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This might sound sort of gross, but from time to time I’ll use the same coffee mug at home for a couple days. All I do is simply dump the old coffee out, quickly rinse and add fresh coffee. It’s a routine that works for me. Over the weekend I took a closer look inside my mug and noticed something familiar. There were rings from the old coffee lines, similar to what you would see with a tree if you were to cut one in half. With trees the rings show how much rain a tree had from year to year in a comparative scale. What could those coffee rings tell me about my mornings?
While the rings that I’ve identified are probably for five or six days, it’s hard to tell which one’s are from earlier in the week compared to my drinking habits later on. Aside from guessing which line belongs to which day, there’s a cluster of three or four lines that suggest that I’m drinking a consistent amount of coffee. I guess some information is better than no information.
This week’s version of Link Drop has a healthy does of me at the beginning. When I read about other bloggers and their exploits, sometimes I think it’s cool to see, other times perhaps not. So if you’re in the perhaps not camp, please scroll quickly to link #4. Overall I came across a bit of everything, there’s lot’s of publishing stuff, both online and print. I think I keep coming back to that topic because it’s how people are broadcasting messages today, something we should all be in the business of. I also found it interesting how Armstrong integrated his message into a number of different outlets that again I think we can all learn from. Did I miss anything worth reading?
Video Notes from the Field
Being asked to pass along a quick thought about digital & design to potential students headed to that field, I choose to mention how digital is different than print. “Digital isn’t a one-time shot, but a constant upgrade”. For me to be included with a lot of people that I try to learn from myself on the post was quite cool to see.
The Aggregator That Newspapers Like
Some days I find it harder to explain what Daylife is then others, especially when I start mentioning Select. This article did a pretty good job explaining things on a high level and about some of the history behind the news service I work with.
Three New Foodists
I like food, I like to write—what better reason then that to start contributing to this food blog when the urge hits?
I wish I had come up with this idea first. Marking off blocks on NYC and documenting what’s around the street. Photos and google map included.
Unofficial Rules of the App Store
The potential for this site is quite important. If people regularily contribute it could give a good indication of what mistakes not to make. It could also be said that Apple should keep things open, but that’s a different debate altogether.
When it comes to coffee I’m very much for it. It’s what powers this blog for the most part. I write early in the morning and there’s always some warm goodness beside my keyboard. For the last couple of years I’ve been making coffee with one of those classic Bodum’s that sucks the water from the bottom to the top and brews itself naturally above, only to come back down as something good. The thing is, the bottom of the pot is starting to look like the ground outside in NYC. There’s a layer of sludge that probably isn’t that healthy.
While I love how the Bodum tastes because it keeps a lot of the impurities of the bean in liquid form, others have described the taste as unpleasant at best. Over the weekend I was subjected to a blind coffee taste test with my first love and a metal Cuisinart. Within one sip I could point out which was the better coffee. The difference was quite clear—literally. While the Bodum looked like a natural brew, the Cuisinart was pure black, no inconsistencies. Most people would see this as a plus but for me it felt like it sucked out some of the flavour.
It wasn’t until I had finished both cups that things got really interesting. The bottom residue reflected how things tasted. The Bodum’s bottom was very organic looking while the Cuisinart was very clean, systematic and predictable. Those bottoms reflected how the coffee tasted. Is it a cultural thing? Impurities make the flavour vs. the clean but loss of taste? I’m not sure, but I took it one step further. I was curious to see how the two filters compare to each other. No surprises, the filters reflected how the bottom of each cup looked and in turn influenced how things were tasting. While I don’t have much choice as the Bodum is going to be making an exit soon. I’m going to give the Cuisinart a week, taste the Bodum after seven days to see if my taste has adjusted or not. I don’t think my taste will adjust, I guess it will be mind of matter…
I feel as though this week just started and it’s already Friday. Good weather, good company and being in NYC will do that to people. But with that said there’s always time for the interwebs and below are some of the sites that I thought were worth a second look. There’s a bit more weirdness this week and less graphic design—coincidence? For this edition of Link Drop I also had a bit more coffee then usual, hence the erratic diagram. Till next week, though I’m not sure how I’m going to simultaneously post a Link Drop and a live presentation at the same time…
The Battle Between Art & The Algorithm
Apparently design lost the battle with art and now art has set its sights on the algorithm. Is deciding how something is weighted in a myriad of ways based on rational—or is it art. I think it’s art if design myself if you know what to look for.
