Rogue Industries Maine Wallet Review

Full disclosure: Rogue Industries did send me this wallet for the purpose of reviewing it. My opinions, however, remain unbiased and the following is exactly how I’d review it in any other circumstance.

Okay, so what do we have here? It’s a front wallet with a patented curve that better fits the cut of the pocket. The advantages to carrying your wallet in the front include but are not limited to theft deterrence, spine issues and simple convenience. On those fronts, it seems like a good wallet for the job. I chose mine in charcoal black premium cow leather ($40) but there are plenty of different animals and styles to choose from, including non-animal things like ballistic nylon and stainless steel. They all appear to be the same shape so this review will be more about how that works than the actual leather itself. We can assume it’ll compare to other leather products and is a material we’re all familiar with, unlike my previous Tyvek Slimfold wallet.

Speaking of the Slimfold, this might be the only time ever that someone has gone to such a slim wallet as the Rogue Maine and called the experience “clunky” by relative standards. The photo above shows the thickness difference, and it’s not too bad but I have been spoiled by the carefree weightlessness of the paper fiber material. You’ll also notice how beat up it is – no huge surprise there. So, for normal people who want reliability for more than 6 months, something a little beefier is required. For men who have even bulkier wallets than that: seriously, get something – anything – lighter. Especially if you’re a back pocket type, your body will thank me.

It’s made by Rogue Industries, a company out of Portland, Maine, USA where the aptly-named Maine Rogue is manufactured. As a Canadian I don’t understand the OORAH Made in America patriotism thing, but I do appreciate small companies filled with passionate people and well-made things, so wherever you hail from read this page and understand that they’re cool folks who believe in their product.

The minimalists amongst us will appreciate that there are no logos adorning the outside. It’s the same on both sides: clean, black leather. There’s a nice embossed text logo on the card slot area with a small tag sewn inside the cash hold but that’s it for branding. The curve is nice not only for it’s unique style but because you always know which side is the top, and instinctively know how to open it. One thing about the Slimfold was even after months of use, it was very easy to open upside down because of the featureless symmetry. It’s those sorts of affordances that make for intuitive, good design. The main reason for the curve, of course, is for the front pocket and it fits well. I’m a slim person and my hipster pants are on the tighter side so it felt a little wide for me, but I’m definitely in the minority. Given the material it will probably soften over time and become less of a rigid flat surface on your thigh (unlike the glass smartphone bulge). Other, bigger guys that tried front-pocketing it had no problem and no bulge. It does fit quite nicely in cargo shorts, I noticed. The curve allows for it to sit deeper in the pocket which feels more secure with the wider, more vertical pocket openings that things do slide out of all too easily when sitting.

There is a slightly shorter Weekender wallet that I’d be curious to try as well, since I don’t need a ton of card / cash space. If you are looking for massive card space, there are options for you too, but again, I’d try just scaling back first. The Original is slim enough to use as a back pocket wallet if you prefer (I would in dress pants) and while it is noticeable to sit on, it’s not a burden or anything. For those sizing down from a Costanza wallet, it’ll be a welcome reprieve regardless of how it’s worn.

RFID blocking is going to become an increasingly important feature of wallets, and the Maine has it built in already. Basically, smartphones with NFC (Near Field Communication) can read credit cards with tap-to-pay ability (like PayPass etc.), which means if a criminal can get their phone close enough to your cards, they can skim the information and effectively digitally steal your credit card. Obviously, this is bad. The good news is you can block these sorts of communications and prevent these sorts of thefts if you have an RFID blocking wallet. I found a simple app and with my phone did a number of very unscientific tests, but it seems to work. The naked card was easily read, both the Slimfold and my other leather wallets failed to keep my information secret and with the card tucked in the Rogue, it couldn’t get a reading. I’m no Mythbusters, but I’d call this confirmed.

