Category: links

Week links, #03

Designer interview tests: should designers write?
… if good designers write, could a written exercise be part of a designer’s recruitment process? Because, truthfully, if you can’t write, can you design?

Why Business Design is the Most Important Skill of the Future
The times of pure Design Thinking are over: Certainly, the last years have seen the rise of Design Thinking and similar processes (most lately design sprints) that help entrepreneurs and managers to create more user-centered products and services. They are great tools to spawn desirability in customers. Nevertheless, they often fall short in creating a sustainable business model. Business Design is the remedy to this problem.

Along those same lines…

Your Business Model Is Like A Yoghurt, And 7 Other Lessons From Alexander Osterwalder

Five Ad Creatives Share Their Treasured Finds
Tim Brunelle, Rosie Geozalian, Nitin Srivastava, Enrique Renta and Nellie Kim share their favorite resources.

Annals of Small Town Life: The Logo Stops Here
This essay was originally published in September 2006, when Jessica Helfand lived in Falls Village, CT. We urge you to read it again because the Connecticut Department of Transportation is considering scrapping the historic Herbert Matter “NH” logo and colors on all commuter trains as part of a rebranding effort. We urge you to contact CTDOT and/or your local state representative to express your opinion.

The Lesser-told Stories of the Women Who Shaped Herman Miller
Let’s try something new: a telling of Herman Miller’s graphics history through its notable women designers.

Chain Letters: Richard Ting
This interview is part of an ongoing Design Observer series, Chain Letters, in which we ask leading design minds a few burning questions—and so do their peers, for a year-long conversation about the state of the industry.

Also from Mr Ting:

The Atomization of Your Brand Experience
The media fragmentation train continues to roll on. While the desktop internet has evolved into mobile, mobile has evolved into social, social is now evolving into messenger apps, and technologies such as smartwatches, chatbots, and voice assistants are giving consumers even more touchpoints to connect with brands. For brands, it creates the challenge of representing itself beyond just a logo signifier or as just a single channel experience. At R/GA, our belief is that a brand shouldn’t be about just signifiers, but that your brand equals the experiences that you design, create, and connect together for consumers across all channels.

And a few thought pieces…

Everyone’s a copywriter. Right? I really like Clare.

Technology And Wisdom

Up the wall

Asshole Is Not Another Word for Creative Genius
Ernie is a genius, by the way.

Please don’t kill the blogs
An open note to Google from Seth Godin

Week links, #02


Here’s what the evidence shows about the links between creativity and depression
There’s a stereotype that mental distress is an almost inevitable part of being highly creative. But is there any substance to this idea, or have we been misled – by biographers drawn to artists with colourful and chaotic lives, and the conceits of cultural movements like the romantics?


Design in 2018 – what will graphic design look like?
As part of our series on the future of design in 2018, Standards Manual and Order co-founder Hamish Smyth looks at what will happen in graphics over the next 12 months.

Designers Finally Have A Seat At The Table. Now What?
Companies are finally listening to designers, writes Google Ventures’ Kate Aronowitz. Here’s what designers need to do now.

You’re not a designer unless…
Remember when you were learning design and your tutors told you that all you needed was was Photoshop and some ideas? Well, it turns out that there’s a whole heap of other stuff that you simply cannot call yourself a designer without.

2018 Is the Year of the Intangibles
At the Stanford we practice “design abilities” to navigate today’s incessant murkiness.

Gordon House: Designer to The Beatles, ‘Groovy Bob’ + London’s Swinging Sixties
House was an artist himself, in addition to designing for some of the most prominent figures of the era. How had we not heard of him?


The Death of Advertising
Given the contrast between the recent success enjoyed by companies like Google and Facebook and the utter paralysis being undergone by CPG companies and advertising agencies the world over, I felt this article was worth republishing. Advertising will not “die,” per se, but what will are the brands that succeeded in a world without the unparalleled access that Facebook and Google afford consumers and producers to each other; brands that succeeded precisely because Facebook and Google did not yet exist. The advertising that emerges in tandem with the new — brands borne out of the existence of Facebook and Google — is already different enough so as to warrant penning an obituary for the advertising that emerged in tandem with the old. This is that obituary.

