Design*Notes is now DesignNotes

DesignNotes is now live

It wouldn’t be a new year without a new blog design for myself. There’s one primary reason and a couple subtle motivations. The biggest change is the url: it’s now designnotes.info I had more than a couple people ask me about why I had the url sidewalkpressed.com when the name of my blog was Design*Notes? The original intention was to turn Design*Notes into SidewalkPressed, but I noticed my motivation just wasn’t the same until I changed the name back. Weird I know, but still it felt better. Since I was changing the url it gave me a chance to refine what I liked about my blog and look at things that I could improve. The original intention of Design*Notes was a place where I could gather links and make notes about things in design that I could remember. It was never about the long essay, but a way to organize the things that caught my attention. So with the new design I’ve tried to make it more like a CMS (Content Management System) and less a design portal. Keeping that in mind I’ve added a couple sections to the top of the blog. They’re some of the things that I’m interested in, but aren’t really something that needs to be tagged like a regular post. All of those new sections are a running list of things I like; other blogs, books and the city I call home now, New York. On the aesthetic side you’ll notice that there’s a photographic banner. My plan is to update this most days with an image of mine. It will be some additional work everyday so it may not happen all the time. The fourth section will be a collection of those banners.

I’ve also looked at the sidebar and added a couple items. The first is addition is a live del.icio.us feed of things that I’ve bookmarked. I’ve also added back my flickr feed at the bottom. I kind of missed that thing when I moved on from blogger to word press. Below the photos is a cool looking time thing – why, why not?

The overall template is also a bit cleaner too. When I was looking at the redesign originally I had made wireframes and was planning to do a completely new template. However as time went by I thought I could use my time more effieciently making new content and watching out to see what works and what doesn’t. Originally the new template was going to be Hemingway. I really liked how they had their own support group and the design seemed to be following the trend to have a lot of the quick content on the bottom. But after testing it for a while the two column content didn’t really work for what I do. So in the end I used the simple fSpring theme with some slight modifications to the typography and icons.

The final addition that I’m testing out is snap – that thing that shows up every-time you roll over a live link and it shows a picture of what the link is. If you find it really annoying or like it, please let me know! Aside from that everything else is pretty much the same.

What was 11 Spring Street

11 Spring Street (Wooster On Spring)

The simple question would be was it worth it? You have the option to do anything you want on a Saturday in New York and you decide to stand in on something for a couple hours – only to be rewarded with the chance experience something that will only be here once. But the bigger question is what do you do with that time? Standing in line seemed like such a painful obstacle, but really where would you rather be? You can’t live through a lens yet it’s hard not to want to capture every moment. That’s how I saw it

Sunday is the official closing, so like they say go early to 11 Spring Street, and if you want to see some of my quick shots, visit my set at http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelsurtees/sets/72157594423917521/

Noah’s on a tear

Lately I haven’t had much time to think about anything outside of work aside from my favourite Chelsea coffe place, street art and tagging. What’s unfortunate is that I haven’t had the quality time to spend reading the last four posts from Noah Brier. If you find yourself with more than five minutes, read and comment about Creating an Innovative Environment, Attention-casting, Fear of Efficiency, and Blog Everything

Wooster on Spring

Wooster on Spring

Text below from the Wooster Collective Website

Wooster On Spring – The Countdown Begins

As many of you now know, Wooster on Spring, the exhibition we have been working on with Elias Cummings, the new owners of 11 Spring Street, will open in Lower Manhattan in less then one week.

The exhibition, a three celebration of 30 years of ephemeral art, will take place for three days only, and then all of the artwork will be destroyed.

The artists who’s work will be showcased include Shepard Fairey, WK, Jace, Swoon, David Ellis, FAILE, Cycle, Speto, D*Face, Blek Le Rat, John Fekner, Bo and Microbo, Above, BAST, Momo, Howard Goldkrand, Borf, Gaetane Michaux, Skewville, Michael DeFeo, Will Barras, Kelly Burns, Abe Lincoln, Jr, Judith Supine, Rekal, Maya Hayuk, Anthony Lister, Stikman, You Are Beautiful, Gore-B, Elboe-Toe, MCA, Jasmine Zimmerman, Plasma Slugs, Rene Gagnon, and many other surprise guests.

So here are the days and times for the three day open house:

Friday, December 15th: From 11am to 5pm
Saturday, December 16th: From 11am to 5pm
Sunday, December 17th: From 11am to 5pm

On Sunday, December 17th at 3pm there will be a panel discussion with many of the artists attending.