The card slots are firm in the beginning as to be expected but work in over the first couple days. I haven’t felt like anything is going to fall out yet, anyway. There are three card slots on the left side and then an open pocket on either side, with the right having a clear plastic for your license which has a thumb slot for easy ID removal. I’m carrying five cards and a few bills and it all fits easily enough. The pocket behind the slots on the left is empty with that configuration, and could probably fit another two cards if you didn’t mind that they don’t have individual organization. A couple of personal business cards would be perfect here. One tiny gripe is that the middle card in the slots, for whatever reason, sits slightly too low and can get stuck hidden behind the front-most card. It might just be that the front slot has to relax a bit and expand to allow the card to sit lower, or that the middle slot needs it’s bottom sewn a little higher. Not a big deal, just a curiosity.

It might just be the bigger dimensions of Canadian bills, but I did notice the corners stick out of the curve ever so slightly which could be a little bothersome to the more OCD of us. It is a more spatially minimal wallet so the people who like to keep file cabinets worth of receipts and rolodex worth of business cards are not going to have the space for them here but again, it’s probably in your best interest to downsize anyway. Not having space is a great way to not fill up space.

Conclusion: If you’re a guy who has difficulty finding 29” waist pants, you can still enjoy the elegant, durable design and RFID blocking technology but know that it might look funny in the front pocket of your slimmer jeans. There are shorter versions available, so maybe look into those. If you’re normal sized, the Rogue is a great way to switch to front wearing and avoid theft and back pains. It’s reasonably priced, comes in a ton of materials and seems really well made. You’ll be supporting local business and cool people. Win-win.

And hey, father’s day is next weekend…

On the Value of Things

Another post on the more hypothetical side.

Things. Stuff. Gadgets and doodads. Old and new, handmade and made by sweatshop hands. We associate a value with all of the things around us based on the object itself – say, it’s market price – and a combination of our personal feelings towards it: a favorite photograph might be worth a lot even if it’s just ink and paper. A hard drive isn’t just a spinning disk after a few years of use.

A question: You’re in a restaurant with a friend and you bought them lunch at some previous date worth the same amount as the lunch he’s going to buy you today. Now, this whole thing is a non-issue depending on your level of friendship and I’ve been fortunate to have never run into it, but nonetheless. He pulls out a coupon for 50% off, say, and proceeds to pay less than it would have normally cost. So the value of the food in both cases is the same – you both had your hamburgers each time, or whatever – but the monetary worth changes; he paid less than you did. Does he still owe you?

Of course, as I stressed before, ‘owing’ is a concept nebulous at best between friends. Forget that for a second.

When we say “owe” as far as the value of things, is it about what you get or what it cost the other person? It cost you $20, say, and you both got your food. It cost him $10 and you both got the same food. If you call value the end results, you’re even; you both got equal amounts in the end. If you call value about cost, you’re still unbalanced; he owes you another $10 worth of cost against himself.

I’ve become fascinated lately by the values people attach to things. I bought an iPad Mini recently, as a lot of people did and it replaced my 1 generation iPad, which I bought on the day they came out two and a half years ago. For me, that original iPad has every bit of value left in it. Sure, it’s slowly dying and the hardware is incredibly clunky (now that I’m getting used to what seems mind-blowingly fast) but it’s ability to do what I want is still inherent. That is, the value I see in it boils down to: “Does it do what I like?” and as long as I keep answering yes, it’s valuable. If I were to sell it at a garage sale, with it’s spraypainted black back and it’s crushed corner and worn patina there probably wouldn’t be much interest, even from the very desperate. It’s simply not worth very much to other people. They compare it at a money level, because they have the potential to take that money and spend it elsewhere. Since I spent my money long ago, it’s continuing value is based on different principles.

And so everyday life comes back to a set of priorities remarkably similar to those found on the design room floor: what are we looking for in a product, and does our design meet it?

Value, then, could be described as how much a thing does what it’s supposed to do multiplied by how much you want / need a thing to do it.

A blender could either be very good or very poor at making smoothies, but if you don’t want / need smoothies in the first place it’s value (to you) remains low.

So when we value ebooks and digital content (which is unique in that it can be made once and sold infinitely) it’s not really about how much the paper and glue costs (or: doesn’t), it’s about how much we want the information or story contained. The old supply and demand doesn’t really work here, because supply never ends. Demand, then, approaches the opposite asymptote. Value needs another driver. A thing done well. A good story x how much you want a good story.

Caring for Your New Designer

The following is an excerpt from the guide I’m writing:

Preparing Your Home for Your New Designer

Noting what kind of designer he or she is will be essential for setting up a comfortable environment for them. Is your designer a minimalist? A brutalist? Perhaps removing all furniture and covering every surface with board-formed concrete would be best. Are they a cross species half-artist? Perhaps leaving cords of sticks around for them to use in the construction of their nest would be ideal. No matter what type of designer they are, though, they’ll probably want some area in which to make a mess. This is called “a studio” and is essential for the ownership of any young designer. Although they’ll never admit it, most designers would like a little bit of softness in their life, so large, well worn patchwork quilts are often sold at local shops for them to snuggle with. (Any sort of bedding material will do, however). We suspect this has something to do with their occasional bouts of soul crushing loneliness, which is an ancestral thing left over from the cave dwelling designers of the olden times – around 1998.

Designer Ancestry

It’s believed that they first arrived on North American shores as stowaways on Viking ships. Scientists differ on true origin but we suspect they were either the weakest Vikings who couldn’t make it socially and were outcasted or perhaps very large marsupials who developed opposable thumbs and the ability to draw with Copic markets. In either case, try not to bring this up with your designer! They might relapse into more primal behaviour, listening to the musical stylings of The Skrillexes and/or barricading themselves inside their nest for weeks at a time.

I Think My Designer is Broken

What you’re finding is most likely just the effects of their introverted personality and is completely natural. Leave them alone for a few days and DO NOT attempt to console or cuddle them. Yelling seems ineffective as well, but gosh is it fun to watch them scurry in fear. They will likely retreat to the comforts of social networking to stay connected to people without actually having to deal with the dull and inane personalities of their followers (often mistakenly referred to as “friends”) – this is acceptable as long as the brooding index doesn’t get too high (and we recommend picking up a broodometer – they’re like, $5 and will save you a lot of grief).

My Designer is Filling My Spare Room with Chairs

Oh, you bought a furniture designer. Yes. Well. That is unfortunate. Maybe you should have read our other guide “Choosing the Right Designer” where we explicitly recommend against that. Much like their cousin breed called ‘Architects’, they are adorable when dressed up with those cute little black turtlenecks you can get but are terrible with children and insufferable dinner party guests. If you are looking for a much gentler species of designer, might we suggest a young Modernist?

Conclusion

With some careful attention to the proper care of your young designer, he or she will grow into a life-long companion and with the proper training, if you’re extremely lucky, might make some money to recoup the costs he / she has wreaked on your home. They might seem cute and harmless but trust us – no matter how much they beg – don’t feed them after midnight.

$5 Best Made Axe Treatment

We’ve had this old hatchet as long as I can remember and I thought it time to give it some love.

Now, if you’re a regular reader you’ll probably recall that I rant and rave about Best Made Axes – they’re just gorgeous.

I happened to be at Home Depot for a different reason and wandered past the paint section. They sell little $5 bottles of sample interior house paint – the idea being you paint a section of the wall and decide if you like it – and I figured that’d be perfect for how much I needed. I had them mix up this “Pacific Coast” colour for me. It’s CIL brand eggshell, if that matters at all.

Best Made’s go higher up the handle, but I like the more minimal tip colour. Simply clean up the handle and dip it in however far you want. I should note that the sample bottle is way, way more than you’ll ever need. You could do hundreds of handles with one sample, if you really wanted. I’ll keep it around for other things; it’s a lovely colour. Multiple colours could just be done one over each other (waiting for the previous coat to dry, of course) or taped off.

Haven’t gotten a chance to test it in the wild, but just handling it now seems like it should stay for a good long while. I don’t foresee it being a fragile thing in any regard, but we’ll just have to wait.

