searching for the ideal site, it's estimated that ground will break come 2016. In fact, sustainable, responsible design was a theme that cropped up throughout the day.

Core77Con-Audience.jpgL: pensanyc; R: industrypdx

Catapult Design's Heather Fleming took the sustainable, educational focus even further and proposed greater awareness of the enormous impact that design has on a global scale. While she rejected the term "design for social impact" on the grounds that all design has social impact, Fleming examined both successful and failed initiatives in the developing world. Among her many insights: "The vision of the designer should be broader than the studio."

On a more literal level, Becky Stern of Adafruit and Ricardo Prada of Google X emphasized the transformative power of incorporating educational components into projects during their panel discussion on integrated technology led by Core77 Senior Editor Mason Currey. Although the two guests work for companies on opposite ends of the spectrum in the tech world, they were able to find common ground in discussing their creative processes and multidisciplinary approaches to ideation. Stern also dropped one of the more memorable quips of the day: "'My prom dress doesn't light up yet,' is a problem that can lead people to want to learn to program." Well said.



Posted by core jr  |  20 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)


Over the course of four days from September 9–12, attendees of the UX Week Conference in San Francisco will have the opportunity to participate in workshops, take in the wisdom of the impressive speaker lineup and interact with fellow professionals seeking inspiration and practical knowledge.

The speakers include the likes of Amanda Dameron, editor in chief of Dwell magazine; Ken Jennings, Jeopardy! whiz; Josh Clark, designer and author; and Karina van Schaardenburg, UX research lead at foursquare... among many others. And this year's workshops range from touchscreen design, creating a responsive redesign, experience mapping, visual design literacy for non-designers, user testing—you get the idea.

For a taste of what to look forward to, here's a video of a presentation by CNN's Vice President of Design, Marisa Gallagher, one of last year's keynote speakers:

Early bird tickets are available for the discounted price until June 30, and our readers can take an additional 15% off with coupon code CORE77. You can find the full schedule of events here.

Posted by core jr  |  19 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)


After an enlightening morning of discussion, coffee and idea sharing had a lot to live up to—and it did just that and more. Read on for a quick recap of what went on in the afternoon sessions of the #Core77Con in Brooklyn:

Colin McSwiggen, Technologist and Writer
What responsibility do we have as designer to those who make and use our designs? McSwiggen showed us all the immense social and cultural impact created by the very rise of design in industrial and manufacturing settings. When white collar, clerical work began to separate from factory based work, a rift between the two worker classes was born, supported by architecture and maintained by further advances in technology. Today, we look at process of designing to make something easier as a potential introduction of more difficulties and stress into our own lives and the lives of those. Colin's presentation was an eye-opening exploration of the real results of design. See what the crowd in attendance had to say:

Marta Salas-Porras, Creative Director at Obscura Digital
The remix is starting to take off and Salas-Porras encouraged us to pay close attention to the possibilities and opportunities all around us. From models of open source that are becoming standardized (think Getty Images and the Tesla patents) to the growing understanding that the "accepted" form of formal, post high-school education is nearly useless, we have countless chances to leverage the last unregulated resource available to us: Our creativity. Once we gain a firm grasp of the social and socioeconomic consequences of our designs, we can truly change the future, but it requires that we focus on the moment. Check out the audience's reaction on Twitter:


Posted by core jr  |  19 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)

C77WrapUp1-Lead.jpgImage on left courtesy of Industry PDX

The Core77 Conference: Object Culture is off to a great start and we've got a solid line-up of presenters to take us through the rest of the day. If you weren't able to join us this morning, or you're just looking for a quick recap, read on to see what attendees are saying on Twitter and stayed tuned in the coming days for more in-depth coverage.

Dong-Ping Wong, Founding Partner at Family and + Pool
There's no argument against the fact that New York's water isn't the best for swimming, fishing or even drinking. Dong-Ping Wong took the stage and shared his in-progress project, + Pool—a floating, water-filtering pool perfect densely populated cities looking for cleaner water. For more information, check out our coverage on the project from earlier this year—or check out what audience members had to say about Wong's presentation:

Jordan Brandt, Technology Futurist at Autodesk
With a title like Technology Futurist, a presentation title like "How Do We Teach Our Machines to Design" is expected and highly anticipated. Brandt brought us through a number of Autodesk's projects and reminded us of an important lesson that hails from a time long past: "We've always been crazy about 3D printers that can print anything, but the Industrial Revolution taught us that there is a place for purpose-built machine—we're going to see a boom in niche machines." Here are a few pull-out points from the peanut gallery:


Posted by core jr  |  19 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)


If you haven't heard, we're hosting our inaugural Core77 Conference: Object Culture in Brooklyn right this minute. The room is packed with designers of all kinds, wise words are being shared on stage and the air is filled with the buzz of anticipation for what new thought each presenter will bring to the table.

