// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Serving Those Who Serve God

I am grateful to have met both of these incredible people personally. Calvin Nowell and Rebecca St. James. They both came to the publishing ministry I serve with and they blessed us with their words of encouragement and grace. Thank you God for the opportunity you have given me to serve those who serve you.

Rebecca and Calvin, thank you.

( via the amazing Billy Graham Evangelical Association )

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Book Cover Design Goodness: A Flickr Set

Book design, huh? So you like the books. Like to stare at the books? Feelin' like checkin' out book design and book covers and the like. Well, what are you waiting for? Go here. Or here. Or here. Or here. Or here. Or here. Or here. Or here.

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TinEye: Image Search Voodoo

Now here's some search engine voodoo for ya. A cool way to search for images that have been used without permission and/or that have been edited across the web.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Interesting To Me: Allsteel Acuity Chair

BarryBlog posts on ideas, issues and objects that are really all over the map. This is a reflection of who I am as a thinker, a designer, a christian, and is how I originally envisioned the blog from day one. I post on things which have caught my attention and which I find interesting and at times important. Things I observe by intention, by happenstance, by referral, or by The Spirit, as a way and a place to file interesting things away for future consideration. And for you too, if you find them interesting. The feedback I get in these regards has always been a high point of the process.

The last few months I've been posting less, but with more frequency regarding my flea market finds and the collection I am curating 50 cents at a time via St. Vincent DePaul, Goodwill and other local flea market haunts. Judging by my stats, this is less interesting to some, though ironically my core reader still remains rather solid. It is always fun to see which posts spike readership, but I never set out to gain a following or to boost readership. In fact my blog can best be summed up by a quote from Samuel Butler from The Way of All Flesh which I discovered in reading my book by Herman Miller called "Notes on Attention" by Ralph Caplan."

Butler says...

"The literacy instinct may be known by man's keeping a small notebook in his waistcoat pocket, onto which he jots down anything that strikes him, or any good thing that he hears said, or a reference he thinks will come in useful to him." (I would add: "Or to you").
One thing I never tire of and always find interesting is contract and residential furniture. Furniture industry insider I am not, but having grown up in Mid-Michigan in a small design boutique that was furnished predominately in Herman Miller, then calling Grand Rapids home for a few years as a communication designer, I have developed a passion for contract furniture. All furniture really. I always seem to find incredible furniture and decorative art finds at garage sale prices, which has only fueled by desire to learn more. Perhaps it's learning I enjoy mostly about furniture, not the finds themselves. Maybe that could be another blog post.

Anyway, what I really appreciate the most about the furniture design industry is the leadership role it has earned in the overall design landscape. Furniture design is approached holistically, and design is considered and relied upon at every level of thinking— from the board room to the retail floor. Those who have followed BarryBlog know the business of design is an issue that's been discussed here frequently.

All that to say, the new Allsteel Acuity chair has caught my attention. In a big way. Mainly because of all it isn't. It sits quietly and expectantly for it's user to draw near. In my estimation, the chair's personality takes on the personality of the user, not visa versa.
In some ways I see the Allsteel Acuity chair more representative of Audi than BMW, if you will. The Acuity does what it says, the Aeron says what it does.
You get the picture. Do understand I am a major Herman Miller fan, but like the Aeron, I see the Allsteel Acuity chair in a really small group of excellent products. Perhaps the reason this chair is so excellent, and has so little, is because of Bruce Fifield at Continuum. According to Allsteel's president Eugene Sung, Bruce is a relative newcomer to chair design. I have always been a relative newcomer to each industry I have designed for, and often find this to be a distinct advantage. Mainly because of so little preconception. But as always, you must have a client who trusts your intuition, instinct and voice. After seeing Continnum's previous work, I can see how this would not have been a stretch for Sung.

In reference to paying attention, and to all that this chair is not, here is a great quote by Ralph Caplan from the same publication On Attention I referenced earlier in this post...

"Pay attention so that people are free to attend to what they care about. Ironically, though, the freest societies invariably create environments that militate against attention. Visual pollution is harmful not just because it is ugly but because it is distractive. And therefore destructive. Like other pollution, it destroys the balance of nature–in this case, human nature. A climate loaded with designs clamoring for your attention is a climate in which you end up paying attention to nothing."
Bravo Eugene and Bruce and team. Thanks for paying attention. It made a connection. With me, anyway. And that's why it's on BarryBlog.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Justin on the Road: Making Creative Matter

Designer Sobriety Intro from Rule29 on Vimeo.

UPDATE: You might say I accompanied friend and fellow designer Justin at Rule29 to this year's 2008 How Design Conference. Well, just sort of. Actually, he asked myself and dozen other colleagues to provide him some chatter about an issue near and dear to his heart – Designer Sobriety. How to balance life, joy and great design when things get crazy. I had my friend the novelist Travis Thrasher video tape me on a day where I was blasting a 103 degree temperature at the forefront of what turned out to be full blown bout of brochitus (sweet).

Anyhow, I have just seen how Justin used my blibidy-blab and hope my perspective on matters served him well in the context of his address to the How Conference attendees. For the record, I enjoyed Armin Vit's contribution the best.