Microsoft sales fall for first time in 23 years
I’m surprised more people haven’t mentioned what has happened to Microsoft this year. There’s some smart connections being made in this piece. Not to beat a dead horse for me, but the fact that I can take a pic and push it on to the internet with a message within a minute from start to finish is amazing. Am I using any tools from MSFT to do that? No…
Twitter Clients Are a UI Design Playground
This is interesting—did twitter plan to to harness the crowd to make a better UI because they really didn’t know what they were doing, or did they create such a bad experience it pissed off enough people that they decided to make their own better UI? Funny thing is, if twitter was the music industry they would have tried suing their users where as twitter encouraged it.
Scorecard | The National Design Awards
I thought the question that they brought up about Architecture Design and Interior Design was worth mentioning. I had no idea, but I’m neither an architect nor an interior designer…
Psst, have you heard…
I liked the idea of visualizing how things are spread via the promoters, passives and detractors.
Fascinating view of how the Gameboy (often ignored by designers as a great object) evolved and reflected the time as the years went on.
“NPR maps the Energy Grid”
I find these kind of maps fascinating on a couple different levels. There’s the proximity of lines to actual cities (or distance from them), and the patterns the lines make that outline energy.
100 days of Obama’s Facebook news feed.
It would be easy to dismiss this visualization, but it’s actually quite impressive. It’s in a format almost everyone recognizes, there’s humour, there’s history and some of it is actually plausible.
That google seems to be wrecking every industry out there. But if it’s so bad why hasn’t anyone stepped up and made it better?
Telling amazing stories
Simple points to consider, hard to execute when all three measurements of 1. Collecting consistent data, 2. Designing meaningful visualizations and 3.Telling amazing stories are actually more subjective than you think.
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As I keep evolving Link Drop, I thought I’d change it up a bit with how I display the intro. I’m listing themes that I notice weeks to week and dropping the small square thumbnails. Those take a crazy amount of time to do and I’m not sure how useful they really were. If that happened to be your fav. thing about Link Drop please let me know. Not sure how the week was for you but it seemed like it was Friday just a couple days ago. Spring is almost here (aside from all the rain that NYC’s been having), but patios are just around the corner now. Thanks for checking this week’s stuff that I thought was kind of interesting as I clicked around.
Goodbye, Speak Up
And the site that allowed for a broader discussion from the bottom up has decided to stop posting. When it first started I really enjoyed the fact that it didn’t matter who you were as a designer, people wanted to discuss stuff that wasn’t really being covered anywhere else. When I was still living in Canada the site exposed me to a bunch of people. In turn that allowed me to invite a few to talk in Edmonton when I was the President of my chapter of the GDC. But as the years went by the site started to take itself too seriously, was more concerned about what the establishment thought (catered too), less about sharing and more about bragging. I’m thankful that the site was there because I certainly got a lot out of it in the beginning, it’s just too bad they never considered a succession plan to keep it going and would rather the community down.
L’Aquila Earthquake: From Online to On-the-Ground Response
I thought this round up of how news and information was collected and acted upon with the earthquake in Italy was pretty good. The only thing that I think she may have missed was on the #hastags. From what I was seeing in the early stages was that people didn’t know exactly know where the earthquake was in Italy—so I was getting most of my twitter info via #earthquake. It would be interesting to see the different stages of a news event and how twitter and mainstream news evolve during the a certain time period.
Spectrum of Online Friendship
Mike’s made a spectrum of stages that is pretty accurate if I use myself as the model. The only thing that I was wondering about was how location or proximity influences such interactions. If you’ve never meet someone but gone through most of those stages, is it easier meeting that person if they live in the same city or somewhere different?
