Technology and the evolution of the design industry

Humans are a highly expressive species and whenever the world hints an evolution, they are there not only to adapt to the changing environment but also to cause the change itself. Indeed, our ways of expression have been one of our strongest traits and these practices still continue to this day. But what happens when something as unpredictable and advanced as technology is added to the equation?

 

Image source: thenextweb.com

 

Fundamentally, the advent of the more technologically powerful tools not only fueled a totally different phase of revolution but also triggered a whole new way of how people see the world—and how they express what they see in the form of ideas, arts, and expressions. The same story is true in the design industry and the trends that have been observed to dominate the field in the past few years. As art imitates life, the new world where technology reigns supreme led to different facets and forms of designs that directly and indirectly reflected new expressions and ideas. So how far and wide did technology influence design and the industry in general?

One of the most important changes that evolved with technology is how designers redefined form and functionality. Several new features led to this redefinition. For instance, the introduction of new ways to create, display, and print graphics and other forms of art have encouraged design practitioners to exceed their limitations and push boundaries.

 

Image source: wired.com

 

These design feats were only possible because of the recent availability of more powerful computers, faster connection, higher resolutions, and an outstanding emphasis on details. These features enabled anyone with a reliable computer to control more colors and have the flexibility to create something spectacular out of a humble idea.

However, the influence of technology in the design industry does not stop in the limitless capabilities that it provides its users. It also restructured the roles and activities that designers have to undertake. New and advanced tools such as creative design software, graphic tablets, and printing capabilities have presented limitless potentials.  In fact, designers have hundreds of software and programs to choose from and along with them, the boundless selection of methods that can help them create a unique and impressive output, making a signature style that makes them stand out from the rest and enables them to create their own brand.

REPOST: How Stitch Fix Is Using Algorithmic Design To Become The Netflix Of Fashion

Algorithm-based technologies are rapidly dominating many aspects of life–from Internet searches and social networking activities to music streaming and watching movies. They have become so ubiquitous that even in ‘traditional’ and highly creative industries—such as fashion—they have proven to very useful. Algorithms and data science could be the future of designing garments. Here are some interesting insights from FastCo Design:

 

Data science is baked into the online fashion brand.

Algorithms control many elements of our lives: the music we hear, the shows we watch, the stories we read, and even how we vote. They’ve been used most commonly to uncover consumers’ preferences and make recommendations, but now brands are starting to integrate them into the products themselves.

Stitch Fix, an online apparel retailer, thinks algorithms are the future of designing garments and has begun to bring these items to market. (In her 2017 report, trend forecaster Mary Meeker of the venture capital company Kleiner Perkins mentioned Stitch Fix’s algorithmic design approach as an e-commerce “aha.”) But will this strategy yield better things, or will it just lead to the normcorization of design?

“[Our customers] come to us because they don’t want to go shopping,” Eric Colson, Stitch Fix’s chief algorithm officer and head of the company’s 75-person data team, says. “Five years from now, people will say, ‘Remember when we had to wander malls and find our own things? That’s crazy!’”

Since its founding in 2011, Stitch Fix has slowly been gaining steam and has grown to over 5,700 employees, has been profitable since 2014, and generated $730 million in revenue last year.

Here’s how Stitch Fix normally works: Customers join the site, fill out a detailed questionnaire about their size, how they like their clothing to fit, what their style is like, what colors they love and loathe, and how often they dress for certain occasions (like work, events, dates, etc.). Last year, the company introduced a Pinterest integration that lets the company learn more about what customers want. Users can create boards of images they like–which can come from any source–and algorithms analyze the assortment and feed that information into a customer’s profile. Using all that data, an algorithm then mines Stitch Fix’s inventory to find pieces that match their profile.

 

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The top trends that are taking the graphic design industry by storm

The only constant thing in the world of design is change—and anyone who is not able to keep up with the dynamic nature of this rapidly evolving industry should either give up or be up for the challenge.

However, any veteran artist or designer will agree that it takes more than practice and creativity to dominate the game. It’s important that one is resilient and have a flexible artistic vision in order to not only see what’s ahead but also to be able to be one with the change. After all, they are part of the business that is adding billions of dollars to the tech industry every year. Here are the top trends that you should know:

 

Image source: scene360.com

  1. Minimalism

The art movement that rose in early part of the 20th century is the birthplace of Minimalism in the graphic design industry, focusing on both simplicity and functionality. Recent logo redesigns for instance can be observed following a minimalist trend and it is noticeable in big companies like Apple and Google.

