Posts in category: Design

Captcha an exercise in aggravation

Captcha an exercise in aggravation

I’ve just spent an aggravating half hour trying to log in to a website that uses captcha. And I am pissed. What started as a clever way to sort the bots from the humans have evolved into a form of digital purgatory — not exactly the sort of experience you...
Un-extraordinary Vertu

Un-extraordinary Vertu

Vertu may be for extraordinary people but this ad of theirs at Berlin Tegel airport was definitely sub-ordinary. Actually rather poor. The composition is amateurish. The layout looks like it had been assembled last-minute with elements spread mechanically, evenly and...
Design museum design fail!

Design museum design fail!

There are three examples of a functional design fail that really should never happen outside of a design school.  These were spotted in an Oslo design museum of all places! Dark cyan on black with a thin typeface. Light silver on translucent white. (Maybe it was...
Communicating the basics

Communicating the basics

Sometimes designers shoot ourselves in the foot when it comes to communicating. We become so focused and caught up in the work we forget to tell the end user critical information such as the all-important where and when of an event. This site — 100serie.no...
Tins of paint?

Tins of paint?

No. Tins of pineapple! The colours are not ones typically associated with food or fruit. The layout also mimics that of paint tin labels. Examples below from...
Just say “fast”

Just say “fast”

Another sign that had too many words. So I fixed it (virtually!) The main copy can be further simplified to: Hold small children. Face forward. Stand away from sides. Hold handrail. No bicycles, prams, pushchairs,...
Ice cube tray: squee or sigh?

Ice cube tray: squee or sigh?

I spotted this ice cube tray in the National Gallery (Oslo) shop. The included polar bear accessory immediately called to mind this: The ice cube tray is very cute. And also very damning of our times. Is it a brilliant troll product? Perhaps the perfect gift for your...
Idea banks and the need for curation

Idea banks and the need for curation

This is Bjercke og Eliassen’s idea bank in the National Museum of Architecture in Oslo. Bjercke og Eliassen are Norwegian architects who build many of Oslo’s landmark buildings between 1914 and 1960. Their idea bank contains 1600 postcard, prints and...
Context-sensitive ads

Context-sensitive ads

I spotted these great ads inside an airbridge in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. This ING “Everything You Need in Just One Photo” campaign struck me as a great example of designing to suit (and exploit) the context. People are usually queuing inside an airbridge waiting...
Visualising De Waag

Visualising De Waag

I recently had the great privilege of visiting De Waag Society in Amsterdam. I think of De Waag as a modern day art and technology guild (like the historical craft guilds), engaging in cross-disciplinary research, collaborative discovery, and civic...
Amsterdam Museum timeline works

Amsterdam Museum timeline works

The main exhibition at the Amsterdam museum uses a timeline very effectively to lead visitors through the narrative. The timeline ran through all the rooms dedicated to the exhibition. It provided a clear sense of chronology and worked well to highlight just enough...
Tools and operating frameworks

Tools and operating frameworks

Tools We have long built tools as a species. In recent times these tools have been information-based: mobile apps, software, computing hardware, the Internet. We currently have acces to a plethora of tools complex and simple to help us with every imaginable task...
Cross-ed FTW

Cross-ed FTW

I had the privilege to attend the final presentation of MediaLAB Amsterdam students recently. The message from students and staff is clear: there is immense value in cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural team-based learning. Cross-ed rules! It is inspiring and...
Creating “foreign” to test UX

Creating “foreign” to test UX

When was the last time you travelled through a country where you didn’t know the local language? Not having any hooks into an unfamiliar culture (to which language is a powerful inroad) can be a wonderful opportunity to test a user experience from a true...
Guinness Storehouse: exhibition done well

Guinness Storehouse: exhibition done well

The Guinness Storehouse exhibition is done very well indeed. Here’re the techniques I thought worked well. Clear traffic direction. Unlike the Book of Kells exhibition, the Storehouse design clearly channeled people through from point to point. This meant they could...
Book of Kells exhibition: could be better

Book of Kells exhibition: could be better

If hell were other people, then the Book of Kells exhibition at Trinity College was hell made manifest. The exhibition design did not effectively manage and direct movement. And they let way too many people in at any given time. The preamble exhibition space was just...
History changing objects

History changing objects

Discovering the Asgard at the Museum Decorative Arts & History in Dublin prompted this post. The fact that one single object can come to be so intimately tied to a country’s history is astounding. As more and more significant human activities – such...
The potential in tools

The potential in tools

Looking through an exhibition about Irish silver, I found myself drawn more to the tools (the anvils) especially, than to the finished products. The tools promise infinite potential. Tools say “let’s begin.” Whereas the finished products are, well,...
Cola is red

Cola is red

Following on from my chocolate is gold post, here’s a photo of the drinks fridge in a convenience store. Notice how red is the category colour of cola flavoured drinks. Arguable set by Coca Cola in 1958 and since then widely echoed by their competitors. The one...
Chocolate is gold

Chocolate is gold

Gold balls at the Ór – Ireland’s Gold exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology in Dublin. All that gold and not a single piece of chocolate. Isn’t it interesting how certain materials become intimately linked with categories of products? Some...
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