Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A website with all kinds of design related competitions around the world

If you need some more work to build up your portfolio outsides of the school, check this out.

this websites collects links of various design competitions and events throughout the world, ordered in submission deadlines.

30 Essential books for ID

more books for ID!

Race your final ideas!!

Here's a prioritization tool we used to select our best ideas from the concept fan:

Make little cars for each of your ideas, or buy a pack of Hotwheels™ and paint them special colours (red, turquoise, lavender etc.) colour coding them with your ideas. Next, you'll need a big piece of paper with a drawing of a racetrack on it, or a Hotwheels™ track, will do. Put all of your ideacars™* on the track and race them. The race rankings are your prioritized ideas, like it or not.

*ideacars is a registered trademark of Tim A. Richards and Superhero WERK 2009

surprised nobody posted this yet

Interesting TED Talk by Tim Brown on design thinking, urging designers to think big. He touches on a lot of points that we've discussed in class and even has a slide FULL of 'How might we...' questions!

Digital Age

I came across an article that is nothing more than a tidbit notifying the addition of a digital interactive section to the London Design Festival.

What interested me about this article was that it got me thinking about how digital media permeates our lives and is becoming more prevalent in areas beyond the screen and in the way the masses interact with the world. As designers, I feel we need to look at this wave of digitization and in our design processes, really consider the implications they may have to a certain design brief. It may not be the addition of digital features or the integration of the internet into a service, but maybe rethinking how we access, acquire, and understand information that is given to us.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Divergent Thinking


Here is a helpful link to keep in mind when brainstorming:

Its a blog post by Brian Clarke (a founding editor of "copyblogger," a co-founder of "DIY Themes" and "Lateral Action") called: "Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking?"

An interesting read and a good starting point, since it can connect to other disciplines aswell (rather than just design).

At the bottom of the page, you'll find other useful links related to "Critical Thinking" and "Time Management"


Here's a website for everyone to take a quick look at (mainly the Mind Mapping section).
Some of the links lead you to free stuff (demos included). Some you'll have to dig into the ol' wallet to get.
If you ask me, stick to the free stuff for quickly plotting out the essentials. Most of us (I'm working on it...), have the Photoshop & Illustrator skills to jazz up the overall presentation later.

"Web 2.0 Backpack: Web Apps for Students" - [Scroll down to Mind Mapping]


Books make me learn good!

Not enough to read at school?... Here's some more:

"19 Books Every Design Professional Should Own."



Stuck for ideas?

Try some of these activities:

Monday, September 28, 2009

The 5 E's of Usability

When our team was coming up with criteria for our current assignment, it reminded of an article by Whitney Quesenbery, 'The 5 E's of Usability'. I think it's a simple and effective checklist to ensure you're product, interface, etc. is user friendly.

Now heed this warning: the site is hideous. So bad I'll spare you the first page and link you straight to the important part.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Index card by Jessica Hagy. She limits these variations to x,y graphs and venns to keep it easy on the eyes and mind. Concept fans would hose all over the place.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Table for brainstorming

This table 'PAPERSTORM' is designed for kids
It is from German company 'Living Jewel' and it made of 2600 paper
I think this table is good for designer : )

I Command Thee: Into the Light, My Hidden Thoughts

Is Mind Tool-ism a kind of self-exorcism (the practice of evicting spiritual entities from a person), or is it a kind of enema of the mind? Both are driven by the anxiety to drive out that which is hidden, or blocks circulation... Is it an anal fascination to gaze at our insides, to play with our shit, to organize the hidden stuff our cranial entrails?

Recall from our Design Thinking reader this bit from Baudrillard:

Here we have the basis for a character profile of technical civilization: if hypochondria is an obsession with the circulation of substances ...a mental hypochondriac... someone obsessed with the perfect circulation of messages...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Santa Claus doesn't exist

So i came across this quiet randomly and found them to be pretty interest.  It reminded me of the shelter project we did last year where we were basically designing for the other 90% .

Studio Hacks

I came across this article that talks about how a design studio repurposed IKEA furniture for their own studio needs.

Not only do I think this would be a great idea to implement in our own ID studio, but it's good to take a look at how we can, as designers, take what exists out there already and produce innovative ways of using/modifying/re-imagining these products.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Look Familiar??

