Shape, the fifth Design Week Monterrey conference, kicked off today, 20 November. The three-day event, organised by Monterrey design school, CEDIM, brings together over 1000 students from Monterrey and other parts of northern Mexico to hear talks from a diverse array of international speakers, although not Bruce Mau…
Mau’s contribution would have been very welcome at an event that is taking the theme of “how design has an impact on shaping the global economy, society and culture”. However, he was unable to make it but, we are told, may still join us later in the week. Such is conference life.
Leifer explained that the concept of d.school was in taking design out of the design community and into the rest of the world. They wanted, he said designers “to shape minds, not stuff”. Leifer showed this ethos in action with projects such as the creation of a device for old folks’ homes that looked and acted rather like a crystal ball. Users upload images to it and move them around by turning the ball with their hands. This interface, not surprisingly, proved a far more succesful method for older people to look though photographs and reminisce. Leifer also produced another two observations of note: that teams of students that asked the best questions produced the best outcomes and that the average human attention span is 6.2 seconds: something that every subsequent speaker will not doubt have in the back of their mind.
In the afternoon, former Pentagram partner Robert Brunner (now running his own studio, Ammunition), included in his talk an exclusive demo of Amazon’s new ebook device, the Kindle. Designed by Brunner over the past three years, the Kindle, he promised, will change the way we read in the same way that the iPod changed the way we listen to music. The key is that it has a wireless connection to an online store where users can choose from 90,000 books, up to 3000 newspapers, magaznes and, interestingly, blogs. So, with your favourite reading matter loaded up to one of these, you can dip in and out anytime you have a spare moment.
Brunner, once design director at Apple, talked about how succesful products were ideas and not objects and how products have become synonymous with brands. Today, he said, we make the choice of what product to buy on symbolic attributes – what it looks like, where you buy it, who else is buying it and who made it. The battle, he said, is won by magic, not logic.