The title, for those unfamiliar, is a combination of the title for the novel “Do Andoids Dream of Electric Sheep” and the Twilight Zone episode “The Obsolete Man”.
I was listening to a piece on NPR about the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) out in Las Vegas. The conversation revolved a lot around automation. And it got me thinking…
We can automate a lot of things– manufacturing processes, data analysis, transportation (well, we’re collectively working on that). So what else is there? Can design be automated? As a community of designers, we argue often that design is ultimately about problem-solving and communicating. So, if we’re talking about finding the best solution, then conceivably you can establish a set of rules and parameters to reach the best possible solution.
And if we continue distilling the argument, we could reach the conclusion that design, being about solving problems, can be broken down into a set of algorithms and rules. And if we’re able to do that, what does that do to– and for– designers? Do we then become utterly obsolete? What does that do to design itself? What does an automated design look like?
And if we’re able to do that– what’s next?
I don’t pretend to have the answers to any of this. But listening to the conversation on the radio gave me pause and made me think about what, professionally, things might look like 5, 10, 20 years down the road.
“That’s the way the competition is doing it”. “That’s how it’s always been done”.
These are not fully valid reasons for making choices. Sure, there can be times when visual cues or specific language help the consumer make an immediate connection to whatever is being sold. But, more often that not, falling into this type of groupthink and making decisions from that place can be at best a bad idea, and at worst catastrophic. Thinking like this can dilute a message. It can take a standout design and make it generic. It can take the air out of a successful marketing campaign.
Figure out what makes you you, and leverage that. Forget the sheep, and embrace the fabulous unicorn within.
These last couple of days have been a bit odd. I had all the best intentions of getting this done yesterday, but time spent with family took precedence, so, at least for a day or two, I’ll probably be behind with my projects.
On today’s CSED:
I decided that it would probably be easier on me if I set a theme for the month and used that as a springboard. I took a cue from Daniela, over at “designism” and decided to go with a music theme. I’m thinking that I’d like to do a month’s worth of album covers done in the Blue Note records style, but with my self-imposed time limits this may not always be possible.
In the meantime, however, please enjoy the first of what will hopefully be a month’s worth of Blue Note-style album covers.
The idea for today’s #daily365 came about earlier this evening, when it occurred to me that MegaForce, one of my 80s guilty pleasure movies, may have, in fact, been remade last year as G.I. Joe. It’s not a knock on Joe, which I enjoyed for what it was– a fun summer-popcorn-big explosion-action flick. No soliloquies on the nature of humanity, no heavily layered dialogue. Just pure, unabashed fun. It’s just that I noticed some parallels between the two, and it made me wonder.
Now, this realization, for some unexplained leap in logic, led me to my favorite movies of all time, and I decided that I would take a stab at a minimalist “poster”. I immediately thought of Empire Strikes Back, but couldn’t come up with an idea I could crank out within my self-imposed time limits. Having seen this (again) in the last couple of months, I decided to take a crack at Bogey instead.
Hope you enjoy. As always, your feedback and comments on this (or any other piece, for that matter) are always welcome.
So, I had everything done and ready. Figured I could afford myself plunking down to watch the Smallville “JSA” 2-parter (I’m not a Smallville fan, but I’ve been a comics fan for a while and wanted to see how they would handle some of these Golden Age characters). The episode was really good, by the way. So good I may actually start watching the show.
But I digress.
After it was over, I switched over to Spike to watch some Pride mma fights. Next thing I know it’s after midnight and Tonight Show is on. So much for my plan.
So, this morning, after taking a survey of the snow that never was (what a gyp! The folks that cleaned out the local supermarkets last night must be regretting their decisions right about now), I’m taking a moment to upload yesterday’s concept. It’s a shot of the wireframing I’m working on as part of the visual realignment of my site.
As with all CSED projects, because of the self-imposed time limit of around 30 minutes, it’s far from a final draft (in some instances, it’s been barely a first draft). Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.
