Quotes from AIGA NY: MY DOG AND PONY II #AIGAconnect


The above image captured some of the more memorable quotes that I heard last night at the successful AIGA NY MEMBERS SERIES: MY DOG AND PONY II. Each of the invited presenters ran through a project as though it’s been presented for the first time to a client. Just like the previous event held last April (review here), I think these types of events are incredibly valuable. They help grow the profession through best practices in a somewhat real environment. If there’s a catch, I don’t think a local design group should hold them more than two or three times a year. If they’re done too many times they loose a bit of steam.

Jonathan Alger of C&G Partners talked as though we were the New York Yankees. What I was kind of curious to hear about after the presentation was what it was like working with a baseball client. Debbie Millman of Sterling Brands convinced us why she was presenting the best orange juice package out there. Liz Danzico of Bobulate and Jessi Arrington of WORKSHOP reminded us why we should treat people the way we want to be treated. And Michael Bierut of Pentagram was the most quotable with what seemed like one memorable set of words after another…

Jonathan Alger of C&G Partners: “never do” and “unused areas”…

Debbie Millman of Sterling Brands: “owning the door” and “show the work in context”…

Liz Danzico of Bobulate and Jessi Arrington of WORKSHOP: “access points” and “action this action acted”…

Michael Bierut of Pentagram: “trick of it” and “once you have the one that works, it’s easy”…

Designer Be Good with Daniel Schutzsmith

designer be good

If you’ve got some spare time this Thursday, friend Daniel Schutzsmith is giving a webcast with Print Magazine titled Designer Be Good. On Print’s website they describe the talk as “leveraging the power of change-agent thinking—and tapping into the practical web design and intuitive web applications now employed by major philanthropic iniatives—can help you make waves for your clients, your company, and your career.”

The details:
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Starting time: 4:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Duration: 1 hour
Session fee (USD$): 39.00
More info: www.printmag.com/Article/LIve-webcast-Designer-Be-Good

Link Drop (4·03·09)

Cats and Their Designers_1238721888017clear_001Sufjan Stevens - Illinoize | HOME_1238722002731clear_001The Difference Is in the Punctuation Marks - John Maeda & Becky Bermont - HarvardBusiness.org_1238721914561clear_001Omegle_1238721926093clear_001Postopolis, Day 1 - we make money not art_1238721940449
Cruel, Or Just Unusualclear_001Debbie Millman Presentation_1238721963412clear_001Design Plays Well With Others*_1238721970098clear_001Google Street View Time Lapse on Flickr - Photo Sharing!_1238721976864clear_001Shortboredsurfer » TweetDecks ‘other actions’ menu bugs me_1238722014272
RAINA + KUMRA_1238722026974clear_001What is Good Designclear_001Complex_1238722058985clear_001Blogclear_001New York City News, Food, Arts & Events_1238722119071
Metrotwin Blog » Blog Archive » The oldest photo of New York_1238722135249clear_001graphpaper.com - Experience Design User_1238722146410clear_001Designing Social Interfaces - The Book_1238722166798clear_001Guardian and Observer journalists on Twitter | World news | guardian.co.uk_1238722186315clear_001How Many Links Are Too Many Links
The Science of ReTweets_1238722207763clear_001I Heart NYclear_001Superlocal » Blog Archive » deadline set by battery life_1238722230103clear_001Rosen's Flying Seminar In The Future of News_1238722258806clear_001Tracking what's popular on Wikipedia, by Jeffrey Veen_1238722269254
Porte Monnaie Classic Wallet - Acquire_1238722277294clear_001Favorite Ad on Facebook_1238722295161clear_001knife combs_1238722311411clear_001What Went Wrong, and What's Being Done About It | Epicenter from Wired.com_1238722323581clear_001Lululemon’s Cult of Selling | Fast Company_1238722250062

Link Drop Themes

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Over here at DesignNotes HQ there were quite a few design related links collected that found themselves in this week’s version of the Link Drop. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as this is a design blog after all. There weren’t too many surprise themes aside from weapons which suggests I might need to randomize how I find good things on the web, or talk to more people to hear what’s piquing their interest. It’s a bit of a rainy morning so you might want to press play on this song and start clicking away…


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cats and Their Designers_1238721888017

Cats and Their Designers
My weim Madison got her design fame a while back, it’s only fair that the cat people get theirs. What surprised me was the number of people that submitted their face snug to the back of their cats head…

Sufjan Stevens - Illinoize | HOME_1238722002731

Welcome to Illinoize.biz
This is a really good up–do of Sufjan Stevens – Illinois’ album. I’d recommend pressing the play button on this as you go through the rest of the links I have here.

The Difference Is in the Punctuation Marks - John Maeda & Becky Bermont - HarvardBusiness.org_1238721914561

Academia vs. Industry: The Difference Is in the Punctuation Marks
I don’t think I’ll look at punctuation quite the same again. Good analogies of how things are different and similar.


I haven’t actually tried using this thing to talk with someone behind the invisible wall. It’s strange and probably wouldn’t work for me—but maybe someone else will find it fun. What interested me more is that I’m guessing most of the people that are using it are also talking about it on twitter, hence a simple search http://search.twitter.com/search?q=omegle shows whose using it…

Postopolis, Day 1 - we make money not art_1238721940449

Postopolis, Day 1
Pretty good break down of the first day, and yes having a conference on the roof of a hotel seems like the only way to go. Except maybe when it’s in the spring and the evenings are quite cold—ha. Here’s a breakdown of all the speakers: It’s… Postopolis! LA

Cruel, Or Just Unusual

SlideShare’s April Fool’s Prank: Cruel, Or Just Unusual?
I very much fell for this prank, at first I was like haha on me. But after reading some of the stories about people falling for it, it seemed like a huge abuse of trust from an online service. I’m never going to use slideshare again, probably will never click on on a slideshare link or embed and will probably move my one presentation that I have on slideshare to something like http://www.scribd.com/.