But just don't take our word for it. If you couldn't make it to the big event, follow along on Twitter for updates from attendees. Check out what they're saying on Twitter below:

Posted by core jr  |  16 Jun 2014


It's just a few short days away. The inaugural Core77 Conference is this Thursday, June 19! If you're not sure about going, keep in mind there are only a handful of tickets left but there are TONS of reasons to attend. You've probably read about what the day's schedule has to offer, and who will be speaking there (including her, him and them,) but what about the rest of the day and night? Here's the scoop on the fun and food that will compliment some of the most enlightening presentations you'll hear this summer.

When you arrive, you'll receive your conference packet-on-a-lanyard that is stuffed with the following important items:
1.) Your name tag, which makes networking that much easier.
2.) The printed program guide so you know who is speaking when.
3.) Your dinner ticket, which is good for a some delicious chow from the Milk Truck Grilled Cheese food truck later in the evening.
4.) Your complimentary conference token, redeemable for $5 toward the goodies for sale at the conference merchandise table. This includes t-shirts, books, hand screen-printed posters, a notebook and a tile from +POOL.
5.) Your ticket to be redeemed for a mystery gift at the end of the night.

Your packet-on-a-lanyard is an important part of the entire day, so make sure you keep it close. Lunch, on the other hand, is on us, so there's no need to worry about a ticket. We are proud to be serving lunch straight from the Brooklyn Commune kitchen, a Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, community cafe and restaurant that serves local and sustainably-sourced food prepared by Chef Chris Scott. They promote sustainability through sponsoring educational opportunities about healthy choices, and through partnerships with local producers, artists and organizations. Their menu is well-reviewed, too, so everyone wins!

As the presentations conclude and we're all happily sated thanks to the Milk Truck, New Orleans brass-funk-rock band Bonerama will take the stage. If you haven't heard their music yet, check them out on Youtube for a taste of the good tunes and good times they're bringing to the conference. Registering for the conference automatically puts you on the VIP list to enjoy the drinks (on us) and music at the end of the day, but your friends are welcome to join us! Just let them know the fun, music and cash bar get started at around 6pm.

With all these reasons to register for the Core77 Conference beyond the day's content, what are you waiting for? Tickets are almost gone. Get yours today!

Posted by core jr  |  13 Jun 2014


From August 13–16, designers and design industry professionals from all over the globe will gather in Austin, TX, to participate in the 2014 IDSA International Conference. This year's theme is "The Exchange," which is something all designers can appreciate—between ideas and actions, designers and developers, educators and students, researchers and users and people and products, various exchanges create the dynamic space in which designers operate and thrive. The presentations and content will allow attendees to create meaningful exchanges in six main areas: context, community, value, culture, interpersonal and education. Sounds great, right?

This is why the time to get your ticket for this event is now. Regular registration, and ticket prices, lasts until July 13th, at which point the price goes up. Just take a look at the speaker lineup and schedule and you'll see plenty of reasons to register sooner than later. One of which is the Core77 Party on Friday, August 15. We'll be tearing it up at the historic Scoot Inn starting at 9pm. We look forward to seeing you all there!

While you're in Austin, don't forget to do some exploring. The city has more art, music, culture and drool-worthy food for every type of personality and palate than you could possible discover in one trip. For example, Iron Works BBQ is just a few steps away from the Austin Convention Center where the conference is being held.

But that's just our opinion. We encourage you to experience Austin for yourself, and what better excuse than the 2014 IDSA International Conference? Get your tickets today and we'll see you at the Core77 party!

Posted by core jr  |  11 Jun 2014


When was the last time you were so impressed and inspired by something that you thought to yourself, "Wow... I'm going to use that"?

It doesn't happen every day, but when it does, it's usually because we've broken away from the well-worn grooves of routine. When we set aside our regular to-do list and priorities we are suddenly open to shifts in perspective. The result: We walk away energized to apply what we've discovered to our work and our lives.

This is what the Core77 Conference is great for—breaking your routine and walking away energized. It's the perfect event for exposing yourself to theories, people and projects that will snap you out of your groove, but in a really good way. But don't worry, this event doesn't require a house sitter or an extended absence from your desk. All you need is one day and an open mind. We'll take care of the rest, from the presenters to the food, drinks and music later in the evening.

