Quick side note to my post about the Stella. Last week I presented a smaller version of this presentation to our design group. It was the keynote presentation for a design conference some of us attended earlier this year. In the presentation, Mr. Spool talks about the importance of using what he calls “tricks” and “techniques” to accomplish a specific task or set of tasks.
Piaggio (the company that makes the Vespa) started out making locomotives and then mostly airplanes after that to meet wartime demand. After WWII, they needed to start doing something else to survive and thus the Vespa was born to meet the needs of a crippled Italian economy and people who needed cheap, reliable transportation.
If Piaggio had thought of themselves as an “airplane” company, they may not have ever created the Vespa. They used a set of tricks (using tools to do things they were never meant for) and techniques (skills that can be applied to any task) to create a sea change in their company. They took the design skills they had and leveraged those skills to completely reinvent themselves. Today, other companies still look to the Vespa as the benchmark for elegant scooter design.
Another great article on CSS layout techniques (fixed, fluid, and elastic) with viable pros and cons for each.