I came across this TASC wheel in a blog that's similar to the basadur test idea. Tasc stands for Thinking Actively in a Social Context.

They Rule!

Also see They Rule!
Related to Lombardi's work - but also allows for people to search and reorganize data according to different criteria and post. It's really fabulous.

A Brief Explanation
They Rule allows you to create maps of the interlocking directories of the top companies in the US in 2004. The data was collected from their websites and SEC filings in early 2004, so it may not be completely accurate - companies merge and disappear and directors shift boards.

Visual Thesaurus

Mapping innovation Clusters

Fellow designer!

As I sit here in class, I am wondering what the end result will be after 4 years of endless nights of hard work. All of us, this is just a giant assumption on my part, are wondering what are the employment opportunities like after we graduate? Should I move abroad to find employment?

As designers, we can't follow orthodox methods of finding employment and earning an income. One method someone suggested was to follow trends, and one trend that I thought might be interesting would be to follow trends of innovation around the world.

I came across this website that maps innovations around the world. They highlighted areas of innovations according to a number criterias;

1) number of patents issues to specific city
2) number of journals published
3) change in labour market trends and productivity.

This is just a SNAPSHOT of one particular view of innovation. This is by no means the set-in-stone method of following innovation. But, it is a good starting point for us to begin our research towards mapping trends and possibly anticipating the NEXT BIG THING!


very simple mindmapping program

Did You Know 4.0

The video i was talking about Did You Know 4.0

What do Cirque du Soleil, Starbucks, and Nintendo Wii have in common?

Hi gang!

Ever heard of the BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY (BOS)?

It's an approach to business that has generated some interesting and very successful results. For example, Cirque du Soleil, Starbucks and the Nintendo Wii were created using the Blue Ocean Strategy which, according to the BOS website, is essentially a "set of methodologies and tools to create new market space."

One of the key components at the heart of BOS methodology is the notion of differentiation. This makes sense in the business world, since companies must be able to differentiate their goods/services from their competitors in order to establish their position in the market.

If we consider the relationship between business and design, I think there's something here that we designers can apply to our way of thinking and the process by which we generate concepts and ideas. For example, BOS addresses questions such as: How do we set our ideas apart from others?; How can we create new markets?; How can we generate demand for these new markets? I think these are important questions not only in the world of business, but in the world of design, too!

Mind Tool-ism

There are as many of these "mind tools" out there as there are kinds of chewing gum. No use to blame Edward de Bono, it's always been with us in various forms: Descartes, Buddhist meditation, Euclid, the structure of language, etc. These post-de Bono tools however are just the latest fads to come along - stealing a bit from psychology to give it a dash of science, tossing a bit of I-Ching-ish operational mumbo jumbo to distract us from seeing the parts that don't add up.

In this age of Mind Tool-ism there needs to be a way to simplify this vast array of choices: a meta-mind tool that unifies all of the above into a single system: All-in-one Mind-Blowing Toolbox (TM, pat. pending, registered, copyright 2009 by David Tse).

For some reason I am reminded of a short story by Kurt V. called "Report on the Barnhouse Effect"; maybe because it parodies this cult of mind tool-ism. Actually, it may not - but it's a damn good read regardless!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The Basadur quiz reminded me of a quiz that I had to do in one of my other classes. I don’t think it’s as accurate as the Basadur profile quiz. It’s a personality quiz based on the colour choices that you make. What I found really interesting is that some universities use this quiz to screen their candidates (?!?!). I am not sure if this is true or not, but that is what the site states. Try it out the result is quite interesting; its entertaining if not enlightening.

Brian Eno exercises the Obliques

On the topic of creative/ generative thinking..

Back in 1996, Brian Eno (musician/producer affiliated with the ranks of U2, David Bowie, Roxy Music, ambient music, etc) with artist Peter Schmidt created a deck of instructional cards designed to disrupt conditioned thought processes and spark creativity through ' Oblique Strategies'. Apparently they are modeled after the classic Chinese text, I-Ching (Book of Changes) used for geomancy, philosophy, predict the future, and to turn to for inspiration.

This article describes the cards in use for busting 'chef's block', to escape the mundane routine of same old kitchen concoctions, which makes it easy to understand how the card's anecdotes are applicable to any creative endeavor. Wonder how well they inspire?

