AMITIAE - Tuesday 1 January 2013
Great Design is no Accident: The Design Museum Collection for iPad
By Graham K. Rogers
Bauhaus is another useful example and, as well as BMW, I tend to regard Porsche design quite highly. It is not that Germany has a monopoly on great design, but some of the simple and functional designs coming from there are difficult to surpass. The iPad as design is simple and functional on the outside with the screen connecting directly to the user in a way that a computer with a keyboard or mouse cannot.
Although I prefer the iPhone for day to day work, one of the ways in which the iPad betters the smaller device is in the ability to display larger amounts of text and to make images used clearer. Magazines and newspapers as well as books are easy to read on the iPad and while some publishers may not have grasped fully what the medium is, many have.
As a display medium, the iPad works rather well and it is no surprise to see apps that capitalise on this. It is also a pretty good device for displaying Art and I have a number of apps that allow me to view genres, check out exhibitions (Gagosian), and even buy online digital art ([S]edition). Among the types of Art I have apps for are Japanese (Hiroshige HD and Hokusai HD) and French (Monet HD and Seurat HD): there are scores more.
A neat touch is that the rows can be scrolled left and right, while columns scroll up and down, so a user can rearrange the opening display screen.
Images and information on some 60 items are available. This may be viewed either by tapping the item in the main display or a pages icon in a toolbar to the left. This starts at item #01 (one laptop per child). The page can be scrolled down to access the information, or to the right for the next item.
A series of classifications also gives access to Categories of designs (e.g. Graphics, Transport), Types (Clock, Poster) as well as Dates. Designers, Manufacturers and Places of Origin, plus Colours or Materials are also ways in which designs featured may be viewed. The only motorbike listed is the 1946 Vespa.
As well as some obvious examples (Olivetti Valentine typewriter, Colombo plastic chair) there are enough that at first glance might not appear to be worth including, such as British road signs, the Ecko Bakelite radio, the Kalashnikov AK-47 and a Corbusier car made of wood, to make this an app with content that has some nice surprises.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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