Against Predictability

Jessica Svendsen, ex Pentagram, Apple and now designer for The New York Times, gave an insightful talk at the AIGA Portfolio Day 2016. She's a fan of analogue design methods that can create unpredictable results and allow a design to develop in unexpected ways. She also had pointers for new designers (see images below), some of which are directly applicable to me personally, and were therefore pretty interesting. 

As ever, there was a great turn-out at the day and I had several good portfolio reviews. I even got to meet one or two design icons :)

Oscar De La Renta at the De Young

A gorgeous retrospective of the late Oscar De La Renta's work. The De Young exhibit covers his early work from the 1960s to the end of his life in 2014, charting his success and the influences on his design from Spain, the Middle East, Russia and 18th century France. There were some beautiful parallels drawn between some of the couture and pieces from the museum's permanent collection, and a stunning room that showcased Marie Antoinette-esque gowns alongside footage from De La Renta's own, french-style garden in Connecticut. 

SF MOMA Preview

The new SF MOMA is stunning, and huge. They also have a fantastic exhibit of graphic design posters on the sixth floor, so naturally i'm a fan. Interestingly, the exhibit includes pieces that have influenced the development of design as well as the design itself, such as the original Apple Mac and the Olivetti Lettera typewriter. Other favorites were the subversive Doug Aitken "Start Swimming" installation and Glenn Ligon "Double America" neon light. The raspberry cake was pretty good too.

Annie Leibovitz at Crissy Field

One of the bonuses of working in the Presidio... lunchtime office trips to see Annie Leibovitz: Women, New Portraits at Crissy Field.

I loved this exhibition. It was intelligent, thoughtful and reflected on the roles and perceptions of women across race, class and culture. The mixed media approach was striking. Giant LCD screens displayed rotating images alongside a pop-up wall with pictures tacked onto it. This makeshift appearance was intentional, reflecting the evolving and unfinished nature of the work. An hour well spent.

Women watching women

Without Type: The Dynamism of Handmade Letters

A small sample of the Letterform Archive's extensive collection. This exhibition showed off handmade lettering in many different media. There was even an El Lissitzky, which has made its way onto my phone as a background.

Be Enveloped... delightful letterpress and handmade envelopes at the San Francisco Center for the Book. This was a small, beautifully curated exhibition in the Center for the Book's bijou space in Potrero hill. Fittingly, the exhibits sit alongside the Center's collection of letterpresses and other printing ephemera.

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Vintage Addict

I can't stop shopping in vintage stores... it's a sickness. I like the look of these cameras as much as I enjoy actually taking photos. It's shame that shooting film costs a fortune.

A Journey to Berkeley

I love San Francisco's architecture almost as much as I love Londons'. The new Bay bridge is a perfect example of why. 

Design Week SF - Duarte Studio Tour

Duarte, the company that makes beautiful presentations for the likes of LinkedIn and Facebook, opened their studio to the public as part of SF Design Week. I got to hear from their CEO Nancy Duarte on how she started the business, saw their fab offices and snagged a moleskine notebook as a takeaway...  they even have a yurt.

Interning... at Studio Hinrichs

I've been lucky enough to score a couple of weeks working at Studio Hinrichs, agency of industry institution Kit Hinrichs. Time to find out what working in a real agency is all about...

CCA Portfolio Review

D-day finally arrived! Time to get reviewed by some super cool designers in the city... Repeat to self, everything's going to be FINE.

I was lucky enough to get lots of positive comments about my work, plus a few tough critiques (that's how you learn, right?!). 

Here are some pics for those of you that couldn't make it. The dog wasn't the best part but he was pretty close :)


Main space. 

Reviewers and reviewees hard at work

Alphonse, the french bulldog

My room :))

Beautiful building

The Design Process

One thing I was consistently exposed to at the Design Council was the design process. The Design Council has their own design process framework, shown above, that illustrates the divergent/convergent stages of design thinking. Broken down into four distinct phases, the process moves through 'discover', 'define', 'develop' and 'deliver', each one representing either a divergent or convergent stage of the design development process:

'Discover' - the initial stage of the process inspired by an idea. At this point, research is critical in order to gain a deep understanding of the needs of the project. Methods such as market/user research and design research groups are often used.

'Define' - the project research is formed into a 'problem', which is then aligned with business strategy. A design brief is developed and signed off on. Some solutions are explored and prototyped.

'Develop' - one or more of the concepts identified during the 'define' stage is selected for further development. More in-depth prototyping and iterating of solutions takes place.

'Deliver' - the final stage. The design solution is thoroughly tested and signed-off on. It is released to its audience. After launch, evaluation takes place.

Read more about research into the design process used by major brands here, in the Design Council's 'Eleven Lessons' report. There's some pretty fascinating stuff on design methods undertaken by these international brands, plus insights on how they apply design within their companies and products. 

 The Design Council's 'double diamond' design process.

The Design Council's 'double diamond' design process.

Stanford Design Thinking Workshop

Had soooo much fun at the design thinking workshop with Phil and Adene from Ireland Davenport! Did a ton of blue-sky thinking to come up with solutions for a restaurant wait and went with champagne balloon rides... the green thing I'm posing next to is our prototype hot-air balloon :)

It was so great to see the and experience working (well, playing) in their space. Design and creativity is for everyone, and opening up their space to the public is a great way to promote this message.


Ideations - "Lode" app

Sketches for 'Lode', the ideation app I designed. 

I had originally named it 'Muse', which I decided to change because of the potential for confusion with the Adobe software. I actually like 'Lode' better; it refers to rich deposits of valuable material underground. Since I designed the app to help the user access inspiration, I think this is pretty appropriate.