Debbie Millman Presentation_1238721963412

Debbie Millman Presentation in Edmonton
I’ve recently been getting a lot of people searching for this presentation on the blog so I figured I might as well bring it up to the front of the blog again. Debbie was one of the first people that I invited to speak in Edmonton back in the day. It’s one of my fav. design talks for what I’ve learned from. This was filmed pre–YouTube days so the files are quite large and very small. You could think of them as a visual podcast. If you only have time to listen to one of the vids, I’d go for #3 as I think every graphic designer out there should hear it.

Design Plays Well With Others*_1238721970098

Design Plays Well With Others*
One of my alma maters has put up design work of all the design students graduating. I still remember how much energy it took to pull something like this off. Happy to see they seemed quite organized with their collection.

Google Street View Time Lapse on Flickr - Photo Sharing!_1238721976864

Google Street View Time Lapse
I’ve flirted with the idea of doing something like this, but the time it would take to do this to the reward of seeing it didn’t seem worth doing. Maybe I was wrong—this is quite cool to watch.

Shortboredsurfer » TweetDecks ‘other actions’ menu bugs me_1238722014272

TweetDecks ‘other actions’ menu bugs me
I’m happy someone is pointing this out, as good as TweetDeck is, it has a long ways to go to be a really great experience vs it now just being a better experience then what’s out there.

RAINA + KUMRA_1238722026974

I recently came across this site, seems like there’s a lot of interesting stuff. My only quip is that I thought the colour squares were different background options.

What is Good Design

What is Good Design?
After reading this you’ll be able to explain what good Design is…


This post is as much about philosophy as it is about tech. systems—in this case from apple. Astute observations about on how things get better and how bad things perhaps should be scrapped and started over from.


Did you know that Urban Outfitters had a blog? I didn’t and it’s actually pretty good on a number of levels. First there’s the content and then there’s the actual design which sets them apart from the typical blog—I suspect that this site will do much better for their bottom line than the standard paper brochure that they mail out.

New York City News, Food, Arts & Events_1238722119071

One Changing Harlem Storefront, 1977-2009
The photo cycle on this store is amazing. Both interesting and sad how things change and then revert back…

Metrotwin Blog » Blog Archive » The oldest photo of New York_1238722135249

The oldest photo of New York
If this person did indeed find the location of the oldest photo of NYC, that’s pretty cool.

graphpaper.com - Experience Design User_1238722146410

Experience Design User
Fascinating conversation and argument all in 140 character tidbytes. Personally I think the whole UX conversation is a bit silly—if you’re not designing for a person in mind in the beginning, what are you designing for?

Designing Social Interfaces - The Book_1238722166798

Designing Social Interfaces: Principles, Patterns, and Practices for Improving the User Experience
What a great way to build a book in the digital age. By opening it up like they have the authors are going to have a far superior book than if they had just left things to their own devices.

Guardian and Observer journalists on Twitter | World news | guardian.co.uk_1238722186315

The Guardian @ G20 summit and protests in London and photos from Daylife
A lot of people and those include media types role their eyes when it comes to news coverage on Twitter. Stuff like this proves my point that it’s actually quite important for delivering reports.

How Many Links Are Too Many Links

How Many Links Are Too Many Links?
Such a simple visualization that’s executed perfectly. There’s a lot of things a designer could do with this info while viewed through different eyes.

The Science of ReTweets_1238722207763

The Science of ReTweets
Yes there is a lot more than meets the eye when a person sees the “RT” in twitter.

I Heart NY

I Heart NY? | Next-Door Neighbor
The narrative of the comic seems to be all the rage today in the UX community. I blame google’s chrome instructional pdf. However that has nothing to do with this link… Click on the image and keep clicking. There’s a nice narrative going on.

Superlocal » Blog Archive » deadline set by battery life_1238722230103

deadline set by battery life
Great idea for getting things completed.

Rosen's Flying Seminar In The Future of News_1238722258806

Rosen’s Flying Seminar In The Future of News
A nice collection about the doom and demise of newsprint as we know it today…

Tracking what's popular on Wikipedia, by Jeffrey Veen_1238722269254

Announcing Wikirank: Tracking what’s popular on Wikipedia
Nice breakdown and design of a tool to visualize wikipedia page views. But does page view necessarily mean more important?

Porte Monnaie Classic Wallet - Acquire_1238722277294

Porte Monnaie Classic Wallet
I want this, too bad I rarely use cash nor do I have that much in my wallet to warrant such an expensive thing when I do.

Favorite Ad on Facebook_1238722295161

Favorite Ad on Facebook
This is great copy writing and kind of timely. Happy he saved it on his blog.

knife combs_1238722311411

lorenzo damiani: ‘comb-at’
Functional and stylish at the same time.

What Went Wrong, and What's Being Done About It | Epicenter from Wired.com_1238722323581

MySpace Music: What Went Wrong, and What’s Being Done About It
Interesting observations and steps that online services should consider.

