Getty Images and launch new stock photo collection aimed at empowering women

by Tanya on February 13, 2014


By now many of us have stumbled upon several sites which poke fun at the ridiculous nature of stock photography. Awkward Stock Photos, Woman Laughing Alone With Salad and Feminism, According to Stock Photography, are a few well known examples. These photo collections are great for a Friday afternoon laugh at the office, but have you ever considered the social impact of stock photography? A huge amount of the media we consume daily, be it advertising, magazine covers, or brochures we casually pick up at the doctors office use stock photography as its main source of imagery. It can be the more affordable option when budgets and time are limited. When these databases of images are outdated and old-fashioned, however, they can contribute to stereotypes that can be harmful to the groups of people they represent.

This is the driving issue behind a newly launched collaboration between
Getty Images and, a non-profit organization started by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, named after her successful book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.Sandberg has become an advocate for women achieving leadership roles and in her view the commonly used but typically outdated nature of stock photography is harmful to girls and women.


Getty Images will now offer a new collection of images aimed at showing professional woman in more contemporary roles. Casting aside the idea that all women in business must wear high heels and carry a briefcase, the new images depict women and families in more current clothing and non-traditional job roles and situations.

The conversation around working women has seen a surge in popularity recently with the publication of Sandberg’s book, as well as others on the topic such as The MomShift by Reva Seth which focuses on stories of real-life women and how they navigate parenthood and career success.


A recent Time Magazine cover story about Hillary Clinton’s possible presidential campaign portrayed an image of an oversized high heel stepping on a tiny man. Essentially making the case for why the new Getty Images collection is a much needed step in the right direction for the stock photo community. Ten percent of the revenue from the photos purchased will go to To view the new collection, click here.

Image via, & Time Magazine

Switch Light print

by Jill on December 8, 2013

UNIVERSAL PROGRAM has created a print to accompany their Switch Light we shared in the previous post. It is a functional poster that is a nod to the solar-powered, dual functioning light. The 2 states to the print feature a center glow-in-the-dark ink which collects light in the day, and then emits light at night – just like the light itself. The piece is a limited edition, signed and numbered, 2 colour, silk screen, printed by Kid Icarus in Toronto. In honour of their belief that thoughtful design can improve lives, the studio will donate all profits obtained from the sale of the to the Daily Bread Food Bank of Toronto.

Buy the print here.

SwitchLightPoster SwitchLightPosterDark

Switch Light

by Jill on November 21, 2013

Switch Light by UNIVERSAL PROGRAM is an object with no defined top or bottom in a traditional sense. This is because it has two functional sides, one to receive light and one to emit light. During the day, the photovoltaic solar panel gathers light by the window side providing enough power for a few hours of soft light for the evening.

The name refers to its switching functions, but also to the object as the physical switch. To operate the button-less device, the form is turned over and a tilt switch — hidden in the object — turns the light on. The result is a liberated experience where light is free to move around the home or outdoors, because there is no cable physically attaching it to a socket or wall.

The construction is a composition of three main elements, a satin polypropylene housing, an acrylic lens and the ABS inner core, which holds the electronic components. The size is large enough to cast a pleasing amount of light while being small enough for a child to turn over with their hands.


Confetti System

by Jill on June 26, 2013

Confetti System are the artist, stylist, and designer duo, Nicholas Andersen and Julie Ho. Their shared love of communal celebration and craft-making brought them together to create wonderfully unique and gorgeous installations, sets and jewellery using simple materials such as tissue paper, cardboard, and silk. They have art directed and created installations and sets for the likes of Lanvin, Opening Ceremony, Beyonce, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, PS1/MOMA, Mercedes Benz, Gagosian Gallery and more.

NYT-Confettisystem-Light_WEBThe New York TimesBENZ_FINAL_REVISED_WEBMercedes BenzHR_Star_Flowers_lr_WEBConfetti System Holiday RoomLANVIN_WEBLanvin InstallationOC-STORE-WOODPECKER_WEBWOODPECKER_WEBOpening Ceremony BirdsSeagrams_WebChrysler_WebUrban Researchbranchmobile.webTassel Branch MobileCS-MNZ-2-webMaryam Nassir Zadehseries09-necklace2-web-cSeries 2 JewelleryCS-gold-rope-necklace-webspace1520-web3cspace1520-webc1Space 1520 Installationbeachhouseweb2Beach House 2010 Teen Dream TourABT-night-overall-pic-webAmerican Ballet Theatre

All images are courtesy of Confetti System.

Feltron 2012 Annual Report

by Tanya on March 15, 2013

Nicholas Felton’s 2012 Annual Report is now available for pre-order online. Each year Felton creates a very detailed and beautifully designed report based on the happenings of his life.

“The contents of this report were gathered with a custom-built iPhone app called Reporter. At random intervals each day the app sent reminders to complete a survey. The results of these questions were saved alongside background measurements to form the basis of this document.”

Felton, currently a member of the product design team at Facebook, is widely influential and admired by designers and anyone interested in data visualization. Pre-order a copy of the 2013 report here.




Images and quotation via

Das Programm

by Brian Paschke on March 2, 2013

For my final post in the series of Conversations, we have a chat with Peter Kapos of Das Programm about the future, systems, Ulm influence and the history of Braun.

6Braun KMM 1 aromatic, Reinhold Weiss 1965

BP: What is your background? What were the beginnings of Das Programm?

PK: I would say that I have a divided background. My first degree is in fine art, painting and following that I did a PhD in philosophy, German Idealism: Fichte’s relation to Kant. I’m now working on a research project, a philosophical history of the Braun Company’s reception HfG Ulm functionalism. I suppose, through this, I’ve found a way of uniting my interests.

Das Programm is part of that, although it also serves a more immediately material purpose. I began as a collector. I’d sell bits off now and then to refresh the collection. Apart from the guilt free opportunity to handle a lot of it, I enjoy buying and selling Braun, largely for the social aspect. I get to speak to intelligent people, particularly designers, that I wouldn’t otherwise have contact with. My mid-term ambition with Das Programm is to wind down the commercial side and expand the educational. In 10 years time, I’m hoping the website will be an archive, rather than a gallery.

Braun SK 5 phonosuper, Hans Gugelot + Dieter Rams 1958

BP: That sounds like a brilliant resource. What is your first memory of encountering a Braun product?

PK: My father, an architect, bought an SK 5 Phonosuper from a friend in the early ’60s when he was a student. Because this object has been a constant presence, I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever exactly encountered it. But this was certainly my first experience of Braun Design. My earliest memory of it is a feeling of uncertainty as to when it had been made.

BP: Fascinating. Uncertainty in what way? I often feel the same about good design (something I have mentioned in these conversations previously). That an object can have a quality of timelessness … not in a classic kind of way, but that it feels so familiar, yet so future at the same time.

PK: I was a teenager when I first started to become aware of design. At the time the piece of audio equipment that I was most familiar with was a Sony Walkman. It was very dense with bright yellow scuba styling and overly articulated rubber seal. The SK 5 seemed strange, I think, because although it didn’t look old, it also didn’t seem in any way to be part of what was going on. It seemed somehow dislocated and I didn’t know how to place it. Thinking about it now, it seems obvious that Braun weren’t ahead of their time so much as hugely influential in determining what would be done subsequently.

The term timelessness seems to get quite a bit of use. But I think it’s important to distinguish between: 1) the eternal, 2) the tricky to place chronologically, 3) the once more appealing for unexamined reasons. The last of these is the most common, and, symptomologically  the most productive. When old things begin to seem ‘now’ again, it may be that they hold some content that can be useful to us, if it can be retrieved. Putting the phenomenon down to timelessness immediately negates whatever productive value the object may hold. In this context, it’s interesting that you mention the future. I think that this is a category largely absent from present design. Some very popular designers offer a depressingly impoverished concept of the future as an exaggeration of present tendencies, i.e. not fundamentally different to the present at all. I would be interested in giving some thought to how design might contribute to the formation of a more productive concept of the future.
Braun sixtant 4004, Dieter Rams + Robert Oberheim + Roland Ullmann 1979

BP: What are some other examples of good design for you? Have you become more critical when choosing objects to live with?

PK: I am a little bit obsessive about Camden Council’s social housing projects of the 1970s. They were very influenced by what Atelier 5 had been up to in Switzerland in the ’50s and ’60s. It’s a particular form of low-rise modernism building that is very effective (when it’s maintained). I’m also very fond of David Mellor’s work. He did an excellent set of traffic lights. In terms of more recent industrial design, I have a lot of time for Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa. Richard Sapper is a bit of a hero, too.

BraunTG 60, Dieter Rams 1965

BP: Awareness of Braun design was quite low for most designers let alone the general public 10-15 years ago. How do you feel about the current level of enthusiasm and awareness for Braun?

PK: OK – my feeling is that the recent interest in Dieter Rams, the various monographs, world touring retrospective, etc. has been largely driven by the astronomical success of Apple, a large factor in which was its plagiarism of Braun Design. This is rather problematic because it is a mistake to identify Braun Design with a single person, however talented and capable they may be. I’m pleased that Braun Design is receiving more recognition; I’m less pleased by its distorted representation. I have a theory, that I won’t bore you with now, that relates the failure of the social design project of the hfg Ulm to the current personification of Braun design as Dieter Rams. The punch line is: a part taken for the whole.

System design: Braun M 140 / MS 140 multiquirl, Reinhold Weiss 1968

BP: You shared with me a wonderful set of publications by Ulm, the German school of design. It was a fascinating and refreshing read. Undoubtedly, the collaboration with Ulm was both inspirational and educational for Braun.
Would it be an overstatement to say Ulm provided both a mentorship and friendship with the young Dieter Rams when they began working together on forward-looking products.

PK: This is quite a complex history, but in a nutshell, the Braun Company approached the Ulm school in ’54 to re-style is audio offerings. Otl Aicher and Hans Gugelot arranged what we would now call a comprehensive visual identity, as well as a new style for the audio housings. However, the company was prevented from achieving a fully coherent program because it employed its designers as freelancers. Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Herbert Hirche, and Hans Gugelot designed what you might call personal lines, series that were internally rigorous but made less sense as a family.

1Braun G 12 (Valvo chassis), Hans Gugelot 1955

In ’58-59 Gugelot’s Ulm research group was commissioned to prepare a ‘comprehensive product analysis’, in other words, a plan for a fully coherent program. They worked this out through a study of operational metrics, producing a system of standardised units. The next year the Braun design department was established to implement it. Thereafter, substantial ties with Ulm were cut and all the design work was undertaken in-house. Ulm provided the conceptual preconditions of Braun Design, but the institution of Braun’s design department presented the necessary practical conditions of the program’s actualisation as an aesthetic and functional unity.

3Braun SK 2, Artur Braun + Fritz Eichler 1955 (left) PC 3-SV, Dieter Rams + Wilhelm Wagenfeld + G.A. Müller 1959 (right)

Dieter Ram’s role in all this was limited to his ability to understand the plan and carry it through, no small achievement. It certainly helped that during the ’60s he was personally responsible for the entirety of Braun audio design. Very importantly, the existence of the design department also permitted the partnership of designers and engineers in the development of new designs. This heralded a fundamentally new design approach.

The ’50s period of Braun Design was one of dressing up already existing technology in ‘modernist’ housings. Of course, this is not a respectable modernist operation. In the ’60s the relation between housing and technology was more organic.

4Braun Atelier 3, Dieter Rams 1962 (left) Braun L 460, Arne Jacobsen 1967 (right)

BP: Interesting. The other way round, in your opinion, have any other Ulm collaborations reached such a level of resolution and influence?

PK: Arguably, Otl Aicher’s Ulm research group E5 did some work for Lufthansa in the early ’60s that has had wider influence than that which he did for Braun, at least in as much as it went a good way towards establishing the standard for corporate visual identities.

However, it’s important to grasp the fact that ultimately the project was not successful precisely because it has proven in certain respects to be so influential. In other words, influence may be an insufficient criterion for success.

There is a curious ambivalence between the self-sufficiency of an Ulm systems design, that is, one capable of figuring a rational whole, and the primary characteristic of commodity fetishism, namely the apparent autonomy and self-sufficiency of the ‘world’ of commodities.

BP: Thank you Peter, It was lovely chatting with you. Look forward to see where you take Das Programm in the coming years.

Das Programm was established in London 2010 by its directors Peter Kapos and Chris Ireson.

Brian Paschke is currently a Senior Industrial Designer for BlackBerry. A graduate of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Brian began as a studio assistant for Artist Douglas Coupland before moving to the Kyocera Industrial Design team in Southern California to focus on consumer electronics.

The Office by Paper Donut

by Jill on January 31, 2013

Paper Donut is the work of Alexis Facca, a French freelance designer based in Brussels who specializes in paper art and set design. She has worked for a wide variety of clients on various projects including illustration, motion, set design and graffiti.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Alexis about an intriguing project she created called The Office.

JB: Alexis, your project The Office is based on a fictional story about one of London’s most celebrated agencies from the 1980′s. Where did this idea come from?
AF: From the beginning we (my photographer, Tom Joye and I) wanted to recreate an advertising agency from the eighties, but we never found enough pictures from one agency. So we decided to totally invent this agency retaining some ‘codes’ from the eighties.


JB: How long did this work take to create?
AF: We started by browsing through 80′s design magazines, to research environments, lights and colours. We are both furniture design enthusiasts, so we already had some pieces in mind. I had to get some pictures of these pieces for size – sometimes I found it in store – then I reproduced each piece to 1/3 scale. Just building the paper furniture took me about 4/5 days per picture.


JB: What is the size? I imagine it to be quite tiny!
AF: Not so tiny, like I said before each of the pieces are 1/3 scale, so each set measured approximately 3 x 4 meters.


JB: What is your goal for the project? Do you plan to exhibit it?
AF: First of all this is a personal project, just for fun and trying something new and experimenting with new techniques. But yes, now I think we will print the images, a huge size, like 2 meters in width, and exhibit in some galleries who have contacted me.


JB: Thank you Alexis for taking the time to share some particulars about this project.

Photography of The Office by Tom Joye.

All images are courtesy of

Uncle Goose

by Jill on January 7, 2013

Uncle Goose is a company that is in love with learning, design, and creativity. They especially love wood blocks, so much so that their company is solely dedicated to crafting these classic toys in an era of computer games and digital toys. What makes them truly special is that they are manufactured by hand in the USA and offer a wide range of blocks that communicate in many different languages including those for special needs. Uncle Goose has even partnered up with House Industries to create decorative lines using some of their lovely typefaces. Classic ABC Blocks with Canvas Bagclassic-gooseClassic ABC BlocksUppercase Alphablanksforeign-languageChinese BlocksBraille with ABC Sign Language BlocksUppercase / Lowercase ABC BlocksHouse Industries Alphabet Factory Blocks

All images via, photography by Carlos Alejandro Photography.

Conroy Nachtigall

by Brian Paschke on December 14, 2012

This month it is a pleasure to discuss process and inspiration with fellow Canadian designer Conroy Nachtigall. Conroy is known for constructing highly technical yet minimal and intelligent garments for the Arcteryx Veilence line.

BP: I think it is important to have conversations with designers and artists practicing in different fields in order to gain a fresh perspective. Personally, I am always very inspired by the work you are doing. I’m curious, what are some examples of good product design to you? What do you choose to surround yourself with?
CN: With the increase in design’s prominence there is a high degree of good product to choose from, but I don’t actually surround myself with very much. Unless it embodies some kind of meaning, personal or otherwise, it just becomes another product, its just more stuff.
We have a relationship to things around us, they can be a part of a system of codes that work towards an identity, so products should be chosen with consideration, give them some value outside of that of commodity and diverge from the endless stream of commodification that gets clouded in the discussion around products. So I usually I just rely on books.

BP: Fascinating. What books to you most treasure then? Does film also fall into this category?
CN: Some of the usual architecture books, including Peter Zumthor, Louis Kahn, along with Mark Magazine give me a glimpse into what is going on there. There’s quite a bit of Olafur Eliasson, which reference of a few of the installations I’ve managed to see, and a whole lot that I haven’t – they’re good because he often tends to treat the books as projects in themselves. I like books that try to capture or document an event, Phillip Beasley for instance, or Ryoji Ikeda, and Barney’s Drawing Restraint volumes.
Film can be a real instigator. I’m not sure if it’s a spark or just simply escapism. That started for me by seeing Guy Maddin’s Archangel and I was fascinated by this very weird, hazy, hypnotic, amnesiac universe that seemed so haphazardly cobbled together … but so right, and it felt so complete at the same time. My go-to favorite is still Tarkovsky’s Stalker, which I have somehow managed to see on the big screen four times, in multiple cities.

BP: Design, as we know it today, is a very young profession in Canada. Compared to Italy, Germany or Japan, it has yet to form a distinct character associated to nationality. It some ways this can be very liberating and exciting. Do you feel things like identity, authorship and nationalism belong in the world of design in the 21st century?
CN: Not having a strong traditional design identity is a great opportunity to explore and develop without attachment.

BP: In product design, we work at a scale that often relates to the hand. Things that are gripped, pressed, touched, lifted etc. In contrast, architecture surrounds the body in the same manner as clothing, perhaps on a less intimate level. Outerwear seems to bridge this gap where something can move from surrounding the body to being held in the hand if removed. You seem comfortable moving between these typologies through the clothing you have designed. Is this something you consider during the design process?
CN: Good architecture examples have more than just physical presence and are more than the summation of a single image. They become experiences and situations. The garment and the body together occupy space, more than just surrounding the body. When dealing with apparel that has a rather intense focus on the technical, there can be a fear of becoming a fashion item. That makes all the effort of building a better product appear frivolous, so the language of product design is evoked to legitimize the process, looking at outerwear as another tool.

BP: What was the inspiration behind using wool in such a contemporary and technical way? Can you talk more about this?
CN: Wool is the original technical fibre, it is still the only material that will keep you warm when it’s wet. Superfine merino can be worn even against sensitive skin and its machine washable. The technical fabrics and constructions are very progressive in a traditional menswear world and that unfamiliarity can also translate into becoming a bit unapproachable. Wool becomes a bridge to familiarity in a sense. Then we re-contextualize it, by bonding it to other materials, seam taping it, laminating to it – in untraditional ways.

BP: On the subject of details and familiarity, when it comes to pocket sizes it looks as though you have accommodated various international ‘formats’ such as the passport or flight passes as a standard in each collection. Is this from personal experience or was it a result of observing and measuring to find the right balance?
CN: A pocket or feature that exactly fits a specific format or device configuration is really only good when its used for that purpose. When it’s not, it becomes redundant, a great idea that’s otherwise inaccessible to the user. I try to anticipate what someone might use them for without mandating them for specific object or purpose, but permitting a multiplicity of uses. A business envelope, which is roughly the same as a boarding pass, is the only real dimension we purposely tried to fit, mostly because it would be a shame to have it not quite fit.

BP: Is there a critical platform in the studio to judge if something is good or is it simply a gut feeling?
CN: When the initial parameters are clear it can sometimes come together so quickly and efficiently it seems it is designing itself. I’ve always thought that good design is when the execution matches the intention. But it really is a matter of not getting complacent. Gut feelings don’t go far in an ever-growing corporate environment. The hard part sometimes is willfully abandoning a lot of work that just doesn’t come out right.

BP: When you see your work on the streets or in the shops do you still have a sense of connection to it?
CN: Usually by then we are already working 2-3 seasons further so the connection is a bit diminished. Sometimes it’s a reminder of some hard fought battles. But usually it’s a just feeling of relief that the work is getting out into the world.

BP: When looking through the images of past collections, there appears to be a constant goal to produce visually and physically light single surfaces that hover around the body rather than being draped over it. If it were possible to construct a complex garment from a single piece of material would this interest you, or would it take the charm out of process?
CN: The seams are often the stress points in a garment so for me to reduce them as much as possible is always the goal, trying to do as much as possible with the minimum of means. Its possible to construct a garment with a single piece of material but this really just becomes a design exercise. It uses a lot of material and there is a point where the span that keeps the fabric one piece is so short that it really is only there to fulfill a ‘single piece’ concept. So reducing seams and having each seam have a purpose is a constant motivating factor.

BP: Thank you Conroy, we look forward to seeing what you make next.

Conroy Nachtigall is originally from Calgary, Canada and is currently the lead designer for the Arcteryx Veilance line. He has previously designed Whiteline snowsports apparel as well as other products for Arcteryx.

Brian Paschke is currently a Senior Industrial Designer for BlackBerry. A graduate of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Brian began as a studio assistant for Artist Douglas Coupland before moving to the Kyocera Industrial Design team in Southern California to focus on consumer electronics.




by Tanya on December 5, 2012

Eugénie Manseau and Philippe Carreau of industrial design studio Dikini were recently awarded the Phyllis Lambert Design Montréal Grant. The $10,000 grant will allow the recipients to take a study trip to Seoul, South Korea, where they will analyze various types of street furniture. Upon their return, they will conceptualize a prototype based on the Korean model incorporating services adapted to a North American urban context such as Montréal’s.

Dikini designs street furniture, described as “public interval objects”—or, if you will, moments to pause and wait that punctuate one’s path through the city. With the grant they plan to study the various ways in which these interval objects (bus shelters, public benches, Wi-Fi terminals, bike-share hubs) are used in Seoul, a “digital city” known for integrating new technologies to serve users. Below is a selection of a images from a project entitled Dimanche by Dikini.

Images via Dikini