- Farrah Bostic on the value of doing user research the right way, for design, and business in general: "The toolkit that marketing and innovation shares is research. If these are the essential functions of the enterprise, then why the hell are you depriving your organization of the tools it needs to perform those functions?"
- A quite lengthy piece on how speculative design reinforces many of the damaging modes of production and consumption we live with today, rather than pioneering the tools and systems to arrive at better futures. The themes here are not new, but the writing covers the subject over large spans of time and geography, and offers an extensive survey of the thinkers, writers, and designers involved in that conversation. In particular, we recommend reading up on the work of Luiza Prado, Pedro Olivera, James Auger, and Cameron Tonkinwise, all mentioned in the article.
- Using metal 3D printing and generative design software from nTopology to develop spinal implants that behave like bone, with 80% porosity in the part. In the same way that early machine tools enabled novel, complex structures to be made inexpensively and reliably (finely threaded screws, gears, etc.), 3D printing is opening up a new vocabulary of mechanically useful forms.
- A clever method for creating an individualized digital model of your form by using a smartphone and patterned bodysuit, similar to motion capture systems used for special effects and video game development. Provided this approach yields accurate models, it may be a significant enabler of mass customization, cheap enough to be used in improving the fit of basic goods like t-shirts and jeans.
- Brazil's national museum has burned, potentially damaging or destroying as many as 20 million artifacts. Unfortunately, many of the lost artifacts and documents had not been digitized, and their specifics now only exist in memory, photographs, and notes.
- Studying the visual communication styles beyond emoji (collectively called biaoqing) emerging from Chinese internet users.
- Brands have often sought to align their products with iconoclasts, usually well after the roughest years of controversy have died down. Apple's famous Think Different campaign used the likenesses of Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, and Mahatma Gandhi, but only after the decades had softened the perceived danger they represented to the status quo. Nike is taking an unusual stance in using athlete Colin Kaepernick to represent their brand, a figure still near the height of their controversy.