Categories
Advocacy An Event Apart climate change Design Designers eric meyer film

Rams

By arrangement with the director, we show our audience Gary Hustwit’s “Rams”—a documentary about product design icon Dieter Rams—during the extended lunch hour on Day II of our three-day UX & front-end conference event. I just finished watching it for the fifth time.

We’ve shown Gary’s film in every city of our tour this year, and each time I’ve watched it with our attendees, I’ve seen new things in the film, and been ever more deeply moved by it.

Rams’s work, and his message to designers seems more important now than ever before. Not only should every designer see this film; I wish every human being would see it.

Brian Eno’s ambient minimalist score feels like an audio correlative to Rams’s design principles. Although it’s used sparingly, every sound counts.

The film’s final shot, where Dieter walks off into the woods, always makes me tear up.


You can watch Gary Hustwit’s film at special events worldwide, on Vimeo, at upcoming An Event Apart San Francisco (our last show of 2019 and the last time we’ll screen Gary’s film), or by ordering it from the director’s company.

Categories
art direction arts Design film

Making of a Star Wars classic

Making of a Star Wars classic.

On Set: Empire Strikes Back | Vanity Fair.

Categories
downloads facebook film links love music social networking

Social Network Creep

The Social Network, a David Fincher film.

If you’re intrigued, as I am, by the trailer for David Fincher’s upcoming The Social Network, and if part of what compels you about the trailer is the musical score—a choral version of Radiohead’s “Creep”—you’ll be happy to know you can purchase said song via emusic.com: On The Rocks is the album, “Creep” is the track, and Scala, a Belgian all-teenage-girl choir, are the artists. Highly recommended.

P.S. If emusic.com had an affiliate program, I’d have free music for life.

Categories
film

The Grand Gift

The Grand Gift of Silence.


Categories
film The Big Web Show

The Big Web Show: Melissa Pierce

Melissa Pierce

Photo: Steve Garfield / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Update! Final audio and video are now available for your listening and viewing pleasure at 5by5.tv. This is a wonderful episode about filmmaking and using the internet to reinvent yourself. Don’t miss it.

Live tomorrow, Thursday May 13, at 1:00 PM Eastern, my co-host Dan Benjamin and I interview Melissa Pierce, producer of the documentary film, Life In Perpetual Beta in The Big Web Show Episode 3: “Re-invent Yourself.”

Melissa Pierce’s film asks the question, “is the planned life worth living?” and sketches an answer via interviews with the likes of Baratunde Thuston, Irina Slutsky, and Biz Stone. Watch us turn the tables on the interviewer (now our interviewee) to find out how a homemaker with no filmmaking experience became the darling of the Chicago Independent Film Festival. As always, your live phone-in questions are welcome.

And don’t miss these upcoming Big Web Show episodes:

Episode 4: “Content Strategy”

Thursday, May 20
1:00 PM Eastern

Featuring Kristina Halvorson, CEO, Brain Traffic and author, Content Strategy for the Web (New Riders, 2010); and Erin Kissane, content strategist, Happy Cog, and author, Incisive.nu.

Episode 5: “UX and Higher Ed”

Thursday, May 27
1:00 PM Eastern

Featuring Liz Danzico, chair, MFA in Interaction Design program at School of Visual Arts and author, Bobulate.


Categories
content Design film

Fantasy Interfaces

Mark Coleran designs, creates, and animates fantasy user interfaces for film. Hat tip: @Murtaugh.

Categories
engagement events film Zeldman

Little Z on BigThink

BigThink is a global online forum, conducting interviews with such folk as Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics, Princeton, and Columnist, The New York Times; Jimmy Wales, Co-Founder, Wikipedia; Richard Armitage, Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State; Wes Boyd, Co-Founder, MoveOn.org; Gerry Adams President, Sinn Fein; Moby, Kurt Andersen, and so on.

By some tragic error of judgement, they will interview me today.

When the resulting video appears on the site, you’ll be the second to know.

[tags]bigthink, interviews, zeldman[/tags]

Categories
Advertising arts business client services creativity Design film tv wisdom work Zeldman

Stick out your tongue

While employed at a famous New York advertising agency twenty years ago, a partner and I created a TV commercial touting an over-the-counter medicine client’s revolutionary new cold and flu remedy for young children.

