Archive for the ‘Creativity & Thinking’ Category

What Do You Want To Do?

October 11th, 2012


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What would you like to do if money was no object? It’s not a silly question, nor is it a falsified “what if” scenario. This question is posed for those wanting to leave behind the old notion of a “job” to do what they want to do. It’s a question for everyone really.

Now, if you’ve listened to the video and got the idea that the theme is “money is bad”, have another listen. In fact, remove money from the equation altogether. This idea is more than that. Allow the idea that you can do what you want to do, into your thinking and your mindset will change. Act upon this idea and you will better yourself.

It’s better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way. – Alan Watts

Think past where you would be or what you would own. Focus on what would make you happiest. Do the things that make you antsy to wake up in the morning so you can do them. Do the things that you haven’t tried yet or are afraid to. Put aside the idea of money being your end point and focus on what fulfills you. If what you want to do is a risk, take the chance. More often than not it is the things we think we can’t do, that we actually can.

Aaron Draplin’s Field Notes Memo Book Archive

April 12th, 2012



This is the type of video that makes my eyes well up and I become so inspired to go on a manhunt for lost design. Aaron Draplin as collected so many aged, original memo books over the years and is building an archive. You can see a sample of the collection here, and boy is it great. It’s beautiful and I absolutely can’t wait to see more of it.

I see one huge lesson in all of Aaron’s collecting, and it’s something that I’ve been trying to do on a smaller scale… I believe we should all be doing our part to rescue the lost great design. This also goes hand in hand with sharing great design as well. That’s all I have for you now on this great establishment, but expect more on this memo book collection in the future!

Extreme Swimming, Jellyfish & Goals with Diana Nyad

January 31st, 2012


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Diana Nyad is truly remarkable. I am truly inspired by her. In the 1970s she set long-distance swim records and thirty years later at age 60, she attempted her longest swim yet, from Cuba to Florida. Sometimes I have a hard enough time going from my home to the grocery store and to think she swam that far…

Part way through the swim she was stung by the Box Jellyfish, one of the more venomous creatures in the ocean. She was assisted by support and stayed in the water swimming. She fronted the pain and proceeded to swim. Not long after the first sting she was hit again; she was treated once more, but hours later she was unable to complete her dream, her mission.

Did she quit? Absolutely not.

What things have you tried to complete and have failed? Were they greater than attempting a swim from Cuba to Florida and being stung by deathly jellyfish? I sincerely doubt it. It doesn’t make yours less important, so don’t quit. Set your goals again. Get back up and make them happen.

10 Ways to be more interesting

January 5th, 2012


Be more interesting. This is a note to self on things to keep in mind every day. Life is there for us to use and enjoy at our will. Being interesting isn’t a job of life, it’s an option.

Images & text by Jessica Hagy / Forbes.

1. Go exploring.
Explore ideas, places, and opinions. The inside of the echo chamber is where are all the boring people hang out.

Continue reading to see more suggestions.

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To Want To Be Successful is Not Enough

December 20th, 2011


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Regardless if you’re a fan of Actor Kevin Spacey (I am), this clip hits right on the core of what it takes. It’s videos like this one and “How bad do you want Success” that really send powerful surges of inspiration and motivation throughout the body.

To want and to be ambitious and to want to be successful, is not enough—that’s just desire.

There is no prize out there. The only prize is this one [points to heart], and what you feel and what you want to accomplish. If you can, as you start out, these what could be lean years or fat years, I feel that I very often watch a lot of young people sort of meander around without any idea about why they’re doing. To want and to be ambitious and to want to be successful, is not enough—that’s just desire.

To know what you want, to understand why you’re doing it, to dedicate every breathe in your body to achieve. If you feel you have something to give, if you feel that your particular talent is worth developing or is worth caring for, then there is nothing you can’t achieve. You’re going to grow up with your colleagues. You’re going to watch them have success and watch them have failure and you’re going to watch how they deal with it.

Steve Jobs: The Secret of Life

December 12th, 2011

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YouTube Preview ImageAfter reading the Steve Jobs book by Walter Isaacson my admiration for everything Jobs has done, has only become greater. In this brief cut-clip of a 1995 interview by the Santa Clara Valley Historical Association, Jobs talks about his thoughts on life. All of which I will continue to let sink in and look forward to using.

Shared via Brain Pickings

How Bad Do You Want Success?

August 30th, 2011



I’m not posting this video because of the NFL and I’m not posting this video because of the athlete. I sincerely believe there is a very important message in the video relating directly to finding your success. You’ve heard it before: If you want to be on the same level as the people that you look up to, you’ll need to work really, really hard. The secrets to success are revealed through hard work.

If you’re going to be successful you’ve got to be willing to give up sleep.

This does not mean do not sleep. However, it does mean you need to prioritize. You need to prioritize your thoughts and actions relative to your goals. This video is a metaphor for the things in life that you do, that can and quite possibly need to be sacrificed.

John Jay of Wieden Kennedy Talks Creativity

August 8th, 2011

YouTube Preview ImageJohn Jay of Wieden + Kennedy was recently named one of the most creative business people in 2011 by Fast Company. His position as W+K’s executive creative director takes him between all of the W+K offices in an effort to breed those cultures into the main headquarters in Portland.

In this video John Jay talks about his creative process. He takes a step back and approaches his interpretation of process from a wise view. What I’ve drawn mostly from this is that it’s about conversation. Most importantly it’s about listening to what people have to say and then taking that to make it relative and understandable to other people.