The location (as if you didn’t know) is 11 Spring Street (Spring and Elizabeth). For the first time in perhaps more than 25 years, the doors of 11 Spring will be open to the public.

Our advice – Come early and come often.

I wait for this issue every year!

I wait for this issue every year!

Over the last six years there’s been one particular issue of the NYT Magazine that I really enjoy receiving. It’s the Year in Ideas issue. Last year I almost didn’t get it in Edmonton due to some ridiculous distribution problems in Winnipeg. Eventually I had to order the magazine and it took two more weeks after the fact before it was in my hands. So you can imagine how happy I was to open my paper yesterday and see it in NYC real time.

I haven’t had the chance to really go through it yet, so I can’t really say how it rates with the previous five issues. It seems like one of my Christmas traditions when I have a couple days off is to spend a lot of time reading the current and past issues just to refresh my brain. I also try to re-read Atlas Shrugged, but that’s something for another post.

So if you’ve never heard of the Year in Ideas before, I would encourage you to pick it up or read it online HERE. to see a sample of some of the things that went on in 2006.

Why can’t design be like this?

Likemind 5

I just got back from likemind 5 held at sNice. I’ve now been to three of these events and the one question that I always leave with is this – “why can’t a design event be like this”? Personally I feel design events are pressure cookers. At likemind everyone is ready to engage in conversation and share in their cool experiences. Aside from seeing familiar faces and friends, new people are just as forthcoming to share stories. One of the many people I talked with today was Heidi from 3iYing. She has a really interesting company and gave me a lot to think about. I also got to talk with a Renegade or two to catch up on what’s going on.

When I was at the last Small Talk with the AIGA, I can tell that they’re trying really hard to get people to interact. Before the two talks I’ve been to, there’s food and a long table where people can sit down and talk. The problem is, there’s zero interaction with people talking with people they don’t know. I actually feel uncomfortable arriving early. I don’t know any members of the AIGA and I’m starting to wonder if it’s a design culture where people just want to stay in their own bubble.

So contrast likeminds with a specific design event. Likemind has designers attending, but a ton of other creative types too. Why is there such a difference between an all design event and something that is more open?

Marc Joseph Talk

Marc Joseph Talk

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

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

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

Profanity at the book fair

I'm such a loser to be taking photos of things like this

I was tipped off about Dexter Sinister some time ago from my friend Ray. However when I was walking around the NY Art Book Fair I felt a little lost until I reached their table upstairs. Walking around the main floor I really thought perhaps this fair was for people with a lot more knowledge about books than me. I did eventually find a couple books (Designing Interactions and The Laws of Simplicity) that interested me at M.I.T. Press.

But I still wasn’t that happy until I saw the Dot Dot Dot stuff on the table by the far wall. I forgot where I was when I blurted “holly shit“! I mean how often do you see a groups of those journals and the book from Norman Potter. I ended up picking up a collection of essays titled “The Uncertain States of the America Reader”, and hopefully a great read, “Models & Constructs” from Norman Potter. That made the fifteen minute walk from my apartment worth it…

Massimo Vignelli Talk

Massimo Vignelli Talk

Finally, a design talk where I can say that I left afterwards with a smile. If anyone is wondering who they should invite for their next big talk – put Massimo on the top of the list after you’ve considered swissmiss. By far Vignelli has been the best individual that I’ve seen talk in NYC. The talk was way longer than the average 55 minute lecture I’m used to seeing. I didn’t end up leaving F.I.T. until after nine. And I would have stayed another hour if there were the questions to keep him on stage.

It would be too difficult for me to do a play by play review of every slide he showed, but I did my best to shoot a bunch and post them on flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelsurtees/sets/72157594379518635/ I came to the talk thinking that I knew a bit about the designer, but it was apparent that I really didn’t have a clue. The number of products that he had designed was quite exhausting outside of the graphic design stuff. I just had no idea that he was so into dishes and environments.

In the past when I think of modernism, I attached it with serious business. Strong lines and very systematic without a sense of humour. But after hearing Vignelli and others that believe in the philosophy – I have reconsidered. While every point made sense, the delivery had a punch line that everyone in the audience couldn’t help but chuckle. I’m learning that Modern people have a great sense of joy.