The only thing you should worry about is getting a ticket. With the event only 8 days away, seats for the conference are almost gone! It may be fashionable to wait until the last minute to solidify your plans for Thursday, but in this case, it pays to think ahead. Get your ticket today so you don't miss out on what could lead to your next big idea. You won't know unless you attend.

Posted by core jr  |   3 Jun 2014


In just over two weeks, a very interesting group of people will gather in Brooklyn to talk about what they do best in life: solve problems and generate transformative ideas for our benefit. Perhaps you've seen the line up of speakers for the Core77 Conference, but have you checked out the schedule yet? If not, here's a quick summary of what you'll get when you register for this June 19th, one-day event in the best borough of New York City. Get your tickets now so you don't miss out.

8:30am - When You Arrive and First Block of Presenters

Yes, it's early, but don't worry. We have coffee and snacks on deck to perk you up for the day. While you're settling in, shaking hands and getting to know your fellow conference-goers, Stuart Constantine, Co-founder of Core77, will welcome everyone with some opening remarks about the day. He'll then open the floor for our first presenter, Dong-Ping Wong of Family and +POOL. His work installing a floating, water-filtering swimming pool in the East River, which is also the world's largest crowd-funded civic project, should inspire you to consider what kind of "rad shit" you could accomplish where no one asked you to.

Following Wong, Jordan Brandt, Technology Futurist at Autodesk, will present on what cloud-based data can teach us about teaching machines to design, which may lead you to examine your own learning process. Carla Diana, author of Leo the Maker Prince, is up next to share her theory about the meaningful stories that usher new technologies into existence by presenting them in a human context. The break that follows will give you a chance to discuss these presentations with fellow attendees and the presenters themselves.

11:15am - Second Block of Presenters

If you're a cyclist or just admire the bicycle as an enduring example of successful design, the day's first panel, Cult of Bike, is for you. Moderated by Core77's own Ray Hu, panelists Michel Dallaire, Ethan Frier and Edward Albert, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Hofstra University, will discuss how the humble bicycle influenced the urban landscape, personal expression and, of course, personal travel. Michael DiTullo, Chief Design Officer of Sound United, and Heather Flemming, CEO of Catapult Design, round out the second block of presenters with their presentations on creating and implementing a design strategy in the marketplace, and carving a role for design in the global development, respectively. These talks will leave you motivated to work smarter for the greater good.

12:45pm - Lunch & Core77 Design Awards Announcements

While you're eating lunch and chatting with everyone about your favorite bike story or what you found most inspiring about the morning, we'll announce the winners of the Consumer Product category from the Core77 Design Awards program. Jury captain Johan Liden, along with jurors Brett Tom, Josh Morenstein, Isabelle Olsson and Wyatt Cline will be there to announce the winners, the runners up and the notable submissions in the category.


Posted by core jr  |   3 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)

TimHwang-XiaoweiWang.jpgOrganizers Tim Hwang & Xiaowei Wang

By Ben Valentine

"Infrastructure is a text we can read about ourselves." Nikola Twilley of Edible Geography and Studio-X NYC said during the final remarks of MacroCity, the new Bay Area conference dedicated to exploring the infrastructure critical to supporting much of our urban way of life. Noting the complex and rarely examined "cold chain," a climate-controlled supply ecosystem for food, Twilley sadly reflects, "we've built an entire artificial winter just as we're melting the arctic."

Although not overtly political or environmental in nature, MacroCity was very much about exposing the hidden flaws and needs of our cities. Organized by Xiaowei Wang and Tim Hwang as part of The Bay Area Infrastructure Observatory, MacroCity was founded on the premise that "urban dwellers are often only dimly aware of the numerous, enmeshed layers of critical infrastructure that quietly hum in the background to make modern life possible."


The dangers of these vital infrastructures being too illegible to the average person was palpable throughout the entire two days of guided tours, lectures, and panels. Our highways, waterways, cooling systems, surveillance systems, and more are the main arteries of our society, yet few understand or can even spot them.

The conference kicked off with field trips—attendees signed up for one of the seven options—throughout the Bay Area on Friday, May 30. Since I live in Downtown Oakland and happen to be interested in surveillance, I chose DEMILIT's Surveillance History Walk through downtown Oakland. The walk started at Latham Square, the site of the 1946 Labor Strikes, which has remained an epicenter of infrastructural and surveillance power in Oakland ever since.

