Blerg—

Affordance.

A discussion on creativity between myself, Wikipediac, and creative people.

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“Say you need to design an umbrella stand. Some sort of tubular object immediately comes to mind. But Fukasawa insists that we should eliminate this idea. He says all we should do is cut a groove 8mm wide and 5mm deep into the concrete floor at the building’s entrance. Visitors looking for a place to put their umbrellas would be quick to look for a spot to stick the top end. As if the umbrella itself were on the prowl for a place to stand, it would no doubt easily discover the groove that had been set there in anticipation, and all the umbrellas would stand in a neat row. And yet people using it may have no idea that the groove is an umbrella rack. The orderly row of umbrellas would be the result of unconcious behaivour. Fukasawa rests his case: the umbrella rack design is complete unto itself.”

- ‘Designing Design’, Kenya Hara

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“An affordance is a quality of an object, or an environment, that allows an individual to perform an action.”

“If an actor steps into a room with an armchair and a softball, Gibson’s original definition of affordances allows that the actor may throw the recliner and sit on the softball, because that is objectively possible. Norman’s definition of (perceived) affordances captures the likelihood that the actor will sit on the recliner and throw the softball. Effectively, Norman’s affordances “suggest” how an object may be interacted with. For example, the size and shape of a softball obviously fits nicely in the average human hand, and its density and texture make it perfect for throwing. The user may also bring past experience with similar objects (baseballs, perhaps) to bear when evaluating a new affordance.”

“Norman’s adaptation of the concept has seen a further shift of meaning, in which the term affordance is used as an uncountable noun, referring to the property of an object or system’s action possibilities being easily discoverable, as in “this web page has good affordance,” or “this button needs more affordance.”

- Wikipediac on Affordance

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“When solving a creative problem, do you:

a) dramatise the benefit;

b) sell the sizzle, not the sausage;

c) say it straight, then say it great;

d) try to find a big idea;

e) relate to a consumer target on their level — using coloquial speech and visual cues they trust and understand;

f) find a campaignable thought;

g) let the brief incubate, play pool, watch a movie, then wake at 1am to scribble an idea on a Rhodia notebook;

h) speak to your wife’s mother and get the opinion of the everyperson;

i) study the market and design something with visual cut-through;

j) design/write/direct/spew from the heart — the centre of all things — the soul;

k) discover a new technology and be first to market with a new media;

l) find talented and in-vogue artists to create artwork for your product;

m) get the client in the discussion early and earn their approval so a risk may be taken;

n) enlist a future-trending organisation to help you discover what society we’ll be living in five, ten, fifteen years from now;

o) eat blue cheese, smoke pot, take acid, brew poppy seeds, visit an art gallery, read a book by Malcolm Gladwell;

p) retrieve a band-aid from the cupboard, peel off the paper, press firmly on the problem, smooth out the wrinkles, and hope for the best;

q) nothing.”

- Me on ‘life’

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“Don’t ignore the things that on the surface may not seem crucial to creating great advertising. Like spending time to identify what the real problem is — not just the advertising problem but the business problem, and embracing the limits imposed on you. It’s often there the real gem lies.”

- Leo Premutico on ‘creativity

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“Less is more.”

- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

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“Less is a bore.”

- Robert Venturi

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“Three levels of knowing:

Simplicity is the world view of the child or uninformed adult, fully engaged in his own experience and happily unaware of what lies beneath the surface of immediate reality.

Complexity characterizes the ordinary adult world view. It is characterized by an awareness of complex systems in nature and society but an inability to discern clarifying patterns and connections.

Informed simplicity is an enlightened view of reality. It is founded upon an ability to discern or create clarifying patterns within complex mixtures. Pattern recognition is a crucial skill for an architect, who must create a highly ordered building amid many competing and frequently nebulous design considerations.”

-  101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, Matthew Frederick

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Can you afford to think the way you do?

11/21/09 -- Design -- 0 Comments