Category Archives: industrial design

Design Calls from the Design Research Society

31 October – 1 November 2018 – Whats Going On? A Discourse on Fashion,
Design & Sustainability


Centre for Sustainable Fashion is proud to announce it will be hosting
the 6th edition of the Global Fashion Conference, taking place at
University of the Arts London, London College of Fashion on the 31st
October and 1st November 2018, with the aim of stimulating the
international debate around fashion, design and sustainability through
the lens of design thinking and practice, and coinciding with the
celebration of CSFs 10th anniversary.

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How to encourage diversity in the design industry from CB

Read the article at Creative Bloq



Illustrations by Guillaume Kashima


Level up your design skills with Compass of Design

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Is Generative Design killing Creativity?

Generative design is software that allows the designer to input goals and any specifications like materials, budget or manufacturing methods, the software then explores all possible solutions and gives the designer several designs to choose from.

This advanced technology is splitting people into two camps: The first camp feel that a computer cannot replace them, their skills are unique and specialised and not something that can be improved by a computer. The second camp disagrees. The people here feel that generative design makes us more efficient and even more creative. So, what camp are you in?

On 8 September 2017, we attended the Autodesk University South Africa event where generative design was a huge topic of conversation. And, back in May, we pinpointed generative design as one of the trends that’s leading advances in architecture. But, is generative design going to strip creativity away from us humans? We discuss how generative design is changing the role of the designer and whether that change is impacting creativity.

From creator to curator

A creator can be defined as a person or thing that brings something into existence. Whereas, a curator can be described as a keeper or guardian of something. If a designer is using a computer to select the best design option for them, they shift into more of a guardian role, overseeing the software that’s doing the creating and carefully selecting the final product. The designer is no longer a creator, but does that make them any less creative?

Earlier this year, Deezen published an article titled ‘Generative design software will give designers “superpowers”’. This is from a quote by Jeff Kowalski, the chief technology officer of Autodesk. He makes it clear that while generative design is a departure from the way we have traditionally done design, it’s not a threat to designers, instead it’s more like having superpowers.

And, in a way superpowers is an accurate word for what generative design can do for our creativity. Traditionally, an individual designer or small group of designers will come up with one solution based on a brief and, understandably, what they know, have experienced, their culture and upbringing. Whereas, a machine doesn’t have this kind of context, and can develop solutions based purely on the brief, free of environmental influencers.

The designer therefore becomes solely responsible for inputting the right requirements in answer to a brief, and then going through the various designs that the software has chosen and selecting the right one. This process may also help to redefine the problem and the requirements.

With the computer taking care of selecting a number of possible solutions, designers can channel their energy into ensuring that they understand the right requirements and that the right solution is selected. The designer has more responsibility – they are the overseer, the guardian and the keeper of the design. The computer may do the execution but the designers are the creative curators.

Bringing us closer to nature

Feroza Mobara, one of the BIM Specialists here at Baker Baynes, says generative design actually makes us more creative. Since the beginning of time human design has been full of straight, solid lines and geometric curves, which is unusual when you think about the shapes in nature – our original inspiration. Straight lines are certainly easier to design and make, which is perhaps why they make up most of our man made constructions. But, they are limiting, using more material and space than necessary, which is expensive and ineffective.

With 3D printing and additive design, we no longer need to be limited by straightness. In fact 3D printing favours this as it requires less material. As we covered earlier, human designers naturally design based on what they know. Whereas, generative design doesn’t have that context, which means it comes back with solutions that mimic nature’s curves, holes and lack of symmetry because it wants to give us the most functional yet lightweight solution available.

With this in mind, generative design is not killing our creativity, instead it’s exposing us to more creative solutions. We’re not going to be seeing just straight lines anymore but instead a whole range of new shapes specifically chosen because of their effectiveness rather than subjectivity.

Efficient creativity

Thabelo Netshivhungululu, the Head of BIM Services here at Baker Baynes, believes that generative design is the future because it’s a combination of human design and computer design: “AI can get to certain solutions quicker than a human mind can, so combine that with our insight and design capabilities then we can achieve better solutions faster”. Generative design offers greater design alternatives, easier design iterations, which will save time, money and ultimately boost creativity.

