Joining the Flock

On July 2nd I will be joining the flock at Twitter.

For me Design is about people. Design is a vessel that communication travels through from person to person. It tells stories. It makes lives easier. It brings people together.

Twitter is one of the most beautiful illustrations of how good design is about people. And for me, it will now be more than just the act of using Twitter but also the collaboration of designing with the team for Twitter.

I love twitter. It has made an impact on my life and the lives of so many others. I am so incredibly eager to be a part of something that has played such a huge roll in my career and my life.

The past few weeks my twitter stream has been buzzing with new and exciting things coming from the twitter team (so meta). There is a new bird and even a beautiful new HQ. I also was pleasantly surprised to find out that old friends and DC ex-pats have also joined the team. What an exciting adventure! I look forward to keeping you posted.

At the same time the transition is bitter sweet. I have been at Phase2 for a just under 3 years and the people I have worked with there have left an imprint on my heart. Back in September Jim and I moved out to San Francisco and everything about the new journey has been amazing, except being so far from the Phase2 team.

The partners and everyone at Phase2 are some of the most passionate people I have ever worked for in my whole life. They truly love and respect each other and the open source community and I am forever grateful for getting to collaborate with them on so many exciting endeavors. Work isn’t work if you are surrounded by good people. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunities they have given me; especially Jeff Walpole who brought me to Phase2. Jeff is the most authentic leader and all-around-passionate CEO I have ever had the chance to work with. Much love to the Phase2 team.

Exciting Times

It was just a few decades ago that we made friends differently. Our circles were built from relationships made within constraints. We were linked by those we already knew based on our family or our location or our careers. We were limited in how we could connect therefor we went without the joy of sharing interests or shaped those things to be more like those around us. We were a society of people faking our loves to fend off loneliness.

The web  has changed all of that, it has given us the freedom to find others like us.  To be passionate and connect with other people pursuing similar ambitions. Once where there were loners engulfed in solitude now there are communities, teams, and possés. No matter how trivial the fascination you can now find someone to share it with.

We are an empowered generation fueled by passion and camaraderie, confidence, and connection. The opportunities that we are able to create for ourselves is the new frontier.  What exciting times that we live in!

On AIGA

Michael Aleo recently wrote a post that stirred up some feelings that I have about AIGA. That is that AIGA is an organization that claims to represent professional designers but doesn’t really accurately represent the current landscape of the design industry.

Michael’s post details an e-mail conversation he had with a judge from the DC AIGA50 design competition. For full disclosure I don’t know Michael (though I reached out to him with a few background questions on his post) and the fact that he was entered in the competition may lead some to consider his point of view to be biased. I did not enter the competition and I am not currently a paying member of AIGA but have been in the past. I have judged a competition for another organization and served on the board of the Art Directors Club of DC. I do not currently live in the DC area but work for an agency headquartered there. I am fully aware that his post may not represent every angle of the story. I invite other sides of this story to respond, and I would love it if someone from AIGA would comment and be more transparent about what lead to the comments made by this judge.
Read on…

SXSW 2012 Takeaways

As many can tell you, SXSW is what you make of it. I have attended some really great conferences in the last year but none have replaced the opportunities you have to connect with uber amazing people like SXSW. Not only does Austin provide a great campus for meeting new people, SXSW gives you the timeline to make something of those opportunities. Conversations I took part in ranged from design inspiration to web education to fostering creativity on a design team. I even got in some nerdy web typography talk with Yves Peters. It was sort of fantastic.

The conversations I had and panels I watched got me thinking about a lot. Some takeaways were personal and others were themes for our industry to embrace. This is what I left with:
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Ideas of March 2012

I like to blog about  design. The tricky thing about that is that it is hard to blog about design when you don’t feel great about the design of your blog. My “blog design complex” has been a big hurdle for me over the past year. It inhibits my blogging.

Blogging is a critical piece of the web design industry, sharing knowledge helps elevate the quality of work within our industry. I have learned a lot about design both by blogging and by reading other people’s blogs. The web community is in a bit of a lull, lately. We share information more frequently over twitter and dribble. And while I think both of those methods are great, they don’t replace the sharing of more in-depth ideas that require the longer format of a blog post.
Read on…

Anthropomorphic Form in Web Design

“Close your eyes and feel their presence; channel their emotions” is how my figure drawing instructor would kick off many mornings of our 3.5 hour long studio session. It took me several semesters of softly shading tummy pooches and abstracting rounded shoulders to learn that the most engaging depictions of the human form weren’t clear representations of what was in front of me, but deep abstractions of lines and light.

People all react to visual elements differently, as designers we try and create compositions that communicate the intended message to the widest audience of people, while also appeasing our clients. It’s our responsibility to balance the parameters and opinions of  our clients with the overall communication goals of a design. While there are lots of tactics for doing this I am convinced that understanding the psychology of visual perception (the “why”s) carve a faster path to quality end results more-so than the “hows”.
Read on…

Sometimes I write things Elsewhere on the internets, you may enjoy reading them too