Quote for the day

Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question – you have to want to know – in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.
~ Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School
Source: 37signals blog

10 Design Principles ~ Dieter Rams

Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design helps us to understand a product.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is durable.
Good design is consequent to the last detail.
Good design is concerned with the environment.
Good design is as little design as possible.

Source: DesignApplause

Web Design Conferences: just expensive blog posts?

As I continue to consider organizing a conference for the benefit of the Refresh Tallahassee family, I thought this post made a great (and sobering) point about the value of web design conferences in general.

The summary: My verdict for the future of web design is to stay away from expensive conferences. If you are a conference person and can spare the money, good on ya! But don’t be fooled into thinking that you have to attend them to keep up with future web design trends. Attending smaller, local meet-ups with like-minded people and following the ‘celebrities’ via Twitter is a much cheaper and rewarding experience.

The source: brizk design blog

That being said, stay tuned for details about our next meeting in late May. It looks to be another GREAT one. In fact, we may even hold the event in the Planetarium at the Challenger Learning Center!

Ira Glass on getting better at what you do

Last night I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by Michael Beirut sponsored by AIGA Jacksonville. During a brief Q&A time afterward, he referred to the video above by Ira Glass (part three of a four-part series – all of which are great).

I was interested in one of the comments in the comment thread about people either having “it” or not having “it.” I say, regardless of how much “it” you have, it will only get better with work – lots and lots of work.

What about you – got any thoughts on getting better? On the debate about “it”?

Crowdsourcing agency for the day


Victors & Spoils is a new ad agency based in Boulder that bills itself as “the world’s first creative (ad) agency built on crowdsourcing principles.” Their stated goal is “to provide businesses with a better way to solve their marketing, advertising and product-design problems by engaging world’s most talented creatives.”

Feel free to go help them design their new logo if you’re into that kind of thing. It’ll be interesting to see how the whole crowdsourcing strategy plays out.

Opinion for the day

Save the InternetAfter a continuation of unresolved issues with the speed of my Comcast web access, the fact that they are pushing to make things even worse by fighting Net Neutrality makes me pretty grumpy.

In my estimation, what Comcast and the other large ISPs are pushing for would be similar to the maintainers of our highways arguing the right to sell FedEx exclusive access to the entire left lane of the Interstate system for their trucks (and then being given the right to drive twice the speed limit as the folks in the right lane). This just seems fundamentally wrong.

If you agree, I invite you to visit Save the Internet and say so. If not, help me understand your point of view.

Ideas Recap

At our last Refresh meeting, I asked for some follow-up ideas about… ideas – where you might find inspiration. I realize this is long overdue, but listed below are some of the responses I received.


I find the best ideas come either right away or much, much later when I am not expecting them. Any kind of formal thinking process usually seems to yield a lesser result. So I go for lots of gathering and storing, so the subconscious is full and always busy looking for a solution. I find washing dishes is the best way to unleash that solution, which is why I invest in rubber gloves to prevent dishwater-hands (a little known but devastating designer’s affliction!)



When I am designing for a web site and in a “rut” about design ideas, I enjoy visiting template farms like steves-templates.com or templatemonster.com. I am always amazed at the creativity, and this visual stimulus sparks my own ideas. I am extremely visual, but it helps me to see how colors go together first-hand in a design. Then I “get” it.

Drawing sketches on paper has never appealed to me. I find that if I can draw large swatches of color using Photoshop, I can then get moving in a design direction. Even though I am from an earlier generation of designers, I still prefer electronic methods. I am a “tweaker” in that my initial design always needs enhancement to reach its full potential.

I feel as if I have developed “two minds” or frames of reference when designing. I design, then step back and look at it almost as a different person would. This is a skill that I have picked up over the years. I didn’t have it when I first started out.

Magazines also spark ideas, both for print and for web design. Again, it helps me to actually see an idea implemented. I’ll take parts of several different designs and put them together in new and different ways. I am always on the lookout for new design ideas.

I have found it is best to listen to that little inner voice that tells me something isn’t quite right in a design. If I don’t, someone else always seems to point it out!


Google – I Google everything.  Type in a key word and click – be amazed on
what comes up and where it takes you.   www.google.com

Learning about Lean – This blog discussing learning how to see and view
things differently.  It’s helped me to re-examine some of my company’s core
workflow approaches and to resolve some daily challenges.

Simply Getting Things Done (GTD) – This blog is interesting, but sometimes
full of a little iffy.  I’ve recommended this to several people who are
always disorganized and can’t break free from their inbox or clutter.

Linked In – This is how I found Refresh Tallahassee and I use it as a
networking and marketing tool.  I’ve gotten several blogs or articles
written about T-Formation from activity from LI.  Its great exposure.but you
have to work it.  I generally only spend my off-time and weird moments doing
anything on LI – the three minutes you are waiting for a meeting to start,
etc.  www.linkedin.com

Typeface Periodic Table – just because it’s there –

You Suck At Photoshop – for those that haven’t seen these incredibly funny
tutorials – check out the series:

Printspiration – Graphic design inspiration for those that are stuck – steal
someone else’s idea here:  http://www.printspiration.com/home

Roger Van Oech – The original “Whack on the Side of the Head” guy – read
that book forever ago, and it was really enlightening.  Look at different
problems through the eyes of different people.  Very imaginative.  Here’s
his blog – http://blog.creativethink.com/

Guy Kawasaki – of course we have to include him –

Wishful Thinking – Good tips about keeping the juices flowing – from England
– Excellent writing – be sure to read the articles –

Johnny Cupcakes – T-shirt designer and egomaniac.  I love this guy’s concept
and business.  He prints t-shirts with cupcakes on them and hosts huge
events around the world to promote them.  This is one of my favorite things
I point to when somebody asks me about starting their own line of t-shirts
(I get that once a week, easy)  http://www.johnnycupcakes.com/blog/

Russell Davies – Always an interesting blog.  I love his weird pictures he’s
always taking.  http://russelldavies.typepad.com/planning/

Funny or Die – When you are stuck and just need a break – go here – laugh at
something and then get back to work http://www.funnyordie.com/

Boing Boing – Another site with a lot of fun, weird stuff –

Max Kerning – Typeface humor – http://www.maxkerning.com/

More On Google Wave

Catch the Wave!

Sitepoint has an interview with web avatar Cameron Adams, who’s working with Google on Google Wave. It’s interesting to see his comments on testing at Google:

“For testing stuff hot off the presses, we basically walk around the office with a few prototypes, tackle people to the ground, and force them to use the application. This could either be in the form of static mockups or sketches, coupled with questions like: What do you think will happen if you click this? Or, the process that I find most valuable for an application like this is to create a simplified prototype of the behavior that we’re thinking of and let people have a go on at it.

It’s quite different to have an image that requires people to use their imagination than it is to present them with what the engineers will build after two months. So, I have a bunch of different interactive prototypes that focus on one area each — scrolling, typing, inserting, dragging, and so on. And we’ll tune these until we like what we have and users get the optimal experience. Then we hand it off to the engineers to build it properly.”