Posts in the “design” category

Ferguson Jenkins, Chicago Cubs

Ferguson Jenkins was one of my favorite pitchers to watch when I was very young. Unlike other “throwers,” he was a true “pitcher,” getting by more by his control and changing speeds than having a blazing fastball. I created this “artistic” image of him pitching using Gimp.

The “Nanna teapot” (from Don Norman's Emotional Design)

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?

[OTHER DOG] oh my GOD

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.

How to draw a straight line in Gimp

It's embarrassing to say how long I've been using GIMP without knowing how to draw a straight line, but ... skipping that story ... here's a quick tutorial on how to draw a straight line with GIMP.

GIMP straight line: Step 1

Step 1 in the process is to have an image you want to draw a straight line on. I'll assume you have a practical image you're working with, but for my purposes, I'll be drawing a straight line in black, on a white canvas. Here's my white canvas:

Four things I’ve learned from Jonathan Ive interviews

With Apple's iPad 3 announcement coming tomorrow (March 7, 2012), I took a few minutes last night to reflect on various Jonathan Ive interviews I've read over the years. Here are a few notes on what I learned by reading those interviews.

1) Invest in great tools

Jonathan Ive often talks about how the Apple design team doesn't have a lot of things you might expect, but they do have great "tools". In his case, that means great tools for prototyping, presumably fabricating different hardware designs.

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.

How to paste text into the Gimp text tool (copy and paste)

At least on Mac OS X, if you want to copy text from one source and paste it into Gimp inside a Gimp text tool text region, you’ll find that this doesn’t work with the usual Control-V (Command-V on the Mac) keystroke. In short, the secret solution is to right-click inside the text tool area and select “Paste” from the popup menu. I have no idea why the normal copy and paste approach doesn’t work in Gimp, but I do know that this approach works, at least with Gimp 2.8 on Mac OS X.

If there is a beautiful view, don’t spoil it by building huge windows

An interesting theory about designing buildings:

“If there is a beautiful view, don’t spoil it by building huge windows that gape incessantly at it. Instead, put the windows which look onto the view at places of transition – along paths, in hallways, in entry ways, on stairs, between rooms.

If the view window is correctly placed, people will see a glimpse of the distant view as they come up to the window or pass it: but the view is never visible from the places where people stay.”

~ from A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander

There's a good story on this concept at this link.

Gimp: Textured backgrounds, chalky lines, straight lines, and more

I spent several hours today working with the Gimp software application today, mostly doing work in trying to create textured areas, canvas backgrounds, and irregular lines (like chalk lines), and I'm writing this post for myself so I can remember everything I tried, and specifically what worked.

How to draw a straight line in Gimp

I think I've written this before, but to draw a straight line in Gimp:

Inkscape

I use Gimp to work on images all the time, but I was just reminded of Inkscape as a free tool for drawing and illustrating.

Dieter Rams ten design principles

Dieter Rams Ten Design Principles: Recently I wrote about Jonathan Ive design interview quotes, and if you're familiar with industrial design and Apple design, you know you can't mention Jonathan Ive without also mentioning Dieter Rams, a world famous designer for Braun.

(If you don't know why I say that you can't think of Apple or Jonathan Ive without thinking of Dieter Rams, this Gizmodo article shows the amazing comparisons between Mr. Rams' designs and current Apple products.)

Dieter Rams 10 design principles (commandments)

So, to give Dieter Rams a little honor and credit -- both for his work at Braun and the evolution of his work at Apple — here are the famous "Dieter Rams 10 Design Principles":

  • Good design is innovative
  • Good design makes a product useful
  • Good design is aesthetic
  • Good design makes a product understandable
  • Good design is unobtrusive
  • Good design is honest
  • Good design is long-lasting
  • Good design is thorough down to the last detail
  • Good design is environmentally friendly
  • Good design is as little design as possible

Tue, July 20, 2004 (The Non-Designers Design Book)

Have you ever had one of those mind-blowing experiences where you are really, really struggling with a problem ... struggling for hours, days, or weeks, and then suddenly - bam! - you find exactly what you need? I had that experience this morning, and it was truly awesome.

Chicago Cubs “oilified” image

I just ran across this image. I created it way back when I was first learning how to create artistic effects with Gimp. I don’t know for sure because I didn’t save the working file, but I suspect that I created this image by starting with an image from a YouTube video, then blurred it a little bit, then applied the “oilify” effect to it one or more times.

P.S. — If you’re old enough, you can identify the pitcher and the batter, despite the Gimp artistic effects. :)