Archive for October, 2008


Fun Stuff I Did Not Make – Old Indian Horror Movie Poster!

These are sooooo cool! My fave is the killer cat lady. Happy Halloween!









To Style or to Ideate

Maybe I shouldn’t be admitting this, but I originally began studying Industrial Design because I wanted to style products. That is what I thought ID was – styling things that already exist a.k.a making things cute. For example:

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Taking a plain teacup and making it into a delightful tinkerbell teacup.

BUT ID is more about ideation. Thankfully, I think I am fairly good at developing new ideas. Inventing new product concepts is much more challenging and mentally stimulating. Coming up with new ideas or improving on an old one is also more admirable in my mind. Take the One Laptop Per child:

olpc-5It is a laptop specifically designed for children in poor countries. The designers have taken a well developed product (laptops) and customized it for a very specific population: screens visible in bright sunlight, very rugged and durable exteriors, extra strong wireless capabilities and a simple kid-friendly interface. They also styled the device to some extent. 

In the end, I wouldn’t mind styling products for huge marketing campaigns but I’d like to think I’m capable of more. Styling is an art in itself. Maybe one day I can style the entire Disney Princess line. How fun would that be? 





Food Designers

I was in a fancy gourmet food shop the other day and saw some really amazingly designed food. And it got me thinking, what is the point of designing food? what if it is soooo pretty that the person doesn’t want to eat it? is that the point? or should it strike a delicate balance between looking delicious and beautiful? I am sure there are entire curriculums on designing food. I hear the Scandinavians are well advanced in this field (as they are when it comes to design in general). 

VERY FUN japanese bento box meal. This is so cute I wouldn’t eat it.












Peep and the Big Wide World Bento!


This website has some conceptual-ish food designs:   I love the ‘3D snack’ apple.












A great blog with some really cool/cute/pretty food:













I’ve noticed that a lot of highly designed food is indulgent; chocolate, pastries, various desserts. I guess this makes sense since, traditionally, those who indulge in these kinds of delights are looking to be luxurious.

If I were to design food, I’d definitely go the ‘this is art you can’t eat it’ route. Mainly because of my pride. I want the potential eater to be so in awe of the food’s sheer beauty, they couldn’t possibly consume it and have it disappear forever. And I would try to design normal foods. I’d make something as mundane as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a masterpiece… Construct intricate structures out of the bread, use the peanut better as glue, pattern the facade with various jams and jellies….












I couldn’t end this blog without mentioning this ultimate luxury in ‘designer’ food. 












GOLDEN OPULENCE SUNDAE!  It costs a thousand bucks. Only in NYC!




now i’m hungry.













PS – there are more awesome illustrations like the one above at:


Inspiration – horses

These are images I found of horses. I wish I had taken note of the photographers’ names.







Based on this song lyric, I created the piece below with watercolor, ink and pen. 

“the tears are horses down the hill/running fast with no time to kill”



System User Interfaces

The issue of designing entire systems rather than actual objects has come up frequently in my Industrial Design course. As ID students, my classmates and I are constantly aware of the full picture: marketing, physical design, engineering, software design, materials and users.  With technology playing a huge role both now and certainly in the future, it is difficult not to think about systems and user interfaces. My professor said something interesting the other day – sooner than later, we are just going to have one or two things that do everything. And it is easy to say, ”You are an Industrial Designer. Your focus is the physical form.” But sometimes the software is what makes or breaks a product. Look at the iphone – sure the physical form is nice, but I wouldn’t say revolutionary. The amazing part is what it does – the technology, the software, the possibilities and the ease of use. It is a thing, a thing that does everything – movies, music, email, phone calls, cameras, games…  it replaces the watch, the alarm clock, the cellphone, the camera, the hand held game system, the laptop, the mp3 player, the portable TV… all things industrial designers use to design!



Designing user interfaces is going to be an integral part of ID in the future. And to be honest, I think that is great. I want to have a say on how a product works and not only how it looks. Maybe I won’t be able to program software or write computer codes, but I want my opinion to hold some weight. Basically, I don’t want to sound like an idiot around the computer geeks.



On the other hand, I am not much of a techie. Maybe I’ll stick to designing technology free products. There are some things technology just can’t replace. Right?   



