The new Volvo S40
From: Régis Kuckaertz
Volvo has redesigned (sic) the S40 model, following a few — scandinavian — design principles:
1 Less is more
2 Treat everything like a piece of art
3 Form follows function
4 Redefine luxury
5 Never stop learning
Seems to be the perfect car for a designer!
Seagate packaging like Apple
From: Ross Hill
I just came across How Seagate learned to package like Apple. and thought you might be interested. A ‘corporate’ company jumping on the design bandwagon – with human copywriting.
“Crap” design regurgitated as “good” design
From: Yong Bakos
Check out the last half of this post from David Byrne, on design masters feigning crap design as style.
I guess at some point designers (and others) get bored with “good” design and the increasing ease of making tasteful design that looks more or less like everything else, which is exactly the point, and also not the point. At some point I guess people designing things want them to look tasteful so that they’ll appeal to a semi-sophisticated crowd. And now it’s pretty easy to do that. With computers, and under the influence of the wealth of slick packaging in the world, tasteful layouts are pretty easy to emulate. The general public is fairly sophisticated in their design sense these days — they “read” the language of design — but, it being a visual language, they are not able to articulate the “text”. But if as a designer you want to be really hip and to appeal to those who deem themselves above mere tasteful design, then you have to have to work a little harder. One way to achieve this ultra cool surprise is to look intentionally bad, but to drop little visual ironic winks into the mix so that the audience knows it’s not really buying a record by a crappy East German band.
So, over the years, every genre of crap design — East German products, tacky back of magazine ads recycled by Warhol or Lichtenstein, sleazy RnB and Rock and Roll record covers, amateur porn and scientific textbooks — gets regurgitated as “good” design. Everything gets mulched and reused. So how does anything truly new ever get created?
Jack White in Esquire Mag on Constraints
From: Howard Mann
Stumbled on the attached “What I’ve learned” piece in this month’s Esquire Magazine that features Jack White and thought you would like a few of his thoughts. In particular the comment on constraints.
Erik Spiekermann on ideasonideas
From: Peter Pimentel
I thought I’d let you know about a great interview we have with Erik Spiekermann.
The renowned designer gave us a surprisingly candid look at the challenges of running a design business. We asked some him tough questions and each of his answers was insightful.
From: Theodore Jacobson
I ran across a well-designed style for Shaun Inman’s Mint stats package called Tufte Mint. It’s based on Edward Tufte’s book on data graphics. Rob Goodlatte, the author of the style, explains how he stripped out as much non-data visuals in this post.
It’s a beautiful and simple interface for Mint.
Steve Jobs Thoughts on Beating Microsoft
From: David Duran
Came across this great quote from the Steve and Bill interview at D. It’s at about 2:00 in the Part 2 video. Thought you guys might enjoy it.
Steve Jobs on changing the way of thinking when he returned to Apple:
[There was this belief that] for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose, and it was clear that you didn’t have to play that game because Apple wasn’t going to beat Microsoft. Apple didn’t have to beat Microsoft. Apple had to remember who Apple was because it had forgotten who Apple was. So for me it was pretty essential to break that paradigm.
Robert Frost on control vs communication
From: Josh Clark
Among my favorite of your essays is the “control vs communication” post from a few months back. Your advice to consider simple, human communication as an alternative cuffing users was, as usual, spot on.
I was just blogging about this in the context of my own software and along the way found that poet Robert Frost shared your skepticism about building unnecessary barriers. In the very poem where Frost coined the phrase “good fences make good neighbors,” he gives some advice that seems oh-so-relevant to software developers:
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down.
From Mending Wall
Thought you might appreciate the sentiment.
Have an interesting link, story, or screenshot for Signal vs. Noise? Contact svn [at] 37signals [dot] com.