Across the street in the Rotunda building is an office of the Department of Homeland Security; Science Applications International Corporation, the fourth largest private defense contractor responsible for making drones, weapons, and surveillance equipment, has a large office just down the street; and the FBI's largest office in Northern California is just north; and the list goes on.


Interestingly, Latham Square is where Telegraph Avenue—named after the telegraph lines laid under it in 1859—ends. What feels like a very distant history remains preserved and reconstituted in the huge telecom hotel owned by AT&T just across the street. What was once telegraph lines over 150 years ago happened to make an ideal site to later lay phone lines, and now is also a wireless tower. This is just one example of how infrastructure design is dictated by key decisions throughout history: It becomes very hard for designers to really reinvent a system, even if the original plans were based on a very different world.


Posted by core jr  |  28 May 2014

6 Reasons To Attend the 2014 Core77 ConferenceThe images above are a small sample of the projects and people that make up the Core77 Conference.

As you choose which conferences to attend this season, what helps you decide where to spend your time and money? Is it the speakers? The content? The format? The location? If you're not sure about attending the Core77 Conference on June 19th, here are 6 great reasons to get your tickets today, before they sell out.

The speakers are really doers
Each of the presenters at the Core77 Conference is a practitioner of the ideas and solutions they share. Their action and determination to bring about change in their own environments will leave you wondering what unfulfilled potential you can tap into in your own life.

It's one day FULL of information, insight and inspiration
We designed the format with your schedule and goals in mind. You're busy, perhaps too busy to give up out three full days. We offer a single track, shared experience where you never have to choose between two presentations occurring simultaneously. We chose the speakers carefully to deliver a day full of relevant, thought-provoking content. All killer. No filler.

You don't have to be on the A-List to meet the speakers
Want to ask Ricardo Prada about his work at Google? How about talk with Marta Salas-Porras about what it was like to transform the Sydney Opera House? Perhaps you'd like to compliment Dong-Ping Wong on his creative efforts to clean up the East River? This is all possible at the Core77 Conference because we wanted to make the audience as much a part of the event as the presenters. Your feedback and interpretation are just as important as the content, so don't be shy. Get ready to say hello to everyone.

Brooklyn in the early summer time is awesome
Before the staggering heat and humidity hits, Brooklyn is a splendid place to be in the early summer. The venue, 501 Union, boasts minimal and sophisticated decor. The historic nature of the space makes it the perfect backdrop for the day's discussions and reflections.

Food, drinks and great tunes are on the house
When you get a ticket (or tickets) to the Core77 Conference, you're signing up for more than just a day of insightful presentations. Your full day pass also gives you VIP access to the after party, complete with delicious food, open bar and kicking tunes from New Orleans-based Bonerama!

When you and your friends/colleagues go, it's cheaper for everyone
Who better to bounce ideas off of and question theories with than your friends and colleagues. When you register for three conference tickets at once, each ticket get's reduced by $50. Grab 2 friends, get your tickets, and keep the extra $$$ for yourself.

We're all thrilled to put on this event and can't wait to see you there. Don't hesitate to contact us at if you have any questions. We'll see you June 19th!

Posted by core jr  |  19 May 2014


In exactly a month, The Core77 Conference will kick off on the banks of the lovely Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. In case you haven't heard, the event will be a one-day exploration of the people and projects defining our new object culture. Join us and you'll have a chance to meet the presenters throughout the day, or at the party following that night. Tickets are on sale, so get yours while they are still available.

ConfProfile-DPW.jpg Dong taps into the potential found in New York City's rivers

Dong-Ping Wong, Partner, Family New York
Presentation: Everybody + POOL: Dropping the world's first water-filtering floating pool into the river A.K.A. Doing rad shit where nobody's asked you to do rad shit

I'll bet swimming pools are low on the list of methods that come to mind when you think of ways to clean up our rivers. What if a swimming pool—better yet, a swimming pool representing one of the world's largest crowd-funded civic projects—could be placed in a river and clean the water enough so people could actually swim in it?


Posted by Sam Dunne  |  15 May 2014  |  Comments (0)


We're thoroughly looking forward to heading along to the Product Design + Innovation conference in London next week. Now in it's fourth year, the event—which we've noticed growing steadily year on year—looks set to truly outdo itself, with a decidedly star-studded speaker line up and a program spanning a breadth of critical issues and contemporary dynamics shaping the design industry.

