April 10th, 2016

THE BRIEF is the weekly IDSA Oregon publication about design, and cultural events in the Portland region.

[because designers need a life too]




SoMA is a strategic product design and innovation company based in Portland. We help companies develop an idea or an emerging technology into winning products with clearly differentiated experiences in the medical, consumer and industrial markets.


Recently a Fortune 100 client invited SoMA to develop a proof-of-concept for an ultra-thin keyboard 3mm thick. We were asked to investigate the merits of alternative switching technologies, keyboard ergonomics, product aesthetics, materials, manufacturing options, and the keyboard’s relationship to a tablet.


Our approach analyzed the web of relationships and connections each component has to the system as a whole. Any element, electrical or mechanical, could compromise the height constraint. We explored fresh perspectives, critical design excursions that honored our client’s stated objective, timeline and costs. Numerous prototypes were built and evaluated, to obtain negative, as well as positive, user feedback.


Our multi-disciplinary team discovered accuracy and precision are different things. Accuracy is the absence of error; precision is the level of detail. Effective problem solving requires being accurate, but only as precise as is helpful at any given point in the problem-solving process.


The compelling solution with one-of-a-kind features, is custom-tailored for active individuals on the go. At one moment the tablet and keyboard are a compact 13mm thick unit. The next, the tablet is inserted into a slot in the keyboard supporting the display at an appropriate viewing angle. Last, if desired, it disconnects and the tablet behaves as a standalone device.


Twenty fully functional prototypes were delivered. Patents were obtained.



  From the editor


Design Week Portland starts next week! I’ve highlighted a few events, but there are too many to list in toto. Follow the links below to see the whole list.

“Two days of core content on the Main Stage. Hundreds of free or low cost Events and Open Houses, conceived and hosted by the creative community. Public engagement at Headquarters in the heart of the city. There’s something for everyone.”




Open Houses




IDSA Oregon April 3x10

1200 NW Everett Street

Friday, April 29th, 6p – 8

3 professionals speak for 10 minutes on a design related subject, followed by a food and drink social hour sponsored by Autodesk Fusion 360.


We are pleased to hold the event at the beautiful Design Within Reach store in Portland’s pearl district.



Jonathan Spencer Levy

Chair, IDSA Oregon


  Events around Portland


April dMob


Wednesday, Apr 13

6:00P - 9:00P



329 NW Couch St.

Portland, OR 97209

Come party with us, score some swag, and enjoy the interactive experience of NOT NETWORKING. Here’s what Adam Garcia, art director at The Pressure has to say about this upcoming event:

People often have preconceived expectations of what social networking gatherings may be like. Handshakes, small talk, awkward interactions and not-exciting conversations. “Networking” is an inherently opportunistic, semi-selfish trope that we will usurp as an idea and turn into something playful, exciting, and an event that facilitates deeper connections. Our concept is to play off of these default notions in a fun manner which would lead to enjoyable, naturally unfolding engagement by using the default world of networking visuals combined with playful and motivating copy cues.


Friday Main stage

Design Week Portland


Friday, April 15

1:00p – 6:00p


Revolution Hall

1300 SE Stark St #110

Portland, OR

What are the animals telling us?

The Internet of Beings

Why is Best Practice Not Good Enough?

Inhabiting vs. Consuming Place

Making Makers?

Rethinking Making and Education

What do we lose when it’s easy to use?

In Defense of Inefficiency

How does food shape place?

The Renaissance that Remade Portland and America


Saturday Main stage

Design Week Portland


Saturday, April 16

9:00a – 6:00p


Revolution Hall

1300 SE Stark St #110

Portland, OR

Why (Do We) Bother?

Design That Reflects Life

Can we connect design to higher purpose?

Chasing Ghosts on the River

Why does the factory dictate the product?

FutureProofed: Building a Company Worth a Damn

Who has the right to the city?

Design, Justice, and Public Space

Can we re-wire the consumption code?

The Desire and Sustainability Nexus

How do we win the war against seeing?

Dancing About Ruins




People Process Projects

Design Week Portland


April 17 – April 23

10:00a – 5:00p


Center for Architecture
403 NW 11th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209

Snøhetta is an internationally renowned practice of architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture and brand design.


Modelled after Snøhetta’s studios, the exhibition in its first U.S. installation, is characterized by the landscape, by their connection to art and culture, and their love for craftsmanship traditions as well as the new material possibilities brought about by modern technology. Inviting you into their office, workshop and universe, Snøhetta is proud to present the relationships between people, processes and their projects in an exhibition format.


