Well-read is well-fed A different kind of holiday feast

If reading is exercise for the brain then my brain is morbidly obese. The birth of a new year helps a lot of people focus on losing those few extra pounds that showed up in the mirror over the Christmas break. My problem hasn’t been the physical but the mental. I haven’t been looking at the world with the same set of eyes over the last 3 or 4 months and my ability to articulate my thoughts has been akin to an obese person trying to climb a flight of stairs.


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Reading time: 7 minutes



Up with empathy Ditch your designer label and make people happy

Like designer jeans, job titles in the online industry will change style, come in and out of fashion and in a few years, look ridiculous at your next job interview. My advice? Leave the hipster designer labels at the front door and focus on what you do best. Solve problems that improve the quality of life and do it with the help of like-minded people.


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Reading time: 4 minutes



Plus size design There’s no shame in having a little extra weight

Are we sacrificing our sense of ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ for convenience and portability or will touch just take on a different meaning now? Are we about to witness a revolution in making our multi-touch devices more tactile? The quilted back of the Kobo, the plethora of leather, wood and felt cases for all our current mobile devices, make it obvious to me that I’m not alone in wanting a more comforting digital experience. It’s clear that humans find comfort in tactile experiences, what interests me going forward in my professional life is how we’re going to address this need if our content is trapped within the confines of the 2D, gloss-coated LCD.


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Reading time: 5 minutes



Please don’t unbrand me! A cigarette company’s plea to keep their identity

Is it the cigarettes that are cool or is it whether you smoke Marlborough or Winfield? The value of branding to companies is nothing new but it seems that the Australian government has finally caught on and they’ve decided that it’s time cigarette companies went green. No, I’m not talking about a Carbon tax, I’m talking about ‘olive green’. It’s the new recommended brand colour for every tabacco company’s packaging in Australia and, if the government gets it’s way, it’s about to become law.


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Reading time: 4 minutes



When lightning strikesCreative ideas when you least expect them

In a previous post, Creativity is not a personality trait but a moment in time, I discussed the Ted talk given by Ms Elizabeth Gilbert about the concept of a ‘genius’. It raised some very big questions in me about my own creative process and how and why I have these ‘moments of genius’ where an idea seems as though it’s presented itself on a silver platter with all the trimmings. I’ve started to track when and where I get hit by these lightning bolts; I’m not that surprised about the results: My best ideas don’t happen at work.


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Reading time: 4 minutes



Creativity is a moment It’s not a personality trait

Regardless of what we like to believe, a designer (or creative as some of us like to be known) isn’t creative all of the time. No one person has creative idea after creative idea; it’s impossible. But perhaps ‘creative-types’ are more receptive to the moments of creativity that are presented to them than those who shrug off their lack of creative thinking with lines like, “Don’t look at me for ideas, I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” Is it creativity that needs to be learned? Or rather, do we just need to learn when to recognise moments of creativity and how to grab hold of them?


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Reading time: 2 minutes



User Experience designer Fact or fiction

The online digital interactive experience pie is a big one and in the last few years I’ve noticed a slight shift in whose eating at the dinner table. User experience designers seemed to have pulled up a chair, grabbed a knife and fork and started to feast but is their company in sharing the meal really worth the time and effort of the cooks and the clients who are preparing the pie?


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Reading time: 4 minutes



Graphic design in the ‘pokie room’ The Queen of the Nile still reigns supreme

Head in to any poker-machine room in Australia and you’ll find the same thing; Wall to wall backlit poker-machines with bright, shiny happy faces and animals strewn across them. The glow they cast lights up faces of human-beings of the opposite countenance; a depressed, zombie-like state has possessed every player. How is it possible that such a juxtaposition of graphic design and human feeling can exist so close to one another; side-by-side, across the nation? Are we the problem? Or is it the graphic design that needs to be addressed?


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Reading time: 7 minutes



The language of fear Journalism’s role in shaping the way that we think

When was the last time you left the front door of your home open and unlocked while you pottered about the house doing your weekend chores. Or when was the last time you let your children play in the street, eat mud pies or go out with their friends without a mobile phone? Have our largest online news sources unknowingly become propogators of societal fear, constantly reminding us of how dangerous today’s world is and how we can make ourselves safer by not catching public transport, putting up higher fences and wrapping our children in cotton wool? Is gen-y really the worst, most violent generation yet?


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Reading time: 5 minutes



A private approach Educating the masses, $10k at a time

Can a 12 month, privately run education make you a ‘designer’? What secrets are the Universities missing out on that mean students are spending 3 to 4 years studying a design degree if it can be accomplished more quickly elsewhere for a smaller fee? Private design colleges are touting cheaper, faster and more successful employment rates upon graduation then their government funded educational counterparts but perhaps the old engineering adage applies to graphic design education also – Fast, Cheap, Good – Pick two.


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Reading time: 5 minutes