Today, the identity of a product is no longer defined by form factor alone, but rather by the information that encases it, passes through it, and is accumulated by it over the course of its lifetime. The future of product design is, indeed, convergence. But it is convergence of a scale much broader than hardware and software working together; it is a convergence of information and object, of politics, ecology, and business, of human being and technology. Rather than teach users to operate within the digital world, we must now amend the digital world to better reflect the sensuality of human existence, our innate understanding of physics and inherent biases in comprehension.
As the conceptual scope of our work expands, the design artifact, the object itself, must assume new value as identifying symbol. This is the irony of the situation: while the object itself has become less dominant in the overall product story, it assumes new importance as the icon for this much larger set of relationships. Human nature will always seek a focal point - a singularity - to recognize, capture, and associate with the greater notions at hand.
Mark Rolston is Chief Creative Officer at frog design. He orchestrates teams of strategists, technologists, designers, information architects, analysts, and others to produce groundbreaking work for Fortune 500 clients.
As the founder of frog design’s digital media group in 1997, Mark was an early pioneer of digital media and the Internet. Called “the most talented web designer in Austin” by the Austin American Statesman, Mark has been personally responsible for extensive new media design work and user interfaces, including all of the Compaq Presario utility applications (audio playback, telephone, fax, etc) in the early 1990s. He managed the design of dell.com which launched in 1999, marking the birth of the most profitable website on the Internet. Recent user interface and eCommerce projects managed by Mark include work for clients such as HP, Microsoft, SAP, and Sun Microsystems.
Mark’s client roster has featured many of the world’s largest brands, including Acura, Dell, Disney, and Ford. He is an internationally recognized expert on the web, digital media, user interface, eCommerce, and mobile applications and has been widely quoted in the press, including Business Week, CIO, CNET, Design, Fast Company, HOW, Information Week, The New York Times, MacWeek, PC Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and others.
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