Artisan Blog

Practicing Design Thinking

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Practicing Design Thinking

Whenever dealing with difficult challenges, applying design thinking concepts can achieve interesting results.

The ideas, strategies, and methods associated with design thinking are not exclusive to the field of design. They're continuously being used to tackle crucial issues throughout society, from urban planning, to voter turnout, to climate change. Engineers, educators, and activists all make use of design thinking concepts and principles in their work, especially when they encounter problems for which older modes of thought have proven inadequate.

Here is a quick guide to some key concepts that foster design thinking. This should give your team what it needs to get started using design thinking to gain fresh perspectives on new or established challenges.

Observe the Core Principles

As laid out by Christoph Meinel and Larry Leifer of the HPI-Stanford Design Thinking Program, the driving principles are:

The Human Rule: All meaningful activity is a social activity. Always center on the humans.

The Ambiguity Rule: Test the limits of your own knowledge. Get out of your comfort zone. Dare to see things differently. Fall in love with the questions.

The Redesign Rule: There is nothing new under the sun, yet the context is ever-shifting. You're always using existing resources to address unchanged human needs in ways that are appropriate for new technologies, capabilities, and situations.

The Tangibility Rule: To facilitate better communication, make your ideas tangible, rendered in pictures, sounds, feelings, and working prototypes.

Respect the Process

Rikke Dam and Teo Siang of the Interaction Design Foundation break down the design thinking process into five steps. The steps often repeat themselves, sometimes overlap, and do not always occur in sequence. What they do, is serve as a rough guide.

Empathize: Design thinking is human-centered thinking, and always starts with the real needs and behaviors of the user.

Define: When you've usefully defined and formatted your problem, you've gone a great distance toward solving it.

Ideate: Generate ideas through collaborative brainstorming. Adopt the attitude that, if you eliminate creative blocks and properly value ideas, you'll never run out of them.

Prototype: Create a working model. Put your idea out in the world where users can interact with it in a tangible form.

Test: Let experts and non-experts evaluate and use your idea. Collect your results, organize them in a useful and actionable way, and use what you've learned to make your idea stronger.

Focus on Solutions

Design thinking frames problems as creative challenges and concerns itself with generating fresh, sometimes novel, always useful and compassionate solutions. It calls for respecting your users, collaborators, and stakeholders, and a willingness to entertain notions that may beckon you outside your comfort zone. It values criticism as long as it's constructive and encourages positive, optimistic engagement with the world as it is, with a vision of how it can enable people to work and live more effectively together.

Whatever you're doing, give design thinking a try, and let us know what you discover through experimenting with this new mindset.

We have decades of experience in helping people work together. Contact Artisan today to share our tools, surpass your goals, and work smarter.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 498th issue of our a.blog.

 

 


The Design History of The Flag

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The Design History of The Flag

Wishing you a happy 4th of July!

The contemporary "stars and stripes" design has its origins in the early days of the republic. The original version of the design was officially adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1777. Francis Hopkinson took credit for its design, contradicting the legend propagated by the descendants of seamstress Betsy Ross that she created the first flag from a sketch by George Washington. Most specifics of its origin are lost to history, though its symbolism has been fairly consistent.

The official flag design has gone through 26 variations since 1777. The current version, with 50 stars and thirteen stripes, has been in use since July 4, 1960, when it was adopted to honor the addition of Hawaii. It will likely change again if Puerto Rico or the District of Columbia achieve statehood.

The number of stars and stripes has represented the number of colonies and states in the union, although sometimes not exactly (to avoid clutter, among other reasons). Traditionally, the red represents valor and strength, the white represents innocence and purity, and the blue represents perseverance and justice. Although mass-market reproductions use different shades, any flag produced by the government must use pure white (#FFFFFF), Old Glory Blue (#002868), and Old Glory Red (#BF0A30).

Numerous artists - Norman Rockwell, Jasper Johns, Barbara Kreuger, Robert Longo, and thousands of lesser-known pop artists and graphic designers - have taken their liberties with the flag, incorporating it into their work to convey a spectrum of emotion and meaning. Among many other ideas, the flag represents an expressive and creative freedom that has generated a bounty of design work, from the reverent and patriotic to the humorous and subversive.

Outside of a few Scandinavian countries, few nations have the reverence for their flags that many Americans do, particularly those within and adjacent to the US Armed Forces. Conversely, the desecration and abuse of the flag, as a form of protest, has been widely practiced and consistently deemed protected by the First Amendment.

One of its most powerful messages is a celebration of the ability to rearrange traditional symbols to honor history, to question tradition, or to communicate something new. The work of artists, graphic designers, and artrepreneurs affects how we think, how we live, and how we consider the world around us. In any context, it is an urgently important discipline and pursuit.

Celebrate taking charge of your creative career. Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more.

Wishing you a Happy Independence Day.

We hope you've enjoyed the 478th issue of our a.blog.


Films that Inspire Creativity

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Films that Inspire Creativity

Whatever your creative field may be, you can enrich your work when you lose yourself in a great film, be inspired and, uncover new ideas.

If you want to broaden your own creative palate, or simply try on a different way of looking at the human condition, here are eleven films we recommend for creative inspiration. Our list is a mix of classics and documentaries, with a focus on magnificent visual sensibilities and rich cultural context. Some are specifically about design, but all should give any creative professional something to think about.

