"During my first year at PoD, I've had the opportunity to be a part of the unofficial birthday committee, known simply as CMMTTEE. We try to do something special and personal for every member of the PoD family's birthdays—the scale of which can be anywhere between extravagant to intimate. This year, these parties have ranged from Escape Rooms to Historical Battle Reenactments, and it's been a rewarding experience to cater each experience to the individual, providing people with a little joy on their birthday."
WithU is a device-app pairing that helps encourage people to "keep working" by projecting a time-delayed live video image of them—"working"—on the wall in front of them. Designed by Ailun Sai, WithU grew out of a desire to increase her perseverance in completing her school work when working alone. Noticing that her motivation was greatly influenced by having others working around her, Ailun wanted to create a device to simulate this experience. The video feed that WithU projects acts as a kind of "mimic"—reminding you how hard you have been working and helping to build self-confidence.
Fear of public speaking is often cited as the most common phobia, outranking even the fear of death. As Jerry Seinfeld famously quipped, “That means that the average person at a funeral would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy!” At the same time, the ability to express oneself clearly and confidently in group settings is highly valued and admired. To confront this dilemma, designer Julia Lindpaintner created an application called Orator: karaoke for public speaking. Conceived as a way to make the art of oration accessible and entertaining, Orator gives people the opportunity to improve their own speaking by imitating great rhetoricians of the past and present.
On March 16th, Bobby Martin visited Products of Design to talk about his work, his life, and his lessons. Bobby is a designer and educator based in New York City, and co-founded the branding and design agency, OCD | The Original Champions of Design. At OCD, he develops brand identity systems for a broad range of clients that include the Friends of the High Line, Girl Scouts of the USA, the National Basketball Association, The New York Times and Nike.
With the intention of blending digital "schedule optimization" with physical "intention-setting," Adagio is a product-mobile app pairing that promotes stress-relieving activities in our busy daily lives. Designed by first year student Jenna Witzleben—previously a dancer—the project was inspired by the lack of dance in her life, and the resulting accumulation of stress. Adagio assists in helping the user form strong habits around stress-relieving activities—all in a mindful and tranquil way.
Michael Kenney's project, the Personal Holodeck, is a corner-of-the-room-sized riff on the Star Trek technology of the same name. Starting with simple, everyday objects including PC fans, essential oils, and a bundle of 1x1 lumber, Kenney was able to create a world-class VR experience for less than $100.
Alumnus Berk Ilhan is in the news once again around one of the products he designed as part of his Masters Thesis last spring. TRT World is a TV channel serving as the international branch of the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation.
Last Friday, the MFA Products of Design department held its third annual Design:Match Job Fair event, where global and local firms and organizations met with students, shared work, and discussed employment, funding, and entrepreneurship! Here's a list of the attendees: 10xBETA, Aruliden, Arup Foresight, The Barbarian Group, Big Spaceship, BREAKFAST, Collins, Common Cents Labs, ECCO, ESI Design, Etsy, Fahrenheit 212, Fjord, frog, Google Creative Lab, Google Research, Huge, IBM Design, IDEO, IDEO.org, Interbrand, ION Design, Johnson & Johnson, Kickstarter, Lippincott, littlebits, Local Projects, Luminary Labs, Method, Normative, Pensa, PepsiCo Design & Innovation, RED ANTLER, R/GA, Sid Lee, Sunny Bates, SYPartners, UNICEF Innovation, ustwo, Veterans Affairs, ?What If!, Yeh Ideology.
"In preparation for this year’s event, I wanted to lead off each of my interviews highlighting my Sketchnoting. This has become a strong tool for me during my time in grad school— for documenting guest lectures, in-class discussions, or artifact presentations with my classmates. For me, sketchnoting has always been the best way to retain the dense amounts of information coming my way, and I wanted to illustrate how much I “think with my hands”...
Video Storytelling is a first-year course that introduces film as a powerful design tool and medium. Over the course of five weeks, students take their projects from initial script through storyboarding, pre-production, filming, and editing, culminating in an Oscar Night film premiere and award ceremony. The course not only offers the opportunity to take an existing project to the next level, but also equips students with the confidence to make video a more integral part of their design process.
In the past few years, Alexander Osterwalder’s (and co-authors’) Business Model Canvas has become a ubiquitous tool among product designers, entrepreneurs, and business strategists of all stripes. As part of a class at SVA’s Products of Design called “Business Structures”—a course about business itself as a language and a design medium—we experimented with reimagining the canvas.
As of August 2015, more than 293,000 people had made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe, fleeing from war, conflict and persecution. Countries like Turkey and Greece, still reeling from domestic crises of their own, were faced with thousands of migrants seeking refuge. Slow to react, local and national governments debated and negotiated, but citizens of these countries began to take action, offering shelter, food, and clothes to the otherwise resourceless refugees. This extraordinary hospitality displayed by ordinary citizens inspired designers Tahnee Pantig, Roya Ramezani and Lijia Yang to create Plus, a global symbol of support for the European migrant crisis.
On February 3rd, Products of Design welcomed Natasha Jen, the award-winning designer and the youngest partner at Pentagram. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, she joined Pentagram's New York office as partner in 2012. Natasha's work is recognized for its innovative use of graphic, digital, and spatial interventions that challenge conventional notions of media and cultural contexts, and the talk focused on some of her recent work and thoughts about the practice of design.
