Posts tagged ‘design’

Quality-based rates for ad space?

Time reported that the “average amount paid to NBC for a 30-second commercial in the Super Bowl” this year was a whopping $3.5 million. And while I am definitely frustrated that this money wasn’t spent in a manner with more dynamic benefits (just ask the branding and web strategy firm btrax for some examples), I’m also frustrated that the commercials weren’t better designed.

As Stuart Elliott of the New York Times reported (Feb 5, 2012):

“Too many commercials fell back on tactics that were too familiar from a plethora of Super Bowl spots: anthropomorphic animals, second-class celebrities, slapstick violence and riding the coattails of popular culture. Risk-taking, rule-breaking ideas were as hard to find among the more than 50 commercials as good taste in a GoDaddy ad.”

So, February 18’s daily design idea is why not charge for ad space based on quality of ad?

photo of billboards in Times Square from 2003, by Flickr user ElvertBarnes

I know that quality is subjective, and that this idea would be difficult (if not impossible) to implement, but just imagine how great it could be. Consumers would experience better quality advertising. Agencies and their clients would have more incentive to make design quality a top priority. Smaller agencies and clients with small budgets would have a greater chance at exposure. And anyone profiting from the sale of ad space would still find high bidders from clients who could afford to pay for the exposure, but either couldn’t or wouldn’t pay for the higher quality design services.

What do you think?

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February 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm Leave a comment

Metropolis announces its 2012 Game Changers.

And it’s an awesome bunch. Via Metropolis (January 25, 2012):

“Our class of 2012 is a diverse lot, but its members share an important trait: their community-based work has broader implications for the world at large, demonstrating the power of design to forge real change.”

Metropolis Game Changers award, designed by Christopher H. Lee (of SHoP architects) and produced by Replik. Photo by Kevin Shea Adams. Photo via Metropolis.

I was especially psyched to see that the honorees include architect Michael Maltzan, but to be fair all the bios are inspiring and definitely worth a read. (Consider this a nod to #19: Read biographies of people who have built things.) Coverage of the award celebration is also available.

February 12’s daily design idea is aim to be a (community-based) game changer!

February 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

Needs vs wants.

Quentin in R+D recently discovered a site called Needs/Wants. The following is via their about page:

“Needs/Wants curates things for the modern creative lifestyle. We feature our taste for everyday things we need, but also some extravagant items we can only want—gotta dream big after all.”

While probably not intentional, this website innocently brings up the question that so many designers struggle with: is (good) design a necessity?

I’m only 48 pages into the book Design Like You Give a Damn – something I recently purchased and very much needed – and it’s already been pointed out a handful of times that the need for an architect is regularly questioned. (Luckily the authors are kind enough to continually offer up some kind of realistic reaffirmation that yes, architects are indeed significant.)

While my rational side can’t argue with full confidence that design is always absolutely necessary, my gut tells me it is. And my rational side can definitely argue that design adds very real value, like the increased joy I’d get with the Rubik’s Cube Salt and Pepper shakers from ThirdDrawerDown – something that I very much want, but can in no way justify needing – over more standard shakers.

July 13′s daily design idea is is it important to you to justify the significance of your designs?

July 13, 2010 at 7:49 am Leave a comment

“Design now exists less to shape objects than to produce solutions.”

50 posts after my first attempt to define design, I’d like to share an opinion piece from Allison Arieff titled “The Way We Design Now” (June 2, 2010). The full article is definitely worth a read, but here are two excerpts to start you off:

“Design now exists less to shape objects than to produce solutions. Instead of creating a desire and designing an object to fulfill it, a designer spotlights a problem or need and solves it. The latter has not completely displaced the former, but it has become the prevailing discourse. So it’s fitting that the newest edition of the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial [on view until January 9, 2011] questions the purpose — and future — of the discipline with an exhibit called “Why Design Now?””

“The show actively engages with the question designers both emerging and established must ask today: If not objects, what? It’s a dilemma closely mirroring that of the larger American economy, which has been shifting steadily from manufacturing to service. In response, design schools are scrambling to offer curricula that moves away from what Jon Kolko describes as “the Bauhaus, form-giving stuff.” Kolko, founder of the Austin Center for Design, a newly formed educational institution that “exists to transform society through design and design education,” believes that our recession-weary era is absolutely ready for this sort of work to thrive. “All the travesty and direness is making all the right things happen,” he says. “Kids today don’t care about the big house, the big salary. At the heart of their value system is ‘I want to make a difference.’””

At Daily Design Idea, we definitely agree.

June 22′s daily design idea is how are you designing now?

June 22, 2010 at 7:51 am 1 comment

Guerrilla libraries.

Tonight’s discussion panel about the L!BRARY Initiative project (coordinated with Anoo Siddiqi’s related book launch) was full of strong personalities, a passion for education, and a distaste for bureaucracy. The project itself included a number of big shots in both the education and design industries, and resulted in 56 gorgeous new libraries in New York City public schools. Five of the major players spoke at the Architectural League‘s event, resulting in an impressively collaborative dialogue. But considering how much collaboration went into the creation of these libraries, that’s really no surprise.

Of the event’s many highlights, I especially enjoyed the rogue-ish spirit of Harold Levy, Henry Myerberg, and Lonni Tanner. Levy, the former Chancellor of NYC’s public schools, admitted with a smile that he agreed to the project without knowing if he even had the authority to do so. Myerberg, who directed the design process for all of the Initiative’s libraries and served as architect for 11 of them, described the initial project team as a small group of enthusiastic, committed individuals who took a somewhat “guerrilla approach” to renovating the libraries. As the project grew and more institutions became involved, the designs’ “delivery mechanism had to change” and more and more red tape began to appear. Tanner agreed, with the panel ultimately concluding that the project’s development went “good, better, bad”. It seemed as if the earlier design teams got to run a little wild, have a little more fun, and get a lot more done.

While the earlier libraries (such as PS 50) are certainly well-constructed and safe for children, the “guerrilla approach” became too risky later in the project. In retrospect, that risk factor may have played an important part in the Initiative’s early successes.

May 12’s daily design idea is a little (thoughtful) risk can go a long way.

photo credits
school: PS 50
design: Henry Myerberg with Rockwell Group
photograph: Peter Mauss/Esto

May 12, 2010 at 10:41 pm Leave a comment

What is Design? (part 1 of many)

In honor of my 50th post in a blog about design ideas, I want to begin tackling what I consider to be “Design.” I expect that this will become part of an evolving series of posts, since the idea of design is a truly “changing concept.” One place to start is the question “What makes a design good?”

I firmly believe that design is a process that involves our “hands, heads, and hearts.” The strongest designs require significant input from all three. If you don’t use  your hands, you could miss a real world component of your design that your head couldn’t quite grasp (which is the big reason I support design/build systems). If you don’t use your head, then you haven’t really considered how your design will work with its users. And if you don’t use your heart, then your design is bound to lack joy or style or soul or all of the above (and maybe you should reconsider being a designer).

When designing, you sometimes don’t get it right at first. Working out problems, adapting, and revising are all part of what makes designs become great. GOOD posted an article along these lines that quoted Samuel Beckett: “All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Good designs, in my opinion, always need some failures to achieve the biggest successes.

Good design requires body, mind, heart, and a commitment to finding the best solution. According to D:Center Baltimore, “good design is, simply put, smart problem solving.” Which sums things up nicely for me (or, at least, it starts to).

April 30’s daily design idea is what makes a design good?

April 30, 2010 at 4:48 pm 3 comments


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