User centered design: For lousy designers?

April 30, 2007


Reading Designing for Interaction by Dan Saffer a couple of weeks ago, I realised something that really struck me. Designing the Ipod, Apple did no user testing… Since Apples security is strict, Apple didn’t want to test the Ipod, because there was a risk of revealing what was coming. However testing a user interface that is so new to the users as the click-wheel, would seem to be the only sensible thing to do. Apple chose to rely on Jonathan Ive’ designer skills instead of the users, and you could say that wasn’t such a bad idea. So my question is: User testing is that mostly for the unskilled designers?

By Rudolf


A graphic designer’s paradise

April 29, 2007

If there is a place where graphic designers go when they die, it must look like The Neon Museum Boneyard on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Behind a fence on a large site on Boulevard North, The Neon Museum keeps retired, damaged neon signs in all shapes and sizes. A part of the collection has already been restored to its former glory, and put on display in the Freemont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. But as the non-restored leftovers sit there awaiting paintjobs and repairs, they form a graphic designer’s wonderland too amazing for words. Giant letters and odd shapes are casually stacked against one another – some have fallen over, the bulbs are broken or missing and the old paint is peeling off. Most of these signs will properbly never shine again. Though the Boneyard has been visited many times before, it is hard not to think of it as a hidden, unknown treasure. It has the melancholic beauty of a closed down, forgotten funfair, making it very special indeed.

The Boneyard can be visited by appointment only. The good people of The Neon Museum will give you a tour of the site, but feel free to fall behind exploring the paradise on your own. By special arrangement (and money) the site can be used as a backdrop for films and fashion shoots. If you are ever in (or near) Las Vegas – don’t miss it!









Clea, Vegas

Think of pink (a case for magenta)

March 7, 2007

Colour associations are sometimes difficult to predict. Different age groups in different cultures at different times will experience colours in different ways. But many clients seem to agree upon one definite rule: Pink is for girls!

When flowers open and berries ripe, they turn red, orange, purple, yellow and pink to indicate that they are ready for pollination or consumption – a very efficient signal. Man made visual communication has a similar agenda. Go to a newsagent and notice the sea of warm coloured magazine heads yelling »pick me, pick me!« – one trying to be louder than the other.

As graphic designers we sometimes find that pink, or »magenta« as we tend to call it, would be just the right »young«, warm color to use for a certain job – red is so over used, yellow might not be dark enough, orange might be a little too »dot-com«, purple might be too cold etc. And yet – we often stop ourselves, or a project manager does so – or in the end a client. The argument being that magenta is too feminine.


A succesful use of magenta was demonstrated by MetaDesign in their campaign for Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 2004. The Museum of Modern Art in New York was closed down for three months and a large part of the exhibition shipped to Berlin for a visit. The first billboards were mysterious to many people. They said nothing but »MoMa kommt« and »MoMa ist der Star« in gold and black on a bright pink background. For a couple of weeks the billboards were the talk of town, turning curiosity into a regular hype when the exhibition opened. People left their houses at 6 o’clock in the morning to avoid the 4-hour queue – and they were not all pink-loving girls…



The British bank northern rock has recently introduced itself on the Danish market, with a more advantageous savings account and a series of pink billboards and adverts. Most banks would avoid the colour pink by any means. But does northern rock look girly to us? Or mayby just »refreshing«, »new«, »different« and »young« – which is apparently what they are after.

The telephone companies Telia and Deutsche Telekom both use magenta in their visual identity. As a consequence the Telekom cycling team has to wear an awful lot of pink. Occasionally one of them is lucky enough to be put in a bright yellow shirt and kissed simultaneously by two blond bimbos, thereby restoring any lost masculinity fast. But do they indeed look girly or gay in the first place, going up those mountains in sweaty pink shirts?


The gay magazine Butt is printed on pink paper, but then again – so is Financial Times.


Some may argue that the colour pink is more relevant to the world of culture as in the MoMa campaign or in these booklets for a German theatre (by heute morgen büro für gestaltung):


But this pink guide book for Naples is more about practicalities like transportation, hotels and meals. And it has obviously found its way into male hands:


Could it be that there is a certain difference between what we think of the color pink when asked to judge it, and how we experience it? And is this indeed a general rule about visual communication? Someone should look into this!


Sovjet bus shelters to make you smile…

February 13, 2007

The Moscow metro stations are famous for their ornate design. These bus shelters to match are less known – but equally charming.

As seen by canadian photographer Christoffer Herwig.







CDX the game

February 12, 2007


The newest mystery game from BBC: CDX (by Preloaded)

as always the BBC and preloaded have delivered a crime story that just sucks you in. At first I thought what is this? probably something not that special! But oh I was wrong, quite wrong indeed, and the hour I spent immersed in the game, without any intention to do so, is testiment that this new game is pretty damn cool.

All from the graphics, which by the way are almost all videos, to the real cinematic feel of the of the story and the character. The only thing I can say is go try it for yourself and you be the judge of the quality of this work.


Sweet Talk 18

February 8, 2007

Sweet Talk
Sweet Talk

Hey everybody in Copenhagen (and vicinity),

this might be short notice but tonight there’s going to be an event at Republikken on Vesterbrogade, if you want see and hear some nice work come and take part.
Sweet Talk is happening in Dublin, New York & Copenhagen.
Just to get an idea here are some pictures for you to view

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Here is what Richard Seabrooke from Sweet Talk has to say about it:

SweetTalk started over a year, and 17 editions, ago to encourage stimulating conversations about Design, Illustration, Motion Graphics, Fine Art, Animation, Photography and all those excellent disciplines in between that make up the fantastic creative world around us.

SweetTalk is about seeing the people LIVE onstage who practice these disciplines best… Pioneers, Legends and forthright thinkers. They are there so you can hear them firsthand in a relaxed, enthusiastic atmosphere,not a stuffy cold conference style format. People who attend get to make up their own minds on what the speakers have to say about their work and working process. We try as much as possible too not to tax the patrons, preferring to charge the minimum amount to cover costs and keep this going, something that has stood as we’ve moved out of Irish only editions to the UK, Scandinavia and now the States…
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Candy in association with Tiger Beer present Sweettalk 18, Copenhagen.

Admission: 75DKR. Tiger Beer reception from 7pm, first speaker 8pm.
Limited edition treats for early arrivers!

Bleed (Norway).
Martin De Thurah (Denmark).
Ingen Frygt (Denmark).

Hope to see you there
– Shaft

Google Earth on Speed

February 4, 2007

Have you ever used Google maps to look at those aeriel pictures, well then you’re going to love this. This site takes all the good, and available maps, and converts them in one place, and you can even choose between the different sources…looks sweet and the navigation is intuitive as well.

Lighning “S” of the Justice League of 1508