You can also refer to the Oblique Strategies website, but it's rather loooooong and something about the yellow font and black background makes me feel aggitated and aggressive, like a swarm of bees are ferrociously chasing me.

The article:

Oblique Strategy Web:

mind maps and relational, dynamic visualizations

See the work by:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dave Grey and his Knowledge Games

Just listened to Dave Grey
He talked a lot about that we are part of a Knowledge Economy compared to the old Industrial Economy

the most important words to remember regarding success in creative work are
  • Cohesion
bottom-up organizations
i.e. Wikipedia, Linux
  • Collaboratories
flocking, like birds
  • Co-evolution

This is a pretty cool idea:

Mindtools - a great website

I have also been looking at the Six thinking hats.

I found this link at Mindtools, that tells you how to use the Tool and gives an example.

…but you should also look at the next article. It is called:
Starbursting- Understanding new ideas by brainstorming questions

I find it really relevant in concern to our homework …and basically just a great tool for generating loads of questions.

Six Hats Thinking

Since Suzanne mentioned about "Six Hats Thinking", I thought it would be beneficial to research on this communication technique. This concept was developed by Edward de Bono, the author of Lateral Thinking and many other thinking books.

Basically this is what the six hats mean:
- White Hat: you focus on the information or data available
- Red Hat: you based decisions using intuition and emotion without justification
- Black Hat: you look at things cautiously and defensively, being critical on the negative aspects
- Yellow Hat: you look for positive qualities
- Green Hat: you can develop creative solutions to a problem
- Blue Hat: you control the process or steps (usually during a meeting)

I have read his more recent book How to Have a Beautiful Mind, which is essentially about holding interesting conversations. Sadly I still didn't learn to use these techniques because of my shyness at times, but it helps me realize what makes an intellectual conversion.
I found this video with de Bono speaking about the six hats. It seems to be dated a while back, but it's the most comprehensive video I can find.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Snooty fashionistas, Make Way for the New Kid on the Block!

There's no shortage of creeptastic talk about pedophiles pretending to be young'uns, but how often do we hear about young'uns effectively dominating the cyberworld of fashion by force.

A less serious topic from previous blog posts, I thought it was funny that Tavi Gevinson, a "tiny 13 year old dork" as quoted in this article, had created a fashion blog (assumed to be created by fashion insiders), which attracted a whole lot of hype and was considered a professional,  well composed fashion commentary of New York Fashion Week. 

How do we verify our info sources and do we take what we read at face value? It speaks of the (non?)transparent nature of blogging and the internet.

 In a way it's also nice to see things with a different set of young eyes.

The article: 

Her blog: 

Had to share this

As a great concept and also a great way to present a concept when the technology to actually develop it is not in existence yet.

It's interesting too as a starting point for thinking about how we develop ideas that are beyond technological feasibility right away.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dave Gray Talk this Tuesday

Just a reminder for the lecture on Sep 22nd at 6:45pm, you have to apparently register online, so you can't just show up. You'll receive a confirmation which you can print or just show your photo id.

The Power of Questions

Hi, came across this as I was working on our first assignment for generating questions, by the Co-Intelligence Institute . There is ALOT of information, something we are just going to have to get used to this year! But read through and take what works. Some of it may not relate solely to our assignment but might help over the course of our class.

Biomimicry as Methodology

I know some of you are taking biomimicry, and will learn more about this by first hand experience. But for the rest of you, biomimicry is worth checking out for inspiration.

Biomimicry is being inspired by nature; taking solutions observed in biological processes, then applying them appropriately to whatever we're trying to accomplish. The logic is, nature has had millions of years to fine tune and perfect it's strategies for accomplishing it's tasks, so by studying it closley we can reach better, more effecient, and ingenious solutions.

As far as methodology, it's almost backwards, and resembles one of our upcoming projects, where we'll have something and need to find an applicaiton for it. It's not new at all for people to be inspired by nature, but this biomimicry movement is fairly new, and it's wide open right now because there's isn't a set methodology yet. So we start with natures solution, and then have to look for applications for it. This might seem almost silly, and it's not the way most people are accustomed to solving problems. So has made it where you can ask nature about what you need to do, metaphorically, and it will link you with biological examples that could inspire your solution. For example, if your question is 'how would nature channel fluids?', you would get animals varied as the thorny devil to humpback whales.

wow, that was verbose, sorry guys.