If you have not heard of Rule29, I posted about them before. They are midwest design rock stars. My friend and former colleague Keri just started working there, and it's a bit slow round the office without her.

It's been fun to watch Justin and Rule29 grow and expand over the years, and for those of you fortunate enough to be at How to hear him speak, I am sure you can see why I am a fan.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tom's Shoes. Buy One, Give One Free.

Thank you Tina.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Studiosmith Most Viewed: Flickr User's Top 10

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Studiosmith Favorites: Flickr User's Top 10

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Mac Desktop: Again and again. Do it again.

Again and again. Again and again. Do it again. Do it again.

My friend Chris just sent this to me. He always has the hook ups. The video kinda reminds me of these students, and this mega viral by Michael Wesch. It makes my head spins to think of all the planning and prep and back end editing required of such a feat.

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Philippe Starck: "Design is Dead"

Designer Philippe Starck makes the claim that "Design is Dead" in a ZIET interview from March 27th. From my perspective, I see this a a possible instance of a big name designer working to create PR buzz for personal gain. I might be wrong. In fairness, I don't now Philippe, so that's probably not fair. As you read the article, it becomes apparent Phillipe is an intelligent man. His work as an industrial designer is worthy of attention and respect.

The interview resonated with me.

About 7 years ago I made a career change for nearly the same reasons. I was increasingly tired of doing and creating things with virtually no redeeming value. In my case, I was called into Christian ministry. Though I don't know where Starck's motivation lies for making such a claim, I could relate with his interview based on my desire to do something more important with my giftedness. His comments and the interview in general are certainly important, and add greatly to the discussion on consumerism. Something I have found myself wrestling with of late — here, here and here.

Here's a quote from the interview:

ZEIT: So why, then, have you become an industrial designer in the first place?

P.S.: That is an interesting question. And I haven't found an answer to it for myself yet. Look, I have designed so many things without ever really being interested in them. Maybe all these years were necessary for me to ultimatively recognize that we, after all, don't need anything. We always have too much stuff.

Read the rest of this article translated into English here—unless German's your preference, in which case here's the original ZEIT interview.

( via mademoisellea's vox spot )

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Flickr: Vintage Mid-Century Modern Furniture

Attention anyone who loves furniture in general, especially that with a rich history: I created a new Flickr home for all the vintage furniture images I have scattered throughout my various Flickr sets. The slideshow is here. It's fun and convenient to see everything in one place. Most of the images reflect my taste for mid-century modern, but there's a real mix here.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Unto the praise of the glory of His grace

Thank you John Piper for this encouragement as we wait. We have finalized our home study for our El Salvador adoption. And now, more waiting. 6, 8, 12 or more months.
To our forever family, we await you with wonder, and four open arms. We marvel at the mystery of adoption.

While we wait for the child or children God has chosen for us, we thank Him for chosing us.

Unto the praise of the glory of His grace.

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Britvic Drench: Rhythm is a Dancer

Put all your budget on originality and scrap th
e media budget. This video will be on so many blogs and facebook pages, it will never see the networks. That's my take anyway.

A new career for Engineer Brain of the 60's series Thunderbirds.

UPDATE: Watch the making of the video H E R E .

( via graham at workhardandbenice )

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Todd Oldham Essay: Artist Charlie Harper

I love Charlie Harper's work. The Illustrator Charlie Harper, not this artisté. So much has been said about him since his recent passing. So much so, that I'll not add to the conversation other than to say WOW, and to share this video interview from a session of Todd Oldham's Handmade Modern.

I recently picked up two copies of Betty Crocker's 1958 Dinner for Two Cookbooks, which I found sleeping peacefully in a sea of otherwise worthless children's books. They're illustrated exclusively, profusely, and throughout, I grabbed both for around $4.00. My guess is these will pick up fans and will rise in value. Already his 1961 Giant Golden Book of Biology has caught collector fever and has sold for $750 plus, and I've seen it listed this week for $2,000 (whew!). Charlie is a legend worth every bit of praise thrown his way. Also worth noting, Todd Oldham has somehow secured licensing rights to all his illustrations via the Harper estate and has come out with a hardcover book on Harper's work that as best I can tell at 150+ has sold out already. I also found a great interview on the CBS website talking about Harper.

I'll post on my Harper stuff to this blog or to a Flickr set someday soon.
My thrift store finds have been off the charts lately. More on that later. To learn more about Charlie's work, check out the Harper Flickr group here.

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Frog Design: Design Coversations, not Products

I'm a big Frog Design fan. I read about anything these thought leaders have to say. I don't always agree, but in this case I couldn't agree more. So how do you apply this idea to a culture entrenched in products? You know, products with three sides...Front, Back and Inside.

Frog's marketing chief Tim Leberecht says..."When you start with the idea of making a thing, you're artificially limiting what you can deliver. The reason that many of these exemplar's forward-thinking product design succeed is explicitly because they don't design products. Products are realized only as necessary artifacts to address customer needs. What Flickr, Kodak, Apple, and Target all realize is that the experience is the product we deliver, and the only thing that our customers care about."

Read the entire article here.

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