Wanted: Designer Who May Already Have Won Ten Million Dollars!

While we can’t guarantee it will make you any more likely to receive an early morning visit from the Prize Patrol (and in all likelihood employees are ineligible for company sweepstakes), we did want to alert you to the fact that Publishers Clearing House, they of the plentiful pay-by-installment magazine subscriptions and cash prize promises, is looking for a senior web designer to join its Port Washington, New York office. The winning candidates’ responsibilities will include planning, designing, coding, and executing mobile and web-based material, emails, and interactive experiences (many of them probably depicting giant piles of cash!). And don’t forget to ask in advance to be paid by direct desposit rather than in giant novelty checks.

Learn more about and apply for this Senior Web Designer, Publishers Clearing House job or view all the current mediabistro.com design/art/photo jobs.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Quote of Note | Kickstarter’s Yancey Strickler


“From the very beginning we decided—my co-founders and I—that we would never sell, never go public. We viewed Kickstarter as a public trust. This is a place of opportunity for anyone to make their thing happen, and it’s our job to be the stewards of it and to honor it. We were looking at growing this into a living, breathing cultural institution that’s there to represent the interests of everybody. And we think the best way to do that is to be a privately held, independently controlled organization—and that’s exactly what we are.”

-Kickstarter co-founder and CEO Yancey Strickler in an interview with Charlie Rose for Bloomberg Businessweek.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Samsung to Launch Website Dedicated to Explaining Their Design Process


Here’s a welcome bit of attention for our field: Next week Samsung Electronics is launching Design.Samsung.Com, an “online platform presenting influential design stories and solutions to be shared around the world.” The site’s inaugural theme is “Make it Meaningful,” presumably based on this video from last year, where the Galaxy S4 design team discussed their mandate of closely matching their smartphones’ functionality with people’s everyday lives.

But rather than trumpet their past accomplishments, the site is expected to provided glimpses at future technologies as well, if the teaser video is anything to go by:

The website will launch on March 27th.


The Rally ‘Fridge? Local Motors Teams Up with GE on New Product Development Venture


Here’s one of the more interesting partnerships we’ve seen: Local Motors has announced that they’re teaming up with consumer applicance giant General Electric “to launch a new model for the manufacturing industry.”

Called FirstBuild, the idea is to combine Local Motors’ crowdsourcing and rapid prototyping experience with GE’s market access (and presumably deep pockets) to develop the latter’s next generation of products—quickly, using both crowdsourcing and digital manufacturing.

Focused on speeding the time from mind to market, the partnership will leverage advanced manufacturing processes and an open innovation approach to engineering—delivering benefits for consumers and enterprise alike.

The partnership will source collaborative ideas online from a community of engineers, scientists, fabricators, designers and enthusiasts who will focus on identifying market needs and solving deep engineering challenges to unlock breakthrough product innovations. As part of the partnership, a new microfactory—a specialized facility focused on prototyping and producing a small batch of products at a rapid pace—will be established where community ideas will be built, tested and sold.

I don’t know what this new “microfactory” is, exactly, but I like the way it sounds.

Ramp-up’s gonna be pretty snappy; though the partnership has just been announced, they plan on having actual appliances on the market this year, which seems pretty staggering for an old-guard company like GE. The inaugural project will start crowdsourcing this summer and it will be something cooking-based, with the FirstBuild community intended to submit, discuss and improve ideas for “select major kitchen appliances.” And if you want to be part of that community, you can sign up here.


The Bayview Yards Innovation Centre, Ottawa’s Forthcoming Makerspace and Creative Hub


That crusty industrial building may not look like much, but it’s special for two reasons. One, it’s located in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, a city with little history of industry, meaning buildings like that are not commonplace. And two, it’s going to become a creative incubation hub to the tune of some CAD $30 million in funding.

The Bayview Yards Innovation Centre, as it’s called, is nearly 46,000 square feet of raw space that will house a rentable digital media and animation lab, meeting and presentation spaces, design studios and a makerspace dedicated to “industrial design, prototyping, fabricating and additive and subtractive manufacturing.”

The aforementioned $30 mil in funding, half of which is from the city and half from the province, isn’t a mere gesture of largesse; the bread is intended to provide “a big boost to the creative sector that has been waiting to emerge in this city for decades.” The local talent-drain problem is well known, with creative types easily lured to cities like Toronto or New York; by giving, say, the industrial design grads at Ottawa’s Carleton University a cool place to make stuff, the government bodies reckon they can hang on to their citizens while creating jobs and wealth.


Oak Ridge National Lab Working on Huge, Super-Fast 3D Printers


Here’s some exciting news: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is currently working on a 3D printer “that is 200 to 500 times faster and capable of printing polymer components 10 times larger than today’s common additive machines—in sizes greater than one cubic meter.” To do it they’re partnering with Cincinnati Inc., an Ohio-based company that produces manufacturing machines. Details are sketchy, but it seems the Oak Ridge boys are adapting a gantry-based Cincinnati laser cutter (above) for the prototype, so we’re assuming it’ll be SLS rather than FDM.

