Tag Archives: design

UrbanHello Home Phone



Urban Hello Home Phone

It’s not often that technology is so new that it’s only a few hours old but in this interview, Andy McCaskey chats to UrbanHello about their Kickstarter launch for their Home Phone.

The Home Phone is a DECT-based cordless speakerphone designed for family group conversations where everyone can take part. The 360 degree HD speaker produces great natural sound and not only is the Home Phone functional, it looks modern and stylish. The coloured part at the bottom of the phone comes in a range of interchangeable colours to either match or contrast the interior decor.

Don’t take my word for it, the Home Phone took Design and Engineering Honors at CES 2013 and it’s 27% funded with about ten days to go.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News for the TechPodcast Network.

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Pantone Colour of the Year 2013



Pantone Colour of the Year EmeraldPantone has announced the Colour of the Year and…drum roll please…it’s Emerald aka 17-5641. “A lively, radiant, lush green, a colour of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony” says Pantone.

Green is the most abundant hue in nature – the human eye sees more green than any other colour in the spectrum,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “As it has throughout history, multifaceted Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today’s complex world. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors.

The colour data for Emerald is here, giving RGB and CMYK values for illustrators and designers who want to be in with the cool crowd. There are several tie-in products, including Pantone’s Fashion Colour Report for Spring 2013, which showcases Emerald incorporated into the collections of several well-known designers, such as Tracy Reese and Nanette Lepore. From February, Pantone bedding, pillows, bath towels and accessories in Emerald will be available exclusively at JC Penney stores and on online. There are plenty of other accessories, including iPhone cases, in Pantone’s online store.

Last year’s colour, Tangerine Tango, is now out.


Powered Bodyboard



Design Icon out of Kowloon, Hong Kong, has created this great concept for a powered bodyboard. Driven by three electrically-powered propellers, the board’s deck has embedded solar cells to extend the battery life, while adjustable buoyancy lets the board both ride the waves and go completely submerged. I want one.

Design Icon Bodyboard Concept

Design Icon Bodyboard Concept Deck

Design Icon Bodyboard Concept

Design Icon Bodyboard Concept Snorkeller

All images courtesy of Design Icon.

 


Swiss Voice: Landline Phones for the Modern Age



Swiss Voice Swiss Voice has been making phones for over 100 years since 1893. They are known for their beautiful designs and technology. More and more people especially the younger generation are using their mobile phones as their home phones. Swiss Voice makes a line of beautifully designed phones call ePure which combine the security of a landline along with the mobility of a mobile phone. On the front of ePure you can dock your iPhone and recharge it or stream music from it. When a call comes in you can either use the hands free option or you can pick up the handset for a more private call. The handset can also be used as a speaker with a push of a button. So if you want to listen to some music in another room just take your handset with you, push the button and you will hear the music playing on your iPhone. Swiss Voice also makes a non-iPhone version that allows you to connect your smart phone by USB cable.

Swiss Voice also makes a station which plugs into both your landline and your network by Ethernet. It allows you to answer your landline number using your mobile phone. Currently, the ePure is only available in Europe and Asia, they expect to be available in the US in July 2012. The iPhone ePure version should round around $199.00, the non-iPhone version will be around $159. The base station will be $99.00. If you still have a landline or know someone who does, this maybe a nice option the security of a landline with the advantage of a mobile phone

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine Podcast

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Pantone Colour of the Year 2012



Pantone Tangerine TangoFor the fashionista geeks out there, Pantone has released its Colour of the Year for 2012. It’s going to be Tangerine Tango, “a spirited reddish orange, [which] continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forwardIn Pantone’s Color System, it’s 17-1463.

Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.

The colour data for Tangerine Tango is here, giving RGB and CMYK values for illustrators and designers who want to be in with the cool crowd. There are several tie-in products, including Pantone’s Colour Fashion Report for Spring 2012, which showcases Tangerine Tango incorporated into the collections of several well-known designers, such Tommy Hilfiger. More practically, there are colour guides, swatches and the ubiquitous chips.

2011’s colour, Honeysuckle, is now officially passé.


Pantone The 20th Century in Color



Pantone The 20th Century in ColorPANTONE The 20th Century in Color looks to me like a great Christmas gift for anyone interested in colour and history: graphic designers, interior decorators, costume designers, website builders, Renaissance geeks. Authored by Leatrice Eiseman and Keith Recker and published last month, it’s a view of the last century with a focus on colour. Of course, it inserts the relevant Pantone colours allowing you to recreate colour schemes from the past to great effect.

The blurb says, “Pantone, the worldwide color authority, invites you on a rich visual tour of 100 transformative years. From the Pale Gold (15-0927 TPX) and Almost Mauve (12-2103 TPX) of the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris to the Rust (18-1248 TPX) and Midnight Navy (19-4110 TPX) of the countdown to the Millennium, the 20th century brimmed with color. Longtime Pantone collaborators and color gurus Leatrice Eiseman and Keith Recker identify more than 200 touchstone works of art, products, decor, and fashion, and carefully match them with 80 different official Pantone Color palettes to reveal the trends, radical shifts, and resurgences of various hues. This vibrant volume takes the social temperature of our recent history with the panache that is uniquely Pantone.

