Studio Tada’s FULU Digital Touch Device

Photo of Ryo Tada by: Deo Suveera

Design typically focuses on the visual and auditory senses of human interaction, but design engineer and innovation designer Ryo Tada, looks to challenge this. The FULU Digital Touch Device brings touch to digital communication by something called augmented touch. states that “reverse electrovibration, also known as virtual touch, is an augmented reality (AR) technology that facilitates electronic transmission of the human tactile sense, allowing end users to perceive the textures and contours of remote objects. The field of study involving virtual touch is known as haptics.” Haptics already apply to our world today, like how our iPhones make us feel as if we are pressing the home button, if someone reacts to a specific iMessage with a ‘heart’, if we pay someone on Apple Pay, turning on or off a switch, playing a game etc etc. The possibilities are really endless.

The FULU device is a fingernail mounted device with a silicone back that sticks to your fingernail with adhesive. It is said to generate the “subtleties” of touch like textures such as feeling clothing, grass, tapping a loved one, sand, really anything that has a texture and is Bluetooth accessible as well. We are already seeing how haptics are working in real time on our hand held devices, gaming devices, joysticks, it’s in our medical field, it’s used to defuse bombs, robotic controls, really applicable anywhere, but what does this mean for the world of design? Depends on how creative we can get with it. It could potentially have a possibility of making phones and computers more accessible for blind people. As far as the FULU device and feeling goes, perhaps it can integrate a new element of adding textures to designs, feeling textures together, adding another element of interaction and another thing to consider when designing. Thinking about do these textures make sense, do they feel good or creepy, do they pair well together; ultimately providing a stronger user experience and lasting impression far beyond simply hearing or seeing.,touch%20is%20known%20as%20haptics.,touch%20is%20known%20as%20haptics.

ADA Accessible Single Swing Design

The ADA Accessible Single Swing platform is a single platform swing designed for those who use wheelchairs. It is designed for children or adults, and has a weight capacity up to 700 lbs and comes either portable, or can be permanently mounted. It supposedly has easy access to get on and off the swing, however I do see a lot of potential problems with this design. This swing set satisfies the need and want for play, which is important for every single human to experience but there are a few safety concerns I see with this design. First biggest one is that the swing set looks like there needs to be another person to help push to get them actually swinging, it does not look like the person in all cases can push themselves to swing. Depending on how high the swing can swing, a person sitting in a wheelchair could potentially fall forward and over their chair. I think there could also be an issue depending on how fast the swing is swinging, on holding onto the swing set chains, some people may not be able to do that, and I’m not entirely sure if that is a needed component of this design or not that helps with user stability. There is also the weight limit issue of the swing set only being able to carry 700lbs, it excludes people who weigh more than that. Another issue I see with this swing set, is depending on a person’s wheelchair, the platform it sits on doesn’t appear to have any locking in components, so the wheelchair could potentially move around simultaneously as the swing is swinging. There is also a potential issue with the length and width of the swing platform that might not be able to accommodate all wheelchair sizes. A final issue I see with this design is there is a front closing component that could be hard to pull up to secure the wheelchair. 

I believe this swing set satisfies the needs for some, but it is not a completely sound design that everyone could use by themselves. This design attempts to make playing on the playground more accessible to those who use wheelchairs, and focuses on the inclusivity aspect of design that allows the user to incorporate their own adaptive equipment. As far as resources go, it’s made from aluminum, plastic, and steel which I would say is pretty normal as far as swing sets go, however there is a mount if you wanted to mount it that is not included with the swing so if there was a safety concern about the swing potentially being wobbly, then an additional purchase would have to be made. The swing also comes in a bunch of colors which is fun and cool, and retails to about $2,000 which I would say is also a little steep as the average swing set goes from $200-$1,600 roughly. I wouldn’t know how to make this equipment out of sustainable resources, nor do I know if that is safe to do so. As far as better designs in regards to this swing set, I would definitely change multiple aspects of this design. I would add either a button or a rope that allows the user to easily pull up and take down the front gate part of the swing that is at resting hand level. I would also potentially add something that would secure the back of the chair, to the back of the swingset, so there would be less risk of the chair rolling around while the swing is in motion. Also implementing a swinging button or invention that could get a person swinging without the need of a push. Perhaps additionally make it accessible for higher weight holding capacities, as well as larger platform to allow a greater length and width to be able to get on the platform.

