Sunday, November 14, 2010

some half-baked goodness

(c/o Life Is Good)
Thinking back to blogging-intensive days of yesteryear, I vividly remember the feeling of a thought swirling around in my head.  I'd ruminate on it, and then it would collide with another shrapnel thought from a completely different experience.  To connect these synapses, it usually warranted at least a slight pause to make sure I could consciously explain what was happening.  The whole thing was rather dizzying (of course, coffee helped), but everything usually turned out fine . . . so long as I could spit it out somewhere.

The spitting is key, I think.  Personal blogs are really spittoons.  They were designed as a side-kick receptacle for things that need to get out of your mouth, but that might not be socially/culturally appropriate.

I don't have a loogie, but there's definitely some spit.

Here goes:

After making my coffee, opening my screens and clicking on some things to wake up, I find myself in this odd state of mind where I use words unquestionably that I'd ordinarily censor from myself.  Nothing bad, per se.  No swearing or vulgar-type phrases.  No, none of that.  

Rather, I use -- quite liberally -- words that connote 'goodness'.  Words by which our culture progresses.  You know the culprits . . . good, sweet, awesome, amazing, brilliant and (the biggest offender) great.  

Obviously, the words have no intrinsic badness.  Or goodness, I guess.  It's all about the context.  My curiosity rises in my own liberal use of the bastards, though -- why are those the go-to pieces of language?  My first thought would be to point out that there's sort of a natural ability for people to curate the experiences around them as 'good experiences' or 'amazing things' or 'brilliant thoughts' . . . but if you think about what it means to curate something, I'd imagine we're sort of lacking the latter part of the activity.  Rather than just placing a label of 'good' on something around us, curating actually connotes collecting, as well.  Assembling in some sort of order, arranging in a certain way, or simply clumping together to experience at a later time.  Not sure we do that for ourselves.

But, things like the ubiquitous 'like' button and other social bookmarking sites allow people to access worthwhile information at a later time.  And share it.  I suppose this might be the closest thing we have.  Er, I mean . . . tool, I guess.  Other cultural thought aggregators like Good Magazine are steering this way, too.  Picking out goodness, publishing it, sharing it, what have you . . .

But, just because these new tools are popping up, doesn't necessarily mean we have license to use these words without the ethical obligation to consider what we really mean when we whip out 'good' words.

Upon first consideration, I seem just lazy as fuck.  We're soaking up so much stuff/information/etc that despite our best efforts, the best label we can give something is related to 'good.'  Really?  Seems a bit tragic that with all the words we have in our linguistic abyss, the layer we choose to call out as superlative is how good it is.

Considering the genesis of our 'good' label, the incredibly oversimplified thought process goes something like this, I'd imagine: starting at 'hmm, I wonder if this is new?' to 'oh, that's interesting' to 'this is good stuff!' and landing at 'I should share this.'  Intriguing, interesting, valuable, shareable.  Maybe that's just how I experience it, and maybe there are some more nuances to that process, but consider that a Mental Processing 101 version of the different layers tapped into as we swim in information. 

The sharing bit is another immensely interesting part of the whole thing, but in hopes to not get terribly wrapped up in a tangent, I want to keep my eyes on the value bit.  Sharing is worth unpacking at another time, no doubt.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I started spitting this out when I found myself writing down these words and asking myself a couple of questions.  Here are a few, just to document my current thoughts -- there are undoubtedly more.

(1) PERSONALLY - How am I processing this piece of information?  Is is being logged in the 'good' stack?  the 'really good' stack?  Am I going to want to do a better job filing it?  Or is alright if I simply verbally star it to come back to it later?  How might this compare to something that I tagged as 'good' or 'sweet' yesterday, when I was wading through much more of the information marsh?  More important?  Am I just attaching a superlative label to it for its relative goodness amongst a collection of 'less good' stuff?  

(2) SOCIALLY - Do I need to further specify what I mean when I say 'awesome' or 'amazing'?  or is it sort of culturally understood if I simply post it on twitter/facebook or email it to a friend?  Do I even need to attach a verbal label to it?  Or might the value be somewhere in our relationship-based shared subconscious, thereby mutually understood by simply posting/sending it out?

(3) CULTURALLY - What am I actually adding to culture by slapping my own label on a piece of information and publishing it for the world to see?  Especially if it's not groundbreakingly new or terribly unique.  Are there timeless labels/tags to connote 'good'? or might there be more culturally relevant ways to tag what we see that is worthwhile?  

Anyway, these are obviously all over the place.  And I haven't even tapped into the 'bad' end of the spectrum, as that might unleash a completely different discussion given the political atmosphere our country is breathing in.  But, I think there's some value in picking through the words we use to get to communication that more accurately gets our point(s) across. 

When looking at the words we use and the way we use them, it seems there are increasingly more ways to publish the 'goodness' we find (and badness, at that), but fewer ways to discern between different layers of that same goodness.  I'm sure there are some implications, but maybe that's for another day . . .

Might need some more coffee first.  The swirling seems excessive with this topic.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

narrative of my city

What happens when you keep things personal?

But rather than sloppy accusations and ignorant presumptions, you make your point about the future of your city with a common narrative that everyone can relate to?

Here's a wonderfully refreshing approach to the discussion over plans for the downtown Manhattan mosque.  




Leave it to NPR to pull out this card.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

hot damn. hot quotes.

Between the constantly moving bodies, talking mouths, mismatched tshirts, and incessant tweeting, it's totally easy to involuntarily check out mentally.  Crazy amounts of time goes by and even crazier amounts of information gets dumped on all of us here.

But I love it.  

Props to everyone for making it halfway.  Like after crossing the finish line of a marathon, I think we should get wrapped in cellophane at the end of this.  Or get a medal of some sort.  This is the first time that I really feel like this week is some kind of hybrid race -- spans of time requiring incredible concentration, sore bodies, unfortunate amounts of not-so-subtle glances to your fellow racers, and lots of running shoes.  But, instead of water, we have ample beer breaks . . .

Just like the collective running culture, I'm watching an amazingly wise group of people zip around Austin this week.  So, so wise.  (Some are self-accredited in their wisdom and kind of ignorant, but the really great minds make up for those few exceptions).  Obviously, I think it's everyone's goal here to tap into this wisdom, but oftentimes it can become an all-too-focused pursuit on our parts -- totally get that there's value in analyzing each panel on a micro level, but it's also important to have some more moments of reflection.  Think macro a bit.  What are we getting out of this whole tech incubation? 