And it gave me an excuse to use my stamp! I removed the print on the head though – didn’t look as good in person as I thought it might. Until I get a letter punch set I can’t do any text, but that’ll come eventually (hopefully I can get in on some more blacksmithing this summer).

Technological Abstractions

This calculator app from Berger & Föhr has been making waves in the blogosphere and I wanted to mention it not because it’s pretty and novel – which, it is, and that’s all fine and good – but because of what it represents.

When computers started they were a complete abstraction, lines of text that did things inside this box. Later the then-fledgling Apple added a GUI to give a better interaction between human and that mystery backend. They used metaphors in both interactions and terminology. The “desktop” held “folders” with “files” in them – none of these things exist, but it’s a good way to communicate it to the users, especially when all of this was starting and people were initially confused.

Since then, we’ve come a long way. That was 1983, just a hair short of thirty years ago. Ten years before I was born. We’ve brought up an entire new generation of people who have grown up and just accept these things; it’s not really that hard of an abstraction anymore. So it’s cool (for me, as part of that new generation) to see these things being streamlined and refined past the typical, and by that I mean, clunky and old school.

You pick up a physical calculator and you have buttons for operations because a) that’s how it’s always been and b) that’s really all you can do. You can rearrange them, sure, or maybe change how they work, but ultimately they have to be there in some capacity. Enter touchscreens. Not really new either, we’ve had iPhones for five years now, yet the calculator apps have always included the operator buttons as a direct analogue for the physical kind. They just remade it directly. Easy to understand? Sure. Familiar? Yeah. Efficient? Not really, no.

Again, and I said it a mere paragraph up, that’s so cool. We can make things better.

We’re at the point where we’re comfortable enough with the old abstractions to go past them and make new ones – more efficient ones. I think I’ve written about it before, but the ultimate UI is blank. At it’s ultimate, perfect state the program (whatever it is) should work in such a way that it always knows what you want to do. Since that’s an extraordinarily tall order, we do have to settle with buttons and elements as we do now. Gestures are good, but they don’t always work and they don’t always do what you want them to do, which goes against the above ideal. In this case the compromise is struck because it’s kept (in theory) simple and done in such a way that is easy to remember and use. Having never used it I can’t truly comment, but. With that said, if every app had it’s entirely own set of gestures (which is something we’re running into recently) it becomes even more convoluted and in the end less useful. It’s inefficient to always have to look up what the gestures to do an action is; this too goes against the ideal.

TL;DR We can make new abstractions because the UI is evolving and the new generation is used to it, which is both a power and a responsibility. And wherein I reveal my age.

Via

Interview with Max Steenbergen

When I started Twitter a little over a year ago Max was one of the first people to interact with me and it’s been really cool to exchange opinions and comments on each other’s work since then.

So, Max, tell us a bit about yourself
Well, first of all my name’s Max Steenbergen. I’m a 27 year old Dutch guy, working as an in-house UI & graphic designer for a company developing dashboard software for yachts. I’ve studied English for a bit, but quickly dropped out and went on to study photography instead. I’ve got a full-time job but next to that I’ve gone back to school to finally get a proper bachelor’s degree. Two evenings a week I’m back in the school benches following a course called Communication & Multimedia Design. Most stuff of what is taught there I already knew or is horribly outdated, but every now and then I actually pick up something new. When I’m not at work or at college, I’m most likely sweating my ass off and falling to the ground in the most unelegant ways possible playing volleyball.

How did you first get into icon design?
About 10 to 12 years ago I wanted to produce my own wallpapers so I started fiddling with Terragen, a piece of software to render landscapes. I quickly installed Photoshop thereafter to enhance the results Terragen delivered. I was quite happy with what I did back then, but after a few years of browsing the web and seeing all kinds of awesome designs I grew tired of my own limited skill set. I was especially intrigued by icons, like the ones by Louie Mantia and Sebastiaan de With. In the meantime I was hired by a local company (where I still work to this day) as the in-house designer thanks to some web design skills I picked up along the way.
Once there I started making tiny icons for the software we produce, and little by little those icons grew more and more elaborate & detailed. At the same time I got intrigued by UI design and started learning that field at the office. I bought lots of books on the subject, and found some great & inspiring people. What I learned then greatly helped in my job, as I often have to think of different ways to visualize data. It was then that I went from sloppy work to pixel-precise fiddling.

