Posts Tagged ‘communication design’

Design Stinking

20Dec10

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

09Sep10

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 […]


“Going off the grid” is an expression designed to make us think it’s about nothing but sacrifice – a perfect example of framing as George Lakoff describes it. Because it quite literally says we’re giving something up (Oh no! Not the GRID!!!), we’re pre-conditioned to anticipate a loss. As with fossil fuels, so it is […]


Lying in a hammock under white pines, I count the tiers of branches to recognize the years the tree has stood sturdy over the space. Generations ago, old-stand white pines were harvested to stand tall over ships and the merchants who made America. Living and harvested woods — both — have been invaluable parts of […]


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. […]


This poster from WWII is surprising. Not for its portrayal of disaster, since that’s become mundane, but as a reminder that at one point we believed talking actually had the power to change things. Oh right, there was the little indiscretion in Rolling Stone last week, but what difference did that make, really? Careers were […]


In 1862, Emily Dickinson wrote a letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a man she hoped would become her mentor. In it, she asked, “Are you too deeply occupied to say if my verse is alive? The mind is so near itself it cannot see distinctly, and I have none to ask. Should you think it […]