Posts Tagged ‘Heller 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 […]


In one of the thousand conversations I’ve had over the past month, somebody said, “You can always recognize the pioneers, they’re the ones face down in the mud with arrows in their backs.” Two people that I care about and admire deeply have recently been removed ungraciously from the organizations they founded. One is Jeffrey […]


I spoke last night, along with Ellen Lupton, to a wonderful gathering of women at the She Says monthly event in Soho. While I have always been a bit jealous of people who can use the same presentation enough times to deliver it flawlessly, I typically end up writing something different for each occasion, making […]


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 […]


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 […]