I'd imagine we all have different answers.  I'm still working on a mine.

Anyway, wanted to take a halfway look at some of the pieces I was able to catch over the past few days.  Some are uplifting and inspiring, while some are borderline offensive.  All of them, however, are equally pithy.  Here goes:

On social bonding and intimacy:
"Men, don't have sex with a woman unless you're ready for her to be glued to you for 2 weeks or until they have their period." (panel on bonding and intimacy)

On old movies and music:
"$1 things are the biggest disruptions in the marketplace."  (panel on power shift between creators and audience)

On privacy:
"Just because something's publicly accessible, doesn't mean it should be publicized." (keynote speaker, Dannah Boyd)

On designing for the future:
"The ability to think about the future is evaporating." (panel on Design Fiction)

On the publicity / privacy divide:

"These are living things."  (keynote speaker, Dannah Boyd)

On movements:
"The thing that keeps a movement going is the same thing that keeps you from flaking on your friend's birthday party."  (Scott Heiferman)

On innovation:
"There's no point in innovating if you think you already know the answer." (TrendHunter)

On drawing:
"We have not fully explored an idea until we're talked about it and drawn it out.  We cannot share an idea until we've talked about it and drawn it out."  (Dan Roam)

On predictions:
"We don't really know what we want. Our environment largely affects our decisions."  (Dan Ariely)

On sustainability:
"When will we stop thinking that less bad is good?" (keynote speaker, Val Casey)

On social action:
"Social awareness has a tranquilizing effect." (keynote speaker, Val Casey)

I'm learning almost more just by watching everyone soak up all this stuff.  It's fascinating.  An incubated social psych experiment of sorts.  Pretty great . . .

Anyway, off to grab a beer with an old friend.  Some more thoughts later.  Hopefully less hodgepodgy at the next check-in . . .

Posted via email from DeeperDish

Sleep is overrated, I guess.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fire alarm leads to evacuation. And shut-down.

But, walking down 4 flights of stairs with a panelist, she couldn't talk to me until she did the tweetwalk.

Fitting that her talk was about changes in bonding and intimacy, no?

Posted via email from DeeperDish

Stopped to play with a mound of legos.

Awesome. But let's do this with a beer?

Posted via email from DeeperDish

personal relationships + technology? #IPRpanel

really enjoyed the debate over the much-discussed topic.  

quickly became personal, bringing in spouses/girlfriends/awkward stories into the discussion -- smart move to quickly set the tone of things.

raised some interesting thoughts on identity (among other things):

how are our identities blurring?
should we be taking the reins of who we are and how we're perceived?  (are we already doing this?)
are our friends co-constructing (or constructing?) our identities?
there are some fascinating paradoxes of power and choice when it comes to public identities.

great to hear how research-backed thinking can intelligently add to the cultural conversation.  but -- as always -- even more awesome to hear some cross-generational bickering over argument strategies, relationship dilemmas, and personal identity crises.  

great panel. 

side note:  there was an awesome elderly woman toward the end of the Q&A who told everyone what's what.  you go!

Posted via email from DeeperDish

free stuff

broke diaries. some friends from brooklyn talking about the value of giving/getting/seeking out/etc free stuff.  some cool personal stories here.

boils down to this:  casseroles are social, cheap doesn't equal non-luxurious, and bartering is changing.  

duh.

Posted via email from DeeperDish

Thursday, January 21, 2010

sip 'n stare

















In the middle of winter, it's trite to say that one misses warmer weather.

In the words of Stephanie Tanner, "No duh!"

But I think I've found something that I miss more than weather above 32 degrees. Cafes. Despite the enjoyable parts of reverting back to the more casual, laid-back life of a Chicagoan, there's something to be said for the occasional caffeinated oasis in New York. I'm not sure if it's the momentary suspension of constant things, or it's simply the act of sitting, or even the combination of sitting still, sipping coffee/tea, and having the default become listening to the conversations fill the air around you . . . but I'm pretty sure that right there is one of life's greatest moments. Sitting down, suspending self, absorbing audio, observing body language, exposing yourself to new ideas in books, exposing your ideas to new ideas in your unconscious, and getting high on caffeine. Damn, that's pretty awesome.

Alas, that same oasis doesn't exist in Chicago. There are cafes, there are people, there are books, blogs, music, and even 3 million people. All of which are idiosyncratic and equally interesting as anywhere else in the world. But the hum doesn't really go silent in quite the same manner.

Not sure what that means.

I suppose I should just wish for the warm weather and be done with it.

(photo via brittnybadger)

Monday, January 11, 2010

plagued with ambivalence


















In my head, I always imagined this post to be analogous to shouting down an abandoned well. I was going to start out this post with a picture of tumbleweed.

Instead I chose to highlight my own ambivalence. After all, this space is less about the blog than it is about what goes on in my head. Thus, I've depicted what it feels like in my head.

Stop and go. At the same time. Go! Er, I mean . . .

You see? It can be a bit confusing.

See, I have the best intentions for this space, but it always seems to go wrong. I've discovered lots of neat things online, and I've been able to capture my thoughts (like here and here), but blogging seems to be taking a very distant back seat. Why?

Don't answer that.

See that was a trap. A blogging trap. Writers do that to include readers in their story. I don't want you involved in my story. Or, at least, not this first entry back. It always feels like the tin man . . . sans singing, emotional issues and the joyous posse.

Don't fall into the trap. Let me just get this out my system.

You see, the ambivalence grew out of a seedling of distraction watered by a gardener of expectation. Personal and interpersonal. Thanks to the loyal reader around New Brunswick, NJ who continues to visit. And a huge thank you to my friends in Europe and South America that tuned in while I abandoned the blog.

As a side note -- my blog was only about 2 years old, if you count the blog transplant as a "my dad got a new job and dragged me and the family along with him" move. What happens if you abandon a child at the age of 2? I think there might be more consistency in blog writing if it was considered a new generation of myself. A part of me living on, sort of. Hmm, maybe it would just be motivating because of the punishment, rather . . . you know, punishment rather than reward. Something to think about.