The last thing that I’ve drawn from this that I agree with is that you should always place yourself around people that you aspire to be. It’s really about surrounding yourself with positive energy. It sounds cheesy but it makes a world of difference.

The greatest thing we can offer is to be great listeners.

Why every website should have Keyboard Navigation

July 20th, 2011


After reviewing nearly 2000 portfolios this year, I came to the conclusion that there was one thing missing on most of them——keyboard navigation. After spending over a year working on a project and forging an experience that fully utilizes the keyboard, I started to seriously question why it hasn’t been used more. It truly should be used on nearly every site because it is a necessary feature for every interactive web experience. So why aren’t the majority of interactive designers and builders using it? Are they intimidated when dealing with the keyboard, perhaps are they unaware of its potential or maybe even so concerned about budget constraints that it gets left off? It could really be any of those things and I’m open to hear your thoughts.

To show where I’m coming from and the magnitude of websites lacking the use go to any website right now. Tap the keyboard or hit your arrow keys. Was the result just crickets or do you need further proof? Try searching “design portfolio” in Google. Not one of the sites on the first two pages of results use keyboard navigation in any form.

So why aren’t more people utilizing it?

Accounting for the why is tricky. Though if I were to guess based on experience in questioning developers and usability testing it would be because of a lack of time, effort and the concern that the keyboard would need to be used at some point. The truth behind the last part is that yes a user may need to use the keyboard, but only a very small percentage of the time. Two examples of those type of actions would be typing in a form or using shortcuts. The solution is to simply disable the keyboard nav while in form fields and not override necessary shortcuts (e.g.. cmd + c, cmd + z, etc).

When should it be used and why?

The answer I want to say is always. However, there are some circumstances where it might not be necessary—very slim. When you have sites that require you to click and drag to scroll or have pages and pages of content, why not give the user the ability to skip to each pane or project. If instead you require the user to perform a second action of clicking then you may be making things more difficult. Sure you want the drag to be part of the experience, but keep in mind that the more unnecessary friction you add to each interaction the higher their disinterest meter will go.

Designspiration is the perfect example of taking a “dead” keyboard and pumping it full of life. Short cuts on the site include a fully functional a-z and 0-9 live search function that can be activated by simply typing at any time. Equally as important is the ability to use the arrow keys in the way that they should be: smart pagination between result sets, smart paging within result sets and smart scroll viewing.

Other solid examples of the keyboard in use are The Bullitt Agency, Hugo & Marie and Thinking For a Living.

As we move forward with progressing our interactive experiences, we should be sitting down to really think about the feature sets needed to attain complete site usability. Also working out solutions for how the user uses keyboard events could mean a world of difference to their resulting experience. Your users are friends, be nice and easy on them.

Passion with Draplin

May 17th, 2011





Ever since I worked on Bikecar several years ago, I’ve followed Aaron Draplin’s work. Not just because of the quality of design but because of his passion. He is really just dedicated in his tastes and everything around him. Now that I’m here in Portland I’d really like to sit down and have a conversation with him or just look through all of his collections. I hate to admit it but when he opened up that top drawer filled with all of those beautiful packaging pieces, I wanted to cry.

These videos were shot courtesy of Jared Souney for Yobeat & Level.

The Power of Perseverance

May 16th, 2011


YouTube Preview ImageWe tend to give up too easily on things we think we can’t do. The truth is that we can do those things, but we tell ourselves we can’t. That is dangerous.

Do you want to learn how to play guitar, become a designer, or an architect but feel like you should just give up? For me it was learning how to build a large website. Quite frankly I hadn’t the best clue on how to do that. What I found was that time is what it would take; time was my friend. How you form your relationship with time is also key.

Let me say that one more time—believe in yourself and just do it.

Sure it sounds like a line out of a self-help book, but we all really need to read it. Sometimes it’s not just that we think we can’t do things it’s that other people tell us we can’t do them. The next time someone tells you something isn’t possible, question why. Question why because their intent might fall towards laziness rather than a technical problem.

What I’m trying to say is that the guy in this video, Og De Souza, didn’t give up skateboarding just because he doesn’t have the same ability to use his legs as we do. He persevered. He said the hell with those who think I can’t do it, and the hell with my own negative thoughts. I can’t think of a more perfect example than this to fuel your fire and drive you forward into your next goal.

The Five Vignelli-isms

March 24th, 2011


On the evening of Tuesday, March 8, The Architectural League gave its President’s Medal to Lella and Massimo Vignelli. The award (past recipients of which include John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Hugh Ferriss, Joseph Urban, Richard Meier, Robert A.M. Stern, and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown) was given to the Vignellis “in recognition of a body of work so influential in its breadth that it has shaped the very way we see the world.”

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut, an Architectural League vice president who began his career over 30 years ago as a junior designer at Vignelli Associates, designed the the program we see here. The five different covers featured a quote from Vignelli printed in PMS Super Warm Red and set in Helvetica of course.

So why are these five Vignelli-isms important?

When I first came across this I immediately saw five lessons to live by rather than just five miscellaneous quotes. They appear self explanatory but read each and give it a moment alone in your mind:

One life is too short for doing everything.

We like design to be visually powerful, intellectually elegant, and above all timeless.

If you can design one thing, you can design everything.

If you do it right, it will last forever.

The life of a designer is a life of fight against the ugliness.

Hit the jump to view each of the covers separately.

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