Including Animation In Your Design System4 months, 10 days ago
Including Animation In Your Design System
Including Animation In Your Design System
(This article is sponsored by Adobe.) Design systems come in all shapes and sizes, but as Sparkbox’s design system survey noted, not all of them include guidelines for animation. Sure, some teams may have decided that motion wasn’t something their product needed guidance on, but I suspect that in some cases motion was left out because they weren’t sure what to include.
In the past few years, I’ve talked with many teams and designers who admit they think motion is something they should address, but they just aren’t sure how. If you’re in that boat, you’re in luck. This article is all about what to include in a set of motion guidelines for your design system and how to pull it off.
Animation is an important design tool for both UX and brand messaging. Just like typography and color, the animation you use says something about your product and its personality. So, when it’s not addressed in a design system, that system essentially leaves that area of UI design tooling unaccounted for. Then people following the design system either do whatever they want with animation — which can lead to a strange mish-mash of animation execution across the experience — or, they just don’t use animation at all because they don’t have time to figure out all the details themselves. Neither case is ideal.
Having a clear stance on how animation is used (or not used) in your design system can help ensure your brand is using animation consistently and effectively while also helping your team work faster. Let’s dig in to get started on a set of motion guidelines for your design system.
The Groundwork: Defining What You Need To Cover
First, Talk To People
As Jina Anne says, “Design systems are for people.” I’ve often heard the advice that talking to the people who will be using the design system you’re creating is key to making a design system people will actually use. That holds true for the guidelines you create around animation too. The biggest thing you can gain from this is finding out what they need and what to focus on. This helps you set an appropriate scope for what you need to cover in your guidelines. No one wants to spend hours on extensive guidelines that address more than your team will ever actually need. That wouldn’t be any fun (or use).
Set up some user interviews (the users of your design system) and ask them about where they get stuck with animation. Ask them how/if they use animation, and where animation falls in their design process. Ask them about what they wish they had to help with the pain points they encounter. Most importantly, listen to how they talk about using animation in their work and what goes well or not so well.
While every team is different, the concerns and questions I’ve heard most often when doing this research are things like: “How do I know an animation is good, or fits with our brand?”, “How can I convey the animation details to our engineers effectively?”,or “Our developers always say there’s no time to implement the animations we design.”
You’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this, but all of those concerns are things you can help provide answers to in your motion guidelines. And you can use the questions and pain points that come up most often to guide and focus your motion guideline efforts.
Reference Other Systems
Not every design system has to be public, but it’s great that so many of them are. They make for a helpful resource when planning your design system, and they can be useful research for your design system’s motion guidelines too. (In fact, we’ll be referencing a few them in this very article.)
Using other motion sections as reference for your own design system is very helpful, but I don’t recommend adopting another brand’s motion guidelines wholesale in place of your own. No, not even if it’s Material Design’s motion guidelines.
Material Design’s motion section is Google’s take on motion guidelines. A good one, yes, but its aim is to show you how to animate the Google way. That’s perfect if you’re making something for the Google ecosystem (or intentionally wanting to seem like you are). But it’s not a good fit when that’s not your goal. You wouldn’t use another brand’s colors or typeface on your product, so don’t just follow another brand’s motion guidelines either.
The most effective design systems contain a branded point of view unique to them — things that make their design system more specific to the product they’re for — along with common design best practices. Spend a little time researching and reading through other systems’ motion guidelines, and you start to get a feel for which parts are best practices and which parts are customized to that brand or product’s point of view. Then you can decide which best practices you might also like to include in your guidelines, as well as where to customize the guidelines for your product.
For example, using ease-ins for exits and ease-outs for entrances is a common best practice for UI animation. But the exact ease-in or ease-out curve is usually customized to a brand’s intended message and personality.
To quote Dan Mall:
“This is the kind of thing a design system should have guidelines for: perspective, point of view, extending creative direction to everyone that decides to build something with the design system. That stuff should be baked in.”
I totally agree.
The Two Main Sections Of A Design System’s Motion Guidelines
There’s no specific rule out there stating that you must have these two sections, but I’ve found this breakdown to be an effective way to approach the motion guidelines I’ve worked on. And I’ve also noticed that most design systems out there that address motion have these two categories as well, so it seems to be an approach that works for others too.
The two main sections are:
Motion PrinciplesPrinciples are typically high-level statements that explain how that brand uses motion. They’re the big picture point of view or design intention behind why the brand uses animation and their perspective on it.
ImplementationThis section focuses on how to carry out those principles practically in design and/or code. It serves as the building blocks of animation for the design system, and the amount of detail they cover varies based on brand needs.
The principles section is where to state your brand values around animation. They’re the high-level principles to measure design decisions against, and a place to state some specific definitions or values around animation. Principles often tend to focus on the “why” of using animation within a particular design system and the UX-driven purpose they serve. In many cases, design systems list these under the heading of Principles in their motion section. However, you can see the concept of principles present in ones that don’t include a specific section for them as well.
Your motion principles can be modeled after existing global design principles that your brand might have, extrapolated from things like voice and tone guidelines, or even be inferred from looking at your product’s existing UI animations in a motion audit.
Let’s look at some examples to get a better idea of how these play out. Microsoft’s Fluent design system lists their motion principles as being physical, functional, continuous, and contextual. They include a short description and illustration of each to explain how it applies to UI animation.
A segment of Fluent’s motion principles page (Large preview)
Audi doesn’t have a separate principles section, but they start off their animation section with a declaration of why they use animation, which is setting the stage for what sort of motion is to be used in the design system, just like a principle would. They state:
“We stand for dynamic premium mobility. As such, movements in the Audi look have a typically dynamic character.”
While developing the motion section for Spectrum, Adobe’s design system, we opted for a principles section to match the pattern used in other sections of the system. Within Spectrum, animation aims to be purposeful, intuitive, and seamless.
