Personal website for designer and futurist Nick Foster
 
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“Nick is the uninhibited master of design as a means for translation and clarity. He finds the soft underbelly of ideas, listens at the door of culture, clears away the tangle of hyperbole - and reveals those few notes that matter.”

/  CHARLIE SUTTON - HEAD OF DESIGN - FACEBOOK  /

 

Driving flexibility

DOGMA FREE since 1998

There’s a trend within the design community to discuss and debate the minutiae of design processes, but when producing future-facing work a dogmatic adherence to process can be self-defeating. In exploratory work there are countless unknowns, dead ends, misalignments and open questions, which need to be met with an equally flexible approach to design.

Over the last two decades Nick has developed a broad suite of adaptable approaches to account for the natural variances of any project, including physical prototyping, storyboarding, film, print, motion, industrial and interaction design. In leading design teams he seeks out a willingness to experiment with techniques and tools, combined with a strong understanding of real human needs and the ability to generate relatable, understandable and actionable proposals.

Leading a crit with the Design team at X

Leading a crit with the Design team at X

Leading emerging practices

THE NEAR FUTURE LABORATORY

The Near Future Laboratory is a Design and Research practice based in California and Europe, focusing on Design Fiction as a way to facilitate reliably productive conversations about possible products, services and experiences which yield more habitable near futures.

The Partners have mixed backgrounds in research, engineering, social sciences and design, all with a proven experience of multi/inter/un-disciplinary environments both in academia and industry.

Nick’s work with the Near Future Laboratory, and the toolkit developed through 'The Future Mundane', have introduced new ways of engaging with the future, which embrace and confront the inevitable practicalities and pragmatic questions of any future product. Through continually pushing the relationship between design, emerging technology and the ways in which futures may be explored, Nick has become a leading figure in of academia and design discourse.

Near Future Laboratory partners (L-R Nick Foster, Julian Bleecker, Fabien Girardin, Nicolas Nova)

Near Future Laboratory partners (L-R Nick Foster, Julian Bleecker, Fabien Girardin, Nicolas Nova)

Embracing post-disciplinarity

Multicreativity

As the discipline of design evolves, definitions become meaningless and disciplines merge. At X Nick eradicated design silos and introduced a single design team. Within the team are world class experts in their chosen field, but all team members are encouraged to approach design in its broadest terms, using whatever tools are most appropriate, and encouraging new explorations at every opportunity. In parallel to these changes, Nick has found success in translating design approaches for non-design partners. Much of his work centers on finding language and techniques which can bring product and user focus into relevancy for scientists, engineers, business strategists, entrepreneurs and developers, helping to embed design literacy and advocacy into large, multifaceted organizations.

Industrial Design review with the team at X

Industrial Design review with the team at X

Distilling emerging concepts

WRITING TO COALESCE THINKING

Nick is a widely published design writer, with his work being featured in numerous forums including Wired, The Alpine Review and Core77. The process of creating long form written content, or presenting to a large group helps bring large, vague collections of thoughts together into a coherent whole. As such, Nick continues to develop his thinking through writing, a short selection of which can be read here.

Drunk on 3D Printing - The Alpine Review

Drunk on 3D Printing - The Alpine Review

Learning through teaching

giving back and getting

Nick regularly steps into teaching roles not only to share his approaches and insight through structured lectures or 1:1 tutorials, but as a means to stay abreast of emerging techniques, tools and subject matter. He has taught at many of the world’s highly respected design education establishments including the Royal College of Art, Goldsmiths University, California College of the Arts and Tongji University in Shanghai.

Leading a Design Fiction workshop at the California Innovation Program

Leading a Design Fiction workshop at the California Innovation Program