As much as I left smiling, it wasn’t all b/c of the jokes. I truly felt I became a better designer for listening to him share his thoughts. Some of these notes are not much different from what you’ve come across in your own travels, while others might strike a new note.

· ask yourself what the rules are, what does it mean?
· design w/ intensity and passion
· nothing comes easy
· 72 points is big!
· I only design when I need something
· let the emptiness sign
· this is me in 1972, do you like my pants!?!
· five different levels of hierarchy
· if you can’t find it, design it

Stuff Happens

The NY Art Book Fair

It almost seems inevitable that I’ll go to a design event/thing, and the next day some one comes up to me and asks why I didn’t tell them about what’s going on. So for the sake of letting people know about some of the cool things going on in NYC that I’ll be thinking about attending, I offer this short list below – happy event hopping!

F.I.T. Visiting Artist Program: Massimo Vignelli
November 16, 2006 at 6:30pm
Katie Murphy Amphitheater, New York

The NY Art Book Fair (via swissmiss)
http://nyartbookfair.com/
Friday & Saturday, November 17 – 18, 11am – 7pm
Sunday, November 19, 11am – 5pm
548 West 22nd Street (10th & 11th Aves), New York City

Architecture 06: Michael Rock
http://www.archleague.org/index-dynamic.php?show=481
Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.
The Great Hall, Cooper Union. 7 East 7th Street, New York City
Co-sponsored by the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union.

adc young guns

adc young guns

NYC is funny w/ time. Some days time flies so quickly and other times it just stops. Last night was one of those nights where I thought I was at the Art Directors Club Young Guns for hours, but when I looked at my watch as I left I had only been there for about an hour and a half. The event itself wasn’t boring at all, I’m just saying that time in NYC is not like it is elsewhere.

It seemed like everyone had a pretty good time, there didn’t seem to be the stiffness that usually follows a design show w/ stuff on the walls. I saw one winner with a lot of family supporters. It was impossible to miss how proud they all were of him. It really was quite the moment to witness.

The event was also relaxed, it didn’t feel like a pressure cooker. Tamara mentioned that it might have been due to the fact that no one had name tags on. Once a name tag goes up, it becomes a different type of event. It may have also been relaxed b/c of the free flowing wine and beer. It’s hard to say.

The work itself was interesting – lot’s of energy. I’m not sure if the style really suited what I do, but all of it was cool to look at. There was one diy poster that I was particularly fond of…

adc young guns

adc young guns

NYC is funny w/ time. Some days time flies so quickly and other times it just stops. Last night was one of those nights where I thought I was at the Art Directors Club Young Guns for hours, but when I looked at my watch as I left I had only been there for about an hour and a half. The event itself wasn’t boring at all, I’m just saying that time in NYC is not like it is elsewhere.

It seemed like everyone had a pretty good time, there didn’t seem to be the stiffness that usually follows a design show w/ stuff on the walls. I saw one winner with a lot of family supporters. It was impossible to miss how proud they all were of him. It really was quite the moment to witness.

The event was also relaxed, it didn’t feel like a pressure cooker. Tamara mentioned that it might have been due to the fact that no one had name tags on. Once a name tag goes up, it becomes a different type of event. It may have also been relaxed b/c of the free flowing wine and beer. It’s hard to say.

The work itself was interesting – lot’s of energy. I’m not sure if the style really suited what I do, but all of it was cool to look at. There was one diy poster that I was particularly fond of…

Mo Music

Dear God No, I've become one of those bloggers at Starbucks' Saturday

Friday was quite the day of new music flowing into my computer. After picking the brain’s of my work-mate who sits beside me and happens to find the most interesting party’s in Brooklyn and bounces doors due to her height, she dropped a lot of stuff for me to talk about. And then there’s Chet from Edmonton who never fails to tell me about new stuff that is impossible to actually buy, but can be found with a little skill. And finally there’s BBC Radio One’s playlist. I visit that site every couple of months to see what’s eventually going to be playing pop wise here.

Chet’s recommendation is Girl Talk’s Night Ripper. There are girls on the album, but not really talking the way you’d think. Night ripper is one of those albums that mixes a lot of stuff you’ve heard before, but with an updated beat and intensity. If you Search for Girl Talk at the Hype Machine you won’t be disappointed. And just to be fair, there’s a lot of guys talking on the album too.

