Frances Berriman’s post about being an accidental designer struck a chord with me, particularly the consideration of design as a soft-science:
I unfairly (despite being very much into, and doing, art throughout my life) considered “design” to be a soft subject – engineering being the one with the greater level of difficulty. Wrong assumption, I realise, but easily encouraged during my time with computer scientists during my degree years where the concept of service design for the human-being end of software was treated as a “nice extra” and usually quite glossed over.
My attitude was similar until I had the opportunity to study book design. Web development is a surprisingly similar field to book design; think large quantities of data, tons of images, typography, how the user/reader is interacting with what you made. That experience also made me acutely aware that websites are living things, another point that she touches on:
Those of us building websites then, early adopters of proper web-standards and sites that worked for lots of different kinds of users, tried desperately to make them understand that this isn’t print and it is a flexible, changing, growing, responsive, versatile, medium. They didn’t get it.
I’ve seen the other side of the fence, and like she says, it’s not so much that they don’t get it, more that they have been given the chance to do so. That leads me to a post by Jeff Atwood, But You Did Not Persuade Me. Definitely a skill I need to work on.
From a post by Achal Aggarwal, Lazy People Innovate:
Our job as programmers is not to churn out huge chunks of code everyday. Our job is to think innovative ways to solve a problem. Code is not the main product we are looking for. Code is not what we want to do. But it is what makes everything run. It is a necessity.
Will Smith on the Graham Norton Show describing the impact of your own name and his experience with the longevity of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It was all too real, I couldn’t stop giggling.
Of course we love to hate Kazaam, but it’s refreshing to hear Shaq’s take on the experience.
I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent from Newark who always dreamed about doing a movie. Someone said, “Hey, here’s $7 million, come in and do this genie movie.” What am I going to say, no? So I did it.
One of the world’s most prolific movie pirates is a pensioner from Brooklyn.
“Big Hy” — his handle among many loyal customers — would almost certainly be cast as Hollywood Enemy No. 1 but for a few details. He is actually Hyman Strachman, a 92-year-old, 5-foot-5 World War II veteran trying to stay busy after the death of his wife. And he has sent every one of his copied DVDs, almost 4,000 boxes of them to date, free to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
From Designing Programs by Casey Reas and Chandler McWilliams.
Writing software is something that’s not typically associated with the work of a visual designer, but there’s a growing number of designers who write custom software as a component of their work. Over the last decade, through personal experience, we’ve learned many of the benefits and pitfalls of writing code as a component of a visual arts practice, but our experience doesn’t cover the full spectrum. Custom software is changing typography, photography, and composition and is the foundation for new categories of design practice that includes design for networked media (web browsers, mobile phones, tablets) and interactive installations. Most importantly, designers writing software are pushing design thinking into new areas.
The asked a number of designers the impetus for writing their own software, and how it has impacted their work.
AP has a new look for the first time in thirty years. The creative system for the rebrand was developed by Brooklyn design firm Objective Subject.
Our iterative process generated an option with a red underscore, which we dubbed ‘the prompt,’ that evokes AP’s emphasis on editorial rigor and precise and accurate approach. Setting the letterforms in black on a white backdrop proved to further highlight these values, while improving contrast and legibility. Using a consistently white backdrop further improved the strength of e mark in the variety of environments it needs to live in.
We retained the original logo’s stencil lettering, which embody the gutsy and adventurous personality of an international news organization. Redrawing the letters upright speaks to AP’s integrity, while lending a more contemporary feel to the mark.
Be sure to check out the process video to get a feel for the brand mark’s development.
The AP has more information in the form of a dry press release (imagine this is the look they’re trying to avoid). They also have a placeholder up for their new website, with a link to a PDF of the brand introduction, which features the following image detailing the evolution of the logo.
Congratulations to my friends at Objective Subject on a great job. Look forward to seeing the new system in the wild.
The Submarine Cable Map, just in case you wanted to know where your bits are going. Here’s an excerpt from the description of the site:
TeleGeography’s free interactive submarine cable map is based on our authoritative Global Bandwidth research, and depicts active and planned submarine cable systems and their landing stations. Selecting a cable route on the map provides access to data about the cable, including the cable’s name, ready-for-service (RFS) date, length, owners, website, and landing points. Selecting a landing point provides a list of all submarine cables landing at that station.
The source is available too.
An excerpt from Tim Berners-Lee’s post to comp.sys.next.announce concerning the release of the WorldWideWeb app:
This project is experimental and of course comes without any warranty whatsoever. However, it could start a revolution in information access. We are currently using WWW for user support at CERN. We would be very interested in comments from anyone trying WWW, and especially those making other data available, as part of a truly world-wide web.
A revolution in information access indeed.
You also might be interested in this post from the eightface archive: The oldest page on the internet.
Researchers at Imperial College London have been exploring the effects of psilocybin on the brain. A quote from professor David Nutt:
Psychedelics are thought of as ‘mind-expanding’ drugs so it has commonly been assumed that they work by increasing brain activity, but surprisingly, we found that psilocybin actually caused activity to decrease in areas that have the densest connections with other areas. These hubs constrain our experience of the world and keep it orderly. We now know that deactivating these regions leads to a state in which the world is experienced as strange.
Here are links to abstracts from the first and second study.