For a New Generation of Woodworkers, Form Follows Function

In response to the colorful, zanier side of modern furniture, some American craftspeople are returning to elemental, straightforward and handmade pieces.

#chairs, #design, #desks, #furniture, #green-river-project, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #judd-donald, #t-design-and-luxury, #tables, #wood-and-wood-products

Want to Increase Your Home’s Value? Start With the Entrance.

A few inexpensive changes can boost curb appeal — and your asking price. Here’s where to start.

#architecture, #content-type-service, #design, #home-repairs-and-improvements, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #restoration-and-renovation

A House in Tangier Untethered From Time and Place

With the help of a Casablancan designer, one expat art dealer creates a home that’s always undergoing its next update.

#architecture, #design, #furniture, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #morocco, #tangier-morocco

A Sanctuary Takes Shape, Framed Around Migrants

Near Tijuana’s border with San Diego, innovative housing is being constructed for refugees.

#architecture, #central-america, #design, #homeless-persons, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico, #prouve-jean-1901-84, #san-diego-calif, #squatters, #tijuana-mexico, #university-of-california-san-diego

A New Way to Look at Furniture in Milan

A special edition of the Milan Furniture Fair, called Supersalone, turns pandemic constraints into a chance for innovation and anchors a five-day design celebration throughout the city.

#art, #ceramics-and-pottery, #conventions-fairs-and-trade-shows, #design, #furniture, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #lighting, #mirrors

Delores Custer, 79, Dies; Gave Star Turns to Cornflakes and Noodles

A longtime food stylist for big-name companies, she was a master of the craft and taught students all over the world how to sweat a glass or perfect the pizza cheese pull.

#advertising-and-marketing, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #custer-delores-1941-2021, #deaths-obituaries, #design, #food, #food-styling-the-art-of-preparing-food-for-the-camera-book

Anima, a no-code tool that turns designs into code, raises $10 million Series A

Anima, the YC-backed platform that turns designs into code, has today announced the close of a $10 million Series A financing. The round was led by MizMaa Ventures with participation from INcapital and Hetz Ventures.

We’ve been following Anima, which was bootstrapped until last year, for a while now.

The startup indexes on several trending ingredients right now, including a bottoms-up distribution approach, and the popularity of low/no code.

Here’s how it works.

Most developers spend a tremendous amount of time turning design elements into code. Unfortunately, this piece of their job isn’t nearly as exciting as writing the code that actually makes the app, website, platform, etc. work.

With Anima, designers can upload their element or design from Figma and it will be automatically transformed into high-quality code, with support for React, Vue.js, HTML, CSS and Sass. Designers can also create prototypes of their work right within Anima, so that the system can process not only how something looks statically but how the flow should feel.

Cofounders Avishay and Michal Cohen and Or Arbel (a name you may recognize from the glory days of Yo!) have a clear vision on how to use the funding. Alongside tripling the size of the team, they plan to build integrations with platforms like Figma, Sketch, etc. and Github so that Anima itself can effectively get out of the way, allowing designers and developers to hand off these elements in the platforms where they already live.

In terms of distribution, Anima is making the most of their bottoms-up approach. Any designer can sign up for free to use Anima, and right now there are more than 600,000 users registered with the platform. That’s compared with roughly 300,000 users in October of 2020. Avishay Cohen clarified that active users are growing, too, with 80,000 monthly active users on the platform now compared with 10,000 a year ago.

The Cohens went on to explain that more than 5 percent of free users convert into paying users, and that 15 percent of paying accounts expand into teams organically within the first one to two months of becoming a paid user. The startup is already getting requests for enterprise accounts, which the cofounders describe as the next phase of the business on the back of this new funding.

Arbel told TechCrunch that the greatest challenge during this time has been hiring in a remote world, and that the answer to that, for Anima, has been looking at talent on a global scale. The Cohens added that with that hyperscaling, growing the team from four to 30 in the year and continuing to hire, it is challenging to maintain and foster company culture.

#anima, #design, #low-code, #no-code, #tc

Camille Miceli is the First Female Designer for Pucci

Camille Miceli once inspired Marc Jacobs, John Galliano and others. Now she’s Pucci’s first female designer.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #christian-dior-sa, #content-type-personal-profile, #design, #emilio-pucci-srl, #fashion-and-apparel, #louis-vuitton, #lvmh-moet-hennessy-louis-vuitton-sa, #miceli-camille, #your-feed-fashion

The pure hell of managing your JPEGs

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Natasha and Alex and Grace and Chris were joined by none other than TechCrunch’s own Mary Ann Azevedo, in her first-ever appearance on the show. She’s pretty much the best person and we’re stoked to have her on the pod.

And it was good that Mary Ann was on the show this week as she wrote about half the dang site. Which meant that we got to include all sorts of her work in the rundown. Here’s the agenda:

And that’s a wrap, for, well, at least the next 5 seconds.
Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PDT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#boston, #brazil, #brex, #design, #dropbox, #equity, #equity-podcast, #fintech, #flink, #fundings-exits, #grammarly, #latam, #latin-america, #noredink, #nubank, #playbook, #ramp, #startups

Hypebeasts Hit the Road

Forget the factory model. For certain status chasers, the Abushi brothers take car customization to the next level — with luxury price tags to match.

#abushi-automotive-group, #abushi-abed, #abushi-fadi, #abushi-rosco, #abushi-yas, #automobiles, #content-type-personal-profile, #design, #jean-raymond-kerby, #queens-nyc

A French Designer Who Celebrates Mexico’s Popular-Design Aesthetic

In his colorful Guadalajara work space, Fabien Cappello collects and creates pieces he calls “prototypes of the future.”

