Happy newborn daughter

Sunday, August 11, 2013

We have a calm, happy daughter. Not sure how we got so lucky. Ramona Mira is now six days old. This is her big smile, while wearing her star suit yesterday.

Ramona on August 10, 2013

See Flickr for more photos of Ramona from my wife and me.

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My daughter, Ramona

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My wife Heidi and I are excited to announce the birth of our daughter. Ramona Mira Cavalier was born on August 5, 2013 at 4:36 a.m., weighing 8 lbs. 8 oz. and measuring 19.5 inches.

Ramona on August 5, 2013

It was a 37-hour labor, but in the end she was born after only eight pushes over eight minutes. Ramona held out in the womb long enough to share astronaut Neil Armstrong’s birthday. We are thrilled to be parents and to welcome Ramona into this world.

Ramona on August 5, 2013Ramona on August 5, 2013

Ramona’s name

Ramona means “wise protector” (Spanish). The Hebrew name Rimona means “pomegranate.” As for her middle name, Mira means “sea, ocean” (Sanskrit), “peace” (Slavic) and “wonder” (Latin). Mira is also the name of a red giant star in the constellation Cetus.

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HOW Design 2013 in review: Part four

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This is a continuation of HOW Design 2013 in review: Part three.

HOW Design Conference 2013 I am attending the HOW Design Conference 2013 in San Francisco, California. Below are my notes from the sessions I attended on Wednesday.

9:45 am-11:00 am – 37. How to Avoid Work – James Victore, Professor, School of Visual Arts in New York
Your work is a gift. This is a radical idea because it changes how you think about what you do. This talk with James Victore will teach you how to work to please yourself first—and in doing so, produce work that is both meaningful and successful for your client.

  • Twitter: @JamesVictore
  • Watch “Burning Questions” video series at youtube.com/JamesVictore
  • Book: Victore or, Who Died and Made You Boss?
  • Sticker: “Feck Perfuction. with love, Victore”
  • This talk isn’t about how to avoid work.
  • “Dead Indian” poster – found his dharma
  • Started in fine art and moved into commercial design, which was “a big mistake”
  • Tombstone: “Here lies Mark. He would have done great work but he had rent to pay.” People, designers included, tend to be cowards.
  • “In the particular lies the universal.” – James Joyce
  • Short film: Your Work is a Gift
  • You work to make yourself happy. If you put your opinion in the work, you’re not working for a paycheck.
  • “The universe will protect you, but you have to trust in it, and you have to make the leap.”
  • Spec work: “Don’t fucking do it. Never ever ever. Don’t fucking do it.”
  • “If you guys have your jobs or clients because you have rent, you’re a slave. Simple as that.”
  • Graphic design: “The pleasant arrangement of shapes on a page.”
  • “Complaining is not conversation. Quit your bitching and quit your job. Damn.”
  • Chris in the studio: “Make it nice or make it twice.”
  • Parodies of motivational posters (series of five) for NYC Department of Probation (DOP)
  • “Criticize in private. Praise in public.”
  • Business strategies and Photoshop tips are important, but they’re not what matters.
  • “Your trust inspires me to do my best work.”
  • Say “No.”
  • In the early days: “Those eviction notices were the cost of my freedom.”
  • New York event: couragefaithandcocktails.com
  • Sticker series: Your work is a gift, Kill the critic, Warrior not worrier, etc.
  • Take This Job & Love It
  • “Cubicle Activism” poster series: our version of Fight Club
  • Stop being a people-pleaser. Say “no” to one person everyday. Stop apologizing or making excuses for your work.
  • Be conscious of the fears in our lives. Check your language.
  • Coffee notes: just make something. Practice making something. Practice telling someone you love them in different ways. Show love through all of your work.

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HOW Design 2013 in review: Part three

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This is a continuation of HOW Design 2013 in review: Part two.

HOW Design Conference 2013 I am attending the HOW Design Conference 2013 in San Francisco, California. Below are my notes from the sessions I attended on Tuesday.

9:00 am-10:15 am – 20. Basic Principles of Identity DesignSagi Haviv, Partner and Designer, Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv
What makes a great trademark? Is there some recipe for creating a simple icon that can effectively represent its brand and last for decades? If anyone can provide a glance into the art of creating iconic, timeless trademarks, it’s Chermayeff & Geismar partner, Sagi Haviv. Recently called a “logo prodigy” by the New Yorker, Haviv is the youngest partner in the history of the 55-year-old firm, where he has created trademarks for every type of entity from distinguished national institutions such as the Library of Congress to major commercial brands such as Armani Exchange. In this presentation, Haviv walks us through his firm’s problem-solving approach to identity design, an approach that has produced trademarks such as Chase Bank’s blue octagon, Mobil Oil’s red “o,” the NBC peacock, and countless other timeless icons that have become an inseparable part of our visual culture.