Lululemon’s Cult of Selling | Fast Company_1238722250062

Lululemon’s Cult of Selling
Landmark Forum + Brian Tracy books + The Secret = Successful Brand?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Twittering The National Design Awards Winners’ Panel at Cooper-Hewitt

national design week talk

Twittering The National Design Awards Winners’ Panel at Cooper-Hewitt

Instead of doing my usual note based design observations I decided to use the tool that I voted for at the People’s Design Award in real-time at The National Design Awards Winners’ Panel at Cooper-Hewitt. (How’s the for a long sentence?) I really didn’t have huge expectations for the discussion as they can sometimes get way too self congratulatory. I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case and there weren’t that many times where I actually rolled my eyes with what was said. There wasn’t one person (Michael Bierut, Charles Harrison, Tom Kundig, Lucinda R. Sanders, Ralph Rucci and Scott Stowell) that tried to take over the stage or insist that their opinion was the only voice to be heard. There were a couple things that stuck out for me; in part Charles Harrison finding it difficult to get work in the 60’s and when he got his chance for full-time he wanted to start the night (after the studio had closed for the evening) that he was hired and I’m not sure if I misheard Scott Stowell mention that Good Magazine was primarily American, or for American’s or something else entirely. I can understand that it’s focus is not like Colors was for an international audience but it just seemed like a weird thing to say when I know there’s a lot of fans outside of the US. Another unusual thing happened – the audience questions were actually pretty good – especially when one asked if any of them considered quitting after hitting a stumbling block? Something that I think every designer can relate to, no matter what part of the profession.

Addendum (October 26th, 2008)
Clarifying his remark that I mentioned above, Scott Stowell emailed me last night. W/ his consent I’ve posted an excerpt from the email. “Although I can’t remember exactly what I said under the bright lights, my point was that while my point of view (thanks to Colors, as well as my own politics) is a global one, I’ve found that the point of view of Good has been more explicitly American. That’s not to say that it doesn’t speak to others, only that the editors consider American culture when developing and implementing ideas. I brought this up in the context of the other comments about culture clashes–and National Design Week. I think that Good is starting to shift, though. Next issue (number 014) is the “State of the Planet” special–a kind of annual report for Earth.”

Hearing Dan Saffer talk about “Tap is the New Click” for IxDA NY at R/GA

“Tap is the New Click” by Dan Saffer

“Tap is the New Click” by Dan Saffer

“Tap is the New Click” by Dan Saffer

“Tap is the New Click” by Dan Saffer

“Tap is the New Click” by Dan Saffer

“Tap is the New Click” by Dan Saffer

“Tap is the New Click” by Dan Saffer

“Tap is the New Click” by Dan Saffer

Last night to a standing room only IxDA NY audience at R/GA for Dan Saffer presented what I’m going to guess is an outline of his new book Interactive Gestures: Designing Gestural Interfaces (you can download the first chapter at the site) that is coming out soon. At the end of his talk he mentioned that he would be putting up his slides which I’ll link to once I see them on the Kick It site. You can download the Tap is the New Click Presentation HERE. He likened the next couple of years of gestural interface experimentation to the early years of the web – both the good and bad. As a primer on this emerging field I though the talk was pretty good. I’m hesitant to do a play by play of points b/c that’s what his book and slides can do clearly. But what I want to do is point out a couple things that I found interesting from the pov of someone using an iphone, kiosks and the clapper.

There’s two types of touch screens – iceberg tips which have a small target yet there’s a larger surface surrounding that target that is live. The other is adaptive targets which is kind of like the keyboard on an iphone. As you type in letters the sensors guess what is more likely to be the next letter and create a bigger target b/c of it. On communicating interactive gestures there’s three points to consider: 1. attraction, 2. observation and 3. interaction. If you have an iPhone you know about the unlock slide to turn it on. That type of interaction is known as attraction affordance. It introduces the person to a type of gesture that the interface uses. As for a philosophy to consider, the simpler the task should equate to the simpler the gesture. The best designs dissolve into behaviour.

The q & a afterwards was surprisingly good – my experience in the past at talks in general has not been the case. Some topics covered included tech. will be abused as necessary, sensors as a green issue in bathrooms, face recognition for ads, gesture pollution, will a room be an apple or microsoft room – the implications of that, brainwaves are not gestures, will gesture be patentable or gestures plus a response system be patentable and wearable technology.

IxDA NY and R/GA filmed the event as well. Once I find that link I’ll post it here too.

my notes from Interesting New York (a work in progress)


I spent most of my Saturday hanging out at F.I.T. taking in the talks for Interesting New York. I was really on the fence about going until the last minute – did I really want to give up my whole Saturday after a busy week of work? Well I’m happy that I did b/c the twenty nine + presenters all gave me something to think about. Some were better than others but there weren’t any duds. Each talk was around 15 minutes which felt like not enough time for the really interesting talks, and just enough time for those that were just ok.

To get this post to where I want it’s probably going to take a week or so to post all the links and info. But I figured that this post could be a work in progress – so you might want to bookmark this page to check back every so often.

