Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby nxakt » December 19th, 2012, 10:22 pm

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Everyone, (majority of people) at some point in their careers, in all fields, must ask if what they are doing matters. If the economic path they are taking has a positive or negative overall impact on the world at large. The activities a designer are part of the chain of making things and generating stuff, our actions have a tangible result.

asapdesign wrote: can an Industrial Designer solve crime? gangs? poverty?


To the original posters question, I am sure that the "stuff" we generate is the not cause or the solution to the above three issues. There are solutions to be found and creative minds are needed to find them.

I agree fully with this:

iab wrote:I am a firm believer that design methodology can be applied to create solutions to complex problems, including those outside of producing a product.

I certainly think it is a superior methodology to the scientific method as it isn't necessary to test one variable at a time that is the heart of the scientific method. It is extremely difficult to quantify complex problems/issues as stated in the OP. A design approach or a qualitative approach can look at the problem as a whole and is more likely, I think, to succeed with potential solutions.


As a designer we practice finding these solutions for physical objects, as iab and Taylor point out, these skills apply to designing social outcomes as well.

On the secondary topic of making ourselves feel good about what we do. In our sphere of making things we control a lot of factors that impact people's lives and the environment as well. We can choose different materials and processes that have different footprints. This is how I self-justify the work I do.

To know the processes and the factory conditions is key to developing more or less responsible ways of making a product. Walk through the factory that makes your product. In some cases it is a negative surprise, but you have the power to change that as well.

Example 1: The first products I designed and produced use a shiny lacquer finish, the industry standard. Volatile Organic Compounds, solvents emitted by the tons using a spray booth. One spec of dust and the product had to be sanded and repainted. That part of the factory was an awful environment. Step one was to replace the spray booth with a fountain or curtain coater, zeroed out the waste of overspray. Step two and the real solution was to design a matte finish. Tolerant of minor imperfections, no need for double coating. Became the industry standard before laquering was eliminated entirely through the use of texture raw materials.

Example 2: The company that I used to work for (Taiwanese owned in China) had workers manually removing plastic parts from injection molding tooling, reaching into the live cycling machines to do so. The workers with the knowledge of the supervisors had tied off the safety switches, so that the safety door could remain open and save time and energy. Nothing would stop the machine from closing with hundreds of tons of force. I had to raise hell with the owner and make repeated trips down to the floor to make sure that this practice was abolished.

Example 3: EPS machinery for helmets requires workers to stand on a wet board, between the huge hydraulic platens of the press in order to load the inserts in the molds. Dangerous, uncomfortable, loud work. I developed a new process of manufacturing helmets, huge press eliminated, assembly outside of the press on clean, dry well lighted tables. Less energy used, superior test results and a work environment that does not make you feel guilty when you design for product built in it.

Visit a shoe or boot factory and walk past the gluing line, walk into a screen printing room. The smell of solvents is so overwhelming, that it will make you question how you design your next projects and the processes you use. UV cure inks for example, powdercoating instead of painting.

There are options as a designer to make things better and have the same commercial result. If your role in life is to design things there are solutions to make a positive impact. If your main goal is to solve the big social issues, then product design is not the answer, but it provides an approach.
Last edited by nxakt on December 20th, 2012, 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby Cameron » December 20th, 2012, 12:22 am

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ID and Crime. Interesting thread!

If you design an object of desire, some people will exercise their free will to try to steal it. Does that make objects of desire inherently bad? I don't think so. People would still steal things if everything were ugly. Theft is for the lazy, dishonest, or desperate.

A desireable object can also prolong its lifespan and be relatively more sustainable for society. We are currently seeing lots of longing for 'old' stuff, even by generations who have never even experienced it before. As design tools get more powerful, it is easier to make things very over-designed and maximalist. Lots of people are gravitating back toward the tactile, the analog, the simple.

