A Daily Note

Systems, Creativity, Technology

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Prompts, not instructions: Meta Creativity

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“Book of Instructions for the Equationer or Universal Calculator” (1892)

From a very young age we’re used to following instructions. Guidance and habits: from our parents, teachers, and bosses.

The collective goal of those is to instill habits that are useful and beneficial. Things like look both ways when crossing the road, or say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’.

Being told what to do is an efficient way of installing a shared value system, and is useful as long as we all have shared goals.

It is agreeable that crossing a busy street can be dangerous and that being polite to your elderly is the right thing to do.

But what happens when goals divert? Or when the future is uncertain?

When we arrive at adulthood there are no instructions to follow. Or if there are, they would only make you average.

So now value comes from exploration rather than standing in line. Suddenly no one is...

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NOTES FROM COMPLEXITY AND THE ECONOMY

Conventional economic theory chooses not to study the unfolding of the patterns its agents create, but rather to simplify its questions in order to seek analytical solutions.

Thus it asks what behavioral elements (actions, strategies, expectations) are consistent with the aggregate patterns these behavioral elements co-create?

For example, general equilibrium theory asks: what prices and quantities of goods produced and consumed are consistent with—would pose no incentives for change to—the overall pattern of prices and quantities in the economy’s markets.

Game theory asks: what strategies, moves, or allocations are consistent with—would induce no further reactions to—the potential outcomes these strategies, moves, allocations might imply.

Rational expectations economics asks: what forecasts (or expectations) are consistent with—are on average validated by—the outcomes these...

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Exercise in Cognition

Think of a digital product.
on a piece of paper write its function, and purpose.
Be deliberate about the separation.

Now try and rewrite your product with cognition plugged into it. If you had cognition freely available today, what would it mean for your company, and users?

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Three Rules For a Happy Designer

It’s all bollocks and none of it really matters. Yes really. That stress about the thing that went really wrong, your burning desire to make this your best design ever that in turn makes you miserable, the argument about the late print, graphic design, none of this is what really really matters in life. Release yourself from that stress. No one is dying. It’s pixels, type and colour. Work hard, but enjoy it and relax.  

— James Greenfield

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Mapbox Studio

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Mapbox studio looks very interesting — code your way to the desired design of your map.

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Story Tellers

You are not a storyteller - Stefan Sagmeister @ FITC from FITC on Vimeo.

Recently Mr Sagmeister went on video pointing a finger at the “story telling” phenomena. I have no real issue with anyone coining themselves as a story teller, nor do I have an issue with Sagmeister calling himself a graphic designer in the beginning of the interview.

Stefan is notorious for adding novelty to, what some might argue, limited substance – so hearing these kind of statements makes it difficult to do anything but disconnect.

Good idea person — bad MO.

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Typographica Issue Nº 7

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I have recently started working with The Lubalin Center – on reissues (newsprints for now, with posters being planned) – the space is free and open to the public (just get in touch here) – but I definitely find myself here more often, and exposed to mind–blowing pieces of design, gems that no amount of online trolling will be able to expose me to. I will do my best to share some of those here.

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Typographica 7 — was edited by Herbert Spencer and published by Lund Humphries.

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The issue was published earlier than anticipated to coincide with the ‘Typography in Britain today’ exhibition which was held at Lund Humphries’ Bedford Square.

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Those piece of design are hard to find – I could only locate issue 9 of Typographica on eBay , and a bonus little feature on Grain Edit

Lund is a great publisher and I highly recommend getting a copy of Swann, C. (1969) - Techniques Of Typography.

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Design Is Not a Commodity

I was surprised to see a new article by Bradford – an experienced entrepreneur, and a designer by training: You’re a designer. Not the CEO.

There were some good points there but overall the piece felt rushed and irresponsible.

“…All humans understand design …It’s art. Art is for everyone. Design, too…”

A statement I agree with wholeheartedly, design is not reserved for designers. It’s a humanistic skill and way of thinking that is part of just about every profession.

“Trust. Trust is a designer’s best friend. And you earn it. You don’t just get it.“

Again –  incredibly true.

However, some of the other points go against a lot of the same humanistic values that Bradford mentioned.

If design is for everything – then it is not a thing / discipline, but rather a set of values, a vector for solving problems, which just doesn’t compute with:

“…You’re support staff just like the
...

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“Graphic Design”

Mills Baker published a great post on Quora analyzing a few products by supposedly design–led companies.

Despite being somewhat harsh (mainly due to calling out names) I do agree with the closing statement which articulates a lot of what could, and should change in the balance between visual, UX and product.

In order to avoid losing its place atop organizations, design must deliver results. Designers must also accept that if they don’t, they’re not actually designing well; in technology, at least, the subjective artistry of design is mirrored by the objective finality of use data. A “great” design which produces bad outcomes —low engagement, little utility, few downloads, indifference on the part of the target market— should be regarded as a failure.

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How to avoid type orphan using Javascript

Thanks Jon–Kyle Mohr for sharing some JS wisdom.

Conversation on Twitter

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