#art, #cappello-fabien, #content-type-personal-profile, #design, #furniture, #guadalajara-mexico, #handicrafts, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #mexico

The Dream Cars of the Car Designers

Saturday mornings are for celebrating stylish sheet metal in the parking lot of a storied hobby shop in metro Detroit.

#antique-and-classic-cars, #cadillac-division-of-general-motors-corp, #chevrolet-division-of-general-motors-corp, #design, #detroit-mich, #ferrari-spa, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors

A Home That Retreats Into the Brazilian Savanna

Informed by the utopian architecture of Brasília, an expansive weekend house honors and melds with the vanishing landscape of the Cerrado.

#architecture, #brasilia-brazil, #brazil, #design, #interior-design-and-furnishings

Ankara Print Dresses? These Aren’t Shakespeare’s ‘Merry Wives.’

Shakespeare in the Park is back, and Dede Ayite’s West African-influenced costume designs are just as lively as Jocelyn Bioh’s adaptation.

#africa, #ali-saheem, #ayite-dede, #bioh-jocelyn, #content-type-personal-profile, #costumes, #design, #fashion-and-apparel, #ghana, #merry-wives-play, #shakespeare-in-the-park, #theater

Twitter’s web redesign isn’t as accessible as it should be, experts say

After teasing its new font in January, Twitter made some major changes to its website and app design this week. But while Twitter framed these updates as making the platform “more accessible,” some accessibility experts say that these changes missed the mark.

Most noticeably, tweets now appear in “Chirp,” Twitter’s proprietary typeface, and the display has even more visual contrast between the background and text. Other updates made the interface less cluttered, removing unnecessary divider lines. For people with low vision, high-contrast design can make websites more legible, but the current contrast level is so high that it’s causing strain for some users. Twitter far exceeds the minimum contrast standards set by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which provides recommendations for making websites accessible to disabled people. But web accessibility isn’t one-size fits all — while some users may need a high-contrast display, others who suffer from chronic migraines might require a more muted experience. Research has also shown that dyslexic people tend to read faster when presented with lower-contrast text.

“When the update hit, I could immediately feel pain in my eyes, and within about half an hour, I was having a tension headache,” said Alex Haagaard, a design researcher and founding member at The Disabled List. “I have a lot of chronic pain, and I cannot deliberately expose myself to something that is going to be exacerbating my levels of pain, because then that has cascade effects.”

Up until last year, Twitter’s accessibility team was volunteer-based — paid employees at Twitter would take on accessibility projects on top of their existing jobs, TechCrunch reported. In September, a few months after Twitter had released an audio tweet feature without accessibility considerations, Twitter introduced two dedicated accessibility teams within its company. But experts emphasize that including disabled people in design decisions from the get-go is necessary when implementing new features.

“They talked a good talk about how they were going to change this, that they were going to integrate accessibility and disabled perspectives more into their design processes, and from this, it seems they have not done an adequate job with that,” said Haagaard. “Engaging people from disabled communities as consultants at the high-level stages, within the research and conceptualization phase, would prevent designers from getting to a point where you’re testing something and you realize it’s fundamentally problematic and it’s too late.”

Twitter told TechCrunch that “feedback was sought from people with disabilities throughout the process, from the beginning. However, people have different preferences and needs and we will continue to track feedback and refine the experience. We realize we could get more feedback in the future and we’ll work to do that.”

On its accessibility account Twitter, acknowledged the problems that users were reporting with eye-strain and migraines after the update. This afternoon, the platform added that due to user feedback, it is making contrast changes on all buttons to make them “easier on the eyes.”

“When a design organization makes an announcement, and the accessibility organization alongside it actually has things to say about it, that means they work together, and that’s always a good thing,” said Matt May, head of Inclusive Design at Adobe. “The key thing is to continue to listen and find the people who aren’t being represented, and try to synthesize them within the rest of the system.”

May points out that an update this ostentatious will inevitably yield more pushback, but behind the scenes, the app is, he said, “doing important accessibility work that usually slides under the radar.” For example, Twitter recently enabled users to upload SRT files to videos, which adds captions. Plus, Twitter Spaces has support for live captioning, while competitors like Clubhouse still don’t offer this basic accessibility feature.

It’s odd that Twitter neglected to add customization capabilities when it rolled out its higher-contrast display and new default typeface, since the company has a history of offering customization elsewhere in its user experience. Currently, users can toggle among dark, light and dim modes, make their default font size bigger or smaller, and even change the look of buttons and hyperlinks to colors like purple, orange and pink. Even before this week’s update, Twitter’s accessibility panel allowed users to enable a higher contrast mode. But still, there is no way for users to reduce the contrast or change what font the site uses, which experts cite as a design flaw. With its first proprietary typeface Chirp, Twitter sought to “improve how we convey emotion,” but users reported the font to be more difficult to read than Helvetica, which Twitter used before Chirp.

According to Shawn Lawton Henry — a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, editor of the WCAG recommendations, and leader of the World Wide Web Consortium’s accessibility education and outreach — websites should include customization options for users to toggle among fonts, contrast levels and more. WCAG doesn’t require this currently, but Henry says that future updates of the guidelines will recommend that websites give users the option to change contrast.

“The main issue is that the default contrast should [meet the WCAG standards] and users should be able to change it. It’s not hard, right?” Henry said. “It’s fine to have a default font, but you have to make it customizable. Even if it was the most readable font known, it would still be important to allow people to change it because of individual differences.”

