Holme and Hadfield Watch Deck Review

The advent of smartwatches may have made it feel like we only ever need one timepiece, but not everyone has subscribed to the hi-tech wearable trend. And even with a smartwatch, there will always be a place for more traditional watches, especially those from luxury brands. Some even have two or more of these, and it often becomes a worry and a chore to organize them inside boxes with tiny pillows. Holme and Hadfield has designed a way to keep some of those watches organized while putting them up for display. But are the Watch Deck and its siblings the best way to take care of your luxury timepieces, or are they just pretty faces?

Aesthetics

Watch collectors and serious watch owners are probably familiar with traditional watch boxes. They keep your watches organized and protected, but they aren’t exactly flattering. They are often also cumbersome to use, requiring a multi-step process to remove a watch and then put the cushion back inside the box. The Holme and Hadfield Watch Deck does away with all of that and lets you showcase your favorite watches when not in use.

The majority of the Watch Deck is made of wood, from the box itself to the holders to the drawer. The company describes it as a sturdy “medium-density fiberboard” material that will withstand the test of time, with proper care, of course. The three available finishes of Oak, Walnut, and Black all look elegant and perfectly fit any classic timepiece you choose to put on top.

The transparent cover, however, is almost the complete opposite of the box. Very discerning eyes will be able to tell that it isn’t glass, and that’s actually for better and for worse. The acrylic top removes fears and worries when handling the cover, especially when repeatedly removing it to fetch the watch you’ve chosen to wear for that day. However, it also slightly cheapens the overall impact of the Watch Deck, especially once you realize its true nature, and raises concerns about the product’s sustainability.

There are no metal parts in the Watch Deck or its smaller siblings, at least not that are visible and large enough to affect the quality and operation of the box. No gears or slides to wear and tear over time, and nothing to affect the watches themselves. Even the drawer operates on a simple wooden system, which also has its own set of drawbacks.

Holme and Hadfield’s watch cases blend well with almost any kind of room or furniture thanks to its minimalist design, though there will certainly be instances where its wood and glass motif might clash with some themes. The color option will be a bigger point of consideration when buying a Watch Deck, but one that pleasantly contrasts its surrounding can also work in its favor. After all, what better way to call attention to your watch collection than by having an Oak or Walnut box that visually pops out in the middle of a predominantly black and white shelf?

Ergonomics

The Watch Deck’s simple design is also reflected in its simple use. You really don’t need instructions for this kind of product, and you simply remove the acrylic cover to place or take out a watch for use. Likewise, you pull out the drawer to remove or place a wallet, glasses, and other trinkets inside. What you have to mind, instead, are the physical dimensions of the watch holders and the drawers, which limit what you could place in them.

The wooden watch holder posts themselves were designed with 45mm watches in mind. Watches with smaller or shorter straps might not be able to wrap around the posts properly. Conversely, watches with larger bodies might prevent the case from closing, though some have had luck with 51mm watches inside.

Even with all watches fitting well, there will be some worries that the wooden surface might scratch the watches or that the watches would end up scratching each other. The posts are fortunately spaced apart sufficiently that the watches won’t rub against each other. The smooth finish of the Watch Deck’s surfaces also helps reduce the chances of the watches themselves getting scratched.

The Watch Deck’s drawer is about 12.5 inches wide, 4.4 inches long, and 1.8 inches deep. It’s big enough to fit a regular-sized wallet or eyeglasses and a few other items like a key fob. There are even small compartments inside for rings and coins. The two-piece “Weekender” and single-piece “Daily” naturally have less room inside. The drawer moves smoothly when you pull it but stops completely at a certain point. You don’t have to worry about pulling too far or the draw falling off when transporting the Deck.

As mentioned, these drawers don’t use any metal to stay in place and move, which lessens the number of things that could break or fall apart. Unfortunately, a pure wooden drawer system requires more precision and design to operate smoothly. It is easy for the drawer’s slots to misalign, and, over time, the friction will wear down those wooden points of contact, and it will be difficult to fix this when the time comes.

Sustainability

You would think that a wooden box like the Watch Deck is the ultimate sustainable product, but that’s only half true. Being able to repair or service a product is also part of its longevity. Craftmanship isn’t just about the design but also about the quality of its execution, and Holme and Hadfield’s watch holders raise very important questions.

The lack of metal parts reduces the number of materials required to make the Watch Deck, but it might also make things like the drawer harder to repair when slots misalign, or the wood has worn down. There are even some customer complaints about drawers that weren’t as smooth as they should be right out of the box.

The biggest blemish on the Watch Deck’s face is the one that you might not always see, depending on how clean it is. Hard-quality acrylic is substantially tougher than glass, of course, and it will also last longer. It doesn’t look nor feel premium, though, and it is definitely not one that is easily repairable or replaceable. When it does get deformed, scratched, or broken, there is very little choice but to discard or replace it, and it isn’t the most recyclable material on the market.

To be fair, Holme and Hadfield doesn’t exactly make sustainability an advertising point for its products. Its use of wood is an aesthetic decision rather than one with a mind towards the environment or future generations. At its price point, it’s probably not surprising that the Watch Deck isn’t something that is playing for keeps, but you’d hope that the younger generation of designers would actually try to make a lasting positive impact not just in design but also on the environment.

Value

Assigning value to a product, especially designer products, isn’t exactly straightforward. That said, value shouldn’t be based solely on appearances, something that’s presumed to be the default for these items. Design, after all, isn’t just about looking good, and product design ensures that things also work the way they were intended to, which often means trying to solve a particular problem.

The Holme and Hadfield Watch Deck definitely checks most of the boxes. It looks handsome on top of any room decor. Its minimalist wooden design and clear acrylic case make sure that your watches are the center of attraction. It even has a compartment to hide other possessions from view but still keep them within easy reach.

The clincher is its price tag, which is almost scandalous for something that’s considered a designer item. For less than $100, you get a stylish holder for four of your favorite watches and a chest for everything else. At that price, it’s almost too easy to just buy a new piece if the current one breaks, which is probably why longevity doesn’t seem to be a high priority.

Verdict

While smartwatches are turning age-old wrist-worn timepieces into more hi-tech but utilitarian objects, there is still a great number that sees watches as more than just accessories. Some do treat them as luxury items and symbols of social status, but there are those that see in them the epitome of excellent product design.

The Holme and Hadfield Watch Deck provides a pedestal that shines the spotlight on these timeless tellers of time. Made from sturdy wooden material and fine finishes contrast perfectly with the metallic bodies of the majority of watches, at least the ones you will proudly show off to everyone that pays attention. The choice of acrylic might be a bit questionable from a sustainability standpoint, but it makes the case easier to use and worry-free.

Perhaps more importantly, the Watch Deck is also a testament that great design and great value don’t always have to come with a high price tag. Admittedly, not all watch connoisseurs will be happy with some of the design choices, but Holme and Hadfield clearly wants to deliver the message that living a life by design doesn’t always have to be expensive.

The post Holme and Hadfield Watch Deck Review first appeared on Yanko Design.

Lunar Artefacts Pointer Instrument (Lunar Optic) Review – Sports Car Looks

PROS:


  • Eye-catching sports car design with a translucent top cover

  • Offers Bluetooth, wireless (RF), and wired connectivity

  • Can be used on glass or reflective surfaces

  • Easy to repair and replace broken parts

CONS:


  • Ergonomics requires a bit of getting used to

  • Doesn't offer advanced mouse features for its price range

RATING:

AESTHETICS
ERGONOMICS
PERFORMANCE
SUSTAINABILITY / REPAIRABILITY
VALUE FOR MONEY

EDITOR'S QUOTE:

The Lunar Artefacts Pointer Instrument changes the way you think a computer mouse can look like and its easy-to-repair design completely changes the game. The lack of features for its price tag, however, could put off more advanced computer users.

Computers and their peripherals are probably the last consumer products that one would normally associate with beautiful design, especially if you’ve seen how these electronic contraptions looked in the earliest days of personal computing. Apple can perhaps be credited for making consumers not only more conscious of well-designed gadgets but also become more accepting of the price one has to pay for them. There has been a steady stream of designer products that try to add some visual appeal to computers and accessories but focus more on appearances at the expense of actual utility. Lunar Artefacts of London, however, wants to prove you can have beauty, functionality, and longevity, so we take the Pointer Instrument Lunar Optic model for a spin to see if it is really the only mouse you’ll ever need.

Aesthetics

Lunar Artefacts compares its Pointer Instruments, its alternative name for a computer mouse, with the Corvette Stingray, and it’s clear that the device’s design is inspired by sports cars rather than other mice. The contours make it look like it was designed with aerodynamics in mind, and you almost expect it to glide over your desk with very little push. As we’ll see later, it is, in fact, designed to operate smoothly with very minimal effort, at least from your arm.

There are quite a few variations of the Pointer Instrument, depending on the material used for the top cover and the base. The Lunar Optic, for example, combines a translucent top that should delight technophiles and an aluminum base that is designed to be lightweight. Those who prefer a bit of heft can opt for the Solar Optic model that uses brass for its base instead.