  • Twitter: @cghnyc
  • Logomotion video
  • Criteria for a good graphic identity (e.g., Chase, 1960):
    1. Appropriate (the right feeling for the type of business)
    2. Memorable (special, distinction to be remembered)
    3. Simple
    4. Original
  • The desire to like a logo from the first time you see it is very natural, but that is very difficult. The challenge is to think five years in the future. Can this mark come to represent everything about the brand? Think of the logo as a flag. Once it’s established, you don’t question it. It’s there to remind you of your associations with the company.
  • Seven ways to get there
    1. It’s not about you (e.g., Armani Exchange, 2009). You have to make a case.
    2. Don’t take a name for granted (e.g., Blip Networks, 2011). Question the parameters. They are the business experts, but you are the expert for identity. (Originally branded as blip.tv, but purchased blip.com from Marvel.)
    3. Recognize chances for expression (e.g., Library of Congress, 2009). It’s normally difficult to infuse logos with a lot of meaning.
    4. Be sensitive to traditions (e.g., State Farm, 2012). Research: logo recognition study.
    5. Resist the expected (e.g., Women’s Tennis Association, 2010). Throw out the obvious, usually. (Didn’t use a tennis player silhouette.) Consider the context.
    6. Give your client credit (e.g., Harvard University Press, 2013). But don’t be afraid to claim your role in this conversation. Good design is your responsibility. Don’t be intimidated to present a good design, even if its pushing the envelope. Your client may surprise you.
    7. Fight for design you believe in (e.g., Conservation International, 2008). The simpler your logo gets, the more difficult it is to be original.
  • It takes two months minimum to develop a logo for a client, sometimes years. A lot of the time is spent on mockups on different materials, in different contexts, to demonstrate complete identity usage.
  • A logo is an acquired taste. It’s not something that you’re going to fall in love with immediately. Democracy is the worst thing that could happen for a logo. Focus groups are the kiss of death for a logo.

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HOW Design 2013 in review: Part two

Monday, June 24, 2013

This is a continuation of HOW Design 2013 in review: Part one.

HOW Design Conference 2013 I am attending the HOW Design Conference 2013 in San Francisco, California. Below are my notes from the sessions I attended on Monday.

9:00 am-10:15 am – 2. Play -
Jessica Walsh, Partner, Sagmeister & Walsh

Find out how important play is—”biologically, in society, and in our personal and professional lives. Jessica Walsh, a multi-disciplinary designer, art director and partner at the New York based design studio Sagmeister & Walsh, will reveal how play formed the foundation of her career”—and the influence it has on her work today.

  • Twitter: @jessicawalsh, @sagmeisterwalsh
  • The more fun and play in my work, the better people respond to it.
  • Two main reasons we’re driven to play as mammals: (1) Play prepares us (increases survival rate); (2) Play shapes our brain development (increases cognitive ability)
  • Play is a state of mind: “Flow states require just the right balance of challenge and opportunity.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one when we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
  • You need to have the confidence to fail. Which means you need to have the time to experiment.
  • Persistence is key. Most great discoveries take a lot of time.
  • Creativity is making interesting connections between seemingly unrelated things.
  • Sagmeister & Walsh business partnership: design studio examples
  • Nude promo postcard, Levi’s cogs/gears billboard, etc.
  • Creativity thrives off of constraints.
  • Make your own rules so you can break them.
  • Get off the computer and make shit.
  • Adobe MAX logo project: 24-hour play session broadcast live in Times Square
  • EDP logo and ad campaign: built with four basic red shapes
  • 40 Days of Dating: social experiment
  • The Happy Show exhibition design
  • At an income of around $50K/year, happiness peaks. All needs are met. Increased money is often just offset by the stress of increased responsibility.
  • “The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.” – Brian Sutton-Smith
  • Now is Better reverse slow-motion video
  • Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

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HOW Design 2013 in review: Part one

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I am attending the HOW Design Conference 2013 in San Francisco, California. Below are my notes from the opening session I attended on Sunday.

HOW Design Conference 2013 6:30 pm-8:00 pm – Opening Keynote – 1. How to Steal Like an ArtistAustin Kleon, Best-Selling Author
Nothing is completely original, and all creative work builds on what came before. Based on Austin Kleon’s best-selling book, Steal Like An Artist, this inspiring opening keynote will teach you how to embrace influence, establish a creative lineage, and think of yourself as a mashup of what you let into your life.

  • Twitter: @austinkleon
  • “Paper doesn’t crash.”
  • Favorite artist as a kid: San Francisco collage artist Winston Smith (see: SF punk scene, Dead Kennedys logo, Green Day fourth album art)
  • “Idiotic persistence will get you somewhere.”
  • 1. Steal like an artist
    • Newspaper blackout poems (creative ancestry: Humument by Tom Phillips, the cut-up works of William S. Burroughs like Junky, Brion Gysin, Tristan Tzara … all the way back to Caleb Whitford, who was the neighbor of Benjamin Franklin)
    • 250-year-old history of people finding poetry in the newspaper
    • Nothing is original
    • Genealogy of ideas: you are the sum of your creative influences
    • See yourself as part of a creative lineage
  • 2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started
    • It’s in the act of making things that you figure out who you are.
    • Fake it ’til you make it.
  • 3. Write the book you want to read
    • Write what you know like.
  • 4. Use your hands
    • Don’t always work on the screen. The computer brings out the uptight perfectionist who edits before he has finished creating.
  • 5. Side projects and hobbies are important
  • 6. The secret
  • 7. Geography is no longer our master
    • You can find artistic community online.
    • But do leave home sometimes. Insight increases with distance.
  • 8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)
  • 9. Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)
    • “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” – Gustave Flaubert
    • “The key to eternal happiness is low overhead and no debt.” – Lynda Barry
  • 10. Creativity is subtraction
    • Especially in this age of information overload.
  • Steal from everyone you meet. Be generous and put your stuff back into the world for others to steal from.

Time to head to the HOW Design Live exhibit hall for the opening reception. One free drink, snacks and excessive quantities of SWAG.

Continue to HOW Design 2013 in review: Part two »

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