Dan Saffer: How to Lie With Design Thinking

Dan Saffer is an interaction designer and the author of four books on design: Designing Devices (2011), Designing Gestural Interfaces(2008), Designing for Interaction (2006, 2009).  His newest book is Microinteractions. He is currently the Creative Director at Smart Design in San Francisco.

Document for Yourself

Don’t worry about creating things that you think will be popular for a certain group of people — just take time to explore and document for yourself. Eventually you’ll find patterns in your work and your viewpoint will emerge on its own.

Helena Price, San francisco based photographer, on her interview for The Great Discontent

Kevin Systrom — Instagram Video


“One of the most amazing things about us humans is our ability to create tools to remember.” — Valuable take.

Life with Smartphones

Ironically, most of us will watch this video on our phones.

Milton Glaser — Creative Mornings Talk

Great insights on drawing as a way of truly seeing the world, among other things. Found on (the resourceful) Milton Glaser’s website.

Inspiration — John Holcroft Illustrations

John Holcroft is a Brittish illustrator  who has a penchant for screen print effects created digitally and inspired from old adverts and packaging from the 50s. I love the simplicity of his illustrations and the pungent social criticism he packs into each piece. More of his work here.

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Beyond the Superficial

Look beyond the superficial! That's the problem with current affairs. You forget about what's important, you allow the agenda to be decided by superficial information. What am I saying? What am I talking about? Don't think about what I'm wearing! These things are redundant, superficial.

Russel Brand, British Comedian as he devastates 3 anchors on an MSNBC Morning Show and makes a rather lucid point about the deception of mainstream media.

Inspiration — Vespalogy, The Story of Vespa.

A beautiful graphic retrospective of Vespas from 1943 to 2013, by French Creative Agency Nomoon.



Inspiration — Matt Taylor Book Cover Illustrations

Matt Taylor is an illustrator and designer from Brighton, UK, who spends his days crafting expansive, Americana inspired illustrations with a nod to the classic comic book art of the fifties and sixties.

I really love the simplicity and great use of color palettes on his cover illustrations for the books of John le Carré, published by Penguin. Take a look at the full series here.  Check out more of Matt Taylor’s work at www.matttaylor.co.uk.

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Chance Favors

Chance favors only the prepared mind.

Louis Pasteur, 19th Century's French Scientist

The Art of Fingerboarding

Seth Godin – Backwards

Nevada Desert, From Above.

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Brad Ellis — Design Teams & Custom Design Tools

Brad Ellis of Pacific Helm talks about design teams and a custom tool he created to improve his design process.

I really love his simple explanation about the different “Design Roles Waterfall” in the Digital Industry: Product Designer / Experience Designer Interface Designer / Visual Designer / Production Designer. It’s also nice to see how simple software programming can solve some really tacky design problems, like dynamic color styles. Worth watching.

Part of The Scam in The Creative Industry

The creative industry operates largely by holding ‘creative’ people ransom to their own self-image, precarious sense of self-worth, and fragile – if occasionally out of control ego. We tend to set ourselves impossibly high standards, and are invariably our own toughest critics. Satisfying our own lofty demands is usually a lot harder than appeasing any client, who in my experience tend to have disappointingly low expectations. Most artists and designers I know would rather work all night than turn in a sub-standard job. It is a universal truth that all artists think they a frauds and charlatans, and live in constant fear of being exposed. We believe by working harder than anyone else we can evade detection. The bean-counters rumbled this centuries ago and have been profitably exploiting this weakness ever since. You don’t have to drive creative folk like most workers. They drive themselves. Just wind ‘em up and let ‘em go.

— Linds Redding, former Saatchi & Saatchi and BBDO Art Director who, before dying of cancer, wrote this sobering and thoughtful piece: A Short Lesson in Perspective. You can read more about the repercussions it had herehere and here.

Inspiration — Zoo Portraits by Yago Partal

Yago Partal is a creative photographer based in Barcelona. He works for the special effects studio DDT — Oscar for “Pan’s Labyrinth“. Zoo Portraits is a delightful and clever photo series featuring mugshots of different animals wearing human clothes. I love the colors, the crispness, the humor in it. Check these out – Zoo Portraits and Yago Partal’s Portfolio.

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Inspiration — Vibrant Iconic Illustrations by Forma & Co

Forma is an independent Graphic Design Studio in Barcelona, Spain, founded by Joel Lozano and Dani Navarro. I fell in love with the simplicity of their Re-Vision project — A design exercise synthesizing iconic characters of comic books. Check it out – here and here.


Senna, Lap of Life

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Ayrton Senna, 1960 — 1994. Today would have been his 53rd birthday. Here’s a moving tribute. Great to hear Senna’s voicing his thoughts, awesome soundtrack.

