• A Short Video about Finding Fulfilling Work

    May 19, 2015

    How To Find Fulfilling Work Just when I needed a reminder of just how long it takes to figure out what I’m doing, I encounter this post on the six psychological pillars of a satisfying life, which happens to feature a pleasant animated summary narrated by contemporary philosopher Alain De Botton.

    De Botton and his colleagues have a whole series of topical videos on YouTube, presented under the banner of their intriguing organization The School of Life. There is something about the entire enterprise that I find appealing for entirely silly reasons, like De Botton’s narration reminding me of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio show I listened to in the early 80s, and the similarity of the school’s name to the movie The School of Rock. I must find out more!

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  • Learn Graphic Design with B&A Magazine’s Master Collection!

    May 18, 2015

    "Master Collection Before & After Magazine" Before & After Magazine was the last great graphic design magazine that I loved. Although the desktop publishing tools have changed a lot since 1990, publisher/editor/designed John McWade’s remarkably clear and insight into how visual design works remains timeless.

    I recently bought an upgrade to my Master Collection DVD that collects all the print editions in PDF format, along with all the stand-alone articles of more recent issue, and I spent an hour looking through random issues from 1990 to present in the digital presence of the master. It’s all still relevant! Here’s a random sampling of pages from the print issues, 1990 through 2014:

    Issue 01 - 1990Issue 20 - 1994Issue 30 - 1999

    Issue 40 - 2005Issue 47 - 2008Issue 52 - 2014

    Even if you’re not training to be a graphic designer, this is the kind of material you really need to understand how ideas relate to visual communication.

    If you are training to be a graphic designer, the Master Collection is an excellent complement to the rather dry explanations that Edward Tufte provides The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Combine that with back issues of Marty Neumeier’s Critiqe Magazine (good luck finding back issues now), and BAM…you’ve got a solid basis for learning to be a “design thinker”.

    The DVD may seem expensive at a price of US$219, but I tell you it is TOTALLY WORTH IT. If you’re a student about to drop a lot of money on a graphic design education in college, you will be well served just by studying the material in this DVD. New students tend to be preoccupied with the latest tools and tricks, so buying a DVD full of material published largely in the 1990s and early 2000s might seem weird, but it you’re serious about not being a cookie-cutter designer this material is a good balance between the “here’s a graphic approach” and “here’s how to think about communicating using visual elements”.

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  • A Classic Retro Picnic Basket

    May 7, 2015

    "A lot of picnic baskets" I’ve been looking for a picnic basket reminiscent of the kind that Yogi Bear would steal from hapless visitors Jellystone Park with his pal Boo Boo. Modern picnic baskets are larger and have all these “improvements” to make it easier to carry plates and flatware, wine bottles, chilled foods, and so on. I just want a picnic basket that makes me laugh, and holds a suitable number of sandwiches. This is the story of how I found a picnic basket I liked. I really love the way these look.

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  • Resolution Review #3: Releasing Expectations for Better Productivity?

    May 5, 2015

    "2015 Groundhog Day Resolutions" My third Groundhog Day Resolutions report for 2015 is that I’ve been awfully unproductive. In fact, I think I’m in a productivity slump that is characterized not by the ability to focus, but by a lack of DESIRE to focus. It’s been quite puzzling and annoying, but I have a few new insights that might pay off this time. Such is the nature of doing something new: you gotta keep trying different approaches until something clicks. The short version is that I’m going to try something I’m calling emergent productivity, which might be what I’ve been doing all along with my creative work. Read the full report for the gruesome details. (more…)

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  • Voices of the Past, Guiding Me Toward the Future

    May 4, 2015

    "More Space!" SUMMARY: I’m not generally a superstitious man, but I do take notice when I notice a pattern in what catches my attention; I figure it’s the Universe bonking me on the head to get me to think. In this case, I stumbled upon three old blog crushes, powerful voices from the past that were a huge inspiration and even helped set me on my path. After so many years, were these voices calling to me again? What are they saying to me NOW? (more…)

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