The choice of leather for other models might be a bit controversial. Genuine full-grain leather is, of course, known for letting the skin breathe, but hands tend to get sweaty when using computer mice, regardless of the environment. It will also wear and tear over time, but that is something that Lunar Artefacts ironically encourages people to embrace. These materials are promised to age beautifully, and you can always replace them should they become unbearable to look at.

Ergonomics

The Lunar Artefacts Pointer Instrument doesn’t look like your run-of-the-mill mouse, even when compared to some of the more esoteric gaming mice available in the market. That unique visual identity, however, does have consequences for the usability of the product and could feel alien in your hand at first. The company itself admits it will need a bit of getting used to, which could hamper your productivity for a while.

Lunar Artefacts insists that it’s worth the time you put into it, though, as it will supposedly improve your comfort over time. Unlike regular mice, you don’t need to grip the Pointer Instrument, and your hand is supposed to rest comfortably on the surface instead. The ambidextrous design of the mouse will surely be of comfort to left-handed users, but the rest of your fingers might feel at a loss where to rest.

Curiously, Lunar Artefacts sells an optional nylon Accessory Grip that basically mimics the shape of a gaming mouse. Unfortunately, that’s an added expense you might not be aware of, and it would have probably been better if it was included in the box, especially since the company admits that no one size fits all.

The designers did at least concede that different people have different preferences when it comes to how heavy or light they want their mice to be, especially when gaming is involved. The luminous aluminum shell that most closely resembles the dark hues of computer mice weighs in at only 120 grams for those who have more precise motion control and prefer a lighter touch. At 195 grams, the brass shell has slightly more heft, offering a solid feel that isn’t uncomfortably heavy.

Sustainability

Designers today have become more aware of the ecological ramifications of their products, and many have made it their mission to create sustainable designs that are also accessible to regular people. When it comes to consumer electronics, how easily repairable or recyclable products are have become major selling points, and the Pointer Instrument probably gets top marks for it. The box it comes in can even be reused as a photo frame, even though it might not be the best way to show off your face. Fortunately, the packaging uses recyclable materials, so it still scores points even if you decide not to use it as the designers intended.

Many companies and designers boast about products sourced from sustainable or environment-friendly materials, but there are times when the use of plastic is almost unavoidable. Plastic does last a long time, but the problem starts when it begins to show its age or needs to be replaced. Lunar Artefacts does have a Lifetime Repair Service program that could handle the proper disposal of such materials, but it still puts a question mark on the Pointer Instrument’s overall sustainability.

Although there might be some debate about how sustainable the materials are, they are at least meant to last longer than your usual plastic. More importantly, however, almost every critical part of the mouse except for the circuit board can be easily replaced. Lunar Artefacts even has a handy video guide on how to disassemble and reassemble the Pointer Instrument, assuring buyers that almost anyone can do that.

The slight hitch to this proposition is that you will have to know where to buy those replacement parts. Although those components might not be that difficult to find online, it would have been dandy if Lunar Artefacts itself sold those or at least connected customers to shops that sell them.

Performance

The Pointer Instrument has been likened to a sports car in design, but does it behave like a Corvette Stingray as well? It’s definitely not a slouch, offering up to 3000 DPI precision, but that’s just about it. If a mouse’s performance is to be judged by the number of buttons it has, including programmable ones, or the beating it can take from a trigger-happy finger, this designer mouse might fail to impress.

It does have one feature that not all computer mice have, even the more expensive ones. It can be used on any surface, including glass or reflective materials that often throw off optical mice. You can, of course, still buy a leather mouse pad from Lunar Artefacts if you just want a matching set.

While it might lack buttons, the Pointer Instrument definitely doesn’t lack connectivity options. In addition to both Bluetooth and RF Wireless, you can also connect it using the USB-C cable that is also used for charging it. It even supports wireless charging if you have a Qi-compatible wireless charging pad large enough to hold it.

Value

Designer products are often more expensive than their common retail counterparts, and not just because they’re designer products. In addition to the thought and extra care that’s put into them, the materials used also play a part in the overall cost of making the product. The Lunar Artefacts Pointer Instrument clearly has those marks, but the question is whether it’s worth that £155 ($200) price tag.

It’s a difficult question to answer and mostly depends on what you would use a computer mouse for. It will hardly perform as well as a dedicated gaming mouse and would easily wear out the buttons repeatedly, even if you could replace it again and again. There are also other ergonomic mice designed with a plethora of features that cost a lot less, though they definitely have nothing on the Pointer Instrument in terms of dapper looks.

Verdict

Lunar Artefacts of London is challenging the concept of a computer mouse. Often considered expendable except by PC gamers, mice are often bought and discarded at rates higher than any other computer peripheral. While people can get attached to their keyboards and have them repaired as much as possible, mice are often just replaced, their discarded carcasses filling up landfills the world all over.

The Pointer Instrument turns that idea on its head, and the Lunar Optic model gives it a visual flair that could appeal to computer users that fancy transparent or translucent designs. Although the sports car inspiration might not stand the test of time, the Lunar Artefacts Pointer Instrument definitely will, as long as there are replacement parts available. At its price tag, you might want this to really be the last mouse you’ll ever buy, and, fortunately, it was built to be that way.

But even when the Lunar Artefacts Pointer Instrument does age, owners will find that it ages gracefully and beautifully as well. When the leather top develops scuffs, and when the aluminum and brass bodies start to grow patinas over time, the mouse begins to take on a more personalized appearance the differs from owner to owner, depending on how they use the device. This way, the Pointer Instrument becomes more than just a utilitarian mouse that you discard after it has served its purpose. It becomes, instead, a more visible and tangible record of your life, growing old along with its owner in an almost personal way.

The post Lunar Artefacts Pointer Instrument (Lunar Optic) Review – Sports Car Looks first appeared on Yanko Design.

Tiny homes make a big impact but have even bigger challenges

When it comes to houses, there are two things that would stop people dead in their tracks. One is a large and majestic masterpiece built on a sprawling lot; the other is a petite, often rectangular box that makes you question whether it’s inhabitable at all. Defying how our brains seem to be wired by default, these tiny homes sometimes called tiny houses, are popping up all over the world, almost ironically in many developing nations. But while the idea and spirit behind these miniature abodes sound like they’re the sustainable housing solution of the future, prospective tiny home builders and buyers still face considerable hurdles that seem to dwarf these tiny homes.

Back to Basics

Nido by Robin Falck

Just as minimalism in design, architecture, and lifestyle was born as a reaction to the growing excess and superfluity half a century ago, the tiny home movement found its roots in the 70s as a response to the increasing sizes and prices of the average house. Financial Times reported back in 2009 that, in the US, this average grew from 1,750 sq ft in 1978 to 2,479 sq ft in 2007. By 2013, TreeHugger said the figure jumped to 2,662 sq ft. Along with sizes, the costs of building materials, upkeep, and utilities proportionally increased over time as well.

Economic recessions like those in the early 2000s, as well as the more recent COVID-19 pandemic, were a rude awakening for everyone around the world. Bigger houses started to look unsustainable, not to mention unaffordable. The need for smaller, cheaper, more sustainable, and more environment-conscious housing unsurprisingly increased in the past ten years.

Hüga by Grandio

Although tiny homes have been around for decades, the movement seems to have really picked up in the past few years. No longer just the purview of adventurers, environmentalists, architects, and self-builders, tiny homes have become almost commercialized to the point that there are multiple businesses built around selling pre-made housing. With rising popularity, however, also comes misunderstandings, presumptions, and fantasies, and some budding tiny home adopters might find themselves at a literal and financial loss when diving head-first into this novel and alluring concept.

Elsa by Olive Nest Tiny Home

Life in the Small

There is certainly an air of wonder and awe at the thought of living in such a constrained space no larger than 400 sq ft or so. It gives off vibes of independence from possessions or a spirit of rebellion as you eschew the conveniences of modern life. Tiny homes also seem to overflow with creativity as builders, designers, and homeowners try to make do with what little space they have or, more importantly, what little resources they can use.

Like minimalism, tiny homes force you to pare what you have down to the bare essentials. It is more extreme in this case, of course, since this isn’t just a room or office but where you will be living for years. It requires an even bigger deal of introspection as you decide not only what’s important but also what’s livable for you and your family.

Gawthorne’s Hut by WilgowrahCameron Anderson, & Callander Constructions

Power and water will be some of the biggest considerations you’ll have to decide on right off the bat, things that we might take for granted with traditional housing. Part of the tiny home idea includes reducing the carbon footprint and waste produced when building and using full-sized houses, but that might not always be the case these days. The plethora of off-grid power options today, like solar and rechargeable batteries, make one part of that equation easy to solve, but plumbing will require more thought, not to mention negotiation with local governments and neighborhoods.

Idyllic as it might sound, investing in a tiny home can actually be more complicated than buying or building a regular one. You aren’t just setting up camp for an overnight stay, after all, and are making provisions for a hopefully permanent residence. If you are considering getting into this almost radical new lifestyle, there are still some things you’ll want to keep in mind and don’t be surprised if they seem bigger than the house itself.

