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AIGA – DesignNotes by Michael Surtees http://designnotes.info Testing & Sprinting Wed, 29 Jun 2016 01:11:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 A Couple Notes from Marian Bantjes talk for the AIGANY http://designnotes.info/?p=3678 http://designnotes.info/?p=3678#respond Tue, 02 Nov 2010 12:48:04 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=3678 For the majority of people in attendance last night, Marian gave the perfect talk. It was effortlessly paced, she balanced personal observations with real work and inspired a lot of […]]]>

Marian Bantjes talking to AIGANY

For the majority of people in attendance last night, Marian gave the perfect talk. It was effortlessly paced, she balanced personal observations with real work and inspired a lot of people. While the 3G was almost non existent inside the theatre, all the tweets that shared quotes were glowing.

Most of my notes from her talk dealt with process. What I was drawn towards was her clairity of self reflection and the reaction of why she was doing what she was doing as she was doing it. I felt that even if she had not showed one slide for her talk she would have still left the audience inspired. I summed up the talk on Twitter by suggesting that she could teach blind people to design. She wasn’t emulating a “how to”, but a “why to” think talk.

A lot of the process and reflection had to do with her book I Wonder that I’m still taking my time to read. The best part of her talk concering the book was explaining which blog posts might be printed on paper and the rational of what made the cut. Trying to elevate her blog words into something that only print could display was a great attribut to define what she wanted to communicate. The story of The Sun, the Moon, the Stars was a great story of how it came to be.

I wouldn’t disagree with much of what she had to say about design in Canada, (after all I sold everything to move to NYC myself) I couldn’t help be a bit disappointed with her remarks as someone that never needed anyone to make it here. At least from the outside it has looked like the design community in Canada has given Marian a pedestal to share her perspective more so than anyone else there.

While I did record an audio version of her talk last night that I’ll be listening over again today to discover stuff that I missed the first time, there will be a video of the entire talk available online soon from the AIGA NY. Once that’s online I’ll pass along the link as I think any designer would be smart to hear what she has to say at least once.

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AIGA Conference Notes #makethink: Saturday 1.5 (Redesigning Design, Creativity, Art Direction and Jill Greenberg) http://designnotes.info/?p=1924 http://designnotes.info/?p=1924#comments Sun, 11 Oct 2009 15:11:49 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1924 Over the next couple of days I’ll be updating these posts with more contextual notes

Redesigning Design, David Butler (vice president of global design, The Coca-Cola Company)
redesigning design

Nick Law
Creativity is a habit, not something that happens in the shower – Nick Law

Art Direction on the Web, Ian Adelman, design director, nymag.com and menupages.com; Agnieszka Gasparska, principal, Kiss Me I’m Polish LLC; Khoi Vinh, design director, NYTimes.com

art direction on the web quotes

This was one of the panels that I was looking forward to because I’ve interacted a lot within my daily life online between the NYT and NY Mag though I had to admit I wasn’t familiar with Agnieszka Gasparska before the talk—though two of the email lists (Thrillist & Refinery29) I get in the morning were designed from her. Khoi covered a lot of different ground in the session and I found that I was taking a lot of notes. But comparing this talk with the Facebook talk presented some interesting contrasts that I wonder if was about East Coast vs. West Coast, or editorial vs. start up mentality that I might try to explore this further at a later date. When it came to actually getting their hands into the code, it was pretty apparent that Agnieszka and Ian were more interested in working with people that are experts in that part of the implementation while at Facebook they were all doing it themselves.

Here’s some of the other soundbytes that I got from the talk:
· Taking the magazine and translating it to the web.
· Economics and time—designers can’t touch every piece of content
· Is it too expensive to have art direction on the web?
· Directing story telling space
· Designing pieces of the puzzle others can use
· The promise of 3–5 years—typography on the web, though we have to design for what we have right now
· Can I make a chart in 15 minutes? Probably not…
· No page, no artifact
· Page is alive
· NY Magazine hired someone recently to make the ads work better
· The screen is not the same thing as a piece of paper
· Kill the words “innovative, simple and intuitive”

Making Pictures to Make You Think, Jill Greenberg

jill greenberg quote

Jill Greenberg talk

This was an interesting talk for people to grapple with. I thought it was great to hear her in person explain what had happened with her Atlantic Monthly cover shoot with John McCain. For me, I didn’t know that she was just being paid for expenses of one cover image, and the rest of the photos that she shot were hers for redistribution and selling. It’s a point that I think goes over a lot of people’s head in terms of how photographers actually make a living. Than there’s the actual content—some people hate the McCain shoot, others like myself not so much though I probably wouldn’t want to hang it on my wall. It’s one of those ethical things that a lot of people thought crossed the line and others that thought she did was fine. More people than I actually realized weren’t exactly happy that she was the presenter ending the conference, but for me personally I was fine with it and was quite happy she was there. Sometimes we’ve got to push ourselves a bit further with who’s talking, it doesn’t have to be all fluffy motivational stuff.

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AIGA Conference Notes #makethink: Friday 2.0 (Communities, Google, RGA, Facebook and Design Business) http://designnotes.info/?p=1923 http://designnotes.info/?p=1923#respond Fri, 09 Oct 2009 18:52:42 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1923 Over the next couple of days I’ll be updating these posts with more contextual notes

Wisdom of Communities; Inspiring Communities: Jim Coudal, president, Coudal Partners; Liz Danzico, chair, MFA Interaction Design, School of Visual Arts; Jane Mount, product strategist, designer, entrepreneur and artist; Derek Powazek, web designer and consultant, MagCloud, and author and editor, Fray
wisdom of communities discussion from the back at #makethink

Before I sat down I wasn’t sure how applicable this topic was going to be for me as someone that publishes a blog. That might be a bit surprising considering I’m online and people can comment on what I share. However I consider online communities to be much broader than a one to many communication platform. When you start having multiple authors and people that come to the site having conversations back and fourth between each other, that feels more like a community to me. Other forms of community in a more obvious way would be the AIGA and how chapters talk to their members back and forth. So for a one member team like myself I was wondering what was going to be said.

· You never use your community. You only ask for things and they either help you or they don’t.
· An observation that one of them realized— people weren’t interested in what we had to say, the community wanted to share their own info
· proud source ideas—the community took pride in helping make the product better
· from the outside in it looked like we had 10,000 photographers—Coudal referring to asking photographers if he could place images on the site, and the photographers saying yes almost always
· different issue—how do you get your audience to shut up—too much feedback…
· with community based sites that are in the midst of a redesign, identify those that are going to cause quite a bit of flack, let the know ahead, let them see the beta pages, have a form on the bottom of each page so they can give feedback. Turn rager into promoter
· when people are voting, its not just to buy, but to take this problem and find a solution
· treat people as experts and they will respond as experts
· ask the community vs. use the community
· each element they tried feed into each other
· there isn’t the need for another place or forum, create something where they already are
· communities need some sort of exclusionary boundary

The Design of Google, Marissa Mayer
green and blue effect

marissa mayer

A couple strange facts from Marissa Mayer’s talk:
· Google’s slightly enlarged search box resulted in 1% more searches.
· There are more than 3 millions search requests per day when the search language is turned into Bork, Bork, Bork.
· They have a points system for the homepage, though I’m not sure what it is currently for them.

Nick Law (chief creative officer of R/GA North America)
my redrawn sketch from Nick Law roundtable talk

Me and about four other people got to talk with Nick early this morning about design thinking, operating systems for brands, relevance to interesting flow, online process, industry vs curiosity, dated models of ambush in contrast to fitting in, systems of behaviour, a bit about design education and messages to experience. He’ll be on the main stage Saturday—should be great.

Facebook Design: An Inside Look, Ben Blumenfeild
Ben Blumenfeld

Ben’s talk about Facebook was pretty solid without much fluff. His talk was broken down into three parts of impact: 1. ship & iterate, 2. data informed and 3. leverage. I like to talk about ship & iterate as agile design, but they’re both the same thing. What was interesting is that he showed an example that was more relevant to the traditional graphic designer. He shared the company’s internal push to get awareness for their internal hacker day. It was a good example but in terms of building product I think that example might have got lost on those that haven’t really worked in that kind of mindset. I would have liked to have seen something more akin to how they’ve been reviving up their news feeds.

Data informed rather than data driven. He showed a couple great examples of design helping reduce the number of people quitting Facebook and a couple samples of how they’ve sent recovery emails months later. In terms of leveraging existing tools it he showed an example of one person starting a Group page to protest FARC in Columbia. By the time of the protest there was 12 million people in the street.

There was some interesting Q & A questions that I’ll try to pass along latter…

The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage. Roger Martin (dean, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto)
path to understanding
Popular Quotes from Twitter:
· The enemy of innovation is two words: “prove it.”
· Mystery > Heuristic > Algorithm > Code. Get to the algorithm first for competitive advantage
· Design thinking is a 50/50 balance of analytical thinking and intuitive thinking
· The brightest CEOs at the brightest companies realize analytical thinking has gone too far

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Walking to work in 60 Seconds, my 20/20 at #makethink AIGA Design Conference 2009 http://designnotes.info/?p=1922 http://designnotes.info/?p=1922#comments Fri, 09 Oct 2009 12:01:10 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1922 I survived the opening of #makethink AIGA Design Conference 2009 relatively well, met some smart people and had some good food. Not much more a designer could ask for when […]]]>















Me presenting my 20 under 20



I survived the opening of #makethink AIGA Design Conference 2009 relatively well, met some smart people and had some good food. Not much more a designer could ask for when starting a conference. Rewinding for a minute—July 30th was when I got an email from friend and President Debbie Millman asking if I would like to represent the AIGA NY Chapter for 20/20. The basis is an open ended brief of presenting something on Make Think in any media of my choosing for one minute. I had seen the prior conferences version online for Gain and Next so I knew what I was going to be a part of. I immediately emailed Debbie back letting her know that I’d be happy to do it. I had a vague idea that I wanted to be minimal on the speech, let the visuals speak for them self, and it was going to be about NYC. In the end I chose to share what it’s like for me to walk to work everyday in the best city in the world.

Above are some of the photos I took on my daily walk. The entire set of photos can be found on flickr. The video that I pressed play to is on Vimeo and YouTube. I also have a pdf, though if you’d like a copy of that please email me.

The prepared text:
Hi, I’m Michael Surtees from AIGA NY and I’d like to share what it’s like to walk to work every morning in NYC. I start in the mid 30’s and walk about 40 minutes to SoHo. This is the every day graphic design in it’s purest form that lives and dies on the street depending on how strong the mark is. I love experiencing this stuff because I spend most of my time thinking on screen.

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I’m likely not going to be live blogging from #makethink AIGA Design Conference 2009, I will be taking notes http://designnotes.info/?p=1921 http://designnotes.info/?p=1921#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2009 12:24:10 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1921 Make/Think AIGA Design Conference

While in the past I’ve had my issues with the AIGA, I’m actually pretty excited to be heading down to Memphis for the Make/Think AIGA Design Conference. I tend to go to a lot of design talks so being part of something bigger for a couple days is quite appealing. Back in the day before I lived in NYC, there was Michael the designer in Canada who was part of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) and worked his way from student rep, to Chapter VP of Education, to Chapter President and for a brief period National VP of Communication. It was a ton of design volunteer work that I enjoyed because I got to meet, talk and work with a lot of smart people. It wasn’t all fun but I really looked forward to the GDC National AGM’s because I got to hang with people that had put in the same effort from across Canada. While it wasn’t a conference because an AGM is actually about meetings, they did have a conference feel in the evenings. The real fun was away from the board rooms and back in the hotel. There were many nights that I didn’t sleep at all—and we’d geek out on design talk. That type of stuff isn’t for everyone but it was something I looked forward to. Now I find myself a couple years later as a member of the AIGA heading down to hear a lot of talk, and hopefully see some cool stuff that will make me think.

The great equalizer for someone that likes to write about design talks is to put the said publisher on stage. While it will be brief I’m part of 20/20 which is 20 presentations in 20 minutes! I’ve done a thirty second design video talk so it was only natural that I’d move up to doing something for a minute. What I mean by a great equalizer is that while over the weekend I’m going to be hopefully questioning what I’m hearing, it’s only fair that people might look the same why at me. I’m lucky that what I’m a part of is a fun kick off to the conference so people probably are going to be a bit more forgiving. In any case I’ll have some of the experience of knowing what it’s like to feel before going on stage to share ideas. Hopefully that won’t make me soft when it comes to (dis)agreeing with ideas over the weekend.

As for the actual conference I’m hoping to hear more about designer’s working within the realities of technology and less about how print is going to come back even stronger after business starts picking up again. There looks like there’s enough different tracks that I shouldn’t be bored. And outside the conference walls I’ll hopefully meet up with some people I’ve never had the chance to say hello to. If you happen to be reading this and are going to Memphis—let me know. As for the concept of live blogging, I’m not sure if I’ll be doing that or not. I’ll be carrying my laptop with me, but I’ll also have my iPhone too. The more likely scenario is that I’ll tweet some of the more interesting sound bytes that I’ll build into a post later. But at this point it’s all tbd which is kind of cool.

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Quotes from AIGA NY: MY DOG AND PONY II #AIGAconnect http://designnotes.info/?p=1910 http://designnotes.info/?p=1910#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2009 12:35:26 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1910 MY DOG AND PONY II QUOTES

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”…

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Link Drop (7·31·09) http://designnotes.info/?p=1839 http://designnotes.info/?p=1839#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2009 13:23:31 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1839 link drop themes

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 — School of Visual Arts — MFA in Interaction Design_1249007016356

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 | The New York Observer_1249006905503

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 - Foodists_1249007036766

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?

NYC Grid - NYC Grid_1249007046120

NYC Grid
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.

blog » visualizing MLB hit locations on a Google Map_1249007239708

visualizing MLB hit locations on a Google Map
Really interesting post that started off with looking at data from a no hitter baseball game that morphs into something else.

Merlin Mann on Doing Creative Work; The Sound of Young America | Maximum Fun_1249007056908

MaxFunCon: Merlin Mann on Doing Creative Work; The Sound of Young America
A great podcast that I listened to a couple times. Everything he says is true and I’ve told myself with various words for a while now. After listening to the twenty eight minute podcast you might try some creative work that you’ve been stalling on.

Gawker Media revenues up 45% in first half - - Nick Denton_1249007068656

Gawker Media revenues up 45% in first half
A positive sign that online publishing is moving forward and might be worth getting in the game sooner than later.

Dallas - Unfair Park - This American Life's Ira Glass Points Toward the "Wide-Open" Future of Journalism_1249007078501

This American Life’s Ira Glass Points Toward the “Wide-Open” Future of Journalism
I kind of wish this article went a bit further instead of enlisting a couple traditional pull quotes and reaction from someone that heard the talk. Maybe traditional journalism still has a way to go.

