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Steve Jobs has demonstrated that great innovative product design (otherwise known as Industrial Design) can be a primary element in creating a successful brand. Who could separate the Apple brand from the Apple product designs like iPod, iMac, iPhone and the like. The following provides some fresh insight into the designing process and ideal environment.

This year’s National Design Award product design winners have found a solution-seeking ethic to be best approach.

by Matt Vella

“Good design isn’t always visible,” says Masamichi Udagawa pensively, light streaming behind him into an airy Manhattan studio. Nodding, his partner Sigi Moeslinger adds: “The essence is to lead people; design is the embodiment of the right information at the right time.”

The unassuming, soft spoken pair, winners of this year’s National Design Award for product design, are trying to pinpoint common themes in a broad body of work that stretches from products for companies such as Bloomberg, IBM (IBM), and Microsoft (MSFT) to interactive art displays in galleries such as the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and New York’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The Japanese-born Udagawa and Austrian Moeslinger form the core of the five-person, New York City-based Antenna Design, a firm that since 1997 has bridged the divide between art and commerce, public and private, information and objects.

The firm works on just 8 to 10 projects a year, but Antenna’s rise tracks closely with the design boom of the past decade that has seen business executives refocus on the discipline as a strategy for growth. High technology acolytes, Antenna has specialized in creating information-infused objects that place equal emphasis on form and function. Millions of daily commuters, for instance, use the MetroCard Vending Machines designed by the firm for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority more than a decade ago. The aging boxes dole out subway passes via a simple, elegant touch interface—devised years before Apple’s (AAPL) vaunted iPhone revolution. Originally commissioned simply to dress up the outside of the existing, dull gray vending machines, Antenna fought to work on the interface design, too. This combination, say Udagawa and Moeslinger, has contributed to the design’s longevity.

*click link for full story and slide show …

Antenna Design: Bridging Art and Commerce.

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