Ink & Switch is an industrial research lab working on digital tools for creativity and productivity. While computers can aid humans in our most noble endeavors – art, science, thinking, and self-improvement – today's dominant computing platforms increasingly work against the needs of creative professionals. Ink & Switch is working on this problem.
Protean Designer, Research, Product, Graphics, Fabrication
A staple of any research work is a means to share findings. At Ink & Switch, we wanted a pleasant reading and writing experience that would enhance our work, reveal supportive details in page margins, and allow just enough flexibility to be immersed in an article regardless of platform or screen.
Rather than requiring contributors to learn traditional scientific typesetting systems like LaTex, we embraced a language we all knew: HTML. Paired with CSS utility classes, the article layout became the style guide and system for future Ink & Switch articles and experiences to be based.
Experience it by learning about Muse, or by considering Local-First Software.
Upon the completion of Ink & Switch projects to date, the core team wanted to commemorate the occasion by presenting a momento to lab collaborators. In keeping with the Ink & Switch principles, the momento would be an archival representation of our work, iterative, conceptual, functional, and easily shippable around the world. The Artifact was a joy to work on, and incorporated many facets of design, including research, manufacturing, experience and culture.
At the heart of Artifact 001 is the 2 key switch, which enables access to the massive archive of research, content and creations produced by the lab to date.
The Switch is controlled by an Adafruit Trinket M0, running CircuitPython, which made it straightforward to program with access keys, and to enable the team to hack and tinker once the archive was retreived.
The case and keys were 3D Printed and assembled by https://thnikk.moe. Switches are Kailh Box Whites, for extra clickiness.
Among the goals for delivering the artifact was to reduce the amount of effort and waste during unboxing, while securely holding the contents in place.
After a few prototypes and rounds of laser cutting, we arrived at a self-contained, internationally shippable package design that made use of reclaimed materials and no plastic.
With our materials printed, programmed, prepped, and in place, a few of us gathered for some music, libation and to prove that putting things into boxes could be as delightful as unboxing them.
Music by doyeq, from Manjumasi Podcast 003
Brand Research and Exploration
Nestled within moments of contemplation and creative exploration are occasional gems. There I was, listening to music while tinkering with an electronic toggle switch, and found myself switching it to the beat. While the sound and style of the switch may not have developed into a standalone part of Ink & Switch's identity, it's no less important.
Analog and Tactile
Delving more deeply into switches as a brand element, I worked my way through a few borrowed typewriters, clanking away at the keys, jamming type bars, and embracing the joy and sound of typing. This is my Valentine's Day note to the team and followers of the lab.
1970 Olympia SM9
Analog tools became a direction that interested me for Ink & Switch. In this experiment, my love for traditional media, mechanical tools, imaging and technology all came together in this animated GIF.
1970 Olympia SM9
Kodak Portra 400 film
1958 Leica M2 rangefinder camera
A quirky, external, geared, shutter release timer