Robert Brunner, Beats designer, co-founder of Ammunition and ex-head of Apple Industrial Design Group, looks set to open proceeding with an examination of what design's rise to prominence in organisations means for practitioners. Creative legends and luminaries Richard Seymour and Sir John Hegarty will share a stage to reflect on what design and advertising can learn from one another about 'storytelling'—a topic that has enjoyed a lot of attention of late, but yet to be clearly articulated. If that wasn't enough, NewDealDesign founder and famed FitBit designer Gadi Amit will close the event, with insights from the frontiers of industrial design and interaction.

Having programmed this year's event, Core77 columnist Kevin McCullagh will be chairing proceedings for the fourth consecutive year. Core77 correspondent Sam Dunne will be reporting and, of course, tweeting live.

Check out what else is lined up on the two-day program. Tickets may still be available on the PD+I homepage.


Posted by Kat Bauman  |   7 May 2014  |  Comments (0)


Billed as "the first creative conference for the active outdoor industry," the inaugural Struktur took place in Portland last week. In case you missed it, check out our recap of Day One, then read on for more insights from the best and brightest in the game today.

Day two kicked off with another macro view of the transformative power of design, delivered by Marc Galbraith of Nau Clothing. This time the historic lens was widened to talk about even evolutionary shifts. From early tool use to the Gutenberg press to the AK-47, design is taken for granted until it fails or is used for the wrong reasons. Using Nau as an example, Galbraith talked about the need to harness both short and long-term thinking about product development, emphasizing rock solid lateral teamwork, and deep inquiry into impact and use. The slide "We have designed ourselves into this mess and we can design our way out of it" stuck with me.


Enough of the industry lifers, on to start-ups! Mike Brown, designer of the Alpine Hammock, walked us through the current crowdfunding landscape and options for first time entrepreneurs. Even if your work has little to gain from start-up tactics, the amount raised by crowdfunding continues to shoot up. Worth keeping an eye on. This panel unpacked upstarts' successes, difficulties and myths with Oru Kayak, Homeschool Snowboarding and Iva Jean clothing. Their core advice: plan long and hard but expect to miss your mark a lot in the beginning, get a great business partner or team going as early as possible, expect to hustle for it. A lot. If you love it, it's worth it.


The next panel was fun but tough. It was hosted by Makers Row, a website designed to connect designers with American manufacturers, and Spooltown, a textile manufacturer in Portland. The discussion largely focused on how to approach manufacturers for the best result. Tip: Don't slap down an NDA in the first conversation, it's rude and probably wildly unnecessary. Another tip: Don't write off US production just because of higher initial prototyping charges. Labor costs are a big hurdle, but high minimums, global shipping and gaps in communication can be just as expensive in the long run. As the local food movement has shown, transparency and investment in your own economy mean something.


Posted by core jr  |   6 May 2014


As the Core77 Conference approaches, we'd like to give you a preview of the lineup of speakers and what they'll be discussing at the event. This series of profiles will give you a little more info on who is talking, what they'll be talking about and why you should get your tickets for this June 19th, Brooklyn, New York event today.

TnJDeskb.jpegPhoto credit: Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune // March 30, 2014

Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth of Parsons & Charlesworth
Presentation: "Spectacular Vernacular"

How often do you take for granted the intentions, design and purposes of the objects you use and see every day? Have you ever considered how subtle shifts in the form and purpose of everyday objects can open up provocative alternate realities?

Tim and Jessica's presentation, "Spectacular Vernacular" will challenge us to consider that what we see as apparently real is actually fictional; what looks familiar is also somewhat out of place. The mass produced becomes unique and the vernacular, spectacular. They will lead the conference audience to rethink the conventional desires of commodity culture and extend us all into previously under-explored territory.


Posted by Kat Bauman  |   6 May 2014  |  Comments (0)


If the inaugural edition is any indication, Struktur might give the outdoor industry a new hub. Billed as "the first creative conference for the active outdoor industry," the two-day conference took place at EcoTrust in Portland, OR, last Thursday and Friday. Unlike existing outdoor industry events, Struktur focused on design itself, aiming to create a forum for creative interdisciplinary information-sharing. Founders Michelle Rose and Sam Ward put together a balanced lineup of outdoor design's heavy hitters, promising newcomers and entertaining speakers, casting a wide net, from materials development and component designers to apparel design and manufacturers. Even in a relatively intimate group, we noted attendance and presentations from along that spectrum, making for a fun and energetic mix. It may be poorly spelled, but it was well executed. For those of you too skeptical, broke or Oregon-loathing to attend, here's my recap of the first ever Struktur:


The event kicked off with a presentation from Jody Turner, a PDX-based speaker who works internationally on identifying macro trends. The takeaway message: generational shift is a-comin'. Fast. Over the last two generations, values have shifted a lot. From the first teenagers and hippies, through the reactionary Gen X, to the wily and maligned millennials, success and desire look wildly different. That's all pretty familiar, but it's beginning to look like the upcoming millennial generation steps particularly far from its predecessors. With all the interconnectivity, unstable job markets and environmental catastrophe brewing, it shouldn't be surprising that tomorrow's main decision-makers are obsessed with experience over owning.

