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I’ve talked enough: the Best of Design Notes in 2009 Link Drop Style | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

I’ve talked enough: the Best of Design Notes in 2009 Link Drop Style

JANUARY

on Football and Chess (and design)
on Football and Chess (and design)
A couple days ago I came across a great twitter comment from Geoff Manaugh of bldgblog in which he mentions “Football as a series of contradictory landscape strategies: analytic geometry. Competing ways of using a nd filling space.” I’m a fan of both North American football and soccer which I thought was apt for both sports. Then yesterday I came across another analogy, this time it was about chess and Bobby Fischer’s eulogy via Jason Kottke. Michael Paterniti wrote “This was the beauty of Bobby Fischer’s mind, even then. The boy made very clean, simple lines out of very complex problems, and when the trap was sprung, his style of chess became so transparent you could instantly recognize its brilliance: efficient, organic, wildly responsive and creative.” [READ FULL POST]

Sketching out a blog post loop
ablogpostloop

Every once in a while I get the chance to take a look back on a how a post was created and the loop it made. One of those times last year was looking at how one sticker on the street started a lengthy bounce around on my different web outlets. This time around its more about visualizing the site posts that were combined to create my original post on Football and Chess (and design) and what that spawned. A couple days after I made the football and chess post I received a comment about another post talking about football (and design) that I should take a look at. From the other side with that football post that Scott Burnham wrote I suspect that he saw some traffic coming from my post. He then in turn posted about my post which I am now posting – quite the loop eh? [READ FULL POST]

Screen view and other observations from the SVA MFA Interaction Design Lecture Series last night
SVA MFA Interaction Design Lecture Series at White Rabbit Map
Last night (Wednesday Jan. 14th, 2009) I took in the third in a series of SVA MFA Interaction Design Lecture’s. The previous two lectures that I took in at White Rabbit were pretty good. I can’t say enough how much I like the idea of the series (though not the name DOT, DOT, DOT – isn’t there already a magazine called that?), not just for the people that are presenting but having SVA’s newest program getting a lot of those in the industry together in a low pressure setting to hang and talk. I’m not going to review the four the people that talked last night but instead mention a couple more conscious and unconscious things I noticed during the four presentations. [READ FULL POST]

Quad Animator for the Quad Camera
Madison Ruby strolling
If you’ve bought and downloaded the Quad Camera for the iPhone, you know how it can pretty much turn any scene into something cool. My last blog post was just about the Quad Camera, however Takayuki Fukatsu who created the app left a comment mentioning that there’s now also a Quad Animator that will turn Quad Camera images into an animated gif as I’ve shown above. [READ FULL POST]

FEBRUARY

Quotes from Shepard Fairey at Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy
Shepard Fairey said I’ve never had an original thought in my life... and there’s tons of people on the internet happy to tell me just that...
A couple nights ago I went to hear Shepard Fairey, Lawrence Lessig and Steven Johnson speak at Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. I had pretty high hopes for the event that couldn’t possibly delivered on. Lessig spoke for about 30 minutes to put the case against AP in context. You can see the slides and hear it http://blip.tv/file/1821209. There’s a decent synopsis of the entire talk at PSFK. I’ve pulled some of the notable quotes from Fairey above. What disappointed me was that in one sense I’ve heard most of what Fairey has said before. Possibly because I’ve heard a lot of his interviews already and due to the nature of what he can say due to the lawsuit. I’m glad I went to see the talk in person, but I would have preferred to have had at least one person from an opposing pov there to cause a real debate. [READ FULL POST]

Face pics are the new logo
flickr contacts
I’m trying to decide whether or not to have an image of myself on the sidebar of my blog. I’m guesstimating that 30% to 40% of the blogs I visit daily have themselves pictured. The old school designer in me has up until now thought that a logo was sufficient – but it got me to thinking. If I look at all the different social networks that I’m experimenting in, twitter to flickr to facebook and some of the client tools like tweetdeck – a logo is really not relevant as much as who I look like. I’ve thought about the pressure of the avatar before, but I think it’s worth considering again. Here’s the thing, I don’t think it matters as much what you look like just as long as you look interesting. With the constant flow of comments coming in from Tweetdeck, comments from people avatars seem real vs logos which feel like a bot is posting. [READ FULL POST]

Thinking about twitter feeding facebook status
Twitter feeding Facaebook Status
After reading a quick post from A VC titled Status (continued) it got me to thinking about some of the things I didn’t really consider for myself when I started sending my twitter action to my facebook status. What I wasn’t expecting which happens from time to time, is that a conversation starts from the people that are connected to me via facebook. Most of the time those people are on twitter to, but that conversation probably would never have happened on twitter. [READ FULL POST]

MARCH

How about an api for books or just a .txt file?
sold out
There’s been a lot of talk about API’s for a couple years now. In terms of technology evolution a lot of breakthroughs have/will come via the sharing of data and how it’s implemented. But what if you’re not an engineer or have that much technology background, you’re going to be sitting on the sidelines. Sadly a lot of people that do know how to play with API’s aren’t really showing anything new and those that could have no idea how to start. That got me thinking about books and magazines. I’ve been noticing a trend to grab stuff on the net and print it out, but the catch is that they’re setting the type with their own preferences of fonts, size, leading etc. Electronic readers are also allowing people to set their own type preferences which if I follow to my own logical end makes me wonder how much longer a designer will be needed to lay out digital books. But that’s not what I’m wanting to talk about here. What I’m wondering about is if a book or issue of a magazine is sold out, how is one able to read the valuable content if they can’t get their hands on it? [READ FULL POST]

the Locksmith’s Business Card
The Locksmith business card
As I continue this week questioning some of those core beliefs that designers hold dearly, today I thought I’d ask why we tend to ignore some of the best in common design. If you’ve ever left your keys in your apartment and don’t have the luxury of front door service, or know someone close enough in your apartment complex to share keys with, what are you going to do? You’re going to call a locksmith. My argument isn’t is as strong now that most people can search the web on their cell (i)phone for a locksmith. (Though is search really that great of an experience on a cell as it currently stands now that I think about it) As weird as it seems, all a person has to do is walk a block or two in any direction and they’re likely to stumble across a business card stuck in someone’s door for a locksmith. It’s one of those unwritten laws of communication that must work because I see the cards everywhere. All a person has to do is keep their eyes open—you’ll see them. Plus when do you ever see anyone just sitting around outside because they lost their keys? As a service that people need at random times, are there any other services that provide really great random placement like the locksmith’s business card? And why isn’t the locksmith’s business card considered great design? It’s never going to be found in a design annual and those things mean something right? [READ FULL POST]

What is the logo worth?
what is the logo worth
Design is an optimistic pursuit, but sometimes the ideals of designers can get in the way of things as they are as opposed to what things should be. Let’s take a look at the “Logo” as we’ve been trained to admire and as a further extension of the “brand” as we used to know it. Today banks and financial institutions aren’t doing so well—their reputations are tarnished, maybe beyond repair. The typical design response would be to suggest they just need to reposition themselves, design a new logo. That standard response would have worked in the not so distant past, but I don’t think that’s going help today which leads me to believe the logo really isn’t as meaningful as it used to be. [READ FULL POST]

