Traditional building with a modern twist in Korea

Toronto has many traditional buildings with a modern twist. The house previously used for Rotman Designworks studio was a good example. From the outside, it was a plain three-story house. However, it had interesting modern flavors inside: boards were installed on the white walls, desks and chairs ran on wheels, and newly installed toilette were…

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Siwa, paper design by Naoto Fukasawa

People have their own favorite designers. My favorite “product” designer is Naoto Fukasawa. He is well known for the designer of the fan-shaped CD player by Muji. I love his minimalist design so much that I flew for his Tokyo studio, Plus Minus Zero, to consider buying a humidifier for the stimulus of my experimental…

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Shopping experience at fashion store

Since fashion stores offer a wide range of clothing, they are often full of dust. I find many visitors leave stores because their eyes turn red. I recently found a fashion store with low dust level. Differently from other stores, it hung the whole clothing over the ground and maintained the floor clean. It was…

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Rooftop presentation of Seoul history

I attended an interesting event at the Art center Nabi in Seoul. At this event, Robert Fouser, Associate Professor of Korean Language Education at Seoul National University, introduced the history of Seoul with a series of his own black and white photos of Seoul. His Korean-speaking presentation impressed me deeply; his photos remind me of my…

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Value of Writing Design Briefs

Our intuition is that we should create design briefs collaboratively. Our study showed that the very act of writing a brief, improves concept performance by twenty percent on average, while, already top performing designers achieve a twenty five percent performance enhancement from brief writing. Studies at Stanford Center for Design Research show that investing time…

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Apple logo-shaped fried rice

I ordered a fried rice after having BBQ at a local restaurant in Korea. Interestingly, She first shaped the fried rice like an apple and then placed a small fried cake on top to make it look like the Apple logo. (What if I am a fan of MicroSoft? :)) Strong brands such as Harley-Davidson and Nike…

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Traffic light labels help us drink less wine

People often do things while drunk that they regret when they sober up. Opening expensive wines is one of them. In order to solve this problem and, more academically speaking, to overcome the hot-cold empathy gap (proposed by George Loewenstein), I adopted traffic light system. I place red sticky notes on the definitely expensive wines…

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Hanjin Shipping, the box project

MMCA (national Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) is a representative museum located in the center of Seoul, Korea. In the museum stood an eye-popping art piece. It is “Home within Home within Home within Home within Home” and sponsored by Hanjin Shipping, the 8th biggest shipping company following Maersk, MSC, and CMA-CGM. Probably, it will take ages for a shipping…

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Studying materials for design

Materials matter. Designers use biological materials to solve trade-off problems (e.g., strong and light-weighted chair). Consumers buy transparent products. When students join the Master of Product Design and Development program in the Segal Design Institute, Northwestern University, they should take Materials Selection course in the beginning before learning about accounting, negotiation, strategy, decision making, and…

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DDP, a controversial architecture

DDP (Dongdaemun Design Park plaza), designed by Zaha Hadid, is an extremely controversial architecture in Seoul, Korea. Some argue that it is neither functional inside nor goes well with neighbors; they view it as a dead space next to a naturally dynamic communities. Others, however, argue that this building cannot be judged by the contemporary…

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Hyundai Card design library

Hyundai Card is an usual financial company. It has introduced interesting design projects for over ten years. For instance, it started its own bottled water business (it water), introduced daily kitchen products called (oyster), proposed a new taxi service called (my taxi), and collaborates with Pantech for new mobile phones. Most notably, it runs a…

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SK Broadband B-Box, a better TV experience

SK Telecom/Broadband introduced a setup box called B Box. It was co-developed by a design consulting agency, Plus-ex, and recently received a red-dot design award. It not only looks way different from other ugly, bulky setup boxes, but it also provides several interesting services with TV viewers through immensely improved User Interface (UI). For instance, viewers…

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Devices help us empathize with others

Empathy matters in design and new  product development (e.g., Dev Patnaik’s Wired to Care). In order to deeply dive into target customers’ thoughts and feelings, marketers have used some combination of observation and interview (i.e., market-oriented ethnography in Rosenthal and Capper 2006) and even pictures (e.g., Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique). Academic researchers in the marketing area…

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PhD thesis: paper vs. book

Marketing PhD candidates write papers. However, some design PhD candidates publish books. I have received book-format theses from two people who obtained their design PhDs from European universities. I also know of some other design PhD candidate in US  who are presently writing books for their PhD degrees. Why do marketers and designers require different…

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