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Everything About Design.

Design & Ethics

Design is the act of Playing God.Products intervene in our daily life.They change outcomes. So it is upon us to create things that have a positive impact on the world.We have to decide what positive impact really means. Ethics is a key feature in answering this.Whether our design decision are having the effects that we want them to have or are they whilst solving the designated problem creating some new ones? What are the values embedded in our design ? What vision of the good life our design conveys? What outcome are we choosing to prevail?

So how do we go about it ?  My values are different from yours , what I consider moral ,you might consider immoral. Ethics are the choices we make,the difficult decision we have to live with .There are no clear answers and no immediate gratification or consequences.There is no objective truth. So where is the line between black and white and who decides it ? Or is It essentially shades of grey ? Are there  no clear boundaries ? And how would we know if we see them ?

The only that is clear as day in all this moral ambiguity is that we have to start thinking and more importantly start asking the right questions. Because the truth of the matter lies in your intent. Ignorance is one of the greatest sins. So decide what are your intentions?

thinking

“Products are vivid arguments of how we should live our lives.”

Our products impact hundreds , thousands of users. This scale brings diversity .But we have a duty to honor each individual story.Now this seems an impossible task, but somehow we have to do it .When we play in the arenas of god ,we have the responsibility of one. If you are knowingly creating a product that is not accessible then you are essentially contributing towards social repression. Here comes in ,Accessibility : about who is worth our effort .It’s a key issue of social justice.Design should be inclusive and compassionate and about doing what is right.

The one who call it a hunch when it is a hunch , who say the things the way they are , honestly .Better designer are categorical. So when you are certain ,when you are convinced that what you are doing is the right approach,you have more freedom.

All design is persuasive.When you are putting a design out in the world ,you are essentially influencing them. But ethical persuasion is in the interest of users as well as yours. Persuasion is not exploiting human nature for your own benefit .So when users buy a product they buy a better versions of themselves , a better experience.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) vs Gross happiness Index (GHI) .GDP is a good measure for economic activity but it doesn’t necessarily mean the welfare of the people.We should’nt be caught up in the tangible factors.

Dark Patterns are designs that are deliberately made to be disadvantageous to the user and advantageous for us.Like the Facebook ,it is addictive and productive time-consuming. One other example is a chore app which allows parents to award badges and points to their kids on succesful completion of chores .This creates negative association in the mind of the child regarding work and benefits , they stop doing things for self growth We should keep in mind ,whatever we are creating is not harmful in the long run.

Disruption is the cut of the middle men .It might wear the face of progress but in reality  it creates shrinking market ,shrinking wages , for just  a little convenience for the rich .Stop and consider the human impact that you are having .Is the technology worth ,the livelihood ,it is threatening?

Sustainable Design is one of the most significant point for future designers . Product and it’s development , eventual effect it causes ,the strains on our already dying environment. We have to design for the next fifty years. Is the thing you are building going to lasts, so that manufacturing cycle comes less frequently in use.

Universalise your thoughts in the context of wider society .Ask yourself What if everyone did what I am about to do ? If my actions were commonplace will the world be better or worse ?How much happiness it gives to everyone involved.

Put your name on something ,Are your proud of the decision you made ? How much of your work will you actually put your name to ? Would you be comfortable in explaining your decision to your children ?

So again I am emphasizing how important it is to think bigger .Not only about the problem you are solving,but the also problems you might create. Be uncertain of your conduct ,examine your action, believe you are never responsible enough. Understand the ethical decision and pause ,think about what it really means and ask yourself .What are the implications of this ?How can I mitigate the damage that I have caused? Is this the right course of action?

 

 

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Water Bottles

Now I have just started a fitness regime and I carry this Reebok sipper ,that controls the amount I drink ,saving me for stomach ache .So this got me to thinking what others fabulous water bottles are out there ? Water Vessels are one of the earliest inventions ,right there with the wheel and the discovery of fire. So let’s take a look at the bottles of tomorrow.

Hydra Duo Water Bottle by Quirky
Contigo AutoSeal Kangaroo Water Bottle

 

HydraDuo water bottle offers two drink options . How nice it would be to have glucose or some energy drink along with water when you go out ,gym ,work or any other place.

The Contigo Kangaroo water bottle is so cool ,just imagine you are going to the park in the morning  and your sweatpants don’t have pockets ,where do you keep your emergency money and car keys ?This bottle is a pretty good solution.Just wish there was a smart phone place too.

 

Asobu Tristan Water Bottle
Memobottle by Jesse Leeworthy and Jonathan Byrt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asobu Tristan Fruit Infuser bottle might be the next step towards healthy living .It is elegantly designed lightweight, and it holds a perfect amount of water. The best part ,the fruit can be used to flavor the bottle 4-5 time, as it doesn’t mix.

Memobottle is designed for the work bag , a companion to the books and laptops ,it doesn’t create a round budge .Dishwasher safe and environmentally friendly .This design is just so hipster.

Square Bottle
Clean Bottle The Square 
Beat Bottle
Asobu Beat Bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asobu Beat Silicone Bottle had a gap for an apple smartphone/ipod .So Cool ! I just wish they made a bottle for my phone too.

Clean Bottle’s the Square not only unscrews from both ends for easy cleaning, but its less-traditional sqaure shape prevents the bottle from rolling away when dropped. Now that’s something new. Leads me to the very simple question ,why bottles are cylindrical ?

