Erik Spiekermann: Putting Back the Face into Typeface

A very well produced interview with Erik Speikermann. I was particularly taken by his take on a few points of the design process:

1. His Creative Process

I look at design inspirations for a long time – I look through books, on the internet and then I begin to sketch what I have seen. Then I put it all away for sometime. The next day (or next week) I sit down and draw it from memory – and then it is different. It is what I remember these design inspirations are be, but it is never the same as the original.

2.Teamwork

Most things I have done have been with other people. My responsibility is to show people that the design process is always teamwork, there are no geniuses, no single incredible person that can do it all of this.

New Job

After many years at my existing employer, I have decided to move on.

In March 2011, I will begin employment as an Interaction Architect at the digital consultancy Antrop in Stockholm.

I am extremely excited about this role and look forward to working with this group of creative, experienced people.

Infographic Resources

A week ago I got a question from fellow tweep @glvsn if I knew of any good in infographic resources for beginners.

Now 2010 was THE year of infographics and there are thousands of examples of infographics, some better then others (actually allot better), but ‘how to’ resources are not as common.

After some tweets back and forth between myself, @axbom and @belos_theclouds we assembled a pretty good list.

I took this list and fleshed it out with a few other links of my own.

I hope you find it useful.

Huge Infographics Design Resources: Overview, Principles, Tips and Examples An excellent resource gives a brief history, design guidelines and some good examples of successful infographics

10 Awesome Free Tools To Make Infographics This is a very good list that points out some basics, but really summarises a number of key free online tools for creating infographics.

Good Inforgraphics This comes from the GOOD website, which just drips with good design.

Society of News Design (SND) – Infographics A comprehensive list of articles, blog posts and longer essays on inforgraphics. Can loose yourself for hours in there.

Books on Infrographics Good list of visual design basics as well as some more advanced graphic guides.

The Anatomy of an Infographic Article that describes the three components of an good infographic: visual, content, and knowledge.

Seven and a Half Steps to Successful Infographics A excellent post from visual journalist Sarah Slobin based on 20 years of infographic experience from New York Times, Fortune Magazine and CNNMoney.com. Nuff said.

Finally:

‘Don’t stand in the way, let the information tell its own story’

Old vs. New vs. Good

A prominent digital designer was in Tokyo recently, and shared a story about an experience he had in his neighborhood in London. He decided to embark on a journey to as many antique shops as possible, and to purchase antiques with particularly romantic stories attached to them. Unexpectedly, each of the shopkeepers surprised him with a consistent response to his question, “Tell me about this object.” The dominant responses being, “Well, it’s *old*.” Or, “It’s from the 1800s, and is really *old*.”He found this response of “it’s old” (and therefore it’s *good*) quite puzzling. And then got to thinking how as a digital, “new media” person folks would ask him about his work to which he would respond, “It’s digital. It’s *new*.” And by the same token, implicitly, it’s *good.* He realized that neither “new” nor “old” are sufficient rationales to express quality. That the quality of “good” is something more. Like this story he related. It’s a good one, for certain. -JM

From the latest Posterous post from John Maeda.

Noun Project: Visual Icon Dictionary

I have been fascinated by info-graphical icons for some time. They always struck me as the perfect design elements – simple and understood regardless of user culture or language. That is why I was very excited to read about the Noun Project.

The Noun Project’s mission is to share, celebrate, and enhance the world’s visual language. Their goal is to collect and organize all the symbols that form our language into one easy-to-use online library that can be accessed by anyone. All the symbols on the site are completely free to download, and can be used for design projects, architecture presentations, art pieces – almost about anything.

Continue Reading →

The 30 Steps to Mastery

When I read this I was struck by the simplicity.

Ben Casnocha extends a two-step process for “How to Draw an Owl” with a few more to proclaim how to achieve mastery:

1. Start
2. Keep going.
3. You think you’re starting to get the hang of it.
4. You see someone else’s work and feel undeniable misery.
5. Keep going.
6. Keep going.
7. You feel like maybe, possibly, you kinda got it now.
8. You don’t.
9. Keep going.
10. You ask for someone else’s opinion — their response is standoffish, though polite.
11. Depression.
12. Keep going.
13. Keep going.
14. You ask someone else’s opinion — their response is favorable.
15. They have no idea what they’re talking about.
16. Keep going.
17. You feel semi-kinda favorable and maybe even a little proud of what you can do now.
18. Self-loathing chastisement.
19. Depression
20. Keep going.
21. You ask someone else’s opinion — they respond quite favorably.
22. They’re still wrong.
23. Depression.
24. Keep going though you can’t possibly imagine why.
25. Become restless.
26. Receive some measure of praise from a trustworthy opinion.
27. They’re still fucking wrong (Right?)
28. Keep going just because there’s nothing else to do.
29. Mastery arrives, you mistake it for a gust of wind.
30. Keep. Fucking. Going.

Nuff said.

Cocktail Party UX

It is the Glögg season here in Sweden now and afternoon ‘Glögg Parties’ are quite common. Recently, I was at such a party where the the inevitable work question came up:

‘What do you work with ?’

Ahh um. Since I am placed in the IT Department I usually say IT. Organisational charts are easy to understand.

‘I work with computers and websites’ which is sort of true, but not completely.

The fact is working with the web is difficult to classify easily and working with User Experience (UX) is even more difficult to describe. It is difficult to distil working with the web down to one single term. It seems we need that ‘one thousand word image’ that sums things up.

I feel there is a real need to for UX trading cards. (in development)

These cards would easily describe what a person that works with the Web into a series of easily consumable cards. Great for cocktail parties or meetings with the relatives !

These would be a cross between Stephan P. Andersons Mental Notes that describe insights into human behaviour and suggests ways to apply this to the design of Web sites to these IA One Sheeters assembled by Leah Buley from Adaptive Path:

Examples:

One Sheeters donated by Tom Dell’Aringa

So until these UX cards are developed these single sheets will have to do.

Happy Holidays.
Please drink Glögg responsibly.