Recently the topic of complicated versus complex has come up both in relation to a book group discussion I was leading on REWORK and also with an online Twitter-based chat I was moderating on innovation. It’s pretty central to everything I’ve learned, experienced and thought about with regard to design, so it seemed worth it to capture it here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two workshops today at the Future of Web Design conference: Real-World Accessibility for Web Designers with Derek Featherstone and Design Secrets of Digg with Daniel Burkha. It was tough to narrow down to these two - all of the sessions looked great - but I chose these for important reasons. [I’ll be adding more about Daniel’s talk in the next day or two - it’s too much to cover now!]