Objectified (2009)

This feature-length documentary explores the way people interact with objects. It's considered essential viewing by many interaction designers, product designers, and others in similar fields.

Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

Based on the academic work of Thom Andersen, this highly innovative documentary examines the city of Los Angeles as a prominent but often neglected character in film, and its complex cultural relationship with the entertainment industry.

Persona (1966)

One of the best-known works of Ingmar Bergman, and one of the most analyzed films of all time, this tapestry of metaphors raises fascinating questions about identity, duality, and how we relate to each other. It's also widely recognized as one of the most visually stunning films of its time.

Sunrise (1927)

This monochromatic tale of one man's psychic battles is noted for its beautiful sets and lightning, sweeping camerawork, and pioneering visual storytelling and allegory.

Vertigo (1958)

This thriller combines Alfred Hitchcock's understated visual style with philosophical musings and the symbolism of Freudian psychoanalysis, making it one of his most imaginative and creatively stimulating films.

Minimalism (2015)

After suffering from a panic attack on air, TV news anchor Dan Harris began practicing mindfulness meditation and undertook a quest to simplify his mind and his life. This film asks its viewers to consider how they might do more with less.

Marwencol (2010)

This documentary visits the world of Mark Hogancamp, a genuine "outsider artist" who copes with his trauma by constructing a tiny town in his backyard. It's a fascinating exploration of the relationship between suffering and creativity, and the alchemy of turning pain into art.

American Movie (1999)

American Movie follows a low-budget horror filmmaker in small-town Wisconsin. Mark Borchardt and his group of charismatic and creative misfits provide a rousing case study in making the most of the resources you have, putting your heart and soul into your work, and overcoming all obstacles to ship your dream project.

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

A wild and controversial romp with the street artist Banksy, this prankish documentary raises mind-bending questions about authenticity, artistic ethics, and what happens when provocative mischief, astute social commentary, and consensus reality collide.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Many designers admire Wes Anderson for his unique, storybook aesthetic sensibility and his deft use of symmetry. Moonrise Kingdom captures his sparkling characterization and microscopic attention to detail.

Helvetica (2007)

One of the best-known documentaries about advertising, Helvetica looks at the aesthetic and influence of the 20th Century's most ubiquitous typeface, and what its enduring popularity says about our shared visual culture.

Bonus: Netflix Abstract: The Art of Design. Episodic documentary covering a variety of creatives from a stage designer, to a graphic designer, shoe designer and much more.

Try one you haven't seen yet, let us know what you think, and let us know what other galvanizing movies you would add to the list.

At Artisan Creative, we believe great creative inspiration is priceless. Contact us today to talk about how we can help you take your creative work to the next level.

We hope you enjoy the 473rd issue of our a.blog.


Job Skills for the Future

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Job Skills for the Future

The World Economic Forum recently released its report on “The Future of Jobs.” The results have important implications for job seekers, hiring managers, and anyone else who wants to build professional skills that will be relevant into the decade ahead.

The section "10 Skills You Will Need to Thrive in 2020" is particularly relevant. People management, emotional intelligence, negotiation, and other "soft skills" deemed essential in previous years still rank high on the list. However, creativity, critical thinking, and keen judgment are now ranked higher than before, suggesting the increasingly utility of mental flexibility, brainstorming, and other related skills. Traits that have been traditionally associated with artists, designers, developers, strategists, and other “intellectuals” or "creative types" are now considered vital for anyone who wants to build a sustainable career and flourish into the future.

Let's look at the WEF's top five skills to cultivate in anticipation of the year 2020.

1. Complex Problem Solving

Automation and artificial intelligence are poised to eliminate many jobs in administration, production, and other areas tasked with solving simple, routine problems. This will leave humans to focus on larger, systemic, global challenges, which will demand higher-level thinking and the ability to adapt, reframe, and psychologically challenge ourselves.

2. Critical Thinking

Rather than placing blind trust in traditional sources of authority, the future demands that we become more open-minded with a certain degree of skepticism, thinking many steps ahead of our current challenges and distractions. We can hone our critical thinking skills by controlling our information diets, taking charge of our mindsets, and learning from experience.

3. Creativity

Creativity has never been the exclusive province of playwrights, classical composers, and aesthetes. Rather, creativity is a muscle that we all need to exercise. Find out how to best defy your fears and make every day a storytelling adventure. Then apply creative thinking to all of your personal and professional decisions, to be ready to pose radical solutions for the serious problems we're tackling as a species.

4. People Management

Just as the inspired artistic genius is no longer a useful model for creativity, so the solitary crank or bully is no longer an effective role model for professional success. Relating to others, practicing compassion, and understanding what makes people tick is increasingly required of us all. The individual is no longer the dominant paradigm for understanding the human experience - it's being replaced by the network. What's more, building strong relationships with others is its own reward.

5. Coordinating with Others

Interdependence and interconnectedness are the important values of the future. As a new array of stimuli distracts us, making it harder to coordinate efforts and to meaningfully connect, much power will accrue to those who appreciate the practical challenges of team and relationship-building, and devise ever better ways to do it.

At Artisan Creative, we know that today's future is tomorrow's present, and we pride ourselves on thinking ahead. Be prepared - contact us today.  We hope you've enjoyed our 466th blog.



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