It costs absolutely the same amount of money to make a car look ugly as it does to make it look beautiful.
Regarding the McLaren design language:
…it’s not coming from just aesthetics. It’s very easy to design a sexy car; a dramatic looking car. That’s not what design, for me, is all about. It’s more about doing efficient design that has a reason for being.
Diagrams. Charts, graphs, and maps. Nearly everyone on a product team makes them yet few of them are great. How do you make them better? As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of fundamentals and this video by Virtual Beauty brilliantly communicates the fundamentals of diagrams:
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It isn’t often I see something so interesting applied to something as mundane as fasteners. If you’re using this technology in a specific application let me know at design (at) formlovesfunction.com
We’re not talking about that Android phone, Windows phone, or iPhone in your pocket. This 1947 video from Bell Telephone Systems shows all the pieces of a 300 Series phone, designed by Henry Dreyfuss, coming together. If “Tommy Telephone” annoys you the way he annoyed me, skip ahead to about the 3:15 mark when the phone parts make their appearance.
It’s interesting to see not only the parts, their geometry and how they fit together, but also the materials used. Not surprising to see copper, nickel, and gold on the list. The lead surprised me for the moment before I realized the product was designed in the 1930′s. Wax, leather, linen, cotton? Yes.
Seeing all the pieces of such an iconic, ubiquitous product come together reinforces the great respect I have for early industrial designers.
Josh Mings of Solidsmack and Adam O’Hern of CadJunkie.com have been getting together every week and choppin’ it up over some design and engineering topics, tips, tricks, interviews with special guests, recording it, and publishing the conversation as “Engineer vs. Designer.” Episode 7 airs today with a little insight into the philosophy behind Form Loves Function along with their usual industry news, tips, and tricks. Check it out at http://evd1.tv/
Back before nearly every piece of manufacturing equipment shipped with computers and motors, automated equipment was driven by cams; mechanical cams not “Computer Aided Machining.” I saw such a machine when I was a young man. Remembering how impressed I was watching this machine execute a dozen or so movements all driven by a single cam shaft with multiple cams, I set out on a video search for footage of such machines. After way too many hours this is the best I could find. It’s footage of a vintage multi-spindle lathe from a now-defunct machine shop in the UK.
It might not be as exciting as watching a 5-axis machine cut a motocross helmet from a block of aluminum, but at about 90 seconds in you can see one of the cam shafts driving some movement. There is a good overview shot at about 2:01 and an interesting close-up on about 5 axes of movement at about the 2:30 mark. There are 7:15 minutes altogether with footage of a few machines.
The equipment may be a bit different, but the process fundamentals are mostly the same. This vintage 1938 film takes you on the journey from ore to industrial steel with a lot of furnaces along the way.
Details on the product design and build process are rarely presented in the comprehensive, concise fashion of this video from John Cox’s Creature Workshop. Sure, he’s building limited run sculptures for the entertainment industry but the process of sculpting, scanning, processing, machining, and assembling is common to many design industries. Plus, I love seeing practical applications of 5-axis CNC machining.
Photographer Todd McLellan takes the product take-apart to a new level by artistically arranging the parts and photographing them, then photographing the parts, presumably, being tossed into the air.
The products he takes apart are a few technological generations old but it is still insightful to see how they look on the inside and marvel at the complexity. Younger engineers will be amazed at the level of detail achievable in the pre-CAD era.
More at http://www.toddmclellan.com/; click the “New Work” link on the left and have a look at the video of the deconstruction and photography process.
It’s a classic that you have probably seen before and here it is again for quick and easy reference:
Good design is innovative
The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
Good design makes a product useful
A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasises the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
Good design is aesthetic
The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
Good design makes a product understandable
It clarifies the productâ€™s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.
Good design is unobtrusive
Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the userâ€™s self-expression.
Good design is honest
It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
Good design is long-lasting
It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years â€“ even in todayâ€™s throwaway society.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail
Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
Good design is environmentally friendly
Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
Good design is as little design as possible
Less, but better â€“ because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials.
You make beautiful things that people love and need, physical and digital, and you want to learn more about how others do the same. You sweat the small stuff; fractions of millimeters, pixels that most don’t know exist. You know these details define the beauty of your work. You’re here to find out how other people make beautiful things and to talk about how you do the same. Welcome to Form Loves Function.