Graffiti at IIT Bombay

Estimated reading time: Less than 0 minutes

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Inspirations: Illustrations by Pablo Lobato

Estimated reading time: Less than 1 minute

Inspirational Illustrations – 2

Adele

 

Bob Marley

 

Morgan Freeman

 

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How I get in at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay

Estimated reading time: Less than 12 minutes

Doing myself a favor as well as hoping to help some of the design enthusiasts out there, I am sharing a few thoughts about getting in at one of India’s best Design school. Honestly, I decided to write this post in the hope of saving myself  from a lot of troubles of repeatedly telling each and every individual who asks me on ‘how to prepare’ for the examinations, the design aptitude tests and the interview. By the levels I’ve witnessed who reached out seeking for help, it seems many of the students are still new to the whole concept of ‘design’ and being a ‘designer’, well at least as far as I can understand. I’ve the modesty to say this because I think I’ve gained quite a considerable amount of knowledge as a designer in the past 1 and half year of my career. This fall I will be joining the Master in Design Program at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay and although I still have not joined yet, I believe this post will give a foothold to the aspirants; at the same time, when someone asks me the ‘how to question’, I could just share this link. Most probably, I would keep this post updated as I walk through the experience once classes start, but until then, here we are.

Notice the 2 circular etchings at the end. One is where a person breaks off the toothpick. This signifies that it’s a ‘used’ one. The second is to use as a peg to put the used one on a flat surface so as that the tip doesn’t touch the surface. Photo via Cosmic Thought

Design, as a matter of fact is subjective and some people may disagree with what I’m going to tell you here but nevertheless I believe you will gain some insights on the whole idea about it anyway. With saying this, it would rather be the wrong approach if you are looking for a crash-course or something of the kind hoping to get through design examinations and to become a good designer. Although towards the end of this post I’ve shared a couple of  ‘Quick notes‘ which you can go through if you are looking for a quick reference but let me remind you no amount of study materials I share or anyone else for that matter will cover the design substance a great designer needs. I would prefer if you would understand the approach, the attitude and the mentality of what makes a designer from within!

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10 TED talks for Designers & Creative Artists

Estimated reading time: Less than 1 minute

Here is a collection of 10 of the best TED talks on design and creativity for your inspiration. If you can add more, leave us at the comments.

1) Amy Tan on Creativity

 

2) David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization

 

3) Don Norman on 3 ways good design makes you happy

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Typography level Meitei Mayek

Estimated reading time: Less than 3 minutes

Taking Meitei Mayek (the original Manipuri script) into a higher level, Mayek Design Project is doing a promising work on reviving the forgotten script with design in the forefront. This is probably the first or maybe even the only project till now that attempts to highlight the importance of the script of the culturally rich Manipuri society through typography.

Designers’ Handbook of the Manipuri Script – The Mayek Project

 

The Mayek Design Project’s mission in their Facebook Page reads

To promote awareness and importance of the Manipuri Script in the present world and to make sense of our genuine existence in the culturally rich state otherwise having a poor show of script design which has been kept dominated by borrowed Bengalee script for the last 282 years.

The script as used today, as per my speculation seems to lack the typographic design edge following the adoption of digital devices. As such the various types existing today are a mixture of personal designs or improvisations. Continue reading

Live coding base on Bret Victor’s ‘Inventing on Principle’

Estimated reading time: Less than 1 minute

For designers and developers alike, if you have not watched this CUSEC 2012 talk by Bret Victor yet, you should watch it. Although it may be a little lengthy (54 mins), I’d say it’s worth it.

In the talk, Bret shows a ‘live coding prototype’ in which results and feedback are shown and reflected directly as you code.

Anyway, there has been enough posts and reposts on this video on various blogs and if you do a google, you’ll find several discussions or opinions from various people. What’s interesting about the prototype Bret showed is that, it is now becoming real!

Gabriel Florit has created a live demo based on Bret’s talk at http://gabrielflor.it/water and it’s called ‘Water‘.

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Inspirations : Illustrations by Pascal Campion

Estimated reading time: Less than 1 minute

Inspirational Illustrations

Downpour

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Designers’ tool: Setting up Chrome Dev-tools AutoSave on Windows

Estimated reading time: Less than 5 minutes

Day before yesterday I found out a post by Andy Osmani listing a few great online tools for developers on Google+.

