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Guest csven

Is Unreasonable Design Arrogance Hurting The Profession?

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Guest csven

And another relevant link: Wired "Manufacture and Sell Anything — in Minutes" (Link)

Wegesin, a Web designer, sells the tables through the site for $250, not including shipping. He then pays Ponoko $124 for each table to cover the cost of materials and cutting fees. The $252 he's brought in so far may not be much, but because he incurred no up-front costs it comes as pure profit.

 

Also

The digital economy isn't just digital; the same market forces that allowed midlist musicians to make a living distributing their songs online...
... also means that designers are subject to the same problems: file "sharing". If you're an independent, you have to ask: How much do I trust the company to whom I'm sending my 3D files for fabrication? There are stories on CGTalk of digital poster artists finding illegal duplicates of their posters on the market; printed and sold by employees at the print services where they send their work.

 

The "sharing" behavior some people here seem to think is okay, won't feel so okay when it's their product design being passed around and uploaded for fabrication by someone else; data that's either converted to 3D from pictures they've posted in their online portfolio (perhaps generated automatically using Make3D), scanned using one of the increasingly cheap 3D scanning devices, or simply lifted out of the memory of the 3D printer (remember the scene in "Johnny Mnemonic"?).

 

If you don't know why Threadless is such a good idea, or why ZapFab could be a problem, you really need to get up to speed.

 

So again, why is the profession seemingly so out of touch with this stuff? Why is there so little online discussion of these things? Do designers just not want to know? Or do they all believe that because they're "professional" they'll somehow be immune?

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Guest csven

Near Future Laboratory blog: "What You Model Is What You Get — Some Design Notes" (Link)

 

"As computers allow us all to work beyond the page, we

will no doubt see a similar expansion and devaluation of industrial design

clusters as Glaser noted of graphic design. In other words, just as PostScript

printing software brought us WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), a

three-dimensional era of WYMIWYM (what you model is what you

manufacture) will soon be upon us."

 

I'd also recommend the "Phase Three" reports on the Intuit Future of Small Business site (Link). The Mass Customization blog has posted a few entries on them and they're worth a read for those serious about this topic. Which again has me wondering: Why do so few IDers seem to care?

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Porro is not my alt.

 

-

 

@Porro - Question: as a design manager, what impression do you get from the designers working for you? Are they similarly enthusiastic, or do they still think of the tech as just a tool for solving design problems (some of which are doubtlessly inherited when referencing previous design solutions)?

 

Most of the time they are, and technology is still seen as a tool. I've recently spoked to my team and discussed the fact they need to understand WHY they are working this phase in sketch/2d/3d etc. And what is the value of doing so. The next step is what more can you do with the tools.

 

This pushing to the edge, and going beyond is IMHO the thing the differentiates the great from the good.

 

Those are great links, BTW, it is not easy to understand where we are moving to, and those links help. Personally if they can just drop a "seed" in the mind of the extent of what the technology can do, the job is done.

 

Here is another thought about second life and virtual worlds. Why don't people design worlds that defy the laws of physics and gravity? Chairs still look like chairs, and people still look like people abet some with crazy outfits though. The opportunity is there but people dont venture much further than coming out of their shell and being something they are no in real life.

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Guest csven
Here is another thought about second life and virtual worlds. Why don't people design worlds that defy the laws of physics and gravity? Chairs still look like chairs, and people still look like people abet some with crazy outfits though. The opportunity is there but people dont venture much further than coming out of their shell and being something they are no in real life.
I think I can answer your question with two links.

 

- My response to a similar observation made a few years ago: "SoP Architecture Panel Discussion" (Link)

- Architects exploring the real world design potentials for virtual worlds: Wikitecture (Link)

 

As to the people looking mostly like people, that's very much a restriction of the base avatar/skeleton imposed on users by the developers.

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Thanks for the "manufacture in minutes" link, really good stuff. I think more people in our field aren't up to date with this is because big companies still have millions invested in tools for mass production using the same industrial revolution mindset. Consultancies main business model is selling ideas to the big companies so the end result still uses the same old big company tactics. Also, for most, once they're working it's more of going through the day to day routine with little time to investigate, they get behind on new developments. It's almost like you get caught in your company bubble due to the small amount of time left for exploration. I'd even think kids in school would probably be more up to date on these things. I know it happened to me. I went into stasis for 5 yrs out of school working comfortably and then realized that I hadn't made much new progress since graduating.

During work you don't always get a chance to do as much research and exploration as you should and when going up against constant deadlines, everyone just goes with what they know.

I think this is definitely something that having a smaller 1-5 person group has over the big guys. The ability and mindset to look into new tactics like this. Also smaller groups have more of the mentality of creating smaller run, intimate designs as opposed to big business which has the mentality of producing generic designs that can appeal to the most numbers.

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Guest csven

@skinny

 

Glad the link was of interest.

