Previous month:
February 2010
Next month:
April 2010

6 posts from March 2010

Cover for "Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills"

Cover for Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills

I'm excited to share with you the cover for my first book, Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills, due out in November 2010 from HOW Design Press. Kudos to Grace Ring, the art director and designer at my publisher that put together this very sweet cover.

Pre-sales are now available on! Here's a few words about the book:

Have you ever struggled to complete a design project on time? Or felt that having a tight deadline stifled your capacity for maximum creativity? This book is for you.

Within these pages, you’ll find eighty creative challenges that will help you reach a breadth of innovative design solutions, in various media, within any set time period. By completing these challenges, you’ll round out your skills by exploring projects along the full continuum of design disciplines, from the bread and butter of branding and collateral to the wild world of advertising to the user-centered practices of creating interactive projects. Along the way, we’ll take brief forays into wayfinding, editorial design, video and motion graphics, and many other areas of our continually expanding practice.

To aid you in conquering these challenges, I’ll provide you with useful brainstorming techniques and strategies for success. By road-testing these techniques as you attempt each challenge, you’ll find new and more effective ways of solving tough design problems and bringing your solutions to life.

The book is illustrated by a range of professional designers, students, and teachers across all disciplines of design. When layout is finished, we'll be able to share the final list of those included.

If you want a taste of the material in advance, check out my presentation at the 2010 my talk at the HOW Design Conference entitled "Better Ideas Faster: How to Brainstorm More Effectively."

From Observation to Vision: The Promise of Human-Future Interaction

The Watermarks Project [] is a public art project that explores the generally accepted prediction of the sea levels rising, due to climate change.

I've started a blog on frog design's Design Mind website called Intangible, focused on sustainability and service design. Whenever possible, I'll be cross-posting articles from that blog on ChangeOrder.

Imagining a sustainable future is like observing a series of waves crashing upon a shore, imperceptibly eroding the sand away.

It isn't clear whether we're at high or low tide, so we can't be sure how far to stand from the water. We try to judge, in the far distance, if there are large waves that may get our feet wet, or even worse, pull us out in the undertow. There are a fearless few out surfing the breakers, but most people are content to rest on their towels, sun themselves, and read a book or two. There is no clear understanding of how our actions on the shore will change the quality of the water, or what lives beneath the surface. Our influence on the known world is intangible.

Continue reading "From Observation to Vision: The Promise of Human-Future Interaction" »

Review of "Design Is the Problem" in The Designer's Review of Books

Design Is the Problem cover

“Would you like a paper or plastic bag for your groceries?”

Seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? Paper should be a better choice, because it will biodegrade. Plastic will go on forever in landfills and choke our oceans.

Well, my answer isn’t very well informed. There are major trade-offs in the consumption, production (and related pollution), and recycling opportunities for every seemingly simple decision that we make throughout our lives, both as consumers and as designers.

And this is the crux of Nathan Shedroff’s useful book, Design Is the Problem: The Future of Design Must be Sustainable. Within its pages sits a fully realized schema of the minutia that working designers and students need to internalize in order to start making more educated decisions regarding the sustainability of their client and personal projects. Being mindful about sustainability—both in the products and services we design, and in the decisions we make as consumers and creators in an ever-evolving economy—can be an astoundingly complex and time-consuming undertaking.

Continue reading at The Designer's Review of Books.

Patient User Interface

Sitting down in the naughahyde dentist's chair, I was confronted by the following screen:

Patient User Interface

In this blurry iPhone photo, you probably can't see the details of the UI, so I'll briefly describe them.

At the very top of the screen, the dental technician could select from a series of options, such as activities, lists, orders, and utilities as a set of dropdown menus. (You can also tell from the "chrome" that it's running in Windows XP.)

Below that, you can see that the entire user interface consists of a reflection of the room that I was currently sitting within. By clicking on the various areas, around the room, you could access my chart (by clicking "CHART") or the screen in the bottom right ("Patient Information"). And the buttons running along the top of the screen are repeat links to those same verbs that are woven through the room.

"I have to ask you," I said to the dental technician before she settled into the cleaning, pointing up at the screen. "Do you enjoy using this?"

Continue reading "Patient User Interface" »

The Elements of Design Studio Experience


For some time now, I've been questing for a template that describes the ideal components of a self-sustaining design studio. This template would be something that any designer could use to start determining the kind of studio they would want to own, or work at in the future.

In partnership with David Conrad at Design Commission, who helped me with creating the content for our presentation regarding fiscal sustainability for AIGA Seattle, I think we've finally stumbled upon the beginnings of a useful tool. Apologies to Jesse James Garrett, whose framework I've massacred.

Continue reading "The Elements of Design Studio Experience" »