When asked about adding ways for users to change typefaces and contrast levels, a Twitter spokesperson said that the company had “no concrete plans to share right now, but we’re always looking at ways to improve the experience and listening to feedback.”

“I think part of the disappointment here is that they’re framing this as an accessibility thing, but it’s also really clear that it was equally about building brand identity,” Haagaard said.

While some users will override website settings with USS (User Style Sheets), Henry’s research for the World Wide Web Consortium showed that user agents like web browsers and e-book readers should provide users the ability to customize these settings more easily. Not all users are tech-savvy enough to write USS, and it’s easier for users to toggle among the accessibility settings specific to an app. This level of customization isn’t unprecedented — in June, Discord added a saturation slider in its accessibility settings, for example.

“The beauty of the web is that it’s not paper, and we can change it,” Henry said.

#a11y, #accessibility, #adobe, #apps, #design, #disabilities, #disability, #font, #fonts, #matt-may, #twitter, #ui, #user-interfaces, #ux, #w3c, #web-accessibility

In His Own Home, an Interior Stylist Takes a Light Touch

By filling his 1830s Brooklyn Heights apartment with just the essentials, Colin King has created an oasis of calm.

#brooklyn-heights-brooklyn-ny, #cassina, #design, #furniture, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #real-estate-and-housing-residential

The 25 Most Significant Works of Postwar Architecture

Three architects, three journalists and two designers gathered over Zoom to make a list of the most influential and lasting buildings that have been erected — or cleverly updated — since World War II. Here are the results.

#aalto-alvar, #architecture, #barragan-luis, #bo-bardi-lina, #design, #historic-buildings-and-sites, #le-corbusier, #lu-wenyu, #mies-van-der-rohe-ludwig, #perriand-charlotte, #piano-renzo, #rogers-richard, #wang-shu, #williams-amanda-1974, #zumthor-peter

Design expert Scott Tong outlines 4 concepts founders should consider when designing products

In the last decade, high-quality design has become a necessity in the software space. Great design is a commodity, not a luxury, and yet, designing beautiful products and finding great designers continues to be a struggle for many entrepreneurs.

At Early Stage 2021, design expert Scott Tong walked us through some of the ways founders should think about design. Tong was involved in product and brand design at some of the biggest brands in tech, including IDEO, IFTTT, Pinterest and more. He’s now a partner at Design Fund.

Tong explained how to think about brand as more than a logo or a social media presence, what design means and the steps that come before focusing on the pixels, and gave guidance on when entrepreneurs should hire third-party design agencies or bring on full-time talent.

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“The purest treasure mortal times afford is spotless reputation,” wrote Shakespeare. Though we often think of a brand as a logo or a social media persona, a brand is the equivalent of a person’s reputation. It signifies what the company and products stand for, and it has an element of being memorable for something, whether it’s prestige, like for Chanel, or terrible customer service, like for Comcast.

The closest word in the English language to brand is actually reputation. The analogy is that brand is to company as reputation is to person. If you can link your brand with your company’s reputation, I think it’s a really great place to start when you’re having conversations about brands. What is the first impression? What are the consistent behaviors that your brand hopes to repeat over and over? What are the memorable moments that stand out and make your brand, your reputation memorable? (Timestamp: 2:40)

Existing versus preferred

Tong outlined what design is truly about. There are many different schools of thought on design methodology and there are many different types of design. You may be thinking about product design and logo design and brand design all at the same time, and the only way to successfully hire for those tasks and complete them is to understand what design is, at its core.

#brand-design, #design, #early-stage-2021, #ec-early-stage-2021, #ec-how-to, #event-recap, #events, #product-design, #scott-tong, #startups, #tc

For Two Designers, a Onetime Collaboration Wasn’t Enough

When they first worked together, renovating a home that had once been a church, they never imagined they’d eventually get married there.

#design, #furniture, #home-repairs-and-improvements, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #restoration-and-renovation, #telluride-colo

Rocketium raises $3.2M to help creative teams create massive marketing campaigns

In between A/B testing, customizing targeted ads and formatting for different digital platforms, some design teams are tasked with campaigns that include thousands of images, videos and other visual content. Based in Bangalore, Rocketium automates much of the process, allowing teams to scale-up campaigns while reducing their workload. The company announced it has raised $3.2 million led by Emergent Ventures to launch in the United States and expand in other markets.

Rocketium’s clients include Urban Company, CasaOne, BigBasket, and Meesho. It says visuals made on its platform are seen by 100 million end users. Its latest funding brings Rocketium’s total raised so far to $4.2 million, including a $1 million seed round from Blume Ventures and 1Crowd.

Rocketium’s platform is currently invite-only and it plans to open self-service usage and purchases in 2022, along with more integrations with e-commerce and advertising platforms (its current integrations include Salesforce, Mailchimp, YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia and Hubspot).

To use Rocketium, design teams create a core set of templates in Photoshop or After Effects and import them to the platform. Then Rocketium customizes ads for different scenarios. For example, if a retailer is running a targeted campaign with free shipping in certain areas, they enter that information into a spreadsheet and Rocketium automatically updates the text in the templates. Then ads and videos are formatted for different platforms, like banners for web advertising or square format for Instagram.

Rocketium's size adaptation tool

Rocketium’s size adaptation tool

One of Rocketium’s clients, fitness app, uses it to run about five to six campaigns each month for different membership plans. The platform enables to reduce the production time for visual content and personalize campaigns based on users’ interests, demographics and locations.