Around the world, it appears that members of Gen Y, to the chagrin of grumpier elders, are concerned with personal expression, hard work, and meaningful action rather than material symbols of status. They're less likely to identify high-paying jobs as necessary for success and happiness; more likely to think of themselves as community-minded and to choose jobs based on values. However, that individualized expression, environmental morality and emphasis on action above acquisition does come with a caveat of expected luxury. Our future market will rely heavily on meaning, story, interaction and authenticity, but high quality of life is still a given.

To balance this global-scale, generation discussion, our second speaker talked micro trends and social media. Jeanine Pesce, a professional trend tracker with a focus on active apparel brands, presented an overview of her predictions and recommendations. The subsequent panel discussion on trends, marketing and social media included Star Hoerauf of Thrive Clothing, Alex Valdman of Giro Sport, and Benji Wagner from Poler Stuff. Their collective pro tips: letting a little fashion world in isn't a bad idea—it's jumping on the bandwagon anyway; and social media is your friend, as long as you have a plan and involve your users meaningfully. With our lives becoming increasingly mediated, the ways to share pictures, info and experiences are increasing too. Harness the love people have for their hobbies or their emotional relationships with gear, and you can unearth a wealth of valuable (and shareable) information about how people interact with your stuff.


Posted by StuCon  |  25 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

2014 Core77 Conference June 19, 2014

At long last, the first Core77 Conference is officially open for business! We've got the initial round of speakers listed, with more still to come. Hopefully you've already arranged your schedule to be in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 19, so all you have to do now is buy your ticket and you're good to go. We recommend you act now, as the tickets are very limited and are going fast.

In addition to a full day of presentations and discussions, we'll be broadcasting two Core77 Design Awards jury announcements from the stage, giving away some great shwag and then throwing a bash that night to wrap it all up. All conference attendees will get VIP access to the party (a.k.a. cut the line and get an open bar) as a bonus for spending the day with us.

Check the website now for a list of speakers, information on the schedule and venue and a convenient link to the ticket purchase page. See you there!

Posted by erika rae  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

PSFKConference-Lead2.jpgAll photos by Catalina Kulczar-Marin

Like with any other conference aimed at sparking innovation and creativity, you're going to leave the event with too much information to process. (Moan and groan about buzzwords all you want, but at the end of the day "inspired" is the only way to describe it.) Which, of course, were my feelings concerning PSFK 2014, a one-day conference titled "Connecting the Unexpected." On April 11, the staff of PSFK hosted an auditorium full of marketers, designers, entrepreneurs and other creative types at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. For the sake of Internet brevity and my own sanity, I'll break up a few of my favorite take-aways in accordance with the three speaker categories: Keynote, Spotlight and Refresh. I hope that you might find some of it—yup—inspiring.


PSFKConference-Kushner.jpgMarc Kushner of Architizer

The day got off to a great start. The first presenter—and possibly the most interesting to me—was Marc Kushner, CEO and co-founder of Architizer. While his message was strong on its own, it might have been the easy delivery and candid approach he took to presenting it. Nothing seemed over-rehearsed and instead of cramming a career's worth of work into 20 minutes (speakers were allotted 10- and 20-minute presentation times), he walked us all through one design his firm HWKN took on: "Wendy," the 2012 winner of the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program. He addressed the topic of creating things with personality and pushed his message even further through presenting the thought process behind one of his own successful designs. (His words: "They tweeted at her. They added her on Facebook.")

By taking us through the design process by means of various sketches and photographs of the finished product, Kushner successfully (at least in my instance) reminded us all that architecture is an interactive part of society. My favorite words from the entire event came from Kushner: "Math is intimidating. Architecture shouldn't be intimidating."

PSFKConference-KeynoteComp3.jpgLeft to right: Keith Yamashita, founder of SYPartners; Kevin Alloca, trend tracker at YouTube; and Björn Jeffrey, founder of Toca Boca

Keith Yamashita also served up a noteworthy performance and controlled his presentation (which you can view here) from his phone, which was pretty nifty. His focus was the importance of teamwork in discovering with a successful solution—design-specific or not—and took us through a few steps, or lessons: "Start from a pure place—with equal parts empathy and aspiration," "never delegate understanding," "virtually all acts of greatness are the work of an ensemble" and "greatness is a choice," to name a few.

