Categories
Assortments

Convert Energy into Mobility // Praise the Light

Design Chat: August 8, 2013

Every month or so, the firm at which I work hosts a lunchtime event with our architect firm friends down the street. We call it Design Chat, and it brings together nearly a dozen design-minded individuals with a passion for aesthetics, sustainability and progress.

As we haven’t really done one of these in a while, we revisited an old theme: Good Design.

Items presented have included everything from graphic design to architecture and product design to industrial design. I chose the bicycle, and the following is what I presented, in blog form with minimal words.

Convert ENERGY into MOBILITY


“The bicycle is a tremendously efficient means of transportation.

efficeincy

It is more efficient than any other method of travel–including walking!
A bicycle can be up to 5 times more efficient than walking.”

(Source: The Physics of Cycling.)

Skagit County has some of the most beautiful roads I have ever traveled by bike. Design Chat has also given attendees a chance to share art, photographs, and personal experiences related to design or not.

The Project: 1972 (or 1974) Schwinn Varsity


Next, I talked about my current project, an early 1970s Schwinn Varsity, which I have disassembled and am now stripping of paint. It will be rebuilt as an elegant, flat black cycle with white-wall tires and plenty of shiny chrome. The plan is to fit it with a Brooks saddle, and I’m still debating whether to make it a freewheel single speed or multi-speed.

Progress


The Goal


Growing the Revolution: Mission Bicycle


I follow a small handful of bicycle makers. There is Fast Boy Cycles in NYC and — my favorite — Mission Bicycle in San Francisco.

What They Do

• Make lightweight hand-made cycles.
• Custom built to order, one at a time.
• Built for city riding.

Their Products


One reason I am such a fan of Mission Bicycle is due to their Instagram account. They take fabulous photographs of their products, of which I noted above are all custom made to order.

PRAISE the LIGHT


A Different Revolution: Revolights


Revolights are a revolutionary new bicycle light that mounts to the front and rear wheels. Not only does it light your path forward and back, it provides adequate adjacent lighting to give you greater visibility to other riders and drivers at night.

I am fascinated with this product and would love to install it on one of my future cycles.

Revolights™. Now landed. from revolights on Vimeo.

Categories
Digital & Social

Instagram at 100 Million

What a feat! Just the other day, Instagram announced that it has reached 100 million users.

Here’s a great quote from the article:

It’s easy to see this as an accomplishment for a company, but I think the truth is that it’s an accomplishment for our community. Now, more than ever, people are capturing the world in real-time using Instagram—sharing images from the farthest corners of the globe. What we see as a result is a world more connected and understood through photographs.

Kevin Systrom, Instagram Co-Founder and writer of those words downplays the milestone, putting it more on the users than his on ingenuity. Humble, smart, honest. But a lot has to be said about Systrom, who assisted in bringing the idea to life.

Of all the social places to follow a business, Instagram is perhaps my favorite. It capitalizes on putting a human touch to a company, connecting its products with its fans:

I may only go to Starbucks about once a month, but I love their brand even more thanks to Instagram. They occasionally put a fun twist on product placement:

Starbucks on Instagram

The same goes for Mission Bicycle. As an avid biker, I may not own one of their bicycles, but I aspire to one day park a Mission in my garage:

Mission Bicycle on Instagram

How can a business capitalize on the image-centric nature of today’s social world using Instagram? It can come in many ways, depending on the ultimate goal for being there and how it relates to the company’s overarching business and marketing goals. Used consistently, Instagram can be a great way to share a side of the business that may not often be seen, or portray the business and its customers in a light that is warm and endearing.

One brand that does this well is General Electric (disclaimer: I am a GE stockholder). Their photos tend to be of highly technical heavy machinery, of jet engines and wind turbines, of unknown industrial and mechanical manufacturing plants. Not something you’d expect to be interesting or amazing when photographed with a camera-phone, but put through the lens of Instagram the colors pop and life begins to emerge from machinery that would otherwise seem ominous:

General Electric on Instagram

Have you used Instagram for your business? If so, do please share. And feel free to follow me on Instagram while you’re at it!