Interesting New York: Mark Baltazar
Mark Baltazar
Interesting Note: Randomness happens. Question I would have asked – why did you want to jump on a train.
Additional Site: broadstreet

Interesting New York: Aaron Dignan

Interesting New York: Aaron Dignan
Aaron Dignan
Interesting Note: Turn life into a game.
Additional Site: undercurrent

Interesting New York: Alexandru Rosu

Interesting New York: Alexandru Rosu

Interesting New York: Alexandru Rosu
Alexandru Rosu
Interesting Note: I will leave in five minutes doesn’t exactly mean what it says.
More Stuff: He was the only person that did not show his face, it was streamed in…
Additional Site: Brici Entertainment

Interesting New York: Allan Benamer & Jeff Tuller
Allan Benamer and Jeff Tuller
Interesting Note: Nerds obsess over everything

Interesting New York: Dr. Irving Slesar
Dr. Irving Slesar
Interesting Note: Dreams are the perfect casting agent

Interesting New York: Amber Finlay

Interesting New York: Amber Finlay & Bud Meiman
Amber Finlay
Interesting Note: What you hear first sticks

Interesting New York: Dipti Bramhandkar
Dipti Bramhandkar
Interesting Note: Hahaha hihihi hohoho

Interesting New York: Joel Johnson
Joel Johnson
Interesting Note: Mormons very interested in seeing their background

Interesting New York: Hillel Cooperman
Hillel Cooperman
Interesting Note: Difference through design

Interesting New York: Colin Nagy
Colin Nagy
Interesting Note: (me) I really want to learn more about Techno …

Interesting New York: Charles Rosen
Charles Rosen
Interesting Note: Check out the book The End of America by Naomi Wolf

Interesting New York: Bernard Leibov
Bernard Leibov
Interesting Note: A lot of people in the audience have been to Joshua Tree

Interesting New York: Bryan Fuhr
Bryan Fuhr
Interesting Note: Create a reason to fill in the blanks

Interesting New York: Dallas Penn

Interesting New York: Dallas Penn

Dallas Penn
Interesting Note: Little Debbie has had quite a career
Rating: One of my fav. talks – the approach while funny had a great ending impact
Additional Site: Bodega Bodega Everywhere, Yet Nary A Quarter Water To Drink…

Interesting New York: Scott Ballum
Scott Ballum
Interesting Note: A lot of companies are trying to figure out how to deal with him
Additional Site: The consume®econnection Project

Interesting New York: David Art Wales
David Art Wales
Interesting Note: Secrets are more about the people that aren’t inside

Interesting New York: Doug Jaeger
Doug Jaeger
Interesting Note: Could see the shape of the earth through stop motion photography

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman

Interesting New York: Morgan Friedman
Morgan Friedman
Interesting Note: Say yes
Additional Site: Overheard in New York | The Voice of the City

Interesting New York: James Cooper

Interesting New York: James Cooper

Interesting New York: James Cooper

Interesting New York: James Cooper

Interesting New York: James Cooper

Interesting New York: James Cooper

Interesting New York: James Cooper

Interesting New York: James Cooper

Interesting New York: James Cooper
James Cooper
Interesting Note: (Me) I want to trade my coffee table for a ping pong table
Additional Site: Celebrity PingPong

Interesting New York: Faris Yakob

Interesting New York: Faris Yakob
Faris Yakob
Interesting Note: Inclusive and not precious

Interesting New York: Gaurav Mishra

Interesting New York: Gaurav Mishra
Gaurav Mishra
Interesting Note: When you give everything away the last thing is privacy

Interesting New York: Azita Houshiar
Azita Houshiar
Interesting Note: If I were to read this book again I probably wouldn’t

Interesting New York: Jennifer Wright

Interesting New York: Jennifer Wright
Jennifer Wright
Interesting Note: Nobody knows how old he is

Interesting New York: Michael Karnjanaprakorn

Interesting New York: Michael Karnjanaprakorn
Michael Karnjanaprakorn
Interesting Note: Creative destruction
Slides of the Michael’s Talk: New Orleans: Social Innovation Hub

Interesting New York: Noah Brier

Interesting New York: Noah Brier

Interesting New York: Noah Brier

Interesting New York: Noah Brier

Interesting New York: Noah Brier

Interesting New York: Noah Brier
Noah Brier
Interesting Note: Screw around the internet and make stuff
Slides of Noah’s Talk: Making Stuff on the Internet: Passing Data and Databases

Interesting New York: Grant McCracken

Interesting New York: Grant McCracken

Interesting New York: Grant McCracken
Grant McCracken
Interesting Note: Ideas are not precisely defined

Interesting New York: Nick Parish

Interesting New York: Nick Parish
Nick Parish
Interesting Note: The myth comes from Russia

AIGA/NY Smart/Models Event

AIGA/NY Smart/Models, poster designed by Sam Potts

I just wanted to quickly mention the AIGA/NY’s Smart/Models event happening Saturday May 17th at the Times Center in New York. It’s got a great line up of people (see below) that will be talking about design and business. Whether you have your own practice or not there’s going to be a lot to take in and apply afterwards. I’ll be there taking notes and will be doing a post wrap up afterwards here on DesignNotes. If you’re attending please say hello…

+ Athletics: http://athleticsnyc.com
+ Jason Fried: www.37signals.com
+ Sylvia Harris: http://sylviaharris.com
+ Douglas Riccardi: www.memo-ny.com
+ Duffy & Partners: www.duffy.com

AIGA/NY Smart/Models
Saturday 17 May 2008
The New York Times
242 West 41st St. between 7th & 8th Avenues


Hearing Roger Black

Roger Black

Roger Black

Roger Black

At the end of Roger Black’s talk last night held at Frog via AIGANY, I kind of wished he had started the talk how he ended it. My friend Vineet who I work with at Daylife asked him what he thought of web 2.0 design. The audience got a bit of a surprise commentary about how designers need to open up the reigns a bit on the online side. He referenced the popularity of the film Helvetica as an example where normal people are interested in fonts and want to have the ability to control how things look on their screen. The designers will be creating the structure but people will ultimately control the out put. Those ideas certainly weren’t there cornerstone of the talk though those ideas that he had about that are worth hearing more about from him. That concept is of particular note as I’m kind of doing something similar at the moment. I can’t say much more than that, but to hear some of the same ideas coming from someone else makes me consider that I’m on the right path at the moment though examples are not out there just yet.