Podcasts are now magazines, magazines are what newspapers used to be, and music files are now…
economist audio edition
Two weeks ago I stopped subscribing to the NYT print edition. It was a slow downward spiral, at first I went from a whole subscription to the weekend edition. One of the main reasons why I kept up, just for the weekend was because of the magazine. While I still don’t think the online edition does the print version any justice I decided I could do with out the print version after learning on twitter that Janet Froelich was leaving the magazine. The fact that I learned about design news on twitter should give us all pause btw… [READ FULL POST]

Web actions du’jour
keywords
I started thinking about the actions that I do with those web sites du’jour everyone is talking about. The above list includes 1. the ability to follow others, 2. there’s privacy settings, 3. I can copy + paste text onto and off the site, and 4. I can save stuff. Are there any actions that I’m missing? [READ FULL POST]

Search vs. Trusted Sources
Traffic Sources Overview
While I haven’t had the time to read Facebook Sending More Traffic Than Google to Some Sites, it did get me to think about how people end up visiting Design Notes. Yesterday a I made a quick hit list of all the different types of site that pass links on to my blog. There’s the usual sources like Twitter, Facebook (which is usually an indirect feed from Twitter), Delicious, blogs and Tumblr. All those type of sites are what I would consider “trusted sources”. People use those sites because they’ve benefited from visiting them before so they go back. Compare that to search. I don’t really have the data but I’m guessing years back search resulted in over half of how people found my site. I was mentioning that last night to a couple friends and they had a good reason for the reduction—I’m not talking much about products as I used to, it’s more about ideas. To extend that concept—maybe talking about ideas/opinion is hard for a spider to grab on to? Just an assumption on my part. [READ FULL POST]

51% Design or Design just as much as you have to…
50% Design
There’s an old saying in advertising about it being correct 50% of the time—people just aren’t sure which 50%. In the print world (which is just about dead), they’ve got one shot to get the content and design right before it hits the presses. When I think online I consider it to be the thing that has an infinite life. You can always update it. The only time something online ceases to be alive is when someone forgets to renew a domain name or the files are accidentally destroyed. [READ FULL POST]

Design is like a present
Alissia Melka-Teichroew quote, Something else entirely I think—it’s like buying presents. You usually buy something for someone else that somewhere you also enjoy because it is more fun that way—it’s more genuine if you do it that way.
Over the weekend I had a lengthy interview with one of my new favourite designers, Alissia Melka-Teichroew. I was introduced to her work recently after she started following me on twitter. As I was going through her designs there were a couple things I came across that I recognized. It had been a while since my last interview so I thought she would be perfect person to hear about her design philosophy. Above is one quote that I pulled from our talk on Saturday. You can expect the full interview here in a couple weeks after the editing is complete. [READ FULL POST]

Our New Architecture Tradition
photo.jpg
Last weekend Madison and I decided to extend our weekend walking loop. Usually we’ll do a lap between 42nd st and 14th st on Park ave. I like heading north to see Grand Central Station and back down to see what’s going on around Union Square. We weren’t really tired by the time we had reached our south destination so we kept on walking. By the time we had reached the Cooper Union things started popping up together that I hadn’t really paid attention to. While it’s hard to ignore Cooper Square Hotel (yes I like the design of the outside of it, never been inside it), seeing it beside the new building for the Cooper Union and in viewing distance of the New Museum I realized that I had just stumbled upon a new walking architecture tradition for Madison and I. So this weekend we did the same walk and I decided to take a couple photos. [READ FULL POST]

When it snows, space opens up
photo.jpg
When snow comes down it’s not that extrodinary considering that it snows all the time in the winter in North America. But what is special when it happens in NYC is that it’s creating a lot of havoc for people that drive cars from outside of Manhattan. People tend to stay home as the roads are so icy on the freeways leading to the city that it’s not really worth getting in an accident. One of the unintended consequences of all the snow and bad roads is that the city is a lot quieter. So walking to work becomes slightly different. [READ FULL POST]

APRIL

Options, options and options
choices
I’m probably confusing a lot of terms with the above diagram as a concept, but it’s worth seeing if any of this makes sense. If a person is wanting to interact with something, what’s the best route to help them? Naturally every scenario is based on unique set of factors which makes the question impossible to validate with one answer. But let’s say there’s a beginner, intermediate and power user mode. Would that help more people than not? [READ FULL POST]

My Link Drop Process
How I Find Good Stuff on the Web
A couple people have asked me about how I do my Link Drops—wondering if they’re some how automated. I’m sure there must be a faster way to do it, but everything I do is by hand and hard coded into a post. Even the screengrab are done by hand. [READ FULL POST]

Distributing Design Publications Today
 FILE MAGAZINE's Photostream_1239875961590
Let’s face it, design magazines are not immune to the collapse of the print industry. Some magazines have already shut down and by this time next year who knows what will be left. Just like most of the old media they were behind the times and haven’t really set up the infrastructure to thrive and deliver content how a lot of people take in their information. What’s interesting to me is that I’ve come recently I’ve come across a number of smart ideas to replace the old idea of what a design magazine used to be. While I can’t rate any of the content because I’m basically just flipping through the publications on screen like a person used to do in their favourite magazine shop, there’s a couple things to note. [READ FULL POST]

The engineering feat of the shotcake
shotglass cupcake 01 for yuri's night
Over at Daylife HQ on Friday night there was a small gathering to celebrate Yuri’s Night, the World Party. Being more attuned to design stuff, Yuri’s Night 2009 was a new concept to me. It’s an interesting idea and who can argue with a party that can last 207 days? Aside from learning about the idea of celebrating space exploration—a co–worker made quite possibly the best cupcake ever. Not sure what to call it, it’s either the shotglass cupcake or shotcake, it was quite an amazing feat of engineering design if I do say so myself. [READ FULL POST]

Quotes to remember as a designer

you read best what you read most

For me personally, I don’t think there’s two more important quotes out there for a designer to consider. Zuzana Licko in an interview mentions “you read best what you read most” in 1990, while more recently during the 2008 US Presidential Election a student quipped “if the news is that important, it will find me”. They’re universal truths that are applicable to almost anything. It’s not a tech. thing, it’s not a print thing, it is a people experience thing. Everyone interprets their experiences the way they choose to—whether it’s consciously or subconsciously. Those two above quotes sum it up. If a designer reminds themselves about that every once in awhile, the action a designer needs to make becomes a lot more possible. [READ FULL POST]

Flexing scale, marks and other consistent things that brands could be
photo.jpg
We’ve all been taught that consistency is branding is a key aspiration for the designer. It kind of goes without saying of course. There needs to be a system in place where certain elements need to play in a manner that makes sense. People also should also be able to expect certain values to hold through when they come into interaction with a brand. But wouldn’t it be more interesting if things were not exactly turned upside down in terms of the idea of consistency, but allowed to flex a bit? [READ FULL POST]

Focusing on the marks

Maddie and I come across this truck quite often in the mornings when we walk by on our normal dog route. It’s typically parked in the same area which isn’t that notable except for the fact that the building it’s near is quite clean, slightly prissy and something that you would expect to see on some parts of Madison Ave. We like the truck because it’s such a contrast to the building. We also like the gestures that the marks represent. I’m sure if you asked the owner of the truck or those that have to work in the building they’d offer some other opinions. But those marks kind of show some signs of whose talking with their paint and markers. Most of the stripes tail off towards the top because their arms weren’t any longer. And those that were able to get higher probably climbed on the truck. But as time goes by, all the marks tend to blend into each other into indecipherable symbols. [READ FULL POST]

Just another Saturday morning walking Madison
sticker
Walking Madison every morning I never know what I’m going to end up seeing around NYC. The weather has been slowly getting better which is great because Spring can’t come fast enough for me. I’m not much of a horticulturist fan, but even I have to admit that it’s nice to see stuff in bloom. Most of the treks are fairly unremarkable, Madison and I will see a couple things that kind of make us go hmmm, but nothing blogworthy. But since I had my first iced coffee of the year (my unofficial signal that spring is here), I thought I’d show a couple things that we came across Saturday morning. [READ FULL POST]

MAY

The Future of Radio?
Future of Radio
A friend of mine from Brussels asked me an interesting question recently. She was wondering what I thought was the future of radio. I’d never really considered such a question before. It would be easy to lump radio into the same dieing media categories like newspapers, magazines and possibly local tv news. And on one level most radio stations are owned by a media conglomerates already. But there was something interesting when I started to group some of the audio ways I listen to music and news. [READ FULL POST]

Globe and Street views of a Los Angeles Area Earthquake
streetview_off
Here’s a couple photos from last night’s earthquake in California. Of course it’s not showing us what’s on the ground currently but it does me for a compelling composite knowing that something happened there and there isn’t much news being reported just yet. I came across this tweet that mentioned Recent Earthquakes in California and Nevada. One of more fascinating pieces of data is that they give a kml file that opens in Google Earth. Watching the globe zoom into a street view for the first time was really compelling. Once I had zoomed in and out a couple times to check out what was near by I came across this tweet which gave me the idea to do that myself. So with the co-ordinates this is where I landed. This morning the co-ordinates changed slightly in location, but it’s still in the same vicinity. [READ FULL POST]

JUNE

Mapping my iPhone space
iphone_area2
Warnings on iPhones come in a different couple flavours. There’s the blue dialogue box that mentions how a person has surpassed their 100 twitter api calls per hour or mentioning that there was a loss of internet connection. There’s also those red pop up’s that cover the corner of an app mentioning how many “things” are inside to be clicked. I think those red dialogue boxes have been there from the beginning of the iPhon UI. As I was looking at them I kind of wondered why they were placed on the top right of the app? Was it more likely that there would be action taken if a red box popped up there. Why not on the left side, people read from left to right—maybe they flipped a coin… I’m not sure but looking at them this morning I wondered how that decision was made. [READ FULL POST]

Brewing the perfect coffee organically vs. systematically
Coffee Taste Test
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. [READ FULL POST]

How do a few people find iPhone apps to buy?
apps_graph
With all the attention that the iPhone is getting because of OS3.0 and the new iPhone 3G S I thought it was a pretty good time to talk about the app buying experience. After viewing the pulsating live App Store Hyperwall at WWDC 2009 I was pretty mesmerized just like everyone else out there. It showed a real time view of what was being bought in relation to every other iPhone app. People were buying stuff all the time at an incredible rate. Watching that screen online I wondered how people were actually buying them. I’ve never bought an app directly from iTunes. It’s always been via word of mouth on a blog or tweet. To be honest I thought a lot of people were buying apps that way. I’ve always felt that iTunes could be a way better experience then it currently is. Browsing is painful—where to look? Search on the other hand isn’t so bad but it’s because I know exactly what I’m looking for. So yesterday I was going to do a simple post about how browsing isn’t that great and that most people buy iPhone apps from a third party. But before I released that post I thought I’d back up my theory via Twitter. I asked people how they bought their apps. I was pretty surprised with the response. Itunes search and browse was the majority and how I bought was in the minority. [READ FULL POST]

Confusing MTA Subway Turnstiles
Confusing MTA Subway Turnstiles
For first time users of the subway, the experience can be quite stressful. There’s a lot of unknowns and questions that can easily pile up in one’s head. Am I going the right way, will I get off at the right stop, am I even going in the right direction? And then there’s the turnstile. As easy as it is to buy a ticket that entire experience can be unpleasant. The ticket machine isn’t hard to use but I’ve watched plenty of people fight with those machines. [READ FULL POST]

AIGA makes a turn for the better hopefully
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. [READ FULL POST]

Walking on Top of the High Line
L1070206
Like a lot of fans of the High Line, the opening of the first section a day early was a welcome surprise. It surpassed any hype that I had put on it myself. But to be honest I would have been happy with just about anything that gives a walking path with a new view of New York City that hasn’t existed before. I’ve also been following the construction for the past three years when I moved here. Back when they had limited public tours of one of the more northern sections I jumped all over that experience. I was also fortunate some time back to hear Diller Scofidio + Renfro talk about the High Line in the IAC building. That culmination of background experiences made the walk that much more fun for me. [READ FULL POST]

Manhattanhenge 2009
Manhattanhenge
Saturday night was Manhattanhenge in NYC. Named by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, there’s a brief period when the sun while setting will line up directly with the streets of NYC. This year it was May 30th, around 8:17. pm After watching this phenomena for the past couple years I had a pretty good idea where I wanted to take my photo this year. In years past I’ve tried to get the Flatiron Building in with the sun. This year it was going to be the Empire State Building, it was just a matter of deciding what street to be on. 34th Street was the obvious choice—but it became clear to me that a lot of other people were thinking the same thing, and that the street was going to be pretty busy with car traffic. So I went one street south which was a smart idea. There was almost no traffic and I had the street to myself (and image) which isn’t exactly that common in Manhattan. [READ FULL POST]

JULY

Browser Boxes Everywhere
Browser Boxes Everywhere
Don’t ask me why I have a Facebook browser extension on my regular Firefox browser—I just do. I’ve had it turned on for quite some time. Something has been nagging me for a bit though. On the right of the browser I can type in quick status updates, though I never use it because I use twitter for that. No big deal, what becomes a big deal is when I’m logged into Facebook and there’s a search inside FB right below the status update. As my image above illustrates there’s three input fields that all do different things; Google search, FB status updates and FB search. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d hate to publicize my FB search on my status. It’s never happened but every once in a while I get a sinking feeling that it’s going to happen. It could be pretty easy to mistake one box for a different one. Sure, I could just turn off the Facebook browser element, but I don’t feel that I should have to. What this issue shows is that while it makes sense to stuff those input fields to the right, if everyone thinks the same way those boxes become a messy ladder. [READ FULL POST]