4 Useful Websites for iOS Designers

square_photo.001App Sites

Showcase of beautiful iPhone, iPad & Mac app websites. Handy reference pool that provides a great insight on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to App marketing on the web.




square_photo.002iOS Icon Gallery

Showcase of beautiful iOS icons in their full size. It provides a great insight on different icon styles and allow you to look at all the details closely at 512 × 512 pixels. A great source of inspiration and also a good view on how other designers have resolved different visual challenges within the boundaries of an iOS icon.



square_photo_template.004Copy Paste Character

How do I type primes with Helvetica Neue? This is a web and iPhone application for copying hidden characters that come with digital typefaces, to be pasted into emails, tweets, text documents, forums and whatever else you might need. Don’t know the short code required to type that special character? This tool is your salvation.


square_photo_template.003The Noun Project

Icons are the world’s visual language. The Noun Project’s goal is to build a global visual language that everyone can understand, enabling users to visually communicate anything to anyone. They have royalty free, downloadable glyphs that can be really useful for mocking up apps and for figuring out universal visual metaphors for your next project.

Inspiration — Stunning Typographic Illustrations by Dado Queiroz

Dado Queiroz is a talented brazilian designer from Curitiba* — my hometown in Brazil.
His typographic work is incredibly inspiring. Specially when you take in consideration all of it is done in 2D. Check it out – www.dadoqueiroz.com

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Inspiration — Windows of New York by José Guizar

José Guizar is a talented Mexican Designer living in New York City. Driven by his curiosity and obsession for the cityscape, José created a series of minimalist and remarkably elegant illustrations of New York’s windows. Such a beautiful work. Check it out — Windows of New York.

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Why Creatives Say No

Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating. Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation. The common thread that links creators is how they spend their time. No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.

Kevin Ashton, writer and co-founder of the MIT Auto-ID Center, on his brilliant article "Creative People Say No", for Medium.

Doing what you love

So much of what I do I love to do, but in order to do what I love to do I have to do a lot of what I don't like to do.

Christine Caine, social activist, founder of the A21 Campaign against human trafficking.

Inside Tesla Mega Car Factory

National Geographic feature documentary, showing the whole production process for the Tesla Model S. The brainchild of Elon Musk – who is about as close as you’re gonna get in real life to Tony Stark – Tesla Motors aims to completely revolutionize the car industry. I’ve actually had a small taste riding the Model S  with a friend the other day. The car is an incredibly powerful idea, realized. Imagine when this idea evolve to popularity.

Talent Crisis

Today’s widespread unemployment is not a jobs crisis, it’s a talent crisis. Technology is taking every job that doesn’t need a high degree of creativity, humanity, or leadership.

Marty Neumeier, in his talk at DIEN 2013, sharing the concepts of his new book, Metaskills.


We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.

Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer. 1564 – 1642

Hartmut Esslinger — Advice For Designers

Hartmut Esslinger is the legendary founder of Frog Design. I’m really looking forward to reading his new book, Design Forward: Creating Strategies for Sustainable Change. You can also find an insight from Hartmut himself on the motivation behind the book here.

Shit Talk

Have you ever seen those t-shirts, that say "shit happens"? Well, shit does happen. And sometimes it's just out of your control. There's nothing you can do about it. Most of the time though, shit happens for a reason. The problem is that we humans are stupid. We keep giving shit a lot of reasons to happen. Stop that shit.

— Author Unknown

Sunset at Lake Tahoe

Last Fall I drove up to South Lake Tahoe for the first time. Here are some shots I took during the sunset. Priceless sight.

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Inspiration — Minimalist Photography by Mathias Heiderich

Mathias Heiderich, 30, is a self-taught german photographer living and working in Berlin.* His minimalist urban photos show stark composition, perfect lines, vibrant colors and surprisingly beautiful patterns. Ordinary architectural landscapes become simply stunning through his lenses.

I absolutely love his work. Check it out — www.mathias-heiderich.de

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Here’s How Fantasy Interactive Creates Amazing Digital Campaigns

Long, but truly insightful video. Recorded at the “Attack of The Creative Process” meeting in NYC at Fi’s office, in October 2012. Fantasy Interactive is an award winning global digital agency. They help global brands build great stories.

Thoughts like a leaf

I learned to let unhealthy thoughts go. They are just thoughts — they don’t control me. They are just things that happen, like a leaf falling from a tree as I run by. Interesting phenomena, but not a determination of my life. Watch the thoughts. Learn to let them go. Get good at discomfort. Triumph over the childish selfish scared mind.

— Leo Babauta – on The Four Habits that Form Habits.

Data Visualisation

Simplicity is very relative after all. Some people, like Tony Stark, are very comfortable with immense displays of data. The challenge is how to display it in a way that is understandable and useful to the user at a glance. So it can remain complex – yet convey what you need simply and effectively.

Jayse Hansen, renowned Visual Artist, talking about visual complexity on this inspiring interview for Pushing Pixels.

