Good design is more than this

(image via Jonathan Trier Brikner)

There’s more to being a design genius than this. Truly.

Just because you have a computer, laptop or tablet allowing you to download free fonts and free images and use some free app you discovered on Twitter does not make you a design genius.

Just because you “designed” a cool graphic image the way many misled souls believe they labored and “built” an IKEA bookshelf does not make you a design genius. [1]

Celebrated graphic designer, Milton Glaser, put it best:

Computers are to design as microwaves are to cooking.

Good design solves problems and presents stories. As a creative director for an international publishing house, my chief goal is to attract potential readers to new books by capturing a story in a single cover image. To illustrate the point further, an author (for whom I had just completed a book design) emailed me recently: “I’m getting some great feedback on my Facebook page about the cover. Thank you very much…” Good design is about communication: problem solved, story told.

NOTE: [1] For what it is worth, IKEA is not good design. It is nothing more than cheaper-than-Wal-mart veneer furniture, second-rate fabric products and wax-paper lamps. And don’t call IKEA “modern design” because modern design is so 1948. Seriously, the modernist movement began almost a century ago. But I digress.

The Origin of Titles

The Origin of Titles

It is amusing that modern readers have been spared the lengthy title of the 1859 first edition: ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES. OR THE PRESERVATION OF FAVOURED RACES IN THE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE. hm? British scientists have found scores of … Continue reading

Read: Digital Maoism

The problem I am concerned with here is not the Wikipedia in itself…. the problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it’s been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise…. This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. This idea has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods. The fact that it’s now being re-introduced today by prominent technologists and futurists, people who in many cases I know and like, doesn’t make it any less dangerous….The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe that the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we’re devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots….The hive mind should be thought of as a tool. Empowering the collective does not empower individuals — just the reverse is true. There can be useful feedback loops set up between individuals and the hive mind, but the hive mind is too chaotic to be fed back into itself.

HT: longformorg: A cautionary inquiry into the unchecked hive mind. Jaron Lanier | EDGE | May 2006

Link: Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism

To ruminate, or to tweet, that is the question

“For some kinds of thought, especially moral decision-making about other people’s social and psychological situations, we need to allow for adequate time and reflection,” said… author Mary Helen Immordino-Yang.

(via Tweet this: Rapid-fire media may confuse your moral compass) (hat tip: monkeytypist and azspot)

This seems to contradict the premise of the best-selling book, Blink. The article continues:

The study raises questions about the emotional cost… of heavy reliance on a rapid stream of news snippets obtained through television, online feeds or social networks such as Twitter.

My take away: maybe it is best to marinate and ruminate than to tweet.

Twitter is like golf. I feel like an idiot for doing it, but I have to admit that sometimes it’s fun.

The Ad Contrarian (via somethingchanged)

// love the pejorative tone many bourgeois have toward the idea of poetry readings…

“[Khalil] Gibran’s ‘masterpiece’… turns not so much upon poetry as upon the genre of wisdom literature and its subgenre, the aphorism, which holds a particularly valued place in Arab culture. Like all good aphorists, he uses language that is both plain and metaphorical; it invites understanding yet in a way that brushes against the mysteries of being alive. There’s no doubt that the style occasionally ascends into comical elevations, and that its high tone seems lost in the ironies and specificities of American life. But that sort of spiritual homelessness pretty much describes a large swath of immigrant life.” (via poetry & popular culture)

// was asked this weekend if i still blog: yes, no, blogging is so 2004… blogging is not publishing, publishing is not blogging…

“The average church in America has less than a 15% retention rate of first-time visitors. If I owned a pizza parlor and more than 85% of the people who ate there once decided to never come back, I would think a mailer might just kill the business.”

And The Greatest Of These Is Latte

Wikipedia is not the beginning and end of research

…students don’t consult enough sources. Wikipedia is so easy and accessible that it stands out from all other reference works. Thirty years ago, students might check several encyclopedias…. Now, it’s Wikipedia first and, too often, last.

Mark Bauerlein, via The Chronicle of Higher Education. Link.