Note: Spectrum does not have a publicly available site at the time of writing.
Spectrum’s guiding motion principles for UI animation (Large preview)
No matter how you decide to present them, your design system’s animation principles can be used to both establish the system’s expectation around animation and to evaluate potential future UI animation for the product(s) the design system is applied to. For example, if a designer following the Fluent design system wanted to introduce a large bouncing animation into a component, there could be discussion around whether that meets the motion principles. (Does it fit the principles of functional and continuous?) Then a decision could be made as to whether or not that particular animation warranted breaking from the stated principles, or if the animation should be redesigned to fit the principles.
This helps to keep the design discussions away from the “do you like it?” or personal opinion realm and gives a structure for evaluating animation in a more pragmatic design-oriented way. That’s my favorite advantage of having declared motion principles; they make discussing animation meaningfully so much easier, even for people who don’t have a lot of animation experience.
Quick Tip: For more motion principles references, check out Photon’s motion principles, Material Design motion principles and Carbon’s motion principles. There are also others out there, but these are a good start.
Motion principles are great for some high-level guidance, but without some details on exactly how to implement them, you’ll be missing the biggest time-saving benefits of including animation in your design system. The implementation section (though rarely actually titled as such) helps to answer many of the “how” and
“what” questions your team has around animation. The objective is to provide smart defaults for anyone following the design system. That way, instead of spending ages playing around with durations and easing for every animation, they can use the smart defaults you’ve provided in the guidelines and be on their way. It’s a huge timesaver that also makes your UI animation much more consistent across the board.
The implementation guidelines are where a lot of design systems diverge in their approach and coverage. The amount of detail you include and the topics you cover in these guidelines will depend on how big of a role animation plays in your design efforts and what your team needs. For example, Photon’s implementation section includes just one duration and one easing curve, while Material Design’s includes individual sections on duration and easing as well as additional pages full of implementation details.
There’s no perfect length for a motion section; it’s more about covering the details your team needs than hitting a specific number of pages or rules. Some of the animation building blocks to consider including in your motion guidelines are:
The first three in the list are the main ways we customize or style animation. Variations in the properties, durations, and easings used for animation can drastically affect how animations come across. (And the last one is a way of packing up the first three.)
Let’s dig into each in more detail, and for each of these I’ll point out some of the common best practices and where there’s room for your own customized interpretation.
Durations, Ranges, And Rhythm
Duration has to do with how long animations should be, and when we’re talking about UI animation, these values tend to be very short. It’s amazing how much information we can convey in fractions of a second! This is a key aspect of animation, so every design system with motion guidelines covers it, but they do it in a variety of ways.
Some of the best practices around duration that you’ll see addressed in most motion guidelines include:
Shorter durations should be used for simpler effects and animations of relatively small-sized (such as fades or color changes);
Longer durations should be used for more complex effects and animations of larger relative scale (such as page transitions or moving objects on and offscreen);
Optimal timing can change based on viewport size.
While the specifics of each set of guidelines varies — sometimes even greatly — you’ll see these common best practices in almost all of them. Different systems have different definitions of exactly what “short” or “long” durations are, and go into varying amounts of detail on the difference between the two. Also, while it’s more of a design system thing than an animation best practice, providing design tokens for your specified duration values is a useful thing to consider here as well.
Carbon provides a short table of ranges of duration values based on the type of animation in question. While Material Design breaks down recommendations on duration speed in categories based on the complexity of the animation, as well as by the relative area covered by the animation. Pluralsight takes a different approach and provides a set of keywords for different durations paired with cute animals.
Carbon’s illustration and table sorted by interaction type give guidance on what durations to use for UI animation within the system. (Large preview)
Pluarsight’s design system lists durations, animals and design tokens for each of its duration options. (Large preview)
My number one advice for easing guidelines is to create your own customized curves and don’t just use the CSS defaults. This is the most effective way to build some consistent motion association for your brand and as Sarah Drasner puts it: build “motion equity.” You’ll be on solid ground with just three curves: a custom eas-out, ease-in, and ease-in-out. And there’s always the option to add more if needed.
Quick Tip: If you’re totally stumped on where to start on easing curves, check out the Penner Easing equations on easings.net. These are designed to give you some nice looking motion and are grouped in threes for easy use. They’re much more expressive and flexible than the CSS defaults. Using a set of these in your motion guidelines can be a great place to start.
A few of the Penner Easing Equations illustrated as cubic-bezier curves. (Large preview)
Essential Easing Functions
I recommend defining the three core easing curves because that will cover all your main easing needs for various animations.
This curve is the one that accelerates as it begins any movement which reads well for moving an object out of view.
This curve causes objects to decelerate before stopping which makes for a more natural feeling way to bring objects into view.
As the name suggests, this curve combines the features of the first two and is best for moving elements from point to point.
With these three custom curves, you’ll have almost all your animation needs covered.
The three main types of curves most motion guidelines include (Large preview)
For Spectrum, we did exactly that and created three custom easing curves along with recommendations on which kinds of animation to use each for. (We came up with these curves through looking at existing animation and experimenting with some motion studies.)
Carbon and Pluralsight take a similar approach, designating three curves with suggested uses, as well as designating one as the default curve to use when in doubt. In some cases, you might only feel the need to have one custom easing curve (like Photon does) defining one curve for use across all animations.
One of Spectrum’s three custom easing curves (Large preview)
Along with the easing curves, it’s helpful to provide some supporting information like associated design tokens, language-specific code (for CSS, JS, iOS and/or Android), or After Effects keyframe velocities depending on which tools your team uses. This adds to the ease of use and helps make following the smart defaults in your motion guidelines the path of least resistance.
A visual illustration of the curve and interactive examples of the curve are also a big plus for quickly demonstrating how the easing curves work and what they look like. Never underestimate the power of showing instead of telling. (Or showing along with telling!)
