Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Metaphors are powerful

Life lately...
holiday prep

will drop

wish I were
this guy
every one
every time


but elbows
look sore


Friday, October 22, 2010

What's on Your Home Screen

Whenever someone shows me their iPhone I'm always curious about what's on their home screen and what it may say about them.

Here's what I have lately.

Wonder what it says about me...stays in touch, loves reading and baseball, curious, surfs, tracks, and saves?

Here's the thing. My apps have to audition for the home screen.

Tell me about yourself...uh huh. How many clicks do you get? Are you a rookie that needs a trial run? How much distraction will you be? Are you seasonal? Will you make my life better or easier? Will you entertain me when I'm bored? You know, if I don't use you much you're off to join the jumble of apps on deeper screens? I'll have to separate you two, Camera and Clock, if you keep fighting with each other.

Here's my second screen.

There's a lot of pushing and shoving here to earn a spot on the home screen.

That Good icon will never make the home screen. Too loud. Just screaming to be buried. (It's actually my app to access my work e-mail, making it a good candidate for relegation to the heap.)

There's not a lot of special interests going on here because my phone really is about communication and usefulness, including the church stuff.

And, no, I haven't upgraded to 4.1 OS.

My husband did though and it screwed up a lot things...his wifi settings, and his Mail access and a few other things.

And, yes, I know you can group your apps into folders with the new OS, but now his phone is just a nondescript jumble of icons that all look the same...black with tiny dots of color representing the contents.


You have to read the tiny labels under each group to know what's in it. It's no longer visual and easy to find the app you want.

Icons are powerful little colored gems that save space and create an identity that's easy to recognize. They are there when I need them without extra fuss. And I don't need reading glasses to navigate!

What does your home screen say about you?


Sunday, October 17, 2010

What Your Desk Says About You

My coworker sent this video to me...with a -hint-hint- wink.

Desk - Music and Sound Design from Aaron Trinder Film:Motion:Music on Vimeo.

Is your desk a state of mind or an actual place?

These are all inspirational, but none of these are my work desk.

This is my desk.

My desk has a pile of paper 15" high that symbolizes the amount of work the team has done this year in creating and editing specifications for the next generation of Vanguard.com.

Sort of like those goal "thermometers" you see for fund-raising efforts.

But my pile of paper is symbolic of the constant change to standards and the effort it has taken to stay on top of them, not of reaching a lofty goal.

Necessary work, but hardly rewarding.

Standards are never done, never completely right, and never fully embraced or appreciated.

So I take satisfaction in that pile of paper, applaud myself and teammates as it grows, and will relish sending it to the recycle bin when I rotate off the project at the end of the year.


Credit | credit | credit | credit | credit | credit

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Art of Folding Paper

Stumbled upon this documentary on Netflix, Between the Folds. It's fascinating. I highly recommend seeing it.
Filmmaker Vanessa Gould takes you on a provocative odyssey into the mesmerizing world of modern origami, where artists and scientists use the ancient art form to craft works of delicate beauty and to model cutting-edge mathematical theories. Pushing the envelope of origami to include caricatured portraits and elaborate abstract designs, these experts examine how paper folding can reveal the profound connection between art, science and philosophy.
It sparked a long-forgotten memory, lost in the necessity of day-t0-day demands of current circumstances.

I love math.

Few people know that about me.

It started with pop-up books. I remember when I was three years old, or four, sitting on the floor in the children's book section of a large department store, looking at the magic of a pop-up book, and closing my eyes, imagining what the shapes would look like if I took them off the page and laid them flat, and wondering if I could put it all back together to work again.

I loved the fun of learning math. I've loved solving those little puzzles of number logic since I was in elementary school first learning the rules of the game. So black and white. Either your solution was wrong or it was right. But rewarding when it was right. A game.

I remember one Jr. High math teacher, who fancied herself an inventor, who could explain an algebra problem in several different ways until nearly all the students understood, one way or another. We caught her enthusiasm for algebra and learned that it could be practical and not just theoretical.

Later in high school I found such a sense of accomplishment at completing a complex proof of a theorem, proving a truth through a series of logical steps, or explaining a complex trigonometry shape with a formula of numbers and letters. But these were always private victories because what girl brags about that to their friends. Not cool. Such a geek.

Then came a fascination with Tessalations, then fractals, and on to scherenschnitte (paper-cutting) and then quiltmaking. The folding, bending, reflecting, matching, and snipping and cutting, and then the recombining, repeating, rotating, seeing it come together in new and intricate and interesting ways.

Art and math.

Wanting to continue on in the same vein I chose Graphic Design as a career...art, and possibly beauty, explained mathematically through the Golden mean and the Fibonacci series and more. To take line and shape and make something beautiful and meaningful and useful. Visual explanations that communicate on several levels. And then came web design where math and code is what underlies some beautiful digital work.

Now today, I'm inspired by this documentary on Origami, and paper folding. Math can be explained through art. Art can be explained by math. The color, the feel of the paper, the old-fashioned work of hands...making something dimensional from a flat 2-dimensional plane.

Hmm, maybe it's time for a new hobby.


Photo credit

Saturday, September 11, 2010

T-Shirt Inspiration

My coworkers inspire me. Many of them are involved in some great design and art outside of the office.

Love Rachel's style, on a t-shirt
More of Rachel's designs

If you love t-shirt design here are some other great websites to submit your design to or be inspired by.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Uninspired vs. Inspired

Corporate design vs. breakfast design

Component standards vs. simple things of beauty

Executives vs. artists who blog

A cubicle vs. a studio with a view

Pixels vs. home, paper, scissors

Ergonomic chair vs. front porches

Coworker vs. talented photographer

Swiss design vs. sew colorful

Big budgets vs. art esprit

Room 394 vs. this happy place

Microwave lunches vs. Pioneer Woman cooking

Sidebars, banners, link colors vs. circles, birds and pastels

Your inspiration is my inspiration. Thanks Jill.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

3 Things

There are three things that take time:

1. Making friends
2. Raising children
3. Creative work

There is no rushing through.

I have to remind myself.

These are the things that bring the most meaning to our lives...lasting relationships, our families and the creative work of our minds and hands.

And they are worth the time and effort.

Wise words repeat in my head. "Do not labor for that which cannot satisfy."

In the workplace, hoping to build a quick relationship in order to "leverage" that relationship, is phony and easily spotted. Be genuine and caring.

At home, rushing kids from place to place, through meals and into bed, will bring regret and missed moments of joy and contentment. Let chores and "me"-dia time go.

In creative work, meeting a deadline with something slapped together in short burst between meetings, will never satisfy you or the client or the audience. Don't over promise.

Take the time.

Friday, January 29, 2010


"You cannot be anything you want to be—but you can be a lot more of who you already are."

"When we're able to put most of our energy into developing our natural talents, extraordinary room for growth exists."

Focusing on strengths rather than "opportunity areas" in the workplace, and as a way of managing or leading, makes so much sense to me. It just feels right.

I've been reading StrengthsFinder 2.0, and Strengths Based Leadership in the last few days.

Their research proves that feeling out. People who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general, according to the Gallup organization.

"If you focus on people's weaknesses they lose confidence."

When you are not able to use your strengths at work, you are six times less likely to be engaged in your job. You are more likely to dread going to work, to treat others poorly, to achieve less on a daily basis, and to have fewer creative moments.

Not good for a designer, right?

I recommend taking the assessment and having a candid discussion with your employer about where you can begin using your strengths every day.

At the very least it will validate what you've already known and give you permission to stop trying to be more of something you aren't.