This link here seems like a much more thought out and safer design

Environmental and Social Good Design

I think the first and foremost way to implement environmental and social good in design is to pick and research the place where you are working. This can either look like a place that already follows green designing, or a place in which you know could use more. It’s all about how your skills play into it as well. I would say that if you need more practice with sustainable design, to look for a career that really goes hard in the paint on that. However, if you feel as if you are in your bag and you know the ins and outs of including and sourcing materials or processes in which help socially or environmentally then I would say look into a job where you can influence change. It all starts with a single pebble sometimes, to make a big splash. Also being aware and up to date on sustainable practices, doing that extra work of learning by yourself outside of your career is viable, because the Earth is essentially I would argue the biggest reason you are alive and that others are alive and that future people will be alive, and having a sense of morals on you will also take you far.

There are two companies I really respect which is the Guayaki Yerba Mate brand, and the LIV bar brand. Guayaki Yerba Mate has a market-driven restoration business model, and a triple bottom line which focuses on financial, social, and environmental health. They also align themselves with activist and educational groups. The next is LIV bar which is locally sourced in Salem Oregon, they use 100% compostable wrappers made from cellulose as well as having their bars be gluten, soy, dairy, corn, and GMO free. Most of their products are vegetarian and they also have vegan options too.

My own level of responsibility is to learn more on how I can start change myself, what more I could be doing. I’ve been vegan for a year now almost, yet I know there is way more I can contribute than just my diet. I think ultimately it has to be a lifestyle, there has to be a force outside yourself driving you to live in such a way that goes outside of yourself, which is very hard for some people to do. It’s also hard when you are involved, yet your voice doesn’t matter or you are told it doesn’t matter. It’s so easy to give up especially when you hear “no”, that’s what we are socially taught to do from a very young age, personally a no for me just means that door is closed maybe for now, who knows if it might open somewhere later down the line. I didn’t realize I had such a big social responsibility until I was told that what I design directly impacts the environment, I care about about the environment! I care about ending the suffering of our planet and of living species, that’s the first and most important step; the rest will follow naturally.

Annotated Bibliography

Coiera, Enrico. “SOCIAL NETWORKS, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND SOCIAL DISEASES.” BMJ: British Medical Journal, vol. 346, no. 7912, 2013, pp. 22–24. 

The author Enrico Coiera is a professor of Health Informatics and the Director of the Centre for Health Informatics at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University. His expertise in E-health and artificial intelligence supports his research on how social media networks become a communal social space, as well as a place where people can be helped and or influenced by the communities themselves in a positive, negative, or neutral way. Enrico also touches on what social media can do in regards to warn people about pandemics or natural disasters but also has similar thinking as Marshall Mcluhan’s, “the medium is the message”, which acknowledges that even though social media can promote social education, change and influence, that the the way it is structured is just as important as the message itself.

Muhammad Imran, Carlos Castillo, Fernando Diaz, and Sarah Vieweg. 2015. Processing Social Media Messages in Mass Emergency: A Survey. ACM Comput. Surv. 47, 4, Article 67 (July 2015), 38 pages.

Authors Imran, Castillo, and Vieweg from the Qatar Computing Research Institute, Diaz from Microsoft research explore how social media acts as fast and efficient “communication channels” through which mass amounts of viable information can transfer through. They also note the amount of work that is needed to sort through in order to decode the message such as deciding if the message is formal or informal, dealing with the overwhelming information overload, and the steps in which we process and understand the information we are given. They conducted this survey to provide more clear information to computer science researchers and software developers in order to create  better technology in order to more efficiently cater to first responders, medical professionals, humanitarians, etc so these people can properly identify and filter out unnecessary information during a crisis in order to hopefully save more lives.

Matthew Mount, and Marian Garcia Martinez. “Social Media.” California Management Review, vol. 56, no. 4, 2014, pp. 124–143. 

