Thursday, February 02, 2006

Farewell: Final Column

One last trip around the corner

by Carla Diana

NEW YORK, NY, June 8, 1999 -- We've been getting [Image]
together on a regular basis since the fall of
1996. In this column, I've explored product trends,
examined cultural differences and celebrated the joys of
product design within the context of consumer
electronics.

In its early days, Carla's Corner explored some basic
themes in design and consumer electronics. In "Poetry in
Motion" I looked at kinesthetics, the physical
interaction between products and their users. "We Are
What We Wear" and "Pint-Sized, Living Large" examined the
freedoms that portable products afford us in our
day-to-day activities. "Pint-Sized Audio Gear" and "Kids'
Electronics" explored how manufacturers have been
catering to a vast new market -- the under-12 crowd. And
no self-respecting design column would be complete
without a nod to the past: "Designing History" was a
tribute to the American Designer Henry Dreyfuss.

In 1997 I took you along with me as I traveled through
Europe and northern Africa, examining design
sensibilities and commenting on the ways different
cultures embrace technology. From France ("Interactivity
a la Francais") and Italy ("Colors of Rome" and "Milan
Furniture Flair") to the Sahara ("Snapshots of Tunisia"),
I reported on object culture while putting my own
portable home office to the test.

In the past year, Carla's Corner has traveled to more
virtual than physical destinations. Recognizing that the
shrinking of electronic components is shifting the
emphasis from the physical object to the on-screen
interface, I focused on scrutinizing the interactive
aspect of product design. "How Small Is Too Small?"
addressed the shrinking of electronic components.
"Electronic Moolah," "The MP3 Revolution", "Digital
Photography" and "Online Commerce" all explored
de-materialization in consumer electronics.

In "Focusing on the Interface," I looked at the evolution
of the control surface in product design. "Digital Design
Tools" and "Multimedia: The Blur Tool" explored how the
growing sophistication of virtual interfaces and
computing has opened doors for artists and designers by
blurring the boundaries between disciplines.

Throughout the life of Carla's Corner, I've looked at
product design not only as a freelance journalist but as
a product designer. I've experienced the changes I
discussed in my column in my own design work. Like most
contemporary product designers, I've embraced digital
tools and have incorporated 3D animated images into my
presentations. I currently use traditional graphic design
principles in combination with 3D imagery to create
interactive environments, and I'll continue to develop
motion graphics within the realm of interaction design.

However, just as product design in consumer electronics
has reached maturation, so too has Carla's Corner. I've
decided to bid farewell to my readers as I pursue a
freelance career in multimedia design (you can visit me
online at www.technokinetics.com).

Thank you for your 2-1/2 years of loyal readership.

-- Carla Diana

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