 

I understand what you're saying about people getting behind on the latest technology developments due to work and all, but that's partly what I don't get. With the Web, it's not difficult to stay informed. I know from experience that "busy" designers still find time to surf the Net (e.g. eating lunch in front of the PC and watching VideoSift or College Humor videos or whatever), so I'm not quite buying it. A couple of hours a month would suffice. Seems to me it's more a lack of interest than anything else.

 

To some degree I really do wonder how much this behavior has to do with a fear of business. I'll admit that practical business matters (accounting, loans, legalities, insurance, etc) are my weak point. I'd rather CAD 72 hours straight than spend a few hours doing the books. I suspect I'm not alone in this.

 

Rapid manufacturing represents a kind of (business) independence, and I wonder if IDers are generally not of an independent mindset; predisposed to being a cog in the corporate industrial machine and not independent business people.

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Guest csven

Well, wish I'd read this earlier: "You Weren't Meant to Have a Boss" (Link)

 

The guys on the scavenger hunt looked like the programmers I was used to, but they were employees instead of founders. And it was startling how different they seemed.

...

I think it's not so much that there's something special about founders as that there's something missing in the lives of employees. I think startup founders, though statistically outliers, are actually living in a way that's more natural for humans.

...

If you're not allowed to implement new ideas, you stop having them. And vice versa: when you can do whatever you want, you have more ideas about what to do.

Provocative. And it seems somehow related to what I was getting at in my last post. Something to consider, I suppose.

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Guest rnds

This is a very interesting thread :thumbsup:

 

I do wonder how much potential mass-customization really does have. We live in a culture where instant recognition is more valued than individuality. The consumer-market has become obsessed with design cachet ...and always looking for new "icons" -- the latest thing to own and be seen with. Customization does not offer the same "tribal" status in the contemporary culture.

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Guest Jay08

Wow...a lot of text..i ll be honest i didnt read most of it but the topic is pretty interesting..Something worth reading to put things into perspective especially for students and new graduates.

 

'Designers are Wankers' Lee McCormack

 

A book describing design attitudes and processes in the profession and an insight into the design process for the 'Oculas!'

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Guest simpson

Hi, nice topic, i just read all of the text here and a couple of links mentioned above.

 

From "Fabbing: A Primer for Guerilla Design Strategies": LINK

Furthermore every design or project is now viewed as a business entity. Careful consideration, planning and marketing is done for each design project to ensure that the ROI (Return of Investment) is high and very likely.

 

Unless this changes, we won't be having the freedom mentioned in the article above very soon, or we'll have it constrained in some way, that is beneficial for the "business" world. Even though I don't have a problem with people starting fabbing stuff by themselves i can see other issues that would occur if the society didn't change it's mindset (evolve?) by the time this becomes available.

 

Back to the main topic guess:

Personally, I didn't have an RP machine (or any other manufacturing machine... or even 3D design software) when I went to school. But we did have classes on manufacturing processes and took a few field trips. And I was aware through my reading and internships of 3D software. My point here isn't expertise, but a perceived lack of discourse regarding these things.

I agree that the lack of knowledge isn't a schools' problem in this case, but it plays a major role in the preparation of a designer that is supposed to represent that school in the future, so it should be interested to ensuring that the best and foremost the newest information reaches a young mind. (i've had old architects teaching ID dismiss my ideas because the tech. that i was suggesting was only in the research phase right about now... talk about support and encouragement to be interested in NEW and EMERGING technologies...)

Oh, and the main reason for the lack of discussion around is apathy, shluggishness (is that even a word?), laziness and all those fine words that i won't be able to pronounce :P

p.s. sorry for the typos.

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Guest csven

@simpson

 

I believe we're already seeing a change in "business world" practices. Not so much within the realm of tangible goods, but within the music and film industry which is where we should be taking cues, afaic.

 

Personally, I don't believe there is any real need for independents to concern themselves too much with corporate practices; not if they're happy to just make a living. There's no reason an (Industrial) Designer can't operate more like an artist; and I expect plenty will do just that. I also expect we'll hear more stories about Designers getting commissions, musicians raising micro-investment funds to make their music, reputation-based exchange systems and plenty of other relatively novel approaches.

 

I've also been championing an idea called "true reverse product placement" which is the path I'm pursuing.

 

I assume the other issues you mention involve intellectual property or liability. Concerns, to be sure, but hopefully not show-stoppers. Or are you referring to something else?

 

-

 

"apathy, shluggishness (is that even a word?), laziness and all those fine words that i won't be able to pronounce"

 

Glad you used those words and not me.

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Guest csven
I do wonder how much potential mass-customization really does have. We live in a culture where instant recognition is more valued than individuality.
I recall reading that the trend is increasingly toward individual expression. Can you provide sources for this assertion? Thanks.

