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Dan Rubin's SuperfluousBanter

Design, random musings, and the Web. Since 1977

Archive for April, 2004

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Weekend Reading (18)

Friday, April 30th, 2004

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Guru on Paper: Edward Tufte

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

As request­ed by Jon Hicks,
I present to you none oth­er than one of my favourite gurus: Edward Tufte. From
his book Envi­sion­ing Information
to his lat­est essay on
Pow­er­point
, the man has changed my views on (infor­ma­tion) design and has
been an inspi­ra­tion ever since I made my first chart. 

edward tufte

Through the mag­ic of bits and bytes I have tele­port­ed a younger Edward Tufte
to the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry! As you can see he is giv­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion on good
design. Some­how that par­tic­u­lar slide looks famil­iar… Can it be that Tufte
has been noti­fied of the lat­est
rev­o­lu­tion in blo­gos­phere
? Has he come to real­ize that the new generation
is ready to take on the liv­ing legends?

So what guru shall I draw next? Men­tion your favourite in the comments.

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FAST: Koenigsegg CCR

Tuesday, April 27th, 2004

FAST Issue no.3

Introduction

So, you would think Swe­den is only known for pro­duc­ing extreme­ly safe but dull
cars, such as Saab and Vol­vo. Now, think again. Chris­t­ian von Koenigsegg grew
up with the dream of cre­at­ing the per­fect sports­car. After sev­er­al years of
plan­ning he launched the Koenigsegg project in 1993. Design­er David Craaford
pro­vid­ed a design con­cept fol­low­ing Christian’s guide­lines. The vikings
now have a car that is going to make some noise in the super­car scene: the Koenigsegg
CCR.

(more…)

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Weekend Reading (17)

Saturday, April 24th, 2004

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Bullish by Design

Friday, April 23rd, 2004

As both an econ­o­mist and design­er I wel­comed a report by Design
Coun­cil
enti­tled “The
Impact of Design on Stock Mar­ket Per­for­mance
”:

Design is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of busi­ness per­for­mance. We’ve
heard design­ers, com­men­ta­tors and com­pa­nies say it. But, to date, the evidence
for the link between share­hold­er return and invest­ment in design has been
scarce and anecdotal.”

While I strong­ly rec­om­mend this report to design­ers and man­agers alike I’m
afraid it is going to make more than one econ­o­mist frown. Design is a critical
com­po­nent of busi­ness per­for­mance, no doubt. That said, I have trou­bles linking
design direct­ly to stock mar­ket prices, even after read­ing this report. Companies
are val­ued using finan­cial met­rics — fac­tu­al and ver­i­fi­able (behold the accountants
and con­trollers do their work cor­rect­ly and honestly.)

More impor­tant than try­ing to link design to share
prices, is the rela­tion between design and busi­ness in gen­er­al (not specifically
stock mar­ket per­for­mance). In my opin­ion bet­ter design leads to bet­ter products,
and even­tu­al­ly improved busi­ness per­for­mance. My crit­i­cism is direct­ed at their
method­ol­o­gy and the vari­ables used to explain the rela­tion. To use stock market
per­for­mance as the basis for busi­ness per­for­mance is dubi­ous. More­over, nowadays
share prices are pre­dom­i­nant­ly deter­mined by demand and sup­ply. It is
naïve to assume that share prices actu­al­ly reflect how a company
is real­ly performing.

I would have pre­ferred to see research based on the link between design and
inter­nal busi­ness per­for­mance, such as sales, cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion and brand
expe­ri­ence (i.e. bet­ter design leads to % increase in sales.) In my opinion
share prices are too volatile and include too much noise to con­clude to anything.
That said, the choice to use stock mar­ket per­for­mance as a met­ric is obvi­ous and practical,
being freely and pub­licly acces­si­ble information.

Despite the some­what flawed method­ol­o­gy, this report is an excel­lent read and,
in all hon­esty, I could not agree more with their find­ings. Design matters!
The gen­er­al ideas elab­o­rat­ed through­out this report make sense and have been
researched exten­sive­ly. Design is indeed a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of busi­ness performance
— I’m just not so sure about stock mar­ket per­for­mance as a good
and reli­able metric.

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