“ok, glass”

Google glass with "ok, glass.." superimposed

Google glass with "ok, glass.." superimposedThe original Google Glass announcement left me stunned. I had never seen anything like it before. To me, it was one of the only product announcements that has come close to the unveiling of the iPhone in 2007.

Just like back then, it was a moment so exciting that I couldn’t resist telling everyone I knew about it. Sure, the Project Glass concept video that was released in April 2012 was exciting, but to see the product become a reality was something else entirely.

Google Glass is not the evolution of the Smartphone. It’s an entirely new product that’s in a class of it’s own. Glass’ purpose is to enhance the world around us, not distract us from it. It augments our reality, bringing the physical and the digital together in perfect harmony. It’s there when we need it and it’s invisible when we don’t.

Everyone I’ve showed it to tells me the same thing. They tell me “It’s like something from the future”. I agree with them. Google Glass is years ahead of its time, but to me it just means that the future is already here, and it’s a future that’s made of Glass.

“ok glass, how’s my run going?”
Google Glass - Running
Tap Glass for more information.
Google Glass - Run History
Tap Glass again to share your achievement with your friends.
Google Glass - Share Run

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Where Design is Going, and How to be There

Cheryl Heller

Cheryl HellerInsightful article by design pundit Cheryl Heller about past trends in design and other creative practices/industries, and future trends based on that experience. Her main point is that designers, increasingly, will need to be generalists: able to communicate to clients and customers using many aspects of themselves.

Design, like almost every industry, has been changed forever by technology, global access and social innovation. It’s time to interpret the evidence around us—there are lessons to be learned, and new types of talent required to thrive.

In the mid ’90s, I was executive creative director at Siegel & Gale when Kodak’s professional products division asked us to help sort out some misguided branding on one of its global film products. They were confident that fixing their marquee brand was the key to fixing their business, but in reality, they were caught in a technological upheaval far more disruptive than any product turnaround could fix. Technology, some of it of their own making, was undermining their entire market, closing the gap between professionals and amateurs and engendering a movement of hobbyists who took over the business of making images.

Average, “amateur” folks replaced professionals because advanced products automatically gave them new abilities. The security and confidence expected by and for professionals was eroding, impacting the entire ecosystem of the imaging world. Today, everyone with a phone is a photographer. The sea change is well underway, and Kodak’s dominance is hardly a memory.

Similar shifts are everywhere. Academic institutions offer curriculum online, experimenting with new platforms for learning, potentially competing with their own traditional offerings. Businesses are transformed by social media and the transparency it brings, shifting power from their own empires to their customers’. Citizen journalists create content more popular than traditional news sources, amateur filmmakers become stars, maker fairs attract multitudes who do their own manufacturing, publishing no longer needs publishers, augmented reality will soon make it possible for everybody to design their own worlds and people who just like to cook are setting up stalls and selling food—professionally.

Other consequences result from this: With greater freedom to express themselves, citizens declare their values. A multitude of platforms make it seamless to speak, and to act on, beliefs. One outcome is the outpouring of extremists, and the tools and information that become instruments of violence. The greater outcome, though, is the hopeful one. Whether it’s called giving back, social impact, social entrepreneurship, social enterprise or the generically plaintive “change the world,” social innovation has become an unstoppable dynamic, which the visionary writer Paul Hawkins called the “greatest movement on earth.”

And design? It’s smack in the middle, as a practice transformed by technology in much the same way Kodak was, and disrupted by the transformation of every industry it touches. Yet design has deep potential to contribute to society as a way of voicing long-held values that honor nature, equity and justice.

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Article by Cheryl Heller on www.aiga.org. AIGA is the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of HOW magazine, a bi-monthly publication dedicated to serving the graphic and web design community. Cheryl Heller is the National Director of the AIGA Social Innovation, Leadership and Entrepreneurship for Designers Program, a learning initiative that augments professional designers’ skills through exposure and insider insights into the best practices in social innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and change management.

If you want to see the future of software UI design, look to the history of print design

Interaction Design collage

This interesting article from bjango.com posits that stylistic design choices follow from the limitations of their hardware or production:

Interaction Design collageLike many trends in technical areas, interaction design is being led by technical ability.

8bit games looked 8bit-y, because of limited colour palettes and giant pixels. 16bit games looked 16bit-y because of better colour abilities and slightly smaller pixels than their 8bit counterparts. Newer games look newer, because GPU hardware developed to the point where full 3D games were possible. These aren’t stylistic choices, they’re hardware limitations, dictating how software looks.

In the same respect, print design has limitations to work with. Most body copy in print design is black, because of hardware abilities — black is one of the four printing plates, so it can be reproduced at high quality, with sharp, fine lines needed for text. Back off a little to a mid-grey and the quality drops significantly, because you’re still using black to print, but you’re building mid-grey from a dither pattern of small black dots on white paper. It’s a trick. There is no mid-grey, only black or white. And because of this, smallish text printed as mid-grey looks horrible (please note that I’m talking about typical four colour CMYK offset printing, not the use of special colours).

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