Wello and Vestergaard

 

In use
Wello Water Wheel in use

 

   water-wheelOne of my most favorite social products is Wello’s Water Wheel . This product is so ingenious that I can’t praise enough about it.It such a beautiful design solution to a very common essential problem in rural areas.

It’s affordable ,wello as a company has a business model that helps them bring this innovative product to the people .It’s safe ,made from food grade plastic.Keeps clean water clean.Has a wide cap which makes cleaning it easier.It’s convenient,twice the water in half the time.It’s durable.Made for the rough terrain.It’s ergonomic .Simple design with handle control reduces physical strain .Hand holds allow for better handling while filling + emptying. Any point alone would make this a good product , all of it together make it a great one.In terms of research the design team went above and beyond.Stayed with the village for approximately two years.To get all the relevant information.

 

LifeStraw in use
Vestergaard LifeStraw in use

 

718+YoX-0cL._SL1500_Half of the world’s poor are suffering from waterborne diseases. It is a 25 cm long, 29 mm diameter, plastic pipe filter and costs just a few dollars.LifeStraw is a personal, low-cost water purification tool with a life time of 700 litres – approximately one year of water consumption for one person.Each LifeStraw lasts for one person’s annual needs of clean water – a simple straw costing a few dollars will ensure that one at-risk person will not die for a year – now that’s a donation we can all make with a serious kicker!

Now that’s what I call real social designing .This product is creating a real significant difference to the people of Kenya.Has Off! Continue reading “Wello and Vestergaard”

Design & the five senses

It’s a very simple concept ,sensuous rich your design is ,better will be the  experience .And it’s not only limited to Design but every aspect and experience that we encounter .

Taste / Sight / Touch / Smell / Sound

Once you conquer them and make them work for you .It will automatically result in better responses from the people .

Lota : Epitome of Indian Design

Lota is a small water pitcher ,simple in it’s design ,versatile in it’s use.It’s perfect womanly contours and ease of use , displayes as the most perfect example of form and function .Why is that exactly ? When Charles and Ray Eames came to India on the behest Of Indian Govt ,they were fascinated with this simple albeit a deceptive vessel . This is what they mentioned about it in their report .

Of all the objects we have seen and admired during our visit to India, the Lota, that simple vessel of everyday use, stands out as perhaps the greatest, the most beautiful. The village women have a process which, with the use of tamarind and ash, each day turns this brass into gold. But how would one go about designing a Lota? First one would have to shut out all preconceived ideas on the subject and then begin to consider factor after factor’:

  • The optimum amount of liquid to be fetched, carried, poured and stored in a prescribed set of circumstances.
  • The size and strength and gender of the hands (if hands) that would manipulate it.
  • The way it is to be transported – head, hip, hand, basket or cart.
  • The balance, the center of gravity, when empty, when full, its balance when rotated for pouring.
  • The fluid dynamics of the problem not only when pouring but when filling and cleaning, and under the complicated motions of head carrying – slow and fast.
  • Its sculpture as it fits the palm of the hand, the curve of the hip.
  • Its sculpture as compliment to the rhythmic motion of walking or a static post at the well.
  • The relation of opening to volume in terms of storage uses – and objects other than liquid.
  • The size of the opening and inner contour in terms of cleaning.
  • The texture inside and out in terms of cleaning and feeling.
  • Heat transfer – can it be grasped if the liquid is hot?
  • How pleasant does it feel, eyes closed, eyes open?
  • How pleasant does it sound, when it strikes another vessel, is set down on ground or stone, empty or full – or being poured into?
  • What is the possible material?
  • What is its cost in terms of working?
  • What is its cost in terms of ultimate service?
  • What kind of an investment does the material provide as product, as salvage?
  • How will the material affect the contents, etc., etc.?
  • How will it look as the sun reflects off its surface?
  • How does it feel to possess it, to sell it, to give it ?

Imagine this as the design brief of a 21st century designer ! It’s unblievable to grasp, the specifics boggles the mind. But how the multispectral need of the indian user was fulfilled within the community birthing this product into being.Becoming so ingrained in every activity ,that a scenario without it was hard to Imagine .

Product Death Cycle

depositphotos_13953264-Spooky-Halloween-grave-sketchPrototype to product – Product to market – Market to consumer -Consumer to the end 

From the moment of their prelimenary conception as an Idea till the end of their usability.Products have a great tendency of plunging out of existence .One can even say they have a death wish .

But what is this death wish exactly about ? I believe it’s like  dense labryinth with plethoras of dead ends and it’s upto the designer to navigate this murky water maze.

Any problem that you can think about ,has already been addressed ,there are very less opportunities that haven’t been exploited .Yet very few of these ‘So called solutions ” make it in actual existence or solve the problem for once and for all.  One of the main causes of this is the product somewhere along it’s journey out of the maze drowned. Maybe it was a prototype that never transformed into actual product due to lack of funds or investors or a product that never saw the light of market or a product that was never bought due to whatever reason or bought but never used .

That is the reason the problem is still exists for you to encounter and why th eproduct never made it =’s way into history. This is where the young new talent comes in with fresh pair of eyes giving a new watch angle to the maze .To persevere where others dropped .

 

Case Studies – Health & Wellness

Washoku – Tableware

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