Thursday, November 6, 2014

not lovin' it

[Not.]

Rumor has it McDonald's will be launching a new campaign "Lovin' Beats Hatin'." I get where they are coming from, using this as a way to build on the "I'm lovin' it" campaign (and they say that slogan will stay around.) I can hear that "da-da da da da" refrain in my head and have a habit of saying "I'm lovin' " despite it being quite a while since my last Big Mac, so it seems the campaign was successful. I'm not sure that "Lovin' Beats Hatin' " is the right way to go, however.

I'm not a McDonald's fan, so maybe I'm in the minority, but I think this butts up against something that should be avoided in advertising- saying what you don't want people to think.

McDonald's knows they face a myriad of criticisms- charges that they are causing a childhood obesity epidemic, Super Size Me, being the focus of the fast food workers unionization movement, pink slime, and the list goes on. So should McDonald's encourage loving over hating? Or does it just feel like Mickey D is asking people to not hate them?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

making things


Grad school. Three semesters in with one to go. I had been warned there would be a lull, or rather, a huge dip in motivation in this third semester. It's true. I've found it incredibly hard to be motivated to get my work done and at times, hard to be creative at all.

Making things has been extremely limited during my program, but it's hit an all time high. I get caught in a cycle of having school work to do so I put off creative activities (or social activities or exercise activities,) but then I procrastinate on actually doing the school work so I have no time later to do the creative activities. After three months, I finally got my act together and spent a fantastic few hours making new earrings for Concept 47. And I semi-blogged here this weekend (really just a little read more repost.)

It felt great.

So the question is, how do I do this more?

Image from Spacebarn on Scoutmob. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

read more: the better-writen bio that could be mine

"I struggle often to justify my love of aesthetics. I love to rearrange furniture and choose lipstick shades and curate art collections and have amassed more than enough statement jewelry over the years, and I sometimes treat these gifts as if they’re burdens. I sometimes wish I could trade these passions for something more “worthwhile” – whatever that means – and then I realize how ridiculous that sounds. Gifts are gifts. Passions are passions. We don’t choose them; they arrive, packaged in cardboard. They’re often bubble-wrapped, I think, and sometimes I use that same bubble wrap to suffocate them. Lately I’ve been working really hard not to do that, and instead, to pop the wrap a bit at a time with a new challenge (pop) or project (pop) or pursuit (pop pop pop)."
- Erin Loechner, Design for Mankind on writing her 'real bio' 

Monday, March 17, 2014

the narrow spaces of capitalism's private spaces

Molly Osberg’s recent essay, Inside the Barista Class, struck a cord as I left the service world not too long ago (though it feels forever ago.) Though written about New York, the piece is quite applicable to San Francisco as well, but it was a simple sentence that I almost missed toward the end that really captivated me. “While the framing of the third place may have been useful for Starbucks’ promotional materials, Oldenburg’s theory really didn’t account for the realities of capitalism: that private business creates narrow spaces.”

Narrow spaces. 

As a lover of design who is fascinated by ways to create community, Ray Oldenburg’s idea of ‘third places’ has stuck with my since freshman year of college. In a city like San Francisco, there are many places to socialize but few qualify as true third places according to Oldenburg’s definition because few are ‘levelers,’ open places without status barriers. Instead, the majority are narrow spaces. In a city with real estate as expensive as San Francisco, how can we move from narrow space to true third spaces?

Monday, March 3, 2014

giving inspiration a little room to grow

It can be damned near impossible to find the time to be innovative, even as a designer. Anything outside of a particular assignment falls to the wayside and not leaving enough process time for certain project means a result that falls flat. Given the difficulty for me to find time to think creatively or explore a new idea, it's easy to imagine the struggle that others whose 'full time job' isn't innovating have.

Google has long been credited for sparking innovation with their policy of giving employees a percentage of their workday to spend on any project they'd like. A recent Inc. article outlined why other businesses should do the same, "By letting your team do whatever they want, you’ll attract the best people with the best ideas. At the same time, the insights your employees gain through their creative projects will enhance their work on your organization’s core offerings."

Reading this story, I was reminded of a tweet I saw a while ago and favorited it to look into later:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

functional is design. beauty may not be.

Over the weekend I spotted an article in The New York Times being grumpily passed around Twitter. Reading quotes like the following made me grumpy, too:

When Peek, a start-up for booking travel activities, designed its first iPhone app, its co-founder and chief executive, Ruzwana Bashir, said she prioritized design over other factors. The app shows large photos instead of a list of activities, for instance, even though it meant Peek could not fit as many activities on each screen.

Designing Peek to have less activities per screen because it looks better is not design. Designing Peek to have less activities per screen because showing large photos makes it easier for users to navigate the app is design.

Unfortunately, this article was another story making a false distinction between how something works and how something looks. It refers to the former as 'function' and the later as 'design,' but really the design is how the two interact.

This is not to say all the examples in the article failed to be design. After all, in other cases the aesthetic improvements also increased usability. Despite the constant confusing of aesthetics as design, the concluding sentence gives hope: "first and foremost I look for empathy, because design is not art, it’s actually solving real problems for people."

Design can be functional. Design can be aesthetics. But design can never ever be aesthetics over function.