SEIZMIC design Blog


The Kids First Coupon Book Enters The 21st Century

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A few years ago when I first got an iPhone, I had an idea. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could take the fundraising coupon books we all love and use and make them even greater by putting them on our mobile devices? Of course it would! So after doing some research I found some similar programs, but nothing in our lovely town of Chattanooga.

 

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“Uncomfortable Design”

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I began following Paris based design group “flashy fish” earlier this year on Facebook. Generally, they have pretty neat stuff, but one of their most recent posts was a series of images by Greece based designer Katerina Kamprani entitled “The Uncomfortable” and it immediately becomes apparent why.

 

 

 

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Kamprani states: “[I] decided to create and design for all the wrong reasons. Vindictive and nasty? Or a helpful study of everyday objects? The goal is to re- design useful objects making them uncomfortable but usable and maintain the semiotics of the original item.”

Semiotics is such a great way to describe what is going on with these images. If you don’t believe everything we touch is loaded with meaning ingrained deep within our subconscious, maybe this image will help convince you:

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Maybe it’s because I’m a materials guy, but for this rendering in particular, the material and construction are so improbable as to completely negate the objects usefulness. Much like verbal language, materials and products especially, come with layers and layers of nuance and tradition ingrained in every society for roughly eons. Then someone goes and smashes all those things to hell and our brains don’t quite know what to do with what they see. These images do that.

Similar to the works of Tobias WongMilton Glaser or maybe just “The Most Useless Machine Ever“, “The Uncomfortable” can at first glance appear to be playful, ephemeral thoughts that somehow became images. A second look however reveals a deeper message spelled out by deconstructing something that we rarely think about and rearranging it.  We recognize it, but the reorganization sends us a different message than we are used to hearing. They’re like visual anagrams that also happen to be double entendres. The minimalism of the compositions just reenforce their message. “The Uncomfortable” also has a Facebook page with uncomfortable findings beyond Katerina’s own work.

 

 

 

How I fixed my 1990 BMW marker light

How I fixed my 1990 BMW marker light

I broke the clip slot on the driver’s side marker light of Isis (my 1990 BMW 325is), and I didn’t want to buy a whole new assembly ($32+ shipping). So, I modeled the broken portion of the assembly from the passengers side clip which is still in tact and 3D printed it.

I removed both assemblies, and measured the passenger’s side assembly with a cheap gauge and guesstimated what I couldn’t measure. I modeled the section in Autodesk Fusion for Mac and uploaded the model to Shapeways.

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Details, Details – Ford F150

This being far and away the most popular image on my Facebook page, I am going to start with it.

What happened to all the cool little auto body details? The ones like a gas filler cap behind a tail light? Or… OK there have to be some others, I just can’t think of them right now. I was calling this “If SEIZMIC design had anything to do with it”, but I think I’m going to start calling it “Details, Details”. Way easier. In these posts I will seek to rectify, with Photoshop, what I consider to be glaringly obvious auto body styling oversights. Things that are so obviously out of whack they make me actually facepalm when I see them driving down the road… Actually, when they are in a parking lot. Facepalming while driving is just dangerous. So here we go; first installment:

Ford F150

Images via Motor Trend

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So here we have the enduring Ford F150. Big, strong, rugged, what’s not to love right? While cool little body details might not exactly be the typical realm of proper trucks, This model has such nice, clean lines, there is one little detail that just strikes me as so completely obvious… Just so completely, insanely obvious… So utterly, bafflingly, well, just look:

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There, much better! Was that so hard? It would probably even SAVE Ford money. Now what’s not to love?

More to come!

 

Old Logos

I’ve done quite a few logos over the years. I’ll probably do a bunch more. I’m going to go ahead and dump a bunch of the better ones into this big logo post, but as they filter in, I’ll create new posts for those. So here they are, somewhat in chronological order. Enjoy!

CRFC Lion K-01

Chattanooga Rugby Football Club Hired me to design a new, eye-catching logo for their image revamp a couple years ago. Use of the logo is still being debated.

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non. an upcycled table.

an upcycled table from SEIZMIC design.

 
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non is an exercise in using as little material as possible to make a beautiful piece of furniture.

 

 

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non is made from seven pieces of scrap steel. powder coated. upcycled.

