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in defense of the tangential

April 19, 2006

I already knew that I’d be spending the remainder of the week posting my notes from last week’s Pentagram talk at SFMOMA, but it’s looking like I should just create a new category called “i *heart* pentagram”. Today, Laura sent me a post by Pentagram partner Michael Bierut at Design Observer defending their perogative to write on whatever subject suited their fancy, not just design:

Over the years, I came to realize that my best work has always involved subjects that interested me, or — even better — subjects about which I’ve become interested, and even passionate about, through the very process of doing design work. … To me, the conclusion is inescapable: the more things you’re interested in, the better your work will be.

This strikes me as right, and true, and the way to approach talking about the work we do. To read some of what’s out there on blogs, especially the political ones, you would think that people stay on a single track of interest their entire lives. They neither seek nor take influence from all the other things (I hope) comprise the rest of their lives.

Second Verse is where I write about the work I do, and all the pieces that make it up. But to be honest, when I’m thinking about work, I take a lot of inspiration from other places. Comic books (not in the McCloud way). The way professional kitchens get run. Military history. How Vegas casinos and Disneyland environments are designed. Everyware and ubiquitous computing…

Don’t be surprised if I go from talking about interfaces to the latest issue of Planetary. As Danzig put it, “Who’m I doing this for, hey, me or you?”

Categories: blogging
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