Natura by The Tiny Housing Co

Big Considerations

Given their novelty, there is still a lot of gray areas about tiny homes when it comes to zoning and housing laws. That includes not only the more permanent houses that you set up foundations for but also the wheeled ones that can fall under the RV category. Some neighborhoods don’t exactly take kindly to the odd miniature homes, but the ones that are up for sale or rent are often vetted in this regard.

You can’t escape the laws of nature either, especially if you’re building in remote areas, on mountains, or in the middle of the trees. Having your independent power and plumbing puts you at Mother Nature’s mercy even more, and there are also risks of landslides or sinking you might not have considered early on, especially if you planned on a more mobile design.

Designed by Matt and Lisa of Tailored Tiny Co.

Tiny homes aren’t for everyone, and not just because of the lifestyle. There are also psychological impacts from living in such a restricted physical space, especially on younger people. Families, especially those with kids, might want to delay making such a move or, at the very least, consult experts before making a lifestyle and residence shift.

The tiny home movement was born out of a desire for sustainable and economical housing, and it is becoming a blueprint for providing temporary shelters for the homeless. As its popularity grows, however, there is a real risk that it actually loses these hallmarks. The materials used to build them, the power and water sourced to make them livable, and the costs of building or buying these tiny homes could eventually defeat the entire purpose of these smaller habitats.

La Casa Nueva by Juan Alberto Andrade

Final Thoughts

There are forecasts that the tiny homes industry will grow to around $5.80 billion by 2024, a rather astounding number given the relatively smaller sizes of these houses. The sustainability and environmental impact of tiny homes, however, will be largely dependent on where the new generation of builders and homeowners take this new design trend. Living in small homes doesn’t necessarily make everything smaller. In fact, some problems might even seem bigger once you’ve gotten rid of all the unnecessary elements of life.

Vivienda Minima de Descanso by STUDIOROCA

The post Tiny homes make a big impact but have even bigger challenges first appeared on Yanko Design.

The big problem with Pantone’s Color of the Year… and why it desperately needs to be fixed.

Colors, for Pantone, are their entire life. They’re literally what the company’s foundation rests on, and I’m sure people who work at Pantone are extremely passionate about the intricate nuances of hues, shades, tints, balance, saturation, palettes, pigments, HEX codes, or any of the jargon associated with colors… but colors, for Pantone, also present an incredibly lucrative business model (the company was valued at $180 million in 2007); and therein lies the massive problem.

Another year, another hue, more merchandise…

Pantone unveiled its Color Of The Year 2022 this week – a fine shade of “dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet-red undertone” called Very Peri, meant to represent humanity embracing an “altered landscape” after an intense period of isolation, and “opening up to a new vision as we re-write our lives”. The tradition dates back to 2000, in a practice that Pantone conducts with representatives from various nations’ color standards groups. Every December, Pantone unveils its new color for the year moving forward, effectively instructing creatives and companies around the world of what their experts believe should be the new year’s palette. Creatives will base their designs off the colors, fashion industries will market new collections based on these palettes, and companies will push out merchandise with Pantone’s licensed hues to a hungry audience in what can best be described as a coordinated market effort to create demand and to fuel a cycle of consumerism… the kind of consumerism that conveniently renews each year and is associated with art and creativity so it feels less market-ey and more art-y. Cyclical consumerism is bad, but art is good… so the results lie in a massive grey area (Grey was ironically one of the colors of the year for 2021).

A brief history of the Pantone Color of the Year

Words from a Quartz article in 2019 perfectly sum up Pantone’s selection process: “Pantone’s color prediction is, in part, a self-fulfilling prophecy”. The selection of a hue isn’t based on an empirical survey or an analysis of a running trend. It is, for the most part, selected by a committee through creative intuition and debate, following which, the color is then propagated by an elaborate marketing campaign. It’s no coincidence that as soon as Pantone announces a Color of the Year, like clockwork, companies release merchandise in the same hue. Pantone doesn’t predict a trend, it simply orchestrates it. “Months before the unveiling in December, it enters into licensing agreements with various companies—from nail polish to hotel suites”, the Quartz article points out. “Suddenly, the color of the year is everywhere.”

The idea is absolute genius, since it creates anticipation, injecting excitement into an otherwise boring color business… After all, it’s not like Pantone is constantly “inventing” new colors – colors have existed for millennia – although the Very Peri hue is new to Pantone’s catalog and was specially developed for the year 2022 (former editor-in-chief of ELLE Decoration UK, Michelle Ogundehin, has some strong thoughts on this year’s choice of color). The issue, however, is that you can’t possibly pre-emptively hype a color’s prominence into modern culture. Even a “global authority on color” can’t possibly make a hue go viral… society is much more complicated than that. It (sometimes) works for fashion, but not colors. Although both act as channels for expression and communication, fashion is personal and subjective… colors, however, are much more universal. This also opens Pantone up to further scrutiny when the color “doesn’t work out”. Pantone picked a shade called “Greenery” as its Color Of The Year for 2017, a year when California saw massive wildfires; its color pick for 2019, Living Coral, seemed quite foot-in-mouth when the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report of 2019 predicted a grim future for corals off the coast of Australia.

What the Color of the Year really symbolizes… for Pantone, and for everyone else.

Each year, the Color of the Year is announced amid fanfare, along with a press release from Pantone that provides a lengthy explanation of what the new hue of the year is supposed to represent. However, the Color of the Year means two very different things to both Pantone and us, the consumers of color. For Pantone, the Color of the Year represents an annual effort to ‘market’ a color and earn revenue based on merchandise and licensing… for us, however, the color represents what Pantone tells us, and almost inevitably, like a fortune cookie message gone wrong, the events of the year can prove to be Pantone’s very undoing. 2021’s colors, Hope and Illuminating Gray, came at a time when numerous countries experienced the deadly blows of the Delta variant wreaking more havoc in the pandemic’s global second wave, while others experienced great political and economic turmoil, and the entire world suffered the wrath of a supply chain crisis that experts estimate will last well into 2024. Colors are a business for Pantone, but for us humans, they’re still vessels for moods, feelings, and emotions.

That’s where the somewhat foolish idealist in me raises objections. The term “Color of the Year” in itself sounds misleading. It isn’t like a Best Actor award, or Sportsman of the Year award, where accolades are given based on performance or a track record. Contrary to what the phrase is ideally supposed to represent, it’s less of a color of the year and more of a trend or guideline of the year. The color is predictive, rather than reflective, and that’s where the problem really lies because you can predict trends, you can’t predict emotion. What the color tells us to feel for the entire year can sometimes wholly differ from what we end up feeling for the entire year. The symbolic message behind 2021’s Hope Yellow and Illuminating Gray would be painfully ironic to a Palestinian or an Afghan or a Uighur.

In retrospect, here’s what the real Colors of the Year looked like for 2020 and 2021, based on headlines and global sentiment.

2020 – Pantone Deep Water – Hospital Beds, Surgical Masks, Clearer Skies, Democrat Victory, WFH Softwares.

2021 – Pantone Storm – Ever Given, Chip Shortage, Squid Game, Greenery in the Arctic, Afghan Withdrawal, Palestine Protests

Things get tougher when the symbolism of the Color of the Year ends up being more literal than metaphorical – like in 2017 when Pantone chose ‘Greenery’ as their Color of the Year, or 2019 when they settled on ‘Living Coral’. In these cases, colors aren’t representative of a global mood or zeitgeist but are quite literally taken from nature, making the hollowness of the entire yearly charade much more apparent. One could argue buying a Living Coral edition of the 2019 Google Home Mini did absolutely nothing to raise awareness for coral bleaching, nor did it actually materially help the conditions of marine life in any way. Not that it’s Pantone’s job to fix the environment or heal the corals in the first place, but what is it if not ‘color appropriation’? Like cultural appropriation, ‘color appropriation’ is nothing more than borrowing a color and its emotional aspects and marketing it for economic gain.

How to fix it?

At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I don’t believe in getting rid of the Color of the Year. As ultimately meaningless as it may be in the long run to most of the population, it’s a fun little annual exercise that, at least for the creative community, gives us a little excitement and sparks our inspiration/imagination. That aside, maybe it’s time Pantone devises a new, more publicly inclusive way of picking their yearly colors instead of relying on an out-of-touch boardroom of executives and marketing heads. Maybe that way, the colors will actually mean something to us all, rather than being a woke marketing effort to broadcast messages of ‘hope’, ‘positivity’, and ‘exploration’ while companies make money off merchandise that’s only good for that particular year. The Pantone Color of the Year has the potential to be much more meaningful and impactful than simply being a revenue stream for global corporations… or conversely, embrace it for what it currently is and rebrand it to the Pantone “Trend Prediction of the Year”.

How about fixing it from a media perspective? After all, design, culture, and news websites like ours play a significant role in pushing these trends and their subsequent products. Truth be told, the reality probably won’t change unless Pantone decides to change first. It’s still in our nature to fawn over delicious hues and color palettes (because our aesthetic-driven minds are trained to), and as a blog, we’re still required to report on the intersection between design and news, which means blogs like ours will continue to showcase designs drenched in Pantone’s Very Peri. That being said, the purpose of this piece is to reflect on the 2-decade practice and propose a better way forward with the hope that Pantone realizes that the powers and capabilities of the color spectrum are far more than being simply drivers of consumerism.

