What I didn’t say yesterday was that we had to choose an industrial design firm for our one-page write-up. I looked at a half dozen sites before deciding. The determining factors for the company I chose were the site didn’t totally suck, and they had photos of the products and text I could grab for quotes.

Unbelievably, one of the sites I looked at only had a front page that consisted of one image and no content, and another had multiple pages but was still built as all imagines. (Turn off the images, and poof.) It amazes me that these arguably top-notch design firms care so little—or perhaps understand so little—the impact their web sites have on their reputation, and how ineffective their sites actually are.

I’m not saying industrial designer should understand web design. But this is an example of a larger observation. The more sites I look at and clients I work with the more I see a ubiquitous lack of understanding of how and why you should create an effective web presence. And this means there is either a huge opportunity for web design firms or gigantic void (can you have a small void?) in the current ability of web design firms to help companies build effective web sites.

Making Candle Holders

Our objective in choosing a industrial design firm is to create a tea light candle holder from paper that can be mailed in a flat 9″x12″ envelope and represents the spirit of the firm.

Yes, it does sound like a fire hazard. But we created tons of prototypes today and put tea lights in all of them, and none caught on fire. Fun project. Of course, when isn’t playing with fire in a classroom fun?