Could you describe your approach and philosophy to design?
Practically everything is done in Photoshop. Every now and then I mock up a very rudimentary mesh in Cinema4D to get the perspective of the icon right, but after that I recreate those shapes with Photoshop. I try to use as much vector shapes as possible, but once I get into the itty bitty details I quickly grab my Wacom and brush it in.
For app icons I try to keep things as realistic as possible. That’s just a personal preference and my way of working towards my other goal of being able to digitally paint and not have it look like crap. For smaller icons though I have no real philosophy. I first figure out what the icon should symbolize before I get to what it should resemble (big difference there). Minding every pixel here is key.

What’s the hardest thing about what you do?
Getting the lighting and shadows right is crucial when trying to achieve realism. Unfortunately enough, those two things are what I find hardest to do. You can’t just randomly add highlights or shadows wherever you like, you really have to stop and think just how that shadow or highlight would be shaped in real life (if there would be one at all). I recently made a jacuzzi illustration and had to add a shadow from the pool’s edge in the water. After adding it, it just didn’t look right but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why. Two days later I finally saw why: the shadow I added was convex when it should’ve been concave.

What’s the part that you love the most?
That’s right at the moment I reach for my Wacom pen to start adding in all the little details (though not every detail is brushed). I’ve learned not to be easily satisfied with my own work after seeing some of the icons I made when I first started doing it “professionally”. With my Guinness illustration I spent ages adding every little drop of condensation on the glass individually. It was a painstakingly tedious process, but the result was worth it.

Do you ever freelance?
I’m not a real freelancer – I’ve got a full-time job – however, every now and then I offer my services (or they are requested) to a client. Working on those projects is done on the evenings and weekends, and are —at the moment— merely for the fun of it. Whatever I earn with it are neat little extra’s that I save up to treat myself (like buying an iPad 3).

I hear rumours of a Dribbble app, care to share?
As I mentioned, I’ve gone back to school. For the semester I’m currently in, we have to design and develop a mobile app using web technologies (meaning HTML5, CSS3 and JS). The premise of the app was free to choose. I’ve always figured Dribbble clients lack 1 specific feature, so I figured I’d write it myself this semester. The app is called Longshot, and is a iPhone 4(s) specific web-app (I might target other devices later, but for now I’m focusing on my own phone). It’s actually nearing completion as far as functionality is concerned, but I still have to spend quite some time to the design. It’s up and running over here and requires to be installed to the homescreen as it needs the space Safari’s toolbars occupy. Still some work to be done, but quite useable already as it is.

What attracts you most to Dribbble in the first place, anyway?
Two things, really. Primarily to look at other people’s work, be in awe of and inspired by it, followed by being bummed at not being at that level. Secondly to post my own work looking for feedback.
Dribbble is a great community with a lot of talented members, and personally I’m always looking for their feedback. As every community it has its share of “elitism” and groupie behavior, but I’m not too sure if that can ever be eradicated. Longshot though is my attempt of giving everyone a fair chance of exposure.

If you had any advice for young designers, what would it be?
My twitter buddy Michiel de Graaf —himself an awesome designer— recently tweeted something that I feel nails it: “As a designer you should be proud of your final result but never satisfied.”

If you could instantly change anything about our society, what would you change?
Ads. Begone with them. I understand why they exist, and don’t mind if there are some ads but literally everything has become infested with ads. Please let me pay for your service if it means I can use it without ads. Also quite related to ads these days is online privacy. I’ve grown quite skeptical when it comes to companies —especially social networks— treating personal data, especially after reading up on some of Facebook’s practices.

Describe your favorite colour using only nouns.
Spring. Sci-fi. Cold. Minimalism. Calm. Peace. Sky. Space. Dabadee Dabada.

Thank you very much,

The pleasure is mine.