 

The consumer-market has become obsessed with design cachet ...and always looking for new "icons" -- the latest thing to own and be seen with.
Why the concern over the broader "consumer market" when the advertising/marketing community is desperately trying to figure out how to deal with "niche markets"? If you've been following the social media scene and the U.S. advertising industry, you're aware they've largely lost control over delivering their message to the masses (i.e. television advertising is tanking). While I've not read Ad Age recently, the last few years was mostly a repetitive lament "What are we going to do? What are we going to do?" (it was entertaining for a while, I'll admit)

 

The market is already fragmenting. I'd venture the industry still holding onto the idea of a homogeneous market are manufacturers, but even they're starting to move into customization. Nike has been pursuing the idea now for something like eight years. Cell phone "skins" have been around almost as long. And while Steelcase has an odd take on the idea (I asked them - Link), they're conscious of the trend (important to note considering many of the ideas for "customization" and "mashup" are now coming from the Internet, and they freely admit to being followers and not leaders when it comes to the Internet).

 

Customization does not offer the same "tribal" status in the contemporary culture.
Make your case. I'd be curious to hear your proof of this argument.

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Guest rnds

I agree there is a trend toward individual expression ...but my point is, I believe there is a limit to just how much the majority of consumers really desire total customization. I seriously doubt many people want full customization of household appliances like vacuum cleaners or microwave ovens (apart from colour choices etc). As someone already noted, how often does anybody change the faceplate of their cellphone once the novelty of that feature has worn off? I realize that some niche markets might be willing to spend time obsessing over, and downloading, customized ringtones, but surely most people have far more important things to do.

 

Why the concern over the broader "consumer market" when the advertising/marketing community is desperately trying to figure out how to deal with "niche markets"?
lol ...I'm not concerned, I do agree that some niche markets will fully embrace the opportunity to customize consumer products ...I just interpret this trend as being something more akin to what Fiat offers with their 500 model: a product that does offer a relatively high level of "customization" ...but the options available are the carefully stylized result of lifestyle and market analysis with the overriding stamp of Fiat's corporate identity. Is this true customization? ...I guess it is a form of customizing. :P

 

 

Make your case. I'd be curious to hear your proof of this argument.
Well I'm not really arguing, but I am finding it difficult to imagine that a big brand that has spent billions establishing a strong corporate identity will then allow consumers carte blanche to completely reshape the product/brand. Nike, for example, already gives consumers the power to customize its shoes ...but the integrity of the brand is still carefully guarded. Also, with the obvious "tribal" aspect of brands like Nike (which Nike fully instigates), most consumers are unlikely to want to obscure the corporate identity of the brand with very idiosyncratic customizing. It is just a thought.

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Guest csven
I agree there is a trend toward individual expression ...but my point is, I believe there is a limit to just how much the majority of consumers really desire total customization. I seriously doubt many people want full customization...
First, you sidestepped the question. You said, "We live in a culture where instant recognition is more valued than individuality." I was asking for supporting evidence of this comparison: instant recognition > individuality. Do you have evidence of this, or is this a personal observation? I'm just curious to see the source. Nothing more.

 

Second, you're using qualifiers which I don't believe I've used: "total" and "full". I don't recall claiming that a majority of consumers wanted "total customization". I merely said they wanted customizable products. And that doesn't even necessarily mean all products.

 

Furthermore, I have to assume there will be varying degrees of allowable customization dependent, for example, on product architecture. After all, there are still practical issues with which to deal, such as product functionality, liability, aso.

 

-

 

I just interpret this trend as being something more akin to what Fiat offers with their 500 model: a product that does offer a relatively high level of "customization" ...but the options available are the carefully stylized result of lifestyle and market analysis with the overriding stamp of Fiat's corporate identity. Is this true customization? ...I guess it is a form of customizing.
Yes. It is a form of customization; a controlled form. And just as with allowing consumers to generate videos using their original content (e.g. Doritos and Chevy Tahoe commercials), there's serious reluctance to give up control. Doritos turned out well. Chevy Tahoe turned out terrible imo... for Chevy.

 

Thing is, the current customization trend (e.g. Open Prosthetics, OpenMoko, Ikea Hacks, Bug Labs, Make:, aso ) isn't being driven by corporations, but by end users. That's what's new. And for the most part, corporations don't really want to support it because they lose some control. And losing any control is the one thing most corporations desperately don't want.

 

Same applies to the music and film industry. Solutions proposed to them years ago suddenly look a lot better now that they're essentially losing all control. That happens because people with power don't want to give it up. And heads of corporations aren't used to giving in to the unwashed masses. With rapid manufacturing technology, the same kinds of issues facing digital media today potentially make their way to manufacturing. Not all manufacturing necessarily. But enough.

 

-

 

Well I'm not really arguing, but I am finding it difficult to imagine that a big brand that has spent billions establishing a strong corporate identity will then allow consumers carte blanche to completely reshape the product/brand. Nike, for example, already gives consumers the power to customize its shoes ...but the integrity of the brand is still carefully guarded. Also, with the obvious "tribal" aspect of brands like Nike (which Nike fully instigates), most consumers are unlikely to want to obscure the corporate identity of the brand with very idiosyncratic customizing. It is just a thought.
Not "argument" in that sense; in the good debate sense; and "proof" in the academic sense. In other words, I'm willing to be swayed.

 

As to the rest, see the above. Then ask who is likely to win a tug-of-war: the consumer or an entrenched corporation? (Most consumers today are unlikely...)

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