The Future Belongs to the Curious

July 10, 2018

Gemma O’Brien is an Australian artist and designer specialising in lettering, illustration and typography. She’s has done stunning work with Apple, Adobe, Qantas, Volcom, The New York Times, etc.

She creates hand-lettering or custom typography for commercial clients, but also creates more conceptual personal work, hosts workshops across Australia and speaks at design conferences. I’m a huge fan, in particular of her large-scale painted work.

In the last five years there’s been a real typography boom, both inside and outside the design spheres. Especially the craft side: letterpress printing, hand-rendered lettering, sign painting, calligraphy and brushwork are all back in the spotlight.

Check out her work on Instagram, TwitterPersonal Website

Montreal Design Declaration

July 3, 2018

The Montreal Design Declaration was a milestone marking the launch of a collaborative effort to utilise the potential of design for all, and concludes: “All people deserve to live in a well-designed world.”

The Declaration defines the Value of Design through 8 bold propositions:

  • Design is a driver of innovation and competition, growth and development, efficiency and prosperity.
  • Design is an agent for sustainable solutions.
  • Design expresses culture.
  • Design adds value to technology.
  • Design facilitates change.
  • Design introduces intelligence to cities.
  • Design addresses resiliency and manages risk.
  • Design fosters development.

Book Suggestion: Sprint

February 16, 2018

Whenever we start a new project or need to solve a problem at work, we all have ideas. Sometimes those ideas are good, sometimes they are bad, sometimes they are risky, etc.
We all want our ideas to succeed, but how to know if they’ll give us good results or even if they’re worth our efforts and time? That’s the challenge.

I’ve been designing websites and applications for a decade and projects can take 1, 2, 6 months or even a year to see the light of day. So, the idea of testing ideas in just five days sounded really attractive.

Jake Knapp and the Google Ventures team did a great job with this book, presenting a solid alternative to the traditional way of building products, testing ideas and even the way we think about team work.

Here’s how the Sprint process works:

Monday: Set a Target
Where to focus your sprint? where you have the biggest opportunity to do something great and perhaps the greatest risk of failure.

Tuesday: Sketch Ideas
Sketching is the fastest and easier way to transform abstract ideas into concrete solutions. Once your ideas become concrete, they can be critically and fairly evaluated by the rest of the team.

Wednesday: Pick a Solution
In the real world, the creators won’t be there to give sales pitches and clues. In the real world, the ideas will have to stand on their own.

Thursday: Build a Prototype
We’ve found that if you only build a façade, you can get to 90 percent on day one. You want your customers to react naturally and honestly. Their reactions are gold, but their feedback is worth pennies on the dollar.

Friday: Test Your Prototype
There’s this gap between the vision and the customer, to make the two fit, you have to talk to people.

This is a great book and I highly recommend it. Read more at

Briefly Noted – July 2017

July 4, 2017

I can’t believe it’s July already, aka we started a new financial year in Australia and the coldest days of winter are around the corner. The last 6 months have been an interesting ride; I moved to my new apartment, work has kept me busy and I traveled quite a bit earlier this year, but thankfully I’ve found some free time to enjoy these good books:

January 2017: Loitering by Charles D’Ambrosio (2014)
“Self-consciousness has been long in me, so like a lot of writers I not only do a thing, I see myself doing it too – it’s almost like not being alone.”

February 2017: Demystifying Public Speaking by Lara Hogan (2016)
“I want to help you learn about what you bring to public speaking: your expertise, your style, your fears, your strengths.”

March 2017: Just Enough Research by Erika Hall (2013)
“For a design to be successful, it must serve the needs and desires of actual humans. Strangely, simply being human is insufficient for understanding most of our fellows.”

April 2017: Jony Ive by Leander Kahney (2014)
“Reduce and simplify? This wasn’t typical tech industry happy talk. In releasing new products, companies tended to add more bells and whistles, not take them away, but here Jony was saying the opposite. Not that simplifying was a new approach; it’s Design School 101.

May 2017: Don’t Make me Think by Steve Krug (2014)
“Usability is about people and how they understand and use things, not about technology. And while technology often changes quickly, people change very slowly.”

June 2017: The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick (2001)
“Egypt was a country of indiscriminate expressiveness overflowing its own margins. My book does this curious thing: it mimics Egypt itself. That is its strength and its limitation.”

Check out my previous ‘Briefly Noted’ reviews: 2016, 2015, 2014

My 16 Favourite Design Resources and Articles of 2016

January 11, 2017

David Bowie Tribute

Now that 2016 is done and dusted I wanted to share with you my 16 favourite design resources and articles of 2016:

Onboarding: How Virgin America Onboards New Users by UserOnboard

Mobile Design: Mobile App UX Principles by Google

Design Guidelines: Material Design by Google

Design Components: Polymer Components in Angular 2 by Vaadin

Human Interface Guidelines: iOS Design Principles by Apple

Mobile Patterns: Pattern Collection by

User Interface (UI): Design at 1x – It’s a fact by Kurt Varner

User Experience (UX): The State of UX in 2017 by

Forms: Design Better Forms by

Research/Data: Visualization of U.S. Public Data

Writing: Hemingway App

Writing: Design Words with Data by John Saito (Dropbox)

Design Process: Designing the Shyp Experience by Julia Khusainova

Engagement: The first 15 seconds by Scott Belsky

Trends: Introducing the Conversational Form by SPACE10

Inspiration: 2016 Year in Review by Behance

I hope you find them as useful and inspiring as I did!


November Favourites

November 24, 2016

Draw a line in the sand

June 18, 2016