Food for thought‘[...] do not think that good design can make a poor product good, whether the product be a machine, a building, a promotional brochure or a business man. But [...] good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential. In short, [...] good design is good business.’
Thomas J. Watson Jr., IBM CEO

“It’s good to feel uncomfortable.”

October 1, 2009, 12:17 AM

Another thoughtful article from Dave Trott:

[…] we need to study ourselves.

To find out what side of the brain we are dominant in.

(Left brain being the rational side, right brain being the emotional.)

Then we need to spend as much time as we can exposing ourself to influences from the other side.

Because whatever side is dominant is our comfort zone.

We’ll naturally gravitate to that.

But anything we learn in our comfort zone won’t give us any new combinations.

Whereas whatever we learn on the other side of the brain gives us a completely new set of possible links to our existing side.

So we should force ourselves to experience whatever we’re not comfortable with.

If you’re a numeric person, force yourself to experience art and music.

If you’re a visual person, force yourself to read more books.

If you like fiction, make yourself to read non-fiction.

If you like rock music make yourself listen to Classic FM.


While we’re in our comfort zone we’re on auto pilot.

We’re relaxing and letting it wash over us.

But when we move out of our comfort zone our mind is forced to think.

Forced to try to find something good in what we don’t like.

Staying in our comfort zone just means staying with what we already know.

There’s no growth there.

No possibilities for new combinations.

Paul Arden used to say, “It’s good to feel uncomfortable.”

We shouldn’t be frightened to feel uncomfortable.

We don’t need to live in either of the two big comfortable, predictable circles.

Thanks again Sebi for the tip ;)



Impossible Cool — the great ones

September 13, 2009, 9:12 PM

Awe-inspiring photography, thought-provoking quotes—watch and read some of the great ones that lived on this planet on—what better name than—the Impossible Cool.

My favourite quote:
“If you want to have clean ideas, change them as often as you change your shirts.” — Francis Picabia

impossiblecool-mifune Mifune

impossiblecool-ray Ray Charles

impossiblecool-caine Caine

impossiblecool-clint Clint

impossiblecool-sophia Sophia

Style oozes from their persona. You can easily feel that they almost don’t give a damn, that is what makes them so cool, so admirable. As Gore Vidal says: “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn.”

(Thank you Kit)



Not giving up, no matter how blue

September 2, 2009, 11:10 PM

The Sartorialist took this photo:


Here’s why he took it:

I don’t usually shoot homeless people. I don’t find it romantic or appealing like a lot of street photographers, and if you asked homeless people they are probably not to happy about their situation either. That’s why I was surprised to be so drawn to taking a picture of this gentleman.

I was being interviewed for an article in British Vogue; and while we walked down Bowery back in April I barely stopped walking when I took the shot. Fiona Golfar, the writer, asked why I took the photo. At that moment I couldn’t really explain – but I just had a feeling about the power and grace of how he was sitting there. It wasn’t until later that night when I was working on the image that I realized why I had noticed this man.

Usually people in this man’s position have given up hope. Maybe this gentleman has too, I don’t know, but he hasn’t given up his sense of self or his sense of expressing something about himself to the world. In my quick shot I had noticed his pale blue boots, what I hadn’t noticed at first were the matching blue socks, blue trimmed gloves, and blue framed glasses. This shot isn’t about fashion – but about someone who, while down on his luck, hasn’t lost his need to communicate and express himself through style.

Looking at him dressed like this makes me feel that in some way he hasn’t given in or given up.

Reminds me of Siddhartha. Or Narcissus. For all we know, he might be living his last life cycle. Who knows. But my guess is he’s free. Unlike most of us.



S.K. Thoth — The power of prayformance

July 23, 2009, 2:50 PM

Soul-stirring art by a free individual: S.K. Thoth‘s street performance (“prayformance”, as he likes to call it, and for good reasons) is out of this world (both literally and metaphorically). Weird and intriguing at first, resembling native american dances combined with countertenor-voice and an ambidextrous violin, it grips you shortly after, taking you to the magical lands of his imagination. The short documentary on his life and performance won an Academy Award in 2002. After watching it you easily understand the depths of his craft, the sincerity of his art. He definitely has a touch of genius (for more information check out his site, his MySpace or Wikipedia—you can buy the dvd on Amazon)

You can watch the full documentary on Youtube (42 min). Make sure you’re watching and listening in HD:

Thank you Cinty, very much!



