One of my favorite iPhone apps is TED, an app that allows you to search the TED site for videos new and old and watch them on your iPhone/Touch. The application is free on iTunes. I watched these three TED talks below on design this week on my iPhone; they are worth a look. I do not point to them because they are great examples of presentation (all three have varying degrees of weaknesses and strengths in that regard), I point to them because each short talk should give you something to think about. (News about the TED app from Apple Insider.)
Paula Scher: Great design is serious (not solemn)
This presentation is a good follow-up to our discussion on the seriousness of play last year in this post: Play is good for you (and it's good for business). Paula uses her notes and reads sometimes as well, but I think she makes some interesting points about the need for play or "serious play" which is called just seriousness here. I loved that she brought up Paul Newman and the scene from The Verdict ("This is the case. There are no other cases") as an example of what can happen (focus, creativity, clarity, passion, etc.) when you say "screw it" and take a chance, take a risk and throw yourself into the work. (I talked about Paul Newman and this very scene last September in this post.) The talk starts off a bit slowly, but stick with it.
David Carson: Design, discovery and humor
In this talk David Carson reminds us through a kind of show-and-tell that there are graphic design lessons all around us. There are some interesting issues here to think about in his talk and a few laughs. (Sidenote: I agree with him that there is a certain charm to 35mm slide projectors; I loved the clarity of the old slide images. But he starts off his talk by taking a shot at PowerPoint seemingly suggesting that the tool must always be used in a distracting fashion. Then he goes on to use PowerPoint exactly like an old slide projector, something even old slideware does very well. This was shot in 2003, however, when bad PowerPoint was just about the only kind you saw.)
Philippe Starck on the question of "why design?"
This talk by Philippe Starck may seem to some to go all over the place — it's not conventional. But I rather like it and found it provocative (and sometimes confusing). The money quote from his talk:
"No one is obliged to be a genius, but everyone is obliged to participate."
I love the idea of contribution rather than perfection as a pursuit. Yes, he paces around too much, and violates many of the "rules" for good presentation, etc. but his messages and examples during his 18 minutes on stage at least makes you think. It's not boring (but listen carefully).