Of course, in a world of outsourced manufacturing, there is rarely any substantive link between good design and durability, especially with CE products, no matter how much stateside engineers and designers want it. I'd love to design things that last for decades, but tech has tainted our view of stuff and now we think everythings disposable and don't really care that we think that.


Does design contribute to commercialism and irresponsible spending, including our current financial situation? I love design as much as any designer, but I think our capability for emotional manipulation is great. The only counterweight to this is families and schools promoting healthy financial behavior and an understanding of how your brain processes visual information. Our visual literacy must improve from the inside out, a mandate won't improve anything. This is a tier or two beyond K-12 art classes. This should be part of the home-ec of the future.

In school, I minored in French. In one French lit class, I read a book called 'La Goutte D'Or' or 'The Golden Droplet.' Very fascinating book about the potency of visuals. The author's thesis at the end was that literacy (in this case, the uneducated, desert-dwelling main character's exposure to calligraphy and language) was the key to balancing visual signals. However, I disagree in part. We have tons of educated people in America and we're as materialistic as any society in the history of Earth. It is not bad to want beautiful, useful objects. But we need a healthy materialism - one that sees each purchase as an investment, one that can be managed over long periods of time. Until we are willing to attempt, practice, and preach self-control, the delicate ethical balance between design lust and moral frugality will largely stay lopsided on side of consumerism.
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Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby Trang Ninh » January 19th, 2013, 2:00 am


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Hi there,

You can make something like industrial designer Gabriele Diamanti:
http://www.designboom.com/design/solar-powered-water-filter-by-gabriele-diamanti/

Image

He had the same thinking as yours. His goal is to help poor people get benefit from cheap products. To prevent any company tried to make profit out of his Eliodomestica design, he redesigned it to become easily to be produced by any craftsman.

Since you seem confident with your I.D skills, I think you are able to reach any goal you want. Can I.D design help with crime? gangs? poverty? Yes, you don't need permission from anyone.

The reasons I.D designers create products for the social needs and for money, because they are realistic demands. We should survive before we can help the others. So don't blame the world too much.

Glad to read your thread :wink: good luck with your goal !

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby Travisimo » January 19th, 2013, 6:43 am

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asapdesign wrote:I am losing interest in the design industry where money matters most. I love being a designer but can an Industrial Designer solve crime? gangs? poverty?

Please direct me to industrial designers that solve social problems. Because I cannot seem to find any. Or is it up to me to start this new gap of design?


a noble question and one most designers consider at one point or another. Your heart's in the right place

One example is the UK Gov & Design Council which funds design work for social benefits - crime, public services, environmental issues, etc. Sometimes there's a public call for proposals, sometimes designers approach them

'Design out Crime' in 2010 was to eradicate 'glassings'.. the horrific result of smashing a glass and using it in a bar fight. They funded design for a low cost but unbreakable pint glass



Other design efforts funded by the same organization and led by young and older designers:
- Library service design (modernization and promotion of services)
- Promotion of cycle commuting (via product and service design)
- Design out Dimentia
- 'Design Bug's Out' - calling on designers to consider hospital infection control

If you're in the UK, it's a good place to start for humanitarian design causes. Makes you wonder if the US should have a 'Design Council' of some sort

http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-work/challenges/

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby Travisimo » January 19th, 2013, 6:55 am

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jon_winebrenner wrote:1 year out of every five to do "free" work.

It's good for the soul, etc. But it isn't realistic.


There's no need be a martyr to help others with design skills

one month-long side project every 5 months is more realistic.

Have you heard of Engineers without Borders. They take on problems like lighting in Africa and organize groups to tackle it.. Designers absolutely add value

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby Travisimo » January 19th, 2013, 6:59 am

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sanjy009 wrote:saw this on Boing Boing this morning, fits into the Papanek theme:

http://boingboing.net/2012/12/12/gravity-powered-lights-cheape.html



That's brilliant and very inspiring!

