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So, what did we learn this week?

With all the rationale design thinking being bantered about these days, The lost art of designing for pleasure is totally refreshing. In college I took an intro to business and my mentor thought I was nuts. Why Designers Need to Learn about Business seems to agree with my thought all those years ago. Speaking of ages ago… I started reading CA in 1986. Hard to believe that Communication Arts is turning 60 years old. And one last thought about age: Why late bloomers are happier and more successful. I’ve always prided myself on my work ethic, but Workism Is Making Americans Miserable made me think a little differently. Another interesting thought about the modern offie in How Consensus Kills Innovation. And finally, a story about a favorite subject in The curious story of how transatlantic exchange shaped Italy’s illustrious coffee culture.

What did we learn this week?

We learned about redesigning the business of advertising from Cindy Gallop. It’s Nice that taught us that Logos date like clothes and six designers debate what makes an ideal brand identity. Our friends at 99U told us to Check Your Ego to Making Meetings Less Scary for Introverts. Wolff Olins tells us why great strategies and ideas often fail. Adobe wants us to Reconnect with the Idea of “Creating for Tomorrow”. My favorite new site, Fold Magazine, teaches us How to Master the Art of Doing. Bob is on fire lately and The High Cost Of Online Trash is no exception. Alissa Walker reminded us How Design Observer Founder William Drenttel Changed the Conversation. And finally, Fast Co. showed us how Wieden+Kennedy strives to make advertising that transcends branding and drives the pop-culture conversation.

The Final “Noted” of the Year

Last year at this time, I was at my in-laws with little to do so I read like a madman, posting all my favorites. It was a lengthy list. This year, not so much – just a few things that came across my feed over the past week, some of which were originally published earlier in the year:

Never heard of Fold before, but To Be An Underdog, Interview with Dave Trott will bring me back to their site again for further investigation.

Late in the Fall, Ideo broke its silence on design thinking’s critics. It’s still bullshit.

In the spirit of the holidays, read Nakatomi Space, about the building where my favorite Christmas movie, Die Hard, took place. I referred to Die Hard as my favorite Christmas movie long before it was the popular thing to do.

Design Observer’s Chain Letters series is fantastic, especially this posting late in the year with Celene Aubry of the Hatch Print Show.

2018 was not a banner year of rebranding, and 5 Brand Logo Redesigns That Pissed People Off proves it.

Favorite Articles in 2018

Back in 1996 when I worked at The ForeFront Group, we had a piece of software called WebWhacker (the packaging is elsewhere on this site). WebWhacker was designed to pull content down from websites to read later when you were offline. A genius app, until WiFi and mobile devices with unlimited reach became the norm. Google’s Pocket is the modern equivalent of WebWhacker. I use it every single day, sometimes throughout the day when I find things that interest me but don’t have the time to read at the moment. Apparently, according to Pocket I read a lot:

Although this is not a comprehensive list, here are some of my favorite articles I saved to Pocket during 2018:

Where Are All the Female Architects?

A museum grows in Houston

The Rise of Riso

It’s Time to Embrace the Creativity Explosion Advertising Is Undergoing

Soul Of A Subversive

Everything Goes With Everything … 

These are the conversations you need to have as a new manager

Creative leadership

Why You Need To Pay Attention To Gen X Leaders

TITTER YE NOT by Dave Trott, of course.

Fear is the enemy of creativity

Creatives Are Overworked

I Visited A Shrine For The Patron Saint Of Procrastinators

Is Jeff Goodby the Best Copywriter at Goodby Silverstein & Partners?

Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule

A Designer’s Guide to Getting Shit Done

The Curbed Guide to Texas

Stan Lee Knew About Managing Creative People

The Curse of the Honeycrisp Apple

The Library of Congress Has an Incredible Collection of Early Baseball Cards

R.E.M., in Retrospect



A mixed bag of links to share this week, starting off with a favorite piece of music:

Simon Sinek Explains What Almost Every Leader Gets Wrong

With a daughter considering studying architecture in college, Where Are All the Female Architects? resonated with me.

No matter what stage you are at in your career, Weighing the Risk: What’s the Cost of Not Making a Life-Changing Career Choice? offers some good food for thought.

I don’t know a single person who focuses their attention on just one thing. Marketers need to be polymaths: the modern-day marketing challenges confirms my findings.

Perhaps the single most important thing you will read this week is The Scientific Case for Eating Bread.

Promise yourself you will read Living up to Your Brand Promise from my pals at R+M.

Design Debate: Should You Work In-House or Freelance? has been on my mind a lot lately.

HBR is right. In Set the Conditions for Anyone on Your Team to Be Creative anyone can be creative, givven the right culture.

Design leaders at Microsoft, Google, Ideo, Pentagram, Gensler, and more weigh in on The 9 big design trends of 2019.
Jim Steranko may be one of the greatest unsung influencers of the latter half of the twentieth century.

New logos, new typefaces and even new names abound.