09 6 / 2011

Powers of Ten, The Flipbook.

Eames + Pentagram + Science + Fun = Oh Hell Yes I Want My Kid To Have This. 

via Brain Pickings

(Source: vimeo.com)

09 6 / 2011

 

My wife and I are both nearsighted as shit. We’ve made peace with the fact that our soon to be born little nerdling is probably going to be fitted for specs before he/she hits 1st grade. 

But what if we could actually limit the damage to our sweet little coke-bottle-eyed angel? There’s an interesting theory that underexposure to bright outdoor light exacerbates or even causes juvenile nearsightedness. (That’s why it correlates with being a nerd: you were inside reading while the jocks were out playing ball every day.)

If screens on iPads, laptops, and other things-with-screens-that-my-kid-will-inevitably-be-using-all-the-time could be designed to perform better outdoors, maybe he/she would be more encouraged to conduct their nerdy development outdoors and save their eyesight. Maybe. 

09 6 / 2011

A fellow DesignDad at work. 

A fellow DesignDad at work. 

09 6 / 2011

Legos are pretty much the world’s perfect toy. Maybe when we move into a house with a bedroom for Lil P, I can find the time and handyman-ish wherewithal to attempt something like this. Much less messy than a whiteboard or chalkboard, and much more “combinatorially creative” (to steal a phrase from Brain Pickings). 

Legos are pretty much the world’s perfect toy. Maybe when we move into a house with a bedroom for Lil P, I can find the time and handyman-ish wherewithal to attempt something like this. Much less messy than a whiteboard or chalkboard, and much more “combinatorially creative” (to steal a phrase from Brain Pickings). 

09 6 / 2011

Sometimes I am afraid of accidentally becoming one of those intensely lame “helicopter parents” who raises a kid with spaghetti for a spine. This book will be my bible. (The wife isn’t necessarily into that idea yet.)

Sometimes I am afraid of accidentally becoming one of those intensely lame “helicopter parents” who raises a kid with spaghetti for a spine. This book will be my bible. (The wife isn’t necessarily into that idea yet.)

09 6 / 2011

Behold the humble yet amazing Hoberman Sphere. A classic toy for children of all ages (yours truly included). I wanna get one of these for Li’l P as soon as it’s not a choking hazard.

Well-designed educational toys are about to become a serious interest of mine. But I suspect that “well-designed”, in most cases, is going to be a stand-in term for “expensive, fragile, full of flashing lights and sounds and other dumb stuff that’s half as fun as an empty cardboard box on its best day.”

The Hoberman Sphere is different. It’s just as simple as the cardboard box so you can imagine any kind of anything while playing with it. But it’s also not simple. How does it work? How can it fit together in all those ways to expand and contract like that? It invites curiosity and exploratory thinking. 

Oh, and it’s also the perfect metaphor for my mental model of good parenting: highly structured but highly flexible. 

08 6 / 2011

Our baby won’t have his/her own room anytime soon, but if he/she did, I’d consider hanging this in there next to the mobiles and yellow birdies. 
This is like that “everything I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten” poster but, like, better. 

Our baby won’t have his/her own room anytime soon, but if he/she did, I’d consider hanging this in there next to the mobiles and yellow birdies. 

This is like that “everything I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten” poster but, like, better. 

08 6 / 2011

I’m about to have my first kid in about 9 weeks. So what does design have to do with being a good parent? I honestly don’t know for sure, but I suspect: everything.  

What does every parent want? “The best for my kid(s).” But what does “the best” mean in my particular circumstances, and how do I help make that happen with the resources we have? I’m reading about half a dozen baby books right now and the answer ain’t in any of them. If it were, it’d be an engineering problem, and orphanages wouldn’t be so depressing. But it’s not like that. Which makes it a design problem. The ultimate one, probably. At least that’s how it seems to me from here.

I got the idea for DesignDad because I wanted to keep an open notebook/sketchbook of interesting ideas, creative solutions, personal thoughts, and other whatnot that seem useful or inspiring to me from this broadly “design”-ey perspective on being the best dad I can be. 

To me, design isn’t about fonts or Photoshop, fancy furniture or iStuff, and neither is this blog. It’s about making things make sense, for yourself and the people you care about. It’s about building the new normal and learning along the way. We all do it; it’s part of being human. Fatherhood is just going to make it realer — more meaningful, important, scary, exciting, humbling, joyful, everything — than it’s ever been before. Let’s see what happens…