DIY

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Bill’s Design Talks: Graphic Design—Now in Production
Find out how designers today are rethinking the aesthetics, process, and public of graphic design by creating their own software and systems. Join Cooper-Hewitt's Curatorial Director, Cara McCarty, Walker Art Center Curator, Andrew Blauvelt, and interaction designer, Dimitri Nieuwenhuizen, in a lively discussion. Dimitri is a member of Lust, the innovative Dutch design collective that...
Cooper-Hewitt: Designapalooza
Shoshana Berger and Grace Hawthorne, authors of Readymade: How to Make (Almost) Everything: A Do-It-Yourself Primer and Ellen Lupton, author of D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself lead a day-long celebration of “DIY” design, showing participants how to translate everyday materials into exciting new objects.
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Inventables
Aptly described by one blogger as “Home Depot from the future,” Inventables is a store unlike any other. The materials vendor sells unusual and unreal-sounding stuff, from rubber glass to translucent concrete. Their website is intended to help designers, artists and inventors “streamline the process of innovation and explore what’s possible.” Shape memory polymer that...
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Made by Hand: Alabama Chanin
  The evening of May 19th capped off a three-day residency at the Cooper-Hewitt for Natalie Chanin, founder and designer of the design studio Alabama Chanin. Chanin, one of the founders of the burgeoning “slow fashion” movement, followed up her two-day Design Directions workshop for teenagers with an hour-long public lecture and book signing. “Lecture”...
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Felt at ICFF
1. I was delighted to see that Lerival – Furniture by Architects is carrying Morehead & Morehead’s brilliant Felt Stool (1). This is currently produced in synthetic automotive felt, which is the only reason I didn’t include it in Fashioning Felt. Otherwise its simple folded form says, in brief, everything I love about felt.  ...
Graphic Design as Consumer Product
One of the themes looked at in the Triennial is the rise of graphic design as a consumer product. It used to be that graphic design was strictly a business-to-business service. Now, everyday citizens have access to professional quality software, fonts, printing services, and more. It’s a whole new world out there. One example of...
But is it craft?
The makers of Make, the techie-geek D.I.Y. magazine featured in the Triennial, have a new publication out, now in its third issue, called Craft:. This hip and beautiful little zine got me thinking about the craft revolution, which has reinvigorated the lives of design professionals as well as the lives of a vast and passionate...
Is D.I.Y. Bad for Design?
Viriginia Postrel has a piece on D.I.Y. design in the March/April issue of Print magazine. Postrel is a professional writer, not a designer, whose crossover book The Substance of Style helped convince people in business and cultural institutions that design has something to offer the economy. Her book was directed not at designers, but at...
Are Designers the Enemies of Design?
Design writer Bruce Nussbaum delivered a speech at Parsons a few weeks ago whose controversial refrain was “designers suck.” Read the speech on his Business Week blog. Nussbaum claims that designers are slow to embrace the democratization of design. They still want to keep the “sandbox” to themselves, rather than inviting their clients, users, and...
Indie Publishing
One of the themes running through Design Life Now is the opening up of media to everyday citizens. There’s been an explosion of “social media”—Web sites that allow people to build communities and talk with each other on-line. (Blogs like this are one example.) This communications revolution is affecting print as well digital media. Fueled...