Exit Pole

There was a time when every working designer had at least one pica pole sitting on their drawing board. It was an indispensable tool of the trade that was as needed as drafting tape, Rapidographs, X-actos, french curves and breathing.

Being that I was still working in picas in the late 90s and getting fussed at by my CD for it, I’m willing to bet few practicing designers today know what a pica is.

It’s pretty easy: A pica is a unit of measure equaling 1/6 of an inch. 12 points make up one pica, so 72 points equal one inch. End of the math lesson.

If you want to get serious about printed typography, you will want to work in picas. I found working in picas gives designers more precise control over layouts than inches ever can. Inches are clumsy — of course, everyone knows I’m one of the few Americans who would rather go metric, but that’s another story.

I found this pica pole while going through stuff on my wife’s drawing board. She uses it just to draw straight lines and doesn’t give a second thought to the markings on it. I used to walk around with a pica pole all the time. It was also handy to smack someone if they got too randy.

Designers today who mostly work digitally would do themselves a favor learning and working in points and picas. Believe it or not, points translate exceedingly well to pixels, the new standard for measuring just about everything. Being pixel-perfect is a sign of quality to an old dog like me.

Seen & Noted

The Menil as always been one of my favorite places in the city, and A museum grows in Houston by Alexandra Lange only makes me love it more.

Although I find some disagreement with the DNA of a Designer, there are some interesting thoughts.

A problem I am currently dealing with at Sysco is incorporating the use of a creative brief into our workflow. Real magic happens when a creative brief doesn’t (necessarily) result in an ad offers some solid insight:

Conceived in the 1960s, the creative brief aims to save time and establish complete alignment between client services, creative teams, media, and the client itself. Essentially, creative briefs detail the campaign objectives, target audience, critical messaging, reasons to believe, and deliverables. It’s easy to see how the standard creative brief, still widely used today, is built to inspire creative advertising, not creative business solutions.

Apparently, The Drum agrees with my thoughts on a more collaborative approach to briefs.

CNN posting Good design is good for business, new study finds makes me wonder whether or not the research is good or not. I subscribed to the McKinsey Design Index, we’ll see how this continues to develop.

Sister Corita knew this, but Inc. caught up to her in Drawing Is the Fastest, Most Effective Way to Learn, According to New Research.

The I’s Have It

As this site has been assembled over the years, it has lacked focus.

Although it is a personal website, being that I am one of those people who is strongly defined by their work, it has needed that glue to hold it all together. I’ve been stewing on this for a while and I am finally ready to move forward with a philosophy, a cohesive thought about what I do and what I had to offer the world as a Designer.

I used to think I made logos, ads, movies, websites and other sundry things. That is true. Along with that simplistic view on my work, I have also proclaimed that it’s the act making these things that gets me out of bed every morning — the challenges that keep me interested in the things I do. This has been truly a simplistic way of looking at things and entirely wrong.

So I dove into the deep end. Pulling a Simon Sinek, I asked myself “Why?” over and over again. Much like a scene out of Ant Man and the Wasp, I’ve gone deeper and deeper down inside and found an answer to all those why’s. I was looking for answers that were not about me, why design, and how I can help make the world a little better than before.

Over the past few weeks I have been working in earnest to compile work I’ve created over the years. It now populates this site. Not everything, but numerous pieces that represent this philosophy and shows the world what I actually design:

Identities, Information and Influence.

I’ve looked at a number of other words to describe what I do, but all those words merely describe things. For me, Identities, Information and Influence are not things, rather they are outcomes. These are what I strive for, toil over and pour myself into so that together with my clients we will  make the world a better place.

Not only are Identities, Information and Influence outcomes, this is also a flow. A way of looking at design in total.

Identities are the most basic building block of communication, the starting point to broadcast who you are to the world.

Information design helps people you are trying to reach make better decisions.

Influence is the goal — to encourage change and make it easy to take further action.

This is a simple yet rich view of Design, one which I will continue to explore conceptually within this site and practice with my clients for years to come.

Seen & Noted

A two or three minute read, but worth every second. In fact, reread Experts from Mr Trott.

Alan Fletcher’s The Art of Looking Sideways is an endless source of inspiration. The Strategy & Planning Scrapbook offers another pool to drink from.

We can all agree: Design is good for business, but just in case you need further convincing, McKinsey makes a lengthy argument.

The internet os much like hiking the Grand Canyon … seemingly endless wonder and something amazing around any given corner. I stumbled onto this article at The Believer this week.

ArtCenter published a quick article on Lou Danziger, the influencer to one of my life’s biggest influencer.