Posts tagged ‘process’

Goals and reflection.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a bit, then you already know that I’m a major supporter of documentation. It’s good for your portfolio, it’s good for predicting or explaining value, and it’s also good for yourself. Just ask Nicholas Felton, the whose been creating annual reports (famously) since 2005.

photo via

Last month Mashable reported on the growing trend of people tracking their individual data, for example Dan Meyer, who says: “It just speaks to the natural tendency to introspect, look inward… I do it for the same reason people journal or blog about their lives.”

While by no means a full-fledged graphical report, here are a few interesting stats about the past two years on Daily Design Idea (all gathered through WordPress’ own “My Stats” tool):

51,824 All Time Views
50 All Time Average (Mean) Views Per Day
160 2012 Average (Mean) Views Per Day
916 Views on the Busiest Day (thanks in great part to a retweet by Design Milk about this post)

Top 3 Search Terms leading searchers to the blog:
architect (6,904 times)
street art (3,617 times)
Paula Scher (500 times)

Beyond the home page, Top 3 Pages visited:
the post What does an architect look like? (9,163 times)
the post Fantastic photographic reenactments (2 of 2). (1,341 times)
the post A challenge from Paula Scher. (1,275 times)

So what does this mean going forward? I definitely plan to use Twitter more consistently and finally do a long-awaited update to the Paula Scher-inspired tshirt designs. I’m also hoping to publish more interviews (get ready for some great insight from Nate Poel), bring in more guest writers, and live Tweet more events.

March 28’s daily design idea is document your progress (and plan for more of it in the future!) and you’ll be that much more likely to make – and achieve – great goals.


March 28, 2012 at 5:16 pm 2 comments

From the archives: Becoming the designer that you want to be.

As a blogger, you hear comments like “the ‘average blog’ has the lifespan of a fruitfly” all the time. And unfortunately, many people do abandon new blogs before they return significantly on their time investments. While I admit that I have not hit my “daily” writing goal by a long shot, I’m still very proud to say that I’ve kept up this blog for two years now. And it’s led to some exciting connections and discoveries that have definitely made the whole thing worth it.

adorable image by Flickr user nappent

Two year’s ago today I wrote the following post to kick off this blog. Even though I’m now off the design track in my career (and more onto a research-like track), the post is still very relevant:

I’ve been thinking design ideas for years now… and have been toying with archiving them for almost as long. When I read GOOD’s “Ten Steps to Becoming the Designer You Want to Be” by Laura Seargeant Richardson, I decided to (metaphorically) make the leap and (actually) start a blog.

March 12′s design idea is get your ideas out of your head – get them out onto paper, on a blog, in a sketch, through conversation. Start working through them (and then get someone else involved!). I believe that great design always involves inquiry, brainstorming, and collaboration. That’s what this blog is for, and hopefully it really will help me become the designer that I want to be.

March 12, 2012 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

Stories about the value of process.

I just listed to a really enjoyable DO lecture by graphic designer (and now writer) Frank Chimero. I definitely recommend watching it, as well as perusing the rest of the DO talks (as I’ll be doing).

Frank Chimero’s “lesson plan” slide from a 2009 lecture to Portland State University’s design department. via My Modern Metropolis

The title inspiration for the DO lecture was a quote from David Chang, head chef and owner of Momofuku, who was stopping a sous chef from trying to cut a corner. The quote resonated with Chimero because he had been beating himself up about how long and difficult the process had become for writing his new book, but has since embraced that working through this laborious process may be the most valueable part of the experience (both for himself and for his eventual readers).

February 28’s daily design idea is Chang’s quote and the title Chimero’s DO lecture: “We don’t work like that here. We do things the long, hard, stupid way.

February 28, 2012 at 11:43 am Leave a comment

Floating green space?

If the idea of a a park underneath the New York City streets is a bit too intangible for you, not to worry, there’s always the fully realized floating green spaces of Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno. While the project’s images are similarly mind-blowing, the experience of Saraceno’s ‘Cloud Cities’ installation is a bit easier to grasp as it’s currently on display at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, Germany.

photograph via bold magazine

While I haven’t been (and, sadly, won’t be) able to wander in and around the pieces myself, I do have a couple friends who were lucky enough to do so – and they say it really was as amazing as it looks.

conceptual drawing via designboom

The designboom article has great photos and sketches of the ‘Cloud Cities’ installation, as well as an interview with Saraceno while climbing in the piece itself. Some great mid-installation shots are also available on inhabitat (as is an article on an unrelated installation of nature-themed bubbles in Paris in 2010, in case you’re digging this kind of art).

February 27’s daily design idea is when your concept alone dazzles, make sure your execution lives up to the hype. Saraceno seems to have succeeded, on both counts.

February 27, 2012 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

My design process (part 1 of many).

In a recent interview for an event planning gig, I was asked what my process was. Since I was overly focused on sharing my major accomplishments, my response was more of a highlight-filled narrative than it was an overview of my approach. With hindsight being 20-20-ish, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I could have more directly answered the question… and I decided that I wanted to use the blog to explore this in much the same way that I started defining design. And even though the job that I interviewed for wasn’t a classic design gig, having a design process is still incredibly important. After all, we’re all designers.

any self reflection requires putting on your thinking cap(s); illustration by Shaun Bryndzia

I started by brainstorming the major components of my process, listed below. Their order does have some logic for me, but know that my process is very rarely a linear one.

The Major Components of My Process*:
Articulating Goals
Identifying Resources
Identifying Constraints
Identifying and Prioritizing Variables
Researching and Solidifying the Variables
Defining Action and Responsibility
Taking Action
Documenting the Process (Especially the Action)
Reflecting, in Preparation for Future Processes

*Serious Disclaimer: I will probably evolve this list as I continue with this series.

March 25’s daily design idea is what are the major components of your design process?

March 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm 1 comment

“Why We’re All Designers”

“Why We’re All Designers” is a concise and fantastic article by Laura Weiss, Vice President of Service Innovation for the Taproot Foundation, published in Change Observer. While I highly recommend reading the whole thing, below is my favorite section:

“Without an appreciation of the design process, it is difficult for someone who has a stake in the outcomes to be a productive participant. Design, and the professions that engage in it, are still pretty exotic to most of the American public…. So when the concept of “design thinking” was introduced to the business world more than a decade ago, it became hugely popular. Designers started promoting the tools of their trade as applicable to core business decisions, and this education has enabled more productive collaborations between designers and their clients, as well as product managers and their bosses. Both translate into better outcomes in the form of successful commercial products.”

illustration based on Peter Drucker’s Paradigm of Change Model, from ZURBlog

March 24’s daily design idea is Weiss’s concluding thought: “When such capabilities are widely developed within the social sector, we’ll be able to say that we’re all designers too. To thrive, we’ll have to be.”

March 24, 2011 at 11:05 pm 1 comment

640 images, 80 seconds, 1 trip around the world.

This stop-motion short is too good not to share, plus I’m psyched that the website documents their process (at least to a certain extent).

Discovered via GOOD (April 30, 2010). Watch it at

March 13’s daily design idea is be more like Alex: be adventurous in your work & faites “un voyage pas commes les autre.”

March 13, 2011 at 10:26 am Leave a comment

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