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You might have read a month or so ago about Norway Posts recent re-brand, and while the new logo is fairly boring, the century of history now lost from the old logo is anything but. Shown here is my personal business card design, as well as a quick write up on the size, paper stock and finish. Shown here is my personal logo design, and a peak into it’s design process with a handful of alternative ideas explored. If you’re interested in having me design your logo, business card or corporate stationery, but not quite sure what to expect, here is a quick overview on what to expect when working together. How does a popular term’s derivation, and even its creator, end up forgotten by the same people who regularly and unconsciously dispense it? Sommer would synthesize current research from a wide array of disciplines including sociology, communication, psychology, perception, criminal and carceral studies, education, animal behavior, architecture, and urban planning.
The design consultancy IDEO, for example, would not have the same service profile it does without Personal Space, due to the influence of Jane Fulton Suri, a human factors psychologist and IDEO creative director. Another company with direct lineage is Envirosell, headed by environmental psychologist Paco Underhill, and whose research director, Craig Childress, is a former student of Sommer. As Fulton Suri hinted, another key context for Sommer was the growing backlash against architectural modernism, especially in its associations with the International Style and Brutalism. An obvious line of inquiry regarding the longevity and applicability of Sommer’s book regard not so much how physical spaces themselves have changed, as to the degree our perception and concepts of place have been exploded in the digital era. As a senior editor at Chronicle Books, Alan Rapp acquired, developed and edited over 100 art, design and photography titles.
Check out Whyte's delightful The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces from 1980 or its companion film from eight years later if you want to see the joys of Sommer's brand of design thinking in action.
I am curious, though, if you have further thoughts on why the author of a concept becomes disassociated from the concept (or phrase) itself.
Also, I wish there was video of Sommer "physically invading the space of people using cell phones." Who says scientific research can't be fun?! I enjoyed reading this post but wish it had more of a critical frame, letting me appreciate more both the triumph of some of Sommer's concepts in the popular realm and the simultaneous lack of interest in much of his work today.
Sommer, as well described by the poster, clearly defined through research some interesting tools that describe some variables and techniques that are of use to the designer.
This kind of writing, and the questionable support it receives, sustains the university and the thesis book binders while relegating the real work of "design" far to the side. Baron Heidleberg's accusation of plagiarism (from Wikipedia, really!) is a serious one, and unfounded, even comparing the quote he cites to Rapp's last paragraph. Personal observation: Recall seeing pre-school kids on playgrounds and old folks in retirement homes interact. Wonder when we "learn" that we have to keep some distance and give people "space." And when we forget or don't care about it any more. Nowhere do I claim that every argument of Personal Space is sound; that it is influential is difficult to deny, even as its mission is incomplete, and its legacy diversely interpreted. I thank Kevin Lippert for his objection to the implication of plagiarism in my piece, even if the commenter evaded using the word itself.
Coining a new phrase can be beneficial and have great results especially when it comes to SEO. The critical missing bit about "personal space" here is that it varies from culture to culture. This happens on an unconscious level, and people attempt to maintain the proper distance by reflex.
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Website design for my personal website, it is geared towards being a portfolio for my Illustration—namely for Entertainment Design.
The device looks more like a stylish bag strap or necklace but inflate it and you’ve got a functional floaty that holds the wearer upright in the water to facilitate proper breathing. Robert Sommer was Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of California, Davis, when Personal Space was published. Yet in this Fulton Suri points up a curious fact about the legacy of Personal Space: IDEO has a competitive advantage due to the overall failure of Sommer to sufficiently influence spatial design practice.
The pervading influence of European modernism was in high critique during the era, as seen in numerous books including the influential The Hidden Dimension (1966) by Edward T. Think of the increasingly sophisticated approaches to user interfaces and experience design, phrases which de facto are relegated to contexts of electronic displays and digital architectures; physical milieu scarcely get as much design consideration as immersive virtual environments.

Others from the same era were Eric Byrne (Games People Play) and William "Holly" Whyte (The Last Landscape).