Rocketium's AI-based copywriter

Rocketium’s AI-based copywriter

Rocketium also includes tools for A/B testing, ad targeting and data analytics.

Other companies that help marketing teams create visual advertising campaigns include Canva, InVideo and Lumen5. Co-founder and chief executive officer Satej Sirur told TechCrunch that Rocketium was designed specifically for clients that need to create hundreds or thousands of ads, video and other creative content a month, and can be used to create up to 10,000 visuals at a time.

While Canva, InVideo and Lumen5 provide templates, Rocketium is more focused on users who want to import their own designs from PhotoShop and After Effects.

In a statement, Emergent Ventures founder and partner Ankur Jain said, “From high-volume content production to data-driven campaign optimization, Rocketium is challenging traditional organizational silos to deliver a product that is truly loved and relied on by performance marketers and designers alike.”

#design, #fundings-exits, #india, #marketing, #marketing-automation, #rocketium, #startups, #tc

Bruce Kirby, Who Transformed Sailing With a ‘Doodle,’ Dies at 92

On yellow legal paper, Mr. Kirby, a self-taught designer and Olympic sailor, came up with an impromptu design for a lightweight craft that changed the face of sailing.

#americas-cup, #canada, #deaths-obituaries, #design, #kirby-bruce-1929-2921, #olympic-games, #sailboats-and-sailing

How to Style a Table for a Laid-Back Summer Meal

A trio of consummate hosts — a curator, a chef and a florist — share their tips about lighting, dinnerware, decoration and more.

#2021-t-summer-entertain, #ceramics-and-pottery, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #design, #flowers-and-plants, #parties-social, #summer-season, #tables, #tableware, #utensils-and-cutlery

The real ROI of making your products more accessible

New predictions indicate that tech companies committing to accessibility will reap a total of $10 billion to $16 billion in annual design spending across the U.S. and Canada. The surge in funds reinforces accessibility as not only an ethical priority, but a financial one, too.

Accessibility isn’t, like many believe, kryptonite for profits. It is a moneymaker. One, because making your product accessible adds an additional multitude of people to your potential market. Two, because it actually optimizes your workflow by accounting for more issues beforehand. Three, because it will come back to bite you on the ass with hefty lawsuits and public exposure (read: profit and customer loss) if you ignore it. If anything, remember this: The cost of noncompliance is about three times higher than that of complying.

Today, we’re seeing something similar to what happened with diversity and inclusion: While many businesses used to consider D&I a headache, we’ve since woken up to the fact that having a diversity of genders, ages and ethnicities has a direct effect on the bottom lines of companies. The same realization will come with accessibility.

At its core, accessibility means making your product as usable as possible to the greatest number of people. The appeal and efficiency that entails correlates to higher revenue. So here’s why all businesses can achieve a high ROI from paying attention to accessibility, and how to optimize those returns.

Start by making your teams aware of what they’re missing

Having a training strategy in your business can drive your profits up by nearly 50%. When educating your team about accessibility, you’re not just giving them new skills to raise productivity, you’re optimizing their workflow for the long run and fostering a healthier team culture.

Making your product accessible adds an additional multitude of people to your potential market and optimizes your workflow by accounting for more issues beforehand.

What many teams aren’t understanding today is that accessibility simply opens a product to more users. If we don’t make our employees aware of this, they’ll continue to shy away from the word “accessibility” because they think it means being walled in by some unintelligible regulations. But when we make that process easy to digest for the whole team and create a shared language on accessibility, we make it easier to understand the ultimate goal: smarter design and development.

There are simple ways for businesses to get their heads around accessibility, from IBM’s Equal Access Toolkit to Microsoft’s inclusive design page to the A11Y Project. However, there has been a concerning lack of access to free accessibility resources, which is a key issue that our wider community is trying to change.

Let’s get into the specifics: Through awareness and training, you will start convincing your team about the importance of accessibility so they can commit to it wholeheartedly, not only for the sake of users but because it will improve their own work experience. Working with accessibility in mind makes employees’ work processes more efficient and reduces the cost of errors happening down the line. Moreover, managers will expend fewer resources supervising work to make sure it’s compliant or reworking designs that don’t meet the mark.

Employees will understand the needs of customers far more if they’re made aware of the varied ways different people interact with a product. We’re not talking about a statistically insignificant group: People with disabilities are the largest minority in the United States. One in four U.S. adults suffer from a disability, and globally, we’re talking about 1 billion people — but far more when you account for the many individuals who can’t or won’t go to the doctor or aren’t diagnosed at all. You’ve probably experienced this, too. Temporary disabilities — like having your arm in a cast for a couple of months or recovering from a serious operation — will affect your ability to use certain products if they haven’t been made with you in mind.

Finally, providing this conscious training lets your staff know you are open to having conversations on how to improve work conditions and culture. A happy team is a more resilient team that will stick with you on your product journey, avoiding the costs of recruiting new hires.

Better testing, better efficiency

As your product grows, it becomes less and less malleable. It’s harder to fix the first row of bricks on a new house if you’re already building the second and third stories.

That’s why we need to rethink testing. Continuously trying out your product will tell you what needs tweaking as you advance. The problem is, people with disabilities are being excluded from the testing process. And even when they do appear in data sets, their data are often treated as anomalies because they don’t follow the patterns we’re used to seeing from able-bodied people.

