All posts in design.

  • I’d be shunned by Schön right now

    One of the big differences between school and work for me is I have less time to reflect on my work. Instead of the teacher asking you ‘why’ and wanting to hear your answer, you get more of people asking ‘why’ as an opener for their idea. I’ve been working on this project lately and realizing how little mental space I give to let things settle. It’s like when you’re at a party and there aren’t enough flat surfaces to put down your cup. I was reading about a group of designers who wanted to try bring academia and practice closer together so that the research and inspirations from the academic world aren’t so far away from what people are doing at work. I thought it was a neat and a worthwhile project….and then it got lost in a bunch of email and other work.

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  • Robert Rushkin – The Artist [video]

    I saw this video yesterday and was amazed by his perspective. I admire people who are so inquisitive about the world and have what seems like an bottomless well of creativity they reach into to produce artwork. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to take that next step and make the the thing you’re curious about.

    Robert Rushkin – The Artist from Builders Club on Vimeo.

  • Is now a good time?

    My co-worker said something about the value of notifications I thought was absolutely brilliant:

    It’s like we’re trying to convince the whole world they have a cold because we’re selling tissues.

    But really we’re selling them tissues with snot already in it.

    To put it so much less poetically, a lot of the services we offer boast being able to ‘stay in touch’ or receive notifications as a perk, but maybe everyone is fighting over a way to design something that no one wants.

    Services be like: We only send important notifications—the notifications you care about….Wait! Wait, don’t go!—How many notifications is too many? When is a good time? Now? Is it now? Now?

    There’s this design dream about being able to create these ‘just-in-time’ notifications that seamlessly intercept you in a helpful way. For instance, say you’re at the grocery store just about to get in line to check out and you receive a notification that says “don’t forget the tarragon!” The day is saved and you go back swing back around to get it.

    To break this down, this means designing an experience where this service knows…

    1. Where you are. (the grocery store)
    2. What you need at that location. (your grocery list)
    3. What you had already gotten from your list. (but you’re missing the tarragon! Drats on that non-staple item!)
    4. That it was definitely out-of-mind. (you were heading towards the check out counter)

    (Important Spoiler: I am not going to propose an actionable a solution! I just want to unload all these disconnected thoughts I’ve had on notifications)

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  • 5 (+1): Valentine’s day cards

    If some how you managed to missed the absolute barrage of my posting this on various social media forms, here it is: my second annual Valentine’s Day Cards set!

    To all the lovers out there…

    You sideline casanovas, you tentative temptresses—you! It’s time to choose the special someones from the slowly cooling buffet of your friends to pile on the plate of your affections. And what a better way to let ‘em know how you feel with these delectable Valentine’s Day cards?


    and my personal favorite….

    (printable download)

    The back story behind this is that I kept coming up with awesome restaurant names (vegetarian Chinese place called Bok Joy….a Vietnamese sandwich shop called Banh Mi & You…). Logically, I was thinking about making little doodles of what these restaurants would look like to share, but then realized that I could easily come up with more and make a set of Valentine’s Day cards like I did last year! Again, Matt helped me and Igor provided moral support & harassment. Thanks fellas!


  • Work metaphors

    I didn’t make it in time for your Friday 5, but I have 8 drawings to maybe make up for it. Since working I’ve started hearing the same phrases over and over again and I couldn’t help thinking about visualizing them the other day.

    These are apparently the things I do at work.


  • Minka (video)

    Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 8.18.25 AM

    My friend Zach shared this sweet video with me. It’s about the start of a Japanese architect’s career restoring minkas with his friend, journalist John Roderick. To accurately use a cliché, it’s a beautiful and poignant short documentary in memorial Mr. Takishita’s dear friend. Reading between the pastoral shots, the gleam of Mr. Takishita’s eyes, and warm fingers panning across old photo albums, I suspect you’ll find a meaningful experience.


    Minka from Birdling Films on Vimeo.

  • The youngest master penman

    I am in so much awe.


  • Michel Gondry on animating “Why is the Tall Man Happy?”

    My classmate shared this interview with animator Michel Gondry with me after I showed part of the final movie (about Noam Chomsky!) for our animation class. I always find the process stories so interesting. And I hope, for my sake as a designer, you do too.


  • What I’ve been up to

    It’s been pretty silent on the blog front last week. I’ve had full days of wrapping up my thesis and trying to keep my head above water. Last week was our last public deliverable of our thesis where we present our work to a panel of three design faculty and then there is a three hour public session where we present to the public (mostly visitors, but some wandering faculty as well).

    I presented the research that lead up to me creating this prototype of a thesaurus of interactions and, more importantly, this thought experiment that I’ve been enlisting designers and creatives to take. It’s an activity to get designers to think about the tools at their disposal differently. It’s supposed to be a little challenging, but it’s really for the benefit of the person taking the test—if you take it in earnest you have the opportunity to stretch the way you see design (I hope!).

    It was a really trying week and day, but it’s over now and I just have to keep my head down and keep working until graduation. Next on the chopping block is revising this paper that was accepted into a design conference in Milan, Italy this coming fall. Eep!

    Other than that, I’m still trying to plan my summer vacation. Although, I will happily complain to you that planning a long vacation is much more complicated than I’d like it to be. I’m more of a hermit than I let on. Does anyone want to go to China, Vietnam, and Japan with me this summer?!

    Thanks always, intimate audience, for your support and good vibes (don’t stop now).

  • Iris Apfel documentary (trailer)

    I ran across this trailer shared by the 99PercentInvisible and would love to see it when it comes out. Thought it was cute change of pace from my normal videos.