Black framed the talk with his past experience’s from Rolling Stone and Newsweek magazines with a heavy emphasis on typography and how that influenced the layouts and what he was trying to accomplish to the reader. He then went on to talk briefly about Bloomberg’s internal system and how that translated to their website which is pictured above. The end consisted of some moderated questions and then was open to the audience afterwards. The talk was held at Frog which was a pretty good location for this event. It was the perfect night to have some wine on the terrace that they have before hearing one of the magazine greats.

Here’s some of my notes from the talk.

“People don’t remember the bad layouts, people back then tried things – they took risks”

“Playing against the expectation”

“Weight, stage and push forward”

“Web = blurry”

“Narrative design; YouTube vs. documnetry, Iraq vs. Vietnam”

“Web 2.0 – open it up”

Thinking about Mind 08 after the Symposium

MIND 08 Notes Cloud

After spending a full day viewing and listening about science and design at the Mind 08 symposium organized by MoMA and Seed Magazine in conjunction with the exhibition of Design and the Elastic Mind I was ready to decompress. To suggest that it was an accelerated day for me to learn about new ideas was quite inspiring. At the wrap up talk it was suggested that who wouldn’t want to go back to school to learn and think more? The next day once I had the chance to recover I started going over my notes. I found the easiest way for me to interpret the phrases that caught my attention was to create a word cloud. The more important the words were to me, the larger they would be. It would give me a chance to see what themes struck a chord with me that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. The phrase cloud above is a proximation but by no means literal translation of the entire symposium.

One of the ideas that kept coming up that I was interested in was in terms of scale and how that would translate as something would grow, fold and loop. I can’t remember if it was ever explicitly mentioned but the idea behind the koch snowflake seemed to be an inspiration. Another theme that I was interested in hearing about was how the functions of design, technology and science would blur together to create something new. The word “design” was used a lot but I never got a sense from any of the speakers as to their explicit meaning of it was. While it was understood that design was being used as a term that was not about consumption or decoration was obvious, but as a working term I couldn’t say with any certainty what some of the presenters considered it be.

There was idea of scale, there was also the idea of adaption. I’m not sure if some of the presenters meant to talk in terms of observation, but as the day continued it was interesting to hear and see about how people would learn from their mistakes, tweak things and evolve. At times concepts would be presented that I really had no idea about, but what helped bridge the gap between their knowledge and my understanding was to hear their process which was adapting to their observations. If there’s one issue that I have with the current Design and the Elastic Mind website, it was impossible for me to find and reference the New City information when I wrote about my original exhibition post. In Greg Lynn’s presentation I was drawn to the attitude of making something real yet not necessarily familiar. As he asked who needs another shopping mall? I also thought how he saw roads not as such but as connections was an interesting metaphor. If I were to dive really deep with any of the projects I think New City would be the one I’d want to spend a lot of time with.

While science and design were the key drivers it seemed to me that it was also very much a philosophical day. One of the concepts that Janna Levin proposed was to not look at the universe from the outside but from the inside. Kevin Slavin who I had hear about a year ago talked about process in a way that I hadn’t considered before. The approach that he mentioned was to see something as broken. By having an idea/concept/something else seen as broken you’re able to do things that were never meant to be done. It was quite amazing to hear Hugh Herr say that he designed his own legs after a climbing accident. Something that most people will never have to contemplate but a practical question was about how tall he should make himself?

As I alluded to in the beginning my head was quite overwhelmed by the end of it. The last session had seven presenters. While I did take notes I’ll be honest in saying that I kind of wished that the number of speakers had been cut in half. I can understand you want to give the stage to as many people as possible but it may have been pushing the number of people. While collaboration was implicitly mentioned I wondered how true that was. As a graphic designer it seemed it was more of a diy mentality where graphic designers could have been used in projects was never mentioned or probably considered. There were examples of slick animated renderings but it was also obvious that in some of the other slides visual design was not considered to be important. It was by far one of the best symposiums that I’ve attended in terms of wanting to do more myself afterwards, it just seemed that it missed the chance to see visual design as more then just illustrating data and more as part of the process to change things.

If you ended up missing the symposium they did mention that the talks had been filmed and will be placed at www.mind08.com in the near future.

Notes from the Seed Conference

I’m not sure how I’ve never come across the notes from Mike Rhode’s moleskin until today from the Seed conference, but just in case you haven’t either – HERE they are. They’re visual but even better they’re to the point. Mike also wrote down his notes in a blog post where he explains a bit of his process. “I didn’t try to capture everything said during yesterday’s event, since others were probably doing that. Instead, I took time to listen and analyze the talks, distilling and capturing the main ideas I was hearing. By doing a bit of on-the-fly processing, it forced me to boil down what was being said, then express it in ink on the page in a way that would be meaningful to me and to others who might read my sketchnotes later.”

All the pages resonated with me – but from a standpoint of pushing yourself to the next level, Jim Coudal’s stuff seemed to speak to me most. “Be curious & Choose people on their taste & Don’t be afraid to fail”. It’s hard to argue against that, whether your a designer, photographer or even a chef I think…

Saskatchewan Design Week Wrap Up

In Saskatoon

As I write this I’ve just finished packing and am flying back to NYC in the morning. Coming back to Saskatoon this time to talk design and participate in the juried competition was exactly what I needed after the craziness of NYC for the last couple months. On Friday night I talked about what was going on in Design from my perspective and hopefully passed on some new information that they may not have considered about design previously. As it was my first talk I thought it went pretty smoothly, though I may have talked a bit longer then I should have. The next step is to filter a lot of the ideas about observing design and turn it into a book proposal.

