From HBR's recent special issue on Failure, this article really hits home.
We've written about various angles of Failure a number of times here at DLB. Sohrab Vossoughi has a pretty good article on how companies fail at design over at HBR. According to him, the keys to success for companies trying to innovate through design are being open to design, integrating design within the organization and broader practices, and aligning expectations before beginning any engagement or process:
Four Design Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week.
1. How BP is fighting back
Interesting story on Grist about the many ways BP is attempting to control more than the oil spill. It's reaching out to tame lawsuits, legislators, and even Google.
2. Lessons learned from 13 failed software products
Failure is the best teacher, as they say. I found a lot of this advice useful.
3. The State of Web Fonts, June 2010
A List Apart has a great comprehensive review of Web Fonts -- browsers, tools, and other information. If you're interested in learning more or possibly taking the plunge, this is a helpful resource.
4. Design Fiction
Bruce Sterling finally organized his sprawling Wired blog. Of interest to BlogLESS readers: the new Design Fiction tag. It's like science fiction for the creative set. A speculative glimpse of our design future punctuated by Sterling's entertaining rants and snark.
There's a forthcoming book that celebrates the aesthetics of computer failure. As you may or may not know, this topic is near and dear to our hearts.
There's a new book forthcoming about glitch art and aesthetics, and it looks promising. The editors have made some high resolution plates from the book available for download -- I recommend checking them out (22mb ZIP format).
Jennifer Daniel is a prolific, witty, and talented illustrator who works for the New York Times. I even dig her gallery of rejections: Graveyard of Ideas.
Check out that tombstone interface, too. Sweet.
Jennifer Daniel, rejected illustration for Vagabond films.
Vagabond was a film and production company that wanted a more "worldly" look. Since they exclusively shot in America and South America- I created a new world for them.
I don't think they "got" it. Also, maybe logos aren't supposed to be sarcastic.
Jennifer Daniel, rejected illustrations for NYT: How Industries Survive Change..
"How technologies evolve and how the businesses change with them"
There's something about looking through designers' rejected work and the stories behind it-- the process, I guess-- that I find really appealing. Kudos, Jennifer, for sharing.
Economy (conceptual, fiscal and aesthetic) is a value that DLB holds dear. But how does it fare as a design virtue?
Here's what I wrote on Monday:
Philosophical virtue ethics typically concern themselves with the inner states of individuals - an action counts as good because the agent who brings it about was motivated by a virtuous motivation. The analog of this is for design is the idea that a(n object of) design would count as good if the designer made her design choices in a virtuous way. I think that there is a perfectly reasonable concern about the applicability of this ethical model to design for the precise reason that designs and actions have very different ontological statuses.
Today, I'm going to articulate that difference, and illustrate it with one of the design virtues nearest and dearest to DLB's heart: economy.
Design ethics starts by thinking about the way the things you make affect the world.
A week ago Friday, I wrote a somewhat esoteric post about German idealism that ended up with me saying that any good code of design ethics will will have something to say about the practice of design in general.
This amounts, I think, to attributing at least two regulative goals for any given design: first, a design's success should be assessed relative to how elegantly it solves the problems it was tasked to solve (in a vacuum, so to speak). Second, it should be judged by its net effect on the world we live in.
If the consequences of our designs are going to be counted, this means that we need to take our decisions very seriously. Since this is hard, we often find ourselves trying to deflect responsibility. This fact is nicely expressed by Milton Glaser, who is rapidly becoming my go-to guy:
In the new AIGA's code of ethics there is a significant amount of useful information about appropriate behavior towards clients and other designers, but not a word about a designer's relationship to the public.