Capture the force of nature!

Hi guys, i came across an interesting video talking about miniaturized wind turbines that could be placed in front of your house! Whats better than having free electricity for your lights and your laptops (that's all we really need...Haha)???

But most importantly, this is what i got from this video...

One thing that i thought was interesting was how they developed the actual form of the wind turbine. The design was actually derived from a 3000 year old wind mill that the Egyptians used!!!! 3000 years!!!! and we still come back to this design. This brings up a very important technique, in which we should not forget we have the opportunity to search the past when coming up with products.

Here is the link to the video!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Run Forest, Run!

Since it seems as though we are all rushing to show everyone snazzy new sites i thought that i'd follow the trend.

I'm not sure if you guys remember a comment that Eric Nay made during design thinking (which was about green design).  He mentioned that the only way we can achieve that is by not designing at all.  

Yes? No?

So I went looking for Green Designs and i came across this:

It's got green design written all over it.  It's kind of neat, it tells you simple things to keep green, which is nice i suppose.  Some of the products that they are selling are from recycled material.
It's just that, unless all products are created from recycled goods, we will always be harming it in some way.  We can only design to harm the environment less which is kind of silly.   No product is set to last forever, and at the rate we are consuming goods, we certainly don't want it to be.  We see as much through all that we have learned about planned obsolescence.  

So what do you guys think about this green design?  Is it more than a contradiction? 

SERVED and The Wonderful d30


First off, if anyone is on Twitter, they NEED to follow .
It's a wonderful resource which posts motivational advice, helpful and inspirational links, and design stuffs!

Now now now, if you haven't come across yet, then you are now! It features design right across the board and has a little something for everyone. "Fashion, Industrial Design, Motion Graphics, Photography, Typography..." Muah! Wonderful! To really get the most out of it, sign up for their newsletter :)

And if you wanna see something really really cool, check out
This website features a new material which is a thick "fabric" that becomes rigid upon impact, and thus effectively becomes very wearable, lightweight protective gear. Ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out!


Design for Life

I watched the first episode of "Design for Life" a reality show starring Philippe Starck. It's an effort by the BBC to create a new design language in Britian.

What I found interesting is the design process that Stark promotes is in line with what we at OCAD have been told since we started at this school; that design is about enriching peoples lives, and to always question whether a new product needs to be created or not.

It's interesting to see the results of a more classical design education that differs from ours and what kind of designers and mindsets they produce.

Design for Life from design on Vimeo.

The way Starck picked his top 12 is sketchy, and probably didn't yield the best 12 candidates, but it's an interesting watch nevertheless.

Related Articles:

Basadur Posters from Thursday morning.




going lateral, literally


To me (I repeat, to me) Basadur is a good concept. However, its sole usefulness to me is the concept that each of us has these different parts within us that sometimes wrangle with each other and can paralyse the individual in a tangle of opposing directions. The solution of externalizing these different parts into actual people in a hive mind is novel. On the other hand, taken as an idea, a model for how to work in a group effectively, I really think it must be situated alongside (if not several steps after) a set of other enabling tools such as those that deal with interpersonal psychology. Because for me, today's activity was the first group project and it exposed so nakedly the inadequacy of Basadur in addressing the the most critical aspect of any collaboration between two or more people: psychological dynamics, games ppl play, etc.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Idea Couture on Twitter + Torch Partnership

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Inside the KDU

Hopefully this is related to the course, but since we haven't delved too deeply into what exactly that means yet, I'm just posting this because it's about collaboration. Do we consider collaboration a conceptual tool? It would seem so, since it looks like a lot of the work we'll be doing in this course will be in teams, collaboratively.

Anyways, here's a video about the collaborative process at the core of the Keystone Design Union. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Welcome to the Conceptual Tools and Techniques blog. This space should be used to evolve group knowledge. Please contribute related references and any material. Express your personal opinions but back them up with external sources.

Above all:
  • Be Resourceful.
  • Be Insightful.
  • Be Creative.
  • Be Engaged.
Have fun.