The New Yorker_1249007086547

A New Page
I haven’t had time to read this yet but seemed very appropriate considering how people are starting to read more and more on screen.

NPR | Dick Meyer | Online | Mediaite_1249007096286

Interview: NPR’s Dick Meyer Discusses NPR.org Redesign, Visual Vocabulary
I pulled a various articles about the NPR.org redesign, interesting to read a couple people’s take from the inside.

NPR Is Enhancing Its Web Site - NYTimes.com_1249007119931

NPR Moves to Rewire Its Approach to the Web
Article number deux on the the NPR.org redesign.

An Interview with Rick Smolan — AIGA | the professional association for design_1249007104528

Making Books, 21st-Century Style: An Interview with Rick Smolan
I couldn’t help but wish there was an online version of the book they were talking about. What does that say about me?

Commerce Restaurant to go Cashless_1249007111654

Total Insanity: Commerce Restaurant to go Cashless
Interesting idea, not sure why they wouldn’t keep both options of cash or plastic available. The comments in reaction are fascinating.

The visual thinking weblog » 5 live sketching tips every designer should know_1249007128246

5 live sketching tips every designer should know
Makes sense to keep up on this kind of thing.

Art for the Lance Armstrong Foundation_1249007141224

STAGES: Art for the Lance Armstrong Foundation
This looks very cool and is on view in NYC.

Bike Porn 3 - Trek’s “Stages” Bikes_1249007149578

Bike Porn 3 – Trek’s “Stages” Bikes

A cross section of the bikes Armstrong rode in the tour.


Sorry for the allcaps—that was how it was in the post. The bike in view feels like a cross between a tank and some carbon fiber weaponry.

amazon-acquisitions.png (PNG Image, 1202x905 pixels) - Scaled (75%)_1249007228028

Amazon Acquisitions infographic
A timely info graphic on all things Amazon.

Sheetseat « noquedanblogs.com_1249007259281

I really like the concept of this flat piece of material morphing into something else usable with some cut lines.

Lessons from a failed meeting with a Social Media Guru | matt daniels_1249007268004

Lessons from a failed meeting with a Social Media Guru
This is quite the post, I have my guesses who it’s about but I have no way to verify. Either way there seems to have been a communication break down.

Flynn Lives_1249007282386

Flynn Lives
I wanted to post this because the bike and digital outlines looked cool.

James Perse surfboards at iainclaridge.net_1249007296187

James Perse surfboards
Same for these surfboards. These are works of art. I’d put them on my wall if I had the space, and cash…

Things go better with persistent branding | Designer Daily_1249007308926

Things go better with persistent branding
This diagram is kind of telling. Actions (or non actions) speak quite loudly.

Top ten problems in file prep for print | David Airey, graphic designer_1249007316153

Top ten problems in file prep for print
This is for the print people out there that can’t figure out why their printer hates them.

topsecret usb_1249007327577

topsecret usb
I’d like to put all my top secret digital files on this. Too bad twitter didn’t do the same thing.

gongblog - journal - Where Goldman Sachs screwed up (understanding the anti-$GS populist rage)_1249007338074

Where Goldman Sachs screwed up (understanding the anti-$GS populist rage)
Another article that I haven’t had time to read just yet, but am going to over the weekend.

Over-Blown Visuals | How-To | Smashing Magazine_1249007360503

iPhone Apps Design Mistakes: Over-Blown Visuals
Interesting starting point for those thinking of designing apps.

Unofficial Rules of the App Store_1249007482889

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.

Chris Anderson's Free adds much to The Long Tail, but falls short | Technology | guardian.co.uk_1249007371927

Chris Anderson’s Free adds much to The Long Tail, but falls short
Another review on the book Free.

9 kinds of coffee (infographic) - Random things_1249007380082

9 kinds of coffee (infographic)
I’ve never seen a diagram comparing all the different types of coffee goodness in relation to each other before.

World’s Top Ten Identity Firms « Identity Forum_1249007388907

World’s Top Ten Identity Firms
While this list probably still holds true I couldn’t help but wonder if they all seem a bit “old”.


Poll Results: The Best Music Of 2009 (So Far)
I’m not a big fan of this list but it gives a good idea of what NPR thinks is worth listening to this year.

Architectural Record | Notebook_1249007492811

Yale Grad Designs Nooka Pop-Up Shop in NYC
Interesting background story on the Nooka pop up shop that I didn’t know about while visiting.

news travel images hotels_1249007504049

Barcelona at UBPA at Expo 2010
Tons of great architectural photos.

How Twitter Actually Hurts Street Vendors - Midtown Lunch_1249043313147

How Twitter Actually Hurts Street Vendors
This reminds me a bit about flash mobs, but with mobile food.

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Link Drop (7·10·09) http://designnotes.info/?p=1824 http://designnotes.info/?p=1824#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2009 12:22:28 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1824 linkdrop themes

July is here and with that comes the Tour de France. I’ve found a number of bike and tour related stuff that is shows the sport in perhaps a slightly different light then most people are used to reading about. There were a number of process pieces that I didn’t connect directly though on a second look might warrant it. There’s behaviour process, big question process and the big idea process along with emotional process. And as usual there’s a number of photo and type related things. I’m heading off to SF for a couple days next week, so I’m not sure what the format for next week’s Link Drop will look like. Stay tuned…

 where to get off the subway_1247224883208

where to get off the subway
Now that I have this app I’m hope it will be easier to find my exit on Canal St or 34th St a lot easier. Up until now I’ve been choosing my train car haphazardly. Now I’ll pick it by design.

 beauty made from ugly_1247224896925

beauty made from ugly
There’s something really cool about making architectural forms out of metal shipping containers.

Lost in Translation « Choicelessness_1247224908557

Lost in Translation
I really like how the abstraction on the left carries a lot of visual resonance to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to the right.

i am the weather » » there are 4 phone booths in NYC, this is one of them_1247224842179

“there are 4 phone booths in NYC, this is one of them”
If this fact is true that’s quite amazing. When I think about how NYC was shown in film many years ago before mobile phones were out, phone booths played a role in the set. How times change.

Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » Michael Jackson Turning Points_1247224922308

Michael Jackson Turning Points
This post was one of the best collection of ideas relating to MJ and the way old media was.

New York Times Considers Charging $5 Per Month For Access To NYT.com (NYT)_1247224929968

New York Times Considers Charging $5 Per Month For Access To NYT.com (NYT)
Interesting developments going on about a paywall. It would be interesting to see how this plays on in terms of people passing on links to articles read from that site. The reason why I don’t pass that many links from WSJ—because it’s behind a paywall…

 Why are Cheap Airlines so cheap

Why are Cheap Airlines so cheap?
There’s a side by side comparison of how some airlines can be cheaper then others.

jetBlue’s award system is broken #jetBlows_1247224944146

jetBlue’s award system is broken #jetBlows
A point by point breakdown on why JetBlue’s point system isn’t working.

 Insert hands to dry - Pleasure and Pain by Whitney Hess_1247224957348

Photo of the day: Insert hands to dry
Would you put your hand inside this box?

Desperate-to-leave LinkedIn users rename accounts "delete delete delete" - Boing Boing_1247224969354

Desperate-to-leave LinkedIn users rename accounts “delete delete delete”
I’m sure LinkedIn has a reason for not allowing people to delete their accounts, however people are going to always come up with a solution no matter what a service wants to do with other people’s data.

 Notes On Vibe Magazine - Grids - SPD.ORG - Grids_1247224978295

George Pitts: Notes On Vibe Magazine

Vibe’s founding Photography Director goes back and talks about a lot of the people he worked with and what he got from the experience.