Anyway, not sure if it's going to be another 4 months before another one of these goes up, but the urge presented itself so I pounced.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

collections of things

I'm a big design geek and there's been some activity recently about cultural design in the US and over in England. There's an issue of big, grandiose, iconic things . . . like double-decker buses and phone booths. But it was in discussing the cultural impact of smaller pieces that left me intrigued.

Like stamps, for instance.


















I, for one, have always placed a negative connotation on the damn things -- they're one of the most unpredictable household staples. But if you take a step back and think about it, stamps (much like currency) are objects we obliviously touch a great deal in our lives . . . but also objects that reflect who we are as a culture.

Which leads me to my real interest here: collecting stuff.

Our iTunes collections have hoards of songs we'll never listen to (I think my iPod holds 40,000 songs -- why?), our friends/followers on social networks are expected to be not just big, but constantly growing, and our cultural drive to excel professionally leads us to measure our success by the money we collect in our bank accounts. But what's behind all of it? Why are we collecting? And is it a phenomenon that's uniquely human?

I'd like to point to an example that's all-too-current: professional recruitment. I've had many conversations previously with some ad friends about the present state of the typical ad agency (at least in the US, not to exclude our friends abroad) -- we always seem to come to a frustrating hault in the conversation. There are many examples I can think of where very talented people are vetted (not recruited) by agencies, but alas there's no way to keep them around. Looking at it another way, agencies find talent they want to collect and keep on their desks, but they don't have the capacity to do it.

This may sound like a personal complaint, but it's honestly not -- it's a mix of personal confusion and professional worry. What would the world be like if agencies were able to collect outstanding talent, rather than just keeping around mediocre talents for the time being? Is there a value beyond just relying on headcount right now or money right now? Aren't we playing with big risks on the table when we rely on miraculously-timed, perfectly-executed recommendations from higher-ups?

I think of Pogs as a stellar analogy here. Remember those things? Playful (arguably stupid) simplicity in game form. We built our collections, shared some, created some, and cried/cheered when we made a big trade with a sibling. Essentially, though, they were all the same stupid things: paper circles. But we attributed our own value to each one; they were each unique. To us. One person's trash is another person's treasure, right? There's definitely some subjective thoughts in what is "good" when it comes to a damn Pog.

Isn't the same true with people, though? No offense to those few geniuses out there -- I hope you're found immediately and given paychecks.

But long-term, what are the implications of treating personalities and individuals as commodities? instead of collecting the great ones, like they're one-of-a-kind-can't-miss-out-on-this treasures?

Maybe as a culture, we ought to have a think about our people in addition to our cultural objects. Both should be designed to be collected.

Just a thought -- a little half-baked, but maybe it'll lead to something else.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

thus opens the thought laboratory
























I recently found Say Everything in the half-off section of Strand, and just wanted to say that it's a fantastic read so far. Granted, I'm only about halfway through the thing, but it's definitely a read that drags out some thoughts.

I'll save any sort of synopsis for another time. But one of the biggest thoughts that's been floating around in my head has been the idea of experimenting with your online voice.

As a creator. As writer. As a curator. As an innovator. As a planner. But most importantly, as an individual.

Although the book fills in the details of an often-overlooked blogging history, my mind can't help but spot my own story juxtaposed on each dramatic tale. It seriously made me think about how I've involved myself in the changing blogosphere over the past decade or so. Starting with LiveJournal, playing around with WordPress . . . and eventually moving on to bigger and better things.

Probably the greatest attribute of blogs (and with other things, like twitter/etc since the introduction of blogs) is the license of thought they give people. There's something very powerful in that innate automaticity. Something we as people can learn from, and something we might be able to extend to the brands of the world.

But anyway.

Here I am, still ranting about things online all these years later. Although I seem to have a pretty good idea of what my voice sounds like (test, test), I would argue that no one truly understands everything their voice can do (or has done) for the world.

Enter some dabbling in the online world of verboseness and excessive self-expression.

Without getting too far off-course here, I wanted to take a moment to sort of broadcast a self-assigned project/goal/expectation thing I've agreed to take on:

I'm going to be clicking "publish" each day in September. With whatever thoughts I have to share.

Why, you ask?

Simple. I believe our voices should be used in laboratory-like settings as a way to showcase our thought processes. It's something I feel very strongly about, but I think it's something that everyone could improve upon. Thinking, voicing, sharing, etc. All very strong ingredients in powerful communication, and I'm pretty sure concocting a lab-like context will produce some sort of great end-product. Not sure what it'll be, but I can feel it in my gut. (If I knew what the benefit would be and could clearly communicate it, I probably wouldn't need to dedicate a month of my life to voicing up.)

This thought laboratory concept isn't new for communications, though; it seems to be popping up all over the place. BBH, Jerwood Space over in London, Ajou University, Havas Group, MIT, etc. All really great stuff. What can we learn from them?

I'm not entirely sure what'll happen over the next month, but I look to Russell for another great example of this little experiment -- thoughts are forked over, and other thoughts follow. It can only be great, right?

Well, anyway. I just think it's a really great project for myself. One I'm happy to take on as I seek out some sort of next step in my planning life.

'Til tomorrow, cheers.

image c/o thatwasmyfoot.my-expressions.com

Thursday, August 20, 2009

building things, architecture and playful learnings

















Recently, I've had unfettered interest in building things. Not sure why. Maybe this is to blame, or possibly because I've been mesmerized by this recently. Who knows.

Anyway, I've always been a big proponent of creating cool shit, so this new fascination doesn't seem to be a big surprise. But I'll take it in stride. I think there's something very insightful in store for all of us once we start creating things. Drudging up the creativity inside ourselves helps us understand our voice as people. I really do believe that.

I stumbled upon the book 101 Things I Learned in Archtecture School, by Matthew Frederick. Actually, it seemed to find me -- to be honest. During my Saturday afternoon wanderings in various bookstores around the city, this book was just staring at me. Every time. So, to give it the attention it deserved, I finally broke down and bought the damn thing.

And I'm glad I did. Really, really glad.

First off, it's a delightful coffeetable book. It just has that aura. It's small, has a cardboard cover, and contains one-item-per-page contents.

Secondly, it gives a very clear review of key themes that hold together the study of architecture. Written by a seasoned architect, it was written as a resource for architects and architecture students alike . . . sort of a continuous reflection of the field. After all, the first line of the preface reads: "Certainties for archtecture students are few."

How helpful of him! The architecture community should be pleased that Cliffs Notes finally got around to them.

