HOW Design 2011 in review: Part three

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This is a continuation of HOW Design 2011 in review: Part two.

HOW Design Conference 2011 I am attending the HOW Design Conference 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Below are my notes from the sessions I attended on Sunday.

9:00 am-10:15 am – 20. Where Ideas Come from and Where They GoStephen Doyle
While designing brands for Barnes & Noble, Martha Stewart and his alma mater Cooper Union, you’re likely to find Stephen Doyle using a handsaw and a glue gun to create a piece of type…or casting a clay sculpture in bronze to create a sign. By nights, he’s transformed into a maniacal sculptor working with books or even dollar bills.

Tracing his career through magazines, books and package design to film titles, wayfinding systems and environmental graphics, he’ll explain how this unique combination of mass market and poetry—along with a heavy dose of craftsmanship—continually fuels his creative fire.

  • Stephen: I’m successful because I’m “ambitious, naïve and selfish.”
  • The Six Senses of Design
    1. A Sense of Appropriateness
      • Be cognizant of expectations and context.
      • Transportation Alternatives logo
      • GE ecology ad – LED light bulb
    2. A Sense of Community
      • Choices that are responsible to the community
      • Cooper Union – geometric box kite – CU
      • Actually more interested in language and semiotics more than typography
      • Peter Pan had forgotten his shadow so he comes back through Wendy’s window – an example of existential semiotics
      • I don’t think you can own an idea. I don’t think ideas are original. Ideas are fluid, like water.
      • Intersection of air, fire and water
    3. A Sense of Scale
      • LOGIC paper cutting – Thinking With My Fingers – a monument to lack of logic – lack of logic can sometimes lead to things logical
      • Sea Glass: The Carousel at the Battery – signs in the style of the perforation
      • Wrangling a client’s design project into a personal art project
      • Aquarium on Coney Island – shimmering tiles and bioluminescent
    4. A Sense of Wonder
        Bright objects hypnotize the mind
    5. Nonsense
      • You never know where it’s going to go. Logic doesn’t go everywhere.
      • Book and dollar bill sculptures – cutting up a book and gluing lines into forms
    6. A Sense of Purpose
      • Equate time that’s a little bit maniacal as value, because of this saying: time is money
      • Infrastructure – the story of civilization
      • Intelligence is nothing without delight.
    7. Bonus: A Sense of Gratitude
      • Taking on jobs only if you can move the needle (meaning: manipulate the jobs you accept: Fun, Fame, Fortune). Take on a job that fulfills 2 of the 3.

10:45 am-12:00 pm – 25. The NEW Web Typography: Where The Sexy Is REPEATJason Cranford Teague
2010 was a big year for web typography—new technologies came online that will forever change the way information appears on our browsers. And as the dust from these changes settles, a new style of web typography is emerging, one that reflects print origins, but also experiments with the unique strengths of online communication.

In this session, Jason Cranford Teague will review the latest technologies and share case studies that push the boundaries of type on the web. You’ll learn how to find, choose and use web fonts, and discover new inspiration for web type techniques. In all, you’ll learn how to expertly use new web typography to set your work apart from the rest.

  • Follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonspeaking. Session hashtag: #howsexy.
  • His website:
  • What is sexy? Makes you look again. Changes over time.
  • Web Typography = the applications of HTML style to CSS text
  • Humaan
  • 150,000 fonts
  • 5 fonts commonly used on the Web out of 10/11
  • If fonts were dogs … Comic Sans
  • The Fatal Five: Arial, Verdana, Georgia, Trebuchet MS, Times New Roman
  • 2010: The Year of Web Typography
  • Webtype Basics
  • Webfont
  • SVG – caused Safari for iPhone to crash, avoid
  • WOFF is the future of web fonts
  • Upload an EOT, TTF/OTF and a WOFF version of your font in order to cover all browsers.
  • Convert, Buy or Lease?
  • A font is a piece of software that tells the computer how a particular glyph should be displayed.
  • Choosing the right voice for your text is the job of the designer. Choose the voice that represents the brand message.
  • Typography is to type what voice is to speech.
  • Make web typography sexy:
    • Either high-color contrast and low-color contrast.
    • Scientifically shown: making things a little harder to read (such as with low contrast) improves content retention (memorable) because people have to look again and work a little.
    • Width contrast.
    • It’s not the ordinary.
    • “Above the fold” is a myth and has been substantially disproved. Space is what will draw them down into the rest of the page.
    • – gives your eye time to move around in the space
    • Use scale: large and small
    • Text on the screen has been made too small on the screen for too long. 12 pt isn’t 12 pixel. People will find it easier to read your site if you go a little bit larger.
    • 18px body intro, 14px content
    • – all caps and regular font
    • A drop shadow is meant to simulate texture on a page.
    • Drop Shadow, Emboss or Bevel – use multiple shadow effects to create combination effects
    • Letterpress effect – an emboss on the web
  • Forum One – his company
  • Fluid Web Typography book
  • Download slides, posters and tools:

2:00 pm-3:15 pm – 30. The Un-Guide to Creativity and BrainstormingChris Chapman
If you’re tired of having your ideas shot down, this session is for you. Disney Design Group’s Chris Chapman will explore the creative processes of some of the most innovative minds in history and show you how they found success.

