27 April 2006

Samsung’s DigitAll magazine devoted to design

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putting people first
by experientia

Samsung's DigitAll Magazine Spring 2006 - illustration by Cam Chesney
The Spring 2006 issue of DigitAll, Samsung’s webzine, has just been released and it is entirely devoted to design – with a big slant towards industrial and product design.

The magazine, which is luckily not as over-branded as the last issue (which was just plain awful) despite its URL, contains some interesting feature stories.

The edge effect by John Thackara
John Thackara asks “how to design a world that relies less on technology and more on people?” and claims that the “edges may hold more answers than the center”.
A short excerpt: “The capacity to think across boundaries, to spot opportunities at the juncture of industries and draw relevant analogies from seemingly unrelated industries, is as valuable as deep experience of a single sector. “Sow the seeds of change at the margins,” says business writer Julian Birkenshaw. “That’s where they will do best. Go for multiple actions at the fringes. Let direction arise.” When edge people, ideas, and organizations are brought together, something interesting happens. We need to recombine relationships—among people, ideas and organizations. We need to search out scientific, natural, and cultural knowledge that is usually ignored—whether it is mimicking biology or learning from traveling storytellers in India. Putting old knowledge into new contexts creates new knowledge.”

Detail dreamer
Yun-Je Kang, 38, is the creative director of a Samsung cluster design team responsible for new AV products such as home theater systems, TVs, and DVD players. In this interview he argues for the need to find “a beautiful balance between form, usability and function”, underlining that the company now has to focus on “how to make sure new features are really convenient and easy to handle from the user’s point of view.”
Yet, he is not a fan of co-creation in design: “It’s one thing to say that consumers should be able to choose between products. But professional designers bring skills to the table we can’t expect consumers to have: namely, a sense of creativity and emotional insight about design, just to start. When it comes to TV design, the best way consumers can enter the design process is to design the space where they’re going to put their TV. Let the designers do the designing.”

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