Recording myself via my iPhone via my MacBook Pro
Recording myself via my iphone via my macbook pro
At the time the request seemed simple enough. Record a video of yourself—I had an iPhone that records video and I had a MacBook Pro with a camera. No problem until I realized I didn’t have any programs on my MacBook Pro that recorded video, and trying to record myself via my iPhone without a tripod or any tool that would help me see myself as I recorded started to become an issue. That was until I realized I could open photobooth in my MBP, look into the live camera and record the motion with my iPhone. It’s as low–fi of a recording as one can get, but it worked for what I needed. Once the clip was recorded I emailed the file and was finished. Simple, and if I had felt the need to send it to YouTube it would have been fast with the push of one button. [READ FULL POST]

Branding abstraction in the real world (at least in NoLita)
Little Brooklyn
Walking a dog in NYC isn’t like a dog anywhere else in the world. In the sleepy suburbs it’s repetitive, in other urban areas it tends to get predictable. For me almost every morning presents something slightly different—usually a good slightly different though once in a while you’ll run into a not so pretty scene. Weekends I tend to extend the normal walk with Madison to Bowery. I’ve documented that a couple times both talking about architecture and typography. This week I was going to talk about posters (which I will probably post about soon), but something more interesting happened. One of the things I look forward to after walking on Bowery is turning around and going back on Elizabeth St. It’s one of my favourite streets in NYC because I tends to be a lot quieter then a lot of the streets west of Broadway and the shops still seem real and less likely to be found everywhere else. [READ FULL POST]

Mission Street Food, how I wish I was back in SF for one more meal
just had an awesome meal at mission street food w/ @steveportigal and partner Anne, menu attached
Yesterday I talked about my great iPhone map experience of not getting lost in SF because of technology. Today I thought I’d go in a different low–fi dinning experience direction. Searching for food online, looking at yelp or if you’re in NYC reading http://lunchstudio.blogspot.com can be helpful in finding unexpected places to eat. But if I look back at last Saturday night while eating at Mission Street Food in SF, I doubt I would have come across it via a technological mean. Thankfully I’m friends with Steve Portigal who was the one that suggested that we meet there. He had never been before but had read about it online (I think)—so there was the blog component, but again with out him it’s unlikely I would have come across it. The quick moral to this food story is that if you’re looking for a great food experience, look to a friend before going to search. Every time I’ve come across a great place it was through a personal connection. [READ FULL POST]

Is Future Planning a Waste of Time?
is future planning a waste of time 2
I’ve always thought short and long term goals were absolutely necessary if a person wants to progress through life. How can you dream big if you don’t think about it first? As that theory goes it would seem acceptable that companies and organizations would benefit greatly from that type of planning—and successful one’s do. They might meet daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly etc. to talk about that type of thing. But when considering long term goals, how useful is it to go blue sky five or ten years down the road? Whatever ideas and assumptions made will be grounded in the time that it’s being considered, and not based on unseen influences. For better or worse I’ve started to feel that being agile is the only way to sidestep big bets that are likely to be incorrect. I’ve talked about Agile Design briefly in the context of working at a start up for CreativeMornings and blogged about 51% design. While I’m still learning and adjusting to agile I’m starting to think about it the context of larger groups and businesses and how agile might be a more productive way of evolving and becoming better. [READ FULL POST]

Cable Hell
cables_everywhere
Over the weekend I thought it would be a nice change of pace to read online near my window. By the time I got everything set up the way I wanted I looked down to see the ridiculous number of cables connected to each other. The main culprit for all of this—bad battery life from Apple. I can’t use my MacBook Pro without having it plugged into the wall. The batter dies in less than 15 minutes at this point and I don’t feel like dropping another hundred dollars to buy a new one. My iPhone’s battery was at the half way mark. I was planning to walk Madison for a couple hours after my reading so I wanted the thing juiced as much as possible. My headphone could have been connected to either device. It just happened that I was testing sirius xm which forced me to use my iPhone. [READ FULL POST]

Inside Out with Invader in NYC
I INVADE NY 4
When it comes to visual culture kind of stuff I’m a big fan of the bluechips like Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Invader. Living in NYC for the last couple of years has been great to see all of them in action both outside and inside. Banksy was flying around on walls marking up rats and presented a great pet store. Shepard Fairey had a show that I missed (though there used to be a lot of stuff outside) but saw him in action trying to defend what had happened in Boston. So it was only fitting to see Invader selling some of his work inside since there’s a bunch of it floating around outside. [READ FULL POST]

I think there’s a lesson to be learned here…
d'oh-i accidentally cut a cable opening my new external harddrive
In my rush to open up my external hard drive from the packaging I cut something that should never had been in a path of danger. Should I have been more careful—probably? But surely it would have been easier and smarter to place the cables on the sides rather then one of the ends? The good news is that I didn’t end up needing that usb head. The cable had three heads so the other two worked out fine. I guess the take away is that if wires are involved with an envelope it’s best to be really careful and not get too excited with scissors. [READ FULL POST]

Citing search in a book when the content won’t be released
nudgepg79
I’ve been slowly reading Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein in advance of the next UX Book Club: NYC later this month. I’m only a hundred pages in but it seems like a pretty decent book. While it isn’t a fast page turner I’d recommend it as something designers should read. It falls into that genre of Donald Norman kind of reading about human interactions. [READ FULL POST]

Bowery Typography
nice worn out type on the Bowery this morning
Walking Madison down the Bowery Saturday (and Sunday) morning I started shooting some type. The tip off photo was on the side of a delivery truck. If you’re a fan of typography and typefaces how could you walk past old faded white letters like my first image? As I continued walking other examples popped up. The only thing that I sort of skipped over were when shooting was the standard marks of tagging. It wasn’t that interesting to me and for the most part could be seen anywhere. What I was looking for was examples that if I said “this is something from the Bowery” it might have more resonance. [READ FULL POST]

Studying Process Type Foundry
Q. What is the Facebook font? A. Klavika
This post is a bit of an experiment for me. It’s also has taken a couple days to complete hence the slow down in posts this week. I started off digging around the podcast U from iTunes checking out what I might have missed while listening to my regular podcasts. I came across what the Walker Arts center had and was impressed. One of the more interesting lectures to me that I saw was from the people at Process Type Foundry. I’d bought Locator back in the days when I was in Canada so I thought that talk was one that I should start off with. So walking back and fourth to work for a couple days I listened to it. I really enjoyed it—actually so much so I watched again at home. The first time around I didn’t get to see any of the visuals which played a significant part in the talk. So the second time around I focused on the visuals and made some notes. [READ FULL POST]

AUGUST

Augmented Reality on Yelp
it's not perfect, but the augmented reality feature on yelp is awesome
Very cool feature on Yelp that I came across from @arainert, if you have an iPhone 3GS you can now see augmented reality of reviews. Once you’ve downloaded the newest version of Yelp, open it up and shake it three times. A feature called Monocle will then make itself available. [READ FULL POST]

Living in a Mobile Food World in SoHo
calexico cart
After reading about how the iPhone to Become #1 Camera on Flickr, it reinforced a couple things for me. While an argument could be that people are just getting lazier and hence the rise in iPhone photos, for me it’s the opposite. Interactions are becoming smarter and easier for people to use. With a press of the button the ease of spreading an image via email, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook (sometime all at the same time) is actually a pretty technical thing that people take for granted. [READ FULL POST]

Designing products that can still work if they’re broken
MacBook Pro Problems
With all the talk about the Apple tablet I thought I’d recount an interesting scenario that I’m working through at the moment. A couple months ago my keyboard stopped working on my MacBook Pro. It was a bit of a pain but I could get around the issue because I had a Bluetooth keyboard. Then a couple weeks ago my screen started to act up. It would go black for a couple minutes and come back to life. That was a bigger pain but it wasn’t an emergency as I had a second monitor hooked up. Imagine this briefly—there was a time when both my MBP keyboard and monitor didn’t work, yet I could still get work done. [READ FULL POST]

Design Sale
an interesting design pricing strategy: if you use the design it's complimentary, if you don't it will cost you $10,000
A variation of the above quote was mentioned to me tonight. I was working on an update to the DesignNotes “brand” when that pricing concept came up. Upendra who’s the CEO of Daylife where I work offered to hand draw my logo for free. When I asked him what it would cost, he said nothing. But if I didn’t use it, it would cost me a hundred bucks. He aptly calls it Shardanand’s Gambit. Of course he was joking (I think), but it raises an interesting proposition. As absurd as the question is, if you had the choice once in a while working with a client that would pay you more for not using a design than if they did—would you take the job, and what outcome would you want? [READ FULL POST]

Something I’ve never seen at a design talk before
Allegra Burnette at Creative Mornings
Last Friday I attended the CreativeMornings talk with Allegra Burnette, Creative Director of Digital Media at MoMA. After entering MoMA where the talk was being held I was greeted at the door, not by security but by a welcoming person that politely asked for my name to sign off the list. After giving me a pass she shook my hand and thanked me for coming. I’ve been to a lot of design talks and I’ve never had quite the welcome like that before, so I did the polite Canadian thing to do which was to thank her back and ask her how she was connected to MoMA. She didn’t really come across as a security person so I had to ask. She was happy to reply that she was Allegra Burnette and that she was the one giving the talk. To be honest I was really impressed that she took it upon herself to essentially meet every person coming to her talk ahead of time. It’s something that I’ve never seen before but will stay with me for quite some time. [READ FULL POST]

Company Deal Announcements
friendfeed
A positive sign that the economy might soon be moving upwards is the energy generated after some of the recent tech mergers. It was only a couple weeks ago that Amazon and Zappos mentioned their deal. Yesterday Facebook and Friendfeed let the world know about their coming together. While I’ll leave it to the bank analysts to predict what future earnings these mergers will behold, what I find worth noting is how each company embodied their culture with the way they announced their deals. The CEO from Zappos sent an email to his employees and in turn published it to his blog. Jeff Bezos gave a speech via YouTube. Gawker aptly describes the announcement with the headline Amazon Buys Zappos, Gives Press the Boot. Soon after TechCrunch announced Facebook and Friendfeed links were flying around Twitter. One of the more interesting Tweets came from @RachelSterne who noticed on Facebook “More important to share OR discover? Compare home of Facebook, Friendfeed + Twitter. Then count 7 ‘shares’ in release: http://bit.ly/xpbFq” My favourite though has to be the simple announcement of the heart from FriendFeed. Each of those company deal announcements shows uniqueness and energy that brought them their original success. Compare those announcements to the site that Microsoft and Yahoo put together and you can predict which deals might be more successful than the others… [READ FULL POST]

Talking to the Crowd
talking to the crowd
I’m always fascinated to see how people communicate to each other publicly. Since I am in the communications business it makes sense to understand how conversations go back and forth and spread. Up until recently the standard two way talk between blog post and reader was with a comments field. The writer publishes something, a reader comments. Of course a blogger can turn comments off or have a set time limit. Pretty standard stuff… [READ FULL POST]

Bowery Dingbats
Bowery dingbat: love can be found on this street icon
First there was the architecture of Bowery, then came the typeface of Bowery, the extension of that is the dingbats of Bowery. A dingbat is not to be confused with those that are walking on Bowery to the New Museum, but “is an ornament, character or spacer used in typesetting”. There’s a lot to classify so I picked a handful that Madison and I saw on our walk this morning on our favourite walking street—Bowery. There’s the cryptic stencil sticker, the fancy liquor poster pattern, the where things get done icon (not to be confused with you’re only allowed one phone call), this is where you can plug in your radio icon, love can be found on this street icon, close box, water in case there’s fire image, the number of feet away one should stand away from sign, this way up mattress box, and the decorative cage on window image. There’s probably a couple that I missed so I’ll have to keep my eyes open tomorrow when I go back. [READ FULL POST]

SEPTEMBER

To Exit Turn Right (or Left)
knob
Coming back from lunch today I noticed something that made me pause. Someone had labeled the inside door knob of my building explaining how use it. Trying to make peoples lives easier is something most designer’s strive for. But I wondered how someone came to the decision to create these instructions. Was it from their own personal experience or did some feel the need to tell someone that they were having problems? Was the knob just too stiff which in turn made people confused. The issues are limitless of course. The irony is that you can turn the knob left and get the same result as turning it right. [READ FULL POST]

Still photography and video evolution
Picture 3
Up until yesterday if a person had asked me to compare the differences between still photography and video, I don’t think it would have been too hard for me. They’re two different disciplines that that share a lens but have different output’s and different uses. But after watching a video from friend Justin Steele who’s known for his portraits of athletes like Roger Federer and Derek Jeter among others, the difference between the two mediums is just about non existent now. If you compare the two still photos that Justin took while watching the video, he’s using the same skill to light and compose in a consistent matter. It seriously was one of those aha moments where something clicked for me that a lot of people that are used to interacting with still photos online might really enjoy something that’s highly photographic but with a small amount of movement. Video has been around for quite some time, but we’re used to pretty bad stuff that isn’t lighted very well or really high quality video that takes a crew of ten to create. As far as I know Justin is doing this stuff with one or two assistants. If you can’t tell already, I’m pretty excited about the potential for this kind of hybrid photography. Of course with the good comes the small quips; after watching the video and seeing the closing credits—the typography does the video a disservice. It’s a bit clunky though I’m sure he’d be the first to say he’s not a designer, and the second is that there’s a bunch of dead time after the video. Not a big deal as I’m sure he’s going to re cut the video when he has the time. [READ FULL POST]

