Morphing Matter Lab - Lining Yao

As an industrial designer we've always been fascinated with re-purposing innovations around us into new and interesting products. Lining Yao and her team has studying really cool biological science and applying it into products we're familiar with. Check this out:

New Design Challenge: #BLOWINGWITHCS

Join the design party. We're redesigning the desk fan and calling it #blowingwithcs. Criteria's are listed below. 

Our last challenge was a hit. Media traction and feedback was overwhelming. Thanks to everyone who participated we are so grateful. For those of you who got features, Congratulations. If you haven’t seen the submission go here: #breathebetterwithcs.

Download Motor CAD
Buy fan here.


PS. Here’s what we’ve been noodling on. Things that flip, rotate, clear and perch at various angles.  


"Building Stronger Children, Instead Of Fixing Broken Adults."

We felt like the opportunity to design Super Heroics first pair of shoe was awesome, but to spend the day with their Hero Lab at Escondido Middle School was eye opening. This brand is beyond a shoe, it's about keeping our children creative, active and playing. 

Today, as adults we reminisce about being a kid again. Why not preserve that for as long as possible for our children. 

In Jason's own words:

"It use to be that the athlete is the destination... Now every summer there is a Marvel movie, every summer there is Comic Con,  so their childhood is based around moments with narrative. Second insight, kid's aren't playing sports like they use to, and when kids aren't playing sports, they're just playing. So as long we preserve that purity of play, that's the intention of Super Heroic. We're not here to tell kids that sports are bad. We're here to keep them in this mind-sight of creativity, imagination, and play for as long as possible. We're here to build stronger children, instead of fixing broken adults. "


An Choi Bep SF

Our good friend Anne Pham is starting a Viet food tasting series in San Francisco called "An Choi Bep" and guess who gets to help with the logo? Us. 

An Choi's literal translation is "Eat & Play." Traditionally it's food served on small plates and paired with drinks. It almost feels like appetizers before a meal, similar to French hors d'œuvre. We're excited about this series. Anne does a mouth watering job at translating familiar Vietnamese cuisine in her own way.

Reserve your seat today for the October 28th tasting. 

For our designer friends. Here's some process photos:



The Rest Of Us

If you haven't seen this Samsung ad, we think it's a subtle clap back at all the buzz around Apple's product launch. It really speaks to the makers and doers around/in us. Yes, both company build products that enable us to work, live, create more efficiently, Samsung's doing a good job at capturing the scrappy, diy'er types of our generation. Peep it. Tell us what you think?  

Tiny Camera, Grand View


Anh and I are spending the next couple months creating content for the Essential phone. Specifically 360 stuff, and I'm excited to get weird and creative. One thing to brag about the essential camera is that it's the smallest 4K camera on the market today. It's so tiny I barely notice it in my pocket. I've used other 360s in the past, such as the Theta and Gear 360, and they're more or less similar in quality, but the tiny form factor of the essential makes it my favorite everyday 360 camera.  (I think I'm onto something here. Everyday 360 =  the hashtag #360365)

As of late, I've been having so fun creating these tiny planet photos. Everything you see here can be done natively on the phone. 100 percent free, and really low stress. It used to cost thousands of dollars to achieve something like this in the past. Technology is so awesome. We move forward by making technology more accessible and convenient for the consumer, and Essential is doing a really amazing job at this. Enjoy the photos :



This was a live design conference held by IKEA just a day ago in Sweden. Give it a listen there are some gems. Plus if you're a van of Virgil Abloh (Off-White) you'll dig this. 

 Democratic design is coined by Frank Lloyd Wright, he thought it design should be available to everyone, not an elitist thing. Learn more about democratic design through IKEA. Really good listen. 


It's been awhile since we've done a community design projects. One year now to be exact. Last one was the watchdogs, and it's turn out was dope. Karim Rashid himself loved it. See the project here if you missed it.

This time let's design inhalers. Here's some info on "Metered Dosed Inhalers" if you want to geek out, but don't be constrained by all that data. Go wide in your explorations, have fun and explore unique materials, crazy mechanisms and bizarre shapes. We want to keep this loose so design criteria's are simple. Use the CAD provided. Must have a counter, 200 count to be exact. Use what ever tool you want, just as long as the idea comes across. Have Fun. 

Click here to download CAD

PS. Included are quick sketches that are inspired around the insecurities of using inhalers. Hiding the pMDI cartridge under a softer durometer material, this still allows for cartridge compression, and opens up some fun opportunities in design. 



 Photo Credits: Shinola

Photo Credits: Shinola

Over the weekend I finally got around to snapping photos of the home and office products I designed for Shinola. Shout outs to the team at Astro Studios and the work we've done together. These were among the last few products I lead and directed before joining Playground. I'll post those soon.

Shinola is one of those brands that has a very distinctive design language due to their history with watches. As a designers this is an advantage, the advantage is you've got some of your work cut out for you. Aesthetic mood boards, colors, materials and finishes can be drawn from their watches. But, now you're stuck applying just a skin job. You're not innovating, not creating something brand new, you're just applying an existing look onto their future products. It almost reminds me of those college assignments where you're tasked to choose a brand and study it, then apply it's aesthetics onto some consumer electronic, like a toaster. For a project like this, I think If you're mimicking every detail like you're plagiarizing is a mistake. One thing I learned from working with Shinola is how invaluable it is to be a versatile designer. Cheesy reference, but what an environment is to a chameleon, should be what every project is to the designer. You adapt but it's never the same environment twice. The design goal to embrace their rich history, but pivot just enough to retain characteristics of the brand and show them what the future may look like.  

It was challenging for David and I to adapt our personal style to the outlets. Aesthetically I'm more of the hard-lines, machined surfaces, and future tech kinda guy. So naturally you can see how Shinola's soft, classic american heritage styling can be an a tough creative problem.  It's the complete opposite of what I'm used to. Laser crisp edges now abandoned for round bubbly details. I think the design turned out quite successful. Staying true to my style I kept the edges and part breaks tights but introduced soft edges and a pillowed top as a hommiage to the past. Here are photos of the final products, you can pick them up at a Shinola store near you.

Shout outs to Shinola, Astro Studios and my great friends David Whetstone and Sean Missal for the creative support on this and many other programs.