But, arguably, so should the ad community. Here's why:

Architecture is very much like planning, and creative communication even. It's about understanding the how people are going to interact with something. Whereas engineering is actually being able to build complicated things (sorry to my engineering friends for the convenient oversimplification), architecture is about conceptualizing and designing them so that they better a human experience.

I highly recommend reading the whole thing, but I wanted to share a few of the points with you to give fodder to the discussion over the similarities architecture and advertising share. Here are 17 of the most insightful pages I tagged while I was reading -- again, as you read these, think of how we might be able to extend these truths to the brands we play with every day.

  1. Sense of place - Genius loci literally means genius of place. It is used to describe places that are deeply memorable for their architectural and experimental qualities.
  2. Parti (the big idea behind a piece of architecture) derives from understandings that are nonarchitectural and must be cultivated before architectural form can be born.
  3. Reality may be engaged subjectively, by which one presumes a oneness with the objects of his concern, or objectively, by which a detachment is presumed.
  4. "Science works with chunks and bits and pieces of things with the continuity presumed, and [the artist] works only with th continuities of things with the chunks and bits and pieces presumed." (from Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
  5. Being process-oriented, not product-driven, is the most important and difficult skill for a designer to develop.
  6. The most effective, most creative problem solvers egage in a process of meta-thinking, or "thinking about the thinking."
  7. There are 3 levels of knowing: (1) simplicity, (2) complexity, and (3) informed simplicity.
  8. If you can't explain your ideas to your grandmother in terms that she understands, you don't know your subject well enough.
  9. Beauty is due more to harmonious relationships among the elements of a composition than to the elements themselves.
  10. A good building reveals different things about itself when viewed from different distances.
  11. "Less is more." (Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe)
  12. Properly gaining control of the design process tends to feel like one is losing control of the design process.
  13. All design endeavors express the zeitgeist.
  14. Manage your ego - Don't ask what YOU want the building to be; instead ask, "What does the BUILDING want to be?"
  15. Limitations encourage creativity.
  16. The chinese symbol for crissi is comprised of two characters: one indicating "danger" and the other, "opportunity."
  17. Just do something.
Honestly, just reading this list won't do the book credit; there are wonderful sketches that illustrate points so well that sometimes you don't even need to read the text. Really great stuff.

Sorry I couldn't make it to 20, guys. But this even seems to be a bit much to throw out there.

Seriously, buy the book. It's totally worth it. (Remember what I said about the coffeetable-ness) Then let's chat about it.

Cheers.

Friday, August 14, 2009

we all scream for sharing!




















This is one of the most frightening things in life: a screaming child. Why is it happening? What set it off? How do you stop it?!

Sometimes, you can't help the situation. But there's something that we can all take away from this kind of situation (other than to never have kids, of course).

One of the benefits of working in a big city is that you not only work in the big city, but you get to spend your weekends in it. For me, there's really nothing more relaxing than walking around a bit, reading, sipping on some coffee. All while people watching. And with a city with millions of people, that means millions of opportunities for inspiration.

But then you have faces like this one above. The shrill scream near a 5th Avenue ice cream cart made me want to run to the west side and never return. It was horrid and I wish to never relive it.

But when I saw why the little girl was screaming, I thought of something really interesting -- she wasn't just screaming for the sake of screaming. She was screaming because her tourist parents were making her share her ice cream with her little brother. Apparently, if I'm interpreting her cries correctly, she was not liking that idea very much . . .

What is it about sharing that makes us all wet our pants with frustration?

Is it that our momentary happiness will be interrupted and distributed in an all-too-communist sort of way? Is it that we as humans are genuinely individualistic and hedonistic? or is it because of a cultural pressure to create our own happiness and success that we see sharing (even a little) with others as some sort of unnecessary step backwards?

Maybe it's none of the above.

But let's consider this topic with a wider scope. What if we're talking not just about ice cream, but about ideas. Or thoughts. Or information of some sort. Even though we're grown adults in the business world, do we still have that inner little girl screaming bloody murder because someone is telling us that we ought to share something we think is rightful ours?

I had an interesting discussion with a fellow planner this week about the value of sharing when it comes to advertising and innovation. My purpose here isn't to lay out the argument for sharing -- I'm not entirely sure it's worth my time to do so. But it is worthwhile to ask ourselves a few very harmless questions:

  1. What is our reaction to the idea of sharing information with other planners?
  2. Why might it be valuable for planners to share more information?
  3. How can we make sure to continue sharing in new ways?
After a quick read, these questions seem to be a bit leading. That's not my intent. I truly do think that sharing should be an vital part of any planning group, and the ones that find new ways to share are the ones that are getting things right.

Blogs are nice, and so are planning sessions . . . but it sharing will continue to take on new meanings, so it might be worthwhile for planners to lead the way.

Anyway, I guess everything could be summed up by saying: I advocate new sharing techniques and so should you.

Yeah, that's it, I guess. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

building knowledge structures

So often, it's unfortunately the case that words are tossed around without much attention paid to what they actually mean.

A pity.

Check out these videos (pieced together brilliantly by Maya Design) that attempt to wrap our minds around the concepts of "architecture" and "information" . . . both are digestible yet questioning. There ought to be more things out there with that combination.

Reminds me a bit of the Common Craft.

Anyway.

Information from MAYAnMAYA on Vimeo.



Architecture from MAYAnMAYA on Vimeo.

Friday, July 24, 2009

alarm ergonomics
















This morning, something very odd happened. Oddly pleasant. My alarm(s) went off and I didn't immediately transform into some horrific monster-zombie-thing rising from the dead. Instead, I had this odd little voice inside of me say, "Oh, okay . . . I guess it's time to get up."

That's never happened before!

After hitting snooze, of course, I was able to pinpoint why my internal monologue was so well-tempered this morning: a fade-in alarm. Absolutely genius, ergonomically speaking.

Suddenly jolting in bed, throwing the covers up over my head, and running across the room to attack such a mind-numbing noise seems so unnecessary. Instead, I'm able to actually process that the alarm is just a well-intentioned, self-inflicted wake-up call.

I should've seen this one before. I warn people that I'm not a "morning person" and that most attempts to have a morning chat are futile -- I turn into a prehistoric caveman; one who hasn't fully developed socially appropriate language skills, but instead resorts to "get away from me" grunts. The similarities all make sense now.

