When I woke up Wednesday morning I was looking forward to an always-fun and interesting meeting day on the newschoolyard.com project, for which I’m the platform architect. We’re working on a platform targeted at independent schools to maintain their own web sites, parent and alumni communities, and the whole project is really satisfying. Great challenge, great way to help bring innovation (and huge cost savings) to schools.
thoughts on pixels
I’ve had this idea of ‘thinking in pencil’ for a long time. The notion that one’s thoughts, opinions and ideas can shift and grow based on the information at hand, on any given day, at any given moment. Every new experience, sight and sound informs you as a person, an artist and as a designer. That commitment to exploration and the ability to admit and even embrace being wrong is one of the aspects of my own personality that I strive to improve every day. It makes me a better designer, a better manager, a better partner to clients - and a better person.
I try to focus on things relevant to web professionals, designers and other creative thinkers. Not always a successful endeavor, but variation keeps things interesting at least.
Just a quick note this morning. I spoke yesterday to Mitch's graphic design class at Rhode Island College. Saw one of my professors too - Nanch Bockbrader sat in on my lecture. I have to admit - that was pretty cool. Much of what I do and how I work as a designer was shaped by Nancy. She was adamant about being able to communicate about design: what you did, how you came to the choices you made about typography, why you used particular color palettes.
My good friend Mitch Goldstein (or @mgoldst as you may know him) has asked if I'd give a talk to his graphic design students in a class he's teaching at Rhode Island College. I sat in those very halls a few too many years ago than I care to remember - but since that's where I got my start (designing and developing the College's first web site), it seemed like a great opportunity.
There have been some great posts on Twitter and around the web on whether or not web designers should know HTML/CSS and be able to produce their own designs. Elliot Jay Stocks and Mike Kus had some great tweets and blog posts about it and spoke very eloquently about it. I've always agreed with that perspective.
I know, I know. If you listen to the Boagworld podcast or follow his incessant tweeting and audioboo-ing you'll doubtless be saying something like 'good heavens, don't give him any more reasons to inflate his overblown sense of self-worth' - but I think that he's struck upon a really important topic, and one that has an enormous impact on the future of our industry.
I've never tried to focus on writing what will get comments - I really want to write about what moves me. Which is why there honestly aren't all that many visitors to my site. (although it is growing, slowly) What I do find amusing is that while I've finally started getting some pariticipation on the site, my most frequent commenters are my son Trevor's friends from school. I'm flattered that Nick and others are reading the posts, but I do hope I can convince others to weigh in on some of the topics I've written about as well!
For three years, Gott Advertising (full disclosure: Kevin Gottesman is my cousin, and also happens to be one of the nicest people I know, and a constant inspiration to me) has been building, managing and optimizing online advertising campaigns for the world’s leading non-profits, charities, and progressive organizations. In launching my own consultancy I've kept his mission close to heart and hope to do even a fraction of the good he's done so far. Happy 3rd Birthday, Gott Advertising!
As a designer, I'm always thinking about inspiration. Where to find it, what to do with it, how to let it bring a solution out from the pile of ideas and pixels with which I work. I look at a lot of other designers' work - primarily in other arenas, but also on the web. But the strongest, most compelling source I've encountered is pervasive, and limitlessly renewable. I just have to remember to open my eyes and step through the door. It's something I cherish about how my brain seems to work, as it is with many creative people I imagine.
I have to admit it. I have a lot to be thankful for, as I'm really a pretty lucky guy. I have a wonderful, amazing, beautiful wife (our 2nd date was 6 years ago yesterday!) and two fantastic (step) children. The kids' father lives close by and we all get along really well - making the whole family dynamic SO much better for them and for all of us. We have a fluffy, adorable and thoroughly enjoyable collie named Tristan (my constant companion on our morning excursions to the reservoir).