 

Image source: cultofmac.com

  1. Hand-drawn Illustrations 

This trend’s charm doesn’t just lie on the more personal approach in design but also in the stylish linear and geometric patterns that represent both uniqueness and creativity. Hand-drawn illustrations can be useful in presenting complex instructions through less-intimidating and reader-friendly images.

 

Image source: canva.com

  1. Modern-Retro

Nostalgia has been an appealing tool in both the marketing and advertising industries. Likewise, this is the heart of the modern-retro trend that has been marking its territory in the design world. Aside from its care-free language, the innocence and candor portrayed in the less complicated colors represent style and authenticity.

REPOST: First Impressions: What Good Design Can Do for Your Business

While the monetary value of logos, packaging graphics, and similar ‘intangible assets’ are difficult—if not impossible—to measure,  it is in meaningful visuals that brands are actually able to build trust in their customers. Here’s an article on Business News Daily that explains how good design could be just as important as your company’s overall business plan.

 

Credit: Rawpixel/Shutterstock

 

A brand’s website can make a difference between showing potential customers you’re a legitimate business and having zero credibility. That’s why web design is important as a marketing tool. It highlights the need to invest time and resources into a well-built homepage, so it doesn’t appear you’ve settled for a default theme or overly-simple layout.

Business News Daily consulted a few experts in the field to investigate what makes or breaks a small business website.

Why design matters

According to the Missouri University of Science and Technology, a person’s eyes take 2.6 seconds to focus on a specific element of a web page when it loads. The viewer quickly forms an opinion based on what they’ve has seen, so it pays to influence that opinion with a smart design, said Adriana Marin, a freelance art director.

“People have [feelings] about your company based on the experiences that they have had with a brand,” Marin told Business News Daily. “A well-designed logo and website inspires confidence because it looks professional. If a company is willing to focus on creating a clean and functional design that is easy to use, then that could be an indicator of what using their product might be like.”

“Great design not only conceptually reflects the mission of your company, but also, functionally, it’s the embodiment of that concept,” added Ty Walrod, CEO of Bright Funds, an all-in-one corporate program for donating, matching and volunteering.

As an example, Marin cited Apple’s unique designs, which distinctly distinguish itself from its competitors. In the 1980s and ’90s, design was often an afterthought for many major technology companies, she said. Apple worked with several partner companies to create the consistent design aesthetic consumers recognize today.

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The Catalan trio: Winners of the 2017 Pritzker Prize

Movies have the Oscars, Math has the Fields Medal, while architecture has the Pritzker Prize. The latter is awarded annually to living architects whose works embody the highest level of talent, vision, and commitment that is deserving of the craft. It began in 1979 when Jay Pritzker and his wife founded the tradition.  In the past couple of decades, industry renowned artists who are known all over the world have been given the honor of accepting the prize. This year however, the award has been bagged by a Catalan trio from Girona, Spain.

 

Image source: inhabitat.com

 

Carme Pigem, Ramon Vilalta, and Rafael Aranda founded RCR Arquitectes in 1988. They and their company are based in the small town of Olot. In the 39 years that they have been in the practice, they have developed a knack for developing designs which have a heightened sensitivity to local context. They use their expertise on how their buildings are placed in the landscape while playing with elements such as mass, fragility, light, and shade.

 

Image source: cnn.com

 

In 2007, the trio were able to build the Bell-Lloc winery in Palamós which can be located on the coast of Girona. Once visitors enter its domain, they are given the feeling that they are venturing into an underground ancient burial chamber due to its angled walls. In a clearing outside of Olot, they built the Tussols-Basil athletics track in 2000. It is so smartly placed in the landscape that passersby won’t even notice its presence. They are genuine masters of their art.

 

Image source: dezeen.com

 

Architecture isn’t just a showcase of man’s creative abilities. It is also a vital component in many other related industries, particularly real estate and property development. Top architects partake in huge construction projects, forming part of the design team that will make each project appealing to potential buyers. In many cases, a property’s architectural and interior design (accompanied by corresponding practical functions) are the single most important factor in determining a property’s value and marketability. The most successful real estate projects almost always have superior architectural design.

REPOST: Biggest Stadiums In The World By Capacity (World Atlas)

Stadiums are some of the world’s largest and most expensive human architectural achievements. They symbolize man’s athletic power, but they also represent a robust sports sector. World Atlas has the complete list of the world’s 50 largest stadiums.

 

Rungrado 1st of May Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in North Korea that was completed on May 1, 1989.

 

Stadiums are not only architectural marvels but massive theaters of entertainment, celebration and passion. Among the largest fifty stadiums in the world, approximately half are found in the United States, a quarter in Europe and the rest are scattered in South America, Asia and a few in Africa. Noticeably, the largest stadiums in the world host American college football teams.

