Monday, July 23, 2007

Work for spec and spec work.

I came across this petition-thing on not doing work on spec sometime ago, and that got me thinking about spec work and work for spec.

What can I say, as a business practice, I do not do work on spec. I believe it to be a bad business practice. If you’re going to ask an artisan to do something, you should pay for it. Otherwise you are not serious and you are not behaving respectfully (toward the artisan).

On the other hand, I managed to win some since projects using spec work in my portfolio. Spec work has always been a controversial topic. Does it count for something? Is it ok for a mid-career person to have some or a lot of spec work in their “book”?
As a Creative Director I worked for at Saatchi & Saatchi in LA said to me once “clients will always stop you partway to genius, with spec work you can show future employers/clients that you can get there…” which is what people want to see.

Good work is good work, no matter if it’s “spec” or “for real”, work on spec…don’t do it…

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Design for the other 90% (click here!)

While not an industrial designer, I still strongly believe that people in the design field should use their talents to help repair the world (at least once in a while). While watching a recent ABC World-News-Podcast I came across an item about an exhibit called: "Design for the other 90%" which talked about how very simple industrial design is helping the developing world. This is a well worth your time, so please click on the links below to find out more.

Let's use our power to help the world...

VW the Big Day

I came accross this great commercial from a few years ago. it is a VW commercial and one that is done really well (props to Arnold in Boston), enjoy! Digg

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The widndows world welcomes Safari... but web builders might not

…look! Its not that I am unhappy that safari is now available for windows, but I think we are overlooking something here:

Sadly web standards are not adhered to in the same worldwide manner. For instance safari can work very well with the Citibank website (and even that is not certain; see but will it work well with a bank, say in Israel. The answer in a resounding no! Many companies worldwide are building solely for IE and IE6 for that matter. So any other browser you work with including Firefox will simply not work.

So it’s all good and well, wanting the share the happiness we all feel using Safari, but if I can’t check the balance in my bank account, well what good does it do for me that it’s pretty. Digg

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Some new thinking at

With the onset of the WWDC yesterday, Apple has finally lunched a redesigned web site. The old look has been there for about 5 years which underscores the difficulty in doing a face-life to a major company website.

This new look reveals a lot about the thinking at apple with regards to the company and how it delivers its services. First off, there is only the logo the words Apple" do not appear next to the logo. This is not new thinking per se at Apple, but to see it on the web site this way made me think, “I guess these guys are not afraid of dumb people”. So much of web design (that is done in the main stream caters to the lowest common denominator).

Next with redesign comes some rethinking of the categories on the site which clearly illustrates what many of us who follow apple knew for a while – the ipod/itues and iphone business are growing.

What’s pretty cool is these sliding tabs on the right hand side that move up or down depending on what info you’re looking for. Apple is using a lot of the new technology that web2.0 is based on, and is taking a lot from the functionality of itunes. Which is interesting in the sense that this is not a top down thinking but a down up one. In other words the brand as a whole is influenced by one product and not the other way around. There is nothing wrong in this way of doing things; philosophically it is somewhat of an eye opener.

All in all in is so to speak “a day late” but it is most certainly not “a penny short” good going… Digg

Monday, June 11, 2007

I'll know it when I see it

"I’ll know it when I see it!"

That is what the client said to me, yes you’ve heard right: I’ll know it when I see it. I waned to scream, literally stand up grab him by the shoulders, shake him up and explain to him in no uncertain terms that he is the biggest idiot I have ever meat. BUT I DID NOT.

Nevertheless, what is this “I’ll know it when I see it” business what happened to a creative brief some guidelines, something, anything. I guess when you are salaried it can work like that, but still it’s maddening.

On the other hand unlimited exploration is very clearly a great thing, but I don’t thing it overshadows the frustration of not knowing where you are going, and if you’ll ever get there.

So, have you ever heard that? And what did you say in response?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

an open letter to the editors of How, Print and Communications Arts

Some would consider what I am about to do a rant, but I suspect that some many of us in the design community have long pondered… pondered what?

Well, where are our favorite offline magazines as the web is moving towards versions 2.5 or 3.0? What do I mean?

Well, one of my favorite magazines is HOW. I have been a fan and a subscriber for a long while and I await the arrival of a new issue with childe-like anticipation.

How and its brothers Print and Communication Arts have all done some work towards getting an online footprint (each in it’s own way), but for the most part art very clearly in the “old media” corner of the room. Which is a big shame.

Many of us work at home / or alone and crave the communication/interaction that comes with working together. We are always looking for fresh ideas, and fresh thinking and seeing the same sort of stuff these magazines put in print online (if that!) is saddening.

I will give How and the others credit; How is moving forward it has a blog and seems to sport some sort of Login “my How” mechanism. But lets be frank about it, the site has not seen a major redesign in probably 5 years (I was so existed when it happened!)

What if they had video bloggs, where people shared their ideas, what if they had a daily or weekly conversation (on video) with a different designer… look, if the New York Times is going the way of Video, which should be a big enough sign to How CA and Print. And we all know that the NY Times is as old media as old media gets.

So I call on How, Print and Communication Arts, DO SOMETHING, I will still subscribe, but I will be an even bigger supporter if I can visit the site everyday and see something new. And you could probably make money (the magic word) doing this!

And oh, if anyone out there has any ideas for a good website/portal that deals with design. Please let me know. Digg

Saturday, June 02, 2007

And then there were two...

This week saw Steve and Bill, Bill and Steve, sitting on the same stage (at Washington Posts' D5... Link above). As I write these lines the entire session is posted to the website and I have been watching this and musing...

Isn't if funny, that most of these "worriors" age, and stop fighting, as they see that there ways are not that different.

I grew up (in my computer experience) in the age when you were supposed to hate Microsoft, as an Apple user, I even felt that we lost the battle when in '97 Steve and Bill make up, but it seems I was worng. Apple has done remakbly well since those days in '97 and I think many of us are realizing that we can all "live together" (Rodney King).

Even more importantnly, I think many of us have realized that YES! you can live as an island of Mac in a PC world, and still work, play and communicate with the outside in many languages, ...BTW not just in English.

But what this mostly, got me thinking about is the fact that (and Jobs said that) it's about the software. I was telling anyone who wanted to hear back then (about 5 people) that Apple should get out of the Hardware business all together, especially the ones where other people can make the hardward for less money. They got out of the printer market (thank god) and they might even do well to kill other less successful hardware markets...

But mostly it was good to see these two "haters" (as some called them), live in peace understanding that (gasp!) THEY BOTH WON THE WAR...