The post The big problem with Pantone’s Color of the Year… and why it desperately needs to be fixed. first appeared on Yanko Design.

How Apple’s iPhone 14 design could bring the brand back to glory after the iPhone 13 snoozefest

The iPhone 14 will need some out-of-the-box thinking if Apple wants to restore confidence in its design chops.

Apple has always been lauded for how it put design into focus, proving that consumer electronics like computers and phones can be not only functional but also well-designed. It’s that lineage that may have set the iPhone 13 up for disappointment, missing a few marks in both aspects, despite being favorably reviewed. Expectations are understandably running high for the iPhone 14, with many hoping it would finally break from the mold and finally use one of Apple’s wild patents. Of course, Apple isn’t one to make big leaps into the unknown, but there are a few concepts that do sound more likely than others.

After the iPhone 13, there is a growing sentiment even among its fans that Apple needs to make a big bang next year, or at least in 2023 at the latest. It isn’t as much because of the hardware since Apple already has that down to a “T,” with a few caveats. Battery life continues to be a concern, for example, despite optimizations that Apple makes to iOS to stretch out battery life as much as possible. As a company hailed for its designs, Apple has put out a few designs that didn’t sit well even with its fans, like the “trash can” and “cheese grater” Mac Pros, or, closer to home, the wide notch of the iPhone X. After two very similarly designed iPhones, 2022’s iPhone gives Apple the chance to make a clean break or, at the very least, present something fresh and exciting.

The Improbable: iPhone 14 Flip

Designer: ConceptsiPhone





Let’s get this out of the way: Apple is unlikely to turn the iPhone 14 into a foldable phone. It might not be until 2023 before an “iPhone Fold” finds its way into the market, and even that might be a generous estimate. A clamshell-type iPhone in the vein of the Galaxy Z Flip definitely looks chic and stylish, but there are still too many variables for Apple to make a gamble on foldables. It isn’t one to compromise on experience even for the sake of style, and that is exactly what a phone with a fragile flexible screen is.

Samsung has made a lot of progress in making foldable phones more mainstream, or at the very least condition the public to their existence. Part of that is in making the phones more accessible in terms of price, with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 claimed to be the most affordable foldable phones in the market today. Recent figures for market analysts and Samsung itself suggest that these two have already outsold their 2019 and 2020 predecessors combined. While actual numbers are unsurprisingly unavailable, it at least suggests that there is a strong market for these phones.

Apple, however, doesn’t always play the same numbers game and places a heavy emphasis on design and reliability. Foldable phones still have ways to go to reach those standards, especially when it comes to reassuring owners that their expensive investments won’t break so easily on the first drop. My Galaxy Z Fold 3 has so far been fortunate enough not to have met any accidents, and it feels sturdy enough to withstand a few falls. The foldable display inside, however, still doesn’t inspire much confidence, and it is unlikely that Apple will embrace that technology until it’s 100% sure of its longevity.

The Plausible: iPhone 14 Slide

Designer: #ios beta news





If, however, we would really think outside the box, the iPhone 14 slider concept not only has more appeal but is also more probable than a foldable phone. While the idea isn’t exactly new and has been done before (by Nokia, no less), it’s uncommon enough that Apple could do its magic and be remembered as the one that pioneered or at least popularized “sliders.” It just has the right mix of elegance, usability, and forward-thinking that makes it a likely candidate in case Apple decides to really reach for the stars next year.

The iPhone 14 sliding display concept brings a bit of the past and the future together in one package. The softer curved sides are reminiscent of the iPhone 12 and contrast with the cold and sharp edges that have become one of the iPhone 13’s most criticized design changes. The display hiding underneath offers some extra space for secondary elements, like menus or even a QWERTY keyboard, freeing the main screen to display beautiful content. And, of course, the absence of a camera bump will be much appreciated by everyone.

The biggest stumbling block to making this incarnation of the iPhone 14 a reality won’t be the design or the hardware but the software. Apple will have to adjust iOS 16, the version that will be launched next year, to accommodate having a second display off to one side. It can’t be something that’s haphazardly thrown together either, given Apple’s high standards, but it’s something that is still within the realm of possibility for 2022.

The Real McCoy: iPhone 13 Refined

Designer: ConceptsiPhone





The somewhat harsh reality, however, is that Apple doesn’t exactly jump on the latest trends just to make a sensational product. This makes its designs more iterative rather than revolutionary, though it does sometimes make leaps and bounds like the iPhone X. If it were to design an iPhone 14 that’s closer to reality, it would be one that has very few changes, like a true full-screen display without a notch.

This iPhone 14 concept brings together many existing designs and features into something that is completely Apple. Sadly, the flat, chamfered edges are still here to cut into your palm. The cameras, however, are flushed against the phone’s back, which does imply that this iPhone could be a bit thicker than the iPhone 13. Hopefully, the extra space can be used to squeeze in more battery, something that’s always a concern for iPhone owners.

While those changes are well within Apple’s capability to make, the switch from a notch to a punch-hole cutout could prove to be the most controversial aspect of this concept. This design doesn’t have visible room for the iPhone’s full Face ID hardware, which could be hiding beneath the screen. Apple has already been repeatedly rumored to be working on under-display sensors, so moving up its schedule for a 2022 debut isn’t that off the mark at all.

Final Thoughts” or “Wrap Up”

Given Apple’s track record, we’re almost certain that the iPhone 14 will still resemble this year’s iPhone, perhaps with a few refinements here and there. The company is one that lets a design stew for two or three generations or even more before changing the formula, even if the design is widely criticized or disliked, like the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. Except for consumer clamor, Apple might not see any dire need to change the iPhone’s current design, especially since it’s trying to consolidate its design language across different devices. The iPads and iPhones now look more similar after all, and next year’s Apple Watch is expected to follow suit. There is, of course, always the possibility that the company will suddenly change directions, like when it abruptly ended the iPhone X’s design after only two generations, but we also can’t expect it to make very drastic changes that would be totally out of character for Apple.

The post How Apple’s iPhone 14 design could bring the brand back to glory after the iPhone 13 snoozefest first appeared on Yanko Design.

The Tesla “Cyberwhistle” is proof that Elon Musk will practically sell you anything except actual cars…

[This is an Editorial. The views, opinions, and positions expressed in this article are my own.]

In the past two years, Elon’s become the world’s richest man, sent people to space, demonstrated the Boring tunnel in action, announced a sentient Tesla Robot, given his son a name that’s more secure than my Gmail password, shifted Tesla’s headquarters to Texas, bought a dog to manipulate cryptocurrency values, and spent most of his time awake being a Twitter troll. He’s also sold Tesla-branded tequila, and more recently, a Cybertruck-shaped whistle that’s unsurprisingly called the “Cyberwhistle”. In short, he’s done everything except actually sell new cars.

In my article back in May this year, I mentioned how Tesla’s not released a single new car (although they’ve announced a bunch) in the past two years. Elon even stated in 2015 that there would be fully self-driving cars (with level 4 autonomy) on the road by 2018, so the Cyberwhistle at this point really feels like everything’s a big joke. There’s absolutely no doubt Elon’s a visionary. However, a visionary who keeps making promises and claims that may sometimes take decades to deliver (if at all) is nothing more than a bullshitter… or in this case, as Benedict Evans so eruditely puts it, “A bullshitter who delivers”. Dare I say that if Theranos had 10-20 years to deliver on a technology they prematurely promised, there wouldn’t be any difference between Elon and Elizabeth Holmes. Elon announcing a Tesla Robot arguably 20 years too soon borders on the same sort of charlatanism.

The reason why Elon’s announcement of the Cyberwhistle really grinds my gears (no pun intended) is that it portrays him as a disingenuous CEO who isn’t even remotely apologetic for the truck’s major delays. In fact, it’s as if Elon is taunting the people who pre-ordered the Cybertruck in 2019, expecting it in late 2020, only to find that it’s almost 2022 and the truck’s nowhere in sight. Designed and marketed as yet another one of Elon’s many trolls (this time poking fun at Apple’s $20 cloth), the whistle’s shaped like the truck, comes made from stainless steel, with the same brushed finish as seen on the original truck. Once Elon tweeted about it, the whistle was sold out in minutes, reinforcing Elon’s cult of personality and that his Twitter account should really be regulated before he crosses a line like the time he called a deep-sea rescue diver a ‘pedo’, but more importantly, proving that Elon’s an absolute pro at selling practically anything from whistles to dreams… anything except actual cars.

The post The Tesla “Cyberwhistle” is proof that Elon Musk will practically sell you anything except actual cars… first appeared on Yanko Design.

What would thrift shopping look like in the metaverse?





Built around the idea of a digital universe (or a metaverse), Around is a unique approach to thrifting, that facilitates the exchange of original products through online trading… and relies on NFTs to act as a proof of product authenticity as well as a sort of warranty card.