Branding Issues: Flickr + Yahoo + Microsoft
ugh
While this logo mashup is a bit extreme, in some executives eyes this would be perfectly acceptable corporate synergy for a couple brands. I know, it’s scary. The bigger question is this: you’re a reputable brand consultancy and a big west coast client comes to you asking for advice. They’re three brands that want to keep their own separate cultures, but share resources. The deal breaker is that they’re not willing to rebrand into a new organizational name, and the logos can’t change. What do you do aside from respectfully declining the job? Is there a smart solution—I may be mistaken but I don’t think Philip Meggs ever documented a case study like this. [READ FULL PAGE]

The state of design in 2009
Design in 2009
It would be too easy to bash istock photo for treating logos as a cheap commodity. They’ve just announced they’re going to sell them for five bucks. You can read all about it at http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=119471. If people are stupid enough to belittle their work that much, and people are believing they’re going to get something valuable for the price of a large coffee, who am I to suggest they’re going to get exactly what they deserve? And by the sounds of it, lots of people at TechCrunch seem to think it’s a great idea. If you’re a designer that holds any value in what you do—read the comments. If you’re in a meeting with someone that shows any of those characteristics—be careful. [READ FULL PAGE]

Data Visualization Simplified
Data Viz. Simpliification
I was recently asked about where I “think Data Viz could really enhance the user experience”. To answer that question I think it helps to define why data visualization is important, at least for my definition. Hopefully the data visualization is giving an understandable relationship that otherwise would have been hard to understand. Maybe it shows a pattern that can predict future actions. Unfortunately a lot that passes for data visualization isn’t much more than data fire works. It makes an impressive pop but fades into darkness. Entertaining but not really informative. [READ FULL POST]

Workspace over water
L1070561
Walking around and through the ICA in Boston over the weekend, I could help but be drawn to the overhang of the building. While from the outside it’s one of the defining marks of the building it was what I experienced inside that left me wanting to talk further about it. Inside the overhang there’s two spaces that I saw. The first was a large room to sit. Giant windows give a good view of the water. The second space was quite special. There’s a bunch of iMacs descending towards the water like a lecture hall. But instead of a white board, the front of the room is defined by water. If I were to ever have the chance to make a working space near water, this is exactly what I’d want. It was such a unique and calming experience. Sitting down the silence sounded like music. If only all spaces could aspire to such a level of sound design. [READ FULL POST]

More buy and vote on demand, and distributing things in digital
share
I really like the attitude and methods that Snarkmarket & Revelator Press used to distribute their New Liberal Arts content. While it’s not an entirely unique concept of getting enough people to buy something before a larger release, it’s notable that once they sold out of their print run they opened up the digital versions for free. Even better was that there was a no thrills web version and a pdf that I’m assuming is just like the book. While I was reading some of the chapters last night via the pdf it I started to wonder why the pdf didn’t take account that I was reading on screen (maybe a bigger font, more linear etc…) and then I was like oh ya, they do have a web version http://snarkmarket.com/nla/new-liberal-arts.html stupid me… It was a strange moment to see something in default that was easier to read on a screen than a nicer version meant to be read on paper but was on screen. [READ FULL POST]

A better help desk
Table set up at Tekserve
A couple weeks ago I had to take in my MacBook pro because the screen went black. Thankfully the people at Tekserve were able to fix it in a few days. While talking with the guy on the other side of the counter I noticed that the shape of the tables weren’t the standard rectangle, but either a hexagon or octagon. Those shapes pressed together created a nice balance and working space. Visiting help desk is typically stressful because somethings broken and is preventing a person to do a task. By opening up the space in an organic way that stress at least to me was reduced. I also noticed that the negative space made the area a bit easier to move around. I wonder if that type of shape was taken into the studio how it would help or hinder normal working conditions when people are more likely to be sitting all day as opposed to standing. [READ FULL POST]

OCTOBER

Story vs. Systems, or as things will be for the time being
define stories
This post started from a simple search and by the time I was finished I was connecting dots from all sorts of concepts that I’ve come across recently. I was wanted to get the meaning of something so I’ll often type in the word define: into google with a term I’m looking to get more info from. As I started typing the word define I was being auto promoted by what are the ten most popular terms to be defined on google. That list of ten got me thinking about other data inputs out there and a story I saw from the NYT titled The Robots Are Coming! Oh, They’re Here.. In the post they talk about Intelligent Information Laboratory @ Northwestern University – Projects – Stats Monkey who are attempting to take public info like box scores and play by play action into stories. Thinking a bit further about all the stuff, it reminded me of a round table discussion I was a part of at the AIGA Conference that Nick Law talked about systems and stories and how traditional agency people are stuck in an old model. Adding to that point I found a post from Peter Merholz talking about a Framework for Building Customer Experiences. The base level being systems while building to experiences. Considering all that information and what I’m thinking about day in and day out there just seemed to be a lot of dots to connect. [READ FULL POST]

Lean Pocket Info Fail
lean pocket info fail
Please take my word that I’m not entirely proud to be publishing my Lean Pocket experience because I doubt most people care about my eating habits. But I think by explaining what happened from an information failure perspective I hope people that are designing food websites might realize why someone would actually go to the site in the first place. My story is pretty simple, I was hungry, there wasn’t much food around and I didn’t feel like ordering in. I went to the freezer and grabbed a single doughy thing that I could microwave. To my amazement the cardboard slip to cook the doughy thing had instructions into how to place it in the box, but not the actual time to microwave it. I also wasn’t the person that originally bought it so I had no idea who made the thing. There was zero branding from the outside. Figuring that I had nothing to loose I opened it. I was a bit surprised to find out that on the inside of the box there was indeed branding of who made it and a url. Thinking that a food website would actually have instruction on how to cook the thing I went to the site. Clicking on http://www.leanpockets.com left me confused. It was overly art directed trying to be “smart” when all it needs to be is informative. I took a guess that I needed to go to products though food would have been a more appropriate title. When’s the last time you ate a product? I did end up finding my food but all the page contained was nutritional info, even the FAQ’s didn’t have the simple cooking instructions on how long to microwave it. So after wasting a bunch of time on a product site that didn’t even contain the info to cook said product I placed my Lean Pocket in the microwave, pressed the number 2 and hoped for the best. After the two minutes was up—it was cooked thoroughly but I couldn’t help but think that 90 seconds would have been better. I only wonder what the info suggested the cooking time to be. [READ FULL POST]