Alexandra’s choice for me after I asked her for some good muzak was Van She. Again a search on Hype Machine will give you an overview of what it is. There’s some serious digital base beats going on. The perfect option for working out to.

My great find from BBC Radio One was Paolo Nutini’s These Streets. Mellow and refined, this is something special. It gives me the same feeling that I got when I discovered Paul Weller for the first time with his album Wild Wood back in college.

I think it was a couple weeks ago that I mentioned some of my top tune picks for the year. There was one album that I omitted by mistake and is probably the best of the year. Yes, it’s Cat Power’s The Greatest. Stupid me for forgetting.

Learning to Spectacle

Architecture and Books: Spectacle

Tonight’s design lecture was sponsored by the Architectural League and the Municipal Art Society. I came into the talk tonight without knowing much about the new book Spectacle by David Rockwell with Bruce Mau. Sometimes a little ignorance goes a long way. No preconceived ideas nor expectations. Just a guy sitting in on the conversation.

The night started off with David talking about the influences of growing up in both New Jersey, going to theater and then moving to Mexico at a young age. Reflecting on not how things looked, but what they felt helped influence some of the theories behind the book. He then moved on to defining what the working meaning of “Spectacle” means for the book. The breakdown for the what they are included Big, Bold, Brief and the what they do contained Connect, Transform and Immerse. With each of those headings he broke into simple examples that were in the book. A short two minute movie of the examples followed.

The discussion followed with Chee asking if the book’s premise was an oxymoron. Design brings order to chaos, yet under the subject headings that are Spectacle it seemed as though it was about creating chaos. The quick response was that it was more about creating opportunities, planning for spontaneity. Bruce followed that up by talking about the culture of no, regardless of the emotional effect. As opposed to cutting things down, think about the possibility. Emotional connections become real experiences.

What was really interesting was what was written on the cover of the book. Spectacle, David Rockwell with Bruce Mau. I’ve never seen a designer of the book placed in the same sentence as the author. I asked them about the line afterwards. Was it conscious or did it just happen? With some laughter it seemed like they had spent a lot of time with exactly how that was going to be expressed. David then went on to say that “it was the right thing to do”. During the discussion Chee asked Bruce about how he worked to place 3 Dimensional experiences into a book. For him it was about a cinematical experience – a sequence, flavour of expressions.

As for the overall talk tonight, the three of them shot out a lot of good sound bytes. Enough that I was curious about the book itself. With a bit of salesmanship it was mentioned that the first run of the book was sold out and that they were lucky to have enough for sale tonight. I’m not sure if I totally believed it, but it sure made people pick up the book quickly.

The Meaning of Clean

image via curbed
image via curbed

I’ve been pretty lucky since arriving in NYC. People have been really helpful and friendly, actually more so in a lot of cases then in Canada which surprised me. I don’t get that flustered when I recognize someone from TV on the street, though for some weird reason I’m starting to get nervous around people that write a lot. Usually when I’m asked how long I’ve been living here it’s a no brainer “Oh I’m pretty new, about four or five months”. Yes, I did actually think that I had been here that long. But when I look back it’s only been like three and a half months. I arrived near the end of July and have been swept up with the fact that there’s something to see, do or meet all the time.

I also was also lucky enough to know where I was going to work before I moved here so I could possibly plan to find a place where I could walk to work. What a cool idea I thought, until the heat wave came, and I’ll probably swear at the cold once it really hits. But with the slightly bad comes the great. I was tipped off that 20th Street is beautiful – which it is – trees, buildings with lot’s of features to look at, and the ability to forget what city you’re actually in – (I start my walk from 6th Ave). I usually walk all the way to 10th Ave., even though I work on 15th Street and 9th Ave. Why walk an extra block west? It’s b/c I get to see the above photo, though not from that exact view. Though some days I’ll totally miss the building and get caught up in the gallery sign that is now broken glass, yet somehow still looks great or my eye will follow the old high line that I hope I can walk across some day. But what’s cool about the window in the Frank Gehry’s almost completed building is that sometimes perfect isn’t perfect unless one of the elements is upside down. It just fits right. I hope that north facing window isn’t turned around b/c it would make things just a bit too clean.

Me at the World Graphic Design Foosball Championship 2006 (WGDFC)

Me at the World Graphic Design  Foosball Championship 2006 (WGDFC)

WGDFC 2006 was a great way to end a busy week. Foosball, beer, designers and some friendly competition. Organized by the office of paul sahre and the studios of karlssonwilker inc., it was a great venue and they ran it pretty smoothly considering how many people were there. Lillian Coryn and myself did our best to represent Renegade. In the end we had two loses and one win. With a little practice we’ll score a lot more goals next year.

