The Designer’s Notebook

Design Thinkers Ontario Overview Part II


Graphic Design

Another major theme we caught at the conference was the title: “DesignThinkers.”

Design Thinking Andrea Siodmok, of the Design Council in Britain, and a few other more analytical speakers, brought up the issue of Design Thinking. Andrea offered more statistics on design that one could even fathom. Like Karim Rashid, she pointed out that the act of manufacturing products is not enough anymore. We need to improve our products and services by adding value through design, customer experience and customization.

GM was until recently, the most productive corporation on earth. GM produces primarily physical products. At close Friday, GM’s stock was $31.280USD.

The concept is: we are so good at producing things in the world today, that simply producing is not enough. We need to improve our products and services through design “thinking”—that is, thinking about how products look, feel act, & what the lasting impressions are, are as important if not more so than the simple task a product fullfills.

Looking at cars again, many manufacurers outcsource parts. How many car brands have the same window switches or radio knobs? Producing a unique product isn’t as improtant as the experience, at the very least, the impression of the car. The quality of the knobs is less and less improtant. This makes it sounds like design is less important, but think about how much more detail the average car gets in the styling of the interior & body panels, even with those generic knobs.

Google is a world leader in online search technology, and the poster child for new media technologies. In reality though, they produce nothing. They closed at $663.970. One company provides products, the other provides information and experience. What makes a company that produces nothing vastly more valuable?

Toronto in a nutshell

While in Toronto, we toured many of Hogtown’s many sights. A definite highlight was sneaking into the Ontario College of Art & Design – OCAD (pictured here), which is a building so cool it defies logic. The architects were instructed not to touch the old building when designing the new expansion. So they designed a floating building. A brilliant solution to the problem while leaving the old building intact. The new building is litteraly supported by stilts.

We also toured the Distillery District – a cluster of 100 year old red brick industrial buildings that now house art galleries and funk for the bourgeoisie of Toronto. I saw a glass octopus in one gallery that was one of the the most brilliant things I have ever seen, and so was the price – $250,000!

All that aside, I also managed to score centre ice box seats to the Leafs and the Blackhawks, and third row, 30 yard line seats for the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens. For those wondering, Ray Lewis is definitely crazy.

All in all, I have to admit… I’ll be going back next year!

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