Developing A Child’s Eye

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Picasso said, and I’m paraphrasing, he had to “unlearn” everything he knew about art through conventional learning and just try to become a kid again with his work, to regain its freedom.

Outside of the real possibility that he might simply drop the camera (which he did) and break it (which he didn’t) I feel there’s so much learning in having that access. I once read a book which documented the importance of children’s play (its ability to mimic real-life) and its importance in their learning, as well as its ability to help teach adults, so I’m game.

Children shouldn’t be denied these types of chances to learn. His photos weren’t bad either—a little too much bum here or there but, hey, it was “eye level”.


Discussion of Approach—Ripped From E-Mail

On Jan 9, 2014, at 2:59 PM, (colleague) wrote:


How did this snowball from just a refresh of the jersey to a full on branding strategy? 😀

Great work. I love it. The poster is aces (not shown).

On Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 6:21 PM, Christopher Jones wrote:

… I happened upon this in my Evernote and it is formidable design philosophy which applied in this case … (not that they necessarily will act on any/all of it): “Burtin feels that his own approach to developing a design for graphic representation is best summed up by an old Japanese proverb which instructs: ‘First know all there is to know . . .then memorize it, then solve the problem intuitively.’ But for Burtin intuition is not so much a ‘magic spark’ as the result of human curiosity and a consistent experiment guided by logical thought.”’


On Jan 9, 2014, at 6:37 PM, (colleague) wrote:

“…solve the problem intuitively”

It’s as simple as that!

That was just a little bit of sarcasm. 🙂

I agree 100% with the emphasis on identifying and understanding the problem one needs to solve. One thing I’ve learned from watching you is how much it pays off to research the culture in which the people you want to talk to operate. You touched on it in an earlier email when you talked about the role the primary sponsor plays in brand identity. Same for the steering committee meeting where you talked about the current trend towards retro themes in cycling and how this shaped your design direction. If I recall correctly, you said you wanted to respect the trend without being derivative or formulaic. Great stuff.

A lot of the same applies to UX, especially with regards to the use of ethnography. In fact every time I come across an article mentioning ethnography as a research tool for experience design I send the link to my parents as a reminder that my major in anthropology wasn’t a complete waste of time. 😀

On Jan 9, 2014, at 7:38 PM, Christopher Jones wrote:

… wow. great comments … conversation …

I think that the research point is spot-on… If I came in with a bunch of stuff I just thought was cool, it might not resonate if it wasn’t grounded in something credible.

I went to a lecture by a guy named Robert Bringhurst and he was a ornithologist (studied birds?) and a type designer. He said that the dialect of a species of birds’ songs can change dramatically (enough so the birds notice) even if you move a quarter mile away. hitting home the point that even in the current world of globalization, localization and specificity is so important. Even after getting there, the feedback is so important.

As for User Experience, IDEO’s practice is just boss … Not sure where to begin with them. I follow Tim Brown, their CEO on Linkedin. I did recently see something recently, where in their labs, they spent a day coming up with a “demo” iPhone game to see if kids would like it. But instead of actually making an app, they filmed a guy dancing behind an oversized iPhone cutout (cut out of a box and pretty high-end looking) and they had the screen area clipping masked out so the guy could dance and respond to supposed changes (called out audibly) that would be programmed (for instance someone shouted: “now the characters moves his hands”, “now he dances to the beat”, etc.) And they did a lot to actually investigate the people’s reaction to the “app” (by filming the kid’s reactions)—so much so that they had an idea how they’d program the thing before starting to make it.

It was so cool and it focused on getting close to the apes—so to speak—in the spirit of Jane Goddall’s work.

Thanks for noticing.

And I went to a liberal arts school, so I love all that. It’s all connected!!

Team BBC / Baltimore Bicycle Works 2014 Cycling Kit Development

Working with team members of Team BBC presented by Baltimore Bicycle Works, we developed the cycling kit for the 2014 cycling season, that promoted their deepening partnership with Baltimore Bicycling Club.

With the infusion of sponsorship, the team wanted to better represent its main sponsor, Baltimore Bicycle Works, with an approach that aimed for classic lines and bold, recognizable imagery. In this classic style, the following jersey actually combines the livery colors of the Team BBC p/b BBW 2014 in a classic style.

This led to a livery of the BBC Pink for which the team is known, the blue of Baltimore Bicycle Works and the yellow that represents Baltimore Bicycle Club, Team BBC’s parent organization.


SLVA: Automotive Studio — Logo Designs & Work

Logo design created for SLVA: Automotive Studio.

