speaker series: design is engineering

August 1, 2013

written by
Greg Ciro Tornincasa

A bunch of us (well, three) went to the speaker series sponsored by Cloud City Development @cloudcitydev at the PARISOMA @parisoma space in SF. Before we get to the speakers, let’s talk dinner first.

We went to StrEAT Food Park which is a loose confederation of street food trucks. Think ‘Off The Grid’—all your favorite local restaurants on wheels. We devoured the phenomenal Monster Burger, Cali and Flyin’ Hawaiian sliders and sweet potato fries from MeSoHungry. Washed down by sangría.

Then we shuffled over to PARISOMA to hear the 3 speakers on the docket for our wild Friday evening.

First up, PJ Onori @somerandomdude, who gave an enlightening talk about how designers will need to code, and code well. This sparked off a spirited debate back here at 300FeetOut HQ with the 2 camps: designers will need to write code vs. designers will need to understand code. (Personally, the writer of this sentence is in the understand camp.) BTW, his talk was titled: Design’s Coupling With Technology: Designers and developers have an increasingly sophisticated process to navigate. How does that work? PJ likes to write code… and really long titles.

Next came Stephen Coles @stewf with the really compelling talk, A Typeface is a Chair: A simple metaphor that can enlighten the ways in which type is made, judged, selected, and used. And he’s right. It is a simple metaphor and one that works really, really well because Stephen really knows his typefaces, and his chairs. Fakt: a Heron chair by Tendo Mokko—spare in design but comfortable and versatile. Expressive display type: a Jacobsen’s Egg chair. Arial: a toilet—it’s functional. One point of violent disagreement—Goudy is not a La-Z-Boy. Not ever.

Check out the beautiful illustrations by Laura Serra, used to illustrate his metaphor.

Rounding out the evening was Sha Hwang @shashashasha with the interactive, multi-media talk, Visualization and Its Discontents & or Things that Make Me Cry. Sha has a very deadpan delivery with an offbeat cadence that reminded me of Stephen Wright or Laurie Anderson. Sha had a lot of cool video in his presentation and we don’t remember him crying or talking about things that made him cry.

Interesting speakers that made us think and engaged us on multiple levels. Very inspiring! Then we drank beer.





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