Matthew Mount is an assistant Professor in Strategy and Innovation at Deakin Business School and Dr Marian Garcia Martinez is the Director of the MSc in Value Chain Management. In their research, they look into how and why using social media as a tool can lead to more profitable business and open innovation through research and development as well as through ideation. The key components of this paper dive into research and development and how social media needs to be used, and how it is used currently by corporations and businesses to create drive and commercialization which feeds the industry. Ultimately trying to inform and research the ways in which the tool works, how we use the tool, and how it impacts the market, who the market is and what this means. Utilization of social media and innovation in regards to how it is utilized and how we must also adapt and change to it changing. How businesses should implement social media as a tool, why they use it, and what happens when they do.

Baccarella, Christian V, et al. “Social Media? It’s Serious! Understanding the Dark Side of Social Media.” European Management Journal, vol. 36, no. 4, 2018, pp. 431–438.

Baccarella is an assistant Professor at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. Wagner has a PhD from University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. This journal expresses the ways in which social media is impacting us now and in the long term. It analyzes the building blocks of social media; conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, groups, and identity in relation to how they are misused to negatively affect ourselves and others. Also mentions ways in which we can research and provides a method called “the honeycomb” where it amplifies how closely everything is related to everything else. We are the media, we are branding, we make it up simultaneously as we let it tear us down.

The Intersection of Design and Politics

The thought of politics is something that I truthfully hadn’t considered when majoring in graphic design, in fact I feel like I’m still learning about a lot of graphic design common knowledge everyday. Of course graphic design is political, and of course I have been subjected and will continuously be subjected to it. I think living is a political feat, especially if you’re in an environment that has differing opinions, if you are a minority, etc etc, you are forced to be involved politically, whether you want to be or not.

As far as graphic design, politics, and how I feel about the inevitable intersection between the two go, I think there is a comfortable discomfort that I face. As oxymoronic as that sounds, being involved in politics is a right and also a privilege. If I have a voice, I’m morally bound to use it to help others. I’m white, I’m straight passing, I’m cisgender, I have a lot of political power, and I will use it. It makes me feel uncertain in a large sense. I know there is a lot I am highly ignorant about, and a lot of work that I must do in order to have the proper tools to fight back against any, and all bullshit, but that is such an easy thing I should be doing. Thinking about graphic design in politics makes me excited to have another tool at my disposal, I never thought that I had the power, but that’s the other face of power right? It’s all illusions anyway.

Although illusionary, power in politics also makes me feel some discomfort. My political views are always in favor of the people, community, and uplifting and empowering all. I know a small fraction of what it’s like to be voiceless, the pain, the trauma it induces, and it’s weight is like a silent snowy mountain on your back. My position is that of which I can include myself if I want to, I have privilege and I can choose to feel included, or ignored. I can choose to be heard if I want to be heard. Doesn’t really matter if anyone is listening, I think the most important part is putting it out there in the first place. You can only be truly unheard in my position if you choose not to speak at all. Sure people can shut me out, ignore me, patronize my ideas, make me feel stupid, but ultimately if I have a hand on my power and my idea and my intension, then honestly it doesn’t matter. It’s not a goal of mine to feel included.

Movements of design that involve political messages that I find very fascinating include old Vietnamese and Russian propaganda posters. I thoroughly enjoy their use of illustration. The way they draw or paint these posters particularly because the characters are always bold, iconic, and memorable. The use of color by these nations really appeal to me because they are bright, and use a wide variety of highly saturated colors, to pastels which I find artistic and appealing to my eye. I think the symbolism of these posters is also a thing of beauty because they have so many layered messages that hold so much weight in so many areas. Politically, socially, economically, I mean the list goes on. There is beauty and ugly in so many differing opinions, in how they interact, or how they are react in conjunction to each other. The complexity of these posters and the timeframe in which they are created are so unique and such a historical treat, and clearly works of art it’s hard not to endlessly scroll through and find inspiration in them.

“Female workers, take the rifle!” Soviet poster, 1918

Soviet propaganda poster depicts capitalism in 1923. Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

The Space Race was a 20th century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union and the United States.
Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty

“Protect forests like nurturing babies!”
artist unknown, date unknown.
“Forests are gold”, 1980, artist Minh Phương 
(one of the few female propaganda artists).

