Inhabitat: What do you think Trace means for designers and design education?
Morpholio: For at least the past decade, the role of the “hand” in the design world has been slightly demoted to a digitized process of simply inputting text and clicking a mouse. This process is a translation of human meaning into a mechanic behavior limiting the point of physical interaction, performance and thought. Trace hopes to challenge this. It is about free thinking, building ideas and communicating, but also about redefining the role of the hand in technology. For designers, Trace should mean the ability to informally carry ideas forward where the focus is on the idea more than the digital input from which it is conveyed. Ultimately it is a tool like Trace that blurs the lines between practice and academia as well as idea and medium. Trace is not trying to be a drawing app, but an idea building app.
Inhabitat: Today architecture education seems to bypass teaching and cultivating skills in sketching/conventional drawing. Because your team works closely with educators at various architecture institutions worldwide, do you see this tool being integrated into their design curriculum?
Morpholio: We are putting together a suite of applications at the Morpholio Project that we think will be incredibly valuable in the academic context as well as the work place. Many of the goals of the Morpholio Project, including Trace and Morpholio, are to revitalize what we call “architectural technologies” that have been in development for centuries. For the Morpholio app, we looked at pinups and other ways that designers gave feedback and criticism to each other. For Trace, we wanted to create an app that didn’t just look like trace paper, but actually carried forward all of the great properties and use scenarios that made it such an invaluable tool for architects.
There is a lot of distilled wisdom about how good design happens in academia, not just the conversation that happens there but in the tools, protocols and methods used as well. It is true that drawing has taken a back seat to the many exciting things happening in design technology. The Morpholio Project is putting forward a different vision, that goes beyond the either/or dichotomy of traditional versus digital. We are taking what we know works and multiplying it through cloud technologies and the incredible number of devices that are ubiquitous in our environment now, especially and including the academic environment. What you get is a fresh hybrid of both: tools that are familiar in how they work but given new possibilities through the cloud.
Inhabitat: Can non-designers use this? Does this have any benefit for the everyman, artists, etc?
Morpholio: Absolutely and hopefully YES! Surprisingly we have found everyone from tattoo artists to event planners to kids using Trace. Photographers are using it to storyboard scenes, doctors are using it to communicate procedures with patients, and teachers are using it to sketch exciting learning activities with their classrooms.