Including a hierarchy of easing is one way you can take things a little further than the three core custom curves. This can be especially useful for brands that use motion as a core method of conveying their design message. Just like with type, you may want a way to make certain animation stand out more than others. Animations that stand out more strongly can be used to emphasize a particular point or interaction. In these cases, structuring your easing curves so that you have one that is more dramatic to stand out from the others can be a useful technique.
Off To A Good Start
At this point, armed with principles plus your durations and easing sections, you have a solid set of motion guidelines. That might be all you need for a version one of your motion guidelines, or for a brand that doesn’t rely heavily on motion in its design. If you’re pressed for time, establishing smart defaults for durations and easing will get far enough to see the benefits of establishing motion guidelines and save your team time.
Providing a listing of named effects or a library of animations to use can be a useful thing to have in your motion guidelines. Not all design system’s motion guidelines have these, some opt to bake the animation guidelines into their components instead (or as well), and some just don’t need this level of detail.
One word of caution on these though: more isn’t always better. It might look cool to have a huge library of animations as part of your design system, but the more effects you list, the more time and effort it will take to maintain those effects. To avoid creating a huge time sink for you and your team, I’d suggest making any collection of named effects as small as you possibly can.
There tend to be two approaches to providing a library of effects in motion guidelines. One approach is the way the Lightning design system does it, providing a library of small animation effects (molecules of animation, if you will) that can be used individually or composed together to build up more complex animations.
A few of Lightning Design System’s named animation library (Large preview)
The other approach is to provide more comprehensive and purpose-specific effects like Audi does for its show and hide, transform, shift, and superimposing effects and Fluent does for its page transition effects. For either approach, providing the design rationale and specific code implementations for each is useful.
Quick Tip: If you’re looking for additional motion guidelines for research, Adele is a design system collection that lets you filter by topics like motion, and styleguides.io is always a great resource for finding public design systems too.
Other Places Motion Might Come Up In Your Design System
Design systems come in all shapes and sizes. And in many cases these animation guidelines are also baked into the DNA or components of your design systems. Digging into how to do that is beyond the scope of what we’re covering here, but I do want to note that can also be useful to include animation information on component-specific pages instead of in a named effects section. It all depends on what works best for your team and your design system.
Additionally, it might be useful to call out performance and accessibility considerations for animation either in those sections of your design system, in guidelines for components, or in the motion section itself. Performance and accessibility goals affect all aspects of our design work, and animation is no exception there.
Some Parting Thoughts
I hope this article has helped to show that including motion guidelines in your design system can be incredibly useful, and helped to demystify the process of creating one. Addressing animation in your design system can be beneficial to the consistency of your product’s design and doesn’t have to be an overly time-consuming effort.
As you’re working on your motion guidelines, I encourage you to work in stages instead of waiting for your motion guidelines to be perfect. Shipping a version one with the intention of adding to it and updating it is much easier on you, the person or people authoring the guidelines, and can help you make sure you’re creating guidelines that are useful.
As hard as it can be to share something that you know is missing some detail, it can be hugely useful to ship a version one of your motion guidelines then talk to your team again to see how the first version of the guidelines has helped them and which pain points are still a factor. This iterative approach can go far towards making your guidelines cover the most relevant topics, and lets you adapt them to your team’s needs. Both are good for having a system that’s useful and avoiding unnecessary extra effort.
This article is part of the UX design series sponsored by Adobe. Adobe XD is made for a fast and fluid UX design process, as it lets you go from idea to prototype faster. Design, prototype and share — all in one app. You can check out more inspiring projects created with Adobe XD on Behance, and also sign up for the Adobe experience design newsletter to stay updated and informed on the latest trends and insights for UX/UI design.
Read more: smashingmagazine.com
The 33 Best Free Fonts Designers Should Download5 months, 8 days ago
Finding stylish fonts for your design projects can be a major time sink — especially when you have to wade through seemingly endless pages of typefaces that don’t suit the vision you have in your head.
Finding a free font can be even more of a hassle.
So what’s a budget-strapped designer to do?
We’ve scoured the depths of the internet so you don’t have to, coming up with 33 of the best free fonts you deserve to have on your computer. Here’s how we sorted them:
Many of the free fonts featured here were developed by designers, for designers, so they understand the need for versatile, polished, free typefaces firsthand. Check out the fonts below and keep them in mind for your next design project.
Best Free Fonts for Designers
Hello Stockholm — script font
Wildera Regular — script font
Mightype — script font
Selima — script font
Oranienbaum Regular — serif font
Butler — serif font
Arctic — serif font
Canvas — serif font
Bitter ht — serif font
Agne Regular — serif font
Yeseva One Regular — serif font
Moon — modern font
Kolikö — modern font
Mohave — modern font
Alcubierre Regular — modern font
Bourbon Grotesque — modern font
Frontage Outline — modern font
Arciform Sans Regular — modern font
De La Fuente — modern font
Westfalia — font for logos
Atami — font for logos
Anders — font for logos
Westmeath — font for logos
Modeno — font for logos
Rezland — font for logos
Polya — font for logos
Horizon — retro font
Sweet Sensations — retro font
ITC Bauhaus — retro font
Bobbers — retro font
FF Blur — retro font
Canterbury — retro font
Free Script Fonts
1. Hello Stockholm
What happens when you combine Scandinavian minimalism with classic brushstrokes? You get Hello Stockholm, a casual script that plays well with sans-serif fonts.
We think this whimsical, light-weight script would look right at home in a fairy tale (or in your next project).
Subtle hand-drawn details set this script apart from the pack. Mightype is sophisticated without being stuffy.
Selima’s breezy brushstrokes are perfect proof that script typefaces don’t have to look old-fashioned or uptight — they can be casual and modern.
