Musings: Eames And Ignorance

Great thoughts on how ignorance and genius collided in the work of Charles and Ray Eames. The quote comes from the wonderful documentary, “The Architect and the Painter”:

“Sell your expertise and you have a limited repertoire. Sell your ignorance and you have an unlimited repertoire. He was selling his ignorance and his desire to learn about a subject. The journey of not knowing to knowing was his work.”

- Richard Saul Wurman on Charles Eames

Musings: The Successful Logo

Our short musings on design, branding, business, and the human condition.

“Well-designed logos are the work of the designers. Successful logos imply the company’s use of the logo.”

-Per Mollerup, quoted in Steve Heller’s interview at The Atlantic.

Musings: Our Polar World

Our short musings on design, branding, business and the human condition.

Why it is that we can’t seem to allow gray concepts, nuances, or middle grounds these days — whether it’s in politics, headlines, or cultural battles? Is it because choosing an extreme is easier and faster? Or owing to the fact that our mostly-electronic communication doesn’t handle shades of meaning, subtlety, or nuance well?

I’d like to call for a return to degrees of agreement, which is much easier to find when we don’t think of our positions as islands, but instead, as steps along a wider road where everyone is also walking.

Mar 13 2013



Musings: The Impressive Difference

Our short musings on design, branding, business and the human condition.

What’s the difference between trying hard to impress someone, and just being plain impressive?

The first allows a lack of confidence to push you into action, even if it’s unwise or hastily-planned. The second is just a state of being, allowing some internal strength, competence, or other compelling quality to shine. The harder you’re trying, the less impressive it will probably seem.

Feb 11 2013

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Musings: Doing Something About It

Our short musings on design, branding, business and the human condition.

Super inspiring thoughts from Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and father of the video game industry:

Hexanine: Nolan Bushnell Quote

Musings: Great Thoughts From Greater Designers

Our short musings on design, branding, business and the human condition.

These incredible designers and thinkers said it well:

“The discipline of asking bigger questions can lead to profound changes for brands.” -Marty Neumeier

“You design for durability, for function, for usefulness, for rightness, for beauty…” -Paul Rand

“Navigating through the political process — building trust — building relationships — it’s everything.” -Paula Scher

“Marketing without design is lifeless, and design without marketing is mute.” -Von Glitschka

Musings: Eames on Art

Our short musings on design, branding, business and the human condition.

“Art resides in the quality of doing; process is not magic.” – Charles Eames

Musings: Browsing vs. Searching

Our short musings on design, branding, business and the human condition.

I haven’t been in a comic book store in at least seven months. I get pubs electronically on my iPad now. I just happened by a comic book store last week, in Chicago’s Loop, and was drawn in. It’s a different experience.

Electronic everything is turning whole industries and business models on their heads. It happened to music. Publishing is the latest. But just because songs, stories and images can be served up on a screen and delivered much like their printed or published counterparts doesn’t mean that the entire experience is duplicated.

Browsing is different than searching. Searching is “need it today,” task oriented, goal-focused — all on the act of getting or acquiring, comparing or contrasting.

Browsing is different. It’s the longer, meandering road to the same destination. But along the way it introduces nuance, context, and the serendipity of discovery. Things look different when categorized in ways the don’t bend to the whim of user-generated search results or keyword association.

Magazine racks have context. Book stores have ambiance. Clothing displays create connection in ways that disassociated products do not. A thin layer of rich, nuanced, personal experience can often get stripped away if a brand isn’t careful. It takes smart people to understand the value of that experience and know when it can’t be replicated.

Musings: Ignoring Limits

Our short musings on design, branding, business and the human condition.

Most of us are awed by the marathon runners who push past their physical and mental limits (sometimes frighteningly so!) and move on to do something impressive. But it’s much harder (and less socially acceptable) to do that kind of scratching and clawing within an organization. Great brands, excellent products, impressive results — all of these things are done by people without excuses, individuals who have ignored the limits inside themselves, or those imposed by others. Why not bring a little of that limitless thinking to our everyday work?

Seeking the White Space of Life

White Space

It’s probably no surprise when I say that our blog, and Twitter account have been relatively quiet of late. Between moving into a new office, and a slew of new projects and proposals, we’ve barely had a chance to slow down, ponder, and drink in much of the outside world.

I speak for myself in saying this — that in the headlong rush towards the end of the year, I’ve barely been able to fit in daily tasks, much less the time to think deeply into open spaces. And I think my creative brain has suffered.

Read on…