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The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is just…

I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this car but it sure made me look, three times! I never realized how wide, low and brutish the design was until I saw one today. More Mustang than Mercedes, I would say. The new design just oozes power, so much different from the original classic 300 SL that communicated power in a more refined manner.

The 300 SL Gullwing introduced in 1954 is among, if not the, most famous cars from the marque. It was a road-going version of the very successful gullwing racers, and it was most impressive. The iconic doors lifted like wings to accommodate load-bearing members in its space-frame chassis. The racers were particularly potent, with straight eight-cylinder engines that featured fuel injection and desmodromic valves. It was enough to win at places like Le Mans, the Targa Florio and, of course, its most famous victory at the hands of a young Stirling Moss and Dennis Jenkinson during the 1955 Mille Miglia.

I also find that the softer tail design fights with the harder silhouette lines that start from the iconic grill. But I can see how the lines are intended to loop around the back to the other headlight or grill. Regardless, I am pretty impressed with the SLS AMG and a number of other releases in the recent years. It is looking like the Mercedes marque is returning to prominence on the back of a number of provocative designs. Now I just need to drive one!

Quote via Wired and Images from Mercedes Benz.

Design Sojourn Consulting is Open for Business!


Image by David Lofink

Design Sojourn Consulting officially opened for business today, and what a day it was! This first momentous day started slowly but ended with a heart pounding and diaphragm aching bang. I’ll tell you more about that story for sure!

I’m really thankful for all my friends (and family) who have rallied behind me with words of wisdom, business advice, job referrals or even just a pat on the back. Because of that support I’m very excited to be able to “open my doors” with a number of possible business opportunities. They include working with an organization to build a multidisciplinary creative culture anchored by design thinking, strategic design consulting work with a new untested brand, and supporting an entrepreneur fulfill his dream.

That being said, I still have capacity and available for hire, so please email me at brian@designsojourn.com if you would like to collaborate with me or know of anyone who would?

So thank you again for all your emails, blog comments, and tweets. I feel so loved!

Awesome Hand Rendered Atari Computer Concepts


Atari 900 Concept


Atari 1200 Concept


Atari 2600 Concept

I really love these old school hand rendered Atari computer concepts by Industrial Designer Regan Cheng. The repeated streaking caused by the marker’s nibs can be intentionally controlled to create a wide range of different textures from wood, to stone, to textured or glossy plastic. It looks like Regan was exploring some really exciting Computer Archetypes back then!

By 1981, Atari’s home computer division began looking into replacements for the aging 400/800 line of computers. Several types of systems were conceptualized and in the end it came down to two routes. One was called the A-300 project which involved a new series of Atari computers which would work as modules and plug together to form a complete computer system. The second was an evolution of the A-300 project that shed all of the expansion and modular design for a low profile, high tech computer system which became the Atari 1200XL Computer System.

Check out the cool modular A-300 concept below.

Ah the nostalgia! I’m now really inspired to break out my old box of well used markers and broken pastels. Aren’t you?

PS: This is the kind of exploration work you would use my Iteration Book for!

Via: Color Cubic and The Atari Museum.

The Evolution of Mario

It is pretty interesting to see how Mario’s character design has evolved through the years. If you study how the heavy pixilated Mario in 1981 became the sleek rendered Mario in 2008, you can see that a good design language needs to be distinct, consistent, simple and clear.

I know that I will be stating the obvious, but this is the reason why you can identify that the images are all the same character. The red color, cap, big nose, mustachio and the tuff of hair at the back of the head must all sit in a style guide somewhere.

And before I forget, happy 25th birthday Mario!

Via: My Extra Life

So Death to Design Awards because of Egos?

The quality of writing at Design Observer must be dropping.

Through a tweet link that read “Design Observer Spits in its face”, I was lead to an opinion piece written by Maria Popova on how she wishes the “Death to Design Awards”. What a horrid thought? She writes:

Awards are awful. Awards breed ego, create false meritocracies and ultimately stymie innovation at every step of the award-granting process — from entry to evaluation to owning the win. Here’s why: For one, award shows are unbelievably self-selective, like a private school off limits to anyone but society’s upper crust of privilege. Entry fees are often prohibitively high, making it near impossible for emerging designers to even enter.

Is this not reopening the same old tiresome can of worms? And guess what? Not even a credible example to substantiate the allegation. This sure looks like sensational journalism at its best from someone that purports to be a writer for Wired or even the Huffington Post. Then again, it is an opinion piece…

Regardless, it is clear to me that Maria:

1) Has not won a Design Award.
If she had, she would know how difficult winning one would be. Especially if they are the top tier ones like Red-Dot, iF or Good Design (G-Mark) etc.

2) Has not taken part in an awards selection jury.
If she had, she would know that the jury often consists of the most cutting edge and respected designers out there (no Maria, not “old white guys”). She would also know that the Awards selection criteria is not a walk in the park nor subjected to individual whims or fancies, though personal tastes to play a part.

3) Has not even researched the products and companies that have won awards.
If she had, she would know that multi-award winning organizations like Apple, Sony, Samsung, Fuse Project, or Frog Design, are some of the most successful organizations out there. This is because they create products that people vote for with their wallet. Just take the top 5 commercially successful products you can think off, and you will likely find the usual suspects are behind their creation. It really does not look like anyone sitting on his or her laurels to me.

4) Is not a designer.
If she were, she would know that we debated this 10 years ago and have, pretty much as an industry, moved on. (Edit: Just to clarify, I’m not saying that this is an exclusive designer only discussion or that non-designers can’t win design awards. What I’m saying is that this issue was discussed deeply in the design community and non-designers would likely not be aware of this fact.)

I’ve met designers that have won so many awards that the awards sadly start to lose their meaning. The reason is that they know design awards really don’t mean too much but a nice pat on the back. Designers don’t design for awards, what fuels us and pushes us on is our passion, the delight of the users, and achieving that real world market success. Interestingly, designers that lack this sort of motivation will probably not be winning awards anyway.

Indeed, moved on we have.

via Design Observer.

(Edited: for Grammar)

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