Figure-Ground Relationship (Principles of Design #74)

May 29 2017 Published by Neil Gains under design

Photo by Toby Harriman (source: http://www.ipoxstudios.com/figure-ground-relationship-proper-use-will-define-your-subject/)

Figure-ground relationship is the design principle that any element is perceived either as an object of focus (figure) or as something else (ground). This is one of the Gestalt principles of perception, where perception focuses on a central element and others become undifferentiated in the background. This is true of other senses as well as vision (e.g., when you hear your name in a crowded party your focus switches from your current conversation to listening to another). Read more »

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Using Sound to Build Your Brand

Apr 27 2017 Published by Neil Gains under sensory branding

Audio Branding: Using sounds to build your brand is a great read for anyone interested in building stronger connections with their customers, especially if they have an ear for music. Full disclosure, the book includes a short piece by myself placing sound in the broader context of sensory branding and the different touch points that can reach your customers. Read more »

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Design methods #45 – Brainstorm Graphic Organizers

Apr 17 2017 Published by Neil Gains under design

Source: Wikipedia (https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_chart)

Brainstorming typically generates lists of new ideas and concepts, although these are often unstructured. Brainstorm graphic organisers help to structure ideas visually and in doing so often help researchers and designers to create new ideas, linkages and inter-relationships relating to a specific business challenge or problem space. Read more »

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Does the future need experts?

Apr 10 2017 Published by Neil Gains under creativity

I was lucky to attend a very interesting panel discussion last week, organised by the British Council along with the University of London and Royal Holloway College. Much of the discussion focused on the current discontent with “experts”, expressed most famously by Michael Gove during the UK referendum which led to Brexit. Much of the discussion focused on the implications for higher education. Some panellists agreed with a statement I’ve heard elsewhere that one of the biggest trends of the last 100 years is the professionalisation and specialisation of the world. Read more »

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Design Methods #44 – Elito method

Feb 26 2017 Published by Neil Gains under design

The Elito method is an approach to help designers develop comprehensive and connected solutions grounded in research insights and business objectives. The approach helps designers and researchers move from research findings to the articulation of design directions, helping them move from analysis to synthesis and bridge research outputs to the needs of business, through the development of fact-based narratives. The approach was developed in 2002 and named after Eli Blevis (the name is a shortened version of “Eli’s Toolbox”). Read more »

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Design Methods #43 – Mental Model Diagrams

Jan 13 2017 Published by Neil Gains under design

From "How to Design Mental Models That Create a Superior User Experience by Leanne Byrom

Mental Model Diagrams rely on the fact that people behave in ways that are consistent with core beliefs they hold to help visualise the causes of their behaviours and develop solutions that meet their needs. Mental Model Diagrams are detailed summaries of the behaviours, beliefs and emotions that relate to specific tasks undertaken by that person and in turn to specific design features (in the bottom half of the example above). Such diagrams help designers to focus on product development strategies that reflect the reality of how people feel, think and act in relation to specific jobs in their lives. Read more »

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Design Methods #42 – Heuristic Evaluation

Dec 08 2016 Published by Neil Gains under design

Source: Paul Olyslager (8 Dec 23016)

Designers often agree a set of criteria (heuristics) for evaluating the usability of an design or interface, and Jakob Nielsen developed his ¬†own set of heuristics for evaluating computer software (and have been adapted and updated for mobile phone apps). Although the approach is informal, it is a good way to ensure that a set of best practice “rules of thumb” are used to screen prototypes of products or interfaces before they are given to users to test.

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Flexibility-Usability Tradeoff (Principles of Design #73)

Nov 11 2016 Published by Neil Gains under design

All designers have to balance the need for flexibility with the need for usability, because as one increases the other inevitably decreases. Or in c common parlance, “Jack of all trades, master of none”. Systems that are designed to be more flexible have more functions than more specialised designs but are inevitably less functional as a consequence. Read more »

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Don’t Let Short Term Thinking Kill Creativity

Oct 30 2016 Published by Neil Gains under creativity

In their most recent report on advertising creativity and effectiveness, the IPA and author Peter Field reach the startling conclusion that both creativity and effectiveness are under threat. And who are the culprits? They believe that short-term thinking and especially a focus on driving rapid sales effects, combined with the post-global financial crisis recession, are killing the creativity of advertising. Read more »

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On Thinking and Not Thinking

Sep 30 2016 Published by Neil Gains under book review

Proclaimed as “The All New” Don’t Think of an Elephant, George Lakoff’s classic book has been substantially rewritten and updated to reflect contemporary issues in political debate and recent electoral history. The original book was a must read for anyone interested in behavioural science, communication (or politics) and the important lessons from the first book remain, updated and expanded in this even better and more valuable book. Read more »

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