Living in NYC where there’s great examples of design around each corner, it’s easy to forget that design awareness is still important. Having an actual design week in Saskatchewan is a great foot forward to accomplish that. Not only for practitioners to talk with the general public but for cross disciplinary processes too. Architects, planners and other professions talking to graphic designers etc. I think this came out really well in the juried competition discussion. There was a number of different categories with one of the juried members talking about some of the broad goals of success in a particular field. For example I shared insights into successful communication in graphic design. One of the exercises that I asked everyone to do when we talked about graphic design was to turn to the opposite wall of the work and talk about which pieces they remembered. We then went through each piece to find the examples that we felt best deserved more attention.

Generally speaking towards all the different categories of work which I uploaded to flickr, some of the pieces were hurt by how the images were displayed. The only advice I can suggest to architects, planners and others should be this – hire a graphic designer to make the work more understandable on a wall. The other thing that I found slightly confusing was the lack of people in the environments and spaces. There were a number of buildings where I wondered how the people would interact with the space. I don’t think every image needs to have a person in it, but a couple couldn’t hurt.

Saskatchewan Design Week

My favourite project was a collaborative piece (sorry for the blurred image). To be in that category I believe that a number of different design disciplines had to be part of the project. To me the River Landing Tree Grate Project was a nice example of bringing the community together, telling a story in simplified yet compelling illustrative way and true to the materials it incorporated. And most importantly it showed the city that using design can enhance the environment at a cost effective way.

I have to thank Randy Hergott for inviting me and driving me around Saskatoon – it was a lot of fun to talk about design in Canada again. My only regret was not having time to see some of the other talks that went on. Hopefully next time I can. On a separate note, DesignNotes will be back to being published on a daily basis very soon – sorry for the slow down from the past week.

Speaking at Design Week in Saskatoon

Design Council of Saskatchewan, Design Week 07

I’m excited to mention that I’ll be heading back to my hometown today for Design Week 07 in Saskatoon to speak. If you happen to be there, be sure to say hello. After the presentation is over I’ll be placing my slides on SlideShare. Every speaker has their favourite venues for different reasons – for me to be invited back to where things all started means a lot. It also means that I might see real snow for the first time in over a year. I don’t really consider what happened last year in New York to be much of a winter…

The Future of Design Now with Michael Surtees
Friday, November 16, 7PM to 9PM
Lower Lounge, Mendel Art Gallery

The rules of design are changing as fast as the speed of communication today. Michael will be talking about his offline/online experiences in New York and sharing the questions he’s asking to keep ahead.

About Design Week
The Speaker Series is the heart and soul of Design Week. Distinguished professional designers from Saskatoon and far beyond give their views on projects and issues vital to applied design and to the general public. All the lectures are FREE, and drinks and snacks are available.

Come out and learn about how professional applied design is shaping our world and show your support for this important event.

Some notes after hearing Anthony Dunne

Last Wednesday night Anthony Dunne gave a presentation at Parsons the New School for Design. Described on the postcard for the event, Anthony Dunne is a professor and head of the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art in London and a partner in the design practice Dunne & Raby. Below are a couple images from the Dunne & Raby website that struck me as memorable and worth mentioning afterwards.

Is this your future?

Is this your Future?: The teddy bear blood bag is a bit disturbing to say the least – but it sure is an image that you won’t forget. The image is part of “a collection of hypothetical products and 3 photographic scenarios explore the ethical, cultural and social impact of different energy futures. The Energy Gallery, The Science Museum, London (For children between 7—14 years).”

Compass Table

Compass Table: Such a great idea, place a bunch of compasses inside a table and watch what happens when you move it around a room. “Its needles twitch and spin when electronic products are placed on the table’s surface”. Comments from the people using the table: “It seems to be a bit obsessed with the radiator. (Arabella) and It’s not just like a vase that you get bored of. (Diane)”

GPS Table

GPS Table

GPS Table: The table had a screen and GPS system inside it, if the table wasn’t positioned correctly it would say it was lost on the screen“This Globally Positioned Table displays its exact position in the world.” and comments from the people living with the table “We don’t tend to attribute human feelings to our furniture. (Lorna) I’m not quite sure why I was shocked. I thought “Bloody hell, the poor thing’s lost”(Dick)”

Anthony’s talk was intended to stir debate on a number of fronts that design does not usually do. Most days design is sold as a commodity as opposed to a thought process to challenge social, cultural or ethical issues – a role usually left for art – though in the context of his presentation seemed appropriate. On a more practical level, I certainly became more aware that if designers added more human touches or visible cues to inanimate objects, how people interact with them would change – probably for the better.