 

 

non-2 no vase

 

 

instead of being sent to the recycler it was transformed into this.

non.
the table.
by SEIZMIC design.

non-5 no vase

A revolutionary, convertible children’s bedding system, the 101

 

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The 101 is a revolutionary child’s bedding system. It grows with the child from a standard 42” round crib into a full twin size bed in three simple motions.

 

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The 101 is innovative in several ways: It reduces clutter. Unlike other convertible bed systems the 101 has massive amounts of storage that can be used in both configurations by way of innovative “swing-side” drawers so there aren’t any cumbersome extra steps when turning the crib into a bed. Because it has so much storage, the need for extra dressers is lessened, and when in bed mode, it holds tons of toys so you need fewer boxes and shelving. Also, because of the crib height, it can also double as a changing table, eliminating the need for yet another piece of furniture.

 

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The 101 reduces hassle. Get the 101 and you’re set for a decade. No need to buy a crib and then have to turn around and buy a bed. No extra parts to buy either. Everything needed to convert from crib to bed is built in. You don’t have to read any complicated instructions because conversion is incredibly simple.

 

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The eco friendly, steam powered car.

As our society becomes increasingly aware of a need to create things that are less harmful to our planet, possibly no industry has received more scrutiny than the auto industry. In spring 2006 our sustainability class decided to embark on a mission to design cleaner, more environmentally sound transportation. And hence, the Stauro project was born. The criteria were:

  • “Local” resources, we chose a realistic, 500mi radius.
  • Materials recycled and/or recyclable as possible.
  • We ruled out gasoline ICE, electric/solar and hydrogen power cell as possible power sources.
  • We wanted our concept to be futuristic, yet still 100% feasible.

Astounding to even our seven person team, we were able to hit most all of these criteria beyond our wildest dreams! In the Stauro section I will give you an overview of what we found and what we designed.

 

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Harry and his team are aiming to shatter the steam-powered land speed record in 2013

Obviously, our biggest concern was power. Having ruled out some of the most prevalent possibilities available today, it wasn’t an easy task, we even considered petal power and compressed air. Finally, we found a solution that we could all get behind. Steam. It might sound antiquated, but really, steam is a very powerful, reliable and efficient option. Used mainly in industrial settings these days, steam was quickly eclipsed by gasoline Internal Combustion Engines for use in civilian transportation.

However, it is making a comeback. Harry Schoell’s modern steam engine is almost ready for prime time. As a true flex-fuel, external combustion engine, not needing a transmission, cooling, or complex exhaust system, it has many advantages over the motor that is currently in your car. Oh, I forgot to mention, it is very powerful as well. If you’re still skeptical, this might prove to be an informative watch.

In our search for all things recyclable we happened upon 3form’s eco-friendly plastics. While it didn’t exactly fit our 500mi criteria, they do have an Atlanta office. The Stauro team determined that 3form materials could be utilized not only for body panels, but in many other places we find plastics in modern automobiles.

Sourcing aluminum for the “exoskeleton” wasn’t much of a problem. There are plenty of aluminum producers, suppliers and manufacturers within our 500mi search zone, one of the largest and best known producers of course being Alcoa. We chose Aluminum for its light weight and outstanding recyclability, as well as for its aura of performance and exclusivity in automobile manufacturing.

Nothing says exclusive like a space age aluminum exoskeleton.

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The Stauro team decided to design a three wheeled transportation solution. The intent was that actually getting this concept on the road would be much easier because any vehicle under four wheels is classified as a motorcycle, and therefore not restricted by the gauntlet of standards four-wheeled vehicles are.

 

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Stauro was designed and a rapid prototyped 1/6 scale model was built over a ten week quarter in the Spring of 2006. I would still love to see the Stauro (or something very close to it) on the road someday. I might just have to build it myself.

 

Flower inspired, variable-brightness lamp.

Flower inspired, variable-brightness lamp.

Nymphaea is a lamp inspired by the Water Lilly. Like a flower, it’s petals open and close. To turn on, pull the top of a petal outwards, and the other eight petals open in tandem, getting brighter and brighter.

Push the petals back in, and the petals glow softer the closer they get to the center. When the petals are completely closed, the lights are completely out.

Nymphaea is a night lamp for times when a glaring overhead light is just too much. Nymphaea puts out just the right amount of light needed for doing bedside tasks. For a quick trip to the kitchen to get water, Nymphaea would be perfect on a hall table. No fumbling for switches or dimmers, effortlessly turn Nymphaea on with the push of a finger.

