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Monthly Archives: November 2009

Here is a great example of the importance the role the client plays in the outcome of a design.   This example is taken from an online book by the famous advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather called Ogilvy on Recession

Consider Michelangelo’s painting for the Sistine Chapel:

What was he exactly asked to do by his client?

“Cardinal Alidosi needed to brief Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.  How did he do it?

He might have said  “Please paint the ceiling”.  This is a bad brief.  It gives Michelangelo no idea as to what the solution might be.”   

He might have said “Please paint the ceiling using red, green and yellow paint.”   This is worse.  It still does not tell Michelangelo what to paint, and it also gives him a number of restrictions.

The actual brief was this:  “Please paint our ceiling for the greater glory of God and as an inspiration and lesson to His people.  Paint frescoes which portray the creation of the world, the Fall, mankind’s degradation by sin, the divine wrath by deluge, and the preservation of Noah and his family.”

This brief helped produce one of the great creative works of all time.”

The site has identified top 10 consumer trends for 2010.  They include:

Urbany   (F)luxury and Mass Mingling



noun    burn rate (plural burn rates)

rate that cash is used up: the rate at which a company uses up its cash


(An excerpt from an interview with Jim Collins in INC. magazine).  Article is HERE.

This content is very useful to me as the owner of a start-up architectural practice.  Because I hate risk but I love ambiguity! 

How do you define entrepreneurship?

I take a broad view of it. The traditional definition — founding an entity designed to make money — is too narrow for me. I see entrepreneurship as more of a life concept. We all make choices about how we live our lives. You can take a paint-by-numbers approach, or you can start with a blank canvas. When you paint by numbers, the end result is guaranteed. You know what it’s going to be, and it might be good, but it will never be a masterpiece. Starting with a blank canvas is the only way to get a masterpiece, but you could also blow up. So, are you going to pick the paint-by-numbers kit or the blank canvas? That’s a life question, not a business question.

It has to do with your ability to handle risk, no?

Not risk. Ambiguity. People confuse the two. My students used to come to me at Stanford and say, “I’d really like to do something on my own, but I’m just not ready to take that much risk. So I took the job with IBM.” And I would say, “You’re not ready for risk? What’s the first thing you learn about investing? Never put all your eggs in one basket. You’ve just put all your eggs in one basket that is held by somebody else.” As an entrepreneur, you know what the risks are. You see them. You understand them. You manage them. If you join someone else’s company, you may not know those risks, and not because they don’t exist. You just can’t see them, and so you can’t manage them. That’s a much more exposed position than the entrepreneur faces. But there’s lower ambiguity on the paint-by-numbers path: very clear but more risky. The entrepreneurial path: very ambiguous but less risk. Of course, the truth is that it’s all ambiguous, anyway. If you think you can predict the future, you’re crazy.


A blog on the Design Intelligence magazine website waxes optimistic about the future in spite of the current state of the economy, based on the state of the young generation preparing to enter the workplace. 

In a recent issue of Inc. Magazine, best-selling author and management guru Jim Collins was interviewed about thriving in light of the current economic “crazy times.” As someone who has made it his life’s work to study organizations, Collins exhibits a remarkable – and reassuring – energy about the future. When asked about the source of this optimism, he said,

“A lot of it has to do with the young generation. A general at West Point told me, ‘This is the most inspired and inspiring generation to come through West Point since 1945.’ I see the same thing with the young people who come to work for me. They have a sense of responsibility and service and a lack of cynicism that is remarkable and wonderful. It’s an ethos, and it’s collective…

Original blogpost is HERE.


Can starting a career or making a career comeback, for that matter, make sense during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression? Sounds risky, right?

No. Our contrarian view at Design­Intelligence and among the executive board of the Design Futures Council is that success lies ahead for design professionals who can adapt to the new context and process new opportunities. This includes embracing the emerging professional service models. Evidence abounds that there is a fresh and exciting new profession on the horizon

Full article is HERE


What is the appeal of minimalism?   For me, it seems to represent a state that is the opposite of CLUTTER, which is a form of ENTROPY.   Nature naturally tends towards entropy so the minimal is in fact opposing nature, and actually represents a higher energy state.  This can also be equated with a spiritual state.  To live in a minimal way is in some ways an unattainable goal, which is precisely the appeal.   Minimalism is equated with order itself. 



What is the Western Tradition?   It consists of a known body of work and thought, a.k.a. the “canon”,  including:

  • Ancient Greece and Rome
  • Judaism and Early Christianity;
  • the Middle Ages;
  • the Renaissance;
  • the Reformation;
  • the Enlightenment;
  • Modernity /  Modernism.

(Image – Raphael School of Athens)


This is the bonechaise prototype design by DROOG.   Article with more info is HERE.


Ms Vessey’s mermaid tail was created by Wellington-based film industry wizards Weta Workshop after the Auckland woman wrote to them two years ago asking if they could make her a prosthetic tail.

The suit was made mostly of wetsuit fabric and plastic moulds, and was covered in a digitally printed sock. Mermaid-like scales were painted by hand.

Mr Taylor said not only did the tail have to be functional, it was important it looked realistic. “What became apparent was that she actually physically wanted to look like a mermaid.