Super Colossal » Surry Hills Library Signage by Collider_1247224992220

Surry Hills Library Signage by Collider
The typography of this wayfinding system is quite special. I love how the type is angled. I want to be able to do that for something in the not so distant future.

Well-formed data » dbcounter – quick visual database stats_1247224998060

dbcounter – quick visual database stats
I’m putting this info in my things to remember pile.

how @CarinBerger changed my twitter process - collapse and delight_1247225006010

how @CarinBerger changed my twitter process
This process worked for her, maybe it will for you.

 walking berlin._1247225034455

walking berlin.
When’s the last time you saw a building get up and go for a walk?

Letter from AIGA’s incoming president — AIGA | the professional association for design_1247225045945

Letter from AIGA’s incoming president
It’s amazing to me that more incoming design organization presidents don’t write a simple letter explaining what they want to accomplish. It should be mandatory to have an outline like this.

d.life - sort of surprised airless tires haven’t hit it big..._1247225051694

Innovative Airless Tires by Michelin | Toxel.com
The tire that doesn’t run on air. I wonder of we really gain much from a design like this though?

In Pursuit of Elegance | Emotional Design Delivers Intangible Value_1247225062000

Emotional Design Delivers Intangible Value
I’m not a Pottery Barn shopper so I can’t vouch for their emotional design. But it does seem like an interesting process to consider.

 The New Practice of User-Centered Design, by Robert Fabricant - Core77_1247225074363

Tools of Engagement: The New Practice of User-Centered Design, by Robert Fabricant
Asking big questions, hard to know if the authour is right or not when we look back in a couple years.

Advertising Could Do With More of Bernbach's Genius - Advertising Age - Al Ries_1247225091273

Advertising Could Do With More of Bernbach’s Genius
I wonder if someone under thirty would write something like this?

'Le Tour' Rolls into Austin - Grids - SPD.ORG - Grids_1247225102660

‘Le Tour’ Rolls into Austin
I hope this show makes it’s way up to NYC. Looks fascinating.

Photographers » Blog Archive » My other pair of eyes and hands | Blogs |_1247225114394

My other pair of eyes and hands
One photographer’s experience shooting bike racing.

Italian Federation Calls For Redesign Of Pozzato's Jersey | Cyclingnews.com_1247225124208

Italian Federation calls for redesign of Pozzato’s jersey
Maybe they should have hired a real designer instead of having the cyclist design the shirt.

 Sarah Palin in spandex

JerkStrong How Lance Armstrong is like Sarah Palin.
Interesting connection between Lance and Sarah. There’s also some brand advice to be found in the post.

Molecular Voices » A lesson on (im)personal brand management from “LeVideotape” James_1247225151966

A lesson on (im)personal brand management from “LeVideotape” James
If this happens to be true—crazy…

FRANGRY - I love our president. (image via Yahoo News)_1247225130932

I love our president. (image via Yahoo News)

This photo could turn iconic.

KinoSport | Black Sun, Closet Plus_1247225138902

Black Sun, Closet Plus
I’m sure there’s a logically explanation for all these settings—but would you even want to guess?

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Link Drop (6·12·09) http://designnotes.info/?p=1804 http://designnotes.info/?p=1804#comments Sun, 14 Jun 2009 21:11:27 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1804 Link Drop Themes

It’s been a crazy blog week for me and because of that my Link Drop is three days overdue. The High Line opened which I was happy to experience first hand early in the week. Quite a few interesting blogs passed some nice traffic to me because of it, so I thought in return I’d compile those sites near the top of this post. I also got a lot of interesting response from my AIGA post, a significant amount coming via twitter which I thought was interesting. On top of all that, there was a lot of great stuff on the net. So adding that all up I finally can present last weeks Link Drop. See you back in a couple days…

Untitled Document_1244846073781

L’Observatoire International
If you get the opportunity to walk the High Line at night, these are the people responsible for the great lighting design. It was one of my favourite parts of the experience walking around that first night.

When the High Line Was for Lowlifes - BlackBook_1244846105152

When the High Line Was for Lowlifes
I can only imagine all the stories like this that abound from people and the High Line back in the day.

The High Line is Open! -- Social Design Notes_1244846117686

The High Line is Open!
There’s some good links about the High Line during it’s conception phase.

mental_floss Blog » The High Line_1244846139235

The High Line
There’s a great opening quote talking about the High Line and nice use of my photos that they asked about using before they published.

Bahntrasse mit neuer Funktion_1244846144923

Bahntrasse mit neuer Funktion
This has to be my new fav. site that passed on traffic to my site. My unique visits went through the roof after their post.


Happy to see a non design post associated with quips coming to my High Line post.

High Line open_1244846198886

High Line open
Quick post with reference links to some of the first High Line reviews, cool to be included.

High Line Opening Roundup - PSFK.com_1244846226106

High Line Opening Roundup
Nice to be included in the PSFK round up, too bad they spelled my last name incorrectly. Oh well, better than not being mentioned at all.

 Recap « Design for Service_1244846236350

SVA Service Design Lecture: Recap
Interesting observations about the talk I was at last week. They’ve included a couple people’s audio clips of the talk.

Books for Service Designers « Design for Service_1244846249726

Design for Service
Digging around the site of reading the review I found a good collection of books for anyone wanting to get more knowledge about Service Design.

Post TYPO Berlin 2009 – Making Amends With Mrs Eaves | The FontFeed_1244846288043

Post TYPO Berlin 2009 – Making Amends With Mrs Eaves
I’m not sure how I missed this video the first time around, but there’s some great footage and recap of a designer that is known for drawing type all over herself.

Hype for Type_1244846258262

Hype for Type
The person behind this site did all the right things to get the word out to the design blog sites out there. I might do an interview with them as they mentioned something kind of interesting about why they wanted to start the site in the email I got. They were “frustrated with the lack of quality and original typefaces within the design community.” I’d like to hear more about that from them.

rosa maria_1244846347788

rosa maria
I thought the image was a nice extension of those blocky letter forms out there at the moment.


Promax|BDA North America 2009 Conference
I’m hopefully going to be covering a couple of the talks for this conference next week. Are you planning to be there?


New Mingering Mike exhibition in Washington, DC opens this Saturday, 6/13
I’d love to see this somewhere in New York at some point in the not so distant future.

 he sees, he's a seer_1244846360165

he sees, he’s a seer
The idea has a lot of potential though I wish it did more then just use the Amazon api for suggestions. If only there was a real person behind this—or better yet a group of librarians to offer suggestions.

Kindle’s Not Working - PSFK.com_1244846366134

Kindle’s Not Working
I don’t have a Kindle and I’ve often wondered if it’s a bit overpriced considering a netbook doesn’t have any of the same limitations that Amazon has put on their machine.

 Guy #3_1244846374116

Guy #3
I thought the video was quite amazing, and better yet I don’t think it was staged.

 The New Negroponte Switch_1244846383987

The New Negroponte Switch
Good presentation to look at about stuff moving away from academic discourse and application of interactive ideas in the real world.

The Media Equation - In Media’s Hometown, Two Paths and Two Moods - NYTimes.com_1244846395071

In One City, Two Soirees Ages Apart
A contrast of a couple worlds inside NYC.

Apartment Therapy The Kitchn | More iPhone Apps for the Home Cook_1244846416137

More iPhone Apps for the Home Cook
If you’re into cooking and have an iPhone, you might want to give a couple of these apps a testing.

 Are you kidding me

Are you kidding me?
I thought the modularity and the unlimited number of sitting combinations to be kind of interesting. Too bad the price is kind of crazy.