Brooklyn Boulders's "Cultural Chameleon" Jesse Levin shared his stories of volunteering in disaster areas and drew similarities with the atmosphere and team he has built in Brooklyn. Hiring music acts and housing graffiti artists in exchange for wall decorations are only a few things he has utilized to create a collaborative space—not to mention he's created a co-working space inside of the Brooklyn Boulders gym, complete with standing desks and pull-up bars (no joke). While he wasn't speaking about design per se, the notion that taking creative leaps keeps ideas fresh applies to any domain.


Posted by core jr  |   7 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)


What are you doing all day on June 19th? Nothing? Wrong. Clear your schedule to make room for the very first Core77 Conference! We're putting together a day-long shindig in Brooklyn featuring some of the most forward-thinking people in the design world talking about how and why they do what they do.

We're finalizing the details now, including a full lineup of speakers, special guests and swag. We've booked a venue with a great vibe, large enough to hold a crowd but small enough so it's easy to meet everyone. Of course, as with any Core77 gathering there will be plenty of food, drinks and music throughout the day and into the evening.

If you're not in the neighborhood, start making your travel plans now so you don't miss out. Tickets go on sale shortly, so keep your eyes here for upcoming announcements.

Posted by Ray  |  24 Mar 2014  |  Comments (1)

DesignIndaba2014-NaotoFukasawa-COMP.jpgClockwise from top: "Demetra" (2013), courtesy of Artemide; "Juice Skin" (2004), photo by Masayoshi Hichiwa; "Twelve" (2005), courtesy of Issey Miyake

It turns out that one of the designers who I was most curious to see was scheduled to be the second to last speaker at the 2014 Design Indaba Conference: Naoto Fukasawa, the master himself. In fact, word on the street was that 'headliner' Stefan Sagmeister himself was not particularly nervous about his own presentation but had reservations about following Fukasawa, with whom he had also shared the stage 11 years ago, at the 2003 Conference.

Following blockbuster talks from Dean Poole and renowned photographer David Goldblatt, Fukasawa got off to a slow start, offering a few terse introductory remarks before screening a slick promo video for the new Integrated Design degree program at Tama Art University, his alma mater, set to open next month. He then proceeded with a lecture-style explanation of his approach, defining terms such as "aesthetics" and James Gibson's notion of "affordance," presenting a series of simple infographics and gestalt tropes to illustrate his own design philosophy of "without thought." (This 2007 Businessweek article is a good primer, as is our interview with him and IDEO's Jane Fulton Suri from last year.)



If skeuomorphism might be construed as a superficial means of expressing functionality, Fukasawa's insights penetrate far deeper, into the heart of the matter—namely, that "the body is more focused than the mind." It is our sub- or preconscious behaviors that inform and inspire his approach to design; insofar as all behaviors are 'learned,' Fukasawa is concerned with those that are not taught. Whereas intution implies a degree of cognition, instinct is the true holy grail of interaction design—subtle but unmistakable cues about how an object is used, as well as its so-called 'fiddle factor.'


Posted by Coroflot  |  19 Mar 2014


Are you ready for a spring season filled with celebration of design thinking and how it impacts successful businesses? The Industrial Designers Society of America announced their annual District Design Conference season with a line up of events that no one should miss. These local and affordable events will cover topics designed to help you meet expanding business demands and take advantage of new opportunities, all while networking and sharing ideas with like-minded design enthusiasts.

To get involved in the IDSA District Design Conferences, here are the important dates and locations:

On April 5th, Denver, CO - The Western District Design Conference: Running with the Bulls will be at the SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown at Metro State.

Also on April 5th, Grand Rapids, MI - The Central District Design Conference: Unfolding Design takes place at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.

On April 12th, Savannah, GA - The Southern District Design Conference: Design: Mind. Body. Soul. is being held at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

On April 26th, Chicago, IL - The Midwest District Design Conference: Industrial Evolution takes place at Lane Tech College Prep High School.

On May 15th, New York, NY - The Northeast District Design Conference: Design it. Build it. Fund it. will be held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

For more information on the conferences, including pricing and why you should attend, check out their FAQs.