Toyota Venza Takeover
I thought it was kind of telling that in his quick overview he mentioned “I have to start posting more online creative on this site.” Another tell–tale sign that prints kind of dead?
I love this map showing where people are buying stuff. It displays items that a person might not otherwise have seen or noticed. It also indicates which cities have really bad taste too though.
4/10 Andy Bonventre
…Creative Mornings—here’s Andy’s talk from Google. He was nice enough to tour us around the place which was really cool. The talk was pretty good though it took a bit of time afterwards for me to realize that. He actually covered a lot of ground with concrete examples of how he has worked with design people, both good and bad. If you’re still reading this text—hopefully next week the news will go out that I’m the next speaker for Creative Mornings. I’ll be talking about Agile Design in both the context of where I work at Daylife, the blog here and throw out some questions about how regular graphic design and advertising should consider it as part of their process.
Amazon’s Silent Mistake in the Face of a Social-Media Firestorm
Interesting story of how twitter and #hashtags can get a company’s attention. Though I think there were some special circumstances that might not be replicated if someone else tried getting a company’s attention. 1. They were seen as banning books (huge no, no), 2. they were seen as being discriminate, 3. people are concerned about what a company can do to push their ethics out there (perceived or not). What is surprising is that it took Amazon a bit of time to fix the situation—but people also have to realize that it takes time to actually make sure they can check the situation before a snap response from one employee. It’s public pr on steroids—which means everyone is going to learn how to react as time goes by.
Any post that uses a phrase like “i like my context deconstructed so that i can gleefully boast that my “process” is one that does not allow acceptance without thorough observation and judgment” should be noted.
Really cool concept though the video fails to deliver. By this time next year I suspect that people trying to do this kind of thing will be a lot better with a seamless experience.
Interesting pov. Kind of wish I had been there to experience the visual as much as the auditory aspect of it.
There’s a couple reasons why I’m not a huge fan of tumblr sites. One reason is when people make it really hard to find a permalink—the other is that there’s a lack of a title field. What am I supposed to name this post? Aside from getting that off my chest, what I really like is the question that’s posed at the end of this post. “instead of starting my questions with why, they now tend to start with why not…” Exactly!
You got three minutes…to destroy your brand
Slightly ironic that the Landor Blog is picking up steam while others are closing. The issue with Dominoes reminds me of a post I did a while back about Face pics are the new logo. When people think of that pizza company they’re not thinking of the logo, they’re going to be thinking about that YouTube video…
A couple weeks ago Blogs.com asked me if I was willing to pass them on a list of design blogs based in NYC (I considered Brooklyn as part of this list) of my choosing. I thought it wouldn’t be that tough—but of course it was, not because of the quantity but because design for me can be a fairly broad term. There’s a lot of categories that blur into each other. To help me see where the blogs fell into, I made a 2×2 grid. Within the grid I made each of them have a 4 letter name so they could fit on the grid in a consistent manner—kind of like a stock ticker. As I started putting together the list, I’d check a certain number of blogs each day with the intention of if someone could only open eleven blogs (after all I’d want to include DesignNotes) each morning from NYC, which sites would give the biggest amount of great content that wasn’t overlapping each other. I also didn’t want the list to turn into something akin to what everyone else would pick as popular blogs, but show that there’s a bigger range than the expected norm that everyone lists. The sites below are what came I ended up with. That list became known as Ten Design-Related Blogs from NYC.
I’ve always been a bit skeptical of other listings like this to some degree whether from magazines or other blogs because they felt very buddy, buddy. One could argue the same thing about me—people would be wrong to think that of course, but now maybe I was wrong to be skeptical of others intentions in the past—I don’t know. But just to be fair here’s a breakdown of how these blogs flow into DesignNotes: People behind the blogs that I’ve met in person: 6/10, People I’ve shared email correspondence: 8/10, People I don’t know at all: 3/10, Number of of blogs that have been mentioned in my Link Drop: 10/10, and People I’ve had a beer with: 4/10.