I had originally thought of doing both a month’s-end roundup, and a new piece for Feb 02’s #daily365. However, I felt that prepping for a job interview the following day had to take priority over that, so I decided to (at least for January) to let the roundup be the Feb 02 piece. That meant that I had an idea for Feb 03. Except I had my interview, and by the time everything else for the day was done, I was completely gassed and ended up falling asleep on the sofa watching the live “Man vs. Food” on the Travel Channel. So that meant I had to “postpone” putting it together– which means that I’ve got my work cut out for me today.
Feb 03’s CSED
The idea for this was pretty straightforward. With all the brouhaha over Groundhog Day and– at least in the New York area– the differing opinions between Punxutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck, the idea for an old-style boxing poster was a no-brainer to me.
Well, January’s over now. We’ve moved on to February, and the pesky rodent saw his shadow (or not, depending on which groundhog you follow. Personally, I’m going with Staten Island Chuck this year. He seems like a “get it done” kind of groundhog). So, and in no small way inspired by others(here and here) undertaking this challenge, I’ve also decided to do a month-end roundup. It should be a nice way to see patterns forming (or not) in my work.
Without further ado…
Hope you’re enjoying this half as much as I am in creating these pieces.
I’m a bit behind with these weekend entries of my #daily365. Saturday’s I decided to put off until Sunday because my wife and I spent some time together catching up on a couple of episodes of Ghost Adventures that we had on the dvr. I had all the best intentions in the world to catch up early tonight (Sunday), but instead got sucked into the Grammys. Save for a couple of moments, it’ll be around 3 hours I’m not getting back.
So, here I am catching up with what should have been Saturday’s piece. This one is completely different in that it tackles 2 different things. First, it’s the first piece I’m doing in InDesign. With over 300 pieces to go, odds are I would have done something in ID eventually. Secondly, it’s a piece that specifically addresses a need.
While in church today, an announcement was made regarding the members’ directory. It got me to thinking that the layout could use some gussying up. I decided to implement the use of columns, and selected type that was clean, and that could hold up at slightly larger point sizes (we have a good deal of members– myself probably included– who would benefit from the use of heavier weights on the type).
As always, your thoughts and opinions are welcome.
If, like me, you are a fan of NCIS, then no doubt you are aware that there is a set of rules (50, to be precise, although as of January 2010, we have only been given less than half, and not in any particular order) that Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs lives by. Periodically they’re mentioned or referenced, and, thanks to the wonders of the internet, folks far more obsessive and anal-retentive about these things than I have collected them. Well, it occurred to me one night that some of these “rules” can be adapted and applied to the lives and work of designers, and freelancers in particular. In the spirit of the show, I will also discuss these from time to time in a random manner.
Without further ado, the first installment of what I’d like to call “Gibbs’ Rules For Freelancers.”
Rule #9. Never go anywhere without a knife(from episode 1.13, “One Shot, One Kill”)
A knife, in this case, may not be necessary (although a lot of folks, myself included, occasionally carry a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman-type tool). However, designers– and freelancers in particular– would do well to carry a USB flash drive.
It’s simple, really. There may be times when you’re working on-site and have to take files with you. Maybe you go to an initial meeting with a potential new client and end up picking up some business before leaving their office. They want you to take their logo, maybe some documents you’ll need as part of the brief. Having a flash drive with you would certainly make things easier. There wouldn’t be the need to have anything emailed (which, considering the recent rash of issues some designers and bloggers have experienced, could be a hazard). There would be less of a need to commit another password to memory because files need to be FTP’d. The client wouldn’t have to burn a disk for you to take.
You could also look at it as “being green”. You wouldn’t necessarily need to burn disks to take files to a local printer or copy center. Just dupe them to your thumb drive and have them copy it off to their machines.
Personally, I have 3 that I’ve picked up over the last 5 years– a 256MB that I rarely use, and my two workhorses: A 1GB and a 2GB drive– and I rarely leave the house to go anywhere without at least one of these. On them I carry PDFs of my resumé and a one-sheet of work samples.
These days flash drives have become so inexpensive that it’s almost silly for designers or other creative professionals to not have one. If you have one and haven’t really put them to use, maybe it’s time to reconsider. If you don’t have one, you’d do well to invest in one.