InsideTheCBC.com » The National Openings Through the Years_1244846701590

The National Openings Through the Years
This was quite a blast from the past for me. I remember seeing all of these from the CBC with the exception of the first video they show.

 The iPhone is our crystal ball | Digital Media - CNET News_1244846714229

IAC’s Diller: The iPhone is our crystal ball
Kind of telling about what one media person see’s the digital market heading…

In Tough Economy, New Survey Shows Design Professionals Use More Stock Photography to Cut Costs_1244846720256

In Tough Economy, New Survey Shows Design Professionals Use More Stock Photography to Cut Costs
Interesting survey that I was emailed.

AppleInsider | Apple stuns WWDC crowd with pulsating App Store hyperwall_1244846800123

Apple stuns WWDC crowd with pulsating App Store hyperwall
This is a pretty cool visualization of the apps being sold. Too bad itunes is a really bad experience in finding new apps. I think I’m going to do a blog post about that soon.


I discovered this neat site via twitter. Cool observations on what he does.


Fun with flash—something I don’t normally say…

W+K PORTLAND · Creative Dreams_1244846834380


I haven’t actually had time to read this, but it’s next on my hit list once I have five minutes to sit down.

Can Computer Nerds Save Journalism

Can Computer Nerds Save Journalism?
Another perspective on what needs to be done with journalism. Everyone has an opinion these days it seems. I wonder if anyone aside from journalists are actually reading these things.

Microsoft Biffs the Bing Logotype | blog.choppingblock.com_1244846852218

Microsoft Biffs the Bing Logotype
I liked this first person account of working at Microsoft as an intern and how there was actually good design going on, and how it kept getting killed. Relates to that awful Bing logo.

The Architecture Issue - Data Center Overload - NYTimes.com_1244846862178

Data Center Overload
The whole magazine issue is quite strong content wise, the redesign looks like it came from New York Magazine. Here’s one article from the Infrastructure issue.

+ HORT « PLUS and MINUS things_1244846894360

My friend has a great eye and mind for picking stuff to talk about.

Banksy's Bristol show - Thinking aloud_1244846906169

Banksy’s Bristol show
Banksy’s got a new show, would be interested to get my hands on the book if there was one. From some of the clips it looks like a lot of his stuff from NYC is on display from the pet store.

Asian Poses - The Definitive Guide to Asian Poses_1244846922334

Asian Poses
One of the more popular posts on twitter that I mentioned this week. Fun—no?

Power Issue 10 | design mind_1244846930046

design mind magazine the theme of POWER
Happy to say that I have my hands on the paper version of this, looking forward to reading what it has to say about Power.

 Interview with Anne Helmond_1244846936080

Interview with Anne Helmond
Good interview about blogging if you’re into that kind of thing.

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AIGA makes a turn for the better hopefully http://designnotes.info/?p=1802 http://designnotes.info/?p=1802#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2009 12:54:36 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1802 design orgs

I was happy and proud to hear via twitter that Debbie Millman has become the new President of the AIGA. This is a kind of make it or break it time for the organization and if there’s anyone out there that can turn things around it’s her. I don’t think Richard Grefé has made things easy by turning back the strong stance the AIGA used to have on Spec work, and a post about what his words mean nor the head in the sand attitude to the economy in his post How Is AIGA Helping Designers Survive the Recession? My post about that can be found at What Graphic Designers need to understand. That laissez faire attitude that things will get better so sit tight attitude ultimately was the reason why I quit the AIGA. In any case I’ve seen the influence that Debbie has had on the broad graphic design community which no doubt will benefit from her vision.

As someone that is looking from the outside in now, I started thinking about what the AIGA on a National level today might be missing. Of course this is coming from the pov of someone that isn’t seeing what is going on in the background nor actually doing anything to help that out. But from a strategic overview there’s a lot of philosophical design points that don’t seem to be in parallel with what is going on today. 1. First and foremost there’s a generational shift/gap that no one is talking about. A lot of the older designers didn’t trust the computer when it made sense to use one and fought it hard. The extension of that thinking today is the web. The same denial is back. I find this attitude to be more prevalent on the East Coast than the West Coast. 2. Designers are in denial of how people communicate today. It’s not through the craft of the stationery package. No one denies that every element counts but in today’s instant messaging world the art of craft doesn’t cut it. 3. DIY—this kind of seems obvious but it’s actually a bit more severe. Professional DIY is not about those weekend hobbyist that are full time scrapbookers. I’m talking about the business people, scientists and other professions that have adapted design thinking and left the graphic designer in the dust. What’s up with that? 4. Nostalgia—graphic designers love getting sentimental about the past glories of old designers. It’s great to know about the past so you don’t make the same mistakes blah, blah, blah… The thing is, we really are in an unprescidented unprecedented time of commerce, technology and communication and by listening to old designers that originally shunned the computer are not going to help right now. It’s ironic that design is supposed to change things for the better and create something out of nothing, yet designer’s aren’t willing to do the same for themselves. 5. Art is not design, and design is not technology. Graphic design is many things yet those terms get intermixed and confused all the time. 6. Selflessness—there’s a great question out there. “Who would you rather see succeed, the client or yourself”. If you would rather win every time over as opposed to the clients goals, why not just be an artist? 7. Definition—while it’s almost pointless to try to define what graphic design is, or even design for that matter, yet the typical graphic designer is very quick to point out what they don’t do. Sadly that only creates walls that the real world tends to ignore and the only people left in the dark are the wall builders.

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AIGA NY: Stories from the Front http://designnotes.info/?p=1761 http://designnotes.info/?p=1761#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2009 12:29:16 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1761 AIGA NY. Stories from the Front

Last night I headed off the island to see AIGA NY’s Stories From The Front: My Dog and Pony. The event was billed as as a showcase of five designer’s presenting their work as though the audience was being pitched the project. What was great about such a design event was that everyone got to learn a bit more about how an assortment of creatives tackle a project, some of their process, their presentation style and personal schtick. I’ve never been to such a design event and if there were others I def. would want to attend. The venue on paper probably seemed like a good idea, but as it got packed there wasn’t much wiggle room for everyone. If a viewer wasn’t sitting at a table it was a bit painful. But as a concept I found this type of design event to be much more realistic when compared to how I’ve read about designer’s and their process for presentation. On paper it’s easy to say what you want, but when you’re in front of a live audience of peers, the action of their presentation speaks volumes which I appreciated them for sharing.

The Line UP:
Michael Gericke of Pentagram: Arizona Cardinals Stadium
· I thought how he broke up the colour elements of the Cardnals logo into a percentages was a smart way to decide how much of each colour should be used.

Karin Fong of Imaginary Forces: The Pink Panther 2
· She showed how to deal with a client interjecting on the spot and incorporating “feedback” on the fly.

James Spindler of Radical Media: 19 20 21
· While I probably wouldn’t recommend a lot of young designers trying what James did, he showed how ignoring a bad logo was a really good idea. By the end of his talk there was no way the client was going to go back to the old one. Design work wise, this was my fav.

Jill Nussbaum of R/GA: Nike: The Human Race
· Very steady presentation, curious to see how she would have dealt with a question and answer period.

Drew Hodges of SpotCo: West Side Story
·Interesting board room strategy where all the work is covered backwards by magnets. By the end of it he described how magnets are always flying around which was an interesting visualization.

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12 months of condensed DesignNotes in 2008 http://designnotes.info/?p=1626 http://designnotes.info/?p=1626#respond Wed, 31 Dec 2008 17:37:34 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1626 designnotes_keyboard

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…

Do you have an iPod shuffle… and live in New York?

Do you have an iPod shuffle… and live in New York?
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?

Copywronged Google Map

Copywronged Google Map
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.

Living Patterns

Image from Urban fabric/form comparison: Spacing Toronto
This post gave me the first really big pop traffic wise for the year. There were a ton of people that thought the map was pretty cool.

Architecture wrapped up as a shoe

Gucci Newton
I didn’t see as many women wearing these shoes as I hoped (probably b/c they were stupidly expensive). But it’s still true that NYC has the most beautiful people anywhere in the world…

Actually seeing those Obama posters outside

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.

Orange Bicycles in New York

Orange Bicycle at 42 and 6 ave
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.

Making something understandable as opposed to just simplifying

I still luv this design, I wish everything I design could be as smart as that tag.

Talking Sticker

motobus diagram 2
I was fascinated with how this post happened. Took a photo of a cool sticker, the person that designed it contacted me and this was the diagram that tracked it.

36 days of New York Sky: January 16th 2008 – February 20th 2008

36 days of New York Sky: January 16th 2008 - February 20th 2008
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.

Looking at MoMA’s Design and Elastic Mind Exhibition

Design and the Elastic Mind: Dressing the Meat of Tomorrow by James King
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.

Can you exist without a permalink?

Until people realize this concept they’re toast.

Unmarked Shoe

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.

A Tagger in your midst?

I feel bad for whoever had to make this and deal with the text.

Love Me, next come the t-shirts – maybe on Etsy?

loveme 2
Here’s to wishful thinking.

Taking a quick look at Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior

MM001: Front Cover
Of any of the books I blogged about, this by far had the most hits coming from people wanting more info on it.

Multiplatform Complaining

Multiplatform Complaining: Visualized by me
This post was the start of me sketching more fluently for blog posts.

Air Bear

Pure genius via Wooster Collective

Faux Eiffel Tower Extension

haha, sigh.

Clay Shirky on Stephen Colbert

Review Copy
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.

Thinking about Mind 08 after the Symposium

MIND 08 Notes Cloud
I’ll really liked the design I did for this tag cloud, nothing more nothing less to this post.

reDesign Haiku

find, define, design
then refine the redesign
do it one more time

A friend wrote this for me over im as I talked about work…

Over at Paul Smith in SoHo – MAY 68: STREET POSTERS FROM THE PARIS REBELLION, and other poster finds around New York

I hope the start of next May has some great posters like this year.

I Hate Perfume, Ideas I Love

CB I Hate Perfume: Perfumes A-Z
How cool would it be to commision someone to make a scent for you?

Today’s Sky Mention

+KN | Kitsune Noir » Today Is the Day
This unexpected use of my sky pics made me smile.

Looking at yourself as a Graphic Designer

Very smart diagram…

If you care about your stuff, make sure people can duplicate it

Duplicates of the films and videos that were destroyed were stored in a different location, according to the president of NBC Universal, Ron Meyer. "Nothing is lost forever," he said.
This concept was an addendum to Permalink post.

My M.O.

see think live
This was another post where I got back some unexpected responses. I like going back every once in awhile to read the dialogue.

What are you doing today?

You Should Do It Now .com
While this ad could be just about for anything, there’s some subtle and smart things going on past the surface. Too bad I couldn’t embed it and had to take a screen shot.

The Flo in Florent

This is why people need to hire designers.

NPR Cancels The ‘BPP’ (Bryant Park Project)?!?

NPR Is Canceling The 'BPP'
I’m still not happy about this. More surprising (or maybe not), no one has picked up the ball on voice news since. The Daily Beast is starting to pick up the pace but it’s just txt for now.

Scrolling Through Photos

I can’t say enough positive things about this startup. There’s a ton of smart things going on with them.

People interpreting news events and information

Search terms after Earthquake Rattles Southern California Jul 29, 2008
I don’t understand why this hasn’t been fixed or updated. There’s so much potential for Google Hot Trends to be a go to source.

Everyone is not just a designer, but also a photoshop expert too

It’s not bad enough that everyone wants to be a designer, now they think they can art direct photos too.

Hypothetically Say You Lost your Mac Book Pro

what was in my bag last night - there's a happy ending to one of the worst/best nights i've had in some time...
Possibly my best blog post of the year imho.

Clean iPhone psd template

iPhone_GUI psd layers from teehan+lax
I’m surprised that Apple never made a psd themselves so people could sketch out apps.

Say what you mean w/ a click

dear adobe
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.

Flow sex

flow_sex [not sure who designed this]
What can I say? A lot of people are interested in sex.

Walking around NYC finding the David Byrne Bike Racks

David Byrne Bike Rack on 39th street
I like to walk and this gave me an excuse to go to some areas that my normal routes wouldn’t take me.

Banksy at work in NYC: Broadway & Howard St.

banksy in nyc
There’s a saying about being lucky to be good, but you have to be good to be lucky. Sometimes it just helps being in the right place at the right time.

How I Find Good Stuff on the Web

How I Find Good Stuff on the Web
This post kind of blew up things for me. The number of smart people that checked out my blog after this was pretty amazing. Hopefully I can build on that in the new year.

What’s your internet?

13 points at ten15am
The amount of traffic I received after this post kind of made me eat my words about tumblr and ffffound. I just wished tumblr would archive things better…

The old and new MetLife Signs above New York

The old and new MetLife Signs above New York
It’s amazing to watch the stats on how many people from MetLife check out this post everyday.

Looking at the Nooka Zon

Nooka Zon
I’m guesstimating that I got an extra 9,000 unique hits b/c of this post. A couple blogs and twitter really sent a lot of extra traffic my way b/c of that watch.

What Graphic Designers need to understand

I’ve probably had more face to face conversations about this post than anything else I blogged about this year.

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A couple points from seeing Big Spaceship at AIGANY Design Remixed http://designnotes.info/?p=1611 http://designnotes.info/?p=1611#respond Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:26:51 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1611 Big Spaceship at AIGANY Design Remixed

After work last night I walked down the block to the Apple SoHo store to hear Michael Lebowitz and Joshua Hirsch of Big Spaceship. Before the talk I wasn’t planning to post anything but they had a lot of interesting points to consider. While I’m still in the camp that feels that online experiences serve more of a task based function (because who wants to sit in front of a computer all day?), Big Spaceship showed a number of examples of work that made me forget that I was in front of a screen. I was also struck when Michael mentioned a story about how a judge for an awards competition wrote a lengthy letter stating that what they had done “was not how a website should be”. Very good fodder to think about and ask have really gotten to that point where there is only one way to do things? I hope not.

Some other quick notes:

· It seems like they do as much w/ their hands as they do with being in front of the computer

· First example was an intro, they just played it. They then talked about how it was created, made the story interesting enough that you couldn’t help but want to see it played again.

· A lot of their projects have a sound component that played really nicely in the apple theatre. They didn’t talk about sound at, thinking about it now I should have asked them about it.

· The talk was very fluid with crowd interaction. They made it relaxed enough that people felt comfortable asking questions. Bonous from the audience that there wasn’t any stupid questions. Typically they would show a project reel and then crowd questions.

· If i was going to bring them in for a talk (you should invite them), I would be interested in seeing them do one less reel piece and show one project from the beginning to end. Start after the contract is signed for the project, and show everything from the beginning, middle to end. It would be fascinating to see.

· I noticed on their website home page that the links to their blog sites don’t work (what’s up with that?), but the interaction with signing up for their newsletter is kind of interesting. Actually opting out is what’s interesting…

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What Graphic Designers need to understand http://designnotes.info/?p=1608 http://designnotes.info/?p=1608#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:26:21 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1608 the_it

After reading the less than compelling outline about why members of the AIGA should remain members by their national president Richard Grefé titled How Is AIGA Helping Designers Survive the Recession? I wondered if graphic designers will ever get where things have been for a while and where they’re headed. Creativity and marketing the power of design (and thinking a star system is really going to make everything better) is a nice model for the nineties when every other article in business magazines were emphasizing design. Typically that press was about industrial design, but any mention of design helps everyone. Possibly the more eye rolling points with the AIGA outline is that people should still go to events (d’uh) and that people should stay strong. Sigh. Another point was about upgrading a designer’s skill set – it’s something I think about a lot myself. But if you don’t know what you’re doing with the tech. you’re not in any better of a place.

This brings me to a great post from Russell Davies that ties the core concept of anything that someone puts out on the net. If you understand this one thing, see it almost as a philosophy it will help you figure out where you need to improve in your tech. skill set. It will probably help how you see information too and put your work into context with how people will be using it. In the last paragraph of analogue natives Davies writes “So much joyful digital stuff is only a pleasure because it’s hugely convenient; quick, free, indoors, no heavy lifting. That’s enabled lovely little thoughts to get out there. But as ‘digital natives’ get more interested in the real world; embedding in it, augmenting it, connecting it, weaponising it, arduinoing it, printing it out, then those thoughts/things need to get better.” If what you’re working on doesn’t fit nicely into any of those points about “it”, you’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt. You’re choking the project in a way that it doesn’t have a chance to see its full potential.

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Notes from AIGA NY’s Smart/Models Event http://designnotes.info/?p=1398 http://designnotes.info/?p=1398#comments Mon, 19 May 2008 11:16:59 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1398

Having had the benefit of time to go over my notes and consider all that I took in on Saturday at AIGA NY’s Smart/Models Event – I was impressed how each of the presenters had a unique approach to what they did. If there’s anything to take from that, there’s many different ways to be successful – there isn’t just one way. With the contrasts in approaches there were also some ideas that they all seemed to seek out. Happiness, such a simple concept that can be hard to attain. I also heard the phrase “bullshit” more than once during the day.

Drew Hodges opened the all day event with some interesting news. He will be the incoming president of the New York chapter of the AIGA. He also set the tone to some degree but planting a couple question to consider as the day unfolded. “How do you do that?” and “what’s the structure” as the invited guests shared their experiences. He also left everyone considering a story he related to when he first started doing design work to promote Broadway productions. One year his studio made $48,000 while the agency side that did the media buy made over $1.1 million – that got a lot of people’s attention.

AIGA NY Smart Models at Ten15am: EMILY RUTH COHEN

EMILY RUTH COHEN www.emilycohen.com
Emily Ruth Cohen kicked off the introductions and moderated the day’s talks. Some underlying themes that she picked up ahead of time from speaking to the presenters was leveraging past business experience, have a set of core beliefs, decide what type of relationships you want to have (with both clients and employees, what kind of work you want to be known for), and what does the future look like?


The first speakers was the collective Athletic. The first thing that stood out from their talk was the innovative and playful diagrams. As cool looking as they were, what it showed was a focused understanding of their strategy in relationship to their business model. What came out after in the moderated panel discussion was that all three partners at the end of the day invoice separately for projects (if I heard that wrong, someone please correct me). It was emphasized that each of the people that are partners bring separate skills to the table so that they each compliment the others. They can each defer to the expert. They also seemed to have a smart attitude in when they bring in business, they’re each willing to pass the project on to the most appropriate person as opposed to keeping if for themselves. That’s more impressive after hearing how they invoice afterwards.

They also spoke to having clear understanding of project management from the start of the project to then end which helps in the flow of work. Other notes that I jotted down from their conversations:
· on the collective: “I hope we made it sound nice”
· trust good people
· on finding their studio that used to be a boxing gym “it smelled of dude”
· on building desks for their studio “I’d recommend doing that”
· questions they through out for consideration “what is your perspective”, “what is the methodolgie”
· expose yourself to all sorts of different worlds
· be a good self manager, don’t take anything too personally
· be successful, excited, happy and creative


DOUGLAS RICCARDI www.memo-ny.com
While I didn’t know of Douglas Riccard before yesterday, I had experienced a lot of his work first hand between the stuff he’s done for Hale & Hearty to Florent. He framed his talk via his past experiences gained elsewhere. From the skills he learned of presenting his work at a corporate place to his days at M&Co. where he couldn’t wait to get in to work. As time passed he described how the different jobs were not perfect for him and that when he did know it was time for him to start on his own. His personality became his firm. He joked that he doubled his firms size when it went from one to two people. The workspace environment is place to conduct business – he finds it difficult to work in different environments like the home where other things can be distracting. One smart idea that he shared in terms of people requesting projects that you don’t do, but instead of flatly saying no try another approach. Mention what you are good at and talk about the potential of working on other projects together that might be a better fit.

Some of the other things that I noted:
· consider the LTR’s (long term relationships)
· no matter how small, you still need to manage
· what does growth mean to you?
· the elevator pitch – market yourself, what do I bring to the table?
· who to keep, who to kill
· surprise yourself


JASON FRIED www.37signals.com
I’ve never had a lot of success using Basecamp though I’m a huge supporter of what 37 Signals represents. The app wasn’t bad, I just couldn’t get others to buy into the system the first time I tried to introduced it to others while the second time I think people relied on it too much. But I digress – of all the people speaking at Smart/Models I think Jason Fried had the most to offer in terms of what the future looks like. The questions he’s asking out loud and the philosophy he shares was quite different from everyone else that day. More offensive then defensive approach – willing to take risks, fix it later if needed. Granted Jason in the moderated discussion afterwards described the distinction between clients and customers. A single customer isn’t going to be able to push a company around as much as a single client working with a firm that may only have a couple projects on the go. I think your turning design into a commodity if you treat people as customers, but the scale is quite large if you’re selling a product vs a service. In the past designers have been selling more paper products to supplement their design ideas – what 37 Signals is doing is much more true to solving a problem that others can buy.

It’s a cliche to suggest that designers are surprised when their not inundated with slides and images to look at in presentations, so I won’t go on about the one slide that he kept up. It supported his talk, not a big deal. What was interesting about his diagram is that he prefers a lot of quick updates vs one long project. It follows the idea of not being locked into a long term plan. While in theory that’s a great idea I wonder how you can keep focused if you can change directions on a whim? As I write this I kind of wished I had asked that.

I’m not going to do a play by play of everything that was mentioned but here’s a couple other notes that stood out.
· scratch your own itch
· he spent three years as the tech support guy responding to all the emails
· how can we share our experiences – workshops
· blog -> workshop -> book
· if something is good and you put a price on it, others will buy it
· optimize business for happiness
· willing to support employees interests, but they expect them to share that knowldge back to the company
· 2 week projects, no meetings
· sell to the user, not the buyer
· walmart’s prices end with an 8 or 6
· part of the team works remotely, they all get together three times a year
· if you need a pm, scale down the scope
· managers of 1


Joe Duffy’s stage presence was quite apparent before the first slide went up. The idea of change and to a less extent battles were themes through out his conversation. Whether it was about deciding to leave the last partnership, getting clients to buy into the concept or legal battles – this was a guy that had gone through a lot. While obvious after seeing the slide on filtering devices (tivo, satellite radio, ipod, ripping music), it was an interesting m.o. to know what we have to deal with. It built up the idea that we’re at a stage of “Being it”, in the past it was growing it, building it, and telling it. From being it evolved the idea of needing to be reborn and his need to change what he was doing.

