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Postmodernism: Decoration and appropriation, the return of the narrative and content

Corporate Design

Corprate Design can include branding, such as a company's logo, letterhead, interior colours, staff uniform, ad campaigns etc, or in terms of design it can also a house style, a certain look or way of designing products.

"Branding" is the often subliminal process by which a business employs marketing strategies to get people to easily remember their products and services over a competitors'... essentially, it's applied psychology.

Branding isn't just about logos, it's the entire "feel" associated with a company. In these days of bleeding edge technology and rapid change, people still enjoy going to places that follow a pattern of operation - it provides a sense of security. This is becoming more important as time goes on and our world, generally speaking, becomes increasingly unstable". icbs.com/brand.htm

"PI (Product Identity) means to embody and to sustain the brand image through product design. CIPD, the process to make products' identity & uniqueness gradually for customers' recognition of brand and its value."


Question to consider: Why does a company need a corporate identity?

Universal Design

"The intent of universal design is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities". design.ncsu.edu/cud

Although Universal Design is largely promoted by advocates for people with disabilities, it should be noted that we will all have some degree of disability at some stage of our lives. For this reason it is also known as Design For All, Inclusive Design, and Barrier-Free Design.

"At the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University a group of architects, product designers, engineers, and environmental design researchers established the following set of principles of universal design to provide guidance in the design of environments, communications, and products (Connell, Jones, Mace, Mueller, Mullick, Ostroff, Sanford, Steinfeld, Story, & Vanderheiden, 1997).

  • Equitable Use. The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities. For example, a Web site that is designed so that it is accessible to everyone, including people who are blind, employs this principle.
  • Flexibility in Use. The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. An example is a museum that allows a visitor to choose to read or listen to the description of the contents of a display case.
  • Simple and Intuitive Use. Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. Science lab equipment with control buttons that are clear and intuitive is a good example of an application of this principle.
  • Perceptible Information. The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities. An example of this principle being employed is when television programming projected in noisy public areas like academic conference exhibits include captions.
  • Tolerance for Error. The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions. An example of a product applying this principle is an educational software program that provides guidance when the user makes an inappropriate selection.
  • Low Physical Effort. The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue. Doors that are easy to open by people with a wide variety of physical characteristics demonstrate the application of this principle.
  • Size and Space for Approach and Use. Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility. A flexible science lab work area designed for use by students with a wide variety of physical characteristics and abilities is an example of employing this principle. washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Academics/instruction.html

In Association with Amazon.com


Usability Design

Also called User-centered design, this topic isn't actually specified in the syllabus, but I reckon it's an important issue in all sorts of design (including my own field of web design). retrokat.com/prus.htm

"User-centered design (UCD) is an approach to design that grounds the process in information about the people who will use the product. UCD processes focus on users through the planning, design and development of a product. In this model, once the need to use a human centered design process has been identified, four activities form the main cycle of work:
  1. Specify the context of use. Identify the people who will use the product, what they will use it for, and under what conditions they will use it.
  2. Specify requirements. Identify any business requirements or user goals that must be met for the product to be successful.
  3. Create design solutions. This part of the process may be done in stages, building from a rough concept to a complete design.
  4. Evaluate designs. The most important part of this process is that evaluation - ideally through usability testing with actual users - is as integral as quality testing is to good software development.

My Usability heroes:

Steve Krug's sensible.com
"It's not Rocket Surgery"

Jared Spool's uie.com
"It Depends"

Jeffrey Veen's adaptivepath.com
User Experience

Jakob Nielsen's useit.com
The Father of Usability Testing


retrokat.com quite nice sites

all graphics, text and design: copyright retrokat.com 2001-4

Note: If you personally hold copyright to any images or other content herein and wish it to be removed or credited, please email me on kat@retrokat.com and I'm more than happy to do so.