Posts tagged design
Political brands
 "Jake Barton, at Local Projects, is taking a multi-pronged approach, seeking out new projects that might help give voice to America’s shared values. And he is privately urging his own clients, which are predominantly museums, to consider a once-blasphemous thought: That there is no such thing as a generic, mainstream point of view, and that to stay relevant, nonprofit organizations will have to become more incisive." 

Fast Company here taking part in the quickly-spreading concern that perhaps nothing is safe from becoming "political." 

The "concern" bit is probably why I still continue to dance around statements like "all brands that survive the future will be lifestyle brands." But I'm assuming that with more time I won't have to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Modeling, a 5-6 year plan

Whenever I have complicated feelings about the world I find myself watching this talk Reality is Plenty, Thanks. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's genuinely like mental comfort food for me; I have watched it *so* many times. Recent complicated feelings inspired by Westworld, which to my mind a proper understanding of begins with (but doesn't end with!) Reality Is Plenty, Thanks; if RIP, T intelligently covers the "seeing and experiencing a world" parts of an important conversation to be had, there's another account to be articulated about a "modeling and building a world" part that I have yet to find and am nowhere near being able to articulate myself. Honestly the best idea I have thus far is something like "articulate it through Composure over the course of 5-6 years ¯\_(ツ)_/¯"

In the meantime: feelings.

Anyway. Sorry if this was only vaguely about scarves, thanks for bearing with me and my feelings. And go see Doctor Strange, it's surprisingly and remarkably clever.

A layer behind the scenes

A layer behind the scenes

I reference magic a lot in the Composure world, and the 🔮💫 emoji are permanently in my Recently Used's. To be clear: I don't just love the idea of illusions and smoke & mirrors—I think almost everything we ever experience as life is actually illusions and smoke & mirrors. Magicians are fascinating simply because they own that fact while the rest of us consistently and predictably refuse to believe it. 

Making a better point of it is the page I've most frequently visited over all my years on the internet: Wikipedia's List of Cognitive Biases. Which to be fair is rather dull and clinical, so I'm happy to discover that someone has now organized it all into a nice little Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet

Composure is basically an exploration of the idea that we can all be magicians: if we accept that cognitive biases are just another useful design constraint, we can combine the principles above with the tools of world-building to make beautiful things that people want to be a part of. That we can all romanticize something from our unique experience of the world, edit it for effect (after all, aren't all biases just edits for effect?), and create beautiful, meaningful illusions. Scarves just happen to be beautiful stage props.

Slow & seamful

"Seams afford moments of pleasure, revelation and beauty."

  • I've been a member of Uncommon for a couple of years, their well-considered perspective on slow has made its way into Composure in various ways. I was won over immediately on my first visit to, which was designed to be slow and "seamful" by intention. Contrast this to the dominant model of business and design, optimizing for more, "seamless,"and  faster everything. From their new initiative called Slowly Together

"Slowly Together isn’t an argument about why slow is better than fast or an anti-technology manifesto. Nor is it a paean to minimalism. It doesn’t presume that everyone has the flexibility and income to make certain choices.

It simply asks us to make room in our lives for being slow, to find the pace and rhythm that sustains and enriches us. How that expresses itself is unique to each of us - it might change how we approach meals or how we use technology. It might mean finding more opportunities to walk instead of drive or welcoming meandering conversation whenever the opportunity exists. It may be as simple as making each moment about just one thing."

  • But of course, the smartest designers have been talking about "beautiful seams" for decades now ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

"And this leads us, finally, to the concept not of the seamlessness of designed experience, but of “beautiful seams.” 

This term was coined by the late Mark Weiser, a pioneer of ubiquitous computing and the Chief Technologist at what was at the time the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Instead of the discourse of smooth, distinction-obliterating, disempowering seamlessness which was then (and is to a significant degree still) dominant in discussions of ubiquitous information processing systems, Weiser wanted to offer users ways to reach into and configure the systems they encountered; ideally, such seams would afford moments of pleasure, revelation and beauty."