“…break things down, and find new value in the parts…”

Nathan Kontny with some great analogies to the creative process of stealing, breaking down and reconstructing:

Professional car thieves know that as soon as you steal a car, your next immediate task is to get it to a chop shop. A chop shop is an illegally operating garage that specializes in taking a car and almost literally chopping it into pieces. In less than an hour, a stolen car is chopped. Seats, windshield, airbags – every individual item is removed. Things with VINs are dumped, destroyed, or melted down.

Now, thieves have extremely valuable parts on their hands. Wheels, entertainment systems, air bags – all can go for hundreds to thousands of dollars on their own. Even melted down. A catalytic converter contains platinum going for $1500 an ounce.

And in their sale, they can’t be traced back to the original owner or the crime.

Everything is a remix.

Powerpoint, Godin-Styley

I have waaaay too many saved articles in my Instapaper account.
In the next few weeks I’m going to be cleaning this shit out and posting anything that still rings true to me. This is the great thing about truly great insights and knowledge—it doesn’t have an expiration date.
Here’s a great post by Seth Godin from 2011 I found on tips for making a great Powerpoint presentation:

The typical person speaks 10 or 12 sentences a minute.

The atomic method requires you to create a slide for each sentence. For a five minute talk, that’s 50 slides.

Each slide must have either a single word, a single image or a single idea.
I’ve worked at too many companies and seen too many presentations that try to cram in as much information onto a slide as possible. Don’t do that shit. Instead, provide printed out notes (aka, a “leave-behind”), if you need a more in-depth explanation of what you’re presenting.

Categories:

Process

Tags:

Successive refinement not unlike in other crafts.

How are apps made? Painfully with deliberation or effortlessly without thought. Blind inspiration. Eight hours over a lazy weekend. Fifty grand a day. A million dollars a syllable. Do not look for the sense in it.

Apps mirror life in their unfairness. Time spent making an app in no way guarantees successes, financial or spiritual. Grizzled developers toil for years and ‘lose’ to the ‘chain-smoking geek’ in Vietnam with the twitchy bird. Guy doesn’t even want the money.
—Craig Mod, How are apps made?

Categories:

Process

Tags:

Routines Rock

In the morning, we wake up, get ready, have breakfast, and we’re out the door. That’s our morning routine. When we do this, our bodies are performing duties it knows to do. We don’t necessarily think about each step, it just happens. While our bodies are performing these routines, our minds are working on situations, problems, and ideas. This is good, we need more of this throughout our day. The more structure we make for ourselves, the more we allow our minds to roam freely.
—Mister Perez, Create Daily, Publish Weekly

Categories:

Process

Tags:

Smuggling Across Borders

Sometimes I get pissed off how damn smart and talented Frank Chimero is:

There’s one particular stupid wall I’d like to focus on today: the one we built between print and digital formats. I’m skeptical, so I have some questions.

1) Why do we think they’re at war with one another?
2) Why does one need to kill the other?
3) What kinds of interesting things happen if we keep both on the table?

The main line of inquiry of my career has been about undermining that barrier between print and digital. Rather than having a division, I make things that trade across the boundary. I’m acting as a merchant, a translator, and at my worst, maybe even a smuggler.
Great piece on the creative process. I wrestled with similar issues the book I’m publishing with help from my Kickstarter backers.
I started Charms, Quivers & Parades as a poster series, and then I wondered why I was imposing these artificial boundaries on my work? Where else did my ideas want to live besides 12-inch by 18-inch pieces of paper? It turned out my project was equally comfortable in postercard format, PDF/ebook and hardcover book (at least for now, I think they’d make great temporary tattoos and rubber stamps too).
We live in a world where people love to polarize things into binary competitions.
It doesn’t have to be that way.

Categories:

Process

Tags:

Matthew Weiner

Matthew Weiner interviewed in the NYTimes:

I prefer print books, but I have purchased a lot of e-books. There’s an incredible power to holding the iPad or the Kindle and seeing all the choices available, but it’s a little bit like opening Netflix. It can be overwhelming and feel like a collection instead of a library. Deep down, I prefer paperbacks that I can bend the pages in, and write in with a ballpoint pen and take in the bath. Also, e-books completely nullify the adventure of used books. With a used book, I love reading inscriptions, finding business cards and notes, and constructing another narrative about who it belonged to.
Seems Weiner has the same book habits as me.

Categories:

Process

Tags:

Supersaturation and the Subsequent Creative Fallout

Quartz: Why major creative breakthroughs happen in your late thirties:

So why the late 30s? The most obvious factor is education: Scientists spend ages 5 through 18 in school, and then ages 18 through 30ish getting their academic degrees. Then a few years of learning on the job, and presto! You dig up an uncertainty principle. Meanwhile, scientific breakthroughs tend to be less common in old age because we invest less in learning as we get older, and our skills gradually become less relevant.

There’s evidence from the humanities, though, that genius doesn’t decline with age at all. Over 40% of both Robert Frost’s and William Carlos Williams’ best poems were written after the poets turned 50. Paul C├ęzanne’s highest-priced paintings were made the year he died.
I’m 36 years old, and a few years ago I got back into screen printing for the first time since college and since then I’ve been creating new designs on a regular basis.
In tandem to regularly creating art, I’ve been regularly updating a backlog of project ideas so I don’t forget them (I keep my lists in iOS app called Simplenote).
Why did I wait so long to start making art? I think it’s because I never had anything to say or express before now. For years I’ve been reading and learning and collecting things. Then I reached a point of supersaturation and things are precipitating out of my head.

Categories:

Process

Tags:

Where Ideas Come From

Awesome post by Neil Gaiman on where he gets his ideas from:

You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.
But as anyone who works in a creative field knows, ideas aren’t worth shit. It’s about execution:
The Ideas aren’t the hard bit. They’re a small component of the whole. Creating believable people who do more or less what you tell them to is much harder. And hardest by far is the process of simply sitting down and putting one word after another to construct whatever it is you’re trying to build: making it interesting, making it new.
Gaiman’s post is particularly interesting in light of The New York Times cover story on The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder.
My poor grades and inability to focus in grade school and high school could have easily been enough to convince my parents I needed Ritalin to pay attention.
As it turns out, 14 years into my career as a web designer and artist, my ability to let my mind wander is one of my greatest strengths. I rely on my creativity to make a living.
To be clear—the work ethic and discipline I was taught by my parents and graphic design professors in college helped me counter-balance my wandering mind and harness my ideas.
An aimless mind without creative habits is useless.

Categories:

Process

Tags:

There’s No “I” In “Team”

Excerpt from “Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products“:

Over in IDg, Jony began, as usual, with the iPhone’s story. As he later explained, it was all about how the user would feel about the device. “When we are at these early stages in design, when we’re trying to establish some of the primary goals–often we’ll talk about the story for the product–we’re talking about perception. We’re talking about how you feel about the product, not in a physical sense, but in a perceptual sense.”
Ive is an interesting guy, but I have a problem with the book’s title. I would modify it: “Jony Ive: One of the Geniuses Behind Apple’s Greatest Products”.
Design is a collaborative process and as noted in the book, Ive was part a rockstar team of designers and engineers. This doesn’t negate Ive’s genius, it’s simply a more accurate description of the reality that exists in the world of design.
Think of Jimmy Page. He’s one of the most talented guitarists that ever lived, but the magic he created in Led Zeppelin was through his collaboration with John Bonham, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones.
The lone genius is capable of amazing feats, but get a group of brilliant people together and who knows what’s possible. The sky’s the limit.

Categories:

Process

Tags:

Papanek

design_is_papanek.gif
—from Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek

Categories:

Process

Tags: