An Atlas of Tools

It was to be expected that such an eclectic mix of people who make things uses an eclectic mix of tools. If this chapter about tools in my Atlas of Makers shows one thing, it is that people all have different needs.

Not very shocking, right?

An Atlas of Places

People have different preferences when it comes to the place where they want to work. This chapter of the Atlas of Makers was very much about the physical place, and not so much about the people in the place, the people they work with.

People are interesting as well

An Atlas of Heads

I made an assumption when I portrayed the first maker for my Atlas. I assumed that only the eyes and the ears deserved a separate chapter. I thought that the rest of the head — the brain, the nose, the mouth, the face, the hair — could be combined in one single chapter. I am not sure if this was a good idea. Sure, I guess most people would not use their hair that much in making, but now I don’t know because I didn’t ask.

What about their chin?

An Atlas of Hands

As I expected when I started this Atlas of Makers: people who make things really value their hands. Not very surprising.
Hands are so obvious for people who make things, many of the people I portayed hardly even mentioned them.

What about people who broke their arms?

An Atlas of Feet

I asked everybody I portrayed for my Atlas of Makers about their feet. Unsurprisingly feet do not matter that much for most people. At least not for their making process. I am pretty sure everybody I spoke to is happy they have them. But still, there are some uses that are worth mentioning.

Like what?

An Atlas of Eyes

Eyes are important to most makers. One big miss is that I didn’t get the chance to portray somebody who is blind. They would have been a very interesting addition to this chapter. But even without blind people some conclusions can be drawn.

Like what?

An Atlas of Extensions

I asked everybody I portrayed for my Atlas of Makers to tell me about the tools they use, and then I asked them to pick their primary tool, their extension so to speak. I thought most people would name their computer. Quite a few people did, but fewer than I expected. For various reasons as well. I also assumed more people would name their phone. It turns out people don’t use it that much for making. Pen and paper is another favourite.

Any conclusions?

An atlas of ears

One chapter in my Atlas of people who make things is all about ears. I assumed this wouldn’t be a very interesting chapter. There were quite a few surprises though. Ears are used in many ways. And they are not used in many ways as well.

Sounds, or reads, interesting

An Atlas of makers

I created an atlas of people who make things. This was an assignment for my masters study. Well, the assignment was to make an atlas. I chose to make one about makers. The idea was that if I understand how and why people make things, that I better understand how to talk to them. What tone of voice I need to use when I want to educate them. To be honest, this atlas didn’t really teach me about tone of voice, so in that way I failed. It did turn out to be a wonderful little website though.

How’s that?

A visit to London

I finally visited London. I have been to many cities around London — Brighton, Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford — but this was the first time I actually visited the city itself. We went there on a semi-organised trip with my fellow students (and teachers) from the Master Design course in Rotterdam. The idea was that you should organise your own schedule and, if possible, invite others to join the activities you organised. I visited three different agencies in three completely different offices. One owned a complete building overlooking the Thames. Another had a few rooms in an enormous palace. The first office we visited reminded us of an apartment in Amsterdam. Not too big, not very small, with 50 people working in it.

Sounds cozy

Conversations about valued objects

Today we did an exercise with so called conversation pieces. Together with my fellow student Barend Onneweer we did an assignment about valuing valued objects. And this assignment was in itself a conversation piece created by Irma Földényi. Again, it was much fun to do, very insightful, and I need to learn how to use this for my own research.

Yes, indeed

The story of a very early picture in Uganda

I visited this wonderful workshop in which Andrea Stultiens told us about a project she’s been working on. In this project she asked artists in Uganda to make their own representation of this photo. This resulted in some incredible works of art. Some of those works were easy to misplace with our western background — for instance, I saw influences of Picasso, where there really were none — and others were a bit harder to understand without context. But luckily for us we had Andrea who gave us this context.

There’s more

Trail: The need to use things

There are things we need to use. We really have to. Things like tax return forms which are mandatory. Or things like webshops. Not mandatory, but often necessary. I wouldn’t know where to buy Sugru if I couldn’t order it online, for instance. For more and more things we depend on the web. Good usability and accessibility is important, especially in these cases. But this is not always the case. In this document I’m trying to figure out the different aspects of why people need to use things. It has a similar structure as the one I wrote about why people want to create stuff, which is from a maker’s perspective. Here I’ll look at things from a user’s view.

Users are important

The toggle between designers and users

Sometimes very simple design decisions have unforeseen complex consequences. For instance, it could make sense to design an on/of switch, in order to toggle certain settings on a website. Designing such a control visually can be done within a minute.

Then what’s the problem?