Real time visualization that’s slow
photo.jpg
To be honest I was expecting to see a lot more when I went to see Sentient City at the Urban City last weekend. In some respects this website outdid the physical space. While at the Urban Center I also checked out the exhibition Re-Imagining Cities: Urban Design After the Age of Oil. One physical display that caught the designer in me was a survey. There were thought provoking questions with an A, B, or C response. To respond a reader was supposed to grab a small wooden ball and drop it into the column that they agreed with. While something like that survey would be easy to game, there’s really no reason to do that—the physical response over time whether a person agreed or not made me feel like it was a pretty truthful response. I think there’s a lot of fun ways to take that idea and turn it into something outside the walls of an exhibition. This type of game play would be great in a creative office to gauge the thoughts of all that worked there. There could be some guidelines like vote only once a day for a month and change up the question every three or four weeks. It would give some idea to the thought of what people are up to in a non harassment kind of way. [READ FULL POST]

Type Knockout
photo.jpg
Over the weekend I met up with friend Caren Litherland whom I haven’t seen in a crazy amount of time. We’re both fans of type so as we were walking she suggested we should check out Lever House. I’d never been there before but will be back. It’s essentially an area that allows for open artwork to be seen from the street. For someone that loves type, it was great to see the walls covered in it. Caren identified it as Knockout. I’m embarrassed to say I’m not sure who actually laid the type out though… Barbara Kruger was behind the placement… So if you’re a type fan and have some free time I’d take a stroll to 390 Park Avenue. [READ FULL POST]

Starting the #walkingtoworktoday photo project
type sign #walkingtoworktoday
Expanding on my presentation recently at the AIGA Make Think Conference where I got to share my daily walking experience to work in NYC, and how that allows me to think—I thought I’d push the idea a bit further. I want to open the photo project up to others. It’s amazing what people can see when they have their eyes are open—why not share that while walking to work? [READ FULL POST]

24hr music app for the iPhone
24 Hours: The Starck Mix" iPhone app
My favourite iPhone apps are always the ones that make me reconsider something that I used to take for granted on screen or allows a shift in perception. The 24 HOURS: THE STARCK MIX iPhone app does just that in terms of how music is streamed, navigated and experienced. There’s only one display that shows the current time. Taking that time as a cue it streams in music that was “selected, arranged, composed and mixed by Soundwalk for Philippe Starck.” If you shake the app it shuffles the time and new music plays. And while some people might consider the way to manually change the time to be a bit of a pain, by placing a finger below the time and moving it upwards the hours, minutes or seconds can be advanced—though sometimes the time goes up, other times it goes down. They’ve made it difficult to get to a precise moment of a persons choosing. It’s a little strange but as part of the overall experience I love it. There’s a lot of metaphors that a person could read into with the idea of time + music, but it’s better to just listen and experience it. [READ FULL POST]

Being a source vs being the source
Being a source vs being the source
This can’t be a new idea but I thought I’d share it anyhow. Looking a bit further than my example of Amazon and the stand alone product site, I thought it would be fun to explore being a source vs being the source. Back in the day when things were harder to collect, filter and find, trusted sources were a big deal. When your favourite newspaper wrote something, it had a lot of power. Now the power lies in individual numbers though those numbers make it hard to figure out what is worth listening to. But it also means that those that felt they were the only source are now finding that isn’t the case anymore. People that weren’t part of the source now have the same ability to broadcast (if not better) a message that may have been ignored in the past. [READ FULL POST]

Showing Competitors on a Product Site
Showing product competitors
Recently I started asking myself why anyone would want to visit a product site to buy anything? The question is a bit extreme I realize but when there’s sites like Amazon I think it’s a question worth asking. There’s a couple features that Amazon has that no one product site would dare have (as far as I know). When a person starts clicking away on Amazon depending on brand or feature they get options not from just one company, but results from all companies. The second is the written reviews. Typically a person can see both the good and the bad. Now compare that type of experience with your favourite product site. There are few if any product sites that are willing to show competitor products alongside their own. You might ask, well why would they? The thing is, habitually a person that is shopping is going to want to compare. Are they going to want to check out five different sites or one? My guess is that it’s easier to just visit one site, do a search and see what people have to say. I’m slowly starting to product sites slowly bring in comments though they usually tend to rate quite highly. Because a person doesn’t know who or why this person would feel the need to comment it usually feels like it’s coming from the inside of the company. [READ FULL POST]

Walking to work in 60 Seconds, my 20/20 at #makethink AIGA Design Conference 2009
cover
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. [READ FULL POST]

NOVEMBER

Code as icon and infinite bitmaps that scale
google checkout
While still thinking about typefaces on screen, I’ve been trying to remember a small part of a presentation that I saw from Marissa Mayer at the AIGA National Design Conference in Memphis a couple months ago. One slide that I thought I had do with an icon and how by turning it into tiny square vectors there were able to improve the page load considerably. While I can’t remember word for word what she said, looking at the image above it seems like things became much more efficient by not using a graphic, but by using code to create tiny squares to build a shape. It looks like a bitmap and shows some of the same properties, but differs in that there a bit of contrasting color to make the icon feel smoother when it’s displayed at a small size. It’s a concept that I haven’t been able to find much info on. [READ FULL POST]

Is Renting Fonts for a Website a Good Idea?
Typekit_1258543908765
I’m probably going to be excommunicated from the “web community” for asking this, but is it really a good idea to rent fonts for a website? There’s been a lot of positive talk recently about Typekit which allows for more aesthetically pleasing typefaces to be used on a website—though for a cost. My interpretation (which could be wrong) is that a person pays a monthly fee to have certain external files used to render specified typefaces on screen. Anything that allows for more options when choosing a typeface is a good idea right? My concern is what happens the month after I stop paying. All the work I did in designing around my rental typefaces are lost. The design goes back to default. [READ FULL POST]

I haz knowledge with webz and fontz
surtees design quote
When I posted about rental fonts, one of the first things I mentioned was “I’m probably going to be excommunicated from the “web community” for asking this”… I didn’t say design community, but “web community”. I see design in a very broad sense. Over the course of weeks, months and years on Design Notes I’ve tried to explore anything and everything with an attitude of “what can I learn from” experience and it’s relationship to design. It can be something misc. about graphic design to sharing my everyday walking experience to work in NYC. I also like to review apps and books—it’s healthy to question things and not have to worry about personal attacks. What I don’t do is expect is that people should follow how I think. Unfortunately there’s a minority of obnoxious people in the web community that think everything is fair game for personal attacks, intimidation and worse. They would suggest that there is only way to do things on the web and if you don’t agree with them—watch out. The thing is, there’s more to the interwebs than just web sites. Today is about distributing experiences. A lot of the time a web site is the best way to do that, sometimes it’s an application, maybe it’s a product. But it’s bigger than just a web site. All the elements need to work for their intended audience, scale in an appropriate way and degrade when information is missing. But it is about the experience and not the about the underlying tech. I think that’s hard for a lot in the web community to consider. [READ FULL POST]

