Practical and pretty, buttons to boulevards

They are dressed in camo colours: splotches of tan and green and various shades of brown, and they are lined up along the sidewalks as we flash by in the cab. But no, fortunately, they are not armed. They are not even soldiers, although they have the correct upright posture. They are trees: plane trees, […]

Old ways

Tradition can carry wisdom Design lessons are sometimes found in unlikely places and at unexpected times. All the good learning doesn’t happen in the classrooms. A very important experience occurred for me while I was a student, but not through a curricular lesson. As a non-funded student, I worked my way along, and, in 1970, […]

One by one in 3D

Industrial design’s need for speed There is an ideal, in industrial design (at least from a consideration of the production end of things), of achieving great efficiency. One ma-terial, one process. As an example, we take some material and hit it with a tool. Bang!  And we’re done. I have a small collection of metal […]

Trade shows

Why we bother I’ve begun to wonder how many hours I’ve spent walking the aisles of trade shows. I know it will be a big number. I started as a student and then eagerly continued on as a young professional. Eventually, I was one of the exhibitors too, and then I really got to know […]

Abe Lincoln and me

From log cabins to cross-laminated timber I was born in a log cabin. I guess that makes me a “man of the people” alongside Abraham Lincoln and many others that preceded me. Or maybe I’m only guessing about the log cabin part, and likely exaggerating. I was actually born in Johanna’s Maternity Home, which was […]

A world of red tape

From good intentions to filling out forms The premise of industrial design is, generally speaking, that of providing a benefit to somebody. Somebodies, actually. The more the better. That’s why industry is involved. A need is met and money changes hands, from the consumer to the producer and from the producer to the designer, or […]

Design saved my life

Doing some good with our craft The first thought that came to me, after the impact, came as a question: I wonder if that’s fixable? What I didn’t realize then was that my left rear wheel had been pushed two feet forward and was now right behind my seat. The force of the bus striking […]


Legacy lives beyond nice Father’s Day is supposed to be a time of reflection. At this recent opportunity, my thoughts wandered to include someone who I might best describe as my Design Father. My biological parent played an important role in my life, as they all do, but this didn’t include any fathering of my […]

Spring freshet

Wooden toy charts the course of a career We all got our start as woodworkers somewhere. Somehow. Some occurrence, possibly quite by chance, got us started. I started by building little toy wooden boats. It was before I started school, so I was young. My experience splitting firewood had familiarized me with handling an axe, […]

Smart hands

Intelligence from making things When we use the term intelligence, it is very likely that we are talking about mental functioning. The IQ tests that we will have taken will have been addressed to how our minds work. Our cerebral abilities will have been measured. And, as a consequence, we will have gained a sense […]