Hands up who’s heard of TOM McELLIGOTT?

More brilliance from Mr Trott: SHOW DON’T TELL

Return on Influence, the New ROI
The more marketers accept the concept of measuring influence relative to reach, the quicker social media industry standards will surface. Social networking revolves around the art of people interacting with people, not logos. People have influence. Things do not. Ultimately, influence is power that differentiates.

How to Build ROI and Accountability into Your Marketing Plan
While determining the right marketing mix can be a significant undertaking in itself, some of the biggest challenges associated with building a strategic marketing plan include assigning accountability and resources for each task, staying on track throughout the year and demonstrating your plan’s impact and ROI.

Is Jeff Goodby the Best Copywriter at Goodby Silverstein & Partners?
Why Specialization isn’t the secret to success

Time is on your side. Or should be.
For about thirty years, I’ve regularly done “The New York Times” crossword puzzle. For about the last ten years, I’ve confined my efforts to the Sunday puzzle. I’ve always regarded it as a reward for the week gone by, and a way to relax and unwind.


Are You Having Trouble Focusing? These Simple Strategies Will Help
In today’s always-on, information-overloaded world, it can be hard to stay focused throughout the day. How often do you find yourself distracted by inner chatter during meetings? Or how often do you find that emails are pulling you away from more important work?

How to Become More Productive Using the Pomodoro Method
It’s deceptively simple and hard to wrap your brain around if you’re like most people, working hours on end without allowing yourself to stop (because you think you can’t). However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Designing Your Life Through Design Thinking
Design thinking has helped me create new products, imagine new retail concepts, & solve other abstract challenges. It has also helped me to design a better life for myself. In fact, I believe design thinking may have helped save my life and that it has the power to save the lives of others.

Week links, Week #01

Check out the biggest posts of 2017 below—and be sure to click through to read any you missed.

“Everybody is creative” – The Big Lie That’s Killing Mad Ave.
Three words that creatives come across a lot these days.

Hands up who’s heard of John Fuckin’ Knight?

2018 Will Be a Massive Shift for UX Design
The year UX designers break beyond screens.

Ideo Says The Future Of Design Is Circular
A new guide for designers encourages them to create products that stay in closed loops and business models that discourage waste.

Strategic Leadership: Building Credibility In the Workplace
When you speak, do people listen? …Do you have the ability to sway a room? …Will you be trusted with your organization’s next big project?

How to Rank in 2018: The SEO Checklist – Whiteboard Friday
It’s hard enough as it is to explain to non-SEOs how to rank a webpage. In an increasingly complicated field, to do well you’ve got to have a good handle on a wide variety of detailed subjects. This edition of Whiteboard Friday covers a nine-point checklist of the major items you’ve got to cross off to rank in the new year — and maybe get some hints on how to explain it to others, too.

What traditional marketers need to know about SEO
If you think SEO is a bag of tricks to rank first in Google, you are 10 years out of date.

Google X and the Science of Radical Creativity
How the secretive Silicon Valley lab is trying to resurrect the lost art of invention

Samsung’s top US marketer says ad agencies should feel threatened by influencers
Samsung’s top US marketer Marc Mathieu has suggested that agencies should see social influencers as a threat to their business models as brands seek more direct ways to have conversations with their audiences.

Learning From the Feynman Technique
At Princeton, Feynman started to record and connect the things he did know with those he did not. In the end, Feynman had a comprehensive notebook of subjects that had been disassembled, translated, and recorded.

10 New Principles Of Good Design
With a nod to Braun legend Dieter Rams–whose 10 principles for good design remain indispensable, though somewhat narrowly concerned with the particulars of industrial design–here are 10 new principles for good design.

What the advertising industry should watch out for in 2018
We ask advertising bosses what’s in store for the year ahead.