Icon Elements
while there's some strange things going on with this icon, the fact that he has a cane is fab
Walking down fifth ave last weekend I spotted this iconic sign. I wasn’t able to make the connection between deliveries and a cane, but it still makes for an interesting observation. While the sign isn’t appropriate, it does help more than if the sign wasn’t there. The arrow puts the sign into a context, while the text explains who should be paying attention. I’m just confused why the person chose a cane? I don’t think I’ve even seen a guy with a cane as an icon before. The person putting up the sign up must have had some design sense, I just question why use an image that is not really informing the action… [READ FULL POST]

How do people see you on Twitter? Understanding lists and tags.
twitter list tags
When it comes to lists on Twitter I’m of two minds. I take it as a compliment every time I’m added to one, but for me personally I don’t use them and even if I did I probably wouldn’t make them public. Before I explain why I like them I should just come out and say that I think they can be a bit more clique’ish than I want to push out on to other people. Let’s say I make a list called “People I admire” and forget to actually add someone that I do admire. That person looks at the list, sees that they’re not there and thinks wtf? It adds a layer of relational socialization that could cause harm out of a careless mistake. Plus in TweetDeck I have filters that act as the same things as lists. [READ FULL POST]

Working in real time vs plus one
real time vs 1 plus
I noticed something strange a couple days after I changed the time on my watches back an hour. Working away on my laptop I’d glance up to my microwave time which I hadn’t been bothered to change. A couple days passed, I’d glance up and continue to work. It hit me—I realized that by having one clock an hour ahead I was getting a lot of more work done and leaving for work on time. There’s probably reasons why my work flow is better like being more focused however I think there’s something helpful to being able to see slightly into the future, even if it’s just on the surface level. If you’re game I’d set one clock an hour ahead and keep track to see if you notice any different work habits. [READ FULL POST]

It’s Over, the Best Book Ever Written Using Graphic Design: #Emigre70
Emigre 70
I haven’t read Emigre 70 from cover to cover yet (it’s going to take a couple months) but I’m pretty confident in saying that a book like this will never be written again. There is no bar for this kind of content, nothing has come close to it since and those that have Emigre as a target are missing the point. I don’t even know how a review of this book plays out, it’s a compilation, “best of” as Rudy suggests. As I’ve flipped through the pages there seems like a couple chapters that play out. There’s the bitmap era of realizing that ideas can be pushed in a new way, and scaled. After realizing that there’s more than vector shapes and not having to rely on the status quo design, type design is blown apart. Grids go crazy and come back—there isn’t anyone that doesn’t know who Emigre is. The beginning of the end starts when they start selling pajamas. Next up is pushing the supermarket chic of color, type and having all their critics fawn over what they complained about in the past. Cd’s with content are explored—but what’s the point when there’s the net? It stops. But starts again after the vacuum of the mainstream design magazines becomes overwhelmingly bad and the design blogs that had a chance to push things are nothing more than a new type of congratulatory system. Problem with Emigre turning into mini books was the print run was limited—I could only get my hands on Rant and Tall Tales, I have no idea what the other issues contained. [READ FULL POST]

Experimenting with Fragmented Medias while #walkingtoworktoday
fragmentedmedias_diagram_sml
I’ve been testing a slightly updated idea of distributing content. While it’s not unique and the tools are available to almost everyone, there’s a number of intermediary connections that rely on each other to make it work. The underlying concept is that people have unique relationships depending on the different web tools they connect with their friends and peers. For example a person might have some good connections on twitter, yet that relationship isn’t the same on Flickr. They’re interested in reading some quotes but not trading photos. Another scenario might be that people are connected via Facebook and Friendfeed. Because Facebook has become full of people they’ve chosen to see what stuff they’re looking at by what’s posted to FriendFeed, yet for another person status updates keep them in touch. It’s all fragmented. [READ FULL POST]

DECEMBER

Walking Home from Work: Poster on Mercer St.
poster on mercer
When I walk to work there’s the natural tendency to walk home from work too—a kind of obvious thing. But what’s not so obvious is that in NYC there are many different views from the same street, more so than the usual street. Depending whether it’s east/west, north/south or day/night the same street can look be quite different. Take Mercer St. for instance. My preference is to take it in the morning starting on Houston heading south to Grand St. near were I work. The short answer to why is that I like seeing who’s hanging outside the Mercer Hotel or who I might recognize walking their dog that later in the day might be on TMZ. On the way home I usually take Wooster as a nice mellow walk to clear the head. Once in a while Greene St. is thrown into the mix. Last night was a bit different. To shake things up I took my typical morning route in reverse. Right on the corner was a Fidel poster that had been updated with a different face mask. I’ve probably walked by the mailbox a handful of times but never noticed the poster until I went in reverse. It was too dark to take a pic so I decided that would be my next #walkingtoworktoday pic. I’ve found that things change instantly on the streets here, so it’s best not to put things off too long if there’s a poster/sticker/mark outside worth noting. Luck would have it that this morning nothing had changed and here is the pic. The take away I suppose it to do things in reverse once in a while to see what might be blindly obvious, and make sure not to put things off because who knows what it will look like tomorrow. [READ FULL POST]

Points of body contact while walking the sidewalks of NYC
Points of body contact while walking the sidewalks of NYC
Sure it’s a cliche to talk about walking through the maze of people that make the sidewalks of NYC a little crazy some days. But now that there are even more people walking around these days I thought I’d share some observations about something everyone goes through. It’s that moment when there’s two people heading in different directions and there’s only space for one person. There’s a number of different versions of people bumping into each other, some more malicious than others. Above I’ve illustrated four different hit zones that I’ve seen and what they could possibly mean. [READ FULL POST]

Unexpected Narratives and Creating the Right Conditions
pretty good album, do a google search for it #walkingtoworktoday
Since starting #walkingtoworktoday I’ve seen some interesting stuff, most notably people that are actually walking to work and shooting what they see. Yesterday was different though. It’s another example of starting something and knowing exactly where things will end up. [READ FULL POST]

My Snowpocalypse 2009
Snowpocalypse 2009
Snow is one of those things that people can take for granted very quickly when it’s abundant, especially if you live in Canada. When I moved to New York I just sort of assumed there would be snow. Where I’m from it’s not unusual to see the white stuff by Halloween only to melt in late April. While here it’s been a nice to have a much shorter season of winter in NYC, but it never seems to snow that much, and if it does it doesn’t stick for too long. That’s why I really try to take advantage of the city when it get’s blanketed with the white stuff. Last March I described how the city opens up when there’s snow everywhere. [READ FULL POST]

Talking About Reading One Book a Week for a Year, the Interview
covers

I’ve been friends with Inaki Escudero for almost a year now. He’s a creative’s creative in that he’s extremely genuine, curious and open to new ideas. While a lot of people are living in an outdated model to pursue ideas, Inaki is embracing everything and anything which I highly respect. Many months ago he told me about how he was going to read one book a week for an entire year. The year is now up and he has indeed read 52 books. Inspired to perhaps try such a thing myself in the new year I had to find out more about how he accomplished the readings and why. Below is our email conversation. [READ FULL POST]

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