Free Serif Fonts
5. Oranienbaum Regular
From small print to bold headlines, multi-tasking Oranienbaum is up to the challenge.
A decidedly modern serif typeface, Butler comes in 14 different weights to suit a wide variety of different uses.
If you’re looking for a slab serif font with a modern edge, give Arctic a try. It’s a great way to give your headlines some character.
Canvas offers a modest but professional typeface that manipulates the thickness in the details of each letter. If you’re looking for formality and creativity in the same font, this one takes the cake.
9. Bitter ht
We love the versatility of Bitter ht, a contemporary serif typeface that looks stylish at any size or weight.
10. Agne Regular
With bold lines and contrasting stems, this elegant font is a fresh take on old-fashioned serif typefaces.
If you’re concerned that serif typefaces come across as too uptight or formal, consider Yeseva, a laid-back option for headlines and subtitles.
Free Modern Fonts
Have you exhausted your library of simple and free sans-serif typefaces? Add Moon to the mix. We love this font’s clean simplicity and round edges.
This bold font evokes a sense of mystery to any creative work. Or, if you just want to geek out about something on your new tech blog, we can totally see this font playing a part.
This all-caps font was designed with bold headlines and big type settings in mind.
15. 20 db
The font below is simply timeless. Whether you’re designing for an event advertisement or the headers of your blog, 20 db is confidence in written form.
Clean, minimal, and geometric, Alcubierre is well-suited to projects that require subtle headlines and a clear focus on the content.
Inspired by — you guessed it — classic bourbon labels, this sans-serif has a big personality that demands attention.
18. Frontage Outline
Frontage Outline is reminiscent of handcrafted facade signs, making it a suitable pick for logotypes.
Arciform might be simple, but this sleek sans-serif is far from boring. Consider including this easy-to-read typeface in your next web design project.
20. De La Fuente
This cool typeface is decorative without being over-the-top, making it ideal for headlines, logotypes, and other design projects that focus primarily on the text.
Good Fonts for Logos
Give your next project an outdoorsy, authentic feel with this hand-painted brush sans, which makes for a playful logo as well.
Atami’s numerous weights and display options make it the Swiss Army Knife of modern sans-serifs — it can really do it all for a rising brand.
Anders just might be the avant-garde font of your dreams. It’s unique geometric lines make it an excellent choice for logotypes.
Westmeath adds a dose of swagger to an otherwise basic font, making a logo that uses this font both legible and stylish.
The Modeno font is consistent with the thin designs that many contemporary artists have gravitated to over the last few years. But don’t mistake this one for just any new-wave typeface — its lanky quality is hard to come by in today’s sans-serif options.
Rezland is just plain cool. It almost doesn’t have time for you … that’s just how cool this font choice is.
Polya is perhaps the most interesting font we could find. The webbing of each letter makes for a truly mesmerizing logo.
Free Retro Fonts
Horizon is a simple but retro font that elicits images of an old outer space movie. And yet, it still holds up.
29. Sweet Sensations
30. ITC Bauhaus
Similar to Horizon, ITC Bauhaus has a rounded, retro look that comes in numerous thicknesses. Thicker versions look like the header of an old playbill, while thinner styles give off a jazzy vibe.
Bobbers is a script font that has the goofy and over-the-top qualities of an old sitcom. Bring it back from the 1970s in your next design project for a truly confident header.
32. FF Blur
The haunting glow of FF Blur reminds us of an old horror movie. But it might be just soft enough to intrigue the audience of your next project.
No list of old-fashioned fonts is complete without the old-English stylings of Canterbury. Emulate many of today’s most famous newspaper logos with this traditional typeface.
We hope you find these fonts helpful — but because they are offered by other parties on their sites, we can’t make any guarantees or promises about them (like that they will be available or free to use).
Also, we want to mention that the designers who offer these fonts might have rules about how you can or can’t use them, so there might be limitations that are applicable to use of the font.
Want more font tips? Check out this tip for identifying the name of a font.
Read more: blog.hubspot.com
Dezeen’s Christmas gift guide 2018: foodies7 months, 7 days ago
Our selection of 15 food and drink Christmas gifts – which includes a Japanese dish rack, a sandy-hued ceramic French press and an architect-designed kettle – will help you find the perfect gift for foodies.
Alba by Joe Doucet
New York-based designer Joe Doucet is behind this three-piece drinking set: an ideal gift for the design-conscious whiskey connoisseur.
Created for contemporary glassware company Nude, Albar includes a whiskey bottle and two tumblers all with bases etched with markings that are based on Scottish tartan.
Photograph by Freya Matchett
Chopping boards by Case Furniture
Concentric circles are carved out of this natural beach wood chopping board, which can be used for both cutting and displaying food.
The block forms part of British designer Gareth Neal’s kitchenware range for Case Furniture, with each using digital manufacturing techniques to get precise designs. A ridged long tray for serving eggs and a circular design with a square indent for crudités also feature in the collection.
Trays by Vitra
This set of simple trays by British designer Jasper Morrison would add a pop of colour to any dining table.
Morrison has used his famed minimal style for the set, sold at the WallpaperStore, which comprises three circular designs of different sizes and colour gradients. The red colourway darkens as the plate size increases, while a green range gets paler.
Ultima Thule by Iittala
Melting ice provided the cues for the rippling and cracked surfaces of this jug and glass set, which Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala created in the 1960s.
Glassware brand Iittala reissued the glass ware, which is available from Skandium, in a moody “rain” hue to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018.
Duo Salt & Pepper Grinder by Zaha Hadid Design
Zaha Hadid Design has drawn on the sinuous forms synonymous with the work of its late founder for these sculptural salt and pepper grinders.
The pair have three sides that curve up to a triangular top, evoking the twisting motion of hands when using the tools. The duo are identical shape but come in different greyscale hues to tell them apart.
Table Mortar by Mark Braun
Berlin-based industrial designer Mark Braun created this pale marble pestle and mortar to be the centrepiece of the dining table, not just for grinding and storing spices.
Produced by furniture brand Hem, the vessel features a small indent carved out of its base. A bulb-shape on the underside of the lid matches this so that the two slot together, either closing to form a container or creating a tight fit for pulverising.
Emma by HolmbäckNordentoft
Design duo HolmbäckNordentoft took cues from the “golden age of Danish design” for this electrice kettle created for Scandinavian brand Stelton.
It features a sleek black body, which is complemented by a curvy beech handle, giving an almost retro feel. It is also fitted with a removable limescale filter and a dry boil safety switch, which turns it off automatically when it runs out of water.
Nest 9 Plus by Joseph Joseph
Give multiple gifts in one with this colourful nesting set by household product brand Joseph Joseph.
The entire kit contains bowls, a sieve, a colander and measuring spoons, which are designed to slot inside each other to save space in the cupboards when not in use. Each item is a boldly different colour to make them easy recognise.
Casserole dish by Crane
Cook up warming stews, soups and casseroles in style with this all-black cast iron dish by Crane.
The matte enamel runs inside and out of the product, a typical feature of the UK company’s cookware, and makes it suited to design-savvy cooks who know that black never goes out of style.
Kettle Teapot by Norm Architects
Danish studio Norm Architects designed this glass teapot, giving it a tall body, rounded handle and short spout. The tea egg that plugs in the top is accessed via a black silicon string.
Menu produces the product and also sells an accompanying “kettle teapot heater” to be used for boiling water – in case you’re feeling particularly generous.
Sowden Bottle by Hay
Named after designer George Sowden, Hay’s vacuum flask is intended to be playful and uconventional.
The stainless steel body, which keeps keep drinks hot, tapers inwards to the top, while the plastic, no-drip screw cap branches out slightly on top. Both also come in a range of different colours.
The Kitchen Shelf by Rosie Reynolds and Eve O’Sullivan
Published by Phaidon, The Kitchen Shelf teaches budding cooks the art of maximising their cupboard stock, and how to swap in and out ingredients to make 100 easy recipes.
The book, which is written by Rosie Reynolds and Eve O’Sullivan, has a simple design, contrasting colourful images and a white backdrop.
Wood-Handled Dish Rack by Yamazaki Design
Ash wood handles offset a steel cut frame to make up this minimal dish rack by Japanese homeware company Yamazaki Design.
Plates, cutting boards, pots, pans and bowls are all intended to fit into slots within the structure, with the pale plastic tray beneath catching any water run off.
Grateful Grater by Böttcher Henssler Kayser
Every home cook worth their salt needs a good grater. Treat a cook to this one designed by Berlin based studio Böttcher Henssler Kayser for Rig-Tig.
The grey product contains four graters in a self-standing rubbery frame. Each grater has matching, non-slip grey grips on both the top and bottom.
French Press by Yield
Florida design studio Yield has created a ceramic press to keep coffee hot during lazy mornings or long days in the studio.
Featuring a geometric handle that makes it easy to hold, the cafetière comes in earthy sandy and grey hues, as well as glossy black and white.
Note: entries in Dezeen’s 2018 Christmas gift guides have been paid for or include affiliate links.
Read more: dezeen.com
The best places to live in video games8 months, 23 days ago
Looking at places to live in games, it would be easy for the most magnificent, pompous and elegant palaces and castles to dominate any appreciation. But there is plenty of room to appreciate those residences that are tucked away, perhaps underrated, that are not major hubs or destinations and that are only subtle intrusions. Some draw a curious sense of attachment from players, eliciting a sense of pseudo-topophilia – a close relationship with a virtual land or place. The resulting effect is sometimes enough to cause the sentiment: if this place were real, I would live there.
Right in the corner of the Hinterlands in Dragon Age: Inquisition is the Grand Forest Villa. Its position in the landscape is not obtrusive or jarring, and in turn makes use of the surrounding Hinterlands as its grounds and gardens. Not only does it look fantastic in its geographical context, the residence fits the medieval-fantasy context, oozing grandeur and splendour. But it also serves a purpose: in the Dragon Age lore, it was built for a special friend of the Arl of Redcliffe to allow him to stay near Redcliffe Castle, but far enough away to not raise eyebrows or induce scandal. Designed to be elegant and bold, the Villa – which is a generous term – would have been a beautiful place to live. Even though there are no obvious living spaces on show to relate to they are there – probably within the thick stone walls that add a strange, yet weirdly complete juxtaposition of woodland villa aesthetic next to defensive fortress.
Its semi-open nature permeates its design. Opening up sides and boundaries has the effect of bringing the outside, inside – nowadays, think about homes that have entire walls made of glass to bring their garden ‘inside’ – blurring the boundary between indoor luxury and the pleasantness of nature, landscapes and plants. It also opens up expansive and brilliant vistas from the Grand Forest Villa, the importance of which is demonstrated by the design of designated viewing decks or points offering fabulous views over the lush and rolling Hinterlands landscape.
Read more: eurogamer.net
Paula Lorence designs Taktil objects for children with autism8 months, 30 days ago
Riga School of Design and Art graduate Paula Lorence has created a series of objects to help children with autism spectrum disorders with their sensory development.
The Taktil collection features 12 objects made from eight types of materials that are designed to produce different tactile sensations when touched by children.
“Tactile objects are used during therapy sessions by therapists who are working with autistic children,” Lorence told Dezeen.
“Tactile sensory stimulation involves the sensation of touch and texture. This method helps children focus, overcome sensory sensitivities and soothes anxiety,” she explained.
Lorence separated the objects into three levels. The first level is for children who are particularly sensitive, the second is for children who are more developed and can manage stronger tactile stimulation, the third level objects are used in situations when children have anxiety or panic attacks.
