Product Design

Think Again: The Hospital Gown

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Style and aesthetics don’t even enter the conversation when it comes to the hospital gown, a garment that only someone too sick to protest would agree to wear. “It makes you feel more naked and exposed than when you’re actually naked,” says one former patient. Another claims, “They’re put on patients to cow them and make them compliant.”

What’s obvious is that hospital gowns were designed only for medical convenience, with no thought to fashion or the dignity of the wearer. They are purposely thin to keep patients from overheating. Made of cotton so they can be sterilized by washing in boiling water. Loose and shapeless, so medical staff can check vital signs quickly and protect any sutures from rubbing. And open in the back for injections and trips to the bathroom.

This is a garment that flatters no one – and certainly not a person who is deathly ill. The hospital gown ranks No. 1 in things that need to be redesigned. We invite you to nominate others that should be added to this list.

Design Classic

Barbie is 50

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Mattel’s Barbie doll, the beloved ingénue role model of every little girl, is 50. If she were a real person, she’d undoubtedly have strands of gray hair, a hint of midriff flab, and hot flashes. Given her propensity for the latest fashion, by today’s standards, she would also be considered shallow – the Paris Hilton of the doll world. Fortunately, Barbie will forever be the fantasy woman of our youth.

From a commercial perspective, Barbie is as successful and enduring as Oprah. She has outlasted Cabbage Patch kids, Beanie Babies, sock monkeys and Raggedy Ann.

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Global Trends

Forecasts and Trends: The Color of 2009

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With so many people feeling blue because their 401Ks have tanked, what color is likely to resonate with the public today? Color forecaster Laura Guido-Clark, who has consulted on the “skin” (color, material, finish) of everything from cars to computers, toothbrushes to carpets, uses a process she calls “climatology” to survey the economic, political, emotional and social temperature of the times to arrive at a palette that consumers will find satisfying and exciting. Guido-Clark tells the San Francisco Design Center’s 3D Magazine, “We are in a time of deep introspection and fear is running as an undercurrent, but hope is what keeps us going. Optimism is the polar opposite of despair, and we will see people drawn to colors that reflect that reaching out for a brighter future. Deep, vibrant and saturated colors such as raspberries, yellows, oranges, royal blues and purples are important. You are also starting to see a softening of the palette with grayed pastels — perhaps our way of landing softly in tough times. People are also being drawn to pliable materials such as wire and sculpted metals that show flexibility and a willingness to bend and change. We will be mixing more metals in unique ways and breaking rules as we come to terms with a new way of thinking. We also expect that earthy textures, woods, deep piles and fabrics with a rich, tactile surface will be more appealing as people seek to make their homes feel like they are cocooning and safe from outside forces.” www.lgcdesign.com

Design Communications

What Makes a Trade Show Worth It?

Meeting the right people is more important than meeting a lot of people. At least that is the opinion of trade events organizers. Recently BPA Worldwide, a global industry resource for verified audience data and media knowledge, surveyed 375 trade show exhibitors on factors they consider when measuring the value of hosting a booth at a trade show event.

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Announcements

@Issue Joins the Blogosphere

Welcome to atissuejournal.com, the online version of @Issue: Journal of Business and Design. Like the print edition of @Issue, which debuted in 1994, this blog is intended to show how design has been used effectively to raise brand identities and contribute to business success. Our hope is to spur a dialog, provide food for thought, and encourage business and design to appreciate what each brings to the creative process. We plan to keep the blog content brief and topical, leaving the printed @Issue to offer more indepth, analytical coverage.

Our intention with the blog is to post frequent updates, but bear with us while we get up to speed. Story categories may change if we find they aren’t working. This is a work-in-progress that we hope will get better with each new posting. Also, indulge us for a brief while if we pick the “low-hanging fruit” and feature case studies of projects we worked on and know first-hand.

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Best,
Delphine Hirasuna
@Issue Editor