 

Gigantic stadiums are known to host rugby, cricket and even martial arts festivals find their way into the list of the world’s largest stadiums. North Korea’s Rungrado 1st of May Stadium which is the world’s largest stadium with a capacity of 150,000 people hosts football games besides a festival called Arirang (gymnastic and artistic games). Australia’s Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) which hosts 100, 024 people and is primarily a cricket ground comes in at number 10 among the world’s largest. Twickenham Stadium (82, 000) in the UK mostly hosts rugby games and it comes in at position 31.

 

Majority of the world’s largest stadiums are found in the US. Eight out of the top ten largest stadiums in the world are in the US where they play host to American football and baseball teams. Some of them are Michigan Stadium (107, 601 people) in position two behind Rungrado, while Beaver Stadium (107, 572), Ohio Stadium (104, 944) and Kyle Field (102, 512) complete the top five. In total, 22 stadiums among the top fifty are all in the US where they host American football and baseball games. The two sports demand larger playing area thereby providing for the construction of larger spectator areas on the fringes of the pitch. The two games are wildly popular in the US and hence the big stadiums to accommodate the thousands of fans who turn up at almost every game.

 

Stadiums in the US and Europe are also increasing their capacities. For instance, Tiger Stadium expanded from a 92,400 to 100,000 capacity while Texas’s Kyle stadium will accommodate 27,000 more people from the current 82,000 stadium after its expansion. Wembley Stadium which comes in at number 19 among the world’s largest, was expanded from a 40,000 to a 90,000 capacity stadium in 2003 while Russia’s Luzhiniki Stadium was expanded some years ago to the current capacity of 78,000.

 

Although soccer is the world’s most popular sport, it loses out in terms of its stadiums’ capacities. Only three stadiums are primarily known for soccer- Camp Nou (99, 786), Estadio Azteca (95, 500), Soccer City (94, 713) appear in among the top 15 of the world’s largest. In total only 15 stadiums know to host soccer around the world make it to the top fifty.

 

Africa and Asia contribute approximately 10 stadiums among the top fifty largest in the world. Several stadiums such as Indonesia’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium (88,306) and Congo’s Stade des Martyrs (80, 000) are an indication that the sports has gained root in the two regions and more big stadiums are to be built.

 

The United States dominates when it comes to having the largest stadiums in the world. The country’s massive popularity of American football and baseball backed by the lucrativeness of the sports has seen many teams construct colossal stadiums for their home teams. Europe, which is the home of soccer has a significant number of large stadiums that play host to soccer matches. However, and in a unique twist, North Korea plays host to the world’s largest stadium which can host up to 150,000 people.

 

We Are The Fallen Fans – Where It All Started

It all started one night after I watched We Are the Fallen perform on TV. I crashed into bed after that since I was also studying for an exam (I usually feel really sleepy when I know I’m supposed to be studying for an exam). But then, I had the deepest of slumbers and the sweetest of dreams.

In my dream I was running through a garden maze.

I was excited about something but I didn’t know what it was.  Then I saw the exit to the maze. I ran faster and faster and faster – like I wasn’t going to reach the end in time.  But I did and I was outside the maze.

Then in an instant, the garden turned into a sea of clouds.

And there, standing at the far end was this guy in a white tuxedo.  He looked at me with the most gorgeous eyes.  It was Marty O’Brien!  I looked him.  I looked at myself.  I looked at him again and then myself again.  Then I noticed, I was wearing a white, shimmering, Swarovski-studded bridal gown.  I realized then… Marty and I were getting married!!!!

From that day on, it was history.  I couldn’t get that dream off my mind.  All of a sudden, I was a diehard fan!! It’s crazy!

 

We are the fallen

It’s like last song syndrome but the song is a music video of him and me in a garden wedding in the clouds, with a really funky, romantic bass riff in our wedding song. So corny, I know.  But it really gives me inspiration as I go about my day to day.

I’m an accounting student and so life can get a bit cold and drab.  I sometimes get brain freeze studying all that US GAAP and federal taxation stuff.  But WATF and their music and Marty O’Brien’s hotness makes the pain go away. Haha.

Anyways this site is a tribute to the band We Are the Fallen.  I didn’t know their songs before, but now after listening to them so many times, I have realized they are so freaking meaningful.

Some bashers say they’re just a copycat of Evanescence but I beg to disagree.  They were the ones who made those very songs that defined the sound of Evanescence. They used to be in that band.  If they just change their music style now for the sake of “being different” and appeasing critics, then that will be like selling themselves out.  I think they’re just being true to themselves and creating the music that is basically what they are. They shouldn’t change themselves just to be different. Yeah it’s so ironic.  But well, whatever, it all sounds amazing anyways!!!