Some of the things that I overheard walking around included “are you in line?”, “is that how long the line is?”, “I think the bathroom is broken!”, “no, the bathroom is fine”, and trash talking about typography “hey man, what’s your favourite typeface!”. Looking at the uniforms or lack there of was also a great time passer. In my opinion Princeton Architectural Press won the award for most innovative use of sign stickers that you could probably buy at Home Depot. Big type was popular too, one guy had a big letter “A” in tennis ball material on his shirt, while another team who I’m guessing were from Los Angeles b/c one guy had a giant “L” and the other had a giant “A” which looked pretty cool when they were standing beside each other. There were track suits, people wearing shorts, pink shirts, striped shirts, and one astronaut uniform worn by no other than Felix Sockwell. Lillian and I had a couple cool ideas, but we just ran out of time…

Whenever I go to something like this, I never know how the vibe is going to be. By the end of the night usually everyone is pretty relaxed and having a good time. For the most part that was the case, I met some people that I knew through e-mail and a couple others through reputations. But in a two floor foosball tournament, your bound not to run into everyone you know or want to meet. Till next year.

I’ve placed all my flickr photos from that night at http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelsurtees/sets/72157594348304555/

D&AD Visit to Renegade

D&AD Visit to Renegade

It’s really amazing how quick things can happen in NYC. On Tuesday I went to an event that the D&AD were putting on for the first time in North America. Afterwards I talked with Laura Woodroffe who helped organize the event. During that conversation I thought it would be cool for D&AD to come visit Renegade (where I work) to talk about the organization. Two days later D&AD was in the studio. Laura brought two others, Ruth Metcalf and Rebecca Rollin both from D&AD. They showed us their Black Pencil reel and the 2006 Yellow pencil awards reel. They also talked about the three parts that make up the organization: Excellence, Education and Enterprise. This week long tour was one of the first of it’s kind in North America for D&AD. By the sounds of it, they will be making an annual event that possibly would be their awards exhibit and Professional Development sessions – hopefully starting in NYC. I know it was a great experience for all of us at Renegade and we thank Laura, Ruth and Rebecca for coming to share their passion for D&AD. For more info on D&AD check out their site at http://www.dandad.org/

D&AD Print & Editorial Forum in NYC

D&AD Print & Editorial Forum in NYC

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

D&AD Print & Editorial Forum in NYC

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

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

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

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

Jeffrey Zeldman talk w/ AIGA NY

Jeffrey Zeldman talk w/ AIGA NY

Before design talks I like to ask myself a number of questions so I can be a more active listener. Naturally the questions change depending on who’s talking and what their subject matter is. With Jeffrey Zeldman, I know him as one of the leaders in “web standards”. He has a well respected name in a diverse field, so I was interested in what he had to say. The title of his talk was Selling Design, so web standards wasn’t going to be priority number one of the night. Not such a bad thing considering the AIGA organized the event. So what was I looking to get out of the talk – I wanted to learn something I didn’t know, find out his design process, learn about what makes him different.

Something I didn’t know was that he started off in an ad agency before going into the web. And like most others when the web was in it’s early commercial side, those that created sites didn’t have a lot of experience. What they did have was an understanding of the brands they were working on. In one example, his knowledge of Batman helped convince the client that he should design the site. He knew what would diminish the image of Batman and what wouldn’t.

Is it simple enough to create great work only if the client is great? Perhaps not so true – VW wasn’t apparently nit the easiest client to deal with during the glory DDB days. Zeldman concluded that the great ads that got created was that the agency never stopped working on the same job. If you always do your best, even after three or four sets you will still come up with great stuff.

Respect your clients, simple enough – it’s a two way street. But you also have to be able to smell trouble. If you’re getting a lot of paperwork before the project starts, that may indicate a lack of focus. If the problem is hidden in all the early documentation that could indicate other problem issues that could pop up later on.

Zeldman also talked about the importance of being calm and methodical. You need to be able to explain your creativity and research in a clear manner – hence your process. This is helped along with having a relationship with the client before you start showing the design. It’s also important to keep reminding the client where you are in the scope of things, what has already been agreed and what’s going to be achieved.

