Product Design Strategy

Space-Time Changes in Cultural Variables

Some designs are timeless, some are dated. TV shows, movies, books, and even Web sites change as both technologies driving the medium change and as our sensibilities as consumers alter in time. Cultural shock is easy to spot as we move globe trot, searching for new experiences. But cultural shock is just as easy to get at home, watching old commercials and movies. As product designers, we want to find those attributes that will stand the course of time and space. The need for innovation and push to grab the most number of users makes evolutionary design less and less appealing. But it’s the “hammers” of the world that retain their value long after the newest fads have come and gone. A product that is build as an answer to a specific, human need, stands the test of space-time utility.

On “Legendary Magazine Covers Get Their Own Spread”

CNN staff. (2008). “Legendary magazine covers get their own spread.” CNN. Retrieved on April 27, 2008. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/books/04/25/esquire.coverart.ap/index.html CNN publishes a eulogy of George Lois as his work for the Esquire magazine is going to be exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Reviewing some of the magazine covers, the journalist highlights what made the designer’s shots iconic. In this respect, two main arguments come up. First, the journalist lays an emphasis on the power of the images. Describing Muhammad Ali posing as Saint Sebastian, he shows to what degree it stroke people’s memory. In fact, in Lois’ point of view, the photograph has to make a powerful statement to push the viewer to look at the article inside. Not only did he succeed in doing that but he also stroke people’s memory to such an extent that they still remember where they first saw this cover at the time. His photographs gave polemical statements on political, cultural but also social issues and triggered heavy debate in the society. They became iconic through their simplicity of evocation and their ability to instill a tinge of provocation about contemporary issues. The Vietnam covers are telltale when it comes to affecting the…

Reflections on The Science of a Happy Marriage

Parker-Pope, T. (2010). “The Science of a Happy Marriage.” New York Times. Visited June 24 2010. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/tracking-the-science-of-commitment/?pagemode=print Summary: The article, by Tara Parker Pope, discusses the science of a happy marriage, and why some individuals cheat on their partners, while others don’t. Pope explains that some scientists account for this by pointing to biological or genetic factors and others assess the psychological impact of flirting with a stranger. According to some research, it is possible to train yourself to protect your marriage by increasing the feelings of commitment. One researcher, Hasse Walum studied 552 pairs of twins to assess  a gene that contributes to the body’s regulation of the bonding hormone vasopressin.  Overall, men who demonstrated a variation of the gene were less likely to be married. Those that were married in this category, were more likely to be in unhappy marriages or to have experienced a relationship crisis. Other research accounts for how the brain can be trained to encourage faithfulness. John Lydon’s research found that when individuals were presented with scenarios where an attractive woman might threaten their relationship, they instinctively told themselves, ‘he’s not so great.’ His research also revealed that when women were primed to imagine…

On “Flattery Will Get You Far”

Article:  Valdesolo, P. (2010). “Flattery Will Get You So Far.” Scientific American Online, Scientificamerican.com. Retrieved on 30 June 2010: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=flattery-will-get-you-far Summary: Its not uncommon for people to kiss up and flatter others in their everyday lives, with the hopes that such remarks will get them what they want.  Many times these motives are easily recognized and written off as insincere.  However it’s quite possible that the effects of such flattery are more powerful than we think. Researchers are taking a deeper look into how blatant flattering influences consumer loyalty and sales.  A study conducted by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology found that consumers exposed to a department store’s advertising campaign, commending shoppers on their sense of style, were likely to continue making purchases at the store.  Furthermore, these consumers, who explicitly expressed their awareness of the stores attempt to manipulate behavior through flattery, were likely to join the store club. Researchers believe this type of flattery works by reinforcing the above average ideas that individuals reserve for themselves, as well as increasing esteem in areas where some feel low.   The article suggests that positive images in advertising, when linked to products, might also subconsciously influence consumer desire…

Response to “Is the Internet Making Us Quick but Shallow”

Carr, N. (2010). “Is the Internet Making Us Quick but Shallow,” CNN. Retrieved on 2010, June 29. http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/web/06/07/carr.internet.overload/index.html?hpt=C2 Nicholas Carr’s article, “Is the Internet Making Us Quick but Shallow,” demonstrates the negative consequences of the internet on the human mind. His article is in response to the media criticism President Obama received after stating that the internet and technological gadgets (i-pad, Blackberry, etc) ‘entertain,’ rather than ‘empower.’ While the media labeled Obama as anti-technology, the author defends and backups the president’s warning statement. Carr’s biggest criticism of the internet and screen gadgets is that they distract concentration, they hinder comprehension skills, and they weaken creative thought. The internet provides the user with an incredible amount of information and knowledge. However, the trouble lies within the manner in which that knowledge is transferred from the screen into the user’s brain. Links, for example, break and discombobulate information (the information is not provided in a linear and coherent format, such as found in a book) from one page of information to another, and thus causing the reader’s attention to rupture and drift. A case study done at Cornell University shows that laptops distract students in class and prevent them from absorbing information.…

Depression’s Upside

Lehrer, J. (2010). “Depression’s Upside.” The New York Times. Retrieved on 29 June, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/magazine/28depression-t.html Summary: Depression is a disorder that has long been associated with the anguished artist who is fixated on his work. The gloomy state of mind may have an upside and, according to research by psychiatrists Andy Thomson and Paul Andrews, it is this ability to be more attentive to our problems. Approaching the issue of depression from an evolutionary perspective, they believe it is not likely for the brain to adapt “pointless programming bugs”. Unlike other mental illnesses which occur in small percentages of the population, approximately 7 percent of people are afflicted with depression every year. Despite, the evolutionary problem which results from lowering one’s sexual libido (and limiting the urge for reproduction), depression could be viewed as an adaptive to the stressors of one’s environment. Neuroscientists in China observed a spike in functional connectivity in the brain allowing depressed people to be more analytical and able to stay focused on a difficult problem longer. The research of psychologist Joe Forgas, found that depressed people were better at judging accuracy of rumors, less likely to stereotype strangers, and had better recall memory. Rumination, the…

Dressed to Distract

Dowd, M., (2010). “Dressed to Distract.” NYTimes. Retrieved on July 1st, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/opinion/06dowd.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=homepage. Summary: Good looks are an advantage to any woman, man or child (and maybe even animal) in this world. Research tells us that babies will look longer at a good looking parent, and the “good looking” babies receive the same preferential treatment. The University of Alberta put together a research team to carry out a study in a supermarket to see if parents gave more attention to their more attractive children. Team leader, Dr Andrew Harrell, says that just as other animals do, “…we tend to parcel out our resources on the basis of value.” Debrahlee Lorenzana, a single mother of 33, was fired from Citibank in August for “looking too sexy”, she claims. According to her lawyer, the shape of her figure made the clothing she chose to wear too distracting for the males in her workplace. Lorenzana wasn’t like other women who chose to come to work in low-cut tops and tight pants, but because of her hourglass figure, any well tailored clothing she wore was “too distracting”. This specific case is interesting because normally the attractive people get better treatment and evaluations at work.…