 

 

 

Cramming For an Exam & Some Thoughts On Investing

Ok I am now cramming for an exam again.  I need some inspiration here.  And so I am back here now to my go-to place for curing brain freeze caused by too many finance terms.  After 4 hours of studying how to properly model discounted cash flow and internal rate of return analyses in excel,  I believe I am entitled to take a break…

Cramming for an exam

All you WATF fans out there, I’m sure you all have your interpretations of what “Bury Me Alive” means.  But you know what I thought of when I first heard it?  My credit card.  Yes, my credit card.  Because sometimes I feel like it wants to bury me in debt while I’m still alive.

I used to have a tiny shopping problem.  When I get stressed or even depressed, buying a shiny little trinket usually picks me up.  So give me a credit card and that’s like Prozac.  But buying a little trinket every time I was stressed has resulted in a truckload of useless stuff in my cabinets.  Fortunately, my credit limit’s not that high so I wasn’t really buried in debt.  But every time a bank offers me a new credit card now, I say yes, but I cut it up so I don’t get to use it.   Having the additional credit lines are good for my credit standing so I don’t refuse.  But I have to stop myself somehow.  I don’t want to be stuck with useless debt and cabinets filled with stationeries and keychains and magnets.  WATF is like my financial adviser and they say, don’t be “too consumed by your own emptiness and lies.”

What I’m starting to do now is try to enjoy the simple things in life whenever I get stressed.  Like listening to music or taking a walk outdoors. Or making a blog post. It’s free. Unlike rushing to the store to buy something to comfort me in my distress (I now have an impossible stock of office supplies, markers and post-it notes because I used to do that).

There was this point in time that I realized I could have just saved all that money I “invested” in stationeries and trinkets and placed it in a mutual fund or a VUL account.  I’d actually have a decent amount stashed by now.  Oh well.  At least the realization came.  I’m now actually starting over again.  I’m still young anyway and I believe that by applying the principle of compounding to whatever money I can save I still have a chance to be all set by the time I’m old.

I don’t know, maybe I can turn this into a “Hidden Financial Insights from WATF Songs” club.  Because money applies to all of us.  Even gothic, heavy rock fans can do with some cash.  Since I’m studying finance and accounting right now, and doing my own research on how to get rich anyway, I think that would be a great idea.  Yeah, while WATF plays “Bury Me Alive” I’m thinking, I’m glad I’ve cut up that credit card and, oh I wonder how much interest will I get credited with this month?

 

A Beginner’s Guide In Investing In Mutual Funds

Just because you are new and it is your first time to engage in the world of investing and finance, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to handle investing your money in mutual funds. Anyone can do it, as long as you don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by the many technical terms that professionals are using in this industry.

mutual funds

In case you’re not aware, there are actually a lot of people investing in mutual funds, especially in the United States. According to statistics, there are about 10 million people who are doing it and the sad part is (not to mention dangerous) these people have no idea what they got themselves into. Another truth to this fact is that these investors are not even first timers anymore and they continually lose money every single year. I don’t want that to happen to you, which is why I wrote this article to be your guide in making your money grow, as you put it in mutual funds.

You can see an example which describes the specific benefits by checking out LOM’s mutual funds

First of all, you must know that dealing with mutual funds is perfect for first time investors or the average type who are willing to shell money in stocks and bonds. To simply put it, they are like this pre-planned investment deal handled by professionals in this field. These people’s job is to make the lives of investors easier, especially when it is their first time.

As a beginner in this business, you have to first open an account where you would place your money with directions on how much should you invest and to what kind of funds should your money go to. Let’s say you first started investing to a stock called Euro Channels where you placed an amount worth $20,000. This mean that eventually you have shares from that stock, which would also make you earn a little amount from a portfolio of stocks. You will determine that amount of shares you will soon own based on the amount of share price when your purchase order has already been processed.

 

As a first timer in investing in mutual funds, you must know that there three kinds of funds you could choose from. Here they are:

 

  1. Stock
  2. Bond
  3. Money Market

 

Getting yourself familiar with those three will certainly give you an edge in earning big in this venture, while taking minimal risk in the process. My tip here is that you go ahead and place your money in all those three if you really want to make money in mutual funds consistently.

 

Investing in bonds is also one of the best things you could do when dealing with mutual funds. The risks are high on that one, but once it hits its peak, the returns would be really high, so it’s worth the risk!

 

Don’t lose hope when you don’t get your expected return at first. The first time is always the hardest, but you will learn from it and would eventually know some strategies related to investing.