Tag Archives: design

Recycling, storytelling and music thinking

Very inspiring story about a small town in Paraguay that is surrounded by a landfill.  They found a way to make the best of their situation. Scraps of trash have been recycled into instruments that children in the village learn to play beautifully. They are collectively known as the Recycled Orchestra and are preparing for a world tour.

On kickstarter they founded in 47 days more than $ 214.000 to realise their world tour.


Join them on Facebook:

Landfill Orchestra Facebook

Milano Design Week 2012 – Salone e Fuorisalone

I spent two days  in Milan at salone and fuorisalone to see, get inspired, have talks, drinks meet friends and to see the family at Lago Maggiore.

It is impossible to see everything. There are so many shows, events,  shops, pop-up spaces, …  but what you see you can ‘catch’ (WYSYCC) and I have never seen so many iPhones, smartphones and real cameras in one place – people have fun to take pictures or take it ‘really serious’ and give you some order to step back.

Here are a few pictures  sorted by the following findings:
showing the process  (form idea and material to product); patterns everywhere; laser cut metal; books as decoration; playing with colour; light and nature; ceramic; ‘from handicraft to digicraft‘;  creative food; analog 3D modeling; Rossana Orlandi; Luceplan, …

… and here a video from Luceplan’s new lamp Nothing, by Francisco Gomez Paz

Nothing from Luceplan on Vimeo.

What branding and design can learn from jazz

Raum-Musik für Saxophone CD booklet from DOUBLES

The music metaphor is very strong in communication and there are a lot of papers, articles and blog posts, that are dealing with jazz, pop music or bands regarding marketing, communications and design. One of the first articles I have seen on this subject was ‘What Jazz Taught Marketing (or Should Have)’
by Keith Jennings from 2004 In it’s seven learnings he describes things like practicing, playing with better people than yourself, finding your own voice, collaboration, experiment, innovation, risk and the audience – everything a brand should be aware of.

But there are so many more and as a matter of fact I would say design, communication and branding can learn a lot or may be inspired a lot by music, the music business, a band or any other performing individual – may it be jazz, pop or classical.

Here are a few I would recommend for inspiration:

Niche Marketing and the Long Tail
What We Can Learn about Great Marketing from the Grateful Dead by Daniel Sweet. The Grateful Dead may be the most profitable rock band in history even though it has never had a #1 single or a #1 album.  Think about that for a second. Did you know that only two of the band’s songs ever cracked the top 40 on the pop charts?

Naming and Branding
What The Grateful Dead Can Teach Us About Choosing Memorable Brand Names Fastcompany article about the process in which the Grateful Dead picked their band name and what companies considering their own brands can learn from them.

Improvisation and  Innovation
Innovation, Jazz, and Improvisation
by Stephen Shapiro with seven learnings: ‘unlearn habits, say ‘yes’ to the mess, have minimal structures that maximise autonomy, embrace errors as a source of learning, provocative competence, alternate between soloing and support, strike a groove’.

Medeski, Martin & Wood, Radiolarian The project is unique among studio albums because, in a reversal of the typical recording process, the band decided to compose and then develop the songs through a series of tours before recording the music in the studio. Also very interesting the band released the material  in a comprehensive box set with 3 studio CD’s, 2 vinyl LP’s, a live album, a remix CD and a DVD with documentary material under the name Radiolarians: The Evolutionary Set

A very recent short post from Seth Godin: Why jazz is more interesting than bowling and not to forget the ‘Symphony’ principle of Daniel Pink in the book: A whole new mind

When I set up my own company CREATIVE COMPANION I started with writing a CREDO (what I believe) inspired of ‘a day in the life’ of a musician and in the  MANIFESTO #10 I tried to sum up:

10. Think like a musician.

Compose, invent, innovate, orchestrate, prepare, communicate, rehearse, improvise, entertain, listen, play, perform – don’t give a damn.



In one of the next posts I will write about Patterns from pattern recogintion, pattern design, a pattern language to (inevitably) minimal music.

Any suggestions? Drop a note!
Christof Zürn


Christof Zürn

Download:   CREATIVE COMPANION Fact sheet

Design effectiveness – the contribution of design to business performance

There is a new study about the effectiveness of design commissioned bij the Association of Dutch Designers with some remarkable findings:
Emphasizing design, and including designers in new product development teams, contributes to new product success. Likewise, involving designers in developing web sites and corporate visual identity helps to improve firm image. Together, this translates to better firm performance. These are the main findings of research conducted in a large sample of Dutch firms from both manufacturing and service sectors.
… Some of the positive effects of design are stronger if designers have a high level of freedom to explore concepts outside the scope of the project at hand. This suggests that, to improve performance, firms should look at giving designers greater freedom. Innovativeness in experiential and functional design also has a positive effect.

Download full report as PDF

  • Design Effectiveness – english
    This report presents the findings of a large-scale survey-based research project funded by the BNO (Beroepsorganisatie Nederlandse Ontwerpers), the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Pictoright. The focus of the research is the contribution of design to business performance. The research was conducted by the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) in collaboration with the Delft University of Technology (TUD).
Some other research documents


Christof Zürn

Download:   CREATIVE COMPANION Fact sheet