Only when the shooting and shouting was over did we learn that the product did not, in fact, exist.

The commercial whose every creative detail we’d had to fight for was never going to run.

The client—the marketing side of a product development group—had a budget of $60,000 to spend. So they spent it, even though the R&D side of the product development group had not been able to deliver the product.

It was not a liquid medicine that needed to be measured. It was not a pill that needed to be chewed or swallowed. It was a pill that dissolved instantly on the tongue. Or would have been, if the engineers had been able to create it.

During weeks of presentation, the client rejected campaigns that would have caught the attention of the nation’s parents. The client bought a safe campaign that called less attention to itself, then set about systematically softening its edges. My partner and I wanted to cast like Fellini or Woody Allen. We brought in amazing children of various backgrounds, their faces rich in character. But the client picked cute blonde girls instead.

And so on. Every decision, however small, required approval. Everything was a fight. A ladies-and-gentlemanly fight. A fight that sounded like polite, mutually respectful discussion. A fight with invisible knives.

We won some and we lost some. For all the back-and-forth with the client, the resulting commercial wasn’t bad at all. The first few times anyone—even the guy delivering sandwiches—saw it, they laughed. Afterwards, they smiled. It could have been okay. It could have gotten my partner and me out of that agency and to a better one.

After the shoot was completed, the client told our account executive that the product did not exist and the commercial was never going to run.

The client had known this going in. So why didn’t they let us win more creative battles? Because they wanted something soft and safe to show the boss who had the power of life and death over their budget.

Why did the boss give them $60,000 to produce a commercial for a product that didn’t exist? Because that’s how corporations work. If they didn’t spend advertising dollars in 1988, they wouldn’t get ad dollars in 1989, when (in theory) they would finally have a product to advertise.

Governments, at least the ones I know of, work the same way. Since last night, the city of New York has been paving 34th Street in places it doesn’t need to be paved. Why do they do this? To justify the budget. In a better world, money set aside to pave streets that don’t need paving would be reassigned to something the city actually needs—like affordable housing, or medical care for poor or homeless people. But cities are corporations—that Mike Bloomberg is New York’s mayor merely confirms this—and few corporations are agile enough to rethink budgetary distributions on the basis of changing needs.

Last week, in an airport, on one of the inescapable widescreen TVs set to CNN (and always set to the wrong resolution) I saw a commercial for a revolutionary children’s medicine product that melts instantly on the tongue.

I guess they finally made it.

[tags]advertising, design, artdirection, writing, copywriting, TV, production, commercials, adverts, wisdom, work, experience, budgets, business, waste, government, medicine, OTC, overthecounter, newyork, nyc[/tags]

Categories
Design events film industry Standards SXSW Zeldman

Podcast news

Crisply produced Voices That Matter Podcast video interviews with your humble narrator and a host of design and web luminaries—people like Nathan Shedroff, Dori Smith and Tom Negrino, Stephanie Sullivan, Robert Hoekman, Jr., Aarron Walter, DL Byron and many more—are now available for your listening and viewing pleasure in the iTunes Music Store and at Peachpit.

Additional Happy-Cog-related SXSW video, coming soon, includes:

  • A discussion on user interface design between Michael Lopp and me
  • Video of the Everyone’s a Design Critic presentation featuring Jason Santa Maria and Rob Weychert
  • Video of the Respect! panel featuring Google’s Douglas Bowman and Happy Cog’s Erin Kissane, Liz Danzico, and Jason Santa Maria (and moderated by your humble)

Watch for announcements!

[tags]podcast, video, interview, zeldman, sxsw, voicesthatmatter, peachpit, authors[/tags]

Categories
film glamorous

Quentin Tarantino has a lot to answer for

Dragging my cheap three-wheeled suitcase home from Penn Station after a Boston business trip late Tuesday night, I passed three businessmen standing in the middle of Park Avenue with their raincoats awry. White, pushing 40, a few beers past sober. The one who slightly resembled Larry of the Three Stooges was trying to keep the party going.

“One more fucking beer,” he said. “Come on. I’ll fucking pay for it, motherfucker.”