Posted by Ray  |   7 Mar 2014  |  Comments (2)


As these things go, Day One of the 2014 Design Indaba Conference was a bit behind schedule from the get-go. Experimental Jetset acknowledged as much in their regimented presentation that morning: after introducing themselves by way of banter, Marieke Stolk, Erwin Brinkers and Danny van den Dungen explained that they'd be spending the rest of their 40-minutes time slot by sharing their influences from A to Z, spending one minute on each topic. Taking the notion of a timed talk to its logical extreme, the Dutch trio went so far as to include 60-second countdown timers on each slide—a nod, perhaps, to their cerebral approach to graphic design.

EJ-ProvoCrouwel.jpgL: Stolk's parents were founding members of the Provo anarchist movement (’65–’67); R: Invitation for Wim Crouwel: Architectures Typographiques

Of course, it didn't play out that way: Stolk clocked in "Anarchy" in exactly 60 seconds, but from "The Beatles" on, it was clear that the concept was a tad overambitious. (On the other hand, when it seemed that one of them would finish earlier than the 60 seconds on a couple of the letters, he or she would knowingly stretch the explanation.) Still, anyone familiar with their work could have guessed what "H" would be: they've been typecast (in a manner of speaking) as strict Helveticists since their memorable turn in Gary Hustwit's 2007 documentary on the ubiquitous typeface. Adherents to this day, van den Dungen duly noted that "We signed our own death sentence... in Helvetica."


Dean Poole, on the other hand, gushed about letterforms as archetypes; the self-effacing New Zealander's presentation which followed lunch on the third and final day of the conference, was rife on wordplay and visual puns, his understated punchlines deadpanned to a tee. Indeed, language and its mode of mechanical representation figure heavily into his work (where Sagmeister turns things into typography, Poole does the opposite) as the founder of Auckland-based studio Alt Group. Hence his rather more rapid 'characterization' of the letters of the alphabet—set in Futura, if I remember correctly—as ideograms, which, when juxtaposed with the Amsterdammers' ABCs, results in a series of non sequiturs:

EJDP-Alphabets.jpgI didn't catch Dean's versions of "P" and "U" and I haven't been able to get in touch with him; leave a comment if you happen to know what they are...


Posted by Ray  |   6 Mar 2014  |  Comments (0)


For those of us who were a bit groggy from that killer combination of jetlag and one nightcap too many, the first speaker on Day Two of the 2014 Design Indaba Conference was a trip, as though he'd clicked the metaphorical spurs of his boots to transport us not to Kansas but a nearby state. Indeed, DJ (née Doyle Jr.) Stout's talk was vaguely dream-like, featuring sobering statistics about the 2011 Texas wildfires, footage of a cattle drive, a Pecos League baseball team... and, of course, cowboy poetry. Somehow, it was the last bit that tied it all together—and to Stout's personal and professional history: A third-generation Texan, he made his name at Texas Monthly—you can see some of his work in their archive—and has been a partner at Pentagram since 2000. Stout has been based in Austin for most of the 30+ years that he's been working as a designer and he's met some interesting people along the way, including musician Graham Reynolds, who kept him company on stage, performing original piano compositions during the moving video interludes.


If Stout's presentation was as earnest as they come, the final speaker of the conference was rather more tongue-in-cheek with his delivery of what might be described as a well-practiced presentation to a full house last Friday. Stefan Sagmeister should need no introduction (at least not according to MC Michael Bierut) and—even if a refresher would have been nice—he did not provide one, instead commenting on an infinitesimally subtle heat pattern on the projector screen before launching into his popular 'Happy Talk.' Sagmeister has apparently been evangelizing (for lack of a better term) on the topic for at least a few years now, and I heard mixed feedback from conference-circuit veterans who knew better than to expect anything new. He acknowledged as much with a wink and a nod during the climactic sing-along portion of the talk, leading the audience in belting out the line "seen it all on"

Stout-Texas.jpgDJ Stout - L: Poster for the Dallas Society of Visual Communications; R: Promotional poster for Sappi

In short, the presentations were polar opposites. Stout shared an honest exploration of heritage and the pride of place; Sagmeister's pseudo-science project is both the product of and the premise for his various modes of self-expression. Stout is certainly more worldly than he let on in his presentation—he lightened the mood with a few one-liners throughout—but the fact that he spoke in his natural voice, which lacks a discernible Texan accent, only underscored the candidness of his talk. Sagmeister, on the other hand, limited the scope of his presentation to the work in the Happy Show—clever, often quotable, and always beautiful, but somewhat lacking in substance: a dose of visual culture for the here and now.

Sagmeister-Bananawall.jpgSagmeister & Walsh, the Happy Show