AisleOne (ASL1) aisleone.net
A clean curated design blog that emphasizes grids, typography and whitespace done well—very calming blog.
i [love] marketing. (ILVM) anaandjelic.typepad.com/i_love_marketing
Don’t be fooled by the title, this blog is much smarter than the typical blog pushing marketing ideas. Not afraid to question the status quo out there, lots of ideas to consider.
Ashley Simko (ASMK) blog.ashleysimko.com
There’s a constant flow of great design images, quotes and thoughts daily if not hourly placed on display. I’m curious to see this blog evolves over time.
PLUS and MINUS things (P&MT) byamt.wordpress.com
The image selection is always compelling as it is unique. Lots of photography and industrial design stuff.
Graphpaper (GRPR) graphpaper.com
Here’s a blog that talks a lot about UX design in a manner that’s understandable to anyone, yet isn’t holding back from great observations.
Kottke (KTKE) kottke.org
A ton of diverse links, it’s hard to be bored when there’s a source like this out there.
PSFK (PSFK) psfk.com
They cover a lot of different areas of design and marketing. If something is kind of interesting out there in a commercial sense, they’ll probably talk about it.
Swissmiss (SMSS) swiss-miss.com
A bellwether blog for all other reblog design sites, the number of people that gravitate to what is mentioned on this site is incredible.
UnBeige (UNBG) mediabistro.com/unbeige
There’s a constant flow of news in the design world from fonts, furniture, art and architecture
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Last week I mentioned how I’m starting to post about the same themes week after week. Well this week for the Link Drop I’ve tried mixing it up a bit. There’s lots about eggs and circles. I’m not entirely sure how this happened, but when things flow whom I’m I to stop it from happening—maybe I was hungry as I was going though the sites…
Tina Fey on Amy Poehler on branding now
I think this quote is great: “Amy is funny because she doesn’t care what you think, but she does want to make you laugh. It’s a complicated and important combination.” If only we could all have the same attitude…
Video is Justice
Lots to consider with this post—just proves that what’s released into the wild isn’t always what a person can expect.
Subway Station Buttons
The MTA should steal this idea and sell buttons for $2.50 a piece. That way New Yorkers using the subway wouldn’t be overcharged…
toilet roll origami
Crazy idea—how does one come up with something like this? It would be cool to do some designs around this stuff.
This is hilarious, I wonder how many design students are going to try the same thing—and what will the reaction be from the design teacher? Shock in horror or utter disbelief in the geniusness of it…
More info on the circle, good followup after the porno circles.
Can design save the newspaper?
This is a pretty good response to the TED video of the same name. It doesn’t really surprise me that a lot of designers think this, but seriously get an idea of the economics and understand the experience that people are interacting with to get their news. Showing a portfolio of pretty pictures for five minutes isn’t going to help and it just brings down the design profession.
Happy 5th Birthday, Subservient Chicken
Great breakdown, wish more work that’s good would be written up in a format like this. Shows how the process evolved, people that worked on it and the final product.
A designer that posts images to ten15am emailed me last night mentioning that he’s started seeing a new version of the Starbucks coffee cup, albeit inaugural coffee sleeves with presidential quotes on them. You can read more about it form Paulo A. Pereira’s blog post Starbucks Inaugural Sleeve.
A couple weeks ago I was rejoicing that the BBC made Britain from Above available for viewing. Unfortunately the YouTube video quality sucked and for some reason the taxi clip wasn’t viewable. Digging around I found the BBC has a site dedicated to the videos in high quality, embeddable and the the taxi clip is working. You can see it for yourself at www.bbc.co.uk/britainfromabove/stories/visualisations/taxis.shtml. Actually the whole site is pretty cool to explore but if you’re too lazy this morning to click on that link, I’ve embedded the taxi video in this post…
Coffee inspires me – its true. It’s why I get up in the morning and pretty much powers the blog in the early hours of the day. On a different note Starbucks used to print “the way i see it quotes”. I don’t think they do this anymore as I don’t recall trying to read the back of my paper cup the last time I had coffee from Starbucks. And if they actually did kill that thing (someone please confirm this as I’m not going to be in a Starbucks today – City Bakery yes, SBUX no), all I can do is be amazed at how stupid decisions are made. Either way I came across a nice collection of real photos of people taking pictures of their cups from the series. I know this b/c I’ve done this myself as the big image illustrates. The second image is from a grid that someone started collecting as favourites in their flickr account with mine included.