Designed by 2nd year students Judy Chi, Marianna Mezhibovskaya, and Belen Tenorio, Link is a smart key ring that gives travelers access to an app with a personalized digital guidebook. Link is targeted to the members of Couchsurfing,—an international traveling community of 5.5 million people who connect through the website’s online platform and app. In addition to having a free couch to crash on, travelers, or “surfers”, also have a chance to see a city through the eyes of their host.
In China, the knowledge of food as medicine has been passed down through the generations. It is a common sense that we could use it to treat ourselves in our daily diet, especially when we combine food with spices. "For example, when the weather is getting cold, my mom always makes ginger soup for me to prevent a cold," offers Ailun Sai, designer of "The Spice of Life" project. "When I had the problem of hair loss, she made me a black bean and sesame porridge for a month and it got better." These experiences made a big impression on Sai, and she wondered about the secrets behind those foods, using her studies at Products of Design to delve deeper.
"Cavities" is a series of prototypes in response to a design brief around creating a book on the theme of “containers.” (The title of the series is a play on words between a kind of container and a kind of oral hygiene consequence!) In the book, different fruits and vegetables are featured in portrait—each revealing a sweet center or sweet surrounding.
Equal Parts is a website and community of artists and activists committed to actuating social change through public art activism. The project stems from goals to build a community for female graffiti artists and to increase awareness of the additional challenges female graffiti artists face. Designers Andrea Cameron, Gahee Kang, Cody Pfleging, Karen Vellensky, and Jenna Witzleben created the website through an intersectional feminist lens. Thus, the website features artwork, information, and ways to take action in your own community, within the feminist movement as well as many other progressive social causes. Equal Parts embraces the interdependent nature and need for solidarity in all social justice efforts.
As urban populations grow, camping, hiking, and backpacking are losing popularity. The number of visitors at national parks—once great vacation attractions—has stagnated. Among the American youth, the number is in steady decline. Jonathan Lung, ZiYun Qi, and Chelsea Stewart created the speculative brand “Flint” to support the burgeoning “Rewilding” movement, which seeks to build an appreciation for wilderness and reinvigorate the pursuit of outdoor adventure. The designers saw fire-starting—a basic but indispensable skill—as both a strategic and symbolic place to begin. Their debut product, FLINT, is an innovative fire piston that intends to ignite a relationship with the outdoors.
Gratitude is the key to happiness. Though this may be age-old wisdom, it has lately been in the news everywhere from Brainpickings to The New York Times. But incorporating a gratitude practice part of your daily routine is easier said than done. A firm believer in cultivating gratitude, designer Gahee Kang has created a smart lamp to support this habit. “Good Night Lamp” will only turn off once you’ve completed an entry in your gratitude journal, thereby encouraging you to end your day by reflecting and writing a note of appreciation before going to sleep.
Outfit Forecaster, designed by first-year student Cody Fleging, is a display that indicates to the user what articles of clothing are appropriate for that day's weather. It pulls weather data from the internet and outputs that data in the form of LEDs that backlight graphics of clothing.
Inaugural Class of 2014 alum Kathryn McElroy, design lead on IBM’s Watson team, sat down with Mary Tressler of the O'Reilly Radar podcast last week to talk about design, process, and her experience in the Products of Design program. (Kathryn will also be speaking at O’Reilly’s inaugural Design Conference in January, and is busy at work on an upcoming book.) In the episode, Kathryn and Mary talk about "prototyping for digital and physical," design and diversity, and what it’s like to work at IBM.
Although crying is a healthy, natural, and ancient way of expressing and processing both positive and negative emotions, modern society often regards tears as a sign of weakness and vulnerability, particularly in women. Clamor, a speculative new beauty brand conceived by designers Panisa Khunprasert and Louise-Anne van ’t Riet, seeks to restore dignity to tears with a line of ‘after-cry’ products that empowers women to embrace the catharsis of crying without shame or fear.
PillOVO is an interactive Drake pillow inspired by the artist’s emergent influence on pop culture. Hug, pat, or stroke Drake and he will play comforting samples from his many hits including Hotline Bling, Marvin’s Room, and Best I Ever Had. Leave drake alone for more than 30 minutes at a time and he’ll play angry samples to try and get you to embrace him.
In response to the effects of global climate change, Fugly Pickles is a business, created by designers Eden Lew, Jon Lung, Ziyun Qi and Roya Ramezani, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by removing perfectly edible discarded food from landfills, which contributes to 16% of U.S. methane emissions a year.
“At first, it was hard for us to relate to our target audience," comments Souvik. "But we quickly realized that underneath the sometimes strange behavior of denimheads—whether that was soaking their jeans in the bathtub in lieu of washing it in the washing machine to avoid losing too much indigo dye in their jeans, or participating in denim world tours where jeans would be sent around the world to be worn by different denimheads for a month at a time—there was an underlying theme of commitment to sustainability and authenticity...values that we could very much relate to.”
Nico is a 360-degree camera toy companion that provides children with an entry point to the digital world—allowing them to remain firmly anchored to the real world by engaging their sense of adventure and imagination...and encouraging them to go outside!
After several years in Philadelphia, where street-level wind tunnels are famous for tearing apart umbrellas during rainstorms, designer Alexa Forney wondered why we weren't making better use of the brute forces unleashed by the weather. Aiming to change the way we visualize wind energy, she developed Breezefinder, a citizen science tool to help locate where wind energy is underutilized.