Fixing this starts with how we envision our target market. Do you have people with disabilities — and that includes the invisible ones — in your target user base? As part of your personality profiles? In other words, are you reaching out to and including them, or are they more of a bycatch you don’t expect to see using your product?

Then test for qualitative as well as quantitative input. Get diverse users into the “office,” ask them how they feel about navigating your product. Did it take them time to learn how a certain feature worked? Was something a complete roadblock? We need to understand how they interact with your software as much as the data coming in on retention and time spent per visit.

This has a direct impact on your bottom line. Compliance issues cause a world of pain further on in your journey, when you’re paying hefty fines and rebuilding core elements of your product. Lawsuits against allegedly inaccessible websites are rising, and last year over 2,500 were filed.

With more accurate testing, your processes will become more efficient because you’re understanding where and when in your product lifecycle you need to insert tools and make changes. Essentially, you’ll optimize your workflow. You’ll advance in a straight line as you iterate, rather than having to pause production to go back and make adaptations as and when you realize they’re needed. You’ll launch and get your product into consumers’ hands faster.

Ideally, you’ll be testing within a diverse community that is personally invested in your product’s success — that will give you quicker and more detailed feedback loops.

Create an internal accessibility team

It’s everyone’s job to understand accessibility. However, there will always be people who are specifically focused on ensuring product design, development and marketing initiatives are met.

This group of people should be responsible for upskilling others about accessibility and being the go-to for inclusive design. A company of a few hundred people could assign the task to about 10 people. But at an early-stage startup, it is not enough to just put one or two people on the job. Making accessibility a core part of design and development needs to be baked into the wider culture for everyone involved.

Your long-term returns on assigning a few people to carry out the process accurately will always be higher than the initial expense. Those people will ensure each team is working optimally for all of its users and in sync with one another, rather than wasting valuable time working to lower standards.

It’s better to keep this special team in-house not only to save money but because these are people who already eat, sleep and breathe your product. When bringing in outsiders, whether or not they’re experts, there will always be something of a gap between what they need to know to help and how much you can give as a company. That means any issues that in-house team members aren’t yet aware of, or can’t yet conceptualize, will probably remain unaddressed.

Be smart about how you allocate your budget

You can’t think in the short term when you decide where to put your money. Today’s businesses are designed to steer budgets toward the most tangible and immediate returns. Yet pouring cash into growing fast and furiously, selling quick and cashing in, simply isn’t that simple. Companies won’t buy a product that’s flawed. Brands don’t hold up when there’s little thought going into the product and who’s using it. Consumers won’t fall in love with you.

Strong business leaders will see that there is a time horizon to any investment. Inclusive design is both a cost-saving model and a profit builder, but you won’t see that from one day to the next. You’ll see that when users come to you that you wouldn’t have reached otherwise, and when you avoid the pitfalls that can not only cost, but take down, a company.

So allocate an accessibility budget alongside the product roadmap, from start to finish, taking into account purchasing specialized tools, educating your team and spending time designing your testing strategy, among other things. Set deadlines for accomplishing each goal, and allocate separate resources and timelines per process — it’s better to start with quick wins on newer projects so your team can see and feel the reward, then repeat. You may be spending more at the start as you educate your team, design your testing strategy or purchase specialized tools.

What you don’t want to see in your company is the accessibility conversation, budget and action plan concentrated toward the end of your product development journey. By then, it will be more about fixing what’s wrong than getting it right, at greater cost to you.

#accessibility, #column, #design, #developer, #opinion, #web-accessibility

How to Create a Secret Garden in Your Own Backyard

The creative consultant Matilda Goad and the garden designer Butter Wakefield, who’ve fashioned a small oasis at Goad’s London home, share their tips.

#2021-t-summer-entertain, #content-type-service, #design, #flowers-and-plants, #gardens-and-gardening, #lawns, #london-england, #matilda-goad, #trees-and-shrubs

Germany’s icon group VC bets $30M to back startups enabling traditional companies to pivot

Icon group is a new $30M VC fund being launched out of Germany’s iconmobile group, a WPP network agency. This means a reorganization of the company from a full-service innovation agency into also offering VC backing.

iconmobile has garnered a reputation as an innovative technology, design, and sustainability agency, but the turnaround means it will now, instead, back tech startups that enable traditional companies to “reinvent their business models and the way they reach their consumers.”

The icon ventures VC fund will be accompanied by new company arm: ‘icon impact’, the continuation of iconmobile’s well-established product and experience innovation arm.

Previous iconmobile properties now fall under the icon ventures umbrella include:

• D[AI]TA, a white label sustainable laundry system that filters microplastic fibers via smart washing machines, reduces chemical contaminants, and uses ‘smart grid’ washing to save energy. It also tracks what items have been washed, and worn, and sends that data to retailers.

• banbutsu, that does sustainable last-mile fulfillment

• icon incar a mobility experience company

Thomas Fellger, Founder of icon group said: “Whether it’s creating the first connected toothbrush for Oral-B or UX/UI design for the world’s leading automotive brands, icon group works to bring innovation from idea to scale…. Now, with the inclusion of a venture fund, we can create the things we believe in without waiting for permission or additional budget allocations by investing in opportunities where we have deep knowledge and proven impact, something that sets us apart from the big five firms.”

Speaking to me over a call he added: “We are more capable than most companies to convert our knowledge of R&D into a fast business opportunity. For example, we found an infrared sensor, which can be used to measure air quality in Egypt. Because we knew we needed that kind of quality of air data, we were able to create a whole new product. And that’s what we will be good at – connecting the dots of different products services across industries to create for that industry, a new way of looking at their business by changing the business model, or even extending the services which they couldn’t do before.”