Designepreneur like a Villain

A tweet the other day from @eris reads:

I’d pick a villain as my project manager any day. Heroes are too reactionary. Villains can scope a Death Star and ship it. Twice.

It may be playful, but it’s entirely true. Good designers ship. Ideas are worth very little; execution is everything. These are mottos repeated endlessly by the startup industry and contribute to the very small rudder steering the very large ship slowly but surely. These are things worth listening to.

I wouldn’t even call the market equivalent ‘heroes’ – they are the lazy and unimaginative, the safe and the apathetic. They see a trend years past it’s prime and try to bank on it. That’s not really helpful to the people to whom the trend applies because they are exactly the demographic who has already ridden over that wave. Is your business plan to cater to late adopters? Not in writing, but all too often happens in practice. Being small is especially wonderful to take advantage of that agility and human nature; you’re allowed to make moves that the slow and ugly simply cannot make. These are the hard decisions and what used to be niche markets becoming larger and larger every day. These are the people you should be selling to: those who used to be bleeding edge but are now broadening into the general 10-40% of everymen. The people who follow these trends because it’s deeply ingrained to who they are in the marketplace but don’t feel pressed to buy the obscure things just for some marginal difference. They’re smart enough to realize a good, innovative idea and they’re a generally willing to take the gambles that the older types won’t. They’ll be your smoke when your product is on fire. You need that word of mouth to drive your small, agile company and they’re happy to provide it given they feel at home and believe in your product. There’s a transparency about companies like yours that they can appreciate and get behind. Personable.

So if the ‘heroes’ are the Walmarts out there villainy looks pretty appealing. You get to play by your own rules and do things however you want which usually means efficient and cunning. You survive by innovating circles around them and have schemes and plans for everything you see. You watch people and cater to what they want instead of waiting around for trouble to happen and trying to give them what they already have. That’s what heroes do. They react. They don’t sit in lairs inventing life rays. They wait until the villain invents a death ray and then stops it. If we put aside the metaphor for a moment, that isn’t actually helping anybody. Sit in your lair and make an awesome ray.

One more thing: villains don’t sit around reading blogs. They’re busy taking over the world. What are you busy doing?

More Midcentury Architecture

I don’t want to say if it’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but it’s interesting to look at the old architecture design / civil design and notice how entranced they were with geometry. Such precise, precise relationships between form and space and perfect shapes. I was looking at utopian cities earlier but it’s just as prevalent in mainstream city design – it doesn’t exist to the same degree because the utopian cities were smaller and usually self funded, where the large, pre-existing cities really didn’t have that agility.

The word that comes associated to this is ‘motif’ and it’s a word that I’m personally against, but I do like how they used it. All throughout architecture and design we find these examples of people who want things to look like other things. “This building is going to have a circle motif, and everything about it will be circular” or “This chair will be angular; a stealth motif” (I say this because I am not exempt. In my defense, it was required for the class project and I fought bitterly against it.) and, perhaps most offensive because of it’s common usage is “I bought this really nice painting / vase / brightly coloured mixer / decoration, let’s design a whole room around it.”

Design, in it’s purity, does not and should not seek to use other things to create itself. It is merely a solution for an existing problem, and given that each problem is unique, so too should the outcomes. But, this is an ideal. Will we still have hotdog shaped cars even though that’s probably the worst solution to the driving problem? Yes. Unfortunately. But, that might be the best solution to the branding / awareness problem. The design is that way because it has a purpose to be that way.

Motif tends to becomes a dangerous thing when it intentionally seeks to ruin the best solution by adding constraints that aren’t essential. More often than not, this constraint is also visually loud, because the design is trying to draw attention to the usage of said motifs. Would a circular house be an inherently bad thing? No, there are lots and there are fantastic, legitimate advantages to that shape. But there’s a point where the whole matching aspect breaks down the design integrity of other objects: should you have a cylindrical fridge? Probably not, since the usable volume ratio is less desirable than a rectangular one. But it fits in the motif! But, it’s poor design.

