Choosenick. Notes and observations on service design, as well as other interesting things/thinking. By Nick Marsh.

Archive of September 2007


Pop-Service Design: The Hulger Indian Call Centre   

“The Hulger Indian Call Centre gives you an opportunity to play with your expectations of a call centre connection. The dread. The ennui. The guilt. And also to explore that feeling, that odd and unexpected cultural disconnect.

How do you get around the lingering perception, for example, that the cultures that provide these services are somehow subservient? Already people think ‘Indian’ when they hear of ‘call centres’. Bangalore has become a global by-word for technological sweatshops.”

The first example of pop-service design I’ve seen! 

Link: Hulger

September 25th, 2007 / Trackback / Comments


‘Concept Design’

Globalisation is driving developments among a new type of company - the concept design company. Today, it is more important to find out what product or service to produce rather than how the product or service is actually produced.


September 25th, 2007 / Trackback / Comments

Jeff Howard's quick roundup of service design blogs - including choosenick!

“Here are a few more voices to add to the global service design conversation. Who else is talking about this? What other design blogs should be on my radar?”

Design for Service

September 25th, 2007 / Trackback / Comments

Service Design and why it matters to business
— Old(ish) article from the Danish Design Centre: link
September 25th, 2007 / Trackback / Comments

Helvetica: For when you have no ideas

[I promised I’d dig this up - so here it is. First published in Smiths Magazine, 2005]

Last issue this column promised invective aimed at the Comic Sans typeface. Sorry to disappoint, but I feel the online community offers so much more than could ever be put in this small space: for those of you wishing to continue the War On Letters outside of smiths a good place to start would be

Instead of taking an easy swipe at Microsoft and its bubbly, childish typographic progney The Font-ain turns its gaze inwards to review one of the most ubiquitous and political fonts ever created: Helvetica.

In 1957 Max Miedinger was asked by Edouard Hoffman at the famous Swiss Type Foundry Hass to develop a new typeface that would represent the company as their official font. Under Edouard Hoffman’s direction, Max designed the Haas Grotesk typeface, later to be renamed Helvetica.

From this moment onwards Helveticahas been amongst the staple visual diet, cropping up in almost every conceivable graphic object; from church newsletters to multinational corporate identities; charity logos (shelter being a recent convert) political posters and slick fashionable magazines … (mentioning no names.)

Apart from a brief period in the eighties when the graphic design world was in thrall to the avant garde ‘deconstructivist’ tendencies of the Cranbrook School and CalArts Helvetica has provided quick and easy solutions to designers without real ideas; the default font for conveying themes of quality and simplicity.

However, there are some disturbing trends underneath the polished utopian ideals of the worlds default font; the name Helvetica comes from the Latin for Switzerland, a historically neutral country, one not exactly unknown for its friendliness to multinational business and banking – entities that love the fascist mass fashion aesthetic of Helvetica.

Somehow, despite its apparent chameleon capacity to subvert context through its formlessness, Helvetica implies many questionable emotions and adjectives: authority, simplicity, clarity, similarity, uniformity, and above all else, standardisation. Are these really qualities that we ought to embrace?

One could argue that the implication that typography, the most background of art forms, has the ability to surmount context harks back to older less post-modern ideologies and epistemologies; in today’s slippery post-millennial discourse context is all, and Helvetica is no different – If its used by Fascists it is fascist, used by Fashionistas its fashionable.

To this I say: nonsense. The authoritarian/utopian qualities of Helvetica shine through regardless of their packaging. It’s so perfect, so balanced, so neutral that it must be ‘a good thing,’ you can’t grab it and beat it with a critical stick because there’s nothingobjectionable to get hold of.

Beware any cultural object that achieves this status. Stop using Helvetica just because you can’t think of anything else. Do as we say, not as we do.

Next time: Underlining. A lost art.

September 23rd, 2007 / Trackback / Comments

12801973_500.jpg Google maps snap!
September 23rd, 2007 / Trackback / Comments

HyperIsland update

The talk went well, the students enjoyed themselves, as did I. Learnt a lot, in particular, don’t deliver a talk at 9.30 am on a Monday without making sure everyone’s got coffee!

The nice people at HyperIsland also did a quick Q&A with me, that they’ve put on their blog - Read the interview here

The students all completed a ‘gap analysis’ service experience exercise later in the afternoon - I’ve embedded one of the resultant powerpoints below, you can see them all here 

HyperIsland is an innovative and exciting idea, and I hope I (and Engine) can stay involved with them and their students in the future.

I really like how frank they are on the evaluation - “What useful knowledge have we actually aquired? I’m not so sure” : )

However, this is the group that advocates redesigning the subway service to make it completely free in order to stop the problem of people trying to ride without a ticket… 

September 22nd, 2007 / Trackback / Comments

The experience stack is a way of thinking about the different levels at which experience design operates

The Experience Stack

Great slideshow attached to this link! 

September 20th, 2007 / Trackback / Comments

“…because the innovation industry’s potential to derail conventional management consulting - getting in there right at the beginning of every management decision process, and thereby controlling it - [it] has not gone unnoticed…”
— Great article, with some good links: Innovation Nation
September 15th, 2007 / Trackback / Comments

I’m going to HyperIsland, Stockholm on monday to give a talk and run a workshop with MA interaction design students called ‘designing services’ - Have a look through the slide show above. The students will have to create their own powerpoints as part of a task, and I’ll post them here too! 

Designing Services » SlideShare

September 15th, 2007 / Trackback

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