recent posts related to design

The “Nanna teapot” (from Don Norman's Emotional Design) alvin July 25, 2019 - 6:50pm

It’s worth mentioning that my last post about a glass teapot was inspired by a book titled Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things by Don Norman. In that book he shows this image of three teapots, and the glass one in the middle is known as a “Nanna teapot.” I just saw that one sold on eBay for $275; that’s a little more than I had in mind. :) Mr. Norman earlier published a best-selling book titled The Design of Everyday Things.

Good design: Quantity leads to quality (and iteration speed is vital)

When I saw this tweet this morning:

[DOG MAGICIAN] think of a color, any color ... is it ... gray?


I knew that I loved the joke, but I didn’t like the presentation. I wanted to put the joke on Facebook, but I know that people like images more than they like text, so I made a second cup of coffee and began putting the text on an image.

Yoda on Luke’s back (cartoonized with Gimp)

This is a cartoonize’d version of Yoda on Luke Skywalker’s back during Luke’s initial training in the swamp. To create it, I found the original movie image with a Google search, opened the image in Gimp, then worked back and forth with a Cartoonized plugin effect, the Beautify options, and the Artistic/Oilify effect. I can do a lot better than this, but for the purposes of this example, I created this cartoon image in less than five minutes. Given more time, I would clean up Yoda quite a bit before using the Cartoonize effect.

I’ve used Gimp to create almost 2,000 images that I use with the Mac screensaver “rotate images” feature, and this is the latest addition.

(Click the image to see the full-size, 1200x600 pixel image.)

Apple design: Jonathan Ive design interview quotes

This article contains a collection of quotes on design from Apple designer Jonathan Ive (or “Jony Ive,” as Steve Jobs called him). (Note: He prefers to refer to himself as a “builder” or “maker” as opposed to a designer.)

For those who don’t know of him, Jonathan Ive is credited with designing almost every Apple product since 1997. Given that very long string of success, I became interested in what Mr. Ive has to say, and to that end, here’s a collection of Jonathan Ive design interview quotes I’ve gathered over the last few years.

Good and bad design at Apple under Jonathan Ive

This article contains a fair balance of pointing out the good and bad of design at Apple under Jonathan Ive. Most people know the good parts, so this image shows a discussion of just two of the worst design decisions made by Apple’s design team. Other bad designs under Apple include pretty much every mouse ever made, the horribly infamous butterfly keyboards, and the trashcan Mac Pro design.

It seems like at some point every design quits thinking about what’s the best for the customer and succumbs to something that looks pretty. As the old saying goes, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The first release of a product or service doesn’t have to be great

If you ever think you have to be perfect with a product or service in its first release, I encourage you to watch the Match Game tv series on Amazon Video. The first episodes of Match Game 73 were horrible; Gene Rayburn wasn’t comfortable, the writing was extremely poor, and all the celebrities (except for Jack Klugman) seemed uncomfortable. Then flash forward to Match Game 75 (or 78) and you’ll see a much better show.

For another example, take a look at the original iPhone and compare it to what’s available now. It was revolutionary, but it was also a minimum viable product.