Found at Sylloge, a festive feast of brainfood: Michael and Dethe on ‘Schemas or not’

“Dethe: I think of well-formed XML as core to a notion I’m beginning to form, called “Chaos Tools.” Chaos tools are the things which help us manage our lives in a free-form, organic, people-oriented world, as opposed to table-driven, math-focused, rigid tools currently populating the world’s computers.”

If anyone reading this

gets bored over the holiday period, then would you like to redesign my blog for me?

I need to get the archives and comments working with their own dedicated templates and I’d like to move over to using all that fancy stylesheet stuff, but I’m no good at it at all.

The Brief:
I’d kind of like to keep the stuff in the top-left i.e. my logotype such-as-it-is, and the ‘box nav’, and keep the look/feel tied to the homepage etc, but if you feel I am in need of a radical reconceptualisation and repositioning as a brand, then please feel free. If any of you are of a typographic bent, I’d love some nice crisp readable CSS action to be going on.

Project Process:
If you want to do some designs, post ’em up somewhere and point to them by adding a comment to this entry.

The Pay-Off:
When I get back from my holiday, we’ll have a group-crit, and a winner… instead of a blackbeltjones no-prize, I’ll reward the winners and two runners-up with a random selection from their amazon wish-list if they have one set up.

And hey, don’t think this is just because I’m a lazy charlatan who can’t code for toffee… This could be fun!

We are you.

Erin Malone points to Communication Arts: “Us Versus Them” by Nancy Nowacek which makes some good points about the ‘D’ word, but gets a little peevish for my tastes when it starts discussing web design e.g. “Many were liberal arts majors who, for lack of a more immediate career, bought a computer and mastered 3-D buttons and drop shadows.”

This is a nice quote from the article:

“Design is both problem seeking and problem solving”

Erin Malone’s post discussing the piece chimed with me. She talks about how a lot of people don’t like describing themselves as graphic designers anymore because of the negative connotation created by the excesses and attitudes asscoaited with it.

“I am an Information Architect. I am a Graphic Designer. I use my skills and experience across multiple mediums and have great concern for choosing the appropriate solutions for the medium. There shouldn’t be an Us vs. Them. We are Us. We are Them. There are a lot of people I know who feel the same way.”

I’m not a ‘trained graphic designer, I’m not ‘trained’ in information/library science. I spent 5/6 years in architectural college studying ‘problem seeking and problem solving’.

My job title is ‘information architect’ mainly because the people I work with feel more comfortable calling me that, but over the last 6 months here, myself and others have spent a lot of energy on advocating processes and approaches from various design disciplines to our colleagues.

Design has moved from being something that happens late in the process – putting “lipstick on gorillas” to something integral to each project, program and person in the business.

I was in a meeting with all of the senior managers of the business yesterday and the most senior person there said “we’ve got to show others [parts of the BBC as a whole] how to get the problem clear, before they start thinking of solutions”. A fantastic moment. It became clear that nearly everyone I work with is getting into a ‘design thinking’ mentality.

We’ve started to suceed in showing the business value of design, design as problem seeking and problem solving.

I feel cool with saying I’m a designer again.

Happy Holidays.

It’s that “list” time of year

Notable Graphic Designers and their Accomplishments [via ia/]

Who would I add? Hmm. Tibor Kalman?

From the UK? Neville Brody? Nah – always too fashionable. Peter Saville? Alan Fletcher? Probably only Saville and Fletcher, actually – everyone else I’m thinking of probably wouldn’t be classed as a “graphic designer” – typographers, comic book artists, production designers.

Who would you add?

I’ll… Just… Keep… Hitting… People… Over… The… Head… With… This… Till… They… Get… It…!

“Data is fairly worthless to most of us; it is the product of research or creation (such as writing), but it is not an adequate product for communicating. To have informational value, it must be organized, transformed, and presented in a way that gives it meaning.”

from Nathan Shedroff’s A Unified Field Theory of Design

And the winner is…

Stewart Butterfield!! He correctly stated the significance of both Physics Football Team shirt numbers. A No-Prize is winging it’s way from the blackbeltjones-bullpen to Vancouver…

“Feynman and (1/)137 is explained here (it was also discussed in QED and probably mentioned in his other books as well).

I don’t know the 10^88 connection, but I’m pretty sure the standard model give 10^79 for the number of particles (not atoms) in the universe (google … google … OK, I’m wrong: 10^88 it is).”

Honourary mentions to Eric Scheid who got the Sagan connection, and Astroboy for being first, if a little off…!

Team shirts for the Fantasy Physics Squad

I know they are rip-offs of those ‘philosopher football’ shirts that clever
people who wanted to reinvent themselves as David Baddiel wore at
college… but physicists are cooler, and have better numbers*.

I have to figure out how to manufacture them… ready for summer!

Midfield general Carl Sagan and plenty of room at the bottom for Team captain, Richard Feynman

(* a blackbeltjones no-prize for anyone who knows the significance of each player’s team number in each case…)