How do Apple make such great things? An insight into Apples design process.

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Process is something that we talk a lot about at glue. People have wildly varying views about what’s right and what’s not. How to draw the line between the end result and the amount of ££ you spend getting there often depends which department you work in.

Apple are famous for their great hardware and software design, and in a presentation at SXSW from Michael Lopp, senior engineering manager at Apple, revealed a few details about their take on the idea.

Pixel Perfect Mockups

This, Lopp admitted, causes a huge amount of work and takes an enormous amount of time. But, he added, “it removes all ambiguity.” That might add time up front, but it removes the need to correct mistakes later on.

10 to 3 to 1

Apple designers come up with 10 entirely different mock ups of any new feature. Not, Lopp said, “seven in order to make three look good”, which seems to be a fairly standard practice elsewhere. They’ll take ten, and give themselves room to design without restriction. Later they whittle that number to three, spend more months on those three and then finally end up with one strong decision.

Paired Design Meetings

This was really interesting. Every week, the teams have two meetings. One in which to brainstorm, to forget about constraints and think freely. As Lopp put it: to “go crazy”. Then they also hold a production meeting, an entirely separate but equally regular meeting which is the other’s antithesis. Here, the designers and engineers are required to nail everything down, to work out how this crazy idea might actually work. This process and organization continues throughout the development of any app, though of course the balance shifts as the app progresses. But keeping an option for creative thought even at a late stage is really smart.

Pony Meeting

This refers to a story Lopp told earlier in the session, in which he described the process of a senior manager outlining what they wanted from any new application: “I want WYSIWYG… I want it to support major browsers… I want it to reflect the spirit of the company.” Or, as Lopp put it: “I want a pony!” He added: “Who doesn’t? A pony is gorgeous!” The problem, he said, is that these people are describing what they think they want. And even if they’re misguided, they, as the ones signing the checks, really cannot be ignored.

The solution, he described, is to take the best ideas from the paired design meetings and present those to leadership, who might just decide that some of those ideas are, in fact, their longed-for ponies. In this way, the ponies morph into deliverables. And the C-suite, who are quite reasonable in wanting to know what designers are up to, and absolutely entitled to want to have a say in what’s going on, are involved and included. And that helps to ensure that there are no nasty mistakes down the line.

via Businessweek

TFL look to Saville and Co. for their Optical Illusion TV ad

Transport for London ‘Illusions’ commercial.
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Credits: Peter Saville, Graham Fink, Mark Goodwin

There are two levels of contrast working in favor of the spot’s message:

1) The internal contrast of quietness and simplicity dramatically wrecked by the relative realism of the collision.

2) The contrast of this spot’s quietness and simplicity against the backdrop of contemporary advertising, which is decidedly unquiet and unsimple (on the whole).

– Peter Saville.

Classic TV moments of retro-futuristic logo animation.

As if to reinforce the my thoughts about the gradual decline of standout design in TV titling, this came around the office today off the back of a link the new Justice video, DNVO.

Although they’re all from the USA (so not classic LWT themes) there’s Stephen J Cannell, Hannah-Barbera, Ubu Productions… and many other happy memories here! Enjoy.

iStick – a fusion of iPhone and iPod shuffle

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What do you get when you cross an iPhone with an iPod shuffle? Designer Alexei Mikhailov has dreamed up this gadget to show what he thinks that hybrid should look like.

The iStick is modeled after a tube of lipstick. However, all four sides have a touchscreen providing for a slick interface.

Read more:
http://sparkingtech.com/gadgets/istick-a-fusion-of-iphone-and-ipod-shuffle/

The Absolutely Scariest Colors Imaginable? Chromatophobia palettes

What do you make of this?
Scary Palette

Maybe not much until you see this.
Colour Fear

Chromatophobia is the fear of colours, and there’s more schemes inspired by things like the fear of needles, spiders and sleeping here:
http://www.colourlovers.com/blog/2007/11/11/the-absolutely-scariest-colors-imaginable/