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Nov. 2, 2009

Tribal Masks, African Decor Making Renaissance in Homes
from Star Tribune via The Pantagraph
Flash back to the 1970s: Alex Haley's "Roots" ruled the pop-culture roost, the black pride movement was in full swing and a generation of African-Americans was celebrating their heritage by decorating their homes with tribal masks and kente cloth. Today, we're part of a global economy; an African-American of Kenyan descent is in the White House, and African arts and crafts aren't just for world travelers and customers of pricey galleries. "At first, it was kind of a fad," said Angie Scott, a St. Paul interior designer and owner of Access:Dezign. But globalization is fueling broader awareness and appreciation of other cultures and their aesthetic traditions. More

Incredible LEGO Kitchen Renovation
from Inhabitat
A lot of us can recall spending hours upon hours of stacking colorful Legos into shapes and sizes that tickled our imagination as children. While some of us outgrew that phase, thankfully some of us didn’t forget the charm of the little Lego man’s smile or the amazingness contained within every little block. As Parisian designers Simon Pillard and Philippe Rosetti have proved with their chromatic Munchausen Lego Kitchen: you’re never to old to play with Legos! More

Fashion/ Apparel Design

Beverly Johnson on the Psychology of Beauty
from Ebony Magazine
My first introduction to beauty, like that of many young girls, came from observing the women in my life, Beverly Johnson said. Watching my mother prepare herself for an evening out with my father was quite an experience. From the lotions and perfumes to the makeup and hair, it was a long, ritualized process. This ritual always culminated with her putting on an amazing dress and suddenly being ready to present herself to the world. In fact, my favorite dress of hers was a green velvet one with brown mink trim on the cuffs and collar. I also have memories of seeing my grandmother heading off to work decked out in beautiful suits and hats. Even though she worked as a maid at a downtown hotel in Buffalo, NY, you’d never know it judging from her attire. More

Zulema: Runaway Designer
Zulema Griffin is anything but the 'villain' she was portrayed as on the Bravo channel's highly talked about show "Project Runway" hosted by supermodel Heidi Klum. In her years as a Ford model she appeared in the pages of Essence, Interview, Paper and Bazaar. Trained at New York's Parson School of Design, Griffin was always individualist, insistently creating her own outfits from early on. More

Graphic Design/Visual Communication

"The Princess and the Frog" Villain Clip
In this video, supervising animator Bruce Smith discusses the character of Dr. Facilier, the villain of "The Princess and the Frog," and how voice actor Keith David influences the animators work and the character's performance. Smith is a character animator, film director, and television producer, best known as the creator of Disney's "The Proud Family." One of the few Black animators working in the industry, Smith got his start as an assistant animator for Bill Meléndez's 1984 Garfield television special "Garfield in the Rough." He went on to animate for Baer Animation on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," and in 1992 directed his first feature, "Bébé's Kids." More

Spike Lee's Do The Right Thang: Designer Art Sims and 11:24 Design
from StereoTyped
"There's a lot of African-America design advertising agencies going on in the music industry, but in film and television it's very few because there is an 'old boys network in the industry and there is a lot of racism," Designer Art Sims said. "They have their own groups and they only like to work with their own. Very rarely is there someone that is not connected with them that is brought in from outside of their circles. In this business there is a lot of nepotism and favoritism." More

Phishing, Worms Spike This Year, say Microsoft and McAfee
from CNET News
Scammers are targeting social networks with phishing scams and relying more heavily on worms and Trojans to attack computers, according to security trend reports to be released Monday by Microsoft and McAfee. Phishing attacks saw a big spike in May and June, primarily because of campaigns targeting social-networking sites, according to Microsoft's report covering the first half of 2009. Gaming sites, portals, and Web sites of banks and retailers were also popular targets for phishing attacks, the report said. More

Industrial/Product Design

Not New, But Improved
from The New York Times
At first glance, this little yellow giraffe looks like a lot of other kids’ bath toys. But Stella is made from Renuva, a little-known material that could change for the better the way hundreds of things, from upholstery to airplane wings, are made. The story of how Stella came to be made from this material, a soy-based alternative to polyurethane (which is typically petroleum-based), provides a model for how stuff can be better designed in the future. More

Marvel Comics, Now on the iPhone, Would Be Even Better on the iTablet
from Fast Company
The Marvel titles are available for $2 apiece, thanks to the new in-app purchase system. Those titles include some humdingers, such as Astonishing X-Men and Captain America. While there are plenty of issues available from other publishers, Marvel's the big sell. Due to copyright issues it's a U.S.-only deal for now, but Comixology's app has other implications. While swiping between comic panels on-screen is likely to work better than reading tiny e-book fonts on the iPhone's 3.5-inch LCD, it's still not an ideal way to appreciate the art--or a complex story. In comics, it's the interaction between the cells that matter; seeing cells separately diminishes the experience of reading a comic book. More

OBD Job Bulletin


We seek a senior person with strong design background and leadership skills. Applicants may be academic with PhD and research and publications in design or practitioner with extensive industrial and applied experience in design & business. Teaching experience is essential.

The position is for a tenured faculty member or Clinical Professor (non-tenure track). In the former case, the appointment will be within whatever engineering department best matches the candidate’s training and expertise. A PhD is desirable and an established record of research and highly visible publications in design are essential. A Clinical Professor is expected to have extensive industrial and applied experience within design and business. Teaching experience is essential.

To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by Dec. 1, 2009. Applicants should submit a curriculum vita, a description of teaching interests, a statement of vision for research and creative activities, and the names and contact information for three references. Submission information is at Applicants can find more information at the MMM and Segal Web sites: and

Northwestern University is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and individuals in underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

Announcements/Special Events

The Design Establishment

WASHINGTON, D.C./Organization of Black Designers/ -- What does it mean to be the designer of the future? According to The Design Establishment it means broadening our understanding of design, innovating new forms, exploiting new technologies, inventing new object-types, advancing new design philosophies, developing new approaches to the creative process, and enhancing the culture of design.

We are particularly interested in recruiting minority mentors since the after-school youth come from diverse backgrounds.

But most of all it means embracing diversity. Diversity culturally, diversity racially, and gender and ethnic based diversity.

The Design Establishment is a new initiative created by the Organization of Black Designers to commission and showcase the work of outstanding African American designers. Ours is a visionary approach, intended to forge a new model for design companies of the 21st-century.

OBD is partnering with apparel, product and furniture manufacturers to bring to market the works of seasoned African American design professionals, such as Ron Wilch, Noel Mayo, Courtney Sloan, Cheryl Riley, Richard Harris, Rodney Shade, Steven Cutting and many more. Its goal: to produce stunning apparel, products, furnishing, and environments.

"After nearly ten years of advocating design diversity and African American design talent, we see the design industry and the professions still not nearly as "diversity saturated" as it should be", says David Rice, chairman of the Washington, DC based Organization of Black Designers. "Most companies particularly manufacturers with the power to bring products to market have only paid lip service to design diversity. The same is true of major retailers who pride themselves on selling design to the masses. They take our dollars but they are not supporting or nurturing the development of designers of color and are missing out on the rich and unique cultural perspectives that these designers can bring to influence their bottom lines", Rice continues.

Very few have designers of color in their design studios. There are some notable exceptions, like Nike, Daimler-Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motors, and General Motors. But the vast majority of furniture, product, and accessory manufacturers have done nothing.

The Design Establishment initiative will offer those companies "who cannot find a designer of color" a very viable resource. The OBD database lists 21,000 designers and allied professionals.

Well, here we are. Come and get us!

CONTACT: Bill Browne, OBD Services, at (202) 489-4822

OBD Announces New Travel Services -

OBD announces, OBD's official Web site for all of your travel needs.

Through our new partnership with Rovia you are guaranteed the absolute lowest price for your reservations. If you find a lower price anywhere else, contact the number located on the pricing page or go to the chat button and discuss your fare differential. It will be matched or bettered.

Airline, Hotel, Car Rental, Cruise reservations, Vacations, and Special Activities, like Honeymoon and Wedding packages. See the Honeymoon and Bridal Registry. It is full of great features.

Want to plan a design culture trip to Rome, Paris, Brazil or anywhere else in the world? Contact OBD at 202-659-3918 and we will help you with your travel and event planning. From itinerary, to resort or hotel reservations.

And once you use our PowerSearch fare and reservation finder you will be using the most advanced new platform for booking and travel sales. PowerSearch has been developed by veterans with over 24 years of experience in the travel industry.

This new platform with its proprietary booking engine takes destination travel to the next generation and further. It searches every available fare to give you the most comprehensive fare and reservation options possible.

And now the good part. A percentage of your travel dollar will be donated to the OBD Scholarship Initiative. So what are you waiting for? Go to today to make your next travel reservations.

David Rice
OBD Chairman
Organization of Black Designers

Platinum Wireless - Skyscraper


Designed To Travel!

OBD has its own full-service travel site: It offers some of the best travel, vacation and rental car discounts anywhere -- plus a percentage of the revenue goes to OBD's scholarship fund.

Design USA:
Contemporary Innovation
National Design Museum

Design USA celebrates the accomplishments of the winners honored during the first 10 years of the prestigious National Design Awards. The exhibition features outstanding contemporary achievements in American architecture, landscape design, interior design, product design, communication design, corporate design, interaction design, and fashion. For more information click here.

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Ben Maitland, Director of Advertising Sales

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To contribute news to OBData, contact Yvette Craig, Senior Content Editor

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