Here's 2 other cool designs for carrying things distances:

Image

Image
Last edited by Travisimo on January 19th, 2013, 7:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby Travisimo » January 19th, 2013, 7:03 am

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nxakt wrote:Nice piece of positive design work.

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archiv ... an/266113/


Image

It's a cool design, but maybe a little fluffy for the purpose?

for a minefield, it doesn't seem thorough

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby Travisimo » January 19th, 2013, 7:19 am

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Sorry for all the posts, it took a while to catch up to this conversation :D

My perspective is that through your paid, career-path-following day job work you can help the world through design, in consultancies in particular.

- focus on medical or social products that provide benefits for people (for example: diabetes products are huge with consultancies).

- Find the causes yourself, define a problem, and build a business case around it for a firm/corp to spend the time - PR/Corporate Social Responsibility are good business cases that don't require profits

- do it on your own. Find a problem and a way to support yourself doing it. Doing good work, and promoting it when finished would be career building

- Inject your social ethics into projects. Designers refuse to work on weapons, smoking products, or (sometimes) products they find objectionable. If there's a problem, you have the option to leave as Yo said.

- As a designer you can champion features for environmental or socially responsible reasons in products you work on
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Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby rhydianjlewis » January 20th, 2013, 12:23 pm


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My take on it is that there are very few career paths to follow where wide-reaching, positive social change is the whole job. Doctors, social workers and politicians all have to compromise and do work they'd rather not do for a lot of the time.

I guess that as industrial designers we're sold the idea that we have the chance to change the world because products can reach so many people, and that is an exciting opportunity, but doesn't mean it's always possible.

As many people have already said, do what you do as well as you can. The small details you put into a product may not save anyone's life, but if 100,000+ are made, it could change a lot of people's lives a little bit.

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby GEBS » January 20th, 2013, 2:15 pm

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@asap, check out http://greatergoodstudio.com/ here in Chicago in Logan Square. They've done projects with school lunch programs and public transportation among others. I briefly had them as professors at SAIC.

I actually first got into ID with a humanitarian focus in mind. This was about the time when Cooper Hewitt's Design for the Other 90% hit the scene. It's quite inspiring stuff.
http://designother90.org/

There's also Project H, not sure if they were mentioned before. The woman who started it is an SAIC grad as well.
http://www.projecthdesign.org/

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby GEBS » January 20th, 2013, 3:30 pm

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@Travisimo, that pint glass project is terrific. Have you seen any in use?

@asap, here are a few more resources:

The Safe Aqua Peru project, my sister in law was a designer in this project as a student at Art Center. This is a great short movie documenting the experience.



UNICEF actually has an Innovation program. Their Digital Drum project uses locally manufactured oil drums as casings for public computers at youth centers in Africa. They also have several other great projects worth checking out.

http://www.unicefusa.org/news/releases/ ... hosen.html

http://www.unicefinnovation.org/

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby carton » January 20th, 2013, 11:50 pm


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Someone mentioned products not being the cause of poverty or violence, and it reminded me of this article that came out after the London riots last (or two) years ago.

Adrian Shaughnessy of design observer
The Politics of Desire and Looting
Just some guy, trying to figure it out too.

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby Travisimo » January 28th, 2013, 3:54 pm

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Hi GEBS, I've only seen examples of the glasses at DesignBridge in London - never in the wild (as far as I know). They look a lot like normal pint glasses, which is the goal, so who knows if they've actually made it out

So are you starting to gravitate in any direction from all the posts?

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby sondre_m » February 4th, 2013, 6:02 pm


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Travisimo wrote:
nxakt wrote:Nice piece of positive design work.

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archiv ... an/266113/


http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets ... allery.jpg

It's a cool design, but maybe a little fluffy for the purpose?

for a minefield, it doesn't seem thorough


I supported that one through kickstarter! I love it! Might not be the perfect catch-all object, but a very, very nice concept.

