Good Design at MoMA, FNBK #1 + UN Prep

1) Post your first FBNK entry (scan a photo of your field notebook page and upload this image to your LP)


2) Post your completed responses to the in-class assignment for The Value of Good Design MoMA exhibition.



  1. In the show, I saw many different objects such as posters, bicycles, chairs, textiles, and small machines. There were various colors as well, including both rainbow and dull colors. Common materials observed were wood and plastic. The overall design sensibility in my opinion,
  2. To a friend who does not live in New York, I would describe this exhibition by telling how it has a variety of interesting items with unique designs. In order to grab his or her attention, I would show a few pictures from there and little bit of background information I wrote in my notes.
  3. Majority of these objects looked familiar to me, since they were everyday objects like chairs and cups. Some of them, especially the machines – typewriter or old telephone – did look like they were from different generation.
  4. I agree that most of these objects are “good design” because they seem to have clear and simple designs serving their apparent purposes. For example, the magnatab allowed me to draw pictures or write letters, and the magna tiles let me create various shapes such as pyramid, triangular prism, rectangular prism, and square. Cups in rainbow stripes grabbed my attention, as well as the gray plate created in an interesting shape. The camera is used to take various photos and microphone is for talking to the audience from far so they can hear me. 
  5. I could barely see any “bad designs” from the exhibition. If I have to choose, I would pick the three cups in dull blue, red, and green colors. I personally do not find those colors necessarily beautiful, which violates one of the ten criteria of a Long Life Design. 
  6. Most of the objects in this exhibition seem sustainable because they are functional, easy, and safe to use. For instance, you can have some rest by sitting on a chair when your legs hurt from a long walking, which is what it is meant to serve. Also, the car has many different equipments that help people drive safely, such as handle, rear view mirror, wheels, windscreen, and seat belts. Each component has its own role in overall design, which helps the product to last longer. 
  7. Name of Object: Magnatab

     Designer: Lisa Mahar

     Country of design: U.S.

     Year of first production: 2011

  1. The artist used plastic, metal balls, and magnets to create the magnatab.
  2. Through small metal balls and magnetic stylus, the magnatab allows one to make patterns on the plastic base. Because it is based on magnets, it is expected to work perfectly regardless of the weather and circumstance, which attracted me. Also, the fact that I can draw and erase with the stylus, which resembled the function of the advance stylus used in these days, was interesting.
  3. The five systems that support this design’s existence include writing, education, communication, record, and information. The product allows one to write whatever that comes to one’s mind, which leads to communication and recording of specific events. Based on those, one can be educated and receive the information even when the verbal communication is not available.
  4. I do not think that the production or materials used in this object might be threaten by climate change and Anthropocene as much as some of the other products. Maybe the plastic used in the magnatab could be required to change for a more environmental-friendly material, but the magnets do not seem to be affected.
  5. As mentioned, the base does not have to be plastic; it could be replaced by other materials that are more resilient and not harming the environment. Also, I could update the design by adding more holes to fit the metal balls or decreasing the size of the holes to allow more delicate writing or drawing.

REPAIR: A system and method for repairing goods for continued use must be available.

Yes. The overall design is not very complicated, which allows the user to comprehend its overall structure and fix it accordingly.

COST: The costs must be set at a level that will allow the manufacturer to continue production.

Yes. The cost for the materials used in this product are not expected to be too expensive.

SALES: The seller must have strong will to convey its beliefs to consumers.

Not sure. I personally like it, but for many people who are used to the advanced technology, it may not convey any meaning.

MANUFACTURING: The manufacturer must be passionate about the process of “making.”

Not sure. I do not think I have enough information to determine this factor.

FUNCTION: The product must be functional and easy to use.

Yes. I could easily use the magnetic stylus to write down whatever came to my mind to raise the metal balls to the surface of the sealed magnatab base and them erase it using the side of the stylus.

SAFETY: The product must be safe to use.

Yes. The product does not seem to have any factor that could damage the users.

PLANNED PRODUCTION: The product must be produced in planned and foreseeable volumes.

Not sure. But I do not believe the design is the other way around. There is not enough background information about the artist’s plan when producing the magnatab.

USER: The product must lead its users’ attentions to broader issues.

Yes. Using this product does not require specific conditions like a dry circumstance or electricity.

ENVIRONMENT: The product must be made with consideration of the environment in any age.

Yes. Instead of using the resources required in writing and drawing shapes in regular methods, this product does not require additional resources.

DESIGN: The product must be beautiful.

Not sure. I do not think the design is either beautiful or ugly. I just like the fun I have using the magnetic stylus to write the ideas that come to my mind.

3) Read the following article, “Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.”and write a response describing which question surprised you the most. What other, new information did you learn? Do you feel encouraged by this article? How aware do you think your friends and family are of this information?

The question that surprised me the most was the very first question, which indicates how the 2 degrees of increase in temperature since 1880 immensely affect the earth. In daily lives, it is difficult to tell the difference when the temperature changes by 2 degrees, yet throughout the entire planet, it could result in the rise of ocean level. It was quite shocking to see that the amount of heat accumulated in the Earth due to human emissions in one day is equivalent to 400,000 atomic bombs all exploding at the same time. Considering how much destruction caused by one atomic bomb, it was horrifying to hear. Furthermore, I learned that the production and consumption of beef causes the most greenhouse gas. While I knew that we need to save energy and conserve resources, I did not expect that what we eat everyday can influence the global warming. Personally, this article is more like a warning than an encouragement. The likelihood of the optimistic factors to all occur is very low, and even if I tell 50 other people about the issue, it is still uncertain for hope. This indicates how little people know and care about the climate change; the current situation requires everyone’s immediate attention towards the environmental issues, yet I do not really feel like it is discussed too often among my friends and family.

4) Explore articles published in the New York Times within the last month in the “Climate and Environment Section”Links to an external site.

– What was the most interesting visual that you found (photograph, diagram etc.) and why was it so powerful to you? Include the image and the link in your post.


This image showing the change in the average number of marine heat wave days provides a powerful message, as the entire ocean in the Earth has turned into orange and red, instead of expected blue color. It indicates the increase of the average number of heat wave days (18-36 days) throughout all oceans except for the North and South Pole. With this image, it becomes clear what the article tries to convey to the readers and the seriousness of the current situation.

– Given what you learned in this article, how different do you think the planet be 50 years from now?

Considering the accelerated climate changes, in 50 years, the planet would likely to be more difficult to inhabit, especially for the marine animals. The oceans have absorbed more than 90 percent of the heat resulted from the greenhouse gases, which is increasing the temperature of the ocean and the number of heat waves. Many species in the ocean such as coral reefs and kelp are already disappearing, and it seems unlikely for them to adapt to the changes that are occurring very quickly.

– In what ways do you think these realities will impact your work and life 50 years from now?

The extinction of the marine life would result in the chain reaction in the ecosystem, and it would eventually affect all humans as well. It would become more difficult for humans to obtain resources for the meals and works, and living would be more challenging with deficiency and competition. For the artists, specifically, the tools they use regularly may become unavailable or more expensive, which would limit the media and techniques.

– How might Long Life Designs address, acknowledge and/or work with such climate related changes over the next 50 years?

The Long Life Designs would become even more important in 50 years from now, as more and more people would recognize the necessity. With the decreased amount of the available resources, people would want products that can last long and can be used for more than one purpose instead of just buying a new one.

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