#articles, #brand, #design, #economy, #egypt, #energy, #europe, #finance, #germany, #icon, #icon-ventures, #innovation, #product-management, #tc, #tech-startups, #venture-capital, #wpp

Inside Betsey Johnson’s Malibu Dream House

The designer gives T a tour of her pretty but punk home in one of California’s most scenic trailer parks.

#design, #fashion-and-apparel, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #johnson-betsey, #malibu-calif, #textiles, #wallpaper

Lamps and Sculptures That Evoke New York City Skyscrapers

The designer Umberto Bellardi Ricci’s metal lighting and cement objects feel of a kind with the buildings outside his window.

#bellardi-ricci-umberto, #content-type-personal-profile, #design, #furniture, #lighting, #new-york-city, #sculpture

The Gospel of Rebecca Minkoff

The fashion designer who always felt like an outsider shares a bit of tough love in her new book, “Fearless.”

#books-and-literature, #content-type-personal-profile, #design, #entrepreneurship, #fashion-and-apparel, #fearless-the-new-rules-for-unlocking-creativity-courage-and-success-book, #minkoff-rebecca, #your-feed-fashion

Shopping for Trays

Why do you need a tray? To serve drinks, collect the mail, organize the bathroom — they’re useful almost anywhere.

#content-type-service, #design, #furniture, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #tableware

In Rome, an Apartment Rich in Color and History Opens to the Public

One of the leading figures of Italian Futurism, Giacomo Balla turned his home into proof of his idea that art should live in all things.

#balla-giacomo-1871-1958, #culture-arts, #design, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #museo-nazionale-delle-arti-del-xxi-secolo-maxxi, #museums, #rome-italy

How a Family Transformed the Look of European Theater

The Bibienas, the focus of an exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum, dominated Baroque theatrical design.

#architecture, #architecture-theater-and-fantasy-exhibit, #art, #bibiena-family, #bibiena-ferdinando-galli-1657-1743, #classical-music, #design, #europe, #morgan-librarymuseum, #theater

All He Wanted Was a Surf Shack. He Got a Lot More.

Working in finance in Manhattan made him homesick for the beach in California. So he recreated what he missed on an unlikely site in Amagansett.

#amagansett-ny, #design, #furniture, #home-repairs-and-improvements, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #restoration-and-renovation

Pinterest to test live-streamed events this month with 21 creators

Pinterest is expanding into live events. The company is planning to host a three-day virtual event that will feature live-streamed sessions from top creators, including big names like Jonathan Van Ness and Rebecca Minkoff, among others. The virtual event will run inside the Pinterest app from May 24th through May 25th, and will serve as the company’s first public test of directly streaming creator content to its over 475 million global users.

The rise of the creator economy and a pandemic-fueled demand for virtual events led Pinterest to explore the idea of live streaming. Last fall, it began testing a “class communities” feature that allowed users to sign up for Zoom classes through Pinterest, while creators used Pinterest’s boards to organize materials, notes, and other resources. These communities also included a group chat option and shopping features.

The new live-streamed sessions will operate a bit differently.

For starters, they’re not directing users off-site to Zoom for the sessions. Instead, users will launch the live-streaming experience directly inside Pinterest mobile app and remain there during the sessions. Pinterest users can also comment to interact with the creator during their stream, but there is no longer any shopping functionality, Pinterest tells TechCrunch.

Image Credits: Pinterest

The live streams allow up to five “guests” and an unlimited number of viewers. Meanwhile, moderators — which may include Pinterest employees, during this test — will help to control the experience. They will also have the ability to remove people from the chat if they do not uphold Pinterest’s Community Standards.

The forthcoming event’s lineup will focus a variety of topics, including food, design, cooking, style, and more.

Jonathan Van Ness‘ session will discuss morning rituals and self-care routines. Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff will teach Pinterest users how to style their summer wardrobe. Others featured during the event include food creators GrossyPelosi and Peter Som, who will showcase favorite recipes; Women’s Health magazine will talk about using vision boards to achieve your goals; Jennifer Alba will show how to communicate the Zodiac through sign language; and Hannah Bronfman will offer ideas for creating an at-home spa night.

In total, Pinterest will feature around 21 creators throughout the three-day event, with around 7 different session per day. Users will be directed to the live event via a new “Live” tab inside the Pinterest app for iOS and Android, where they can view the schedule and join sessions.

Image Credits: Pinterest

x”As a visual platform, people discover billions of ideas on Pinterest every day, and we’re always looking for new ways to help them bring those ideas to life,” says David Temple, Pinterest’s Head of Creators.

Temple notes Pinterest has integrated with third-party live-streaming technologies and built its own in-house messaging systems to power live interactions.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to respond to Pinner feedback for more dynamic and timely events as new interests like cooking have emerged for many in quarantine, and trends like beauty, fashion, and home renovation are on all-time highs as we move into a post-pandemic world,” Temple adds.

However, Pinterest isn’t discussing how it views the potential for live events longer-term. For the time being, it’s not offering tools that could woo creators away from other platforms where they can monetize their fans through features like donations, tips, virtual gifts, paid ticketing, subscriptions, or brand partnerships via a creator marketplace. Without such options, Pinterest could have a hard time competing for creators’ attention.

Image Credits: Pinterest

Nearly every big tech platform today is making a play for creators, and some are even willing to throw cash at them to win them over. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter are all building out features that let creators do more than build an audience to monetize through ads or brand deals. Now, fans can send creators money during or after streams, subscribe for exclusive content, pay for access and more, depending on the platform.