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What’s So Magic About Apple’s MagicMouse?

Apple MagicMouse

NOTE: This is a review I wrote about three years ago and posted on my Facebook page. I’m posting it here to get the hang of WordPress.

I was fortunate enough to have started using Macs just when their infamous “hockey pucks” were being phased out, so I was spared the living nightmare that was having to use this torture device on a day to day basis. No, I was familiarized first with the clear lozenge mouse during my first year in graphic design. Getting used to the one button school of thought wasn’t that big of a deal since I had not really used computers much to begin with, and I soon grew accustomed to working in that manner, besides, they looked pretty cool too. Then I got a Mac of my own; a dusty 7600. Yes, a relic of the beige days, which included a beige keyboard and naturally, a beige mouse. Oh, well I was a student, and while it wasn’t pretty, it did do the job I needed it to do just the same as the pretty one. After a few years, the relic was beginning to show it’s age, and I graduated back to a clear lozenge which did not survive the G4 it was paired with. Enter Logitech. It didn’t take long for me to realize what all the fuss was about these “extra” buttons. Especially scrolling. Now obviously, I had used mice from the other side of the PC world, but not having an extra button or so wasn’t a deal breaker. I have to say though, I was a little intrigued when Apple started shipping the Mighty Mouse TM? Oh boy did that look nifty, all with it’s invisible buttons and mini track ball. In the mean time I was certainly enjoying the wireless Logitech. It wasn’t until the G4 sadly saw it’s last project and I had to break down and get a new machine that I actually got to experience how mighty the (not so) new Apple mouse was. Mighty finicky. The delicate track ball was clogged after a couple months, and the touch zones proved to have a steeper learning curve than I had anticipated. All in all it was a needlessly complex device for what it actually did.

I know, it seems like a review of Apple mice past, but one has to see where we Apple users have been to truly appreciate where we are. So here I was Longing after yet another Apple mouse with an abysmally mediocre ancestry. Was I crazy? It looked even more complex than it’s replacement while offering seemingly fewer features. How could this be? Why would a device with such seemingly limitless possibilities be so… limited? Well, as the saying goes, there’s an app for that.

The instant I saw MagicPrefs I needed MagicMouse. But WHY? Why would Apple not give us this functionality built in with OSX? Was it a “Oh well, we’ll do that later” or more of a ”Bah! they don’t need all those friggin options!!” type of thing? Nobody knows the reasons Apple chooses to do the things it does, but I have the suspicion that with the advent of the iPhone Apple has figured out that sometimes it’s just easier to build a swimming pool and a diving board and let others fill it with water and dive in. I was like a little school boy on his birthday when the hermetically packaged sliver of aluminum and polycarbonate arrived for, er, my birthday. Like all apple hand held products It looked like it was supposed have been shipped to a museum and never leave it’s clear box but go straight on display. The Magic Mouse ships with charged batteries. Probably, not so much so that it is ready to use as soon as it’s in your hands, although that is part of it, but rather so it feels as heavy as it looks.

With MagicPrefs installed (there is a similar software called Better Touch Tool) The learning curve is indeed much steeper than without – maybe another reason Apple decided against advanced functionality. In the case of the Mighty Mouse TM? I got very used to the ability to use expose and spaces directly from the mouse. If you’ve never experienced these OSX functions they are incredibly handy workflow speeder-uppers. The problem was that while clever, every time I squeezed the “fourth button” it felt like the mouse was just one squeeze closer to its demise. Thankfully, the awkward squeezing and jam-prone track ball have been eliminated in favor of one solid touch surface. Again. Apple is a funny company when it comes to Industrial Design. They have come such a long way from the one button days, yet, really, there is still only one physical button! Oh, Mr. Ive you sly bastard you. Do you really hate buttons as much as Steve? And with MagicPrefs, there are now about two dozen “buttons” or gestures, including clicking, tapping, pinching and dragging. About twenty options can be applied, and if that’s not enough for you, a gesture can be customized. As noted before, there is a bit of a learning curve, but a little time invested in setting up your preferences can not only save you time during work and recreation on your Mac, but might even get you using some functions of OSX you never even knew existed. Once again, Apple’s method for providing sophisticated piece of hardware and declaring open season for software developers proved to be a magic formula.