The AI fast-food version of the internet — a culture of sameness – will hold us back, and the businesses who create unique community experiences will win. These are the people that really understand sub-cultures deeply and speak uniquely to the individual in a way AI models won’t be able to. is a design studio in Manhattan. Creative Director and Designer is Howard Stein.The mission is fulfilling dreams in surface patterns and graphics for products and environments. patterns have an amazing range of practical applications for corporate, cultural, public, and private spaces, plus printing to materials that include fabric, porcelain, ceramic, glass, enameled steel, curtain walls, wall and floor coverings, and more. reaches into the worlds of architecture, fashion, product, graphic design, furniture, and industrial design as well as projection and programmable environments. Top-tier skills and materials tailored to each project are brought together to drive world-class products.

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Variance Pattern 35 supports an ecosystem of teams with creative tools that have constraints built into them – similar to the design of a game in which the players have spaces in which they play and contribute. Unity in multiplicity. Patterns of Identity. The strength of the collective.

There are gaps in the market. Much technically advanced visual work exists for and by itself, and is not contracted to the marketplace. It is brand-free. This is not optimal. When Art hits Commerce, Commerce wins. Art wins! Brands flourish. Artists flourish. We should lead companies to benefit from what we do. Expertise, in essence, is the familiarity of patterns in a specific field.

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For thirty years I have been thinking about how people interact with their environments and how their environments impact what they do.

For citizens to participate and be able to make informed decisions, these are things that are going to require a literacy that the average person does not yet possess.

photograph of a steel plate on the sidewalk with leaves that appears as a pattern.
Looking down at the sidewalk, after some rain, a beautiful pattern in steel and leaves

It is the duty of our profession to evolve the tools that educate citizens about the complexity of the systems that they’re living in, including their cities, environments, and their own homes. Designers should articulate in detail, rich ways of living futures that are both distinct and really desirable.

Being a recent discipline, unlike architecture, design (with notable exception of pattern design) never had a research culture. We need to re-educate designers in the ways in which designers design, the ways in which design is ontological, even at a human product scale, because it creates worlds, habits, dispositions.

A designer is never just designing an app, never just designing a product, never just designing the communication: they are reinforcing particular models of human behavior, and that’s why they need to understand where those models come from, and how the poetry of being a human in the future is effected.

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Design is not about products. Design is about relationships. Good design can draw, almost invisibly, on different levels of meaning to communicate with people.

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