One Side

There are two sides of American democracy but they are not equal. Only one side has embraced a very anti-democratic agenda in order to keep their power. Not only is the Republican party the one side who has embraced a ruthless strategy of making it harder for people to vote, now they are changing the rules after the vote has happened, limiting the power of the Democratic party. This is not normal. This is not acceptable. This is a threat to our collective future. And it must be stopped.

Making What I Want How I Want To Make It

A good amount of weirdness. That’s still beautiful. It’s collaborative in the idea and with the back and forth in the design. Bringing people in and such. Just the right amount of constraints with just the right amount of no rules.

It feels “alive.” And it feels worth it. Like this thing is unique and deserves on its own merits to be explored and enjoyed.

Can’t love everything. When trying to level out a work/life balance, I’ve had to get better at learning what I don’t like. There are only so many hours in a day and you simply can’t do everything. I find it reassuring to be honest and say to myself, yeah, I don’t like this thing, moving on to the next.

The Freedom of Design

It is different from art, and while there are boundaries or restrictions or parameters needed to define/contain the design, there is still the fact that the best design happens when there is freedom to make it happen. Yes, I work poorly when micro managed and nitpicked to death in the name of feedback from a whole host of opinions. When that happens, I’m too cautious, I design for approval, and I really just want the project to be over.

But when I’m working in a client/designer relationship where they do what they do and I do what I do, the benefits of such a relationship reap a multitude of benefits, both trackable and untrackable. I generate more ideas, I use my time better, and I deliver what I would consider to be a higher quality of work. There is also the extra time spent day dreaming about the project, noodling over here and over there, and looking for opportunities to take things to unexpected levels. I’m not just looking to complete the project, I’m looking for the best outcome possible.

You might say I should do that all the time, regardless of the relationship. To which I would say, I’ve been doing this long enough to know that just ain’t how things shake out.

On TV

When I used to say “we don’t have TV” it meant something. Because we didn’t. My mid-20s were absent many things. TV series, cable news, sports, commercials. None of it. What I did to make sense of the world was read. The internet, books, magazines, newspapers.

Having grown up in a “TV household,” going through my days without a television was liberating. We still don’t pay for cable but we have all the other stuff; Netflix, HBO Now, Amazon, etc. So we get our fix of the latest in this golden age of television. And we find a way to watch some sports, which I seem to be embracing in my late 30s. Thus, we get some commercials. But what is still absent? Cable news.

Outside of a doctor’s office, I rarely ever see cable news. And the occasional clip of nonsense I find on Twitter. Maybe you should try it, hey? No CNN or MSNBC? (Fox News is shit so I assume you don’t watch it.) If you watch cable news, just stop. No more. Read instead. Or watch PBS.

There, all better?

Budget Breaks

Are you a client who works in the traditional space of expected marketing/design/advertising back-and-forth hoop jumping? Or don’t you?

It’s a fair question. Because I think big budgets are necessary if that’s the game being played. And that can be determined at the outset.

If you don’t operate that way, and it’s more of a team of talents, doing what they do, then there’s a break in the budget for that. If that’s how you roll, hands-off and no-nonsense, then awesome. Because let’s be honest, if this is going to be a grinding project like many, many things in design, marketing, and adverting then the budget needs to reflect that. But if we're going more outside of that and we’re operating like people with a common focus, the budget adjusts accordingly.

That’s how we’re able to work with a lot of nonprofits. They let us do what we do, and we can be more affordable. That’s what we like to call a win-win.

The Importance of Content Population

The reason someone would design and develop a website is for the content he/she wants to share with the world wide web. Hence, the content is pretty important. The most important one might say. 

There has been lots written about content-first web design. It’s a neat concept and one that produces excellent end results. But it’s most of the time a luxury. When we do projects, sometimes we just don’t have it. We have enough to design and develop, but it’s hardly ever been a complete picture.

In our age of web design and development, much has been made about the need for designers to also know how to code. 

Should designers also code? is a question that doesn’t interest me at all. I don’t, and I’m over it. However, should designers also write? is a resounding yes and makes all the difference. Design and writing are more intertwined in my mind than design and coding.

Don’t rate it, bro

Found the new Atmosphere the other day, Mi Vida Local. Streamed it a bunch. It was speaking to me; with the groove, to my soul, causing me to do all sorts of thinking. It was completely sounding good when it first hit me.

But just how good is it? Answer: it doesn’t fucking matter.

I found myself searching Pitchfork for the review. Was it good enough for “Best New Music?” (Hard to say!) It wasn’t reviewed yet. That a bad sign? Is it going to be reviewed? His other albums, not the best reviews. Okay, but not great. Except When Life Gives You Lemons, that was a 7.0.

Again, it doesn’t matter.

I’m at a internet impasse. Yes, it is insanely valuable given my business; the connection, the sharing, the access. But it is has some serious draw backs. Most notably, the rating of EVERYTHING. I am really tired of it all. Rotten Tomatoes, Pitchfork, Skip the Dishes, Booking.com, You Tube, Dribbble, Facebook, and the like. Regardless of all the numbers and stars being thrown at me, there are movies, albums, food, videos, and designs I like that have terrible ratings.

Maybe that’s one of the many reasons I love Spotify. It simply presents me with things. For example, the new album by Atmosphere, I search, click, listen. And there isn’t a rating in sight. I’m able to enjoy without being infected by some amalgamation of bullshit clicks by bullshiters who I probably wouldn’t like if I met in real life anyway. That’s how I’ve started thinking about the people behind ratings. Just a collection of jerks and assholes who feel like their taste matters in some profound way. To all those jerks, it doesn’t. Move on from the rating. Enjoy the feeling. Next!