Ideas - inspirations experiments & notes

Ideas tagged with Design:

How does the Polaroid SX70 work?

As mentioned previously, I've been slowly working through the illustrations in the factory repair manual for the Polaroid SX70 camera. Here's a couple of diagrams from it, reworked and hopefully made a little clearer, to show the basic light path (click to see the full size image). The camera's incredibly complex mechanism allows a remarkably clear, [...]

DIY project: Recreating the Eames Musical Tower

Some information about my ongoing project to recreate a piece of classic 1950s modern design from Charles and Ray Eames - the gravity-powered "Musical Tower" glockenspiel.

Instant illustration of an SX70 camera

A quick frame showing some illustration work I've been doing recreating some technical drawings of an old Polaroid camera, the folding SX70 Land camera. The SX70, initially released in 1972, is still a technical marvel - a brushed steel* and leather box that expands with an intricate folding mechanism to reveal a manual-focus SLR camera capable of [...]

Braun AW10 wristwatch

Spent the morning overhauling this beautiful Braun AW10 wristwatch. It was designed for Braun by Dietrich Lubs in 1989, and demonstrates the functionalist design ethos that also created the iconic Braun alarm clock. It needed a clean and a new battery, but I also noticed that the bright yellow second hand was misaligned, so that it never lined up [...]

More old bike tech...

I found these rather lovely bits attached to a slightly cobwebbed Hetchins bike being stored in a wood shed. Firstly, a wonderfully elegant little Campagnolo Gran Sport front dérailleur and secondly a high flange reversible alloy hub, with a six-speed casette on one side and fixed singlespeed racing setup on the other.

Poilu brush packaging

Great piece of packaging design - although no one should be allowed a goatee. Almost a shame to undo the brushes and start the boring job of painting. Via

eReaders need eye-readers

Watching someone using the new touchscreen Kindle the other day made me think about the eBook interface, and about how clunky it still is. I've used eBook readers on a lot of platforms over the years, and nothing has ever been completely right. Don't get me wrong - I like eBooks and the ability to carry a library around in your pocket is great, but [...]

Apple ergonomic grumbles...

I've been hard at work on a couple of new projects recently, and spending hours hunched over keyboard, Wacom pad and mouse have perhaps made me over-sensitive to bad ergonomics. Take the Apple Magic Mouse. It's wireless, and the surface is one big trackpad. That's good. It's very accurate and works on any surface - also good. But reach for it while [...]

Was iOS preferences icon drawn by a monkey?

I've just spent some time updating my ancient iPhone 3G to iOS 4 and noticed the preferences icon had changed. On closer examination it looked distinctly dodgy - as if a monkey who had only seen the original for ten seconds was forced to reproduce it from memory. Compare the iOS version shown above to the OSX version shown below. The clearly defined [...]

Warning: DOMDocument::loadHTML(): Tag canvas invalid in Entity, line: 2 in /services/webpages/a/l/ on line 56

Warning: DOMDocument::loadHTML(): Unexpected end tag : p in Entity, line: 19 in /services/webpages/a/l/ on line 56

Warning: DOMDocument::loadHTML(): Tag canvas invalid in Entity, line: 2 in /services/webpages/a/l/ on line 337

Warning: DOMDocument::loadHTML(): Unexpected end tag : p in Entity, line: 19 in /services/webpages/a/l/ on line 337

Displaying a panorama via HTML5 and canvas

Just a quick experiment - I found myself needing to display a very wide panoramic image within a page, and found that all traditional methods had their problems. Just scaling the image down to fit meant all image detail would be lost, but using it at full width would blow out the rest of the layout and look a mess. So I did a bit of digging [...]

Pictures under glass - a rant from Bret Victor

Interesting and well illustrated rant from Bret Victor on the failure of touchscreens as a tool for interaction.

Geodesic domes and why you shouldn't live in one

When I heard about a family friend's new home-made geodesic greenhouse, I was sorely tempted to have a play around and make one myself. Some complex maths and a quick play in Sketchup revealed I'd really better get a garden first. During my digging around I also found some compelling reasons not to live in a dome. Image from

Website UI stencil

Because digital mock-ups can't be swallowed for security purposes Via

Curly Hetchins - frame of champions

When I was growing up and first riding a proper bike I had a knocked about old 10-speed racer built up from a frame pulled out of the local lake. But once my brother left home, I was allowed to ride the bike handed down to him from my dad, an original cream curly stay Hetchins produced in the mid 1960s. The curly stays were allegedly to improve [...]

Feel the power of the SVG...

Just spent a very enlightening few days finding my way around scalable vector graphics (SVG) code. Incredibly powerful stuff, as I hope the slightly hypnotic animation I created above shows. As more and more browsers support the SVG standard natively, complex, scalable, low impact graphics without the need for Flash will become a reality.Currently [...]

Matthew Hollister Illustration

I'm really impressed by some of the illustrations by Matthew Hollister, particularly this one in TimeOut for a story exploring the links between the BBM network and the London riots. via grain edit

SouthEastern Trains

Travelling on a Southeastern train over the weekend I noticed the effort that had been made on the interior. Some parts of the design were perhaps technically unnecessary, but I like the fact that someone has considered these small things.In particular the detailing around the overhead lights pictured above brought to mind classic sci-fi scenery [...]