Thursday, 18 February 2016

When Big Corporations Have a Sense of Humor

Hollands biggest department store, sells everything your house-hold can desire. From cups to umbrellas, to electronics –it's Hollands equivalent to a Wal-Mart, or K-Mart. The only difference is that HEMA has a sense of humor, and Wal-Mart and K-Mart obviously don't.

Wal-Mart has this incredibly predictable site, with the boring flash marquees with more of the same unimaginative copy and stock photography of "happy people" and the rip-off Apple mirror effect for their product photography. It's a fad Apple started, and sites like this were quick to copy (I'm sure Photoshop will come out with a quick mirror effect soon). To be honest Wal-Mart's site is really not even worth a rant, since the site is so unmemorable and ordinary.
That's not what this entry is about though. This entry is about HEMA's site, and what can happen when a company doesn't take itself too seriously, doesn't follow other site's fads, and ends up making the experience of going to their site a little more memorable.

Take a look for yourself!

A Very Disillusioned Philippe Starck

The German magazine Die Zeit recently published a very interesting interview with famous french designer Philippe Starck on the heels of his much quoted speech at the TED conference last year. In it he proclaims that his sort of design – is dead. Not only does he say it's dead, he actually feels ashamed for being a producer of materiality, and is pondering retirement for a life with more meaning.

For all young start-up designers out there, being Philippe Starck, or becoming the Philippe Starck of the 21st century sounds like a beautiful dream. He's famous, he's wealthy, his tastes are trusted and sought out, he's designed some of the most beautiful, interesting and simple objects. He's designed for Microsoft, Aprilia and Target. He's published, he's quoted, his speaking fees are astronomical... He's done it all.

But... Is that enough nowadays? We are now in the midst of a backlash against excessive and unnecessary design, and the interesting thing is that it is mostly coming from the design world itself. Designers are starting to realize that their jobs are, well, unnecessary. We are tired of ourselves. Tired of creating useless things that will pollute our planet, tired of selling lies so some giant company can become even richer. We're tired of intentionally confusing consumers, and purposefully distracting them with shiny colors, eye-candy and slogans.

Designers seem to be looking for meaning. They are trying to make the word design less synonymous with websites and products, and more synonymous with innovation and ideas. Ideas that will help society, organize poorly designed experiences, inform consumers properly, and give the people the tools they need to create their own experiences.

If even Philippe Starck can't find meaning in his job anymore, it's time to re-think what design really means, and how we can use it for good.

Bruce Sterling Interview on DesignBoom

When I was working on the "a day in the life of a designer's smart things, 2030" project, I had the pleasure of getting some insight and advice from Bruce Sterling. When we got a little stuck halfway through the writing process he offered his thoughts on how the storyline could evolve.
The story in the diagram takes place in the year 2030, so who better to ask about the future than the man who's been writing design fiction for decades? As I'm sure he's a very busy man, I was amazed that he took an interest to our project at all. And that makes Bruce Sterling pretty cool in my book.
If you've seen our 2030 diagram, and you're not sure who Bruce Sterling is, take a moment to read his interview at DesignBoom, you'll immediately understand why his work served as an inspiration for the piece.

Truth in Infographics

At work we keep a private posting area/blog for us to post interesting design work we've found somewhere else as inspiration, or just for a laugh. I have been wanting it to be public, but I guess the power's that be are nervous about some of our clients seeing the content or something. Nothing earth shattering has ever been posted, but I did want to share this funny chain of events between 2 of our Art Directors.

First, Brian posted an infographic he found about Obama's inventive campaign money raising:

No Small Change

Check Sam Clean Cleaning company.

You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star - Nitzsche

Well, it's been a hectic time between the beginning of December to now. It seems that chaos has been following me and my family for at least a month. On Friday's Joan of Arcadia, it was exactly about chaos and mayhem, and how sometimes it may seem that everything is going to he** in a hand basket, but in the end it begins to make sense. And that life is not without it's turmoils.

To begin with in December my daughter was diagnosed with clinical depression, and hospitalized. She is now coming out of it, with the help of therapy, and medication, but it has made things exciting to say the least.

Secondly, I sold a car for $100.00 in August of last year, and in December received a bill of from the City of San Francisco for $2000.00 in parking tickets. Needless to say, the idiot I sold it to, never registered it, and left it parked on city streets, and it ended up getting towed, and sold at auction.

And finally, to top it all off, I have a small house with only three bedrooms and five people living here. Well, on New Years, my son's girlfriend's mother threw her out of the house, and since I could not very well let her live on the streets, we now have 6 people living in our home. And not to say that this doesn't come with it's own complications since she is my son's girlfriend.

And so it seem my life was unraveling, but as of this week, things are beginning to turn around. My daughter is doing extremely well, and getting on with her life, which we are very grateful for. I finally tracked someone down in the City of San Francisco, who said, yes, I had notified DMV of the sale of the vehicle, and that the $2000.00 bill was not my problem. And despite the close quarters, and such with having a fourth child now, everyone in the family is adjusting and pitching in to make things work out.

On to my knitting, the Otis sweater is almost done, and with this being a holiday weekend, and having Monday off, I just may finish it. My husband has asked for a beanie knit from the alpaca roving I got for Christmas, and so, I think I will spin some up to fulfill this request. It isn't often that I get a request for a knitted item from people.

So off to finish the first sleeve of Otis....

Harlequin Cap

I just finished washing the Alpaca which I spun and plied this week, and it's hanging to dry. It turned out quite beautiful if I say so myself! Hopefully tomorrow it will be dry and I will wind it up and begin hubby's beanie. I will be using the Harlequin Cap from the Elann site. It is actually a double knit hat, but I might only make it single as Alpaca is so warm it might be too hot for him. But then maybe not since he doesn't have much hair anyway!

I still need to finis the sleeves for the Otis sweater for my daughter. It's so close, yet so far...

This week almost everyone in the office came in with a cold, sneezing and coughing and passing all their germs around. Well, guess what?! Today, I feel like crap. Wouldn't you know it, I get on the weekend. It really pisses me off when people can't just stay home when their contagious.

I must admit I felt a bit of irony when I read the headlines on Google News the other day "Bush Sworn in, Vows to end Tyranny". My first thought was what an oxymoron!

Well, I am going to go lay down and hope that this cold doesn't decide to settle in my back like they usually do. If I am feeling better later, I will probably go to the local LYS to see if they have a swift and yarn winder. I really do need these things. My kid's arms get real tired after me winding 380 yards of spun yarn....


This morning I checked the alpaca, and it is almost dry. I am so excited about knitting with this yarn. I will try to post a picture later, but I am having network problems and might not be able to.

I can't believe how addicted I have become to having constant network connections. I know spoiled.

Random Acts of Kindness

I belong to a wonderful group of people who perform RAOK or Random Acts of Kindness. This is to me such a wonderful idea and should be spread around the world. However, it is obvious that Colorado just doesnt' get this: Colorado Teens Fined for Giving Cookies to Neighbor