Sure, cryptocurrencies and NFTs are an absolute curse for the environment, although this new conceptual VR marketplace is certainly doing its part by promoting a somewhat sustainable culture of second-hand product ownership and an extension of a product’s life cycle. Meet ‘Around’, a metaverse marketplace for your physical goods. Much like a digital storefront like Amazon or Shopify, it allows products to be bought and sold, although it lets individual sellers sell their own belongings, sort of like a virtual garage sale – think eBay but better. What’s interesting about Around is that it doesn’t just let you buy and sell used goods, it’s a comprehensive virtual world where even your digital avatar buys and sells items too… so a pair of actual Jordans purchased in the physical world would also mean that your digital avatar would own a pair of Jordans.

Secondhand products are simply auctioned off to the highest bidder in this virtual universe. Your digital character participates in a bidding war with other characters, and the person who wins the bid doesn’t just get the actual product shipped to them, they also get the bragging rights of their avatar owning a digital copy of the product too (similar to buying skins on Fortnite). Along with the digital copy, your avatar even acquires the product’s NFT, which acts as proof of ownership and authenticity. An NFT is minted for each individual product, sort of like a digital badge, and when you sell a product, the NFT gets transferred to its new owner. The NFT serves as a warranty certificate in the real world, allowing brands to live up to the promise of their product’s quality, and for the added flair, it displays as a digital badge in your digital world, allowing you to flaunt your swag in the real world as well as the metaverse!





What Around proposes isn’t something radically new, but it does package a few existing concepts, like product ownership, thrifting, NFTs, and the metaverse into a singular cohesive solution. It seeks to reinvent how youngsters shop in the future, offering an interactive, immersive virtual storefront that people can practically line up in front of to buy limited-edition merch, effectively turning the digital store into a new social space.

Designer: Jeongin Lee

The post What would thrift shopping look like in the metaverse? first appeared on Yanko Design.

Female Industrial Designers you must follow to see the impact they are making with their designs!

Here’s a recent factoid that sits rent-free in my head. In the UK, there are more CEOs named Peter than there are women CEOs. Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? What’s disturbingly hilarious is that this isn’t even a gender comparison, it’s an entire gender versus an aggregate of guys called Peter. Sadly enough, that strange disparity doesn’t exist within the executive domain or within entrepreneurship alone, but also is rampant within the creative industry. However, here’s what’s even more surprising about the creative industry… women make up over 60% of students studying creative arts and design at the university level, but beyond college, the world of product and industrial design is anywhere between 78 and 95% male.

We shared these details in an Instagram post roughly a year back, with responses that shocked and wowed us. The viral post raised awareness on the experiences of women in industrial design, and also the amount of appreciation, recognition, and exposure they truly deserve but do not always receive. In an ode to amazing female designers and the mindblowing work they do, together with our guest post author Kristi Bartlett, we’ve curated a collection of 14 women industrial designers and their innovative product designs. Scroll on to meet them and learn from their answers to 2 questions that give us their outlook on the design world. From tech to furniture to architecture, there’s no design industry left untouched by women and their creative enigma! It’s a women’s world, and it’s time we celebrate it!

Fumi Shibata

Japanese designer Fumie Shibata (follow her on Instagram to get a glimpse of her work life!) is the founder of the Design Studio S. Her experience spans a range, right from electronics, medical equipment, housewares, to even doing the creative direction for a capsule hotel. Her past clients include the legendary minimal Japanese international brands like Muji and Zojirushi. Her portfolio showcases the awards she has won – the iF Gold Award, and the Design for Asia Top, Culture, and Gold Awards among others. She works as the Professor of Musashino Art University and is a part of the Judging Committee Chair of the 2018-2019 Good Design Awards. She has also authored the book ‘Forms within Forms.’ Her latest work, the Bonbori collection is hypnotic lighting that uses a minimal dot pattern to create an interesting gradient in this lamp. The design also won the Elle Deco International Design Awards for 2021.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work?
I would like to create a variety of options without being bound by existing values. For example, I believe that the 9h (capsule hotel) I designed has created a new style of accommodation.

Is there a social issue you hope to design can help solve?
As a person involved in manufacturing, I am always thinking about what I can do to address environmental issues.

Qin Li

Qin Li is the Vice President of Design at fuseproject, and has over 20 years of experience and knowledge of the industry – which is why she guides the entire design process from ideation to production. She is also the Chair Emeritus of the Board of IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of America) and has served as a juror in multiple design competitions. Her Instagram is a collage of her work and personal life with interesting architectural shots making up the mix. Showcased here is one Ori Living, one of her ‘TIME Magazine 100 Best Inventions of 2020’ winning designs. The Ori Cloud Bed was designed to be integrated into smaller living spaces to make the most out of the space we have for working from home.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work?

More than ever, I am feeling the increasing responsibility as a designer – reimagining the post-pandemic human experience, and being active stewards of the environment. I’ll always have a passion for uncovering new opportunities in the design process. A concerted effort in unpacking challenges allows us to deep dive into understanding user needs – on a physical, emotional, and cultural level – to deliver a streamlined, elegant, and human-centered solution. It is also a natural segue into pushing for true accessibility and universal design. A paradigm shift is needed to carve a path for this profession that prioritizes fundamental human needs over profit and consumerism.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve?

We’ve seen California skies turn dark orange for days on end, entire glaciers disappear, and unprecedented drought and flooding all over the globe. The need for a serious and collective response to global warming is immediate and critical. As designers, we understand the depths of this systemic issue in our industry. Only a clear and deliberate charter spearheaded by the design community will change the attitudes, behaviors, and necessary legislature to address the climate crisis. Designers need to lead the charge in imploring clients to choose sustainable solutions and helping them understand this as both an opportunity and a necessity for the future health of our earth.

Ti Chang

Ti Chang is a feminist industrial designer and entrepreneur who is the co-founder and VP of Design at Crave, a female pleasure company. With international design awards in her portfolio, she has led her company to have partnerships with Nordstrom, MoMA Design Store, Standard Hotel, Goop, and Saint Laurent. Ti describes herself as a feminist industrial designer and an unlikely activist and is passionate about her cause of getting women an equal consideration in the field of design. Follow her on Instagram to understand more about design activism. We have here the “Ouchless” hairbrush collection, a prolific product for nearly a decade designed during Ti’s time at Goody. The invention addresses the core of design philosophy – using simple changes to solve an everyday problem, which explains why the design is such a hit.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work? 

Designs must have a reason to exist, and to me, design is at its finest when it is in service to humanity. Design is my activism — it is my opportunity to serve those who are underrepresented and underserved. Women have largely been ignored and pandered to in the design of products. I am most interested in improving experiences that are universal because in this divisive time, there’s also so much that unites us. I have worked on consumer products such as hairbrushes and currently, I’m working on pleasure – we could all use more joy and permission to embrace the pleasure our bodies are capable of.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve? 

Design can profoundly change people’s lives – and I’m particularly interested in how it can empower women on a daily basis. We just haven’t earnestly tried in the past to serve women in industrial design because often we assumed the experiences of men mapped to the entire humanity. We are only beginning to scratch the surface of what we are capable of achieving for empowerment of women. As I see more businesses embrace diversity and the emergence of women-led companies, I am hopeful that the lens of design will continue to evolve and be a force for a more equitable world.

Arielle Assouline-Lichten

Arielle Assouline-Lichten is the founder of Slash Objects, a sustainability-minded design firm based in Brooklyn, NY. Arielle is passionate about design as a way to transform how humans experience the world. Her work aims to reframe our understanding of the resources we have through tactile stories that create a sense of intrigue into our material world. If you think you have seen her before, she’s the runner-up on Ellen’s Next Great Designer. Follow her on Instagram for some fun behind-the-scenes of her daily life. One of her latest pieces, the Adri Chair, is all about clean lines and is a renewed interpretation of a modernist experiment. Marble and recycled rubber were used to create this exquisite piece of furniture!

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work?

I am a minimalist with some maximalist tendencies – but I ultimately aim to highlight the beauty of materials. I’m interested in what we can do with the least amount possible, how we can pair things down to uncover new connections.

Is there a social issue you hope to design can help solve?

I think that representation is important in the creation of design – our canon of design pieces has historically been overrepresented by one type of creator. I’d like to see new authors create timeless pieces – that is something I am aiming for.

Veronika Scott

Industrial designer Veronika Scott is a social change entrepreneur and the founder of the Empowerment Plan, a Detroit-based non-profit breaking the cycle of homelessness through empowerment. What started out as her senior project is now a full program which provides jobs to people who need them. The workers make EMPWR coats, durable coats that can transform into sleeping bags or be worn as an over-the-shoulder bag, which are distributed to people experiencing homelessness. Her work embodies the principle ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ Veronika’s organization gives the ones in need a lifeline, a chance to make the world better and that’s what can change their life. Follow her on Instagram to see the impact of her work.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work?

My design philosophy is centered around constant evolution to meet the needs as they change over time and that really goes hand in hand with listening. Truly listening, not just for the answer you want to hear but letting people drive the growth of the work. We are constantly getting feedback on the coats we make as well as the job opportunities we create. We aim to make people feel heard in the process. No issue or challenge is stagnant, things change, and we need to keep up.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve?