New types of creator services are emerging, too, including the audio chat room experience pioneered by Clubhouse (and being cloned by everyone else), as well as dozens of virtual events startups hoping to win the market.

Pinterest’s attraction among such heavy competition isn’t clear, but the company will use this experiment to learn more about what works for its own community.

Pinterest tested its live streaming technology with employees a few weeks ago, but this will be the first time the feature will be available to the public.

While the event lineup can be viewed on the web, the live streams themselves will only run inside the Pinterest app for iOS and Android starting May 24th.

#apps, #cooking, #creator, #creator-economy, #creators, #design, #digital-media, #events, #jonathan-van-ness, #live-events, #livestreaming, #mobile-applications, #mobile-apps, #pinterest, #rebecca-minkoff, #social, #social-media, #streaming, #virtual-events

What Kenzo Left Behind

An auction of the estate of Kenzo Takada, who died last year, was a lot more popular than anyone expected.

#art, #artcurial, #auctions, #christies, #design, #fashion-and-apparel, #paris-france, #takada-kenzo, #wills-and-estates

Ewan McGregor: Dahling, He’s Halston!

For a new Netflix series, the actor dropped his lightsaber and picked up the cigarettes and scissors.

#actors-and-actresses, #content-type-personal-profile, #design, #fashion-and-apparel, #halston-1932-90, #halston-tv-program, #mcgregor-ewan, #murphy-ryan, #netflix-inc, #television

The Designers Who Are Making Knitwear Cool

Knitwear labels from Hong Kong, Northern Ireland, South Africa and beyond are busy breathing new life into an old craft.

#chan-phyllis-fashion-designer, #chung-suzzie, #design, #fashion-and-apparel, #hadjikyriacou-alexandra, #hope-macaulay-fashion-label, #kepler-fashion-label, #knitting-and-knit-goods, #lukhanyo-mdingi-fashion-label, #macaulay-hope, #maxhosa-africa-fashion-label, #mckenna-jaimee, #mdingi-lukhanyo, #ngxokolo-laduma-1986, #rui-fashion-label, #russo-paolina-fashion-designer, #wool-and-woolen-goods, #yanyan-fashion-label, #your-feed-fashion, #zhou-rui-fashion-designer

Myung Eun Cha’s Avant-Garde Loungewear

Stuck in her apartment, the designer found inspiration in her surroundings, conceiving of a highly conceptual collection that provides literal support.

#cha-myung-fashion-label, #cha-myung-eun, #content-type-personal-profile, #design, #fashion-and-apparel

Back in the Girdle Again: Getting Fitted After a Year Untouched

Confessions of an actress seeking reassurance — and sleeves — as she steps before a live concert audience again.

#actors-and-actresses, #costumes, #design, #errico-melissa, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #seamstresses-and-tailors, #winterling-eric

Squishy Furniture, Like Sweatpants, Is In

Versatility is not the only reason blobby sofas and chairs are back in style.

#beds-and-bedding, #chairs, #design, #furniture, #interior-design-and-furnishings

6 Design Books That Celebrate a World of Artifacts

New titles offer insight into some often-overlooked creators and creations in England, Austria, Japan and the United States.

#architecture, #art, #books-and-literature, #ceramics-and-pottery, #design

Shopping for Cafe Tables

If you’ve recently acquired some outdoor space, you’ll need to furnish it. Start with this versatile little table.

#design, #furniture, #home-repairs-and-improvements, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #tables

Anthony Powell, Oscar-Winning Costume Designer, Dies at 85

He was honored for “Travels With My Aunt,” “Death on the Nile” and “Tess.” He was also renowned for the outlandish outfits he created for Glenn Close as the evil Cruella de Vil.

#101-dalmatians-movie, #academy-awards-oscars, #costumes, #death-on-the-nile-1978-movie, #deaths-obituaries, #design, #movies, #powell-anthony-1935-2021, #tess-movie, #theater, #travels-with-my-aunt-movie

Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

Calibri, we hardly knew ye. Microsoft’s default font for all its Office products (and built-in apps like Wordpad) is on its way out and the company now needs your help picking a new one. Let’s judge the options!

You probably don’t think much about Calibri, if you think about fonts at all, but that’s a good thing in this context. A default font should be something you don’t notice and don’t feel the need to change unless you want something specific. Of course the switch from Times New Roman back in 2007 was controversial — going from a serif default to a sans serif default ruffled a lot of feathers. Ultimately it proved to be a good decision, and anyway TNR is still usually the default for serif-specified text.

To be clear, this is about defaults for user-created stuff, like Word files. The font used by Microsoft in Windows and other official brand things is Segoe UI, and there are a few other defaults mixed in there as well. But from now on making a new document in an Office product would default to using one of these, and the others will be there as options.

Replacing Calibri with another friendly-looking universal sans serif font will be a considerably less dramatic change than 2007’s, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have opinions on it. Oh no. We’re going to get into it. Unfortunately Microsoft’s only options for seeing the text, apart from writing it out in your own 365 apps, are the tweet (doesn’t have all the letters) or some colorful but not informative graphic presentations. So we (and by we I mean Darrell) made our own little specimen to judge by:

You may notice Grandview is missing. We’ll get to that. Starting from the top:

Calibri, here for reference, is an inoffensive, rather narrow font. It gets its friendly appearance from the tips of the letters, which are buffed off like they were afraid kids might run into them. At low resolutions like we had in 2007 this didn’t really come across, but now it’s more obvious and actually a little weird, making it look a bit like magnetic fridge letters.