The right kind of ammunition

March 6, 2009, 2:39 PM

Catching some office gossips like San Francisco designers being the best among international design offices like Pentagram and MetaDesign, I was curious to see who exactly was or were partner-in-charge at Pentagram San Francisco. In comes Robert Brunner (the other Pentagram partners are Kit Hinrichs, designer and Lorenzo Apicella, architect).

Reading about Mr. Brunner on wikipedia, I was startled to find out that he leads a team at Ammunition LLC, just after reading that he had joined Pentagram in 1996. Browsing the Ammunition website, I found out he is no longer with Pentagram, since he left with his team to form his own company in july 2007 (press release). In 2008 he was joined by two other top professionals, Creative Director Brett Wickens and Band Strategist Matt Rolandson, both former leaders from MetaDesign San Francisco.

The interesting thing is that Mr. Brunner was previously the Director of Industrial Design at Apple, between 1987-1996, and was the one that hired and later proposed Jonathan Ive as director after his departure (you can watch the youtube interview).

Ammunition specializes in product design, identity design and interaction design, and you can easily see from their portfolio their work is of highest quality. And of course, they have a smart, classy logo.







Munro — by Jules Feiffer

November 23, 2008, 12:12 PM

After last week’s proof that blogging has its rewards, here’s yet another proof: Mr. Valentín wrote me after watching “The Bear That Wasn’t” about another old time gem, Munro, a short animation made by Jules Feiffer, one of the great cartoonists and winner of the Pullitzer Prize. You can read more about Jules Feiffer on Mr. Valentín’s blog entry.

Munro won an Oscar in 1961.

(thank you Valentín)



Conversations with Paul Rand

September 2, 2008, 11:14 AM

Always inspiring. Still hard to understand. But, God’s permit, we’ll have a lifetime ahead of re-reading and re-watching until we’ll come to understand Mr. Rand. Dying trying is not that bad either. After all, there’s more than just one way to reach Rome, right?

Description from YouTube: A short film by Preston McLanahan interviewing Paul Rand, the great American Modernist designer. Filmed in 1996, shortly before his death he talks about his process, art, aesthetics, and design in general. A very inspirational video and soon to be released on DVD.

Here is the link, embedding has been disabled, unfortunately:

(via Swiss Legacy)



The Big Ones

June 2, 2008, 11:00 AM

This is too good to miss: Blanka has organized their flickr, making sets with posters by Muller-Brockmann, Wim Crouwell, Otl Aicher and some other great designers. A definite must-see.

Some apetizers:

— posters by Josef Müller-Brockmann:
(the Opernhaus Zürich template is amazing in its simplicity and impact)

— poster by Otl Aicher (for Munich 1972 Olympic games):

— poster by Wim Crouwel:

— poster by Experimental Jetset:

(via AisleOne)



Ratatouille art

May 25, 2008, 12:46 PM

Great posters for Ratatouille by Eric Tan. Reminding of Paul Rand or Cassandre‘s Dubonnet posters. Btw, Cassandre was the one that made the Yves Saint Laurent logo. You can view some of his work here.



and here’s one concept drawing from the The Art of Ratatouille book:



Les Triplettes – homage to Django

May 14, 2008, 1:58 AM

Fun to see the great jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt‘s caricature in Les Triplettes de Belleville (one of the best animation films ever made – not kidding). If you’re wondering about his left hand fingers, Django lost two of them in a fire at the age of 18, yet he managed to relearn and master the quitar, becoming a jazz guitar legend, in spite of his handicap.

If you ever find yourself working late at night and want to be energized, hoping to work for hours without feeling the time flying by, do listen to Django. Highly recommended for sunny afternoons as well ;)