So, bravo to the makers of the iHome -- your work boasts a wonderful user experience.

Anyway. Good morning, everyone.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

a thought



















After some recent soul searching, I wanted to share some of what I found.

Cheers.

Monday, July 13, 2009

combination of ideas



















There's a certain collectivity in advertising that isn't quite as pervasive in other fields.

Here's an anecdote that might illustrate what I mean (without flat out saying it, of course): My family has started to understand basic advertising speak in the way that international children do when they dive into their first taste of the American school system after growing up in another country -- the need to survive kicks into high gear, so language becomes less and less of an obstacle.

When I start to mention BBDO or DDB or WK or OMD or PHD or KBP or GSP or BSSP or . . . well, TBWA, I've begun to get chuckles these days instead of head nods of encouragement. Why the chuckles? Well, they've picked up on the humor that sits on the surface of advertising nomenclature: every agency name follows the same pattern. And when you have enough of them, there starts to be some overlap. And the overlap, my friends, is where the humor lies.

But why is it funny? I'm too blasé to notice, of course, but it's interesting -- if not coincidental -- that so many groups of men (and yes, they were mostly men) came up with the idea to build a business around original ideas. Original thinking in a sea of sameness. Certainly interesting

But taking a step back, I think there's something worthwhile to consider for those in the business, as well as those not in the business. Although entrepreneurial enterprises continue to pop up around the world due to individual endeavors, advertising has developed a pattern of grouping some minds together, throwing a flag in the ground and starting work on "creative work."

(Don't let the passive aggressive quotations sway you away from my point; I've used them here just to show how common that phrase is throughout industry speak.)

When it comes to ad agencies, there's a unique habit of combining the best minds to create even better ideas, even if they seem to be replaceable and arbitrary on the surface of the matter.

That's a really, really great thing to have by your name. (Or names, rather.)

I've been intrigued for a while with the punctuation that agencies chose to use in their names. Some use "&" to connect names (or initials) whereas others use "+" . . . and still others use "/" . . . or used the other way "\" as is the case with TBWA. Recently, I've seen a resurgence in simply using commas, which is nice . . . although those agencies might be chastised in the industry for lack of symbolic creative connectors. But whatever floats your boat, I say.

So what does all this mean, and why is it so important to ramble on about? It's simple.

If there exists an industry that has such a deeply rooted history of combining minds to creatively solve problems, why are we not continuing to evolve that industry? The fact that we value other thoughts so much stands as probably the industry's greatest strengths. So why is there not a continual pursuit for new or better ideas?

And I don't mean new or better advertising ideas.

Arguably, there might be an answer to this question in the nature of teams. Teams combining, taking sides and battling over clients becomes a dirty, dirty game . . . and there are teammates jumping ship, there trades, there's cheating, and there's controversy over how much the other team is spending on half-time snacks when the annual budget can only afford orange slices and gatorade. (Apologies for the extensive soccer metaphor -- hope you could follow the nuances, though) Essentially, teams can be very good, but when the game goes on as long as it has, things can begin to go bad.

So I think it's time we start a new game. One that pins teams against each other in healthy competition, and one that brings different sorts of people and perspectives together.

In advertising, the goal should ironically not be advertising. Advertising problems can no longer be solved with advertising solutions. Everyone is losing that old game as we speak. We need to recruit people who favor design solutions, business solutions, technological solutions, social solutions. But most of all, there needs to be an understanding of the people solutions if we're going to get anywhere.

Winning games right now is fine. I'm happy to hear about victories in the field. But as we move forward, we should think about how awesome the game might be if we bring new people on board. Instead of resting on our laurels, let's play a really, really good game.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

i'll try to stop stealing, despite my genius.



















I just realized my last 2 posts have been planners' slideshare presentations. Sorry, Faris, but I'm not quite sure I'm stealing as you intended -- I'll try to pull from a wider range of sources.

But I don't regret snagging the stuff I did.

Just thought I'd point it out. Elephant in the room.

commit. don't campaign.

Some insightful thoughts from Paul Isakson on why campaigning is no longer relevant for brands. It's all about committing. Pretty popular right now on the plannersphere, but I thought it might be helpful to post it up here, too.

Cheers.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

find your own planning style

A very precise (yet comprehensive) summary of a few planning styles out there. Thanks, Richard.

Thought-provoking, clear, introspectively curious. Like most good planners, I've found.

Cheers.

Developing your own planning style
View more documents from adliterate.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

book covers

I'm not sure what it is exactly that grinds my gears so much, but I truly detest book covers.

I just read a post by Seth and it seemed to have got me thinking. So here are a few thoughts.

Let me back up. First of all, I only hate them when I'm reading the book. Here some example of when I truly love and depend desperately on the book cover:

While I'm shopping for a specific book title, I typically have the title and author stored in the back of my mind, but I scan for the image of the cover. Kind of like I'm matching a finger print. If the cover wasn't a part of the package, I'd be wandering around the bookstore for hours -- and if it were Strand, it'd be days.

If I'm looking at a new book on the shelf, I'm notorious for only looking at it if it's graphically pleasing. That is to say, I'm a whore for bright colors and odd arrangements of type. Most political books bore me before I even open the cover.

When I've finished a book, and place it back on my shelf, the book cover needs to be there. It just has to be. The sense of accomplishment or my knowledgeable existence is undermined if the object I place back on the shelf is not whole or complete. The book turns into 300 pages of insight and entertainment, to 300 pages of false hope and wasted time.

All that being said, it's imperative for me to point out that book covers (or jackets as they're often called by middle school librarians) are not to be kept on during the reading process.

They slide up and down, thereby distracting the reader from the contents of the book.

They capture whatever your hands have been touching throughout the day -- and in New York, the last thing I want on my pure white book cover is subway grime and the coughs of NY Independent Elders, as I call them. (As a side note, I'd like to point out that I try my best to stay away from both of the aforementioned items on my trek back and forth from work . . . just to clear my name.)

They are not bookmarks. The flaps of a book cover should not be used as bookmarks -- a post-it note folded in half fulfills the function much better and more appropriately than flaps that were created to grip desperately to the edges of a hardcover book.

Obviously, this is a touchy topic for me.

I'd just like to point out that I do not judge other people for their use (or misuse, rather) of book covers -- they are free to use it however they please. After all, they bought it with their own money -- who the hell am I to dictate how-to instructions for their $13.95 purchase.

Thanks, Seth, for your post. And thank you, everyone -- your patience is much appreciated.

a rant over diction

I absolutely hate the word ‘advertising.’

So you can imagine the conversational obstacles when I explain what I do for a living and what I studied in school. And then there’s the confusion that sets in when I go into just how much I love advertising.

But I truly do hate the word. Loathe it. There are a lot of people that try to wean themselves off of bullshit marketing terminology in order to make their everyday speak a bit more “real” or “human” or -- my favorite -- “social.” But in my opinion, merely finding a temporarily admirable substitute for a word you so desperately want to use on a day-to-day basis is no way to operate in business. Say what you mean, I say.

There are many reasons for my belligerent diction. Built-up over time, they seem to have erupted out of suppression and continually fuel my boundary-pushing planning style. But in the interest of time, consideration and simplicity, I’d like to point out 3 of the major reasons.

(1) It assumes things too willingly.
We all have our weaknesses. Or those things in life that we can’t seem to muster up any tolerance for. One of mine is belabored, redundant, verbose client briefings. You know the ones – where the language about objectives and methods and strategies and ideas and product somehow goes from the mouths of people sitting at one end of the table to nodding heads sitting at the other end.

Yes, these are important moments in a business conversation. Yes, it’s an awesome time to get everyone on the same page. And yes, it’s the ideal time to ask questions.

But what I have no patience for is an assuming speaker (and audience, for that matter). Why is the answer “advertising”? And how – exactly – do you know that it will clearly show two product benefits in a 30-second TV spot?

To me, advertising (I’ll continue to use the word in this context simply for clarity sake) is only a solution to the business problem. But it’s not always the solution. So I’m not entirely sure why problems are brought to ad agencies and they’re told to “fix it with advertising.”

Instead, those meetings should be about talking about the legitimate problem being faced, and inspiring everyone in the room to embrace every possible solution.

(2) It connotes a quota for success.
Beyond just assuming the solution at the beginning of the process, assuming the word “advertising” into everyday conversation sets up a very specific forecast for “success.”

If we can all agree that we’re starting at point A as a team, and we look off into the horizon at point B that was oh so eloquently described in that initial client meeting, what role does a group of creative thinkers play in the process other than figuring out a way to hop on board the TV spot band wagon and hope it’s the most creative, award-winning, category-redefining, results-driving TV spot there is (and ever will be)?

A very small role.

But why? If agencies are really set up to be hotbeds for creative thought and problem solving strategy, why is a quota of specific media or a list of “important” benefits set-up at the beginning of the whole process? That’s like giving a child a puzzle and saying, “ You can only use your right hand with this one, because you did such a fantastic job with the last one.”

But what would happen if there was less assumption at the beginning of the process? What would the solutions look like? Would there be inclusion of things beyond just profit? Or ROI? Or purchase intent? Or other such traditional things?

I would argue that there might be more room for other important success trackers. Loyalty. Sociability. Happiness. Connectivity.

You can’t create a quota for connectivity.

(3) It suppresses childlike creativity.
I know at this point it seems ridiculously cliché and – given the industry we’re in – a bit surface level, but one of the truly remarkable messages that a brand has offered to consumers is the idea of “think different” offered by Apple. Truly genius.

Why is that?

At least to me, it seems that there is much more long-term value in being different, rather than just new or better. Being different involves a very purposeful repositioning – not just on the product or brand side, but on the consumer side as well. When someone strolls into an Apple store to buy an iPhone or Mac of some sort, there’s a certain popular irony – although everyone seems to have one of these little boxes of technology, a simple transaction can bring me that “difference” I so desperately yearn.

Before my Mac, I was regular. After it – even just 30 minutes after my regularness – I am different. But not just being different, but thinking differently.

That’s an inspirational thought, albeit a bit commercial and ironic.

But think about the implications of that moment for the development of advertising. There is a clear (and at this point, quite popular) value of thinking differently. Thinking new, better, best, updated, or even shiny is sometimes valued, but different is always valued.

I’m not entirely sure we should be denying anymore that “different” has many faces.

When I was in 3rd grade, I vividly remember a number of situations when a problem was given to the class and each set of partners would have to work for 30 minutes to find a solution. The catch? There was not one right answer.

That pissed the hell out of us. Even as 9-year-olds, you could have probably seen the smoke shooting out of our ears. But the nice part of being a child is you get over things much quicker, so we dove right in.

When we presented our solutions to the class, I remember being absolutely astonished at the final presentations. Some people used colored papers, some mimed their solution (which I always chalked up as undeniable laziness), while still others built things out of chairs in the hallway.

It was a really cool moment. Everyone did something differently, but each solution solved the “problem.” (I use that term loosely, as I’m not sure I believe 9-year-olds truly go through many problems in their puny little lives).

Fast-forward. I’m not sure our advertising adventures should be treated that much differently from those projects we worked on when we were 9-years-old. There is still the initial problem. There is still a call for “help” with it. There is still that initial frustration that it hasn’t been figured out yet. But most importantly, there is still the potential to solve it in the most creative way possible.

Why? Because there is a value in thinking differently that is sometimes beyond words. And using the word “advertising” throughout the process of solving tough communication problems is not solving anything differently. It’s not even getting us to think, most of the time.

It’s time we throw the word away. We shouldn’t be solving problems the way we already have. Instead, let’s solve problems the best way we can.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

wise words

"We have millions upon millions of human tapeworms thriving in the Western World, making love to their
Powerpoint presentations,
feasting on the creativity of others.
"

- Hugh MacLeod

Check out more of Hugh MacLeod's thoughts here.

food + photos




































































Yes, I'm a 4-year-old at heart.
Yes, I occasionally play with my food when I'm done with it.
And yes, lots of people take pictures of random crap.

But this collection of images goes beyond simply feeling childish or playful.

And it's certainly not random crap. (Well . . . not crap, at least.)

And it's not just another fabulous photographer (with all due respect).

For a brief moment, I'm suspended from the realms of a pleasant Amsel Adams and Martha Stewart wizzardry to a world of fantasy, possibility, life and energy. And it's a fantastic world to live in. Even if it's just for a few seconds.

An interesting world, to say the least.

