Allied Media Projects
The Work Department and Allied Media Projects (AMP) have collaborated on projects ranging in scope from identity development to unique research projects.
The Allied365 Training & Exchange Bureau is an infrastructure that supports the organizing, knowledge building, and resource generation of the Allied Media Projects network. We launched phase one of Allied365.org as an online catalog of organization profiles and associated “offerings,” such as trainings, performances, curricula, products, consultation and other services. This allows various communities to access the resources brought together by the Allied Media Conference all year long.
We also created the AMPTalk website, which is a platform for discussion. It functions not only as a logistical resource for conference attendees, but also as a live blogging platform. The system, built using Drupal and node.js, aggregates messaging streams to facilitate conversations among a range of people, all with different needs, who are involved in the conference.
Each year, we work with AMP to develop new automation and process tools for its conference-planning workflow. 2011 was the first year that the track and session proposal process took place fully within the AMP website. In addition to saving organizers time, it allowed for more interaction between AMP staff, organizers, board members, and conference attendees. In 2012, we relaunched the AMP site with a narrative-based navigation system. Relevant information, projects or programs are embedded within concise narrative-based tooltips. The menu is synchronized to a connected, photographic animation sequence. Both the photos and the navigation work together to communicate and contextualize the network relationships as a user moves through the site. This flexible system allows for the narrative to evolve and change over time and is responsive to rescaling browsers and mobile devices.
Organization for Permanent Modernity
The Organization for Permanent Modernity, or ORG, is a global architectural and urban design firm. ORG’s designs optimize functionality and form to deliver durable solutions to some of the world’s most complicated design challenges We created a website for ORG that showcases its work and shares its perspectives on urban design and architecture. The site includes a significant database of projects that is easily searchable by discipline, scale, function and type. Our comprehensive understanding of available technology and techniques, including Drupal, allowed us to meet the specific communication needs of ORG.
While ORG’s practice blends research conducted through MIT’s architecture department, our design goal was to embrace the bipolarity between research and practice under one interoperable and flexible digital platform. Through this process, we experimented with an unexpected yet brutally modest visual language that reflects the inherent, professional characteristics of the firm.Within our design solution, ORG’s research-based work easily co-exists with the firm’s practice.
New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative
Commotion is an open, yet secure, circumvention tool to create decentralized mesh networks. We are collaboratively developing the tool with The New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative. Once completed, the open- source project will allow users anywhere to easily connect laptops, smartphones, and routers to create local mesh networks in their communities.
The software will offer a reliable platform for free speech advocates around the globe to communicate in ways that cannot be controlled or cut off by authoritarian regimes. It may also be used to create community wireless networks in neighborhoods where Internet access is not widely available. These neighborhood networks allow users to share local data and produce community media.
The Work Department is coordinating test projects in Detroit, conducting research on mesh networking, developing human interface guidelines, and providing comprehensive documentation for Commotion. We have engaged in a multi-year effort to research mesh networking projects around the world, help shape Commotion’s identity, and position the project for success. This process has been a unique opportunity for us to serve as design consultants in the early phases of a new and promising open-source project.
City of Hamtramck Community and Economic Development
Hamtramck is a dense, urban city in southeast Michigan that is continuously seeking to attract new businesses and residents to its community. We partnered with the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Downtown Development Authority, and Design 99 to create a visual identity and print materials that promote the city as an outstanding place to do business.
Our goal was to create materials that would engage both existing residents and newcomers to Hamtramck. We helped organize valuable content – economic data, demographic details, incentive programs and maps – into an accessible form that offers a comprehensive introduction to the city. The materials are distributed locally and at conferences around the world.
In addition to print materials, we are working with the Community and Economic Development Department to develop a website that shares the same Hamtramck story while adding fresh online content regularly. This project represents the first time that the city has significantly invested in communications tools around economic development.
MIT School of Architecture + Planning
In 2011, we designed the MIT School of Architecture + Planning’s lecture series poster. In planning our concept and information architecture, we sought to unify all of the separate departments of study within the school. We used icons to denote the origin of the particular lecturer and, to increase accessibility, content was organized chronologically instead of departmentally. Our final design showcased a stronger vision of the whole School with multiple departments contributing to the series. We worked with guest designer Shar McLeod on this project.
We work with dozens of other businesses and organizations, including:
Alliance for Immigrants Rights - Michigan
Boggs Educational Center
Detroit Digital Justice Coalition
Detroit Farm and Garden
DiClemente Siegel Design
MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism
MIT Mobile Fab Lab
Mt. Elliott Makerspace
Power House Productions
Slows Bar BQ
Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab