So You Need a Typeface #

Wonderful poster for selecting typefaces by Julian Hansen. A large version is available here, thanks to Julie Katrine Andersen.

The Internet is Made of People #

The Internet also offers the opportunity to connect people across national, linguistic, and cultural barriers. But to take full advantage of that opportunity, individuals and organizations need to experience the Internet as a two-way communications platform, not merely as a broadcast medium serving up content from afar.

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Pragmatic Thinking and Learning Notes

I’m reading Pragmatic Thinking and Learning for the second time and keeping notes. Here are the digital ones, to be updated regularly.

  1. Always consider the context.
  2. Use rules for novices, intuition for experts.
  3. Know what you don’t know.
  4. Learn by watching and imitating.
  5. Keep practicing in order to remain expert.
  6. Avoid formal methods if you need creativity, intuition, or inventiveness.
  7. Learn the skill of learning.
  8. Capture all ideas to get more of them.
  9. Learn by synthesis as well as by analysis.
  10. Strive for good design; it really does work better.
  11. Rewire your brain with belief and constant practice.
  12. Add sensory experience to engage more of your brain.
  13. Lead with R-Mode, follow with L-mode.
  14. Use metaphor as the meeting place between Linear mode and Rich mode.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. pp. 96

15. Cultivate humor to build stronger metaphors.

Writing for a public audience is a great way to clarify your own thoughts and beliefs.

16. Step away from the keyboard to solve hard problems.

R-mode can only be invited, not commanded. Defocus to focus…In The Laws of Form mathematician George Spencer Brown refers to this not as thinking but as simply “bearing in mind what it is that one needs to know. ”

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the dimensions.

17. Change your viewpoint to solve the problem. Arthur looking down lines on maps. pp. 119 Brian Eno oblique strategies. pp. 120 Your mistake was a hidden intention. Change is good. Your breen is tuned to be adaptive. Make up words. Change nouns to verbs. pp. 121

Nominal fallacy, symbolic reduction fallacy. pp. 128

18. Watch the outliers: “rarely” doesn’t mean “never”.

Comfort with ambiguity. pp. 132

19. Be comfortable with uncertainty.
20. Trust ink over memory; Every mental read is a write.

You are the product of your time. pp. 135

Generational archetypes. pp. 141

21. Hedge your bets with diversity.
22. Allow for different bugs in different people.
23. Act like you’ve evolved: breathe, don’t hiss.

Douglas Adams On normality. pp. 151

24. Trust intuition, but verify.
25. Create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-boxed.
26. Plan your investment in learning deliberately.
27. Discover how you learn best.
28. Form study groups to learn and teach.
29. Read deliberately.
[ ] Create simple mindmap tool 30. Take notes with both R-mode and L-mode.
! Paper bag drawings: a drawing on each paper bag i get. With found pencils.
[ ] Make mindmap for next film or game or book I experience. Elite mindmap. MGSV mindmap.
31. Write on. Documenting is more important than documentation.
32. See it. Do it. Teach it.
Explain the problem to someone else or a surrogate object.
[ ] Attend a user group. Design? UX? Start a photography group?
33. Play more in order to learn more.
34. Learn from similarities; unlearn from differences.
“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.” —James Joyce
35. Explore, invent and apply in your environment—safely.
“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer or more water or less sun. You never blame the lettuce.” —Thich Nhat Hahn

We learn better by discovery, not instruction.

Cultivate situational feedback.

Use awareness to correct performance.

36. See without judging and then act.
“Don’t just do something; stand there.”

Trying fails, awareness cures.”

37. Give yourself permission to fail; it’s the path to success.

Always be the worse player in any band you’re in. —Pat Metheny

38. Groove your mind for success.
Visualising success helps it happen.
39. Learn to pay attention.
Aim for relaxed awareness.

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A photographer is someone who makes instant drawings using a tool that records impressions of light (Cartier-Bresson).

Professional photographers get paid for their drawings, but often the originality and honesty of the work suffers unless they choose the people they accept payment from carefully.

Amateur photographers do not get paid for their light drawings. They might draw to document a thing or express a feeling, or for no reason other than seeing how the thing they draw looks like drawn (Winogrand).

Good photographers, professional or amateur, choose their best drawings before showing them. They take the time to make drawings and to choose the best ones which they may show together in a book, website or wall.

If enough time is taken making and choosing drawings, the photographer may find she draws particular things in particular ways, and when other people see her drawings they understand and feel something.

New York City, 2015.

42nd Street, New York City, 2015

(In response to Tim Bray.)

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The Psychopath Code #

Pieter Hintjens’ book examining psychopathy as an evolutionary trait.

How Information Graphics Reveal Your Brain’s Blind Spots #

Some of our most peculiar mental quirks highlight just how temperamental our judgments can be. In one study, people holding heavier clipboards perceived issues as more important and more expensive than the people holding lighter clipboards. In another study, people holding a hot cup of coffee judged strangers they met as more warm and friendly than the people who were holding a cold glass of iced coffee.

Why Do We Believe in Electrons, but Not in Fairies #

Benjamin Kuipers on the scientific method.

Richard Feynman on Beauty and Science #

I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and there are many things I don’t know anything about. But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things.

The Egalitarian Golden Rule #

First, on the good teams, members spoke in roughly the same proportion, a phenomenon the researchers referred to as ‘‘equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking.’’ On some teams, everyone spoke during each task; on others, leadership shifted among teammates from assignment to assignment. But in each case, by the end of the day, everyone had spoken roughly the same amount. ‘‘As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well,’’ Woolley said. ‘‘But if only one person or a small group spoke all the time, the collective intelligence declined.’’

Second, the good teams all had high ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ — a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues. One of the easiest ways to gauge social sensitivity is to show someone photos of people’s eyes and ask him or her to describe what the people are thinking or feeling — an exam known as the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test. People on the more successful teams in Woolley’s experiment scored above average on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test. They seemed to know when someone was feeling upset or left out. People on the ineffective teams, in contrast, scored below average. They seemed, as a group, to have less sensitivity toward their colleagues.

‘‘I think, until the off-site, I had separated things in my head into work life and life life,’’ Laurent told me. ‘‘But the thing is, my work is my life. I spend the majority of my time working. Most of my friends I know through work. If I can’t be open and honest at work, then I’m not really living, am I?’’

See also: Five keys to a successful Google team and The Golden Rule.

Table Editor #

For quickly setting tables.

Certainty is the Closing of the Mind #

Milton Glaser:

One must assume that failure is the way we learn in general. My favorite notion is that certainty is the closing of the mind. The possibility to fail is one of the means by which we have to develop ideas, and to explore possibilities. Once you’re certain of what you’re doing the possibility of change and exploration begins to diminish. So, the idea of being an amateur constantly is an old idea for artists, particularly those who want to continue learning things they don’t already know. The idea of professionalism, which means you achieve a certain kind of success by repeating things over and over until you lose interest in them, is something that has always been frightening. What you see is people who attain a certain proficiency and then repeat that until they lose interest and the game is over.

I guess my model for this is Picasso. He was willing to give up everything once he learned how to do that. It’s always interested me that you can become proficient and once that happens the best thing to do is abandon what you know.

Resizer #

While exploring the Google Design site I came across Resizer — a viewer to test Material Design breakpoints.

Crisis Info Hub #

Unofficial open source lightweight CMS from Google and partners that lets organizations and individuals share crisis-relevant information. It powers

What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge #

Being a designer, what can you do to improve the reception and integration of refugees in urban areas?

Cloud Minute #

I’m exploring Google’s cloud infrastructure and found these informative one-minute long videos. Don’t miss Aja Hammerly’s introduction.

Hypertexthero on Dribbble #

Peeks at work-in-progress.

Design as Participation #

A consideration of design as a form of participation in complex adaptive systems.

Published on PubPub, MIT‘s a soon to be open-sourced platform for transparent publishing.

56 Notes from the Notebooks of Anton Chekhov #

Anthony Madrid:

When teachers wish to nurture expressiveness in young people, they (the teachers) should make a point of sharing with the kiddeos selections from writers’ notebooks. These show the beginner that a master’s seedlings don’t look that different from her own. Then teach the beginner to keep such a notebook! Excellent phrases overheard, witty lists, ideas for stories…. The front side of one sheet of paper might be enough to undo the damage of having heard that you either got it or you don’t.

This brought back a childhood memory:

N., a teacher, on her way home in the evening was told by her friend that X. had fallen in love with her, N., and wanted to propose. N., ungainly, who had never before thought of marriage, when she got home, sat for a long time trembling with fear, could not sleep, cried, and towards morning fell in love with X.; next day she heard that the whole thing was a supposition on the part of her friend and that X. was going to marry not her but Y.

Seeing Through Photographs #

Free online course from The Museum of Modern Art. I also recommend a couple of books : Looking at Photographs by John Szarkowski and Ways of Seeing by John Berger. The latter is also a BBC series, available in four parts on YouTube.

Lee Friedlander's Process #

Richard Benson on Lee Friedlander‘s photography work:

I said, Gee, how did you come to photograph monuments? And he said, ‘Oh’…he said…’The way I work is I don’t have a project, I photograph everything all the time, and then I look at my contact sheets and I say, I say, “Oh! I’m photographing monuments!”’

Brings this to mind.

Marcos Kotlhar #

The wonderful work of a childhood friend. I especially like the The Return ad with its beautiful organic imagery, sound and casting, and Billboard Magazine’s ‘See what it’s made of’ print work.

Setting Objectives Can Block Their Achievement #

Divergent Treasure Hunting is best.

Fascinating talk by Kenneth Stanley on our society’s obsession with setting objectives and how this stunts our creativity. Some points:

  • You can only discover new things by not looking for them.
  • The path to success is through not trying to succeed.
  • To achieve our highest goals we must be willing to abandon them.
  • It is in your interest that others do not follow the path you think is right (they will lay the stepping stones for your greatest discoveries).
  • If you set objectives and know what something is going to be, it’s not going to be innovative.
  • How essential it is to protect individual autonomy in any creative endeavour.
  • Without care, collaboration can lead to convergence, consensus and mediocrity (compromise for all, preference of none).
  • Search processes without objectives are Treasure Hunters. They have no final objectives and let human evolution and innovation collect stepping stones rather than solutions to particular problems. They are divergent and thereby creative.
  • Lao Tzu: A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.

Try out Picbreeder and see also John Cleese’s wonderful lecture on creativity.

Visions of the Future: Free Posters from NASA #


Imagination is our window into the future. At NASA/JPL we strive to be bold in advancing the edge of possibility so that someday, with the help of new generations of innovators and explorers, these visions of the future can become a reality. As you look through these images of imaginative travel destinations, remember that you can be an architect of the future.

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New Business Card

Simon Griffee - Designer.

Printed on regular office paper in preparation for the Dribbble meeting tonight. I did the drawing on the A train, probably on my way to Milton‘s studio, but I stole the design from somebody else. Hint: The person worked as a graphic designer here in New York City, and was a great photographer.

Know someone who needs to make something useful and beautiful? Hypertexthero is at your service.

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Love is a Better Teacher Than a Sense of Duty #
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Robotics: Law and Ethics Poster

The initial brief: Make a poster to advertise a robotics, law and ethics conference with lots of text. And don’t use any images.

So I used a text editor running in a terminal whose output was piped through the wonderful Cathode app.

Good old GNU Nano running in a terminal, running in the Cathode terminal emulator.

A large terminal image stuck to a wall would be unusual and stop the viewer — the primary purpose of a poster — I feel. The secondary purpose is to provide information and tell what we want the viewer to do. In this case, attend a conference.

Another outtake of good old GNU Nano running in a terminal, running in the Cathode terminal emulator.

Another outtake of the idea.

The brief has since been changed and the text rewritten, so this wasn’t used.

In good design, as in good photography, one most often says ‘no’, and throws away. I quite like it, anyway.

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Jay Campbell on Cello, Conor Hanick on Piano

Another poster for another free concert at the Italian Academy.

Jay Campbell, Cello
Conor Hanick, Piano poster.

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The Website Obesity Crisis #

Maciej Ceglowski:

Everything we do to make it harder to create a website or edit a web page, and harder to learn to code by viewing source, promotes that consumerist vision of the web.

Pretending that one needs a team of professionals to put simple articles online will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Overcomplicating the web means lifting up the ladder that used to make it possible for people to teach themselves and surprise everyone with unexpected new ideas.

Vladimir Horowitz in Moscow, 1986 #

His performance of Scriabin’s Étude in D-sharp minor, Op. 8, No. 12 at 45m 12s is especially moving.

The Web We Have to Save #

The rich, diverse, free web that I loved — and spent years in an Iranian jail for — is dying. Why is nobody stopping it?

Please publish on your own site and syndicate elsewhere.