Design Design Viewpoints

Design says it all for me

Design says it all for me

The design gallery space in our Morrisville headquarters building has been a great improvement over any space I've ever used for displaying and presenting design. When I think back to some of the space we had at IBM, it makes me wince in pain. I wrote a blog about the design of the gallery, and our entire studio space quite some time ago. Every morning when I walk through the space on the way to my office it makes me smile. It feels like a modernist art gallery just outfitted with the latest work to tantalize the mind. One thing, however, never really made me happy about the space. The wall that screens your view into the space is necessary, we don't want a passerby to get a glimpse of the secret designs we are working on, but it was also rather blank. It needed something. If you were to enter a Picasso sculpture exhibit there would likely be a screening wall was as well, but it would say something about what you were about to see.  They usually aren't overly wordy, but they block the passerby view, and nicely set the stage for what will come next. For years I've been staring at a blank white wall trying to decide what should be on it. I thought of adding a brushed chrome Lenovo logo, but what would the point be. You're...

Continue reading “The Word is Design”

Actual contents of my backpack. Is this too voyeuristic? I once wrote a blog about the thinking that goes into the design of our ThinkPad branded carrying cases. I hope you enjoyed the read. I stated that my favorite case, and the one I use daily, is the ThinkPad backpack. I like it because it neatly holds the things I carry and it frees up my hands when I’m using it. I also wrote about how important this is to me on those days I ride my motorcycle to work. I wish there were more days where this was possible. Recently, I read a related and interesting article on the 11 essential things to carry in your briefcase. Lots of good ideas, that maybe everyone has not thought of. Medical kit, ear plugs, cell phone charger, and a spare pair of underwear all made the list. Honestly, I can't see myself  packing spare clothing in my backpack, no matter how essential they may be. Here is the list from the article: Emergency medical kit...

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Without a hat, is your profession on the radar? About a week ago I was having a business dinner with Marc Hoit, a recent acquaintance from North Carolina State University. He's the Vice Chancellor for information technology and the CIO at the university. I can't even imagine taking on this complex task for such a demanding user community. During the course of the conversation I learned that his daughter had recently discovered the profession of industrial design. Like many, including myself, she did not learn of the profession until she was already in college. Now she was thinking of switching majors and delaying her graduation. How does this continue to happen? Industrial design has been around for many years. Many claim the term industrial designer was introduced in the early 1900's. This predates the foundation of the Bauhaus by quite a few years. To me, this seems like a long time to go unnoticed.  The Industrial Designers Society of America has certainly tried to promote the awareness of the profession. They even publish a nifty but rather academic definition of what the profession does. Here is a brief excerpt from that definition: Industrial design (ID) is the professional service of creating and developing concepts and...

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This historical bumper means business Cars today rarely have what I would call real bumpers. Chrome bumpers of the past have been replaced with painted plastic body panels that happen to be located where bumpers once lived. They're more of an extension of the cars "lines" than an added design feature. I'm not sure how this global shift in automotive design happened, but the change certainly made it more difficult to repair a car that inadvertently contacted something substantial. Sure today's bumpers are molded of a space-age pliable material, but they rarely survive even the slightest impact without some fairly significant damage. Body shops must love this advancement in technology. Today if you want a truly functional benefit you need to buy a ticket to drive the bumpers cars at your local amusement park.  For passenger cars like you or I drive on a daily basis, the term "bumper" is a misnomer at best. Beyond impact protection, bumpers can also add an element of style, or aesthetic attitude, to a vehicle that otherwise might look like a well worn bar of soap. Who can say the chrome plated bumpers weren't an important part of the Aston Martin DB5 that James Bond drove in Goldfinger? If you strip away the bumpers, the DB5 just doesn't look as agressive or attractive. To me, chrome just seems right for a bumper.

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Dr. Sapper in his full academic regalia Right before the holidays,Tom Takahashi and myself had the privilege of attending the ceremony for Richard's receipt of an honorary doctorate from North Carolina State University. It was quite the affair with a dinner at the alumni center, robing ceremonies the next morning, photo sessions of the honorees with university dignitaries, and of course the actual commencement ceremony. In total three notables received honorary doctorates from NCSU. The recipients were; General Raymond T. Odierno, who is the commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, Dr. Deanna Bowling Marcum, the associate librarian for library services with the Library of Congress, and of course my good friend and creator of the ThinkPad design, Richard Sapper.  Richard may not have commanded military operations for a super power, but he can certainly "out-design" anyone I have ever met. At the recognition dinner, Richard delivered a brief set of remarks articulating how he had grown up in war-torn Germany as a teenager and the hardships that he and so many others had endured. Destruction and tragedy were everywhere, but so was opportunity. He shared his thoughts on how he personally had the courage to turn adversity into success. He talked of  not being afraid to...

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