I think the issues of design and personal space are critical in today's personal-device-filled world. In this case, I suspect that "personal space" seems like such a deep, bodily felt and natural concept that it's hard to imagine there was a generating author in the first place.
Do you think that new studies similar to Sommer's would be quickly outdated due to the rapid change in technology and our own interaction with it? Is the use of the book in architecture curricula as noted by the poster a recent phenomenon, or was the book's popularity framed by a moment in time?
Is the work actually "intuitively rational" or is it based upon a peculiar moment in time, modernism and late modernism up to the 1970's, that had a predilection to ascribe enduring behavioral patterns to enduring patterns of form.
Are we sure that the hospital design referred to in Osmond's research was actually as bad as they thought it was?
Part of the reason Sommer's work may not be so well known at this point is there has been a lot of research which disputes the notion of universal behaviors in relationship to space. I agree as stated in the post that it is the everyday notion of Sommer's theories that are most relevant today, in essence the idea that people are active creators of their environments.
This of course brings us to the environmental practice of IDEO which is in part influenced by the observational theories of Sommer. But they seem very bound to the millieu in which they were created and less relevant to today's world then the author suggests.
The experience economy as an idea goes back more than three decades and has been thoroughly integrated into environmental design and architecture practices at all levels.
Indeed, the Baron's own critique seems closely drawn from Joe Pine's The Experience Economy, and I wonder whether he's as guilty of failing to cite sources as he accuses the poster of doing?
Sommer’s book was really the one Martin identified: how does such a catchy concept ultimately outpace its author's name? Sommer’s research, clearly his work—like any work—is bound by the particular circumstances of its origins. The need for this basic spatial literacy—among designers and anyone who uses designed spaces—is still keenly felt; as someone else has pointed out, the milk and sugar station at any given coffee house almost always provides a frustrating experience when more than one person is competing for it. My trade is also publishing, and I believe that this is the most serious allegation that can be directed at any writer—and not one to be casually deployed in an attempt to bolster an unrelated argument. It applies to material design as much as theoretical terms: invent the zipper, the Exit sign, or the tailfin, and only the most conscientious DO readers will remember who you are.
It is not about the individual in isolation (modernism indeed!) but how space is socially produced. Drop someone from our culture into the Mediterranean area, where the normal personal space is about half that, and watch the fun. Hall's works on the topic, particularly the books _The Silent Language_ and _The Hidden Dimension_. You need to convince a program that you are the type of person that can fit in, and one thing that can help you is the graphic design personal statement.
They key to a successful personal statement is to display all the traits they are looking for, but to do it in a creative way. We keep working until you get a personal statement that gives you a chance at any school, and we take the time to look into your past so that we can represent you with accuracy. Our primary goal is to showcase identity design from around the world; we want to give designers the opportunity to share and publicise their creative work online. We want to see iterative sketches, including discarded preliminary and prefinal designs, wherever possible.
At a glance the logo is aesthetically pleasant, the idea makes sense ( no pun intended… ) and is admittedly quite clever. In his long association with that institution he has held an astonishing three additional chairs, in Environmental Design, Rhetoric and Communication, and Art. In the reading we recognize these behaviors because they are undeniably ours, belonging to the most deeply seated, reactive parts of our brains.
Fulton Suri moved to the United States to study at the University of California at Berkeley, where the research of Clare Cooper Marcus, who would later author the popular book House as a Mirror of Self, was gaining currency. Now retired, Robert Sommer is still inexhaustibly fascinated by the implications of his research in a spatially and conceptually morphing society. A recent study in Perception finds that listening to music on headphones alters our sense of sociospatial relations.
This sociology-centered view of design is out of favor now, or has devolved to the by-the-numbers reductivism of user testing and ergonomics.