"Akiko Ida is Japanese. Pierre Javelle is French. They met studying photography," says their Web site, minimiam. The site itself is set up to bring you through a dream they had, but they levetate you so well. You truly believe you're in the whipped frosting hoping to sled to the bottom of the bowl. It's the confusion over what's actually happening that keeps you clicking.

We might all be able to inspire people more easily if we not only combine different arenas of interest, but also suspend all assumptions people might have for what these arenas ought to yield.

Just a thought.

pictures c/o Inventor Spot

ironic venician turnaround
























Venice -- one of the guiltiest of guilty cities in this sudden environmental plea to rid the world of bottled water -- is trying a push towards tap water with a little bit of advertising. Great article in The New York Times explains how "the mayor's water" might actually be perceived as a viable option so long as it's branded and they can squeeze an Obama reference in there.

Oh, and the mayor has to be the spokesperson.

Whatever it takes, I guess.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

we are the champions!

We won! Here's some more stuff on the competition. We showed up in the Washington Post the next day, but it seemed to be more of a story showing allegiances to local contenders.

And here are a few original works that Andy digitized to commemorate the occasion:















































Not sure you could tell from the picture, but there was no metal or ribbon . . . just a giant glass cup, of sorts.

Still pretty cool.

And an unreal experience, for sure. Thanks to everyone out there who pitched in.

Friday, May 29, 2009

where does all that creativity come from?


















One of my greatest weaknesses, I'll admit, is that I assume everyone else wants to paint bigger pictures. Of course, there are times when details need to be considered -- however, my mind prefers to linger in the times when the only limit is the sky, the only deadline is ultimate satisfaction, and the only materials needed are human brains and time.

That sounds like an oversimplified recipe for disaster.

And it is. With groups of people, there needs to be a shared understanding of the goals for a project. Objectives. Whatever you want to call them. The finish line.

Establishing that picture is where things get tricky. It begs the question: If we're supposed to inspire new solutions, how do we set-up that sense of finality while also instilling an opportunity for unprecedented creativity?
This question pops into my mind everyday. Unfortunately, still don't have a solid answer. But here are some of my thoughts:

Leveraging creativity is key. At the end of the day, the end product is the measure of success. More often than not, it might be generally agreeable to think that any sort of creativity brought to the table is going to matter more than the source of the creativity. So long as an idea is creative and gets the job done (and vice versa), we can move onto the next discussion.

Ideas suck without self-efficacy. I guarantee it. If there is no solid belief in the final idea, might as well shut down shop. Not even worth forking over the idea. So, what implications does this have for intragroup motivation? I'd imagine it doesn't really matter if creative-type people are the only ones that feel positive about the project -- if someone doesn't feel quite right about what the group's doing, that's an issue. Leveraging self-efficacy is a precursor to creativity. Even for non-creative folk.

Creatively communicating thoughts inspires the first two things. Creativity is a fickle beast. That's for sure. It's sly as a fox. Hit or miss. Whatever cliche you chose to use, it's difficult to describe exactly what it is in only a few words. But it's important to gain a personal understanding of what it is and where it came come from. Incorporating creativity into every thought can lead to unbelievable outcomes . . . but only if the different forms of creativity can speak to each other. Designers, account people, verbal people, visual people, strategists, planners, clients. Everyone. Creativity at every stage of the game will always be important, but understanding how to communicate will make or break a great idea. Inspiration is a byproduct of this communciations.

So as my head is still in the clouds, I can rest assured that such levetation is fine. But everyone needs to find a way to get their head up high as well. It shouldn't be a game of Simon Says, but it most certainly should be a game of . . . well, a winning one, whatever it is.

Establishing the picture we're looking at is not something only a planner should be doing. Getting the picture right involves everyone.

But the planner should just be accounting for these necessary ingredients.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

coke is clean

for, to, with
























For those of us with brands in front of us on a daily basis, there are three questions we stumble upon regularly in our thoughts and our interaction with consumers and clients alike:
  1. What are we trying to do for those brands?
  2. What are we trying to do to those brands?
  3. What are we trying to do with those brands?
Whoa. One word difference. But a world of difference.

I jotted down this quick list of possible responses as I thought about what different sorts of agencies have to offer a client. Design agencies are more likely to focus on making a brand beautiful, understandable and liked, whereas a media/ad group might be brought in to focus on making a brand profitable, liked or a leader in the category.

But more importantly, I'm pretty sure any communication-type agency should be thinking about the big picture -- each of these elements is simply a cog in an ongoing cycle of success.

I'm pretty sure the best thinking for a brand keeps tabs on all of these elements -- plus others -- as an ongoing reality check.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

kiss the frog

natural patterns

Patterns pop up in unexpected ways, including one mentioned in a quick column from today's NYTimes. Looking at urban planning from a mathematical perspective:

The mathematics of cities was launched in 1949 when George Zipf, a linguist working at Harvard, reported a striking regularity in the size distribution of cities. He noticed that if you tabulate the biggest cities in a given country and rank them according to their populations, the largest city is always about twice as big as the second largest, and three times as big as the third largest, and so on. In other words, the population of a city is, to a good approximation, inversely proportional to its rank. Why this should be true, no one knows.


This pattern may have been first observed when looking at cities, but it pops up also when looking at elements within those cities, as well: the infrastructure, the people, the cells.

Absolutely astonishing, and very well written article. Definitely worth a few minutes of your time. Steven Strogatz finishes up by noting, "There may be deep laws of collective organization at work here."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

my unfettered love for infographics

I'm absolutely fascinated by infographics. I'm an almost entirely visual learner, so I guess I really appreciate when someone takes the time to maximize shared information and minimize the canvas.

NYT Graphics Department recently was awarded for their superb work in this field. It's no longer alright to show some pictures, write a few [lengthy] paragraphs, make a pie chart/bar graph and call it a day -- as PSFK put it recently, "Everything is information and information is everything." So true.

With their most recent Media Arts Monday, PSFK briefly described a handful of data visualisation tools that bring online data to life. Fantastic stuff, guys. All of them allow outstanding manipulation as well as visualization - really great tools to think about.

I gave Nexus a try. Here's what my facebook contacts look like.












An emorphus blob? or an amazing overview of my connections? It actually had my attention for a substantial period of time -- each point represents one of my connections on facebook. And placing my mouse over one of them not only displays the name, but also displays every name/point that I share with that person. The upper cloud seems to be a representation of my friends from Syracuse, whereas the lower cloud seems to be a representation of my friends from home in Chicago.

