Monthly Archives: June 2011

A box of old cameras No.5: The Halina Super-Mini 88

Halina Super-mini 88

Halina Super-mini 88

Many years ago I was going backpacking to France and Italy with my wife Gina. We intended using the European train network to get about and I wanted a really small and lightweight camera to take along. I chose the Halina. It proved to be a good choice. It stood up to the knocks, the weather and general man-handling very well indeed and survives to this day.

Halina open and ready to shoot

Halina open and ready to shoot

The Halina Super-Mini 88 was an ultra-compact viewfinder camera for type No. 110 film cassettes. It had a non-focusable lens and a reverse Galilean optical viewfinder. It had a self-encapsulating camera body that covered the shutter release button when closed. The camera had to be pulled to uncover the button, the lens and the viewfinder for the next exposure. The shutter had to be cocked by closing and opening the camera. A flashcube connector sat at the top left hand corner of the camera.

Halina 110mm cassette loading area

Halina 110mm cassette loading area

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Upgrade?

PC mag and Mac mag

A friend sent this to me, knowing I’m an avid Mac user. I’m not sure of it’s origin but I wanted to share it. Please don’t get me wrong, I use both PCs and Macs and they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

 

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Thought for Friday

We’ve known for a long time that human children are the best learning machines in the universe.
Alison Gopnik

Julian Grenier

Julian Grenier speaking at the conference

I was very privileged to hear Julian Grenier speak today at Everton Nursery School and Family Centre at their National Conference ‘Tuning into Children’s Play’. My studio, Taylor Simons Design, have been working with Everton on a number of projects including their brand identity and marketing materials and Lesley Curtis, head of the centre kindly asked me to attend.

Although I’m not an Early Years Practitioner, the work we’ve been engaged in has given me an insight into Early Years Education at it’s very best. The centre has recently achieved an outstanding Ofted result and their work in the areas of Heuristic Play and Forest School is quite simply remarkable.

Everton Centre

Everton Nursery School and Family Centre

I took many thoughts and ideas away from Julian’s brilliant keynote, but what stays with me was the Ken Robinson talk for the RSA, ‘Changing Education Paradigms’. I urge you to take the time to watch the video yourself. A must for any designer or divergent thinker.

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Architect Barbie and Lego too (Not a thought for Friday)

Architect BarbieIt’s been a busy week. I’m building a new website and trying to get my head around new software as well as the work we have on at the moment in the studio. So blogging is being pushed to the end of the ‘to do’ list just now. Normally I would do a ‘Thought for Friday’ but this post just doesn’t really fit in that category and I wanted to post this today as I may not get the chance if I leave it.

I came across two very interesting articles on architecture and toys. The first, as you can see features Barbie, but perhaps not as you may have known her in the past for this is ‘Architect Barbie’. The full story is over on Design Observer where Despina Stratigakos, an architectural historian and professor in the architecture department at the State University of New York at Buffalo has written a very interesting piece on how Architect Barbie came to be.

This is from her article:

One of the most poignant findings of a 2003 study by the Royal Institute of British Architects on the loss of women in architectural practice is that women make this choice reluctantly: they love architecture and don’t want to go.  

The fact is that Barbie appeals to little girls like no other toy. They are proprietary about her — they know the doll is just for them. And whatever Barbie does, she brings it into the sphere of women. She has the power to make things seem natural to little girls. Admittedly, Architect Barbie can’t do all the work. Deeply held attitudes about women must shift before architecture becomes a profession that truly embraces diversity.

Then over on Design Week I find another item devoted to architecture but this time Lego architecture.

Lego has long lead the way in plastic brick products. The expandability of the products are brilliant. The numerous themes and tie-ins are endless. My faves are “City,” a collection of urban professionals going about their business (like you and me), and “fishing Boat,” a high tech plastic sea faring craft (fish excluded). Now Lego has released its new progressive architecture line, including the Guggenheim Musuem and Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright, Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Burj Khalifa in Dubai developed by Emaar Properties.

Farnsworth House Lego

Farnsworth House Lego

Now when are we going to get some toys based on Graphic Design? How about Play Doh typography? If anyone has ideas post them to me.

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Thought for Friday

 


Table tennis playing robot

Table tennis playing robot: Topio 3.0

Detective Del SpoonerHuman beings have dreams. Even dogs have dreams, but not you, you are just a machine. An imitation of life. Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a… canvas into a beautiful masterpiece? 

SonnyCan you? 

A wonderful quote from the film I Robot. As those who have been reading this blog for a while know well, I’ve a ‘soft spot’ for Robots, particularly the vintage tin variety. I stumbled on a wonderful index showing hundreds of designs and worth a browse for those who prefer their robots to look less formidable than our tennis playing friend above. There’s also this online catalogue from Jesters.

Horikawa Star Strider Robot

Horikawa Star Strider Robot

For those who want to be more creative try here (via Swissmiss).

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Dieter Rams on Apple and design

Designer Dieter Rams at Vitsœ

Designer Dieter Rams at Vitsœ

I am troubled by the devaluing of the word ‘design’. I find myself now being somewhat embarrassed to be called a designer. In fact I prefer the German term, Gestalt-Ingenieur. Apple and Vitsoe are relatively lone voices treating the discipline of design seriously in all corners of their businesses. They understand that design is not simply an adjective to place in front of a product’s name to somehow artificially enhance its value. Ever fewer people appear to understand that design is a serious profession; and for our future welfare we need more companies to take that profession seriously.
From: telegraph.co.uk 

From Wikipedia:
Rams’ ten principles to “good design”

  • Is innovative – Rams states that possibilities for innovation in design are unlikely to be exhausted since technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. He also highlights that innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology and can never be an end in and of itself.
  • Makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasises the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
  • Is aesthetic – Only well-executed objects can be beautiful. The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products used every day have an effect on people and their well-being.
  • Makes a product understandable – It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
  • Is unobtrusive – Products and their design should be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression. Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools and are neither decorative objects nor works of art.
  • Is honest – Honest design should not attempt to make a product seem more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It should not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
  • Is long-lasting – It should avoid being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even when the trend may be in favor for disposable products.
  • Is thorough down to the last detail – Dieter Rams states that nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance in the design of a product since care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
  • Is environmentally friendly – Good design should make an important contribution to the preservation of the environment by conserving resources and minimizing physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
  • Is as little design as possible – Dieter Rams makes the distinction between the common “Less is more” and his strongly advised “Less, but better” highlighting the fact that this approach focuses on the essential aspects thus, the products are not burdened with non-essentials. The desirable result would then be purer and simpler.

 

 

 

 

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Thought for Friday

“The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind — computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind — creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.”
Daniel Pink

A whole new mind cover design

A whole new mind cover design

The words above are from Daniel Pink’s book  A Whole New Mind written back in 2005. But just what did become of the grand idea of a future in the hands of ‘Right Brainers’?

The Design Observer’s Helen Walters has just written a very interesting article outlining what went wrong. Here are just a few snippets to give you a taster…

For one thing, at a very basic level, business school isn’t designed for design. The “I speak, you listen” podium format and the theatrical tiered-seating of traditional academia is the diametric opposite of the design school process of all-hands-on-desk, of creating multiple prototypes and collaborating actively. 

Design school leaders, in turn, need to educate graduates who can speak the language of business with at least some fluency. 

Some design schools seem to promote suspicion of the business world as an unspoken matter of course. 

For the complete article go here. It really is well worth reading.

 

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