Link to an interesting related article:




Is it weird that I am sort of baby crazy just like the rest of America? Maybe the recession will slow down our birth rate, but as the graph shows, the US loves them some babies. Our celebs are baby crazy and I am sure that has some trickle down effect on the rest of us. Plus, unlike other nations, in the good old USA, having a baby is sort of status symbol…in the best way possible. Not an LV bag or a sports car, but a symbol of prosperity. ‘Look, I make enough money to support a baby. And my baby has the cutest clothes and most innovative toys.’ People WANT babies. Though I admit, I am ignoring a huge chunk of the population – people who just pop out babies for no reason, or get preggers by mistake. I am mainly focusing on Jolie-Pitt baby makers – couples with the income to invest in all kinds of baby needs, the couples in Park Slope NYC with top of the line strollers and the cutest tiny little shoes. 



Little shoes and little socks! How can anyone resist? 

Fact is, few things are ‘recession-proof’. People will continue to need the basics, but they also continue to spend on certain ‘unnecessary’ items – alcohol, pornography, toys and baby items. The psychology behind the toys and baby items goes like this: parents do not want to disappoint their little ones. Most parents in this generation, especially those between 25-35 years old, probably got everything they wanted when they were younger. Their baby boomer parents lived in a time of overall prosperity. Any parent wants the best for his kids; a life just as good or better than what they had growing up. And if I were a parent, I would certainly try to hide the dire financial situation from my kids. Also, a lucky child will have ‘back-ups’; Grandparents, aunts and uncles who feel much more comfortable offering things to related children or babies rather than offering to help their adult relatives with things like the mortgage. 



A very nice 800 dollar stroller from Stokke. I think it is worth every penny, impeccably designed!


161-3489051spa68uc417106mAnd the surge in educational and stimulating toys is a whole other story. (Fisher Price ‘Smart Cycle’)

Basically, designing for little ones is something I definitely plan on exploring. Also, designing for older ones, even though it wouldn’t be as much fun. No cute little shoes or fun strollers… actually, old people could wear cute little shoes and ride fun wheelchairs. 



Some of my Fave baby/kid stuff links:


Buddy Toys

There is something really great about toys that transcend being a plaything and become a friend. I use to love Teddy Ruxpin and the Pillow Pals when I was younger. And even with all the fancy schmancy toys out there today, teddy bears are still as popular as ever.


I am wondering what it is that makes these ‘buddy toys’ so timeless and if there is anyway to take something so simple and make it ‘better’. Teddy Ruxpin tells stories which is pretty cool. I want to create a pal that can take the basic needs a teddy bear provides and push them to a whole new level. 

This pal would be comforting, soft to touch, able to go anywhere, have some sort of inherent friendly persona and lend himself/herself to just being a child’s partner in crime.

I had an idea for a stuffed elephant with a video camera in his trunk. Of course, the names of these pals would go along the lines of Ellie or Elliott the Elephant. With simple recording and playback features, children could use their pal to capture comforting images of their everyday life and explore the world with a new set of eyes. here is a little sketch.



my generation has grown up having tons of choices. what soap to use, what cereal to eat, what car to drive…just looking at a shelf in wal-mart or target is overwhelming sometimes. it is nice to have alternatives like trade joe’s or aldi (which i have never been to) that keep it simple. but does keeping things simple mean losing personality? the choices we make define us to some extent. people choose different colognes to smell different, different hair styles to look different…can we keep it simple and still customize the products we all use? 

art school fashion is a good reflection on customization; people drawing on their jeans or shoes or backpacks, adding random pieces of cloth to outfits, tying random pieces of string around their wrists. there is a need to show some personality. people like choices. americans like choices.

take the ipod nanos. they are fairly simple. but the one element of customization (color) makes all the difference in the world. if all the ipod nanos were black, i’d be willing to bet less of them would sell. a whole industry has popped up based around ipod customization; stickers, cases, hard covers, whatever.


i am not sure where this entry is going. i guess i am saying customization is a powerful thing. people want to show their personalities. and people, generally, like having  choices. we are like two year olds, we want a choice between the blue one or the red one. when we find out there is a green one that no one has, we want that one instead. it is a combination of showing personal style and having something exclusive. is a sort of interesting website that allows consumers to customize some easily customizable products – t-shirts, calendars. mugs.

and speaking of the power of color choices, the ‘my m&m’s’ line of chocolate has apparently been a huge success. of course, you can also add sweet (or nasty) little messages on them.