I kind of found this topic a bit funny, because I have a background in graphic design, and thought the same thing - pondering if industrial design wouldn't be better for society. In my opinion, most industrial design is pretty good, even though alot of it makes for landfill. Even another beautiful chair (which, strictly, the world has enough of) can make someones life just a little bit better, letting them create a proper home.

I do however think that, throughout your career it's very healthy to think what you're thinking – to always question what you're doing. To look for better solutions, better jobs, new opportunities.

I do think industrial designers can do a lot of good. Working with architects, interior architects, service designers etc. to make better solutions. I see alot of people here mentioning medical equipment. i know here in Norway, several institutions such as Norwegian Form, Norwegian Design Council, AHO (The Architect- and Design-school in Oslo) are working with projects for a better everyday life for a diversity of groups, such as elders, hospital-visitors and -employees, people with a handicaps, universal design etc etc.

Re: Industrial Design and Crime

Postby ralphzoontjens » February 26th, 2014, 8:11 pm

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This is a wonderful thread! The designing out crime department in Australia was set up I believe by one of our professors from Eindhoven, Kees Dorst, they are also trying to make an impact here in the Netherlands and I don't know much about it but I heard that one project in cooperation with the government already has had some measurable effect. Street and bar fighting is common occurrence here in the south of Holland as well. I've seen someone get a literally shattering blow with a wine bottle, they need to make those out of a replacement material as well!

By the way, the reverse gun we over here call a Belgian gun :) we like to poke fun of our southern neighbors.

I also feel that sustainability is only a very small piece of the puzzle, dealing only with the material plane, and not the emotional, mental and spiritual planes of life. So I feel a little less guilty that I have never read Papanek's work.

For the initiator of this blog, it's wonderful that you grew up there and now are linking it to design practice. It's been sort of a similar story for me although I've never minded consumerism and distracted/excited-mindedness. I think excitement is a precursor to enthusiasm and it's mostly positive. It's just that a lot of people are still in the 'excited' phase of their life and as a result consume a lot - it has to do with a global dissolution of guilt about the collective misery we've put on this planet. The time is now to let that go and truly start becoming creative and celebrate life! The shift in mindset you are describing is common, even universal you might say, as you probably have become aware of.

For me the 'solution' lies in overcoming all dualities, within you and outside of you. Resolving all inner conflict will also resolve all outer conflict, as you come to accept all these 'problems' and just see them as manifestations of the one great life and opportunities for development/evolution.

I read something great today, and now could call myself a 'spiritual functionalist':

"All of us from time to time experience boredom, insecurity, loneliness or stress - states of mind which need something outside ourselves to provide a balance. Where our environment can offer intriguing interest and activity, timeless durability and a sense of roots, connection with the natural world and its renewing rhythms, sociable and relaxing places, and harmony, tranquility and quiet soothing spaciousness, it can provide soul support - the first step to recovery. Where these soul needs aren't met, dependence is common.[...] When, to attunement to the needs of the soul, is added an understanding of the universal characteristics of our artistic vocabulary and a sense of beauty, the results are both artistic and appropriate. Spiritual functionalism we could call it." - Christopher Day, Places of the Soul: Architecture and Environmental Design as a Healing Art

I would state that all humanity's 'problems' have one root cause - a mental separation from our environment by becoming absorbed in a story revolving around a posed individuality. This is the cause of inner conflict for all people, ranging from the inner city drug lord to the proud successful professor. Once they fully accept their place in the world, the need to control things will lessen or even fall away completely in some rare cases, and with that conflicts are resolved and, you might say, their souls will be healed. When the soul is fully healed individual death is not a problem - since this idea of death is ultimately the source of all trouble in this world. People forget that they are not dead and spend all their time thinking about things that have to do with it at the core of it, it's a peculiar and rather absurd paradox :)

I think design can have tremendous impact on this evolutionary process, with consumerism being just a small early step.

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