Design is a Way of Life

Design is a way of life, a point of view. It involves the whole complex of visual communications: talent, creative ability, manual skill, and technical knowledge. Aesthetics and economics, technology and psychology are intrinsically related to the process.”

- Paul Rand Graphis, 1981

Happy Cog posted a link to the most fantastic document; a compilation of Paul Rand quotes assembled by Steven Heller. There are so many nuggets of wisdom, go download it at once!

Drupal & Design Thinking

I have been very fortunate to find and get involved with the web design community since attending SXSW in 2006, but more recently I have been meeting a lot of wonderful folks in the Drupal community. In 2009 I started working at Phase2 Technology, an Alexandria Virginia web agency that specializes in open source development and is known for working with Drupal. Phase2 is passionate about the community; being involved and giving back is an integral part of our daily work lives. Community involvement is something I value a lot, so working with a group of people who honestly share that vision is a real treat. The Drupal community has greeted me with open arms and I am starting to understand the challenges they have when promoting visual design amongst those looking to use the platform.


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The Big Day

It was a little over five years ago when I met Jim Jones. He was setting up his camera equipment to shoot an enormous trade-show booth in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that he had designed. He was wearing all black and looked exceedingly dapper, standing out from the majority of the conference attendees who were dressed in camouflage uniforms. I will spare you all of the ironic details, but it was clear after spending the weekend chatting with Mr Jones that he would be the designer I marry. That is not an exaggeration, I IMed my coworker from the conference with “I just met the guy I am going to marry”. Sometimes you just know.

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How To Conduct a Comprehensive Website Critique

This article was originally published May 2009 in issue 188 of .Net Magazine. Check out .Net Magazine online.

Giving clear, appropriate website critiques helps you communicate with clients and colleagues, but there’s another benefit: the process of analyzing design helps you grow as a designer. While it is easy to jump straight to a conclusion on the success of a site, breaking down the analysis into steps can assist in justifying design decisions

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Style Tiles as a Web Design Process Tool

A few years ago, Jim and I attended an open house at an architecture and interior design studio near our home in Alexandria, Virginia. We wanted to get some design inspiration for our new place, and the owner (who happened to be Jim’s cousin) encouraged us to check out their space. So, we did.

[Update: Check out for more on Style Tiles]

While touring the beautiful studio, we came to a marvelous room covered with samples and swatches. Everywhere we looked was lined with elements like blinds, tiles, fabrics, and wall coverings — it was a giant style library all within this one room. It was spectacular.


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Twitter is my Coffee Shop #1d4d

Every weekday morning and most weekend mornings I wake up, pour a cup of coffee, trip over a running cat, and sit down on my sofa to sip, read the news, and chat with my friends about what I read. Twitter is my coffee shop, a sacred place that I have been visiting since ’07 where I congregate with other designers and web folk. I take this ritual very seriously, as I grow older I find that many of my friendships are rooted deeply in sharing this experience. We chat about design, web things, and things that web designers like.

I am very territorial about  my coffee shop experience because as I have described in blog posts before, for much of my life I related to the little honey bee in the No Rain video, and then by pure luck and a little karma I discovered a place with tons of honey bees known as SXSW. Since twitter, SXSW comes together for me in my virtual coffee shop, daily. These are all people who love design and have a personal interest in the health and well being of the web. People who understand the web and are passionate about design. They “get it”.

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