Peet’s Coffee Brews up a Rebrand

Alfred Peet – image from Peet’s website

Originating in Berkeley, CA, 1966 Alfred Peet set out to show Americans the art of fresh, dark, and sweet coffee roast blends while simultaneously implementing the shortest distance possible between the roaster and the customer. Ultimately he was dedicated to making good coffee that was made fresh, by hand, from multiple locations using high quality beans. Another part of Peet’s identity is trying to incorporate sustainability by supporting and educating farmers about how to properly grow the highest quality of coffee so that they can support themselves. While not all their coffee is fair trade or sustainable, some of it is. 

Image from deluxfoodsofapatos

That being said, the aesthetic design they use works for the target market audience. My impression is that they sell coffee to the middle class,  and specifically to the middle-aged population. The logo is pretty approachable for this group because the font is quirky but also sort of sophisticated, but it also has a flair of that “creative funk”. Their color choices in their decor also exemplify that they are down to earth and strive to portray a calm, familiar and collected atmosphere which they created with the various shades of inviting brown in their stores. This color scheme is also a staple of  their previous logo. However, their new logo only includes a black and white which I like, and I think is easier and more affordable to print, yet attractive.

Peet’s Coffee rebranded sometime within 2017, for the better, in my opinion for the following reasons. They shortened their logo from ‘Peet’s Coffee and Tea’, to just ‘Peet’s Coffee’ which I think is a more approachable and attractive idea. The other logo was wordy and busy due to the number of characters in the logo.  People were already familiar with the brand and knew Peet’s has coffee and tea, therefore eliminating the need for a lengthy brand title. By eliminating words in their newly rebranded logo, it creates more focus on Peet’s name, and provides more visible clarity for the way the letters are shaped. Instead of  squiggly font, you now see straight edged and simplified font. This change makes a clear and direct visual impact that allows quick and uncomplicated brand recognition.

The font Peet’s uses is called ‘Buckley regular’, and it’s supposed to mimic handwriting. What’s most noticeable about this font is that the letters don’t have a strict baseline, and some letters float above others (like they do in actual handwriting). In their updated logo, they still use the same font, but the lines are smooth and not squiggly anymore which in my opinion is a major improvement because it adds a lot of clarity, cleanliness, and overall aesthetic appeal. I might be a bit bothered by the way the letters sit at different heights, because I want to see them sit at a straight baseline, but I recognize this aspect gives them a playful and non-serious affect of individuality and uniqueness. I wonder if keeping it that way was a purposeful choice, or if they just liked the way the original font was kerned? I assume it has to do with brand recognition.  I appreciate that they chose to keep the same typeface because a lot of companies are recreating their style so much so that their entire identity isn’t  recognizable to their client base.  

In addition, Peet’s includes a little capital ‘P’ emblem in their logo off to the side or on top which makes it feel like the logo isn’t complete without the emblem and vice versa. I liked that they simplify their logo this way and keep the P in the same place on top.  However,  in one of their iterations it appears on the top because it helps the eye move vertically and requires less work visually. Although I like the simplicity of the new ‘P’, the old ‘P’ emblem had more interesting lines on the inside of it, whereas this new ‘P’ reminds me of an outside patio table made from black, wrought iron mesh, but I appreciate the uncomplicated coherence that the new lines bring. I’m also very pleased that they got rid of the background, it was too bulky, busy and had too many elements for a logo.

Peet’s rebrand is simple yet classy and is reminiscent of their old logo by keeping the original font but cleaning it up, and making the lines smoother overall, which is just plain good design that I appreciate. I also recognize that removing the giant border was necessary in order to clean up the design that previously caused Peet’s name to get lost in its business. It will be interesting to see the next evolution of Peet’s design, because I feel like it potentially be trend out, but what they have here really works to capture brand recognition in a simplified and dignified way.

Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan was a media theorist who was responsible for early discourse on media culture, and its impact on our societies. His most well known phrase was, “the medium is the message”. The medium in which content goes through (medium being computers, phones books), is constantly changing our world and by influencing how we view ourselves. McLuhan had theories about hot and cold media; hot media involved clear visuals and high quality sounds which resulted in more direct understanding of the message trying to be received and required little sensory participation for the message to be received, whereas cold media is low definition of sound or visuals or quality of media or media that isn’t so direct, and that requires more effort to understand the message.

I think this theory can be true in a sense, but it leaves out people who have disabilities, people who think differently, and people who are wired to experience/consume media differently. I feel that hot media can require a range of sensory involvement depending on the type of medium that it is broadcasted through, how it was thought out, how involved the viewer of the media is with deciphering its message, and how the message is can impact them. People can have varying interests in these fields of media and I think it’s also important to categorize the person who is consuming the media and their personal relationship with how they choose to interact with it. I found McLuhan’s description of acoustical space interesting he writes that hearing sounds is more straightforward because we all hear the same thing at the same rate, but when we look at the same things, we look at them in different rates and blur out that of which we don’t view as important. McLuhan hints kind of that hearing requires less mediation because the message is being delivered “directly” towards you and the quality of it is high enough to be an extremely clear message. Whereas, with cold media you are seeking out the message, deciphering it, and or finding it on your own grounds rather than it be given to you in such a clear manner as hot media delivers. But that isn’t always true either, because you can easily block out sounds that you don’t want to hear or miss sounds that you didn’t think were there; your mind works in the same way of dealing with sounds as it does with dealing with visuals, in its own way. Simultaneously we alter ourselves in order to adapt to the technology at hand while also using the technology in our own way. However while we use it or learn to use it, we are still being shaped by it. I would agree with McLuhan in his thought that the medium in which the content is delivered through, is more powerful than the content that is delivered through it. The medium is shaping the content but also providing access of the content to others, to the content itself, and connecting people with people within its existence.

I learned recently in art that, not only is the art itself important, but the environment around it, is perhaps even more valuable. Simple idea, but the environment really changes the tone of the art and the message of the art itself. The art will invoke different feelings in different places, additionally we need to take into consideration the way the art (or media) can change and the way that we feel about it changing (because that will evolve the way we interact with it) and how we interpret the art by what is surrounding it when we are creating it. The original art is the environment. The original media is the environment.

There has to be more depth when thinking while consuming content because we all have personal experiences that we need to take into consideration to fully appreciate the message of what is passing through the medium, the way the medium is impacting and changing us, and the way that the message is delivered to us and how we evolve the delivery of the content in return; of which all these ideas together change or influence us straight from the medium itself in some way. Messages of the media impact us in different ways depending on how we are impacted by it, and impacts the world before, and during our interaction with it.

I think that the hot and cold theory is fitting for its time, but it isn’t very relevant anymore in today’s society because of the technological advances we have made since the theory was created, and how the technological advances has affected the reliability of quality of the medium. Better quality mediums I assume, would have an impact on our sensory involvement, meaning we are still being shaped by the medium at the forefront of the experience. But perhaps if the theory could evolve with the medium simultaneously, then it could still be relevant. I think our sensory involvement has also evolved with or against (I think both) media so it’s not only the way media is impacting us and influencing us, but how we react to it and how our reactions to it also further evolve the media itself. This needs to be taken into consideration when designing because the mind has to be open and willing to the new changes of the media and the speed in which is also evolves at which will in return evolve and change us.

The evolution of media and how it is influenced by its predecessor

“The technology shapes the experience”

Illustration by Taylor Norbury

About Me

It’s so hard to write about yourself. Or wanting to even write about yourself but here I go. My name is Taylor Norbury, I’m a junior here at zoom Oregon State University. I’m very interested in illustration, painting, and animation, but am still very very new to animation. I really enjoy printing or doing any printing related things, I just started learning how, and I find it very soothing and invigorating. As far as my interests related to graphic design, I’m still very lost. It doesn’t feel like I’m getting much information about the types of designs or the fields I can go into and which field requires or works heavily in. I guess that might be up to me to research. I like to work in photoshop and illustrator but I’m not sure if I’m very good with graphic design in the first place. I wish that I had someone to help me or direct me in anyway but I don’t think that will be happening here. Or maybe I have to ask. Who knows. I do have aspirations though. My biggest aspiration is finding that place where I can fit in, and feel like I’m finding success with my designs. I want to work for a cool firm, and I also want to do freelance on the side. I also want to freelance my own artwork on the side or have it somehow be incorporated into my graphic design work. I don’t want to be a big famous graphic designer, I just want to feel happy with my designs, happy with the knowledge that I have, and overall just happy with my work. If I can somehow find any sort of direction I like, I think that’s more than a win for me.