The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
— Alvin Toffler (via ubuwaits)
Cities are erected on spiritual columns. Like giant mirrors, they reflect the hearts of their residents. If those hearts darken and lose faith, cities will lose their glamour.
— Shams-i-Tabrizi (1185-1248)
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
— Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
— Helen Keller
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
Liz sent this quote to me this morning. I won’t pretend to be a “master in the art of living” (still too clumsy at life, still finding my legs), but work looks ever more like play and play more like work. The similarities create all sorts of new complications involving the pursuit of uncomplicated pleasure, but I can not pretend for one moment that I do not love having the objects of my affection so close and accessible. We should all be so fortunate. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.
Our “Age of Anxiety” is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools-with yesterday’s concepts.
— "The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects" by Marshal Mcluhan
The Do Lectures just posted the video from my presentation this past September. It’s a little talk about doing things the long, hard, stupid way, and the opportunity of beginning to think about our work as designers as a gift. It also jumps a bit into the issues that need to be overcome to be able to do so in this new digital context where most of our work now lives.
I’d be remiss not to mention the influence of Lewis Hyde’s book, The Gift, which gave me the framework to begin to apply these ideas to my own work. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest it. Special thanks to Laura Brunow Miner for introducing me to David Chang’s “long, hard, stupid way” line on Treme, and to Amit Pitaru for making the wonderful iPad app Handwritten, which serves as my example of building “gift-giving machines.”
In the spirit of doing things the long, hard, stupid way, I decided to give this talk a go without slides. Man, was I nervous. It was totally nerve-wracking being in that tent of intimidation, full of a small group of such brilliant, shining people. I spoke next to last, so I got to be my own worst enemy for a few days, worrying about the talk by pacing around my tent muttering to myself like a mad man. Thankfully, it seems to have gone over well. It’s a shorter talk at about 20 minutes, and I hope you enjoy it. I think it’s the best talk I’ve given, and certainly the most urgent message I’ve ever felt the need to share.
Japanese Poster: Hideki Nakajima Exhibition. Hideki Nakajima. 2011
Users rarely change their settings
When I talk about “Print” here, I’m not interested in the literal transfer of printed media on to screen, like we see in some applications which try to recreate the exact textures and layouts of newspapers, for example. What’s interesting for me is the broader practice of designing for print over the last few hundred years, and the resulting principles of design and information communication which they’ve refined.