One of the interesting tool I noticed is the Chrome Dev-tools AutoSave. It allows developers to save the CSS or JavaScript changes you make on the dev tool directly on to the files. I’ve been looking for this features for quite a while and have even tried asking at Stackoverflow: Updating file using Developers tool/Firebug and this one seems to be the answer.

Now, for the Chrome Dev-tools AutoSave to work, you need nodejs on your system. As a designer, I work mainly on front-end development and had never bothered to delve much into Nodejs. I googled and found out several tutorials which probably will look complex to anyone who hasn’t had much experience on using the Console or DOS quite often. Luckily for Windows users, nodejs already has a .msi installer through which you could just click next-next and get the installation done in a second.

This post is made specifically for people like me, someone who just need nodejs to run on your Windows PC. Probably to some it sounds stupid but I missed to read the last screen of the installation window which made me waste a couple of hours figuring out how to start with nodejs as I’m totally new with it and I hope this post will help you.

So first I’ll write how to set up Nodejs independently before I go into setting up Chrome Dev-tools AutoSave.

Setting up Node js:

To test the installation, once the installation is done, open Command Prompt. (Press Windows+R and type ‘cmd’ and run).

  • On the command prompt, type ‘ node --version‘. This should show up the nodejs version you’ve installed. If it does not, the installation must have failed.
  • Or,  create a file, say  nodeTest.js and put it in your home directory. Most likely, it would something like  C:\Users\<username>. Now, just put this line  console.log('Test successful') and save it. Now open Command Prompt and type   node nodeTest.js; you should see the “Test successful” message.
  • Or, you can try running your own web server using nodejs. To do that, open the 'nodeTest.js' file you have created and replace the codes with the following codes.
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var http = require('http');
http.createServer(function (req, res) {
res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});
res.end('Hello World\n');
}).listen(1337, '127.0.0.1');
console.log('Server running at http://127.0.0.1:1337/');
  • Run the command  node nodeTest.js on the command prompt again. You should see Server running at http://127.0.0.1:1337/' message on the command prompt. Now open up your browser and open http://locahost:1337. It should open up and print out “Hello world”.

If any of the above tests runs successfully, Node js is running perfect.

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Koi: mustache JS template renderer for front-end developers

Estimated reading time: Less than 1 minute

Here’s a handy tool for all front-end developers.

I took some 15 minutess off from my work and made a quick Mustache Template rendering tool at http://ptamzz.github.com/koi/. The current version doesn’t support Mustache partials but you can expect an update sometime soon.

The codes are simple. I just put up the markup “#result” where the template will be rendered and textarea input fields for the template and the json. Feel free to fork it at github, edit and make changes to it.

Here’s the main jQuery codes which renders the template.

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<script type="text/javascript">
    $(function() {
         $('.btn-primary').live('click', function(){
             //Gets json
             var html, json = jQuery.parseJSON($('#json').val());
             //clears all pre existing templates
             ich.clearAll();

             //add template 'koi'
             ich.addTemplate('koi', $('#mustache').val());

             //renders template html
             html = ich.koi(json);
             //Inserts it into the DOM
             $('#result').html(html);
        });
    });
</script>

Since I use jQuery, I find IcanHaz for mustache pretty awesome and so I have implemented it. If you want to know more about them, please follow the links.

Touch and type interfaces for the blind

Estimated reading time: Less than 5 minutes

Since the last few months, I’ve been seeing some new User Interfaces popping up to enable the blind and the visually impaired people to type on a touch base smartphone device.

Here are the latest series and my opinions about them.

1) Touch Screen Braille Writer

The First one is the ‘Touch Screen Braille Writer’ developed by NMSU undergraduate Adam Duran, Stanford Assistant Professor Adrian Lew, and Stanford Doctoral candidate Sohan Dharmaraja (Source: Gizmodo). Check out the demo video below.

The application is interesting and quite robust. The UI however is designed for the bigger screen and the same interface can not be ported to a smaller screen device such as an iPhone or and android smartphone device.

2) BrailleType

The second one is “BrailleType” designed and developed by Ankit Daftery. Check out the demo video for BrailleType Beta 2.

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