The objects are made from a variety of materials, including silicone, wood, transparent plastic, aluminium, cork, bristle, felt and composite material silkstone. Each product is meant to produce a different tactile sensation.
The project aims to provide tools that can help children on the autistic spectrum achieve higher levels of concentration and reduce stress in their everyday lives.
“Innovative and well-considered design has an immense significance for people with disabilities. For those people tactile stimulation is essential because it can affect the brain development and potentially bring positive changes into their lives,” said Lorence.
“Deployment of the right kind of design can facilitate the involvement of disabled people into contemporary life, which can contribute to the overall enrichment of the society.”
The Riga Design and Art School product design graduate based her project on research that shows that one in every 58 people is affected by autism.
She also spoke to parents of children with autism, who expressed the need for more products designed for those affected by the disorder.
“The objects that are normally available to buy are very generalised and many children who have autism can’t use them. These observations inspired me to attempt to develop a set of objects that would be specifically designed for children with autism,” she explained.
“I wanted to design something that would not just be aesthetically pleasing and highly functional, but also fall within the category of socially responsible design,” she said.
Other projects from the design fair include a series of furniture that expands and contracts according to a user’s needs and an ergonomic cushion in the shape of a headless torso to provide physical and emotional support for lonely millennials.
The post Paula Lorence designs Taktil objects for children with autism appeared first on Dezeen.
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Shaping the Future: What to Consider When Designing for Children10 months, 7 days ago
Le Corbusier stated in his seminal text, Towards a New Architecture, that “…man looks at the creation of architecture with his eyes, which are 5 feet 6 inches from the ground.” Logical and rational codes such as this form the standard for much of architectural production – but of course, these “norms” are as constructed as architecture itself. This particular standard is especially irrelevant when designing for children, for whom the adult-centric assumptions of architecture do not and should not apply.
As of 2018, children (i.e., people aged 15 years or younger) make up 26% of our global population; a statistic we should all appreciate given that a whopping 100% have, in fact, been children at some point ourselves. While there are a multitude of factors that shape the kind of adults we become, the architecture we encounter as children – be it the stacks in the library where you played hide-and-seek or the door handle you had to stand on tiptoes to reach – can have a great impact on your perspective of the world. When designing architecture for specifically for children, we are in a way molding these future perspectives, and it is therefore vital we treat the process with both rigor and empathy.
“Memories like these contain the deepest architectural experience that I know. They are the reservoirs of the architectural atmospheres and images that I explore in my work as an architect” – Peter Zumthor, speaking of his childhood memories in Switzerland
It is perhaps practical to first consider this from a literal standpoint: a young child’s eyes are, on average, about 3 feet 6 inches from the ground. Bad design for children is relatively simple to pick out as it typically ignores this fact (and often continues to fail from there.)
As many architectural governing bodies (such as the AIA and RIBA) push for more localized standards for school design, particularly those aiming to promote safety and healthy learning environments, architects must still consider things such as. What spaces will encourage learning? What plans will promote play? How can we create the right level of social interaction between ages?
Generally speaking, there are no universal laws for good design. But thanks to decades of research regarding the sociological and psychological development of children at universities across the world, there is data to at least suggest a number of key principles: the encouragement of social interaction, the promotion of playful learning, and the involvement of nature. How these things principles are realized can vary immensely.
In his speech to congress, the new Sandy Hook School architect Jay Brotman referenced how design for children, in particular schools, depends heavily on the individual community and the context. This, with the added individuality of the architect, creates a bespoke and organic design process from the off. Certain schemes promote certain characteristics, and some projects lean heavily on certain techniques, all doing so to achieve a successful child-friendly space that suits the function best. Through delving into what makes a successful, child-centric design, we can begin to make note of the binding attributes that great schemes share.
“We have an innate capacity for remembering and imagining places.” – Juhani Pallasmaa, the Eyes of the Skin
While often not the most appealing of design influences, safety is by far the most important characteristic of any scheme for children. This need not, however, refer to the “bubble” approach to safety; an approach which lazily often results in soft edges with soft materials in soft designs. A more basic understanding of safety for children is the notion that, as an adult, you are able to see the child anywhere in the space.
Schools and kindergartens are key proponents of using plan to protect their children. VERSTAS Architects demonstrate this in their Saunalahti School scheme, where a dominating, linear brick facade creates a border to the public, and the enclosed area uses the typology of the site to ‘herd in’ the students, without the feeling of complete enclosure.
Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child states that “every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.” Architects have a responsibility to design spaces that enable the essential natural creativity and freedom of play, and nurture it. This can be achieved in several ways, but can be boiled down to structured play and abstracted play.
U.K. based Turner Prize winning design collective Assemble created an exhibition that summarized the themes of abstract play in 2015. ‘Brutalist Playground’ used the play areas of the 1950s and 1960s social estate architecture, promoting the ability of their solid and non-descript forms to create a space that encourages children to fill in the blanks with their imaginations. According to the research, these spaces gave the children the autonomy to do as they pleased, learning and growing along the way. ASPECT Studio applied many of the same principles into its colorful Wantou & Vanke Paradise Art Wonderland park in Heifei, China.
Contrasting this open-ended approach, the work of French architects NP2F demonstrates equal success from a more structured approach. Utilizing the traditional methods associated with urban sport spaces and play areas, NP2F guided the development of their Evolution Ground Alfortville project in such a way as to “promote a decompartmentalization of sport spaces,” maintaining a known method of interaction for the children. The project, with its areas of “urban gentleness” creating an adaptable, highlights this approach in a multi-use space. “The importance given to detail (ground, morphology, folds and boundaries) allows us to offer to the young people of the ZAC, beyond a simple football ground, a “configured” space, space of encounters and exchanges,” the architects explain in the description of the project.
