Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Design Stinking


Thank you, Helen Walters, for your thoughtful piece on Design Thinking in FastCompany. In contrast, I will take a shorter, more scatological path to explaining why I think we need to stop this “exciting new phenomenon” before it kills its host. First, it’s pretentious and unable to withstand scrutiny. How did all the invention that […]

Game on


Guess what my favorite work-out is? I did it every day for a month to win the prize of a free following month. My accomplishment was slighted, though, by the fact that I did not manage to become the FourSquare Mayor of the workout studio. Hana H., whoever you are, I tip my hat. FourSquare […]

Bad communication design is a highly dangerous thing. Two examples from a trip through JFK and bus side seen from a taxi on the ride home. IBM’s “Let’s build a smarter planet.”  Actually, the planet is genius, homo sapiens are too stupid to learn from it. If only we were smart enough not to destroy […]



Yamboy* was a young student in Nairobi who was turned into a yam when he accepted candy from a witch in his schoolyard. Identified by his schoolmates and taken by his teacher to the local police station, Yamboy was held for observation for several weeks before being released to begin his new life as a […]

In a recent blog, “Corporations Need a Reason for Being”, Ed Cotton writes about the gap between what consumers care about – social issues, purpose, human rights, and what companies sell – stuff, stuff and more stuff.  He says: “It seems like we’ve confused marketing with purpose, that marketing is something that helped us out […]

I have always been aware of what I call the “habits of an industry” – unspoken but sacred common ways that every company in an industry represents itself in communication. For example, luxury fashion ads are always graphic and close up; if there is any hair shown it’s being tossed gently by an off-camera fan. […]

I wonder if in ancient times – Egypt, Rome, the Ottoman Empire, even our cave dwelling ancestors – females ever talked among themselves about the need for women to exert their influence more powerfully on the dynamics and fate of their worlds, as men clubbed each other to death, went off on crusades, or just […]

Listening for a way to be while drowning in oil. Last night at a party in our little town in Connecticut, a friend confessed that she turns her head away from the news any time she hears about the nightmare in the Gulf, and won’t read about it anymore because it’s too painful. The emotions […]

The rhythm of the F Train is something I have come to love since we moved to DUMBO in October. It’s a magic train that seems to go everywhere I need to get to in Manhattan. I hold a false belief, though, that every trip should take about half an hour, whether I’m going to […]

Context is everything. Sometimes when weʼre intent on communicating we donʼt see the wider view. Did this babysitter mean to connect herself with the ad behind her notice? Maybe so, somebody took her number. No wonder our financial system is in trouble.