Yesterday I read an interview with Erik Spiekermann, one
of modern design legends. One thing resonated with me.
Learn as much about our culture as you possibly can, by
reading, by traveling, by involving yourself in things that go
on. But don’t become an artist. Don’t think, “I’ll do it
intuitively.” You have to learn if not to code at least to
appreciate code, to understand code. Because code is what nuts
and bolts were a hundred years ago.
If you don’t know anything about mechanics, you can’t
survive in this world. If you don’t know anything about how a
computer works or code works, as a communicator, which is what
a designer is — the interface between machines and man, that’s
what we are. We are the interface, we interpret what the
machine says into visible language. If you don’t understand
how the machine works, you’re going to be laughed out of the
room by the engineering guys, because you can’t communicate
Maybe I’m biased because my background is computer science,
but I’m discounting that because Erik and I have very
different starting points (graphic design for him, programming
for me) and are two generations apart, and still came to the
As designers, we don’t have to build cars with our own hands
or use machine learning algorithms, but we need to know
concepts and how they work. If we don’t know the vocabulary,
how will we communicate?
This demo and blog post almost didn’t see the light of day.
The Web has produced impressive 3D apps
recently and my concept seemed unremarkable compared to
them. But after thinking about it for some time I realized I
had built a Hello World example and it’s not fair to compare
it to other apps. And my Hello World packs some interesting
I recommend opening the link on a phone or a tablet. I tested
it in Chrome and Safari, so it should work on all newer
Android and iOS devices. It will also work on desktop
browsers, but you’ll have to start the animation manually.
If it got you interested, read on about my motivation and the
technology used to build it.
Writer and artist Austin Kleon describes how he tackles work
in his book Share Your Work:
Building a substantial body of work takes a long
time—lifetime, really—but thankfully, you don’t
need that time all in one big chunk. So forget about decades,
forget about years, and forget about months. Focus on days.
The day is the only unit of time that I can really get my
head around. Seasons change, weeks are completely human made,
but the day has a rhythm. The sun goes up; the sun goes down.
I can handle that.
This is an excellent advice on how to approach tasks that
seem overwhelming. Just focus on days and you’ll get there.
reads my mind:
I have mixed feelings about writing a “year in review”. Often
times it feels like a boasting competition. Who collected the
most miles, lectures, awards or crossed off bucket list items.
On the other hand, it’s extremely healthy to stop, reflect,
recap and honestly, just remember the good (and less good)
times one had during a year.
Personally, benefits of reflection outweigh any mistaken
perceptions some people might have about this kind of posts.
And since I’m always pursuing knowledge and wisdom, I
won’t bore you with numbers of travel destinations and books
read. Instead, I’ll share some lessons learned during the past
year and things that have really sunk in.
Lucerne is a charming Swiss town. Situated between snow-capped
mountains it boasts a historic town center surrounded by
fortified walls, clock towers, an Alpine lake, and trains
running on time. A tourist’s bonanza.
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