The reason why all those of images are great is not b/c of the photos quality but b/c each of those people felt the need to do it. Everyone had different reasons for taking their pic and tagging the photo so someone could find it, yet as a complete set becomes something even better to go through and go hmm, maybe there’s something to those words. They’re not going to save the world but maybe today I’ll try to have some patience as I walk behind someone slow on my way to work…
Wanting to take a look back so I can figure out how to proceed with 2009, I grabbed a bunch of notable posts that I thought were worth spending a bit more time with. Below each image I’ve made a note now that I’ve had some time away from each of the original posts. Here’s to the new year and thanks for visiting, and linking and commenting and…
This seemed like a great idea at the time, trade my shuffle with someone else and hear some new music. I ended up trading but due to my own business it took way too long to trade back with her. I learned my lesson – anyone else want to try trading?
I wanted to combine some of my photography with a listing of location. Another idea with good intentions, problem was it took a lot of time to map it out and I had no way of exporting the data offline if I wanted to. So after a while I stopped posting to that map.
This was before things really took off with Obama, I had seen the Hope graphic floating around the web but this was the first image I saw of it actually on the streets. A while after that post someone mailed me a couple of the posters. That was a very good day.
There was an interesting discussion after I posted this – unfortunately when I installed Disqus after the fact that comment stayed in the old database of comments. In effect the person was objecting to the commercialization of the idea of the Ghost Bike. At the time I was pretty much on the opposite side thinking that a company shouldn’t have to worry about worry such things. As I’ve walked a lot through the city and seen those white bikes out there, that person may have been correct with their objections.
This project is still going on for a couple weeks, but the number of people that saw it and contacted me after this post was quite amazing. Not sure where this project will end up but up until now it’s been interesting to watch it grow.
There was three events that were sort of art, sort of design that I really enjoyed seeing. One was MoMA’s Design and Elastic Mind Exhibition, Murakami at the Brooklyn Museum and Buckminster Fuller at the Whitney. I would have luved to have blogged more about the last two exhibitions but since they don’t allow photography inside I’ll just mention that it’s a stupid policy that will hurt them more than what it will help. Banksy’s installations would be up there too in really good things to have seen now that I think about it.
Just like the Frietag instruction booklet I mentioned above, Camper’s shoes are a product that other designers should want to strive for. They are perfect for the weather of NYC and never wear out. There’s only two brands of shoes that I buy, Camper and Giraudon.
There’s a lot of really smart stuff in this book. In my top 3 of things to read, and more interestingly I don’t think this book will date itself as much as some of the others along the same genre that came out this year.
For all the chatter of sites that tagged brands, I think Dear Adobe changed the game more so than any other UGC site. If I was wanting to study site concepts for company’s, this is where I would start. And no, Adobe didn’t design the site.
Today is day two of my coffee experience at Café Grumpy. My first cup on Thursday blew me away. Unfortunately for the last three days I wasn’t able to get back. When I got my cup today I had to ask – why is this coffee so good? The obvious points would be that they measure out each cup with beans that they then grind, but a big part of the taste is the machine they use. That machine is a clover. From their website this is how they describe it – “The machine employs what we call Vacuum-Press™ technology, which – for the first time – combines two methods considered best for brewing coffee: the “French press” and the vacuum brewer.” On the clover site it only shows two locations in NYC for the machine, and one of them is Café Grumpy. So if you’re in Chelsea (224 West 20th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues) and love coffee – give the clover a test drive.