Designers! In March a new program called Bridge by Designer Fund will pair up designers with high profile startups like Path, Dropbox, Pinterest, and Airbnb.
Bridge isn’t your typical residency, built to get young people into the industry. Rather, it’s intended for mid- to senior-level designers across all disciplines to try out the startup experience for three months—completely integrated with the team, working on an applied project that can be finished within a quarter.
For more on Bridge, check out the full story here.
This fascinating project, brought to us by Ewan Yap, explores how “less is more” within big consumer brands. Ewan created a series of experimental packaging design based on the principle of ‘Big Brand Theory‘. The main focus is to have each brand’s identity meticulously and uniquely cropped out of the packaging as much as possible, yet maintaining it’s integrity and comprehension and, at the same time, enhancing the aesthetic value.
Fast Company’s Co.Design has compiled six lessons from the Designer Founders book series, which includes interviews with designers about the path they took to create tech startups.
The first edition features conversations with Evan Sharp of Pinterest, Rashmi Sinha of SlideShare, Yves Béhar of fuseproject, Christina Brodbeck of theicebreak, and Scott Belsky and Matias Corea of Behance. Collectively, they’ve helped create over a billion dollars of value and impacted the lives of millions. Our book shares their personal stories while expanding the popular notion of what designers can achieve. Reading through the interviews, we selected five lessons for aspiring entrepreneurial designers.
1. Start with side projects.
One lesson comes from Evan Sharp of Pinterest, who says, “We just built [Pinterest] for fun … We built this prototype that’s basically the same thing we have today. Honestly, it’s kind of crazy.”
2. Build on small wins.
Rashmi Sinha started her own user experience consultancy and built a gamified research tool called MindCanvas. It started to make money, which gave her the confidence and resources to try and build something bigger. ”I just took it step after step,” she says. That something became the presentation-sharing platform Slideshare.
3. Don’t settle for making things pretty.
“The work of design is not to skin stuff, says Yves Béhar of fuseproject. “It’s not to put a nice dumb box around whatever is inside. It’s the whole conception. Design should deliver the whole ecosystem.”
4. Prove yourself and create opportunities.
The fourth lesson comes from Christina Brodbeck, who began her startup career while holding down a fellowship at NASA as a UI designer. “I really had to prove myself,” she says. “Some days when I was ‘working from home,’ I was really in the city working to convince [MRL Ventures] to hire me.”
5. Find a partner who’s your complement.
The fifth piece of advice comes from Scott Belsky and Matias Corea of Behance.The duo was able to overcome their weakness in part through their complementary skill sets: Belsky went to business school, and Corea studied design. Each trusted the other to compensate for his lack of expertise.
6. It’s not easy, so you better love it.
“Find something you really love to do because statistically the odds are your startup won’t work out. But if you love it, who cares who tells you no.”
[Image: Illustration via Shutterstock]
Happy 100th Birthday Grand Central Terminal!
Grand Central Station is known for its historic beauty, and grandeur. What is less known is that the famous train station was ahead of its time in terms innovative design.
A new book by New York Times reporter Sam Roberts called Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America, talks about some of the innovations that went into building the iconic terminal.
Another Grand Central innovation was the ramp. “The place has virtually no staircases,” Roberts explains. “People realized that particularly long-distance travelers were coming in with suitcases, lots of luggage, and the ramps were built to accommodate them. Lots of people didn’t know what a ramp was, interestingly enough, so there was one explanation that pointed out that the word comes from ‘ramparts.’ “
For a the full story and images from Grand Central’s past and present, click here.
“If the NFL wants concussion-free football, they’ll need to redesign football.”
In the eyes of physics, a big hit on the field can be just as devastating as a car crash—or in many cases, worse. We’re expecting a mere 1.5 inches of foam and candy shell to decelerate a player’s head gently enough to prevent their brain from bouncing around inside their skull. After talking to some of the brightest minds in helmet design, helmet testing and football physics, the elephant in the room became clear: A concussion-proof helmet is a pipe dream.
“’I think that it’s true that football helmets are 85% as good as they’re ever going to get,’ Dr. Timothy Gay, University of Nebraska physics professor, writer and industry helmet consultant tells me. ‘The optimal football helmet won’t be much better than the helmet you can buy right now because there are just physics retrains on the kind of padding you can use. We have a pretty good micro, nanotechnological understanding of how materials work. And basically, there are limits on what padding materials can do for a giving thickness.’”
[Image: Pen via Shutterstock]
Does your next ride look like this? The Citi.Transmitter is a single-seat modular transportation device which aims to help solve our urban traffic problems.
Soma co-founders Mike Del Ponte and Ido Leffler were sitting around talking about water when the thought came to them: why do we have to settle for poorly-designed water filters? Where is the water filter with that sleek, minimalist Apple feel? Del Ponte, the founder of Sparkseed, and Leffler, the founder of Yes To Carrots, think they’ve created it with Soma, a Jony Ive-inspired water filter.
Maybe it’s the rise of competitive services like Airbnb or the growing presence of style-savvy travelers, but it seems that the hospitality industry is increasingly using big, bold design as a selling point to draw in new clientele.
No discussion of the life and work of Oscar Niemeyer is complete without Brasília, the dazzling capital that sprung up in the Brazilian savanna in 1961. The Brazilian starchitect who passed away on Wednesday, was responsible for the project’s crowning achievement: the monumental government buildings that stood proudly as emblems of the power of Modernist architecture’s promise—and, later, unfortunate failure—to shape a utopian society.
What gets less attention is that, a decade earlier, another urban vision was taking form more than 8,000 miles away, in India, under the supervision of Le Corbusier. Chandigarh, like Brasília, was intended to be a sparkling new city, created from scratch as a way of shaking off the albatross of colonialism and instating a native, democratic government. And modern notions of urban planning and architecture were central to both new capitals, as the premier architectural photographer Iwan Baan documents in a recent book, “Brasília-Chandigarh”. Fifty years into existence, the two cities have evolved into examples of how grand utopian projects can both inspire and disappoint.
Japanese architecture firm Torafu Architects has come up with an ingenious way to improve upon the mall information booth, one of the least effective advertising ploys around: turn it into a playground.
Made entirely of paper, these vases, by the Tokyo-based studio Torafu Architects, resemble graphic art suspended in midair. When not on display, they fold down into flat disks. They’re available in sets of three for $28.
Desperately seeking a gift for the design snob in your life? Check out more of our picks here.