This project was done in conjunction with Grenadier, an agency based in Boulder, Colorado. The project undertook “making over” a car customizer. The project entailed renaming his shop, developing a brand to go along with the name, as well as strategy with regard to focus on the business direction. Brown Hornet Design assisted by developing a logo that evoked the heritage of the shop owner and connected with the visual language of the market.

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Additional identity work from this project:

And here’s an image of the post-production:


And from the drawing boards:

From First Review Email …

“Not to talk all over them, but a little preamble: general focus is branding that serves as badges as well. Typography in most cases is handcrafted, with exception of F).

E) features an approach with the lion—the crest animal of the Silva Family name (lots of families use the lion, though. Also, technically speaking, the surname meaning is “wood” and was the name of the royal family of Spain, but the name’s relative ubiquity possibly translated into it being the name of a village of the royal family, etc–wikipedia… Bottom line: there’s possibly something to all that, but the fact the client doesn’t have a family history in cars and the family is sort of a regular working family, I didn’t press it much except buying the lion as an emblem like the Ferrari bought the horse (turns out traditionally, Germans were know for putting horses on their cars more until Ferrari did it) … To some extent this was something worth exploring even more… I concepted a few crests/shields and crests (I included one that I whipped up for discussion’s sake that sort of look like a soccer team’s logo or a Ferrari logos).”

A Blog-to-Book Success: Catching Up with WordPresser-Turned-Bestseller Jared Gulian

Q: “We’re thrilled about your blog-to-book success — what’s one tip you can give to aspiring authors on”
A: “I have two important words: mulish determination.

In my experience, the most important thing is just to keep on doing it, and to keep on trying to learn how to do it better. Keep on blogging, writing, taking notes, talking to friends and strangers who write, and pushing yourself to learn more and improve your craft.

I found Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers really helpful. He talks a lot about the “10,000-Hour Rule,” which claims that the key to success in any field is practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. That’s a lot of time before success hits!

So, practice that mulish determination and just keep on writing.”

The Blog

Last November, we chatted with New Zealand blogger Jared Gulian, who snagged a publishing contact for a book based on his blog, Moon Over Martinborough. His book of the same name, released last month, has climbed to #4 on New Zealand’s bestseller list for nonfiction. We caught up with Jared amid this exciting, eventful month and talked to him about his experience so far.

Moon Over Martinborough

Your book, Moon Over Martinborough, was released on June 7. What has the past month been like?

It’s been absolutely insane in the best possible way. It started out with a launch event in the Martinborough village, where I live. The turnout was amazing. Everyone was very excited about the book, since it features Martinborough and its people.

After the launch, it kept getting better. I’ve been surprised by the level of media interest across New Zealand, and I’ve had interviews with…

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Dear Client Insistent On Using An Acronym — On No Marketing Budget …

(ripped from an actual e-mail to client…)

To recap this specific issue:

Acronyms are overplayed and are (best) effective when used in highly impactful names/brands/organizations with brand equity (or other significance) built around them: IRS, CIA, USPS, UPS, FBI, etc.

Hospitals and lesser-known government agencies use acronyms/initial as shorthand to those “insiders” who know/deal with on some level (stakeholders) the organization regularly—as would politicians, board members and specific members of the community. This can work, but these entities are still very much less well known, particularly if they do not commit to the task of branding (i.e. putting money into the effort to own an acronym).

Who knew what FEMA was before 2005? … And if there is a FEMA, why is there then a MEMA (Maryland)? (Random thought)

Most importantly, when members of a particular community are unknown and the brand recognition amongst them is low, it may stand to reason that the primary usage of an acronym positions an organization distances the general public from the significance of the organization, since the name is less focused on intrinsic recognition with the public.

For example: <strong>ABC Rentals vs. Plumbing Supply Rentals.</strong> (Which name gives a sense — at a glance — of what the company’s primarily positioned to do for the prospective customer?) In this vein, one could say that using acronyms is a nickname of sorts and the public gives the most effective nicknames: FedEx (shortening of the proper name Federal Express—and rebranded as such afterwards because of the saturation with a specific position—overnight package service).

Meeting Length Regret Quotient

Meeting Length Regret Quotient

Obviously, not all meetings should be two hours max. I mean someone is trying to solve Middle East Peace, but I was in a meeting where, after a certain time, I just felt there’s no reason this meeting should be THIS long. I think every person has this quotient (at different lengths) ticking in their heads. Keep the info utility front-loaded, you know!

The Design Process …

Ripped from an email to a client:

“That said, I can reflect on something a design mentor, Ed Gold, said (He’s was honored for a AIGA medal some time ago, when I was involved with the local chapter) … Design is the one profession where, when you are doing it well, the goal is to achieve your highest heights by doing something even more different. Most other professions: like doctors, lawyers, etc., are about honing the expertise into doing the same thing very well.”

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