I wish some of the incredible design minds that I know are out there could solve the childcare issue. We have such a challenge with this as a country and in this last year, we have truly felt the impact of poor childcare, on the whole family and in particular women. I think that designers could take on this complex social issue and come up with some beautiful solutions.

Matali Crasset

Matali Crasset’s experience shows the trends of Industrial Design, and you can see her personal style on her Instagram. Graduated at Les Ateliers Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle, Matali Crasset is an industrial designer of formation. She collaborates with eclectic universes, with work ranging from handicraft to electronic music, from the scenography to the furniture, from graphic design to interior architecture. The work here showcases the renovated Michèle Monroy’s apartment in Paris. Matali showered it with colorful hues of orange, yellow, pink, blue, and green – this ecstatic rainbow-themed space is designed to instantly lift up spirits.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work?

I see this profession more and more, through the projects I lead, such as that of a midwife. It is less and less a question of shaping matter – aesthetics – but rather of bringing out, federating, organizing, around common intentions and values, links and networks of skills, connivance as well as sociality.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve?

A designer is not a problem solver. I defend design as an artistic, anthropological, and social practice ever since graduating from the ENSCI-Les Ateliers. I strive for its dedication to creativity, people, and everyday life: how can design contribute to our community and help us navigate the contemporary world? This is the simple yet engaging premise, from which I think and set anything in motion.

Jasmine Burton

Meet Jasmine Burton – a powerhouse designer who has spoken at 130+ global stages – including a TedxAtlanta, Women Deliver Power Stage Speaker – and has also been featured on 50+ media platforms including CNN Money, Inc., WIRED, Fast Company, and WSBTV. She is the founder of Wish for WASH, a startup intended to innovate the field of sanitation. Post that, she started the Hybrid Hype, a woman-owned global consulting firm. Jasmine aims to use design thinking and business skills to improve access to health and sanitation for all. And she reinforces that ideology on her Instagram with the hashtag #everybodypoops aimed to normalize discussing sanitation. The design showcased here is the SafiChoo toilet – an inexpensive toilet frame that can be easily carried to any destination. The toilet also comes with a bucket system that allows for a safe and clean method of disposal.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work? 

“Design is inherently optimistic and that is its power” – William McDonough.
This quote rings true for me as I seek to use my product design skillsets and design thinking mindsets as generative, inclusive, and asset-based tools to help drive sustainable development particularly related to work rooted in health equity, gender parity, racial justice, and social inclusion. I firmly believe that design – especially human-centered design – has the power to change the world if used and proliferated intentionally. Across my ventures and vocations, we seek to design for dignity and ownership by designing ‘with’ not ‘for’ in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), menstruation, and global health sectors.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve? 

I identify as a hybrid professional who is passionate about using my design, public health, and business prowess to drive innovation in sanitation and gender equity through Wish for WASH and Period Futures. Over four billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation. Many communities share unimproved pit latrines or holes in the ground, which can be overflowing, poorly maintained, and/or far from home. The lack of toilets in schools and public places also makes it incredibly challenging for menstruating people to safely manage their periods. We need more inclusive, representative, and innovative product development and design research in this sector that touches all people’s lives because #everybodypoops and #menstruationmatters.

Morna Gamblin

Morna Gamblin has 12 years of experience covering a design right from its research and concept development phase to its manufacturing. Taking this extensive experience, Morna now teaches eager students about the intricacies of Industrial Design through her Instagram and her Youtube channel. As she explains, “I started putting my learning out into the world because I see a lack of design research strategy being taught in ID schools. One of the most difficult aspects of being an industrial designer is that you could potentially design anything that is manufactured….and ANYTHING is a broad topic! ” One of the products designed by Morna is the Muse – a brainwave sensing headband that uses biofeedback sensors to provide a deep meditative experience.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work?

My approach is oriented to be: Functional so that the design works, Friendly so that it’s inclusive and understandable, Attentive so that the needs of the end-user are addressed, Appropriate so that the solution is perfectly suited to the problem, and Beautiful so that it resonates emotionally with the end-user. I’ve worked on many projects that shape technology (new and old) into beautiful, functional, understandable, and manufacturable products. These tenets guide my approach, especially while juggling multiple needs from the client, their business, the end-user, and manufacturing.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve?

Gender equality and inclusion in the workplace is an important issue for me. Recently, The Globe & Mail (Canadian newspaper) reported “men still hold the bulk of decision-making positions, and they continue to dramatically outnumber, outrank and outearn their female colleagues.” It’s a wicked problem: complex and nuanced. Design is well suited to address it because, unlike other disciplines which are problem-focused, design is solution-focused. As designers, we facilitate a process to imagine new futures. Last spring, I co-organized an event with Lindsay Malatesta for women (and non-binary) designers because we need to connect, share stories, and support each other.

Susan McKinney

Susan McKinney is a ceramic artist and award-winning industrial + CMF designer; she was a design manager at New Deal Design prior to starting her own creative studio, SKINNY. Her design contributions over the past 12 years are notable, with honors from IDEA, Spark, FastCo Innovation by Design, and the National Design Award from her 7 years at New Deal Design, a renowned design agency in SF. Susan began exploring clay’s materiality in 2008, connecting her passion for inventive design with natural materials – as seen on the behind-the-scene images on her Instagram. Her use of clay pushes the material to go past its usual form as shown in her clay weaving called the Infinity Collection.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work?

I’m constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible, embracing radical ideas and processes. My work seeks to connect people to their own sense of wonder. By using materials in unexpected ways, like weaving clay, I create objects that go beyond our everyday experience, to bring moments of curiosity and magic to our daily lives.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve?

As designers, we have a role to play in advocating for a positive and equitable human experience, at every level, while equally advocating for our planet.

Alejandra Castelao

Alejandra Castelao is a senior industrial designer at Fjord, San Francisco. Alejandra works best at the intersection of the digital and physical realm and has over 10 years of experience working with multiple Fortune 500 companies. She also creates stunning human as well as insect forms sketched in VR, which you can see on her Instagram!

The product featured here is The Band – an original wearable design for Virgin Voyages’brand new cruise ships. The design is a solution that works across multiple environments – from lounging in a bikini, adventurous days out to a classy evening in cocktail dresses.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work? 

Not quite a philosophy per se but I believe we as designers are innate problem solvers. And our skillset sometimes involuntarily makes us jump into solutions right away, especially when we’re young and eager to make an impact. Now that I’ve been in the business of design for a while, I find myself assigning more focus, time, and importance to the definition of the problem itself. Defining the “why” something needs to be designed before figuring out the “what” it should look like is 90% of the battle if we are to ship products and experiences that will stand the test of time and won’t just satisfy fleeting needs.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve? 

I’ve been really interested in the healthcare space and how design can gain a seat at the table to help improve not just patient experiences but general wellness outcomes. Healthcare as a whole is an intricate and complicated challenge that is ripe for innovation in terms of how care is being delivered – even minor changes can have a direct impact on millions of lives. The current environment has finally opened the door for re-evaluation of incentives and outdated processes and institutions are a bit more open to change. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the industry as we move toward more human-centered care models.

Kickie Chudikova

Kickie Chudikova’s approach to design is full of colour. Her work spans across a wide range – from products, objects, furniture to lighting. Her Instagram is full of colour palettes that attract your attention using a mix of raw materials, different textures, and patterns. Kickie’s eye for detail shines with her bold, aesthetically pleasing designs which are designed to last – each product is made to be kept, valued, and appreciated. Featured here is the Spiral of Life, a public installation that draws inspiration from the waves of the Hudson River and the sculptures of Isamu Noguchi. It offers a space to sit, relax, contemplate, and take a break from the hectic city routine.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work?

I believe in well-designed products. That means products have to function, look beautiful, trigger an emotion all while using environmentally friendly materials, innovative production techniques and live within a circular system. This is the way to sustainability since products like these are the ones we keep and pass on to the next generations. I am striving to create new icons, designing products that spark joy. Living with less but better. Color is a big passion of mine and I really like to use it in my work.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve?

One of the issues I deeply care about is waste management and its global impact and effects on human health and the health of our planet.
I am convinced design could be used as one of the tools to help with the trash and material recycling crisis we are facing. Therefore I carefully select materials I use in my designs and focus on the lifecycle of the product. Whether it means longevity, recycling, or up-cycling.
I am witnessing this pressing issue daily, since living in New York where only 17% of garbage gets recycled. The United States accounts for only about 4 percent of the world’s population yet generates 12 percent of the planet’s garbage. These numbers are mortifying, as Americans create 3 times more trash than India or China.
We need a systematic change, change in peoples thinking, approach and behavior. Sustainable design, repurposing, reusing, repairing rather than throwing away. Small steps can go a long way!

Carol Gay

Brazilian designer Carol Gay was originally trained in architecture, but later transitioned to furniture design. She has been nominated for multiple awards, including the XXI TOP Design Award Brazil created by the magazine Arc Design ranking among the three finalists in the lighting category. Her Instagram shows her love of experimenting with materials – be it mixing rocks with glass, or fusing metal to create a geometric base that holds up her furniture design. The molded pipes almost look like paper clips and add a quirky touch to the classic and elegant furniture designs.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work?