PR Pros Must Embrace the PESO Model
Monique Bonner, the vice president of marketing at Dell, who told Mashable, “It drives me crazy when PR people say they aren’t in marketing.”

Week links #52

A Designer’s Guide to Getting Shit Done
How I personally stay productive as a designer and entrepreneur

Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule
Most powerful people are on the manager’s schedule. It’s the schedule of command. But there’s another way of using time that’s common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started.

Time Management Tips of Insanely Busy People
When I optimize and manage my schedule properly, everything falls in line. My days are easier, I’m more organized, and I’m happier.

Productivity Tips To Help You Get More Sh!t Done
Many times people just tell you to work harder, to put in longer hours, and that’s how you get more stuff done. The problem with this mentality is that you’ll forever be competing with other people who just work longer hours, but there are only 24 hours in a day.

4 things that will make you more motivated, happy, and creative at work
Harvard’s Teresa Amabile gave office workers something very simple: diaries. Then she reviewed their ups and downs and drew connections. What she learned was extraordinary.

Silent Spaces = Creative Results
Today is about the power of silent spaces. I guarantee if I had my social media apps open or if I was watching something on a screen or even listening to music, I likely would not have came up with such a brilliant idea in such a focused period of time.

THIS SHOULD BE an officially labeled time of the year. I suggest we call it Maker Time—it’s that time after kids get out of school, but before all of the holiday festivities begin. This is the perfect time for kids (and adults) to make something. This is what I tell my own children (I probably heard it from someone else).

The Joy and Pain of Writing
It’s been said that writing forces clarity. Maybe that is true, but it also causes countless aspiring wordsmiths to want to punch a hole in their computer screen as well.

Effortless copywriting (and why it takes sooooo much effort to get it right)
Why do people fancy Ryan Gosling? Apart from his impeccable suits, flawlessly rumpled hair and eyes that make your leg bones feel like chewed ham, what is it?

The End of Mass Marketing: Go Small, or Go Home
Once upon a time… business success was based on providing a narrow segment of consumers with a narrow segment of products, uniquely suited to their needs, sourced and advertised locally, and sold at a local store.

Take the Time to Use Fewer Words
If a user experience needs an explanation, something is fundamentally broken. Consider redesigning the experience until people no longer need it explained to them.

What to Expect from Advertising in 2018


Four qualities to look for in a media thinker
Great media thinkers must be multi-dimensional. They must be able to both understand the rules and create the conditions necessary for creativity to have impact. Colleen Leddy, Droga5’s head of communications strategy and WARC Media Awards judge, outlines the four qualities needed in media thinkers.

No Clients, No Limits, No Deadlines—Welcome to the Hell of Redesigning Your Own Website
You will make mistakes. You may waste time, and you may waste money. And you’ll probably argue over quite a few things that don’t really matter all that much.

This is what 500 years of graphic design in print looks like
A new book from Phaidon chronicles the history of printed imagery

Why big brands are increasingly putting small agencies on their radar
Straight out of portfolio school, I went to a 30-person shop in Atlanta, GA and fell in love with advertising. The agency where I worked has since been sold, but at the time, it was amazing. We won tons of awards, did lots of great work and had a great time doing it. But because I was young and naive, I felt like I needed to move on. And so I did…too soon; moving all around the country to work at bigger shops on bigger brands. And I fell out of love with advertising.

Why Designers Need to Start Thinking About Blockchain
Blockchain. You’ve heard the word. Perhaps you’ve invested in a digital currency or two. But do you really know what the technology is and why it matters? It all sounds deeply technical—and it is. But it’s important to understand this new tool, as it will have a big impact on our lives—radically altering how we live, work, and play.

Revolutionize Your Page: Real Art Direction on the Web by Jen Simmons—An Event Apart video


Week links #51

Alvin and Elaine Lustig. More about Mr L is a future post.