In a world designed for adults, sometimes one of the most important features of child-centric architecture is child-only features. Enabling children to interact or navigate with the architecture in a way that is unique to their circumstance can be essential to the idea of play, letting the children truly be independent and self supporting through the nature of the design.
Five Fields Play Structure by Matter Design + FR|SCH shows how multiple levels of space can be juxtaposed into a fun, condensed setting, that allows adults to access each part but at a hindered pace and freedom to the children. “Dedicated to imagination” and “resisting literal and singular readings”, the structure is designed with the nimble nature of its client in mind. Sitting on a green, sloping context, Five Fields uses a carefully imagined plan to create several areas where children can interact with the architecture on their own terms, “liberating the kids to fly through the spaces”.
The one thing universal about children it is that no child is the same. By extension, no one interaction with a child is the same, and the day-to-day ways in which a child uses space may differ significantly. This is partly the reason why your traditional square, isolated classroom has been proven inefficient in the teaching and developing of young people. Spaces must be malleable, and must be able to adapt to any given situation. They must also be open, and have access to nature, as children are not meant to be restricted to the confines of our adult preconceptions of space.
One of the greatest examples of this adaptability and openness is the award winning Fuji Kindergarten by Tezuka Architects. The distinctive oval shaped plan, which features a large green space in the center and a generous, wooden roof terrace all around promotes the natural movement of children through the space. The kindergarten, as a consequence of this plan, has one of the highest athletic abilities in the area, as children who go there move on average 4km per day. The classrooms themselves have no walls, as the continuous plan means the children can never get lost or wander far away, and this open architecture is summed up by Takaharu Tezuka when he says:
This kindergarten is completely open, most of the year. And there is no boundary between inside and outside.So it means basically this architecture is a roof. And also there is no boundary between classrooms. So there is no acoustic barrier at all. When you put many children in a quiet box, some of them get really nervous. But in this kindergarten, there is no reason they get nervous. Because there is no boundary.
This openness and involvement of nature is something that Danish office Dorte Mandrup consistently shows within their work, from the hillside-like Råå Day Care Center to the more urban Kanderborggade Day Care Centre.
In many recent projects, research and design are fused together in order to create specialized spaces for certain groups of younger people. The research project Social Sensory Architectures use their work to create spaces that are both comforting and helpful to children with autism, while Spencer Luckey’s abstract, undulating platforms “form a blank canvas for the children to establish their own narrative” in a gender-neutral playground.
Catalytic Action create design play structures within refugee communities, letting the children take ownership of the design to provide relief and independence to a community of children that often has to grow up faster than others.
Providing spaces for counseling and support within schools is a key issue, as the mental pressure of being a child has arguably never been more of an issue. Architect Karina Ruiz emphasizes the importance of locating these spaces in key areas, in order to avoid disenfranchisement or the feeling of isolation. “Simple things like moving a counseling wing and putting those where students are located—near commons, near libraries—and then making them transparent.”
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Design and Web team summary – 13 August 201810 months, 27 days ago
Welcome to the latest work and updates from the design and web team.
The web team were asked to take over the development of mir-server.io. This has begun by moving the site over to the web teams infrastructure on Kubernetes. The site has also been redesigned including a reference arch diagram.
The content that relies on external feeds throughout www.ubuntu.com had issues. This included the partner’s logo feed and resources which is loaded from the Ubuntu blog. These issues have been fixed and improved the feed reliability.
The search on www.ubuntu.com has been based on our Google search appliance for many years. This product from Google has been discontinued and therefore we switched to a hosted Google custom search solution.
We were unable to release partners.ubuntu.com due to issues with the application. This has been fixed and we are now able to release the site again. The partners IBM page has been rewritten and redesigned.
Introduced multiple workers for our Python websites, so they can handle more traffic.
Updated the global-nav module with the brand new design and content. With a new login menu to link users to areas of login.
We have continued to improve the infrastructure of the MAAS UI by converting the “storage partition form”, “add machine”, “special file system” to components.
Design/UX has been working on improving the header action menu component in the MAAS UI to make integrations move clear.
Completed the conversion of jujucharms.com to the latest version of Vanilla framework.
Subiquity user testing have been organised and arranged for next iteration.
Create an IoT category page on snapcraft.io which will be live shortly – We worked with Marketing to create a new page to showcase relevant blog posts and snaps related to Internet of Things with the aim of raising awareness about the benefits of using snaps on the IoT space. We are still waiting some changes into docs and build.snapcraft.io before we deploy this content into production.
Marketo e-mail campaigns – All emailing communications done using Marketo from snapcaft.io (We ported 33 e-mails for onboarding, build tips and other platform comms) use the unified e-mail template that follows Vanilla look and feel. Next steps will be to make the content more visual and work wtih branding on how to extend the brand beyond the header.
The vanillaframework.io website has been moved to the web teams Kubernetes infrastructure including new stylised the header of the pages across the pages.
We didn’t have a mobile solution that worked when viewing the documentation menu, so we wanted to improve this and enable users to have a better mobile experience. We explored a variety of ideas but decided on bringing both site and documentation menus into one tab. This meant we could recover vertical space and have a visible open-tab state for ‘Patterns’ and ‘About’ which lets users now open the other option without closing the other one first.
A Vanilla showcase page has been designed to show a list of existing sites using Vanilla
The sketch file which is available on the website has been updated to match the latest components v1.8.0
The multipass logo has been designed and will be finalised soon.
Read more: insights.ubuntu.com
Not Your Father’s Laminate: Check out These Woodgrain, Stone and Matte Finishes10 months, 28 days ago
Laminate used to look cheap and cheesy. It was durable, but certainly not fashionable. However, times have changed, and now the material is much more realistic-looking. In fact, it can mimic many of your favorite materials, which makes it an excellent, inexpensive design choice. Whether you choose to implement it on floors, countertops or even walls, there’s sure to be a use for laminate in any room of your house. Read on to learn more about how to incorporate this once-taboo material into your home.