In 1999, I attended the ‘Construction of Objects’ workshop, given by the designers Fernando and Humberto Campana. I consider this experience as the genesis of my current work.
Throughout the workshop, I was able to reflect upon many questions besides aesthetics, acquiring a keener eye for the world of product design, within a sustainable view, and finally reaching a personal expression.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve?

A hands-on experience, performing constant artisanal skills, and the permanent search for new materials have become essential features of my design. Design is an important tool for many solutions and one of them is social. Design can transform poor communities and thus empower people by developing and sophisticating their skills. Valuing manual knowledge and awakening new paths. Working with artisans values ancestral knowledge and allows continuity through generations.

Elodie Delassus

Elodie Delassus describes her design approach as a people-centric Industrial, Strategic, and Experience designer. As she puts it,” I believe in uncovering opportunities to make lives better, solving challenges. I don’t get stopped by the tools and methodologies I know to rethink topics and challenges. Most of the time, many tools end up blooming along with a project.” With multiple iF Product Design Awards under her belt, Elodie loves working with multi-disciplinary teams to create a great design. You can check out her work process on her Instagram page, which is filled with interesting product ideation and sketches! The design here is LeVentilo, a soft and approachable fan that uses a metal perforated sheet to show the blades while removing the fear of hurting your fingers!

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work?

I always try to use reasoning to guide design choices, challenging my decisions with “what if” scenarios to understand the impact of each element. I ask myself if one part of the design were changed, would that improve the use, experience, manufacturability, affordability, or reparability? It is important to me to understand each and every design detail and decision that I made for my design. Design is about conscious choices, not a coincidence.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve?

Accessibility for all is a topic that I keep front of mind in every new project I work on. Designing for the most extreme cases often also benefits the broader audience. The “curb-cut effect” is an example of this; curb-cuts are required to make sidewalks accessible for wheelchair users, but also benefit users of bicycles, strollers, and more. Sustainability is sharing the podium as another issue I am passionate about – it is such a critical need for designers to consider at the earliest stages of the creative process!

Monika Mulder

Originally from the Netherlands, Monika runs her own design studio in Sweden, and has worked for brands such as Materia, Tenzo, and IKEA. Her pieces range from minimal and sophisticated to whimsical and playful and her Instagram is her showcase of her work-in-progress as well as her daily life. Called the Twins, this side table by Monika Mulder truly does look like a pair of twins! The intriguingly looped furniture piece features two tabletops, connected via a U-shaped pipe. It also comes in varying heights.

What is your design philosophy and how is it reflected in your work?

I work with emotion, function, and innovation. I like to challenge myself to create concepts that are meaningful for at least one of these three reasons. Many times, I think of people when I find inspiration for my projects. Their challenges and dreams make me eager to find relevant solutions and trigger my imagination. I use the form, material, and color to add emotion, which is an important asset to achieve affection for the design. Adding identity also makes me more innovative since it often requires a new way of thinking to get what I have in mind.

Is there a social issue that you hope design can help solve?

In the past two years, one topic has risen to the top of my agenda. Climate change has made me extremely aware of the necessity to adjust the way we design and produce. Design and Quality have got a new purpose. I see it as my obligation to take responsibility as a designer and I take every opportunity to raise critical questions to myself and my clients. I have noticed that it does make a difference, and together with my clients, we are making steps in the right direction.

About the Author

Kristi Bartlett is a designer in the healthcare industry and Ph.D. student in Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue University. She believes that the strongest designs are made by teams that reflect the diversity of real-world users. Find more of her work on her Website and  Instagram.

The post Female Industrial Designers you must follow to see the impact they are making with their designs! first appeared on Yanko Design.

2021 Lamborghini Huracán STO Review

When subtlety was being handed out, the Lamborghini Huracán STO was at the back of the line napping. Actually no, that’s not true. It had snuck away from the queue and darted to a nearby race track to get an injection of steroids and a full race car cosmetic makeover.

Because that’s what this car is all about. Loud to look at and loud at 8500 revs. It’s basically a street-legal race car. With its ultra-low sleek profile, huge air intakes, massive rear wing, and screaming V10 engine, this model is the most eye-opening Huracán and best handling yet. Descended from the DNA of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo one-make series—hence the ‘STO’ name that stands for Super Trofeo Omologata (Italian for Homologation)—this hypercar is more tailored to track use than city driving. Much more.

Thanks to Lamborghini Japan, I was able to test the STO’s raw performance in the most thrilling way there is—flying at 180 mph down the main straight at Fuji Speedway, an ex-F1 track 90 minutes south of Tokyo with one of the longest straightaways in motorsport, at nearly one mile in length. The only thought I had as the car cleared 170 mph was, “Crikey, I hope the brakes work.” They did. Magnificently.





A Hardcore Lamborghini Turned Up To 11

Launched in 2014, the original Huracán was already seen as a shocking, edgy, beautiful, inspired piece of kinetic design, something that composer Igor Stravinsky might have conceived if he was into car styling. The half a dozen Huracán STO models that awaited me in the pit lane took that reality to a whole new level. These highly-strung works of automotive art—kind of like Stravinsky’s stylistic diversity meets Pablo Picasso’s cubism meets the color explosion of Andy Warhol’s ‘Marilyn Monroe’ screenprint—were nothing short of jaw-dropping, purveyors of an assault on all five senses that would linger for days after the drive.

But before I could get behind the wheel of these epic machines, I had time to take in their race car-inspired exterior, multiple color schemes, and extreme aerodynamics. There are six color combinations that highlight the sleek lines and edges of the STO. While you can get the car in matt grey and yellow, white and blue, dark red and grey, lime green and orange, my favorite is the version with the light blue and orange Gulf Racing-inspired colors. Lamborghini designers must have thought long and hard about these six colors schemes because they really do highlight the extreme body aeroparts of the STO, making the cars look more like ready-made race cars than street legal supercars.

The STO is a rear-wheel only Huracán that is some 95-lbs lighter than the Huracán Performante, an already significantly tweaked Huracán upgrade that came out several years ago. This STO however, has gone straight for the jugular vein of its racing pedigree brother and borrowed design and technology generously from the Huracán Super Trofeo Evo model from the one-make race series. Okay, it might get the same non-hybrid, non-turbocharged 631-hp 5.2-liter V10 engine as the Performante, but in every other department, the volume has been turned up to 11.

Being biased towards track performance, the STO had to be as light but as strong and rigid at high speed as possible. To minimize weight but maximize rigidity, the STO employs magnesium wheels, extra weight-saving carbon fiber body panels, a thinner windscreen, and a one-piece hood bumper and rear diffuser. One of the impressive innovations in this special version is that one-piece front clamshell hood or ‘cofango’ in Lamborghini speak. This catchy term is a hybrid between the Italian words for ‘cofano’ (hood) and ‘parafango’ (fender). Featuring large built-in apertures, the combined hood and front bumper minimize weight and enhance aerodynamics.

Surprisingly, the switch from Performante’s four-wheel-drive setup to the STO’s rear-wheel drive has only saved 44 lbs. Some 18 lbs have been added however through its active rear-steering system, taking the car’s kerb weight to 2,952 lbs.

The Driving Experience

The STO also had to be as slippery through the air as it could be while maximizing downforce, and in turn, rear wheel grip. That’s where the front splitter, race-spec rear wing, flat underbody, and diffuser combine to deliver unprecedented front and rear-end downforce, up 53% over the Performante. That translates to around 950 lbs of downforce at 175 mph which is like having three sumo wrestlers sitting on your rear wing as you reach maximum velocity. For the record, the STO has a reported top speed of 200-mph.

Meanwhile, to generate the best possible cooling efficiency for its mid-engined V10 powerplant and brakes, the STO is graced with sizable air ducts, snorkels, and vents. The side air scoops and roof vent helps to force air into the rear engine bay to cool the naturally aspirated engine while the front air ducts pump air to the wheel arches to cool the huge Brembo CCM-R brake calipers and rotors which is short for ‘carbon-ceramic material for the racing market.’

The beauty of these brakes is that they are lightweight yet work brilliantly to dissipate heat and stop the car on a dime. For a driver, it’s so reassuring and confidence-building to know that when you stomp on the brake pedal at 180-mph, the car will pull up quickly and efficiently with no drama and no brake fade. And when combined with the specially made Bridgestone Potenza tires, this Huracán pulls up effortlessly.





But it’s in the corners where those supremely grippy tires come into their own. As the steering turns in with pinpoint sharpness and excellent feel thanks to the active rear steer feature, the Bridgestones masterfully relay the car’s massive downforce to the tarmac to deliver cornering speeds almost on a par with Super Trofeo race cars. The G-forces you feel in the corners are about as much as most untrained drivers could bear for prolonged periods behind the wheel. That’s how brutal and talented this car is.

