Sunday, October 30, 2011

Design Victory: Type for Dyslectics

Great short article on Fast Company’s Co.Design about a typeface designed for people with dyslexia designed by someone with dyslexia. Talk about user-centered design.

The face is awkward-looking by traditional visual typographic criteria, but using Louis Sullivan’s Form Follows Function criteria, it seems like a masterpiece. The article said it best:
If it works, it works. And according to an independent study by the University of Twente in Boer’s native Netherlands, it does work.

For your next presentation: if, for any given population, approximately 5–10% have some sort of dyslexia and another 7–10% have some sort of color deficiency; that’s potentially 20% of your audience that doesn’t see things the way you do, literally. I’m exaggerating a bit, but try to consider all the ways your audience is different from you and your worldview.

Monday, October 17, 2011

West Coast Attitude

From a Rolling Stone interview with Bono on Steve Jobs (emphasis added):

What's the essence of his legacy? 
This dude, my friend, and I’m proud to say, my colleague – he changed music, he changed film, he changed the personal computer. It’s a wonderful encouragement to people who want to think differently, that’s where artists connect with him. The picture of Einstein with his tongue sticking out, that’s actually the very heart of the brand, and that’s the punk rock piece, the attitude, and the anarchic mind that dreamt up the 21st century. That’s a real encouragement for people who didn’t go to an Ivy League school, who don’t know how to use a knife and fork, who don’t have the right accent. That anarchic West Coast “fuck off” attitude actually rules the 21st century. That’s what's happening on the streets of Cairo, that’s what's happening in North Africa – received wisdom is being balked at. A gnarly, singular point of view, like Steve Jobs, feels like a lighthouse spinning: When you’re in the fog, you just go, “I'll go over there.”
Business leaders take note, I’m not sure it’s only artists who identify with this point of view.

(If you have five minutes, the entire Q&A is a good read.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs. 1955–2011

Like many people who work at the intersection of design, media, and technology, I am very sad to hear of Steve’s death. Though I never met the man, right now I feel like I have lost a mentor and inspirational friend. 

I first started using a Mac in 1986, with some new-fangled programs called PageMaker and Adobe Illustrator. I was a designer and typographer and thought I had no use for a computer – until I used a Macintosh.

And since then, I have seen and participated in almost every communication technology wave (always on the disruptive side – go figure). Most follow a pattern: old-timers pointing out shortcomings in the new technology, established players protecting their turf, up-and-comers trying new tools and techniques, old eventually giving way to new. And through each, I imagine Steve giggling because he saw it coming and loved to create great products that would help enable the new in ways that even he couldn’t imagine.

I am not a religious man, but I hope wherever Steve is now he is at peace, and smiling at the world he has most certainly made a dent in.