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Jeremy Deller: Joy in People

Jeremy Deller does art outside galleries. It thrives in ‘low culture’ and it is usually ambitious, socially-engaged and unexpected. Indeed, most of his career is built on looking for art in the most unpredictable places, working with the public or with people who have particular knowledge or skill but who wouldn’t otherwise be associated with the contemporary art world. They include unemployed miners, brass bands, a campaign banner maker, fans of Depeche Mode, a glam rock wrestler, experts in battle re-enactments, etc. He even collaborated on an art project with nightclub owner and trendsetter Peter Stringfellow.

In late February, a retrospective of Jeremy Deller’s work opened at the Hayward gallery. It is called Joy in People and joy is precisely what it brings.

Starbucks embark on store refresh ahead of the Olympics

Prolific coffee chain Starbucks has announced it intends to revamp its network of cafes to coincide with the Olympics and Queen’s Jubilee this summer, commencing with the chain’s 70 London outlets.

This will attempt to move away from the standardised approach taken thus far to pursue individually designed stores that fit in with their local neighbourhoods.

Type Connection

Type Connection is a game that helps you learn how to pair typefaces.

Start by choosing a typeface to pair. Like a conventional dating website, Type Connection presents you with potential “dates” for each main character—without the misleading profile photos and commitment-phobes. The game features well-known, workhorse typefaces and portrays each as a character searching for love. You are the matchmaker. You decide what kind of match to look for by choosing among several strategies for combining typefaces. Along the way, you explore typographic terminology, type history, and more. By playing Type Connection, you deepen your own connection with type.

If it’s walking like a duck, it should quack

Skeuomorphism is often rejected on the grounds of taste (“it looks tacky”) or generates despondence from its shackling of digital interfaces to old metaphors. The latter offends for two reasons: the resulting interfaces are limited by their chains, and the approach is inherently backwards-looking. I can imagine similar views being expressed in architecture and art quite easily.

Ideas of March

Reminded by the eminent Drew McLellan, it’s time, once again, to discuss blogs.

A question that has cropped up a good few times over the course of the last few years is whether or not social networking sites will ultimately win out over the humble weblog. Except people often use much more extreme language for this, so perhaps I should say will social networks kill blogging. Well, no, I don’t think so. In some ways they’re probably helping blogging (in the classical sense) along its evolutionary journey. And here’s why.

Continue reading…

Learning from competition

Reacting well to competition requires critical analysis of your own product and its shortcomings, and a complete, open-minded understanding of why people might choose your competitors.

They’re not fanboys. They’re not brainwashed by “marketing”. Your competitors’ customers aren’t passing on your product because they’re stupid or irrational.

They’re choosing your competitors for good reasons, and denying the existence of such good reasons will only ensure that your product never overcomes them.

One of the reasons Apple has been able to quickly dominate so many markets is that their competitors have largely reacted defensively.

Marco.org: Learning from competition

How Google’s Designers Got the Company on the Same Page

In 2007, designers from multiple Google products put together a set of unified redesign proposals code-named Kanna (Icelandic, meaning to explore, examine or investigate) that was never released.

Among other reasons, the designers think Kanna failed because they presented then-CEO Eric Schmidt and other leaders with a set of four different concepts, with themes like making Google more like desktop clients, or differentiating products by color. It sounded like there were too many options and not enough conviction.

10 web development concepts designers should know

A designer who freelances or runs their own agency, may find that they need to confidently explain technical concepts to clients. The end client is often unaware of the various specialisms behind launching a new site and relies on their web designer to guide them through the process. Therefore even if you tend to outsource development work, having an understanding of development can pay dividends in allowing you to discuss the technical parts of the job with your clients. In addition, when working with developers your knowledge will help to speed up communication and prevent misunderstandings.

A great article from Rachel Andrew.