Chris will explain how your creative mind works and give you the specific tools you need to break down the creative barriers imposed by clients, collaborators and even yourself. You’ll head home with loose guidelines to help you become a more efficient problem solver and brainstormer and—in the end—a stronger design thinker.

  • Follow Chris on Twitter: @chapmancatalyst.
  • Disney Design Group; Disney Creative Inc.
  • You cannot act like an adult if you want to come up with big ideas.
  • Pyramid chart: Arts (top), Crafts (middle), Sciences (bottom)
  • People have been told they aren’t creative
    • By public school
    • Children go into school as a “?” and come out as a “.”
  • You have to fail in order to find success.
  • Orbiting the Giant Hairball book
  • Statute of limitations – if there are rules you’ve got to bust them
  • Line graph: A large segment of the “Creative Occurrence” line graph is an “invisible creative occurrence” and a smaller segment is a “measurable creative occurrence.” You need to give your creativity time to expand and breathe
  • Jennifer Chatman – innovation-based culture stats … found this example article: “Investment Banking Serves as Case Study in Investigation of Services Innovation
  • You have to take great risks for great rewards
  • ANTI-creative mood – “processed creative”
  • Create the box: Fear, Knowledge (too much knowledge is incredibly damaging; don’t be an expert), Habit & Complacency (conformity, a blanket for people who can’t change), Assumption and Rules (break and bend the rules).
  • Brain waves:
    • Beta – “you’re getting me in beta because you’re slamming me with pressure” – we’re not saving lives here (creativity can’t be forced or pushed)
    • Alpha – relaxed and effortless alertness, ideal for creative visualization
    • Theta – deep meditation
    • Delta – deep REM sleep
  • We live in a culture of judging ideas too soon.
  • Brad Bird innovation article, with nine key lessons: “Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation.”
  • How to be:
    • Positive minded
    • Be present – check your Blackberrys before the meeting
    • Share air – talk out to each other
    • Can it (wait) – do you have to?
  • Conference tables are not for brainstorming
  • Brainstorming “energizer” (ideal): 6-8 people, 4 hours tops w/breaks, 5 ideas
  • 4 steps:
    • Vision – what question/topic are you trying to solve for (see success criteria)
    • Explore
    • Stretch – ideation phase, borrow it, twist it, re-express it
    • Ignite – judging the ideas like an adult, potshots
  • Success criteria:
    • Do (what do you want it to do), Restrictions, Investments, Values, Essential outcomes
    • Catalytic question: “How might we…”
  • Focus groups: Steve Jobs hates focus groups, and we (Disney) will never use them, ever
  • Go out and ask individuals instead
  • Stargazing: map the ideas (w/connections like star patterns)
  • Brand guidelines don’t let you explore and make it your own; limits personal ownership, creativity and joy. (Designing in rigid environments becomes detached, soulless.)
  • Recommended books:

3:45 pm-5:00 pm – 31. Letter for a LivingJessica Hische
Jessica Hische, letterer, illustrator and founder of Daily Drop Cap, will take you through the differences between lettering and type design and show you how to break into each industry. She’ll examine some of her own projects, as well as those of other lettering artists and illustrators, to show you the differences between these two seemingly related industries.

You’ll discover when type is more appropriate than lettering (and vice versa), and uncover the biggest differences when it comes to getting work, making work and getting paid in each of the two fields.

  • Follow Jessica on Twitter: @jessicahische. Session hashtag: #howletter.
  • Daily Drop Cap
  • Package Your Baggage game
  • Chalk type – use pencil and smear it around, scan it in and invert it
  • Crazy cat lady rule: you can have no more than +1 cat per bedroom in your house
  • Lettering – type as image
  • Type design – full alphabets that are turned into fonts (which are software loaded on your computer)
  • Typography (the arrangement of letters) vs. Type Design (the people that made typefaces) vs. Lettering (type as image)
  • – House Industries – all three rolled into one
  • Type designers are the unsung heroes of the design community. Most people have no idea about the type designers.
  • Text type designers:
    • (missed about three of them here)
    • Christian Schwartz
    • Chris O.
    • Okay Type
    • Jackson Cavanaugh – All Right Sans
    • Hannes von Döhren – Brandon Grotesque (similar to Futura)
    • Jos Buivenga – Exlibris – cheap fonts
    • Text type has to be a workhorse, but display type … not so much.
    • Mark Simonson – Coquette font
  • Display type designers:
    • Alejandro Paul – AudioScript – every letter has like nine alternate characters
    • Compendium by Alejandro Paul for Sudtipos Type
    • Underware – alternate endings makes their fonts look more customized
    • Type designers are the most type-A people ever.
    • Liza Display Pro – insane features – 1300+ glyphs
    • There is a glyphs palette in most Adobe software
    • Carol Twombly
    • Zuzana Licko – Mrs. Eaves
    • Veronika Burian – Bree
    • Broiche – lots of alternate swashes

Continue to HOW Design 2011 in review: Part four »

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