I enjoyed the RCA WIP show. As messy and as ‘in progress’ as you’d want it to be. There was an honesty that university final shows have lost, I think.
The Service Design course seems to get better every year. Some really good thinking there, although it’s hard to get that across in a ‘show’. (Again - some design course should take on the UX of the Final Show.)
I popped into the automotive design bit which was split pretty hard into two sections - Vehicle Design and Intelligent Mobility. Might be my weary brain but this felt like a real moment in time. I’m used to automotive design shows being all THOSE drawings but the Intelligent Mobility genuinely felt different. (Update, looks like IM is replacing VD as a course.)
Unfortunately I don't have many pictures from this.
Three thoughts, three zoom levels.
1x Maybe Boris Bikes and Oyster cards have finally broken everyones mental model of transport for the better. In London at least. Greater adoption of electric cars seems to have given everyone the freedom to think differently. Why has the source of power caused that shift? What can you do with an electric motor that you can’t with a petrol engine?
10x Here’s a funny thing. Some sketches of cars, or of the common shapes and lines of cars, but grouped by brand. This felt really odd to me. The brand feels entirely superfluous. Especially in an environment where you are starting from a blank canvas. What’s the role of the brand here - could you really say a particular brand of car has a distinctive style of design any more? Lamborghini maybe, but Renault? Any of the other mainstream car brands?
Especially when they are all owned by just three or four holding companies.
100x As “mobility” means service more than vehicle, what’s the role of the brand? The product is the service… How many other brands + products can you say that about? The service provider will become more important the product provider which has huge implications for brands (companies) that sell physical products. Barclays Boris Bikes vs Santander Cycles? Does anyone care?
We’ve been talking about this for ages, but I’ve never really thought about through the lens of a design style. How do you replicate a distinctive design in a service? A digital (invisible) service? If you can switch service between products how can you maintain a distinctive design style? When there’s no visible interface? Much opportunity here I think. (I imagine others have written about this a lot.)
36. No idea what rabbit hole I went down to find this, but y'know - internet. Last year Mike Ashley gave an update at the Sports Direct shareholders meeting which was held at the London Stock Exchange. Profits had dropped 59% that year. He urged investors to note down every word he was about to say. He stood up, spoke 17 words and then sat down.
“It’s clear we have smashed the ball out of the park with our Selfridges of sport concept”.
For our international listeners who haven't heard of Sports Direct here's a picture.
37. Strange goings on at British Vogue summed up well by Jeremy Leslie the king of magazine blogging. Two covers using exactly the same picture, styled by new Vogue editor Enninful. No obvious tie-up. Odd.
I’m actually excited by this. The whole sector needs a shake up design-wise and you’d think the combination of 2018 + Vogue + Enninful would be potent. Here’s hoping that’s what this is and not just circumstances.
38. Muji have launched a hotel in Shenzhen. It is as beautiful and as graceful as you’d hope. Makes me wonder what took them so long. But I always think that about Muji and maybe that’s the key to their success. Not following trends or being driven by the same short term goals as everyone else. Imagine Muji as a pace layer.
39. Frustratingly light article by the Guardian on the cover design of 2018’s must talked about book - Fire and Fury. The boring cover design does seem odd given the magazine covers Trump has inspired. Political books are supposed to look kinda boring… but this is not a business-as-usual presidency. Deserves a longer article.
40. Digital banking consultancy 11FS gave out their awards for 2017. 11FS are smart and have worked in proper digital banking so it makes interesting reading. Lots of good stuff and not a surprise to see BBVA “win” Best incumbent bank. Derek White and Rob Brown have built an impressive design team just like they did at Barclays (where they worked with some of 11FS.) BBVA we’ve talked about before in para 21 "BBVA has 150 designers in 11 countries, all with different specialties, not that unusual but they are also training 1000 design ambassadors."
But, the most interesting bit? Google Tez a Google payment layer for banking in India.
41. Fast Company wrote an “update” of Dieter Rams 10 Principles of Good Design. Some good stuff in there and it’s nearly worth a read except - beware, it's one of those annoying web pages where everything moves around for five minutes before you can start reading.
“Apple's privacy changes in iOS 11 knee-capped one of the largest independent ad-tech companies. The most interesting thing about this to me is how little people in tech seemed to notice - people in Silicon Valley really don't talk about advertising unless they're actually working on it themselves.”