After the Future of Design Talk

The future of design

Of all the design lectures that I’ve been to, Mediabistro’s The Future of Design was above average though I think the title was slightly misleading. The invited guests were Etienne Fang, Rie Norregaard, Elizabeth Pastor, Leslie Wellott and moderated by Chee Pearlman. If anything the talk was more about design process and less about how designers are going to be working in the not so distant future. For those in the audience that weren’t expecting such a process driven talk, it may have been information overload. Of course that’s not a bad thing if you’re one of those people that’s tired of just seeing the slide show of a designers greatest hits. The panelists were all articulate and didn’t always agree with each other, though I started to get the sense that they’ve read the same books on the idea of design, been to similar conferences and visited the same websites. Rie seemed to be the most hands on in terms of designing in the digital world while the others were much more on the defining the design problem and passing it on to someone else to execute. Personally I think those positions should be merged, but in a world of specialists that’s often not the case. I also thought it was telling that a couple of the panelists were not originally designers when they started their careers. Another feeling that I got as the talk went on was that if I had spent a couple hours on each of the speakers respective sites, I may have got the same amount of content. Each person backed up what they said, but it also felt that it’s the same thing that they’ve spoken about a hundred times before. Technology was briefly spoken about (I think I heard myspace mentioned once), but I never got a sense of how they’re taking advantage of the time we’re in now and how that’s going to effect things down the road. Maybe that was where the role of the moderator could have dug a little deeper. There was the standard audience questions about “how do I get a job” and honestly I can’t remember what other questions were asked. I didn’t leave disappointed though at the same time I wished the talk was less about an ideal of design and more about where they’re taking design.



D&AD and the Digital Landscape
D&AD President and Creative Director of leading international digital agency, POKE, Simon Waterfall will share his insights into the ever-changing digital world and its impact on creativity.

The most inspirational and award-winning digital campaigns will feature, along with Waterfall’s vision of the future of creativity within the digital space.

Thursday 27 September
10.00am – 12.00pm
Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street
NY 10013

D&AD: How to get into the industry
Imagine rising above your peers and finally being noticed. In this session, D&AD shows you how.

Leading creatives pair up with D&AD to inspire and give you the inside track on how to get your work noticed in this competitive industry. You will see examples of international award-winning work from the D&AD Student Awards and hear insights into industry trends with an emphasis on integrated and digital.

Wednesday 26 September
10.00am – 12.00pm
Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street
NY 10013


D&AD celebrates creative excellence in all aspects of creative communications. These events are a must attend for anyone with a passion for innovation in advertising.

To register visit www.advertisingweek.com

For further information on D&AD visit www.dandad.org

PSFK Conference New York

PSFK Conference New York

There were a ton of reasons why I wanted to move to New York. There’s the professional side of things, but there was also the opportunity to take in as much learning as possible. So you can imagine how happy I am to see that there’s PSFK Conference New York – Thursday, March 6th, 2007. You can get more information at www.psfk.com/psfk_conference

Confirmed Speakers:

Mike Byrne of Anomaly
Alan Chochinov of Core77
Josh Deutsch of Downtown Records (tbc)
Jill Fehrenbacher of Inhabitat
Doug Jaeger of TheHappyCorp
John Lee & Jaie Kim of Theme Magazine
Floyd Hayes of Cunning
Grant McCracken
George Murphy of Fitch
George Parker
Peter Rojas of Engadget
David Rosenberg of JWT
Marc Schiller of Electric Artists
Elizabeth Spiers of Dead Horse Media
Kevin Slavin of AreaCode
Rony Zibara of Fahrenheit 212
Chuck Welch of Naked (tbc)
Scott Witt of Droga5

Confirmed Press Attendance

Advertising Age


Marc Joseph Talk

Marc Joseph Talk

Two things that interest me are books and photography. I didn’t know anything about Marc Joseph before tonight’s talk, but when I learned that a photographer was going to be talking about a book my eyes widened. The underlying feeling that I got from Marc was that he plans things quite methodically. There was a consistent pace in the story he was telling, he would refer to points earlier in the talk and build from that, and none of the images had captions yet he could all but once talk in detail about the location and point to a story with the photos. He also admitted that the images used for his latest book New and Used were going to be developed in large scale (3X their original size) and that he wanted to make the images of books and music stores seem prominent.

Before talking in depth about the book, he showed the images by themselves. What I don’t think many people realized is that the images on the projection screen were probably near the scale that they will be developed to be seen on the walls. When Marc went through the book in pdf form, it was interesting to see that there were no captions nor text to correspond with the images. The essays and poems that went inside the book seemed to divide the photos in a very systematical way. Marc mentioned near the end of the talk that he was ruthless in the editing choice of the images, and worked very hard not to seem repetitive with the images. In the case of staying away from the images being to predictable, he succeeded.

In a lot of ways I think this talk was more of a benefit for me in the AIGA’s NY Small Talk series than the first b/c it was a fairly honest talk about an artist working within the constructs of design. I’m also pondering some ideas with books and photos for my own sake, and to hear what his motivation and process were, it helped create a frame of reference for me in the near future.

D&AD Print & Editorial Forum in NYC

D&AD Print & Editorial Forum in NYC

Left to Right: Chris Dixon – Art Director, New York Magazine NY, Peter Buchanan-Smith – Creative Director, Paper Magazine NY, Chair – Jeremy Leslie – Group Creative Director, John Brown UK, Josh Liberson – Partner, Helicopter NY, and Suzanne Sykes – Art Director, Grazia Magazine UK

D&AD Print & Editorial Forum in NYC

Considering the level of speakers and their reputations in the magazine world, I was pleasantly surprised at how intimate the D&AD event was. The 50 (rough guesstimate) people that attended were dressed in quite a sophisticated British kind of way. But it was also relaxed too, and I while I was there by myself I only felt slightly like a loaner, but I digress.

Each designer had ten minutes to present their work. What was really interesting is that each of the four speakers presented in their own unique way. Peter Buchanan-Smith read from a set of prepared sheets of paper about his story of coming to NYC. Josh Liberson spoke to the audience somewhat ad-lib in more of a conversational way about some of the magazines Helicopter has redesigned. Suzanne Sykes got off the podium and talked about her weekly magazine Grazia. Chris Dixon was more commenting to each of his slides from New York magazine. Each person did a really effective job of presenting who they are and what it was that they were about.