The move is a welcome one for American jobs, and points the way towards a possible return of U.S. manufacturing might. Said Cincinnati CEO Andrew Jamison in a press statement, “As one of the oldest U.S. machine tool manufacturers, with continuous operation since 1898, we view this exciting opportunity as starting a new chapter in our history of serving U.S. manufacturing. Out of this developmental partnership with ORNL, CINCINNATI intends to lead the world in big area additive manufacturing machinery for both prototyping and production.” It is not clear whether he was shouting the word “CINCINNATI” or whether they just printed it in all caps for that one paragraph.

The Oak Ridge Boys could not be reached for comment, and when pressed for a quote, their uncooperative manager hung up on me.



Sometimes A Cigar is Just the World’s Biggest Lift-Generating Airship


Take note: within days steampunk kids across the globe will be clapping their faux leather-gloved hands with glee and trying to invest their bitcoins in something big. Really big. The UK just unveiled the world’s biggest aircraft, and it looks a hell of a lot like a dirigible. Originally developed by the US military for surveillance purposes, the hybrid-airship was dropped due to budget constraints… and possibly the fact that there is nothing subtle about being spied on by a 302 foot long aircraft. It has since been sold to savvy business minds in the UK, who renamed it the Airlander and see affordable cargo and travel in its massive future. Perhaps most importantly, its development is being backed financially and publicly by Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden who also happens to be a commercial pilot and wicked smart investor. (Be still my heart.)


Incipit: The Milan-based lab helps talented young designers bring their ideas to life


In Latin, the word “incipit” means “the beginning.” Reflecting the word’s meaning, Incipit is also a new Milan-based creative lab and business. The aim is simple yet brave: to help young designers produce their first objects…

Continue Reading…

Sparse: A Design-Driven Startup, Two Years In

Sparse-TwoYearsIn-1.jpgImages courtesy of Sparse

By Colin Owen, Sparse

Two and a half years ago, three biker/designer/friends sat around a table and discussed designing “something around bikes.” We took a good hard look and decided the industry had largely optimized performance around racing, so we chose to optimize and design for the daily working use of a bike. Two years ago, we incorporated that effort. One year ago, we launched a Kickstarter campaign. This month, we are delivering on Kickstarter promises. In the interim, we have been slaving away on the myriad other things that make our effort a real company and not just (the world’s most infuriating) hobby.

To found a hardware company is to spend your days: need-finding, developing form, developing design, locating and vetting manufacturers, negotiating deals with manufacturers, locating and negotiating financing, setting up a fulfillment network, setting up a sales network, certifying the product, verifying taxation rates, fretting over foreign laws written in foreign tongues, networking, fundraising, project management, (endlessly) monitoring manufacturing, and marketing (whatever that means).

Compare all of that to the list of skills that we, as product designers, attain in school and in consulting: need-finding, form, various types of digital, physical and visual representation, mechanical integration, production processes, the pitch.

There are approximately three things that overlap between the two lists. We, Sparse, have accomplished or at least attempted the rest via: getting it flatly wrong the first time; imperfect iterative efforts; HUGE singular efforts; hiring the person who knows the answer; chatting with a friend who is further along the development curve; pulling favors; borrowing money; traveling to far-away places; befriending reporters; and mainlining black tar… er, coffee.


There are others who write more cogently on startup culture in general, and productivity in specific than I can achieve (which is why I’ve included wonderful references at the bottom of the article). What follows is a handful of insights into the narrow turf of hardware development as a bootstrapped startup.


Tom Dixon and Brad Shellhammer Come Together to Form a Rock Band of Well-Designed Proportions

TomDixon-Funkapolitan.jpgThe Dixonary entry for “cool”

Monday morning brought interesting news and an even more intriguing collaboration. In a significant pivot, British designer Tom Dixon and Fab’s ex-design chief Bradford Shellhammer announced that they would be combining their talents—in the form of a rock band named Rough. Shellhammer is going to take the stage as the lead vocalist and Dixon will pick up the bass. (Lady designers looking for a musical outlet: They’re currently seeking for a female within the design industry to fill the third spot on Rough’s roster.) And, of course, they’ll be debuting the trio at Milan Design Week.

DixonBand-Comp.jpgThrow some leather jackets on them with a pair of ripped jeans and we’re in business

While this might be a new industry for Shellhammer, Dixon is no stranger to the stage—he began his career playing bass guitar with Brit-funk band Funkapolitan (who toured with Rita and Ziggy Marley) and later on gave on-stage welding demos at various clubs. Check out this throwback to one of Funkapolitan’s hits, “As the Time Goes By”: