Monthly Archives: August 2006

DesignObserver on the Ovalization of …

Jessica Helfand at DesignObserver has written on The Ovalization of The American Mind.

One can imagine buttons being scaled to the oval circumference of an average adult fingertip, but recently it seems that the propensity for ovals has resulted in a morphologically compromised landscape of soft shapes and rounded edges. And nowhere is this more noticeable than in cars, which (with a few exceptions) have enthusiastically embraced everything rounded: fenders, dashboards, you name it. While I’m not advocating a market for squared-off odometers, it is difficult to find a car these days that doesn’t look like a cartoon.

Ms. Jen echos: it is difficult to find a website these days that doesn’t look like a cartoon.
While Ms. Helfand uses contemporary car and thornamental design to illustrate her points, my mind kept wandering to thoughts of the ovalization of web design. While most of the current crop of Web 2.0 web design is keeping within the ideals of geometric modernism and avoiding thornamental-ism, the oval has landed and many sites have the stylized appearance of a darkly lit neon cartoon.
I do like that designers are breaking out of the box, even ovalizing their box model, but when a web design trend takes off it really takes off and the oval, rounded cornered, neon bevel is in full flight.

What is she up to?

In case you have been watching the parade of mobile photos scroll through this site and scratched your head wonder, “What is that Ms. Jen up to?”
For the completion of my master’s degree at Trinity College in the MSCMM program, we have to do a summer group project that is 50% of the total course marks. Some groups are creating games or virtual realities, others are working on photo narrative, and my group is doing a mobile documentation project of Ireland.
By Sept. 7th, I and my fellow(ess) group members are trying to take mobile photos or video in each of the 32 counties on the island of Ireland.
Yesterday, I traveled down the road, the N81, that starts a block from me in Dublin to its end south of Tullow in County Carlow / Wexford border. I got to see one dolmen, one ruined gothic abbey, 29 ancient standing stones on an earthen henge, walk through a recently mowed field to see a unique grooved standing stone, meet a nice horse and watch a river overflow its banks.
Today, I am off to County Tyrone in Northern Ireland to visit the Ulster American Folk Park.
As the Lonely Planet Ireland (6th ed) guide book says:

In the 18th and 19th centuries thousands of Ulster people left their homes to forge a new life across the Atlantic; 200,000 emigrated in the 18th century alone. Their story is told here at one of Ireland’s best museums the Ulster American Folk Park…
The Exhibition Hall presents many of the close connections between Ulster and the USA – the American Declaration of Independence was signed by several Ulstermen – but the real appeal of the folk part is the outdoor museum, whose ‘living history’ exhibits include a forge, a weaver’s cottage, a Presbyterian meeting house, a schoolhouse, a log cabin, a 19th-century Ulster street and a street from western Pennsylvania…

And off I go…