A quick note: While cobbling together my list of interesting articles read this week, although it may be clear what week these were actually read in, but it might not be apparent if you land on my site haphazardly. So I decided to label the weeks and will continue to do so in 2018. With that, here are the links from the 2nd to last week of 2017:

How to Kill Creativity
Tina Seelig
Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Stanford. Author, What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20, inGenius, Creativity Rules

How To Unleash Your Creativity, From A Stanford Professor
Everyone has ideas. Some of us even have great ideas. But not everyone has ideas that grow into multi-million dollar businesses. What is it about those few people that makes them capable of using their creativity in such clever entrepreneurial ways? How do they go from a simple idea to full-blown successes?

18 Designers Predict UI/UX Trends for 2018
Designers are always looking toward the future — in our “build and ship it now” industry we’re programmed to iterate ad finitum. In the end, a designer’s obsession always circles back to one simple question: How can we improve the user’s experience?

How Digital Marketing Will Change In 2018: 15 Top Trends
The move into 2018 also comes with a shift in digital marketing. New trends are entering the marketplace and your company needs to pay attention or you may be forced by the wayside. With the need to become more visible and reach more customers, the digital marketing of tomorrow offers advancements in emerging technologies as consumers demand a more integrated experience.

Your 2018 new year’s resolution: ignore the digital hype and be channel-neutral
The birth of any technology usually leads to enthusiastic overuse and then eventual moderation. Gartner’s Hype Cycle is a good visualization of the pattern. As the New Year approaches, many companies are climbing towards the Peak of Inflated Expectations by moving towards digital with abandon that just might be reckless.

Why Great Experience Design Starts With A Story
Sometimes, words are worth a thousand wireframes.

Frank Lloyd Wright at 150
The Curbed guide to the most famous architect in U.S. history
Frank Lloyd Wright’s talent, creativity, and output are the reasons he’s still remembered on his 150th birthday, lionized for launching a modern, multifaceted American architecture.

Feeling the Squeeze?
“In the past, an author who published a book probably would’ve paid a freelancer $5,000 to create and update his site,” says Jeffrey Zeldman, one of the two web-design masterminds behind An Event Apart. “Today, if your clients are just looking for a beautiful site with a little bit of content, Wix and Squarespace will definitely cut into your market share. And if you’ve been charging $300,000 on projects, that market is narrowing too. You need to do more than spit out a boilerplate proposal that lists the client’s technical specs and create something pretty—you need to become a strategic partner.”

“By aligning strategies from revenue, video, editorial, and audience departments, news products can lessen the assault on their users’ senses. If we understand and attempt to calibrate internal competing goals, we fix the external experience.”


10 reasons why creatives should start working with a pen and paper
Have you thought about the effect technology has on your creative work? Maybe you should. Over the years, as agencies connected our desktops to the internet, wired our offices with wifi, doled out laptops and finally, smartphones, few paused to consider their impact on our work.

Dreamweaver: Maryanne Moodie spins us a yarn about technology, the art of the loom, and slow creativity
Welcome to Life Well Lived: an ongoing conversation around how we can use technology to improve our lives. In this final installment of our series, we spoke with Maryanne Moodie, Instgram’s and the design world’s favorite modern loomer on the link between coding and weaving and how technology informs her creative practice.

Journey Mapping is Key to Gaining Empathy
This article is for people who already have a basic understanding of journey mapping, but if you are totally new to the tool and how to create one, UX Lady has a great example where she uses the metaphor of baking as a way to map out experiences.

The future of marketing is in the past
These are your customers: talk at them or talk with them?

Don’t Hack It. 5 Things You Can Do to Gain Real Respect as a Thought Leader in 2018
Thought leadership is a lifestyle decision, not a LinkedIn headliner.

Social And Emotional Skills: Everybody Loves Them, But Still Can’t Define Them

Friends First. Then Design.
Genuine Connections and The Messy, Wonderful World of Good Design

Elaine Lustig Cohen on the late Alvin Lustig and the art, and archiving, of the book jacket.