Jeremy Leslie moderated the discussion afterwards. There were the inevitable NY vs London questions which I thought was slightly ironic considering two of the designers on the panel were from Canada. When the microphone was turned to the audience to participate, it took a couple ice breaker questions before the audience really felt comfortable asking questions to the four really talented designers. Usually I always have a couple questions, but I really didn’t think there was much that someone on the panel didn’t touch upon. I’m not working in the magazine industry, but I love buying magazines. Beautiful typography, stunning images and great content make my days go a bit better. And each of the four designers presented work like that, so what else did I really need?

After the event I had the chance to talk with one of the D&AD people. Not knowing ahead of time, but this event was D&AD’s first talk in North America. Laura Woodroffe mentioned to me that a lot of entries for their awards programme come from North America so D&AD felt it was time to make a presence, and to get out the word that D&AD is more then just about the awards. One such thing is professional development which is something that I’m hoping to take more advantage of myself.

Burnt Toast?

Me looking up wondering if the conversation at the AIGA NY's Your AD Here was going to get interesting

Before I go into my thoughts about the AIGA NY’s Your AD Here talk, I want to make clear that the criticism is not directed to those that organized the event. I’ve been there where you put a lot of time and effort into a talk and the volunteers hope that at the end of the night the audience has gone home with some new ideas…

I’ve never left a design lecture early, but I did tonight for the first time. I think there’s at least three reasons that I can point to my disappointment – though there’s probably a lot more. 1. The moderator asked irrelevant questions, 2. some of the panelists provided irrelevant answers, 3. maybe I am looking for inspiration at the wrong talks – yeah, I wish I went to the Henry Jenkins and Steven Johnson conversation at the Museum of the Moving Image.

The panel was moderated by Randall Rothenberg with Jane Hope, Gary Koepke, Neil Powell, and Brian Collins. I had a couple expectations going into the talk – I wanted to hear something new, how they applied “it”, and to answer the basic premise of what forward-thinking integrated marketing solutions are. I really didn’t get any of that tonight. It was disappointing but true that this talk could have easily happened ten years ago which suggested to me that four of the five people on stage might not really be interacting with what is going on today outside of their own fish bowl. The reason why I would single Brian out was that I think he is the only person on the panel that could claim that people have blogged and just talked about a campaign that truly made people believe in something that he was a part of. That something of course is the Dove campaign that many, many people have talked about. I don’t think it was lost on anyone that people clapped when he asked if anyone had heard of the campaign. I hesitate to use the word campaign as it is more than just that. Each of the other people got a brief chance to mention a campaign that they were proud of: a phone company in Canada (Telus), a SUV company (Hummer), and a beer that I’ve never drank. Now, which one would you want to be associated with?

If there was one thing to take away from the talk, it is those that are taking an active role in communication today have a real chance to win big soon. It is only a matter of time before those that are really stirring things up and asking the right questions are going to be able to talk with those in business who understand that what worked ten years ago will not work today and tomorrow.

One more thing about Designism

A friend sent me an e-mail over the weekend in response to some other comments that were posted on my Designism picture from Flickr…

There has been bad work by big agencies (and for clarity purpose there is a difference between advertising agencies and design agencies) for small and big non profits. However to say there is a relationship between high-end designers and bad grassroots design is over generalized and short sighted. Of course it may be a bad idea to approach a multi-million dollar advertising firm to do work for a grassroots inative. You have no clue if they are doing it because they care, or if they are just trying to improve their reputation. If the designer working on your project doesn’t agree with what your doing, or possibly even disagrees, good work is not going to be produced.

You can read the rest of his post at http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelsurtees/249409688/?#comment72157594299245487

Designism additions

“The biggest disconnects between the materials we put out that worked and those that were proposed had to do with tone and style. What worked best were materials that were (a) non-inflammatory and sober, and (b) highly informative without being overly dense. Clarity and factuality were far more important than drama.

Citizens’ groups and causes have, as their first challenge, to establish credibility — especially in a rural area. Pungeant imagery and tough-talking text only works once that legitimacy has been established, if ever. Ease of use/legibility, and a lack of “trickiness,” are also important when distributing graphics in a community that is not overly design-savvy.”

From sampratt HERE

BusinessWeek – Innovation of the Week Podcast

BusinessWeek - Innovation of the Week Podcast

One of the biggest failures of podcasting in iTunes is the unlinkability of the shows. Maybe you know a way to send people individual links of individual podcasts, but I don’t. In my mind this has really slowed down the word of mouth excitement that people have for their fav. shows.

Last week I came across a really smart and intelligent group of podcasts from BusinessWeek on innovation. There’s been some well deserved controversy on Design Observer about Business Week trying to get design firms to redesign their innovation section for free. While that should not be forgiven, the podcasts are a great asset for anyone interested in design.

There is no set time limit for a show, they run between eight to twenty eight minutes and the editors go about design in a less personality driven way. It’s more about the why and how as opposed to the who. The three editors; Jesse Scanlon, Reena Jana and Andrew Blum have a great skill for talking clearly and are just interesting to listen to. From time to time there’s guest editors as such Brian Collins interviewed Deborah Adler for Target.

Since I can’t directly send you a link to the shows, in iTunes I would recommend you going to the podcast search and typing in “BusinessWeek – Innovation”. I’ve probably gone through half of the shows and I’ve yet to be disappointed.

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