About my blog

I am multithreaded, and sometimes the threads get tangled.


a Studiolab production.


food design course at TUDelft
I blog in Italian
I have a LinkedIn profile
my lab is Studiolab!
I love Jasper van Kuijk's product usability weblog

the wind I am enjoying


De meningen ge-uit door medewerkers en studenten van de TU Delft en de commentaren die zijn gegeven reflecteren niet perse de mening(en) van de TU Delft. De TU Delft is dan ook niet verantwoordelijk voor de inhoud van hetgeen op de TU Delft weblogs zichtbaar is. Wel vindt de TU Delft het belangrijk - en ook waarde toevoegend - dat medewerkers en studenten op deze, door de TU Delft gefaciliteerde, omgeving hun mening kunnen geven.

Posted in April 2009

the abstract fallacy (#3)

Whenever students tell me …and this phenomenon will be visualized by abstract graphics… or basically anything that includes the word abstract, I know that there is trouble on the horizon. Why? Well, this is abstract


The Matrix screenshot



this is abstract


and this too!


this, btw, is a variation on the Sierpinski triangle fractal, made by a guy that calls himself FireLizzard with a fantastically interesting piece of software: Context Free.

But to go back to why saying abstract is bad, I should be more specific: it is bad only when you say it to create a smokescreen over missing visuals or even serious difficulties in information visualization or interaction design. Abstract graphics, particularly if they are meant to convey some information (as opposed to being screensavers or cute wallpapers) are damn hard, I daresay because they sit at the intersection of graphic design and information design, with the extra difficulty that they cannot contain representations of real world objects or icons that refer to them (abstract, you see…), so if you want to represent the state of health of an old person (for example) you can’t just have an old-guy icon bent double because of backache or happily strolling around. You have to come up with something else, and I bet that it is going to be pulsating and glowing like a damn Macintosh power LED. But I digress.

To sum it up,  abstract is OK as long as you realize that it is a placeholder, and that making those abstract graphics work well could easily be the most difficult part of the whole design.



in other news: Max Bruinsma is a highly articulate guy with very interesting things to say on design

ITD Jukebox project goes to Salone – 1

Just a quick note from the center of insanity that is our little lab here in Milano. The prototype is being finished, the software is being tweaked and the Dremel is getting a nice little workout. The Dutch students are finding out exactly how many espressos you can drink before you pitch face forward into a pizza. Meet the prototype as Jordi spins it rapidly for stress testing. Or was it just to look cool?


The odd-looking eggy-pill like things in the hands of Sjoerd are the song tokens: each one stands for a specific piece of music, according to a very smart and impossible to understand color code. Color coding rules! Unfortunately. 



A detail of the top plate. While you are laser cutting, why not take some extra time and do a fancy bit of laser engraving? 



This is what things look like late in the TUDelft-at-IdLab workspace at night with 24 hours to delivery time. Perplexed people considering magnets and fancy spring-based braking devices. Of course right now everything is MUCH better and all technical issues have been solved by Dieter who, in the next photo, looks just so happy.




It is a bit blurry, but I just wanted to share it with the world. Suicide by glue gun. A very TU way to go. Don’t try this at home, unless you are wearing your fancy giant white IKEA protection helmet!

Now we have to rush to Triennale, to install our fancy graphics on a 2.5 x 2.5 m display wall: or at least this is what they have told us. Considering the Salone way of doing things, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that our space has turned into a 10 x 10 m ellipse, or the inside of a turnip, or the spires of a Gothic cathedral.


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