Here's the February edition of the newsletter we regularly send out to our Future Trends group members. Remember to join our Future Trends LinkedIn group if you haven't so already in order to receive these communications on a monthly basis. Enjoy!

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According to this post on The Design Blog the Turkish company Antrepo Design has come up with a new design for the “Tuner Time” which serves as a stereo FM radio but resembles a classic timepiece. This radio seems extremely uncomplicated since it has only two control wheels for frequency tuning and volume. But I’m worried if this unusual design of a classic timepiece will hit home with the new generation. What do you think?
The new Kindle came out recently, with a few new redesigns: a bigger screen, fewer buttons, a few of which include an on/off button, a page forward button and a page back button. They've also introduced a colors screen. What do you think of the redesign? The New York Times Bits Blog is a fan.Photo Source: Metastwnsh

Be sure to check out's historical slide show on the evolution of the mobile phone. Though the article encompasses the functionality of the mobile phone; its useful for us to look at the phone's progress from a design perspective. Looking at my iPhone, I wonder how it would look with a really cool antenna attached. Let us know what you think of the designs, anything that you'd like to see resurrected--the car phone bag, anyone?

Over at The Design Blog they’ve recently showcased the “Aventos” concept vehicle which is small, compact, and most importantly, green! It has been designed as a utility vehicle, which can be used to haul small to medium sized goods for enterprises. It serves as a multipurpose vehicle which can even help people eliminate professional transporters altogether. The future of automobile design is looking very bright.

The AutoBlog looks at the new P9522 mobile phone from Porche.

Unlike Porsche Design's previous phone, the slick P'9521 clamshell, the P'9522 is designed around a straightforward "candy-bar" form factor, milled from a solid block of aluminum with a scratch-resistant touchscreen glass display. Avoiding getting your fingerprints all over this slick piece of tech would be an exercise in futility, so Porsche Design has incorporated a fingerprint reader to keep unwelcome users out.

Ever been wowed by an awesome title sequence? 2046 comes to mine as my ultimate favorite; but did you think of it as--art? Check out this amazing site, The Art of the Title Sequence and look at the overall design and execution of cinema's best title sequences. How would you rework the design of your favorites? We'd like to hear your thoughts.
I came across this post today on Hicksdesign that recently design features of the Playstation 3. Unlike the Wii which is small, white and child-friendly the PS3 caters to serious gamers. But, not only is it just a video game console, it serves as a media center, probably the cheapest one out there considering all that it does. Here’s a summary from the post on all of the PS3 features.
  • Play DVDs
  • Play CDs (and get track information from the internets)
  • Play Blu-Ray discs.
  • Play Media (Music, Video and Photo) stored on a USB Stick or drive
  • Streams Media via UPnP server.
  • Plays and records freeview TV with the PlayTV add-on box, which by extension, includes Radio too.
  • Oh, it also plays games.
When will we ever come across another machine that serves as a multifunctional media center like the PS3?

According to the Associated Press, for Ed Welburn, Head Designer at GM, the current economic crisis does not mean a crisis for design. Welburn said, "We certainly won't be able to do everything that we'd like to do, but every vehicle that we do is going to be a strong design, a very relevant design, a design that's done with incredible quality inside and out." When asked if GM will cheapen their design to make more cars, Welburn responded, ""We can't do that. Our customers won't accept it. We're just going to have to work harder looking at the trade-offs and looking at creative ways of developing these interiors," Welburn said. "Creative solutions that don't compromise the interiors." What sort of advice would you give Welburn on the management or design of these new GM products? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Catering to young professionals who are moving out of college dorms and into their own apartments, The Design Blog highlights a stylish design by Christopher Gregory for multifunctional furniture units. His designs, which are called “Mov,” represents mobile media furniture including a TV and media unit, ottoman, and a laptop cart. It will be interesting to see if these furniture units will catch on with the up and coming college grads.
We'd like to extend an invitation to our Next Big Design readers for a free upcoming webinar.

Shopability or Confusion? Package Design Systems that Welcome Consumers

February 26, 2009
4:00-5:00pm EST

Space is limited.

Reserve your Webinar seat now

Please mention priority code: G1M2107W1BLOG

Since 80% or so of the consumer’s buying decisions are made at shelf, the ease at which a product is found and sells itself is vital to success. The very moment a consumer is unsure of what they are getting with a product or cannot find a specific offering, they will often turn to adjacent options… many of which are store brands that might well be simpler to comprehend and less expensive. Big brands must capitalize on consumer loyalties to retain these purchases through engaging packaging, clear communication priorities and an understandable system of segmentation.

What you will learn:

• Sound segmentation principals
• Putting on the naïve hat; moving beyond what YOU know
• When messaging should violate versus integrate
• How people see and its relevance to a shopping system
• The Brand Cascade; how many layers do you need?

About our speaker:

John Silva

John has been with DuPuis, a strategic brand & packaging firm, for over 15 years. His primary role is as Vice President and Creative Director but has worked to champion the entire packaging process from innovation to print production. His award-winning work has been featured in HOW Magazine and Image Electric. He is currently serving as Creative Director for clients including Nestlé, Kellogg’s, Mars Petcare, Hormel, Dole, and Baxter Pharmaceuticals.

  1. Sharpen Your Skill Set.

  2. Spend some time in quiet contemplation.

  3. Start and stay on a routine.

  4. Use your eyes, Look around you.

  5. Let go of expectations.

Lisa Mikulski and Dragonfly Blu Design shared these five ways to up your creativity level and stay current and focused when you're hitting a block. We've all been there with design--sometimes it takes a rapidly approaching deadline for us to use those creative juices. Check out Lisa's post and share with us your tried and true recipes for creativity!

Many companies have had trouble creating zero or low carbon emission vehicles without compromising power and performance. According to this post on The Design Blog Yves Behar has designed “Mission One” which is being named the fastest 100% electric motorcycle with a top speed of over 150mph. This revolutionary bike transforms the kinetic energy of the motorcycle during braking and transforms it into electrical energy. If they are able to keep costs for this bike to a minimum then it is sure to be a great seller.

Green Mountain Coffee won the Certificate of Excellence from Graphic Design USA. The packages, along with being environmentally friendly, featured:

vibrant palette of line-specific colors and illustrations that clearly differentiate Signature, Fair Trade Organic, Flavored, Seasonal, and Single Origin choices. The crisp, contemporary look incorporates improved communication of roast level, grind type, certifications, and caffeination that helps consumers find their favorites. A deeper footprint and reduced height of the bags allow them to fit on store shelves more easily than previous designs.

The 10 and 12 ounce bags of coffee were designed by the company's creative team along with BrandBuzz. For more information, read here.

Sergei Larenkov has superimposed WWII photographs with modern day photos of the same location to display juxtaposition between the past and the present. Larenkov's effect reminds us of the old time "ghost" pictures in the 19th and early 20th century. The bleeding in the photographs is the most effective, an indiscernible way to separate the past from the present. Check out the photos here on his blog, which is in Russian.

Other virtually unknown photographers? Share with us.

I came across this new design for a touchscreen phone by designer Sachin Mistry in The Design Blog that explores how plastic can be used in an aesthetic manner. The design for the phone is inspired by a polished river pebble, and it is named “Graphite.” It comes equipped with the standard touchscreen and camera specifications that are available in many phones already out, but is it enough to take away from the Apple iPhone and the Blackberry Storm?


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