Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quarter Review

1) After a quarter of Design Intelligence, I would have to say my favorite assignment was the Wikipedia paper. Not only did we get to research anything we wanted and apply what we had learned to it, but we got to publish it on the internet for everyone to see. I felt that the paper was a good example of how to write objectively, clearly, and concisely. It is nice to know that my paper didn’t just get a grade and then go straight to the recycling bin, but instead it is on the internet for people to see and hopefully help some people out.

2) I think the most important thing I learned wasn’t any specific design concept, but rather to be more conscious of my surrounding and to understand how my decisions affect others. In this class it was pretty clear that everything a designer does affects people in different ways, both good and bad. Design doesn’t just pertain to buildings and products, but to things like presentations and discussion as well. It is important to design your presentations and discussions with the purpose of extending your knowledge to others in the most effective way.

3) I will use this learning every day, but even more so when I start my career. I plan on going into business, but with any career design, presentation, and discussion are critical parts of being successful. Whether it’s presenting a new product, designing a building, or promoting any kind of business, design can make or break the deal. Being aware of the little things and how people perceive and act upon them is crucial in paving the way to success. If one can use design properly, it is that much easier to gain interest and sell products/services and to gain a respectable reputation.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Architectural Design

1) When I think of epic architectural flaw, I think of my dorm room. Living in a corner room in Harmon couldn’t be much better. My roommate and I have two rooms to ourselves and our own bathroom, but there’s one little thing that brings it all down- our windows. Providing a great cross wind during the hot days, our three windows let a lot more in than just air. For some reason the designer of the windows thought it would be a good idea to put the blinds inside the windows. This might not seem like a big deal, but when it’s hot and you’re looking to take a nap, it’s either no light or cool air, not both. Because the blinds are in the windows, if the window is open the blinds can’t be shut. So, despite our bountiful in-room options, a cool, daytime nap is not one of them.
2) Harmon Hall- Harmon Hall displays some of the best and worst aspects of architecture. Let’s starts with the good. The visceral design of Harmon is one of its top attributes. As with all the buildings on K’s campus, the building is very eye-catching with its outer walls made completely of brick and laid out in the early 1800’s style that is synonymous with Kalamazoo College. Surrounded by green grass and flower beds, one is sure to notice Harmon located front and center on Academy Street. Turning to the bad, we’ll take a look at the interior of Harmon. Mostly, the visceral design of Harmon’s interior is acceptable, but it’s the behavioral design where it fails. A couple things immediately come to mind: the exit doors and the laundry room. For some reason, someone decided that walking out a door was just too easy of a process and needed to be more difficult to challenge the studious minds of those who exit. Instead of just pushing the door to open it, one must first press a button to exit, just a fun little challenge right? With the laundry room, it’s a case of escaping a maze. Throughout Harmon there are many staircases, but only one, secluded stairwell leads to the laundry room. Hidden in the far back corner of Harmon and leading to the few rooms in the basement, this stairwell is not an easy find. Both of these failures clearly break the rules of behavioral design. Could someone come to Harmon for the first time and walk right out the door or straight to the laundry room? The answer is, “no.” This lack of simplicity and difficult to understand design can make for a great amount of confusion and frustration for a first time visitor to Harmon.
3) The problem with the current architectural design process starts at the beginning and finishes at the end. The idea behind programming is difficult to understand. It doesn’t seem to make much sense that the architect is not at the forefront of developing the requirements for the project. As much as that doesn’t make sense, it makes even less sense that architects are seemingly clueless to the results of their creations. These problems seem to be very basic, thus their solutions do too. It makes sense that the owner chooses how his building looks, but it would make sense that the architect is at his side throughout the process, critiquing the owner’s ideas and giving her own suggestions. Though this may be an expensive process, one would have to think that it would be worth the sacrifice. Turning to the feedback process, one wouldn’t expect the architect to do too much research on his final design, but someone should. A job like this would be perfect for a social scientist. A study of how and why people use a building the way they do would not only be an interesting study but beneficial to architects and buildings users across the globe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hinckley Yachts on Wikipedia

Here is the link for the newly created Wikipedia article on the Hinckley Yacht Company:


Advertising Design

1) “This approach, which often is quite sophisticated in terms of research design, frequently indicated that advertising has little or no effect on respondents. Or, to be more precise, none that can be detected or measured.” P. 13 This is an interesting passage because it shows how advertising is a very subconscious process. Knowing this, it is that much more important to have a well designed ad. More times than not, people are going to ignore an ad and not think twice about it, but it can still affect them. A well designed ad will stick in the back of consumers’ heads until there comes a time when they have to make a purchase. At this time, whether they know it or not, that well designed ad will encourage them to purchase the product advertised rather than another option.
2) Key Point: A) Keys to advertising- Berger talks about how the process works and what an ad agency’s thought process is when designing an ad. B) Psychological aspects- here Berger talks about the psychological process of advertising and how it is often an unconscious one. C) Commercials as “art”- To me, this was the most interesting part of the chapter. Berger breaks down different elements of commercials and how they can seem like more than just an advertisement. Strategies using heroes, sex, and humor are effective ways to catch someone’s attention.
3) Understanding viewers’ thoughts and inner processes is crucial to the advertising industry. People are well aware that an ad is only there to get them to buy a product and it’s the agencies job to make them forget. Whether through a subconscious process or by using humor or sexuality, there must be a defining element to an ad that doesn’t feel like an ad. The ad must play with the viewers’ brain in a way that makes them enjoy the ad and “forget” that it’s really just a commercial. Based on Freud’s explanation of the human psyche, an ad must focus on the viewers’ id or internal drives. The viewers cannot have a chance to contemplate their decisions, the ad has to immediately strike their id and leave no room for second guessing.

Fashion Design

1. Fashion has no choice but to be reflective. After all, when you meet people for the first time the very first thing you see is their clothes. Clothing choice is the driving force behind how you want to be perceived. Often, there isn’t enough time to meet everyone at a party, so you have to choose a select few people to interact with. Without knowing anything about anyone, there are very few deciding factors, clothing is one of them. Of course, you can look at body image, hair, or jewelry, but clothing really is the most prominently displayed social indicator. Looking around the room, you can almost tell exactly what kind of person everyone is just based on their clothes. From there you can narrow down the list of potential acquaintances that you feel best fit into your social life.
2. Fashion, much like technology is always changing. People are always looking to make improvements to their clothing and there’s always someone willing to make that happen. It’s a long process of fulfilling needs and wants that create new needs and wants that keep the fashion world turning. For example when people didn’t have coats they wanted something to keep them warm and someone created a blanket. Then, a new want was created, a blanket that you can move around in, thus a jacket was made. Now, we all know the technology that goes into making coats as thin, warm, and functional as possible, but none of that would happen if people didn’t care to expand on their solutions to other’s needs and wants.
3. A) Material- does it work best for the expected uses? B) Fit- is it the right length, width, stretch, etc. for expected use? C) Cost- is the price within the intended demographic’s range? D) Style- is it culturally acceptable? E) Aesthetics- is it pleasing to look at? Is the design well organized?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Simplicity is Overrated" Thesis Statement Analysis

1) Thesis Statement: “Features win over simplicity, even when people realize that it is accompanied by more complexity.”

2) a) “If a company spent more money to design and build an appliance that worked so well, so automatically, that all it needed was an on-off switch, people would reject it. “This simple looking thing costs more?” They would complain. “What is that company thinking of? I’ll buy the cheaper one with all those extra features – after all, it’s better, right? And I save money.””

b) “Marketing rules – as it should, for a company that ignores marketing is a company soon out of business. Marketing experts know that purchase decisions are influenced by feature lists, even if the buyers realize they will probably never use most of the features.”

c) “The answer is the latter: people are not willing to pay for a system that looks simpler because it looks less capable. Hence the fully automatic system that still contains lots of buttons and knobs.”

3) In a world that has become engulfed in the expansion of technology many consumers are on the hunt for the simple, easy to use engineering of yesteryear.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Burdick Street

1) Overall I feel that downtown Kalamazoo is a great shopping design. Other than a few flaws (probably due to the rebuilding process) downtown is an ideal shopping area. Burdick Street provides a great shopping atmosphere. The street is located in the heart of downtown and designed to be an extremely inviting environment. Littered with benches and chairs, compromised of neatly and uniquely designed buildings, and a safe, low-traffic street, Burdick Street is an ideal shopping area. The surroundings also provide a great shopping atmosphere. With hotels, parking structures, and busy college areas, Burdick Street’s location is ideal for attracting customers. One of the only down sides is the slight lack of development due to the redesigning process. There are a scattered, empty buildings that slightly take away from the inviting feeling, but those negative emotions are kept to a minimum.
2) a) better lighting in deep-set stores- some store fronts are set further back into the building and are well lit inside, but are difficult to see into from the street. b) fill empty spaces- some empty buildings detract from the overall feeling of the area. c) more hotels- different kinds of hotels would attract more travelers, thus attracting more businesses. The Radisson is a very nice hotel, but is not an option for many people.
3) “Gibbs is impressed that most of the trash cans and newspaper vending machines have been painted the same dark green, a fashionable hue now used in many malls. Even a pair of two-by-fours supporting a tree have been painted. "A little detail you would expect in mall management," Gibbs says approvingly.” One of the first things I noticed about downtown Kalamazoo was the unattractive color used for the tables and garbage cans. All throughout Burdick street there were tables, chairs, benches, and light posts all painted a slightly different, equally as ugly dark green. It seems as if the designers were trying for that classy look to go along with the bricks, but failed by using too light of a green color. A classy green that coincides with the bricks needs to be a very dark, almost black-green color. The color used in downtown Kalamazoo makes for too much contrast and draws too much attention to the furniture rather than the stores.