Along with being able smell trouble, you need to be able to translate what the client is trying to say. As he talked about this, it seemed like I had heard a similar thing at another talk in Edmonton. The point being that you need to understand and interpret what they client is saying.

Everybody understands design today, or at least everyone reacts to design emotionally. When talking about your work to the client, convey the meaning as opposed to the raw technical things that are obvious in front of their eyes.

And you also need to be able to respond to criticism. What is it that they don’t like, and why. He used some examples from Dan Brown – push back, look into it, get agreement. Both sides need to feel as if they’ve gained something from it.

The overall talk was a good refresher on a business that happens to be in design. There wasn’t any shocking new pieces of info, but it didn’t need to be like that either. He related to the audience and in turn the crowd gave their full attention.

In a bit of gossip – the AIGA is getting a new website – probably in December.

The D.U.M.B.O. Arts Festival

Potential, She Grew, the Neighborhood Changed, and Migration Dog

The images (Potential, She Grew, the Neighborhood Changed, and Migration Dog) above were supplied by Pasqualina Azzarello.

In the not so distant future I’ll have an interview posted here with Pasqualina Azzarello. If you are interested in seeing more of her work, she will be exhibiting work at the D.U.M.B.O. Arts Festival this coming weekend. More info below:

Saturday and Sunday
October 14 – 15, 2006
From 12 – 5 pm

She will be showing new paintings in front of Superfine 126 Front Street. (between Pearl and Jay)

DIRECTIONS:
F-Train to YORK: Exit station. Right on Jay. Left on Front. – or –
A/C-Train to HIGH: Exit station at CADMAN PLAZA EXIT. Walk across
park. Left on Washington. Right on Front.

*PLEASE NOTE: There is no uptown A/C service at High Street Station
this weekend. If you are traveling from Brooklyn, take the F-train,
B61, or B69.

Burnt Toast?

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

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

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

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

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

Two degrees of Hi, a likemind success story

Hi

There’s probably an infinite number of way to start this post, so I’ll just pick the one that first comes to mind. A number of weeks ago I was sitting at my computer at Renegade wondering why a person that I had e-mailed a couple days previously hadn’t bothered to get back to me. After having my coffee I turned the cup around to see this quote. It seemed right to take the pic and shoot that person one more e-mail. Though not entirely ironic, they never really got back to me, but in turn the photo introduced me to at least two new people that I didn’t know.

Back to the photo at hand, I started noticing it getting a lot of hits. Not a ton in terms of flickr popularity, but more than I usually get. A number of days later I get this interesting e-mail from Jack Chen:

– I first saw your Starbucks cup on chris glass’ website.
– I was then reading someone’s blog and noticed that she quoted the cup
– I sent her a link to your flickr page for the photo, and we started exchanging emails and IMs
– Then she brought up likemind.us and I was like, oh yeah! I’ve heard of it… I’ve worked with Piers in the past
– I was going through Piers’ photostream and came across your name and wondered why it looked familiar
– And lastly, at my current job, one of the guys there (he’s not there anymore) used to work at Renegade!

When things like that happen (ok, this really is the first time this has happened) you tend to sit up and take notice. Through his own connections and Johanna’s connections we met up near the end of Likeminds. Before meeting them there, I suspected I might see John, but didn’t know of johanna until the introductions.

So the moral of this story is that even if someone blows you off, the wind might take you to a better destination.

I would highly recommend reading Jack’s account of things on his blog at http://www.jackcheng.com/2006/09/22/like-minds/ and then johanna at http://tokyohanna.blogspot.com/2006/09/likemind.html

happy blogging and be sure to say hi! to someone today.

Designism additions

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

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

From sampratt HERE

Likemind III

Likemind III

If you haven’t heard of Likemind and are in NYC, check out the site at http://likemind.us/ Today was the third gathering and the second that I’ve been lucky enough to attend. Here’s a couple sites from people that were there today. I’m sure you’ll get out as much as I did from them.

cellar door: http://tokyohanna.blogspot.com/

Jack Chen: http://www.jackcheng.com/

BarCamp: http://barcamp.org/

Charles Gallant: http://www.charlesgallant.com/

PSFK: http://www.psfk.com/

1938 Media: http://www.1938media.com/

Popgadget: http://www.popgadget.net/

and of course Noah Brier: http://www.noahbrier.com/

and… The Blgging Times: http://www.thebloggingtimes.com/

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