Experience first-hand the detail and materiality of the workshop space, interact and contribute to their processes, meet the designers behind the work, and learn about Snøhetta’s projects around the world including Portland: The James Beard Public Market and Willamette Falls Legacy Project.



Getting Away With Shit


Tuesday, April 19
6:30p - 9:00p

511 NW Broadway

Portland, OR

Like many designers, Timothy Goodman is held down by rules and parameters that constantly stifle him. So how does he get his own sensibilities into his work? A couple of years ago, he decided to redirect his design career and push himself into new, scary, and unexpected territory through drawing, writing, and personal projects on the internet. He rather approaches graphic design as a practice, not as a profession. Join Timothy has he reveals his way of getting away with shit.


Typefest is AIGA Portland’s two-day explosion of typography and design with workshops and talks



Sustainable Design Practices


Tuesday, April 19
6:30p - 8:30p


The Joinery
922 Southwest Yamhill Street

Portland OR

Join us for a UNITE to remember when an expert panel discusses sustainability as a design principle. Sustainable design practices are not just a way of designing, but a way to reduce negative impacts on the environment for a better future. Designers worldwide are rapidly developing and adopting new sustainable practices and encourage the design community to learn more about the movement. We’ll cover themes such as the challenges with sustainable design, sourcing materials, upcycling, and reusing materials.

Speakers: Alan Scott • Scott Hamlin • Carissa Mylin




Perfectly Imperfect

An Evening with Dana Tanamachi


Wednesday, April 20
6:30p - 9:00p

511 NW Broadway

Portland, OR

As designers, our journey is defined by teachable moments that influence the direction of our work and how it’s viewed and interacted with by our clients, audiences and the community. But in order to grow as a designer, we also need to know when to say ‘no’ and stay true to our passions and convictions. Dana will talk about her path as a designer and the choices that she has made which have guided her work.


The Business of Design: Facilitating the Creative Process


Wednesday, April 20

6:30p -8:00p


525 SE Pine St
Portland OR

a panel discussion that explores the role of Producers, Project Managers, Client Services and other business roles within some of Portland’s top agencies. Both seasoned pros and those considering client services as a career will gain insight into what it takes to keep the creative machine well-tuned and productive. Bring your questions and join moderator Heather Gregory Barrett, Partner at This, as we explore just how creative these business roles truly are with panelists Liz Luce (Instrument), Kara Fullmer (Cinco Design), Laurel Burton (Instrument), and Kirsten Blair (Nike).



Make it… Plastic!

Collaborative Design


Thursday, April 21

4:00p -7:00p


Lola's Room

1332 W Burnside St.

Portland Oregon

Whether you have designed a product that you are looking to get off the ground, or you are an experienced professional in developing products made of plastic, the Make it… Plastic! event during Design Week Portland will be insightful and helpful in your upcoming development projects.


With a goal of candor and accessibility Werk_ has brought together a well-informed, well-experienced group of flexible thinkers to inform your decisions and grow your collaborative network. Join us to discuss collaborative design and manufacture of plastic products.


IDSA Oregon April 3x10

Influence | Symbiosis | Collaboration


Friday, April 29th

6:00p - 8:00p


Design Within Reach

1200 NW Everett Street

Scott Peterson will be speaking about the influence of industrial design.

PHLLP STWRT will speak about the symbiotic relationship and shared narrative between Graphic Design and Industrial Design.

Katherine Tucker will be joining us to discuss Collaboration as Evolutionary Necessity: the evolutionary and competitive advantage that has promoted the success of species, products, and business.

3x10 : 3 professionals speak for 10 minutes followed by a food and drink social hour sponsored by Autodesk Fusion 360. We are pleased to hold the event at the beautiful Design Within Reach store in Portland’s pearl district.



Struktur Event


May 4 – 6

9:00a - 9:00p


Portland, OR

Struktur is the first creative conference for the active outdoor design industry. Join us for three days of bold visionary presentations and events advancing the design of active outdoor apparel and equipment.


Struktur is a cross-disciplinary event, exploring the intersection of user experience, trend research, materials science, and their influence on design. Struktur isn’t a fashion show or a trade show – it’s a chance to experience the breakthrough ideas of a new age of design.



Maker: Film Screening


Thursday, May 26

6:30p - 8:30p


Portland Development Commission

222 NW 5th Ave

Portland, OR

The Film • “Maker” is a feature-length documentary that looks into the current Maker Movement in America – a new wave of Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Together culture fueled by passion and powered by the advent of new technologies. The film is a feature-length documentary on the Maker Movement and its impact on society, culture, and economy in the U.S.



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