Very cool stuff. Feeding my fascination.

mr. and mrs. human head

Sunday, May 17, 2009

completely caught up with my google reader

ah, the sense of accomplishment.

voice be taketh away





















There's a point in The Little Mermaid where the screen creates a frame around Ursula's mouth as she utters "your voice" with possibly the creepiest and most sinister tone in cinematic history. It was awful. Yet awesome, even all these years later.

An important theme that keeps running through my head is the reality that your voice doesn't have to be sacrificed to get where you want to go. However, arguably, we all eventually seem to lose our voice -- knowingly or unknowingly -- at some point in our lives in order to get something (or somewhere) we want to be.

Does this have to be the case? And let's take inventory: where is my voice right now? Where has it been over the past few months? And where do I want it to be?

And my blog. My poor, poor blog. You'll notice there was a substantial gap in my entries, and a number of events have transpired since that last entry in February. Apologies. This manifestation of my voice as a brand thinker seemed to take a hit as I worked in real time on brand-like things. A few really spectacular things have happened over that time, including finding out about my future plans at Saatchi & Saatchi and our group's win in NYC earlier this month. (Quick celebratory party. Okay, now it's over. Thanks for coming.)

But, unfortunately, my writing has been lousy. More importantly, my quick thoughts have not left my head. And that, I've discovered, is the most beautiful part of keeping a blog. Yes, it's nice to read/see/observe/celebrate what other people have to say. But a lot of the time, the most impactful role that this blog can play is the same as a journal -- not with the "dear diary" shenanigins, of course, but for me to showcase unedited, quick tidbits.

I've been trying my darndest to keep up with my ever-growing google reader during this hiatis, though. Russell had a lovely entry on jottings a while back that really got me thinking (as his entries typically do). Living an increasingly busy life, which will most certainly be exacerbated by a move to new york, there is little time to feel overwhelmed. Quick little thoughts are equally important as big, mammoth ideas -- both have a place at the table. My voice is perfectly well suited to produce either, so why really focus on the latter within this blog?

And blogs ought not fulfill just one role.

If this here blog is really going to be an accurate representation of my voice as a plannerly person, it's high time I realize that big, little, medium, grandiose, puny, awkward, intelligent and different thoughts are allowed time in the exhibit. In fact, it breaks up the monotony I've discovered in a lot of other blogs out there in the "sphere" of blogs.

So, come listen to me sing. I've cracked open the seashell necklace. And destroyed the evil octopus. We all should start singing more.

And showcasing different sorts of ideas.

Just a thought.

thinking about brands


















Read a very refreshing book yesterday -- I ordered it a few months ago, but haven't had a chance to really sit down and give it an appropriate amount of time.

Brand New Brand Thinking: Brought to Light by 11 Experts Who Do

Absolutely great read. Any person who works in the general proximity of brands ought to give it some attention.

A number of really great essayists here, all of which offered a unique perspective. Some of them contradicted others' thoughts, so I'd be intrigued to see them in the same room to duke it out. Because they're such brilliant thinkers, though, they'd probably strike some sort of truce before even sitting down.

The book itself is practically oozing advice, wisdom, insight, inspiration and the sort. But two very important points stood out to me:
  • Planning is like being cool: one cannot simply call him/herself a planner without the actual creative brand thinking to back it up.
  • And planners need to get out of their heads to make a real difference in group-based thinking and strategy.
Delightfully refreshing and will most assuredly be revisited in the coming months.

i'm a sucker for these sorts of things

A SHORT LOVE STORY IN STOP MOTION from Carlos Lascano on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

things i believe but cannot prove

A great planner/blogger/inspiration recently listed 10 things he believes, but cannot prove. Good for him, I say.

And to commend his brave and honest efforts, I will do the same. Here's my list:

(1) Colleges actually have a thin layer of film surrounding them thus creating a bio-dome or physical bubble; there is not simply a metaphorical bubble, actually.

(2) Everyone has something very closely related to a security blanket.

(3) Lasagna was initially referred to as 'ambrosia' before being widely consumed by mortals.

(4) The more one knows about brands, the more help one can offer to non-brand things in life.

(5) Beer, wine, tea and coffee have some relation to earth, wind, fire and water, respectively.

(6) Syracuse tour guides are born to be liars, and under-reporting annual snowfall and inhumane weather conditions is merely an exercise of character for them.

(7) Siloed media agencies will not last very long by themselves. And the same is true for digital shops.

(8) Everyone has a capacity for creating beautiful design, but life presents distractions, obstacles and veils to hide behind.

(9) The best musical artists are reincarnates of each other, with a few forest animals interspersed in the shared biographies.

(10) Listening is 10.5 times more valuable than speaking. And writing things down is only about 5.4 times more valuable.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Awkward Family Photos
























A lovely romp down memory lane. Have a look-see. And a good laugh.

picture c/o http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

back to the grind

Wow.

Can't believe it's been over 2 months.

Being "busy" doesn't seem to suffice as an excuse, but I've discovered that not writing thoughts down in this things seems to have a snowball effect.

I've got a few things to spill into this thing. But putting one in writing before another seems wrong. For at least this post.

Consider this a clog remover of a post. It's just to get things going again. Priming the pump.

Check back soon. More interesting things will be outlined.

Me thinks.

Monday, February 23, 2009

an extension of my manifesto

Been breaking my back trying to piece together my planning portfolio in some sort of timely fashion - working on some really huge projects while also dealing with the label 'student' permanently tattooed on my forehead has made it a bit more difficult than I originally thought.
However, one of the greatest component of the book so far - at least personally - is throwing onto paper my manifesto. Sort of the 10 commandments of me. Pillars of personality. Well, you get the picture.

I've made the metaphor before of seeing beliefs as crayons. They're incredibly bountiful, but subjectively useful. One person might stick to the blue and green spectra, while another person typically switches back and forth between Macaroni & Cheese and chartreuse. Neither person is right - neither is wrong. They both have had experiences that have taken them by the hand and introduced them to those colors, and so they tend to use them over and over when they approach creative solutions.

Enough on that. Just wanted to touch upon the crayon image as a preface to some links from this morning. I believe in colors, and I believe in crayons.

A flashback to preschool days:

Check out the web site for more pieces, but here is some magnificent crayon art by an innovative crayon artist:







































































pictures c/o PSFK