Is it a triumph or a disappointment to develop something that dissolves so thoroughly into the cultural mainstream? For instance, Katharine Bristol in "The Pruitt-Igoe" myth clearly describes a whole host of management, political, policy, racial, and economic factors to the failure of this iconic project, leaving one to wonder if the modern architecture and the form had as much to do with the failure of this project as first blush behavioralism would have one believe.

This is territory explored by all sorts of French theorists writing before and after Sommer.
For me the interesting thing about IDEO's environmental practice is the fact that they make astute observations about places and things and make proposals for their mediation which are at times quite interesting. Certainly not all these "experiences" are successful and some of the successful ones, like Disney World are nevertheless boring to many precisely because one is so clearly manipulated. Martin Venezky's comment is sound - do a good enough job, and what you produce will appear natural and having always been there, certainly not an individual's 'invention'. I don't have Sommer's book at hand, but I am wary of the claim that interpersonal space is fundamentally and adequately explained by reference to evolution, 'animal instincts' and the like. The personal statement is a section on the application where you talk about your goals for the immediate future, and it is your chance to show them that you have the drive to succeed.
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The range includes Supernova 3D LED… Shares 2.6K Shares 55 The Cord Trap You know those big holes you find in some desks? This polymath capability indicates Sommer’s breadth of interest and research, apt for an author whose book would itself cross categories and audiences. Through the observations of how such spaces were actually used by inhabitants and visitors versus the idealistic but essentially inattentive designs of their architects, these critics assailed the psychological and sociological effects of programmatic supermodernism.
Until these more contemporary strands of inquiry result in a truly new analysis of how we perceive our interpersonal zones today, Personal Space is now available in a new edition, with some additional commentary by Dr. But at its height it foretold a humanistic view of design that was connected directly to Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander.
For instance, a hospital designed in the 1920's, by it's very newness might have created a therapeutic effect while the same hospital ill-maintained and poorly managed could induce the opposite. Few of them offer too many clues with regard to "professional" design practices or fixed notions about form. Yet, they actually never really implement anything environmental beyond ephemeral exhibit and show designs. The intangibles of the nexus between design and behavior are as complex and uncertain today as they were when Sommer wrote his book, which may explain why everybody knows what personal space is (thank you Professor Sommer), fewer can really define it, fewer design it, and even fewer remember who Sommer is. One of the attributes of Personal Space that could ultimately be a mixed blessing was its popular appeal, which perhaps led people to think they got the thrust of the book and overlook its more delicate arguments.
Sommer's contribution is showing (with actual evidence from empirical research) that people unconsciously produce, maintain, and reproduce interpersonal spatial patterns, patterns which are predictable given a constrained context. We can get you a design personal statement that can get you into any program, and we can say that confidently because of our expert writers. It enjoyed an estimable twenty-five printings, and its compact title concept caught on and found its way into diverse realms, from architecture curricula to legal discourse (pertaining to sexual harassment and abortion-clinic picketing lawsuits).
The intellectual ferment of the time must be recalled; the pop intelligentsia was eating up works that synthesized subaltern findings from parochial disciplines into Big Ideas. The variables are so enormous as to make simplistic deductions about space and experience questionable (though I assume Sommer is not simplistic). That is because few were actually interested in design; they were more interested in social relationships and change.
Thus one could say that people are for the most part passive creators (and consequently subjects) of their environments.
The notion of an invisible but perceptible security zone or spatial bubble surrounding an individual became widely understood by laypeople. Shortly before I retired, I started physically invading the space of people using cell phones. As a business model it is brilliant to concentrate on the conceptual but as a design model and an urban design model this lack of substantive committment to making through time is quite lacking in physical substance.
It’s notable that Personal Space broke through to the mainstream at least in part because it was not published by a university press but by Spectrum, an imprint of Prentice-Hall.
The critique and observation of public space is profound but the actual making on the part of Project for Public Places is largely forgettable.
Perhaps this also raises another reason why Sommer is not so well known, social science is great at framing issues and interpreting space but not necessarily great at either predicting environmental design success or assisting in the creative and making process which seems to demand additional perspectives and tools.

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