Social Design Project in Nepal

The University of Notre Dame’s Industrial Design department is doing some incredible things in Nepal. They are utilizing the skilled handicraft workers of Nepal to implement student’s designs to create products and jobs that are useful, sustainable and growing in demand.

There are some incredible things happening for the handicraft community in Nepal and we’re excited to see the world catching on to what they have to offer. This short video (really a Notre Dame commercial) touches on a few of the things these industrial design students are doing there.

(via Core77)

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Homemade Is Best

Carl Kleiner’s photography in the new Ikea cookbook ‘Homemade Is Best’ got me thinking about how the choices I make regarding the food that I consume would probably change if I could have a photograph showing me the portions and ingredients that it contains. Even better, how about a photo or infographic of all of the items that go into making the raw ingredients of my meals. That would probably make me think twice about that street corner burrito.

This un-finished product photography would work well for consumer goods as well. I’d like to see some products broken down into their elements similar to what Kleiner has done with the cookbook photography. We are so accustomed to seeing the finished product that we forget about what, exactly, is underneath the surface.

What are the un-finished product photos that you’d like to see?

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The Human Energy Company

Fortum from Rasmus Keger on Vimeo.

This concept is great for so many reasons. First and foremost, it is encouraging people to live a healthy lifestyle through fitness. I also like the connection it makes between our physical output at the gym and our energy consumption at home.

From a branding perspective, this is a brilliant idea. They’re creating consumer involvement and building a tribe while breaking down the perceptions we all have of energy companies. Another +1 for Scandinavia.

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Respect for Ground Effect

A friend recently showed me a Ground Effect catalog and I was instantly impressed. This New Zealand-based company makes clothing for mountain bikers that is well designed and focused on the part of the market that still likes to pedal up hill.

But what I like best about this company is that they come out and admit where they’ve fallen short in their products. It was refreshing to see the Products that Bombed section of their company history (scroll down a half page). Nice touch.

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Let’s Colour Project

A very cool time-lapse video for a great project to bring colour to neighborhoods that need it. Let’s Colour Project

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The Passion to Spread

This is a section from Seth Godin’s latest book Linchpin. In the context of this quote, I believe that ‘art’ can be replaced with product, idea, design, brand or service.

Passion is caring enough about your art that you will do almost anything to give it away, to make it a gift, to change people.

Part of the passion is having the persistence and resilience to change both your art and the way you deliver it. Passion for your art also means having a passion for spreading your art. This means being willing to surrender elements that you are in love with in order to help the other parts thrive and spread. And at the same time, passion means having enough connection to your art that you’re not willing to surrender the parts that truly matter.

It’s a paradox, of course. In order to be true to your art, you must sacrifice the part of it that hinders the spread of your art. Deciding what to leave out and what to insist on is part of your art. And if the ideas don’t spread, if no gift is received, then there is no art, only effort. When an artist stops work before his art is received, his work is unfulfilled.

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Ambler Launches 1% For The Planet (Mars)


Canmore, AB, January 5th, 2009 — In a unique and (literally) universally responsible move, Ambler Apparel has launched 1% For The Planet (Mars). 1%FTP(M) is a bold environmental vision that encompasses not just our home planet, but also our closest neighbor in the solar system.

“As earthlings, our perspective has really improved since the days of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard),” said Scott Semple from Ambler. “We’ve commendably expanded our scope to include the entire planet. Now we need to be careful that the satisfaction of our success doesn’t lead full circle to NOMP — Not On My Planet. That’s why we started 1%FTP(M).”

“With space exploration on track to visit Mars in our lifetime,” said Christian Rawles, Ambler’s General Manager. “Focusing only on Earth would be irresponsible and geo-centric. One day we’re going to land on Mars. It’s simple solar system stewardship to get some recycle bins up there well in advance.”

You can learn more about Ambler’s 1% for the Planet (Mars) by visiting their blog at

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Holy smokes! Ambler issues a press release!


Canmore, AB, December 29th, 2009 — Nestled in the beating heart of the majestic Canadian Rockies and fighting the good fight against similar cliches, Ambler has been making warm hats and overly-descriptive sentences for over 15 years. Noticing a growing trend in the Outdoor Industry for verbose press releases, Ambler decided to throw their hat in the ring. Again.

Yeah, das’ right. This press release is about a press release. It’s a bit circular but that’s okay, because we make hats, which are for your head, which is relatively circular.

Ambler noticed so many press releases being released lately (and every one of them filled with edge-of-your-seat content) that they were starting to feel left out and wanted to be a part of the action. Plus, talking about yourself in the third person has a long, proud tradition amongst self-promoters that handle their own PR.

If you like this press release then you’ll most likely like Ambler, and if you don’t like this press release you probably stopped reading by now… So you like it!

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Ambler Launches BlogAnd a phone… And a fax machine…


Canmore, AB, December 22nd, 2009 — Ambler Mountain Works Ltd., the Canadian company that pioneered hand-knit wool hats from the Himalayas, has launched a new blog entitled “Use Your Head” at

“I didn’t know that a blog was worthy of a press release,” said Scott Semple, Ambler’s General Manager. “But now I see how important it is. At Ambler, we also have a front door, phones and a fax machine.”

“Ambler is about fun, functional fashion,” said Christian Rawles, Ambler’s Sales Manager. “You can’t have fun or be functional without your head. So for people with heads, we want Use Your Head to become a great resource. Kind of like an instruction manual.”

Some of the blog posts thus far include:

The Use Your Head blog is updated whenever Ambler feels like it. But because they think head-using is very, very important, it gets updated, you know, a lot. Er… at least it should.

About Ambler Mountain Works

Launched in 1994, Ambler was the first company in the world to develop pill-box-style hats made out of fleece. That trend raged for about five years, then thankfully, it died.

Ambler then pioneered wool hats from the Himalayas, hand-knit by workers being paid equitable wages and working in clean safe conditions. That was followed with the first O-Wool hats in the world. Both the Himalayan and O-Wool products were quickly copied by Ambler’s biggest competitor.

Now, Ambler has expanded it’s line to include a kids’ line, urban caps and merino wool. Also, all of the sentences in these three paragraphs are true. And quite witty.

Most importantly, we have fun. We hope you enjoyed this press release. For more info on using your head, please visit our blog. For more information on press releases, visit For Immediate Delete.

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Recall Repost

Hello Everyone,

My name is Scott Semple. I’m the owner and General Manager of Ambler Mountain Works.

Back in November, we initiated a voluntary recall of two of our products, the Poseidon and the Erwin. Less than 1,000 units each were affected, but even so, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

As the CPSC press release states, Ambler is voluntarily recalling the Erwin and Poseidon beanies due to insecurely attached parts. If either the eyeballs on the Erwin or the octopus legs on the Poseidon are insecurely attached — or if you are unsure — please remove them or return the product to us.

For more information, please contact Ambler at Thank you for reviewing this information, and sorry for the inconvenience.

Scott Semple

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