Ever since Pulp Fiction electrified audiences and changed the film industry, every putz pushing 40 with a few beers in him thinks he is Samuel L. Jackson. Quentin Tarantino has a lot to answer for.

[tags]reallife, myglamorouslife, putz, pulpfiction, tarantino, pennstation, samuelljackson, zeldman[/tags]

Categories
creativity film glamorous Ideas style writing

Proposed Catch-Phrases for the Next Bruce Willis Film

  • E-I-E-I-O, motherfucker!
  • Hi-ho, the motherfuckin’ dairy-o, motherfucker!
  • Anchors aweigh, motherfucker!
  • Hinky dinky parlez-vous, motherfucker!
  • Skip to my loo, motherfucker!
  • A tisket, a tasket, motherfucker!
  • Pocket full of posies, motherfucker!
  • The cheese stands alone, motherfucker!

[tags]catchphrases, hollywood, screenwriting, scriptwriting, brucewillis[/tags]

Categories
film war, peace, and justice

No end in sight

Now playing in New York and Washington D.C. and opening “everywhere” later this month, NO END IN SIGHT is the story of the American occupation of Iraq. The film explains how a military victory in 2003 descended into a seemingly endless nightmare of war.

Political scientist and first-time director Charles Ferguson in not a propagandist, and his film is not a left-wing tract. It is an attempt to chronicle U.S. policy decisions, told by the people who implemented or advised on them.

Ferguson’s camera captures the candid recollections of high-level insiders including former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; Ambassador Barbara Bodine, in charge of Baghdad during the Spring of 2003; Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell; and General Jay Garner, in charge of the occupation through May 2003.

Interspersed with these interviews, footage shot in Iraq shows what life is like on the ground for Iraqi civilians and American soldiers as the country spins into chaos.

NO END IN SIGHT somberly chronicles the principal initial errors of U.S. policy in Iraq: insufficient troop levels; allowing the looting of Baghdad; purging professionals from the Iraqi government; and disbanding the Iraqi army. With relentless logic, the film shows how Iraq descended into insurgency, warlord rule, criminality, and the anarchy that now borders on civil war.

It also reveals how the advice of military commanders and strategic analysts—advice that might have saved Iraq—was consistently ignored or trivialized by a small cadre of ideologues who thought they knew better.

NO END IN SIGHT offers much truth and little hope. It is a glimpse into a terrifying abyss—and a film every grown-up American should see.

[tags]noendinsight, iraq, war, charlesferguson[/tags]