Bierstadt is my pick and what I think Microsoft will pick. First because it has a differentiated lowercase l, which I think is important. Second, it doesn’t try anything cute with its terminals. The t ends without curling up, and there’s no distracting tail on the a, among other things — sadly most common letter, lowercase e, is ugly, like a chipped theta. Someone fix it. It’s practical, clear, and doesn’t give you a reason to pick a different font. First place. Congratulations, designer Steve Matteson.

Tenorite is my backup pick, because it’s nice but less practical for a default font. Geometric sans serifs (look at the big fat “dog,” all circles) look great at medium size but small they tend to make for weird, wide spacing. Look at how Bierstadt makes the narrow and wide letters comparable in width, while in Tenorite they’re super uneven, yet both are near the same total length. Also, no, we didn’t mess with the kerning or add extra spaces to the end in “This is Tenorite.” That’s how it came out. Someone fix it! Second Place.

Skeena, apart from sounding like a kind of monster you fight in an RPG, feels like a throwback. Specifically to Monaco, the font we all remember from early versions of MacOS (like System 7). The variable thickness and attenuated tails make for an interesting look in large type, but small it just looks awkward. Best e of the bunch, but something’s wrong with the g, maybe. Someone might need to fix it. Third place.

Seaford is an interesting one, but it’s trying too hard with these angular loops and terminals. The lowercase k and a are horrifying, like broken pretzels. The j looks like someone kicked an i. The d looks like it had too much to eat and is resting its belly on the ground. And don’t get me started on the bent bars of the italic w. Someone fix it. I like the extra strong bold and the g actually works, but this would really bug me to use every day. Fourth Place.

Grandview didn’t render properly for us. It looked like Dingbats in regular, but was fine in bold and italic. Someone fix it. Fortunately I feel confident it won’t be the next default. It’s not bad at all, but it’s inhuman, robotic. Looks like a terminal font no one uses. See how any opportunity there is for a straight line is taken? Nice for a logo — feels strong structurally — but a paragraph of it would look like a barcode. Use it for H2 stuff. Last place.

So what should you “vote” for by tweeting hard at Microsoft? Probably it doesn’t matter. I’m guessing they’ve already picked one. Bierstadt is the smart pick, because it’s good in general while the others are all situational. If they would only fix that damn e.

#design, #fonts, #microsoft, #tc

KidSuper Wants to Bring Back Warhol’s Factory

With a cult label to his name and yet no fashion background, Colm Dillane finds himself a wild-card finalist for the coveted LVMH prize.

#awards-decorations-and-honors, #brooklyn-nyc, #content-type-personal-profile, #design, #dillane-colm, #fashion-and-apparel, #kidsuper-studios-llc, #lvmh-prize, #shopping-and-retail, #t-shirts-apparel, #your-feed-fashion

How “cosmetic” DLC became “pay to win” camouflage in some online shooters

When it comes to in-game DLC and microtransactions, developers and players often take pains to draw a bright line between purely “cosmetic” DLC—which lets users pay optional money to change their in-game appearance—and DLC that impacts competitive gameplay stats—raising the specter of the dreaded “pay-to-win” upgrade. Recently, though, purchasable outfits in some high-profile shooters have ended up giving players a distinct in-game advantage, blurring the line between cosmetic and pay-to-win items.

The latest example of this problem comes from Call of Duty: Warzone. Last year, players who purchased the Season 5 premium battle pass and reached Tier 100 in the game could earn access to an all-black “Rook” skin for the character Roze.

As you can see in the images above, that skin covers the player from head to toe in skintight black fabric, even including black facepaint around the eyes. It’s a striking “black ops” look in isolation, but during a game, it can make a player nearly invisible when they’re hiding in the abundant dark corners in many maps.

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#call-of-duty-warzone, #design, #dlc, #fortnite, #gaming-culture, #pay-to-win

Curtains Up for the One Percent

While many Americans were stockpiling toilet paper and Clorox, the rich bought houses, sparking a gold rush in the decorating trades.

#beverly-hills-calif, #design, #high-net-worth-individuals, #home-appliances, #home-repairs-and-improvements, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #luxury-goods-and-services, #palm-beach-fla, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #real-estate-brokers, #san-antonio-tex, #sea-island-ga

For a Brooklyn Heights Townhouse, a Divine Reinvention

The Greek Revival house, once home to the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, needed more than just a simple renovation to function in the 21st century.

#brooklyn-heights-brooklyn-ny, #design, #furniture, #home-repairs-and-improvements, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #restoration-and-renovation

Shopping for Kitchen Range Hoods

Whether you choose a showstopper or one that’s virtually invisible, a range hood is essential. Otherwise, you’ll be smelling that fish for days.

#design, #furniture, #home-repairs-and-improvements, #interior-design-and-furnishings, #kitchens, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #restoration-and-renovation

Is It Time for an Enid Collins Revival?

Generation Etsy has dusted off the wooden box handbags she designed in the 1960s. And now her son, Jeep, is publishing a memoir.

#design, #handbags-and-purses, #texas

16 Global Design Concepts for an Unpredictable Future

The challenges of the past year gave designers every reason to recede into the shadows, but creativity won’t be denied.

#architecture, #area-planning-and-renewal, #art, #building-construction, #culture-arts, #design, #furniture, #sculpture, #sustainable-living, #textiles, #wood-and-wood-products