Journal

A sunny Danish summer
 
 Riding by Amalienborg

Riding by Amalienborg

Soaking in the streets of København

This summer I had the opportunity to travel to København and attend workshops centered on connected products and design for inclusion at UN City. It was a great experience that allowed me to challenge myself by collaborating and sharing ideas with a diverse range of individuals on topics centered around the sustainability development goals. To summarize - my time here was well spent with fun, creative and thoughtful people.

Here's a list of a few more things from this trip:

1. Søerne
I stayed right next to the Lakes on the street across from the busy inner city life. This is a great area to take a walk and relax by the water. There are many shops and cafes along the street where you can find inspiration for fashion, food and lifestyle. If you want to grab a beer later in the evening I would recommend stopping by a bryggerhuset on Blågarsgade or go a little further west to Mikkeller in Vesterbro.

2. Hay House
If you enjoy appreciating or shopping for Danish furniture and accessories, this is a great store to discover local products designed for modern living.

3. Europa 1989
I was lucky enough to be in København during the jazz festival in July and will forever reminisce in the wonderful memory of enjoying the summer buzz and enjoying the live music while sitting by the window with a smørrebrod and elderflower cider.

 
Vivian Chang
NYC 2018
 
 View from the High Line

View from the High Line

Taking some time to enjoy other cities 

New York City greeted me with a snow storm + 4 days of sunshine to follow. It was a wonderful trip that included food, shopping, museums and walking through the city with old and new friends.

In this post I wanted to share my trip highlights:

1. Access+ability exhibition
One of the key reasons I was excited about my trip to NYC this year was to see the exhibit on design and accessibility at Cooper Hewitt.

In this exhibit, the museum curated a collection of existing and future technology that explores how we can create and adapt functional products that address a wide range of physical, cognitive and sensory abilities. I really enjoyed my visit because the collection provided opportunities to interact, learn and talk about the technology available at the show.

If you're museum hopping down 5th Ave, this is a good stop to make before the exhibit ends on 9.3.2018. I would also like to recommend an older, but good book called Design meets Disability for those who won't be in town.

2. McNally Jackson Books and Goods for the Study
My friend T shared with me one of her favorite NYC bookstores in SOHO - it's a great space for browsing, listening to talks and taking time to sip on some coffee at the bookstore café. I personally spent most my time looking through their unique collection of stationery.

Which brings me to the discovery of Part II, Goods for the Study. Love at first sight.

If you really enjoy some nice pens, notebooks and other paper goods, I would highly recommend checking out this store. There's also a great spot nearby called Amelie Wine Bar where you can enjoy a drink before ascending to stationery heaven across the street.

3. Golda
A nice local spot in Brooklyn described as a "New-American breakfast & lunch fare with a touch of middle-eastern flavors." This was the first "yum" moment I had in New York during this trip. My favorites were the charcoal latte and spinach/kale muffin.

 
Vivian Chang
Currently Watching
 
  Her , Spike Jonze, 2013

Her, Spike Jonze, 2013

Catching up on good films

Lately, I have been trying to catch up on all the good films I have missed throughout the years. Her directed by Spike Jonze was a piece that I found particularly relevant to today's interest in artificial intelligence.

The film is about a lonely individual who falls in love and develops a personal relationship with his operating system, Samantha. Although they have their physical differences, their relationship deepens as they mutually learn more about each other. As I watched this relationship grow, it made me question and consider the repercussions of exposing too much personal data—to what extent should data be used to facilitate our lives before it becomes harmful?

Ultimately, this film made me more aware of when I share information and realize how much my day to day life is impacted by the convenience of smart technology. Other films I would recommend that are related to human relationships with technology are Ex Machina and Blade Runner.

 
Vivian Chang
Temporality
 
 Claude Monet,  Nymphéas , 1916–19

Claude Monet, Nymphéas, 1916–19

A day with monet

Over the weekend, I made it just in time to see some of Monet's artworks before the end of his exhibition in North America. Throughout his collection, it was amazing to see his dedication to capturing a moment in time and how he visualizes the still yet ever-changing nature of the world around us. As I walked through his timeline of art works, I also learned that towards the latter half of his career he was confronted with the challenge of deteriorating vision. I was glad to see that nonetheless, he continued to paint and truly admired his perseverance to continue his study of the world. 

Continuing on with the theme of temporality, I think it's important to be aware of how every moment is a unique moment that deserves to be recognized and accepted. This makes me wonder how temporality can influence design and be a key consideration of how we can create experiences that transcend our evolving nature.

 
Atoms, Molecules and Organisms
 
 Eames Dot Pattern, Ray Eames

Eames Dot Pattern, Ray Eames

Putting together a design system

Lately, I have been finding myself going back and forth between multiple files and product style guides in my design process. I realized this was too time consuming and decided to look into how I can streamline this workflow.

After a quick search online, I came across Brad Frost's Atomic Design Methodology. This method breaks down interfaces into stages he refers to as atoms, molecules, organisms, templates and pages that can be used as a design system. Using this as my basic framework, I am now experimenting with how to combine Sketch and Craft to save symbols in a design library that can be shared with the rest of my team. 

For me this has been a great way to begin organizing my workflow and a fun read about how we can think about and find patterns in the creative process.

Read more about atomic design here.