Categories
Design film links Tools

My Ding-a-Links

“The Dark Side of the ‘Citizen Media’ Revolution”
“Blogs—the primary engine of Web 2.0’s so-called ‘citizen media’ revolution—are ten years old this week,” says Andrew Keen. Mine’s over twelve, but who’s counting? (And how can something that old be called Web 2.0, anyway? But I digress.) Keen fears that unmediated publishing, made possible by the web, is lowering the quality of discourse. To oversimplify (but only a bit), “professional” writer + editor + publisher = good for civilization; Jane Smith + WordPress = bad for civilization. The idea that the two conversations might enrich each other eludes Keen. Coincidentally, he has a book on the subject.
Mahalo – “first human-powered search engine”
Currently in Alpha, whatever that still means, Muhalo (Hawiian for “Thank you”) wants to be a hybrid of Google and Wikipedia. Whether these two ways of finding and learning can be combined by a volunteer community is the noble and exciting experiment Mahalo will perform. My Mahalo profile, written by Dave, seems pretty good for a start. Suggestion: encoding ampersands to create valid URLs on “return” links would be a nice (and easy) minor technical improvement. Hat tip: Daniel Schutzsmith.
Diagonal Stripe Background Generator
Satire of an exhausted “Web 2.0” visual trend, or useful graphic design tool? It’s both! Ajax-powered visual design tool lets you create, preview, and download seamless, striped background images, with or without gradients.
Tartan maker
Still using diagonal stripes? Get with it. Generate seamless tartan patterns for all your Web 3.0 needs.
Requirements? That’s Sooo ’90s
“Usability and accessibly must be passive to be truly successful. No requirements, no rules, no instructions.”
Supermoxie
Fine adult and children’s book illustration by Jena Scott.
Film Techniques of Alfred Hitchcock
Top 13 basic film techniques of Alfred Hitchcock. The audience is pulled in by eyes, camera, distractions, point of view, montage, simplicity, ironic characters, dual actions, MacGuffins, etc. Every visual storyteller should know these principles. Via Kottke.
Ugly Airline Math: Planes Late, Fliers Even Later – New York Times
Statistics track how late airplanes are, not how late passengers are. The longest delays—those resulting from missed connections and canceled flights—involve sitting around for hours or even days in airports and hotels and do not officially get counted.
exPhone
Recycle or help someone reuse your old cell phone (AKA mobile phone).
Recycle Your iPod or Cell Phone
From Apple. Like it says. Free.
iPhone: The Music Video
Twittered by millions. New York Times technology columnist (and former off-Broadway pianist/conductor) David Pogue dumps his old mobile for the iPhone in this sing-a-long video, set to the strains of “My Way.” It shines brightest when folks in line at the Apple Store start belting out the refrain. P.S. What’s up with the boat boy?
ZOMG! Spare me the POSH acronyms, please!
Ara Pehlivanian’s well-reasoned rant against the rebranding of semantic HTML. Minus the anger and hyperbole, I agree with him.
R.I.P. Kramer
No, not the fictional character played by racial harmony guru Michael Richards. Kramer was a great WordPress plug-in that found incoming links to your site’s posts and printed them in your comments field. Alas, a few days ago, Kramer began time-stamping all such links December 31st, 1969 at 3:58 pm in place of their actual publication dates. Not only did this strew one’s site with factual inaccuracies, it also had the effect of sticking rudimentary inbound link text at the top of every comment column, since comments publish from oldest to most recent, and no comment will ever be older than December 31st, 1969. When obvious potential remedies such as emptying the cache failed to correct the problem, I (and presumably every other Kramer user who’s awake) disabled Kramer. The program has not been updated since 2005. Perhaps some nice person will fix it. If not, R.I.P. and thanks for the good years.

[tags]POSH, kramer, exphone, keen, britannica, search, searchengine, wiki, google, wikipedia, mahalo, recycle, iphone, ipod, recycling, hitchcock, apple, design, webdesign, accessibility, backgrounds, patterns, tiles, diagonal, tartan, generator, ajax, tile, maker, creator, web2.0, stripes, diagonal, diagonal stripes[/tags]

Categories
Blogs and Blogging Design development film links Standards

Thursday links

Designspotter.com
A web-based platform (public group blog) for design publication, protection, and publicity. Upload an image of your work and a linked description to feature your product at no cost.
Oliver Stone, Terror Tourist
Fred Gates pimp-slaps Stone’s 9/11 blockbuster (movie review).
Google Strict vs. Google Deprecated
Does Google’s crap markup really save bytes? Philipp Lenssen finds out.
GraphicDesignBar:Design Forum
Fine new design blog, rich in inspiring links. (Yes, that’s one of Douglas Bowman’s standard Blogger templates.)
P22 News: Lanston Type Co. Summer 2006 releases
Goudy, Bodoni, and Broadway, oh my! P22 announces the latest installment of remastered fonts from the historic Lanston Type Company.
We are the Web: Fighting for Net Neutrality and Internet Freedom
Net neutrality and internet freedom are being disbanded by greedy corporate swine and the lobbyist-fattened US lawmakers who are their lackeys. In case you didn’t know.
Natural language hCard
Jeremy Keith on adding hcard semantics to ordinary body copy—naturally. (I’ve done it here.)
David Hughes Illustration
Kind to your eyes.
AsylumNYC
AsylumNYC presents all non-US artists with the opportunity to exhibit and live in New York City, providing a solo show at a recognized New York institution and the legal aid necessary to obtain an artists visa in the United States.
Weekly inspiration – 14 July
Thought-provoking UX/IA blog posts noted.
New York Times Librarian Awards
“The New York Times Librarian Awards were created to support and recognize public librarians, who do so much to nurture a better-informed society.” Nominate your favorite librarian from anywhere in the U.S.
Ben Hammersley’s Dangerous Precedent
Concise, uniquely conceived blog entries, elegantly written and cleverly embedded in photos which function as parallel blog entries. The creator is a thoughtful and multitalented web developer, portrait photographer, and book author.