One of the benefits of laminate flooring is that it can easily mimic a variety of materials: wood, stone and even tile. No matter what your design needs are, there’s likely a laminate to match. And while it doesn’t have the same properties as the material it mimics, it’s still a more affordable way to get that visual effect.
Modern laminate floors are also easy to install, unlike older versions that required glue. Claire E. Tamburro of Tamburro Interiors explains, “Laminate flooring comes in sheets and planks and is either installed as a ‘floating floor,’ meaning there is no adhesive holding it in place, or adhesive is used to install.” However, she warns that the floating floor option can sound hollow and create an echo. “Some manufacturers add a cork layer to the back of the planks to provide an added acoustical layer.” This softens potential unwanted noise as you walk across the floors.
Worried about damaging or cleaning your floor? Never fear; some brands are water-resistant and scratch-resistant, and many don’t require waxing or polishing. “Laminate flooring looks very realistic and is generally easy to clean with a vacuum and damp mop,” adds Tamburro. “It can scratch and get dings and dents over time, but overall, it is a durable material.” This resiliency makes it perfect for high-traffic areas.
Mina Fies, creator of the Renovation Roadmap and the founder and CEO of Synergy Design & Construction, tells Freshome, “The biggest laminate trend I’m seeing in the residential remodeling and design industry is increased use in countertops and cabinetry.”
It’s no surprise, really. An actual granite or marble countertop could cost $120 per square foot to install. However, the Formica marble laminate countertops in the photos below range between $14 and $38 per square foot. The money you save on countertops allows you to splurge on other items.
What’s more, these countertops often look just like the real deal. “Formica in particular has some new edges in its ‘Ideal Edge’ collection which makes it appear the pattern is throughout the whole countertop (like stone), when in reality it’s just wrapped around the edge,” says Fies.
“Most laminates are available in simulated wood and stone looks, often with an embossed texture that makes them even more realistic,” adds Tamburro. High gloss and matte options also provide a well-finished and modern look.
To clean stains on a laminate countertop, use a mild detergent with water and a nylon brush and use a circular motion. Then blot with a soft, clean cloth. You should never use harsh, abrasive cleaners or materials, which can cause permanent staining. And a word of caution in kitchens: Don’t rest hot pots and pans on a Formica countertop. As with other materials, it can leave a permanent burn mark.
Other uses for laminate
Because laminate is so easy to work with, you don’t have to feel limited to the traditional floors and countertops. Need an accent wall? Laminate could do the trick; just look at the wood headboard in the bedroom photo below.
Or, for a more out-of-the-box choice, try finishing your kitchen cabinets in laminate. It’s an unconventional choice, given the material’s formerly taboo nature, but it’s an inexpensive way to give your kitchen that little extra something.
“Laminate is no longer reserved just for floors,” Fies says. “Demand is being driven by the new and improved quality of options now available, and this is changing the way we all think about laminate. Regardless of your design idea, laminate can handle it.”
What about you? Will you be incorporating this material into your design? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
The post Not Your Father’s Laminate: Check out These Woodgrain, Stone and Matte Finishes appeared first on Freshome.com.
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A new website lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — and the results are undeniably cool1 year, 18 days ago
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Grafomap is a website that lets you design custom map posters of any place in the world.
You can make one of your hometown, your college town, your favorite travel destination, or the place where you got engaged or married — you’re only limited by your imagination.
I made a poster of my favorite vacation spot, and the finished product is undeniably cool.
The design process was super straightforward… and a lot of fun.
Custom map posters start at just $49.
I’ve lived in my current apartment for six months, and I still have yet to find wall art my partner and I both like enough to hang in it.
We’re picky about what we should hang on our walls. Neither of us wants to decorate our space with Van Gogh reproductions and movie posters. Like a lot of people, we want to decorate it with wall art and photos that mean something to us.
Recently, I stumbled across an answer to our problem in the form of a website called Grafomap that lets you design map posters of any place in the world.
You can make one of your hometown, your college town, your favorite travel destination, or the place where you got engaged or married — you’re only limited by your imagination.
Once you enter your desired location, Grafomap takes you to its poster editor where you can further customize your location down the exact address or coordinates. After that, you can continue personalizing your map by adjusting, panning, and zooming the map exactly to your liking, adding or removing text, and selecting the size, frame, and orientation. Additionally, Grafomap has a variety of unique color themes to choose from (including Noir, Popart, Minimal, and Modern) that transform your map from just an ordinary map into a work of art you’ll love displaying in your home.
My custom map poster of Sint Maarten took all of five minutes to create, and the finished product is undeniably cool. It’s also very affordable. An 18″x24″ print sets you back $49. If you want to get something a little bigger and that’s ready to hang right out of the box it’s shipped in, you can get a 24″x36″ framed print for $168. (Full disclosure: I got to try the service for free.)
Learn more about how Grafomap‘s custom poster editor works below. And try it out for yourself here.Start by selecting a location for your map poster. I chose Sint Maarten since my partner and I have been vacationing there together for years.
Once you enter your desired location, Grafomap takes you to its poster editor where you can continue personalizing your map by adjusting, panning, and zooming the map to your liking, adding or removing text, and selecting the size, frame, and orientation.
Grafomap’s uses OpenStreetMap (OSM) open source geodata database to generate maps and Mapbox design filters to add a design on top of OSM data. This Mapbox service was developed for companies like AirBnB and Uber, but Grafomap is the first company to repurpose this tool for art.
I most enjoyed toggling between color themes. My favorites were Wheatpaste, Modern, and Popart.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The best mattress for kidsI’ve been sleeping with this weighted blanket for 6 months, and I’ve noticed a huge change in the quality of my sleepEverlane’s new $80 convertible travel bag can be carried as a duffel or a backpack — and it holds more than enough for all your weekend trips
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