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    Entries in design (51)

    Thursday
    Dec072017

    Color of the Year 2018

    In the continuing tradition of 'If it interests me, it must be interesting to other people too' that explains just about everything that gets covered on this blog, it is once again time to examine one of my favorite and recurring topics - Pantone's 'Color of the Year' choice.

    I continue to be completely, and probably irrationally fascinated with Pantone's 'Color of the Year' designation and process.

    In case you are unfamiliar (shock!), with Pantone and the Color of the Year designation here is all you need to know. Pantone is the world's leading authority on color, color systems, and publishes the industry standard definitions of colors. In other words that nice new orange shirt you just bought is not just 'orange' it is 'Pantone Persimmon Orange 16-1356 TPG'. Pantone provides guidelines and definitions for thousands of variations of colors, and it is the standard by which colors are classified.

    Each year the color experts at Pantone declare one specific shade the 'Color of the Year'. This specific color, (in 2017 it was 'Greenery' in case you did not know), is meant to be a kind of reflection of trends in art, design, fashion, movies, popular culture, and branding and often will subsequently become more common in actual products like clothing and jewelry as a result of the Color of the Year designation. So perhaps if you think back on 2017 and think you have seen a lot of Greenery around - sort of a vibrant shade of medium green, you have Pantone to thank or blame for that.

    So this week Pantone announced its choice for Color of the Year for 2018 a deep, intense, and saturated  hade of purple called 'Ultra Violet' - aka Pantone 18-3838.

    The rationale behind this choice of of Ultra Vilet for color of the year?

    Here's what Pantone's color experts had to say about the selection: (side note, isn't 'Color Expert' one of the coolest job titles ever?)

    A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

    Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

    Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

    So what, if anything, should any of us care about what Pantone says about culture, trends, society, fashion, and how we all are collectively feeling - expressed through the colors we are seeing and using more and more?

    I suppose the main thing to think about is right in the verbiage Pantone used to describe their thinking processes behind the selection. The words awareness, mindfulness, and creative inspiration all show up in the description. Pantone is suggesting that the colors (and feelings) we will seek in 2018 will be ones like Ultra Violet, a color that (if such a thing is possible), will help to make us feel more open to creative expression, reflection, experimentation, and non-conformity and more inspired to take on the world perhaps.

    No matter your personal point of view, it is pretty fair to characterize 2017 as a kind of an unusual year. The US economy continues its amazing recovery 2008 lows (the recession now seems so long ago it is hard to remember it at times), unemployment seems likely to move under 4.0%, and measures like the stock market and corporate profits seem to indicate the good times are not yet close to ending.

    But lots and lots of folks are not sharing equally, if at all, from this recovery and growth. And of course the things that are happening in politics and with corporate/business scandals (looking at you Matt Lauer), remind us all that even in seemingly 'good' times that there will always be work to do.

    Pantone thinks/hopes that Ultra Violet will 'take our awareness and potential to a higher level. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way for what is yet to come.'

    Let's hope.

    The colors we choose to wear to paint our homes in to use in our creative endeavors say plenty about us, about who we are, how we feel, and perhaps how we want to feel.

    What do you think? Ready to rock plenty of Ultra Violet in 2018? I think it would make an excellent tie, (in case you have not shopped for my Christmas present yet).

    Have a great day! 

    Thursday
    May182017

    Google and the interface of everywhere

    Google's big I/O event happened this week, and in customary fashion the search and technology giant made a bunch of interesting product announcements and made public for the first time some brand new solutions and innovations. Folks in the HR/Recruiting space will largely be most interested in and perhaps concerned by Google's announcement that it intends to launch 'Google for Jobs', a consolidated job search tool (powered by Google's search technology at the core), for job seekers that will surface job listing from a number of sources like LinkedIn, Facebook, and CareerBuilder. And while that announcement certainly was interesting, and needs to be top of mind for folks who run or heavily promote their jobs on job boards like Indeed, to me, it was not the most interesting thing to come out of I/O.

    First, Google announced the forthcoming Lens app, a tool that essentially makes a smart phone camera more intelligent by allowing you to learn about a product by taking a picture of it, find out information about a performance by taking a photo of the name of the band, or connect to a wifi network by snapping a photo of the login and password information. This app is a nod to the increasing use of the camera/photo as not just a means of recording an image, but as a method for navigating the world and its objects and experiences around us.

    Second, Google announced additional places (beyond its Home device and its Pixel phone) and tools where its 'Assitant' app will be available - on iPhones for the first time, on more Android devices, and soon, in cars, refrigerators, and more. Google's near-term vision is to make Assistant available essentially everywhere, and to (ultimately), disconnect or break the bond between the smart phone, (and Android for that matter), and the Assistant capabilities.