Hyperbole aside, I think this will be fascinating look back through the past century and will be more than just a coffee table book: it’ll be a source of inspiration for when you want to get that “period feel”. It’s on my Amazon wish list so with luck, I’ll be able to bring you a review in the New Year.

(You’ll just have to forgive the twin spellings of colour and color in this article.)


BBC Beta Homepage for the Post-PC Era



The BBC is embracing the post-PC world with a reworked homepage at beta.bbc.co.uk. Here’s what it looks like on my TouchPad.

The black arrows on either side slide the screen through three other views. It’s a little bit reminiscent of how the BBC’s iPlayer displays programmes on my Bluray player, which isn’t entirely unsurprising. Some of the other features, such as setting your location, aren’t yet working but will be fixed before this version becomes the standard interface.

Compare this with the current mobile version of the site and you’ll see the change.

The BBC’s homepage was probably due for a refresh anyway, but I think it’s fairly telling that the new page is going to look the way it does. One can only assume that the BBC has stats on the web browsers being used to visit their site and they show the trend towards tablets and mobile devices. Is this the post-PC era with touch now driving the user interface, rather than keyboard and mouse?


Smashing Magazine’s 5th Birthday



Smashing Magazine is celebrating its fifth birthday and as a wee treat, has prepared a “Best of Smashing Magazine” ebook and is giving it away free. The articles are all about web design, Photoshop, typography and user interfaces (or the user experience as it seems to be called now).

It’s no lightweight either – there are 409 pages of beautifully prepared material packed with information and examples. The first article, “30 Usability Issues”, makes interesting reading even if you aren’t a web designer. By being more educated about design, as a consumer you can be more aware and critical of websites and other media. Did you know that the Macintosh logo is an example of the Law of Pragnanz? No, neither did I but you’ll have to read the article to find out what it means.

Other articles include, “Setting Up Photoshop for Web and iPhone Development”, “What Font Should I Use?” and “10 Principles of Effective Web Design”. There’s the occasional overlap between the articles but it’s never repetition for the sake of it.

The ebook is available from iTunes or for .pdf, .mobi and .epub formats, direct from Smashing Magazine. Warning – it’s 55 MB download as it contains all three versions of the ebook.


Typographic Etiquette



The impact of typography is in front of us every day as we read books, newspapers, posters and computer screens. It’s all around us and through word processors many of us work with type on a regular basis, yet a knowledge of even basic typography is rare.

Smashing Magazine has published an article called, “Mind Your En And Em Dashes: Typographic Etiquette” which illustrates a number of common typographic problems and how to correct them. I’d rate it an intermediate level article but it’s still worth a read if you want to gain insight into the world of typography. At least at the end of it you’ll be able to tell the difference between a hyphen, an en dash and an em dash. Ok, really geeky, but it’ll impress your friends. Maybe.


The Web Perception Trap



We seem to be moving into the age of the apps. Are apps just a passing fad, or is something more substantial afoot?

We have come to think of the Internet itself as being synonymous with the World Wide Web. However, that’s a wrong perception that may have many of us caught in a perception trap making it difficult for us to “get” what is happening.

The Internet itself is a platform on which to run applications, a fact we would do well to remember. In the early days before the Web, there were data moving applications such as Gopher, IRCP, Telnet, etc. along with many others. HTTP just happened to be one of the major protocols that in combination with other protocols gave foundation to the websites we are all now familiar with. The Web itself is not the end of the story, but just a data delivery application.

Though we don’t think of it this way, many websites themselves are really applications.

The apps that seem to be taking over our smartphones and have given rise to tablet computing are more than what they appear to be. Though today the best of these apps seem to be giving concentrated bits and pieces of the full-blown functionality of websites, I believe a larger fundamental trend is going on than we currently realize.

The apps themselves are in the process of evolving into new Internet applications and will ultimately give rise to new services that go beyond computers and browsers. One day in the future, apps may well eclipse the Web as the data delivery applications of choice. Applications follow the form of the devices on which they are executed.

Apps are just now beginning to invade televisions. We are still in the earliest stages, and things are still clunky. Moving beyond the clunky stage, imagine what form these new web-based TV apps might look like in the future. Forget about browsers, and forget about existing web services that run inside them. For example, think in terms of a networked app running just on a connected TV – what could be done with that? Would it be possible to create an app that just delivered a live IPTV network stream (or a bunch of them)? Of course it would, and it would be an advantage over having to scroll through clunky, often near-useless lists and near-worthless descriptions because that’s the way websites running on computers seem to work best.

It could be argued that connected gaming consoles are data delivery apps, delivering specialized services to the end user that go well beyond browser-based or browser-conceived functionality. The Microsoft Kinnect attached to a connected X-Box with end-users using their bodies to interact with the games and ultimately other Kinnect users is moving data back and forth that has nothing to do with the Web.

Ultimately we must begin to think about the Internet as a global data retrieval/delivery system that is independent of computers and browsers. Computers and browsers are just one application of potentially thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions that have yet to be thought of. Therefore, apps must conform to the devices, machines, or appliances they are running on. App designers would do well to forget about computers and browsers and begin thinking outside the computer/browser Web perception trap.