You can’t speak about the visceral nature of the STO without focusing on its heart—that luscious V10 engine. It completely dominates the driving experience, as it should. The STO’s 5.2-liter V10 motor doles out power like Jeff Bezos doles out millions to fund his Blue Origin space tourism company—seemingly without limits and in a very flamboyant manner. Bury your right boot and the rear tires chirp and squeal as they fight for grip. In around 3 seconds you’re already doing 60-mph and within 9 seconds you’ve cleared 124-mph. Power delivery is instant, immense, silky smooth, linear, and loud. Very loud.

With 417 pound-feet of torque, the V10 roar from 4000 rpms to the 8500 redline is truly addictive. How often in life do you have an expectation of something prodigious and magical and have that expectation answered every 3-5 seconds, for as long as you’re in the car. Flatten the throttle for 3 seconds, change into 2nd, accelerate for 3 seconds more, change into 3rd, and with every shift, you’re being literally swallowed by a beefy, bassy, operatic Lamborghini soundtrack turned up to 11. It’s sublime and habit forming.





And thank God for those paddle shifters. Unashamedly I found myself reaching for the paddles more than I should just to indulge myself by changing down and then changing up, just so I could change down again. I couldn’t decide if I liked the sound of that ferocious engine more accelerating or decelerating through the gears. It’s like would I rather listen to AC/DC’s Highway To Hell or Deep Purple’s Highway Star? A difficult choice. 

But ah, those flappy paddle shifters. Works of art. Their size, shape, and touch make them some of the best positioned, most responsive paddles I’ve ever experienced on any supercar. And the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is not only lightning quick in its shift schedule but it’s perfectly matched to the powerband of the  V10.

To further enhance the driving experience, the STO comes with three drive modes, STO (normal), Trofeo (track), and Pioggia (Wet). Starting in STO mode, I pushed the car hard and came out of my first two laps very happy with the result. Then I switched it to Trofeo for an instant and was surprised to see the character of the car change considerably and become even more laser-focused and extreme. If you are brave enough to flick the switch to ‘Trofeo,’ you’d better be ready for some tail-happy shenanigans exiting the corners. The suspension will stiffen up, the throttle will become more responsive and the steering gets sharper while dialing down traction control. This will allow for some oversteer tendencies that require lightning-fast correction. That’s why our Lamborghini hosts suggested that we leave the car in STO. After three corners, I switched it back to STO.

So yes, the STO is quick, corners like a race car, and sounds ballistic. But it only has 631-hp. Only, you say? When compared to its rivals, the Huracán’s V10 has been pretty much squeezed to the upper limit of its power potential, making it play second fiddle to the likes of Porsche and McLaren whose turbocharged engines generate significantly more power. What the STO may lack in power when compared to say the 700-hp Porsche GT2 RS or the 754-hp McLaren 675LT, it certainly makes up for in on-track performance. This Huracán is able to go into and out of a corner faster than any supercar I’ve ever driven.

I’ve piloted Lamborghini Huracáns and Aventadors, and McLarens and Ferraris on tracks at high speed, and I’d have to say that this is the most fun I’ve ever had in a road-going car. It gets the blood pumping with its visual eccentricities ever before you squeeze into its tight cockpit. Once on board, the adrenalin kicks in another notch. As you flick your way through 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gears and approach 110 mph, the melodic resonance of the thumping engine parked just 20 inches behind your right ear is like having legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti hitting the high note in Nessun Dorma in the seat next to you. Repeatedly.

The cabin is spartan but luxurious by comparison to the Performante, with acres of exposed carbon-fiber surfaces, an Alcantara-wrapped dashboard and to save even more weight, bright red pull straps in place of standard door handles. The race-style bucket seats can be adjusted manually for height and angle, and the full digital display is clear and easy to read. To be honest, it was a little tight in the driver’s seat with a helmet on, but without that brain bucket, even a 6-foot 2-inch tall driver like me has enough headroom to manage those G-forces.

A central touchscreen interface remains and has been reconfigured to provide a wealth of data options, including things like individual tire pressures and braking temperatures. It also has one that will automatically prompt gear selections when approaching corners on circuits catalogued in its memory. Unlike most hardcore track-focused cars, the STO retains its climate control system but does away with carpet, replacing that with lightweight rubber mats.

The STO also boasts a comprehensive race-inspired, on-board telemetry system, able to log data and record videos that can be uploaded to an app. According to Lamborghini, the official line for this telemetry is to help owners polish up their driving skills, but the ability to share your track day results with fellow racers is likely to generate greater interest.

Pricing and Options

Boasting a base price of $327,838, the STO’s substantial and expensive options list can quickly have your wallet pushing $400,000. For the full carbon fiber pack, just add on $26,000, or $4,000 for the front lift system or an extra $14,000 for a pearl-effect white paint job. Even those image-enhancing STO stickers on the side of the car will knock you back over $4,000. And that’s less than one-third of the options list.

This STO is by no means a gimmick. It’s the real deal. It’s a road car with the pedigree and capability of a race car. What it may lack in power compared to its rivals, it more than makes up for in the on-track handling and fun factor department. Whether it’s the extreme exterior, the prodigious acceleration, on-the-rails cornering or that operatic V10 soundtrack, the STO is a must-have for anyone who wants a top track-focused racer and has a spare $400,000 stashed down the back of the sofa.









The post 2021 Lamborghini Huracán STO Review first appeared on Yanko Design.

Pixel 6 Launch: Google gives us a deep-dive into the new Pixel’s refreshed product design





It’s rare for Silicon Valley companies to actually explain their design choices and decisions to their customers. Google flouted convention by beginning their Pixel Fall Launch keynote with a pretty comprehensive look at how they designed their latest flagship phone, from its hardware right down to its software.

Just yesterday Apple had us baffled with their MacBooks bringing back ports, connectors, and keyboard elements that Apple took away 5 years ago. Apple’s design process has always been a complete mystery, so it was really odd to see them finally walking back on their past design decisions and bringing MagSafe, HDMI, the SD Card slot, and the Function keys back to their MacBooks. While the Cupertino giant has a reputation of being shrouded by secrecy, Google on the other hand is perceived as much more open, forthcoming, and vocal… After all, they deliberately leaked their own Pixel 6 design MONTHS before it actually launched.

Just 10 minutes into the Pixel 6 reveal, head of hardware Rick Osterloh hands the stage to designer Isabelle Olson to talk about the Pixel 6’s design. Isabelle mentions the Pixel 6’s redesign on the back involves highlighting its breakout feature – its camera. With a bar running across the screen almost like a highlighter running across important text, the Pixel 6’s camera is the first thing you look at.

“So the Industrial Design team designed the phone to celebrate the camera”, Isabel mentions. “The camera bar brings a clean, symmetrical design that puts the camera front and center.” The bar, as strange as it looked back when the images were first leaked, is now an icon of the Pixel’s not-so-subtle evolution, and provides the perfect separating element for the phone’s dual-color back. The Pixel phones originally pioneered this with their split-tone design that had two different colors on the top and bottom of the phone’s rear surface. With the Pixel 6, that split-tone design gets a hearty refresh, with a black belt adding its fair share of contrast in the middle. The phones instantly look refreshing, and are immediately recognizable (a feature that really helps in a market where all smartphones are beginning to look alike).

The Pixel 6 comes in two variants, a 6 and a 6 Pro, which are different sized, and have slightly different designs, but are unified by the same visual language, UI, and the Tensor chip inside the phone. The 6 sports a black metal armature, with 3 color variants with their signature quirky names – Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral, and Stormy Black. The 6 Pro, on the other hand, has a more chrome armature (the team used jewelry references to highlight the differences between the Pro and regular models), and comes in Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny, and Stormy Black.

A concern I had earlier with the Pixel 6’s odd camera bump (it’s now referred to a camera bar) was how it made case-design impossible, or rather, difficult to elegantly execute. To subvert these worries, Google even released its own set of cases with a slightly tinted frosted design, matching colors with the phone you have underneath. When paired correctly, the case would actually complement the phone and highlight its color palette rather than being an obstructive piece of plastic that’s only purpose was to protect the phone. The cases, Isabelle claims, are also designed out of recycled plastic (the phone’s chassis is made from recycled aluminum too), helping further Google’s mission to build devices that have a minimal negative impact on the environment. From what it looks like, though, the cases don’t do much to protect the Pixel’s camera bar from direct impact, although that’s the kind of thing you find out months after customers actually buy and use the phones.

Moving onto software, Google has big plans for the Pixel thanks to how powerful its Tensor SoC is designed to be. The new chip unlocks a new era of Material Design that Google calls Material You. Instead of having you adjust to your phone’s settings, Material You has the phone adjust to YOU. For starters, the entire screen’s color palette changes to match your wallpaper, giving you an experience that’s unified. Widgets, icons, and elements complement your theme and they change when you change your wallpaper too. The phone also understands context exceptionally well, serving you up with the information you need right when you need it, from your fitness app’s stats while you’re jogging, to your boarding pass while you’re heading for a flight. As Rick Osterloh keeps reiterating, the Pixel 6 is a completely new take on smartphones, both inside as well as out.

Designer: Google

Watch the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro video below.