[tags]librarian, awards, typography, design, graphic design, web design, user experience, UX, information architecture, IA, microformats, hcard, net neutrality, webstandards, web standards, bandwidth, Google, Oliver Stone, art, illustration, immigration, links[/tags]

Categories
An Event Apart Design film links music Standards Tools

Heartwarming

Baseball weather has come to NYC. And a baseball stadium is where we’ll hold An Event Apart Atlanta in just a few days’ time. If global warming worked the other way — if the winters were getting colder each year — the world’s governments would have already worked together to reverse global warming. But when winter grows milder and spring arrives sooner, it feels so good it’s hard to realize how bad it is. But I digress.

We’re busy prepping for Atlanta, so here are some links:

Minolta quits camera biz
A former ad client, at one time the 3rd largest camera maker in the world, can’t compete against digital.
“Would you write your life story in pencil?” was an ad I tried to sell them for their Maxxum line of high quality, 35mm point-and-shoot SLRs. (Instead they bought “More Maxxum Magic!”, a line I did not write for them.) Even so, it’s sad to see them go.
Monochrom Brandmarker
An attempt to evaluate the power of brands by making Austrian people draw twelve logos from memory, 25 people per brand. Via Coudal.com.
Magnolia Blossom
Mac OS X dashboard widget embeds social networking in your desktop: “Watch websites scroll across as they are bookmarked by ma.gnolia.com members. Spend less time scrolling through pages of text and find those eye-catching sites now!”
Gapers Block
Clean, good-looking, well written Chicago blog.
In Progress: Logo Design (A)
Cameron Moll on the National Gazette identity he and Jason Santa Maria are designing.
In Progress: Logo Design (B)
Jason Santa Maria on the National Gazette identity he and Cameron Moll are designing.
Top 15 Skylines in the World v. 3.0
An urban planner picks his Top 15 skylines. Via Gapers Block.
Dieter Steffmann typefaces
Immense archive of Dieter Steffmann fonts. “Acorn Initials” is typical Steffmann work. Re-blogged from March 2004.
CNN.com redesigns
1024 wide. Looks great. Pity about non-validating table layout. Via Hivelogic.com.
coComment
In one central place, track comments you’ve left on blogs all over the place.
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
“…total access to original tracks with remix and sampling… Download all the multitracks on two of the songs. Through … Creative Commons licenses, you are free to edit, remix, sample and mutilate these tracks however you like. Add them to your own song or create a new one. Visitors are welcome to post their mixes or songs that incorporate these audio files on the site for others to hear and rate.”
Drupal
Open source content management platform that cares about accessibility and standards.
Airbag – Styrofoam
Adventures in food management.
Designers must write
“As my ability to shape both written and oral communication improves, I am better equipped to direct the work of others.” (Via Cameron Moll.)
In Search of a Comprehensive Type Design Theory
“Type designers might be convinced that our profession is vital to society, but we wouldn’t risk going on strike.”
Ironic Sans – Pre-pixelated clothes
“Stop worrying about whether or not the producer of that Reality TV show you’re on will pixelate your carefully chosen t-shirt. Beat them to the punch with pre-pixelated products!” (Via K10k.net.)
Thank You for Smoking – main titles
Beautiful! via Stan.
America’s Technology Future at Risk
A new study released by the Economic Strategy Institute explains why U.S. companies can’t compete in key new business sectors, and offers a variety of regulatory and investment prescriptions (via Thomas L. Friedman).
Teaching at Risk: Progress and Potholes
The Final Report of the Teaching Commission (via Thomas L. Friedman).
It’s a great time to start a business
Six reasons to start a business today (by 37signals’s David Heinemeier Hansson).
IE7 Improvements and Bug Tracking
Eric Meyer weighs in.
W3C: Failed Commitments?
Much ado about nothing. Forest. Trees.
Happy Doomsday to You!
“Washington was about one horseman short of an apocalypse yesterday.”