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Design

Using type, color, space and symbols to communicate.

We’ve written 69 blog posts about Design. View all topics »

  1. One Hand Washes the Other

    I once believed that great design was created inside of a secret creativity chamber. Armed with a knapsack full of snacks, I’d lock myself inside, and work long, hard, tedious hours until I emerged with a “masterpiece.”

  2. Total Design

    In the 1960s and 70s Ajax, a Dutch soccer team, captivated people with long stringy hair, scruffy sideburns, and a legendary tactical system known as ‘Total Football.’ Don’t worry, non-sports-loving nerds, I’ll get to my point soon. What was remarkable about Total Football was the ability of everyone on the team to change position and tactics with fluidity and speed. Anyone, it was thought, could play anywhere on the pitch. Attackers converted to defenders. Defenders converted to attackers. Back and forth in the blink of an eye.

  3. The Four Stages of Giving Up Photoshop

    On one of my first projects at Happy Cog, my coworker, Kevin, suggested that we experiment with how we create responsive layouts of a site redesign. Seemed reasonable enough, until I heard him say, “and we’re going to use Keynote.” Say whaaat?!

  4. Thank you, Hillman Curtis.

    When I learned of Hillman Curtis’ passing last week I tried to impart to someone unfamiliar with his work why, having never met him, he meant so much to my development as a designer and (former) animator. He taught me how to respect the audience, I told her. He taught me how to justify, how to edit.

  5. Rut-Roh! I’m in a Design Rut

    Last week, while plugging away in Photoshop—tunes blazing through my headphones, pixels flying from my fingertips—it hit me. I was in a design rut. I’d grown complacent with my pagination arrows. Countless times, for vastly different sites, I’d relied on the DIN Bold arrow character. It’s a sturdy, hard-angled, utilitarian arrow, perfectly suitable if I quit web design to design highway signs in Germany, but not the quick-fix solution for all my arrow needs.

  6. Attack of the Horrible Presentation

    When I was an undergrad student, I studied film. One valuable lesson I picked up in school was how to prepare for a presentation. My instructors taught us to run a projector correctly; or, they let us know in no uncertain terms, you were wasting everyone’s time. Here’s what was expected of you: arrive early, clean your film, clean the projector, check the bulb, set the focus, set the sound levels, and cue up your reel. Do anything wrong and you would be on the receiving end of glower, ridicule, and not a word of critique about the film you were presenting.

  7. Redesign Week

    What do they say about the cobbler’s son? The dude is always barefoot? Or the carpenter’s house has no roof? Stupid carpenter.

    Yeah. That’s kind of us right now with happycog.com. Granted, we have shoes, and we have a roof. But the shoes have some holes in the soles and the roof leaks just enough to make your hair wet.

  8. Stepping Out of Line

    Years ago, I was presenting comps on a scheduled call to a key stakeholder of my then-agency’s flagship account. It was my first call with him in months. He was unfortunately on vacation and without his laptop. That should have been the end of it.

    Instead, he asked me to paint him a picture.

  9. Q&A: Design Through the Lens of a Project Manager

    Hello. Thanks for coming back to part two of the conversation between Brett Harned and me. Please help yourself to some tea, a pastry, and a comfortable chair. Brett and I have worked together for nearly 5 years, so we thought it would be interesting to discuss the collaboration between our two disciplines that occurs somewhat invisibly. Working with a project manager allows designers to focus on being creative and doing good work. I’m loathe to think of going back to working without one.

    I hope you enjoy the second part of the conversation. We’d both love to hear how your process has changed working in collaboration with other disciplines in your organization.

  10. Q&A: Project Management Through the Lens of a Designer

    As a project manager, I’m constantly wondering how I can better support my team. I’ve always been a believer in the fact that project managers must have the ability to build relationships to understand how their team members work. It’s never as easy as “hand over the wireframe to the designer and make it pretty.” If you’re a project manager and you think that way, you’ve got a lot to learn. I urge you to sit down with your coworkers and chat about what works for them. That’s exactly what I’ve done for my article this week: a chat with Kevin Sharon, a Happy Cog Creative Director, to view project management through the eyes of a designer.

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