The interior design example is more a personal peeve relating to the invisibility of things. The idea that visually loud things should exist and are used specifically because they are visually loud is unwarranted. Good design is invisible – Dieter Rams. People say that’s boring, but if it were truly invisible, it couldn’t be boring at all. So, if it’s boring, it’s poorly designed. Lamps shaped liked specific things are literally designed for you to look at them, which is poor. Ideally, they wouldn’t exist at all – why would you intentionally invite even more attention to them? Now, there’s a slight hypocracy to these words because the logical illicit minor ad absurdum would say that everything should be either invisible (but still entirely usable) or, failing that, entirely plain and white. Since I am not an architect, I should say this is entirely not the case. Remember, the goal is solve the problem(s), and the solution might be bright fire engine red; that’s not an issue. The issue is when the answer to why it should be that way is: “I dunno, because I wanted it to be?” or worse yet “That’s what everything in the magazines are.”

So.

Don’t use motifs for motif’s sake. Look at the problem and use the best solution. The design should be that way because of real reasons for why it should be that way.

Photos via

Conviction and Design

I saw in the news the other day that Apple’s own Jony Ive had been knighted and wanted to extend a firm congrats to him; he definitely deserves it.

Then I thought: Steve won’t be able to see it or celebrate with him.

And that made me sort of sad.

But it also spawned this long rabbit trail of other thoughts that I wanted to record here and hopefully they make sense and possibly even inspire. Conviction, as a general word, is a firmly held belief. In design, that might mean a particular idea or methodology and there creates this table of positions:

I use the word ‘spine’ perhaps crudely. I mean, the willpower or drive to make things happen or assert oneself. So you can be assertive with no clear goal or reason and that makes you a jerk, or if you have no purpose and no willpower you’re really not doing much of anything at all. If you’re filled with conviction as to what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ but don’t bother making things better (I fall into this trap) you’re just a critic (read: outspoken slob). But, there’s this epitome on the upper right. I’ve made the boxes all the same size but realistically, this corner would be the tiny peak on the large mountain of people out there. This is the box I would put the legends into. The people like Jobs and Ive and Eames and Rams and Corbu and even people like Newton and Galileo. These are people with the drive and gumption to  make things work, building on their held beliefs and convictions until they succeed or are thrown in jail (radicals ideas are rarely easily accepted).

This is where my bunny trail breaks down. A quote: “Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.” which is attributed to a bunch of different people, all of which to whom I apologize for it’s use here. The point is, I see a lot of designers with talent that hide their convictions and their ideas because of this false paranoia they surround themselves with. A truly great person, a true design hero just goes out and does it. Protect yourself legally, sure, but I want to encourage you to go out and be awesome instead of cowering in the corner (both physically and in my above table).

I realize, I’m just as guilty as anyone and these are things I write because I’m struggling through them as well. This blog is not a letter from the wise grandfather recalling what he did wrong – this blog is the friend who’s mistakes guide everyone around him.

I want to leave you with a poster made by Joey Roth, who is a young designer I deeply admire for his seemingly effortless ease in just going out and doing awesome work without hesitation:

So here’s to the crazy ones.

Acrylo Evaluation

Tomorrow is my last day of semester 3 which is relieving and sort of disappointing; I feel like I’m just now getting warmed up and into the swing of things.

But, it means that Christmas break is just a handful of exams away and that means it’s time for some web redesign. Specifically, my portfolio and this blog.

So, I turn to you, dear readers, to ask a few questions.

How often (if ever) do you:

  1. Use the ‘Archives’ list in the right sidebar
  2. Use the ‘Search’ function
  3. Use the ‘Categories’
  4. Read / follow my posts on Google+
  5. Read / follow my Twitter feed
  6. Read / follow the Acrylo Inspiration Tumblr
  7. Feel the want / need to comment but can’t

And in general, what sorts of posts do you like / dislike? If you could suggest another topic you’d like me to explore…? If you could take out a topic entirely…?

Readability: I’ve always felt the black on grey was a little hard but black on white slightly blinding. Thoughts?

Feel free to email me directly or send me messages on the above mentioned social networks.

As always,

Kiitos. Danke. Thank you.


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