 
Vivian Chang
Inside a Kaleidoscope
 
  Dots Obsession–Love Transformed into Dots, Yayoi Kusama

Dots Obsession–Love Transformed into Dots, Yayoi Kusama

Standing in the middle of infinity

Over the weekend I had the chance to enjoy the long-awaited Yayoi Kusama exhibit. The exhibition had a total of five rooms where visitors were transported into alternative spaces that relied on mirrored walls to create an infinite visual field. My favorites were the Infinity Mirrored Room–Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity and Dots Obsession–Love Transformed into Dots which was paired with a mini version that is viewed through a peep hole. Going through each space made me cognizant of the human ability to transcend and constantly view the world in different dimensions at the same time.

Was also in love with site design for the SAM exhibit and wanted to share it here.

I have yet to read her autobiography, but am definitely putting it on my list of books to read. Check it out here, if you're interested too.

 
Web Launch
 
Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 9.29.40 AM.png

Ready, set, launch!

I have been working on a new website design for a client the past few months and am excited to see it go live. Check it out at www.automaxparts.com.

 
Vivian Chang
Machine Visions
 

Visualizing intangible forms with technology

Lately, I was down in LA where I got the chance to experience James Turrell's Breathing Light exhibit and get my aura photo taken by Radiant Human. In retrospect, I thought it was interesting how both of these explorations showed people a way to experience and see a metaphysical space through the use of technology.

In these works I find the pairing of technology and the abstract both juxtaposed and surprisingly analogous at the same time.

A quote I liked from James Turrell:

"My work is more about your seeing than it is about my seeing, although it is a product of my seeing.”

See below for reference links:
James Turrell, Breathing Light 
Christina Lonsdale, Radiant Human 

Including a link to Artsy as well - a great place to check out for art lovers.

 

 
Vivian Changtechnology, space
What is important?
 

Thoughts on minimal living

I recently watched a documentary about living minimally. The film was not about the need to live in a constricted minimalist box, but instead approached minimalism as a way to reground yourself by clarifying what you hold valuable.

With consumerism being a great driving force in the way we live, watching this film was a great way to reflect on what people see as necessities in today's society. From the lifestyle snapshots of different minimalists, it was refreshing to consider an alternative form of living where we surround ourselves with only people and objects that we find truly meaningful.

Check out more about this documentary here

Other thoughts...

From observation, I have noticed that throughout history people have constantly felt a need to clarify their lives through simplicity. We can even see this in artwork from the Renaissance where citizens from the upper class society commissioned artists to create paintings of pastoral sceneries to glorify the simplicity found in traditional agricultural lifestyle. This makes me think about how we are still currently living through a cycle where we are designing for a vision of simplicity with companies such as MUJI or Apple promoting products that are meant to make their customer's lives straightforward and uncomplicated. Makes me wonder where the fine line is between designing products for the idea of being simple vs. being simple.

I would also like to note that this idea of living minimally is also reflected internationally; with authors such as Marie Kondo writing books on de-cluttering and organizing. Her books is called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, for those who are interested in reading more about simple living.

 
Vivian Chang
Currently Reading
 

Starting the new year with a good book

Over the holidays my friend recommended me this book as we were catching up and geeking over our boards on Pinterest. I was very excited when it arrived and have been very satisfied with the book's exploration of ideas between design and society. I am currently a third of the way through and can already say that I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys design thinking and being lost in thought.

Check it out here: Amazon.com

 
Vivian Changbooks, design
UX/UI at SMART Technologies
 

Branching out into UX/UI design

At SMART Technologies I worked alongside the UX team to develop the visual branding and user experience of new and existing products. It was exciting to apply my visual and product design experience to the digital realm of creating fluid user experiences and interfaces. On the team I got to learn and contribute to the process of designing user flows and interactions, branding, visual design language and icons for the visual design guide of the SMART board educational learning suite. 

 
Vivian Changdesign, ux/ui
Virtual Reality
 
 Oculus Headset

Oculus Headset

Today I had my first VR experience at Oculus

I have been curious about virtual reality lately and had the chance to try it out at Oculus. Both the comfort of the physical product and the virtual experience was more than I had expected and I am curious to see how virtual reality will continue to develop.

Other thoughts...

Due to it's immersive quality, it's interesting to observe how this can affect people psychologically. As an example, I came across a story on NPR about SnowWorld, a virtual space developed to help burn victims during treatment. What impressed me was it's reported ability to help decrease pain during wound cleaning and physical therapy by placing the patient in an alternative reality that was designed to be the antithesis of fire.

See this link to read more about SnowWorld: npr.org

 
Vivian Changdesign, products, vr
To New Beginnings
 
 Kvadrat - Material Inspiration

Kvadrat - Material Inspiration

Excited to be a part of a start up experience

I was contacted by a former colleague about an industrial design opportunity for a small start up team working on a product focused on women's health and wellness. Currently the product is still in it's initial phases and I am looking forward to learning more about the creative process in start up culture.

 
Vivian Changdesign
Microsoft Global Packaging
 

Enjoying my summer playing with Xbox boxes

I had the opportunity to work with the Xbox packaging team and contribute to their creative work. On the team, I was involved in sketching, soft prototyping, creating CAD models, renderings and documenting competitive analyses for the product. It was a great chance to explore the process of branding and creating user experiences that can enhance the out-of-box experience through material and structure.