    These two announcements combine to form the basis and the beginnings of a powerful service (Assistant), that eventually will seem "interface-less", or said differently, will be accessed via a variety of devices and methods - voice, images, touch screens, and sure, if you must, by typing commands into a keyboard. Who knows, maybe the next iteration of Google Glass, (remember that?), will be to largely function as a lens and continuous input stream to the Assistant. As you stroll around with Glass you can ask it for advice and information about where you are, the restaurant you are walking by, and who knows - maybe see a list of open jobs at the Cafe you are sitting in having a coffee.

    What is interesting about all this, to me, is the longer term implications it has for the tools and technologies that we use at the workplace. Consumer-driven technology innovation has been driving enterprise tech for a while now. You were using a smart phone or a tablet at home, before you ever did so for work. And I think the same thing will become true for this future world of the 'everywhere' interface to smart tools and services designed to help us navigate the world, and get things done.

    Smart phones exploded for work applications because (in part), we didn't want or need to be trapped to a desk and a computer in an office in order to get things done. Now, we are beginning to see what is coming 'next' - after the smart phone, when the technologies are all around us, in our ears, in the devices we interact with, and never more than a spoken 'Ok Google' away. What will be the first HR system to be fully integrated and accessible via voice, image, and even wearable tech? 

    I think it is tremendously exciting and fun. And way more interesting and powerful than a new website that aggregates online job listings. But if you have to talk about that, it is ok. I get it.

    Have a great day!

    Friday
    Dec092016

    Color of the Year 2017

    I continue to be completely, and probably irrationally fascinated with Pantone's 'Color of the Year' designation and process.

    In case you are unfamiliar (shock!), with Pantone and the Color of the Year designation here is all you need to know. Pantone is the world's leading authority on color, color systems, and publishes the industry standard definitions of colors. In other words that nice new orange shirt you just bought is not just 'orange' it is 'Pantone Persimmon Orange 16-1356 TPG'. Pantone provides guidelines and definitions for thousands of variations of colors, and it is the standard by which colors are classified.

    Each year the color experts at Pantone declare one specific shade the 'Color of the Year'. This specific color, (in 2016 it was actually two colors of the year, 'Rose Quartz' and 'Serenity' in case you did not know), is meant to be a kind of reflection of trends in art, design, fashion, movies, popular culture, and branding and often will subsequently become more common in actual products like clothing and jewelry as a result of the Color of the Year designation. So perhaps if you think back on 2016 and think you have seen a lot of Rose Quartz and Serenity around - sort of a pastel-type pairing of blue and pink, you have Pantone to thank or blame for that.

    So this week Pantone announced its choice for Color of the Year for 2017 a bright, happy, spring-like shade of green called oddly enough 'Greenery'

    The rationale behind this choice of of Greenery for color of the year?

    Here's what Pantone's color experts had to say about the selection:

    Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.

    Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront - it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

    A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.

    So what, if anything, should any of us care about what Pantone says about culture, trends, society, fashion, and how we all are collectively feeling - expressed through the colors we are seeing and using more and more?

    I suppose the main thing to think about is right in the verbiage Pantone used to describe their thinking processes behind the selection. The words restore, renew, fortifying, and life-affirming all show up in the description. Pantone is suggesting that the colors (and feelings) we will seek in 2017 will be ones like Greenery, a color that (if such a thing is possible), will help to make us feel  - comfortable, vibrant, refreshed, and more inspired to take on the world perhaps.

    No matter your personal point of view, it is pretty fair to characterize 2016 as a kind of mixed bag of a year. The US economy continues to recover from the 2008 lows, unemployment is really low, the stock market as I write this is at another all-time high. But lots and lots of folks are not sharing equally, if at all, from this recovery and growth. And of course the recent election and the aftermath remind us all how fundamentally split this nation can be. 

    Pantone thinks/hopes that Greenery will 'provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another, and a larger purpose.'

    Let's hope.

    The colors we choose say plenty about us, about who we are, how we feel, and perhaps how we want to feel.

    What do you think? Ready to rock plenty of Greenery in 2017? I think it would make an excellent tie, (in case you have not shopped for my Christmas present yet).

    Have a great weekend! 

    Tuesday
    Sep202016

    Learn a new word: Fault Tolerance

    Why does your car continue to run if one of the tires goes flat?

    How was Sully able to still steer and point the plane, eventually landing in the Hudson River, when both of the plane's engines had lost power?

    How are our organizations able to (more or less), carry on when something goes wrong, or someone fails to get the email, or Jerry in accounting just screws up?

    It's called Fault Tolerance, and it's today's entry in the wildly popular 'Learn a new word' series. First, some definitions from our pals at Wikipedia:

    Fault tolerance is the property that enables a system to continue operating properly in the event of the failure of (or one or more faults within) some of its components. If its operating quality decreases at all, the decrease is proportional to the severity of the failure, as compared to a naively designed system in which even a small failure can cause total breakdown. Fault tolerance is particularly sought after in high-availability or life-critical systems. The ability of maintaining functionality when portions of a system break down is referred to as graceful degradation.

    fault-tolerant design enables a system to continue its intended operation, possibly at a reduced level, rather than failing completely, when some part of the system fails. The term is most commonly used to describe computer systems designed to continue more or less fully operational with, perhaps, a reduction in throughput or an increase in response time in the event of some partial failure. That is, the system as a whole is not stopped due to problems either in the hardware or the software.  A structure is able to retain its integrity in the presence of damage due to causes such as fatiguecorrosion, manufacturing flaws, or impact.

    Why does fault tolerance matter?

    Obviously it matters a ton in complex, mission-critical technologies and machines that rely on hundreds, if not thousands of components, connections, and systems. If every time a single failure point in a car or a plane or in a power delivery grid caused the entire system to crash and become inoperable, then, well, we would hardly every drive or fly anywhere and we'd be sitting in the cold and dark in our houses most of the time.

    As the sage Bender once said, 'Screws fall all the time, sir. The world is an imperfect place.'

    But why does falut tolerance matter more generally?

    Because I think we don't spend nearly enough time thinking about what will happen when something goes wrong in our organizations, or in our lives for that matter. Even just thinking about bad things happening is so unpleasant for folks that we tend to underestimate the chances of them happening, and undervalue the impact when they do happen.

    But the engineers who design systems and processes and machines with the idea of fault tolerance in mind seem to have come to terms with the inevitability of bad things happening - like both engines going dead on a jet plane, and have proactively designed the system response to such failures. 

    Put more simply, they know something is going to go wrong, because something ALWAYS goes wrong. The trick is knowing ahead of time not just that something will go wrong, but how to prepare the rest of the system and people and processes to not allow the thing that went wrong to crash the entire system.

    Something always goes wrong. In your car and in your semi-annual budget task force. 

    Be ready instead of surprised next time. Think about fault tolerance and what it means for your shop.

    Friday
    Dec042015

    Color of the Year 2016

    I continue to be completely, and probably irrationally fascinated with Pantone's 'Color of the Year' designation and process.

    In case you are unfamiliar (shock!), with Pantone and the Color of the Year designation here is all you need to know. Pantone is the world's leading authority on color, color systems, and publishes the industry standard definitions of colors. In other words that nice new orange shirt you just bought is not just 'orange' it is 'Pantone Persimmon Orange 16-1356 TPG'. Pantone provides guidelines and definitions for thousands of variations of colors, and it is the standard by which colors are classified.

    Each year the color experts at Pantone declare one specific shade the 'Color of the Year'. This specific color, (in 2015 it is 'Marsala' in case you did not know), is meant to be a kind of reflection of trends in art, design, fashion, movies, popular culture, and branding and often will subsequently become more common in actual products like clothing and jewelry as a result of the Color of the Year designation. So perhaps if you think back on 2015 and think you have seen a lot of Marsala around - a 'subtly seductive shade that draws you in with its embracing warmth', you have Pantone to thank or blame.

    So this week Pantone announced its choice for Color of the Year for 2016 and in a surprise the Color of the Year is actually two colors of the year - 'Rose Quartz' and 'Serenity', also known as sort of a light pink and light blue.

    The rationale behind the choice of two colors of the year, and these two shades in particular? 

    Here's what Pantone's color experts had to say about the selections:

    As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

    The prevalent combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity also challenges traditional perceptions of color association.

    In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design. This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer's increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage.

    So what, if anything, should any of us care about what Pantone says about culture, trends, society, fashion, and how we all are collectively feeling - expressed through the colors we are seeing and using more and more?

    I suppose the main thing to think about is right in the verbiage Pantone used to describe their thinking processes behind these selections. The words soothing, tranquil, reassurance, security, and wellness all show up in the first paragraph. Pantone is suggesting that the colors we will seek in 2016 will be ones like Serenity and Rose Quartz, hues that (if such a thing is possible), will help to make us feel better, safer, more secure, more at home perhaps.

    Recent news events from Paris to San Bernardino and a thousand places in between remind us all too often that the world continues to be a strange, mysterious, and sometimes scary place.

    The colors we choose say plenty about us, about who we are, how we feel, and perhaps how we want to feel.

    What do you think? Ready to rock plenty of Serenity and Rose Quartz in 2016?

    Have a great weekend!