With generative design now featuring in several CAD programmes and Autodesk’s launch of its own generative design platform Dreamcatcher, this new trend is here to stay. So, will it be the death of creativity? We think not. It’s redefining the role of the designer into more of a curator role and widening our design options. Surely, this makes us more creative?


Design practice research lab from Korea

Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, The Design Practice Research lab (dpr.lab) at the School of Design & Human EngineeringUNIST explores the human ability to design (fundamental), employs design as means to examine relationships between products and people and applies design knowledge in the design of more appropriate product experiences.


Pinnacles of Innovation: Top Awards Programs for New Products

Are your products winning design, innovation, or breakthrough awards?

Dozens of companies and awards programs recognize new product innovations. The following five stand out. All five competitions are global with equal access. Any size company can afford to enter. Only products ready for commercial sale may compete. Achievement of any level of recognition is rewarded in the marketplace.

R&D 100 Awards: Since 1962, R&D Magazine has honored the top 100 innovations each year. The awards program encompasses five areas: mechanical devices/materials; IT/electrical; analytical/test; process/prototyping; and software/services. Additionally, a number of special recognition awards are bestowed for market-disrupting services, market-disrupting products, corporate social responsibility, and green tech. The key criterion for winning is technological significance. Judges from industry, services, and academia award points to each innovation, with the top 100 scores making the list. Notable among the 2017 winners and Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (9).

The International Design Excellence Awards: Since 1980, theIndustrial Designers Society of America has been giving out Gold, Silver, and Bronze IDEA awards. IDEA awards span many industries and disciplines including: commercial products; entertainment; home goods; and social impact designs. Additionally, there are personal recognition awards and special awards for individuals and companies, respectively, and several more. The key criteria to win are design innovation, user experience, client benefit, society benefit, and appropriate aesthetics. Nearly three dozen members of the jury make the decisions. There were 25 Gold, 52 Silver, and 64 Bronze Winners in 2017. Gold winners are housed in a permanent collection at the Henry Ford Museum.

Edison Awards: Since 1987, Edison Universe has been giving out Gold, Silver, and Bronze Edison Awards in 16 categories ranging from applied technology to consumer goods to health and wellness, and transportation and logistics. There’s also an Annual Edison Achievement award, which was won this year by the CEO of Lockheed Martin. The key criteria to win, each of which has three to four sub-criteria, are: concept, value, delivery, and impact. Nearly 135 people compose a nominations committee that makes recommendations to a 25-person steering committee, and it decides the winners. There were 45 Gold, 45 Silver, and 47 Bronze Winners in 2017 across the 16 categories.

Breakthrough Innovation Awards: Since 2008, Nielsen has recognized breakthrough innovations in consumer products. Only a few awards are given out each year. There were 18 Winners in 2017. Since inception, Nielsen has awarded only 110 U.S. products and 198 globally out of over 30,000 entries. The hurdles are quite high. First, the product must be distinctive and deliver a new value proposition to the market. Second, it has to have generated more than $50 million in its first year of U.S. sales. Lastly, it has to have generated more than 90% of year-one sales in year two. Both the size and longevity of achievement differentiate it from other new-product innovation awards.

CES Innovation Awards: Since 2015, the Consumer Technology Association has recognized innovative consumer electronics products. There are 28 award categories including 3D printing, cybersecurity, gaming, VR and AR, and smart homes and cities, and two award levels, Honorees and Best of Innovations. The key criteria to win include: engineering qualities; aesthetic design; intended use/function and user value, uniqueness/novelty; and comparative analysis to same-space products. Each category is judged by a three-member team composed of an industrial designer, an engineer, and a member of the trade press. Because everyone likes an award, there are oodles of Honorees. But, to win Best of Innovation in a specific category, products must exceed a minimum number of points. Thirty-six winnerswere chosen this year across the 28 categories.

Edison announces its award winners in the spring, Nielsen in early summer, IDSA in late summer, R&D 100 in the fall, and CES in January.

Are you planning to compete in 2018?

From Machine Design – Author Bradford Goldense

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RedDot / IF / A Design Award / Core77 /