Gods of Design

by Steve Bowler on July 11, 2008 · 4 comments

in design

It’s no secret that I love all things that are designed well*. I’m constantly complaining about how everyday things could be designed better, let alone games, and it’s rare that I find things that are designed so well that I can’t nitpick them here or there or find subtle ways that they can be improved upon.

Nike, however, I can typically find no fault in, at least insofar as their designs are concerned. During the last summer Olympics I would sit spellbound while commentators described how Nike’s new fullbody swimsuits were faster than if the swimmer swam completely naked and hairless, how fabric was designed that would allow water to flow over it easily when the arm was in one position, and provide drag or traction through the water when the arm was in another position.

So it comes as no surprise to me that Nike has innovated just about every god-damned piece of footware allowed at the Olympics, and where no footwear was previously used, invented some items so incredible it blows my mind and makes you wonder why nobody thought of doing something like that in the first place. Seriously, these ninja tabi socks for beach volleyball with cleats on them are possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. And the Equestrian boots? Holy mother of pearl, it finally took an athletic shoe company to come up with a boot for riding horses which is not only functional (and doesn’t require 2 people to put on/take off), but it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

But Nike Labs doesn’t just show you the footware, there are developer commentary videos on each page (only a couple are missing their accompanying vids). If you even have a passing interest in design, do yourself a favor and curl up with a beverage of choice and listen to each and every one. I mean, seriously, a cold vest for marathon runners to lower their core body temperature before they start running? This is like watching a Discovery Channel special on Olympic equipment.

If I wasn’t so in love with Game Design right now, I’d crawl over broken glass to beg to be a designer for Nike. It really sounds like they listen to what the athletes want and cater to the need and requirement of the sport. The challenge of coming up with lightweight materials that fit the function required yet still have a pleasing aesthetic just sounds so…challenging.

I wonder, what would a Game Design shoe look like?

I already know what the chair would look like.

*Apologies for going off of the Game Design track here for a brief spell today, but I had to do some free advertising after seeing how cool this stuff is.

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