Those ideas were emphasized via these points.
· surround yourself w/ people that have skill sets that you don’t have
· reflect the people behind the beliefs
· how can design enrich life?
· what are the core beliefs before day one?
· know what you don’t want to do
· size of firm no larger than 25
· know who we wanted to be
· when he showed a photo of his employees he had a story about almost all of them
· after the project is over – ask what we could have done better, would we want to work with them again
· design business is defined by the company it keeps
· we our are most important client
· looking to work with more clients where they have a stake in the royalties
· process: imagine -> design -> activate
· don’t settle with the clients brief, language before design
· reinvent yourself early and often


SYLVIA HARRIS http://sylviaharris.com
Sylvia’s approach wasn’t via the typical client designer partnership. She’s involved more with large institutions like hospitals and education institutes. Again, great stage presence – really spoke with the audience as opposed to at the audience. I liked how she set the tone with the phrase “we build the road by walking”. She was very process orientated which was interesting b/c on one side she mentioned that themes are more important than sequence while on the other hand she talked in great detail about process like assess -> manage -> model -> design -> integrate. One model that she carries in her head in the balance between work, family and civic time. If what she’s doing doesn’t fit into one of those themes she tries not to proceed with it.

More points to her process.
· what are the right problems?
· what did we do right/wrong
· where are the touch points
· the need for speed and clarity
· the role of the advisor
· after you learn the answers to your question, the questions have already changed
· follow the lead afterwards

AIGA NY Smart/Models: Panel Discussion

· on collective – each person is incorporated
· ask the tough questions first
· emulate chefs – they’re sharing the ideas via books and shows – they share
· on competition: easier to out teach than to out spend
· speak at clients industry events – learn about their world
· be careful to be thinking about others as opposed to “me”
· customers can’t boss the process that clients can
· optimism vs happiness
· what do you want to take on?
· if a design feature doesn’t work, the designer has to answer the tech support questions
· err on the side of simplicity
· don’t compare yourself with others

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AIGA: Defining the Designer of 2015 (Part One) http://designnotes.info/?p=1356 http://designnotes.info/?p=1356#respond Wed, 23 Apr 2008 12:33:24 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1356 Defining the Designer of 2015

I just noticed the AIGA’s asking designers to fill in a form about Defining the Designer of 2015 at http://designerof2015.aiga.org/ I’ve got a lot of thoughts about this and will try to put them into an understandable post in the not so distant future. Until then I encourage you to fill out the form…

via Anamorphosis

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2008 Publikum Calendar Discussion http://designnotes.info/?p=1265 http://designnotes.info/?p=1265#respond Sat, 23 Feb 2008 14:16:35 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1265 2008 PUBLIKUM CALENDAR

I was one of the lucky ones that was able to grab a seat in the packed room at the AIGA’s National office for the the 2008 Publikum Calendar discussion that was moderated with Debbie Millman. The timing of the event was particularly interesting in that the previous day Kosovo declared independence and a small number of Serbian’s attacked the American embassy in Belgrade. While that was not the focus of the presentation of the calendar pages and discussion with a number of people involved including Chip Kidd, Luba Lukova, Matteo Bologna and Publikum Calendar founders Nada Ray & George Mill the topic was certainly talked about. And in a way it was an ideal place to talk about such events as the calendar is meant to be a starting point to show that the news that you see about Serbia is not always the case. Chip mentioned his concerns about what he saw in the NYT about the American embassy attack while Nada was willing to suggest that the people behind it were a small number and the politics surrounding it was more complicated then what appeared. The more surprising moment for me was at the end when there was no questions from the audience.

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Marian Bantjes love letters and real pics of the banners for Free Love in Times Square http://designnotes.info/?p=1258 http://designnotes.info/?p=1258#comments Sun, 17 Feb 2008 19:20:59 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1258 Marian Bantjes Heart Typeface

Marian Bantjes Heart Typeface

Free Love in Times Square

I’m coming late the Love party as I don’t check my mail that often as I pretty much live in a digital world. I was happy to open one special envelope though last night from Marian Bantjes. It was a number of letters shaped as hearts which coincidentally spelled my name. It was a nice continuation of what she started last year. You can read more about the letters on her site. I also recognized it immediately as an extension of her banner for Free Love in Times Square. Seeing those banners blogged about quite a bit, I was kind of curious to see what they really looked vs the digital version. So I spent an hour or so this morning (Sunday) walking around Times Square shooting most of the banners. I know for sure that I missed one and possibly more, but I did my best trying to track them all down.

It was fun walking around Times Square trying to discover all the banners in their natural habitat as opposed to a screen version. It’s always interesting to see which ones work better outside. One of my favourites that I wasn’t expecting to work well outside was by Chip Wass. I was pleasantly surprised to see the white clouds, blue sky and birds popping in nice detail with all the craziness that is Times Square. The other banner that I thought was fitting for this day and age in typography was by Worldstudio. I’ve placed all the pictures of the banners in a flickr set at www.flickr.com/photos/michaelsurtees/sets/72157603928804051

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Meet Japanese designer (& Muji art director) Kenya Hara at Rizzoli http://designnotes.info/?p=1186 http://designnotes.info/?p=1186#comments Tue, 13 Nov 2007 13:07:34 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1186 Designing Design

In case you missed out on buying tickets for the upcoming AIGA NY Small Talk with Kenya Hara, you still can meet him. I received a nice email from Maggie Hohle, the PR Liaison of Designing Design about a book signing at Rizzoli the following night. I didn’t know much about Maggie before hand, but her list of design titles that she has written about design is quite impressive in her own right that is mentioned on her web site. On her site she also talks about the coincidental occurrences of a number of publications that are talking about Kenya at the moment. You can view her web site at www.maggietext.com

Meet Japanese designer (& Muji art director) Kenya Hara at Rizzoli
Rizzoli: 31 W. 57th
Friday, November 30th
5 to 7:30 pm.

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T STYLE at the NYT http://designnotes.info/?p=1173 http://designnotes.info/?p=1173#comments Tue, 30 Oct 2007 03:58:15 +0000 http://designnotes.info/?p=1173 T/STYLE: JANET FROELICH AND STEFANO TONCHI



How do you take a supplement and make it important? Tonight at the AIGA NY event T/STYLE: JANET FROELICH AND STEFANO TONCHI it was suggested that it takes one part understanding of typography, one part team, one part stylist, one part photographer and one part editor. It’s not by coincidence that I suggest typographer first and editor last. As much as editorial fashion in the know jokes go, the typography of T STYLE will be their legacy.

The actual presentation was fairly ad lib which I found intriguing b/c I doubt it was much different from Janet and Stefano’s day to day interactions. A slide would come up and each would throw their ideas out there. The dynamic between the two was interesting to watch. Observing who was listening to who, who was there to enhance the others words was curious.

The visuals that caught my attention where the number of “T” type explorations after it was deemed five more letters (style) was too much on the cover. Every single slide that had words on the page was crafted in a way that was desired to be read. The slides that contrasted nature and eyes series was probably one of my favs. Seeing the interpretations between stylist, photographer and art director in a simplified nature was refreshing.

The ending came with the promise of something original when T STYLE is unleashed on the web. I think there’s some well founded questions of a site that is entirely design in flash which was what was shown. I just hope that if there’s an element on their site that is blog worthy that I’ll have the proper url at the exact moment to be able to pass it on.

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