London St Pancras International, according to my iPhone 4

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How to Flippin’ Flip a Sign

Via Devour through @pauloroid.

Talent & Time

So this is the dirty little secret in our industry. The best designers and developers rarely have more talent. They simply have more time.

Andy Budd from Clearleft, on this article for The Pastry Box Project.

San Francisco Insanely Toasted on Four Wheels


New software is out from a large corporation! Lets nitpick every minute detail we dislike!

Justin Williams, on Twitter.

Design for the poor

We live in a world where luxury goods and consumer electronics represent some of the most carefully crafted products available. It is exciting to have the opportunity to address real human needs as opposed to simply creating consumer desire, and to take the same skills and insights that make a product like the iPod so irresistible and apply them to the creation new and useful tools for the poor.

Timothy Prestero, CEO of Design That Matters – A non-profit organization that collaborates with leading social entrepreneurs and volunteers to design new products and services for the poor in developing countries – on his TED Talk.

How’s your day spent?

I spend the day doing stuff. I feel sorry for people who spend the day complaining about stuff.

@interney, on Twitter – free translation.

Rodney Mullen – Context Shapes Content

A successful entrepreneur and innovator, Rodney Mullen is considered the most influential street skater in history, inventing most of the tricks used today. In this really passionate and fun TED talk, he sheds light on what do skateboarding and innovation have in common. Worth watching.

via Jeffrey

Moleskine Deviations

Wilson Miner – When We Build

Wilson Miner is a digital product designer living in San Francisco and working at Facebook. Until recently, he was head of design at Rdio, a digital music service. He also worked at Apple on the first comprehensive redesign of apple.com, back in 2006.

In this inspiring and thoughtful talk filmed at Build Conference 2011, Wilson makes some powerful observations on the evolution of our digital tools, and poses some critical questions on how we as the new generation of digital designers shape our world for the future.

(via @johnie)


The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.

Linus Pauling, American Chemist (1901 – 1994)

5 Creative Lessons to Learn from Pixar

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Pixar Animation Studios. It was an incredible trip with truly inspiring behind-the-scenes insights from their staff. Here are the 5 lessons I learned from Pixar:

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Playing with Brushes for the iPad

Time-lapse videos for these can be found here and here.

Alone Together

These days, insecure in our relationships and anxious about intimacy, we look to technology for ways to be in relationships and protect ourselves from them at the same time.

Sherry Turkle, Psychologist and Professor at MIT, on her book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.

Curitiba, a Smart City

‘Where exactly in Brazil do you come from?’ – A very recurrent question since I moved abroad.

Curitiba – pronounced “Coo-ree-chee-bah” – is the answer. It’s a thriving and innovative city in south Brazil with around 2 million people. It’s considered a model for Urban Design and one of the World’s Smartest Cities according to Forbes Magazine. Curitiba has linked flood control, environmental quality, economic development and public transportation quite successfully.

Youtube provides an easy way to get sounds, images and impressions of the city that I cannot convey with just a brief description. Here’s a compilation of videos about Curitiba, a city that has greatly influenced my passion for efficient design:

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Inspiration — Jess & Russ, an incredibly creative wedding invitation.

Amazing romantic timeline website made by – and for – designers Jess and Russ. A great inspiration for real life story-telling. Check it out – Jess & Russ.
There’s also an in-depth interview with them at The Great Discontent, here.

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The shape of us

We shape our tools. And thereafter our tools shape us.

Marshall McLuhan, Canadian philosopher of communication theory. (1911–1980)

A Car Crash, My Eye & Forgiveness

The loss of my eyesight and what I turned out to be today is a clear evidence of how powerful forgiveness can be.

Car crash. Frontal collision, I was 3 years old. An uncontrolled Ford Maverick hit Dad’s fragile VW Bettle ’81. Bloody mayhem. No one used seat belts at that time. The Maverick’s driver – not so surprisingly – didn’t get hurt. Mom and Dad, however, literally broke the front windshield with their bodies. Mom was 3 months pregnant. She lost the baby. Dad had his face severely wounded and lost a lot of blood, though he still managed to remain conscious. I was thrown to the car floor during the collision, preventing me from getting multiple injuries. Still, my left eye got sharply hit by a cracked piece of glass from the front windshield. Precise as a scalpel. No one knew, until we arrived at the ER…

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Are you who you wanna be?

I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.

Carl Jung, Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist (1875–1961)


What’s next.

If you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what's next.

Steve Jobs (1955–2011)

The Vignelli’s Canon.

Massimo Vignelli is an acclaimed italian designer who has done work in a number of areas – ranging from furniture, packaging and graphic design all the way to complex public signage systems. He runs Vignelli Associates, the prestigious design firm he co-founded with his wife.

In 2008, Vignelli wrote “The Vignelli’s Canon” – a small and very straight forward book on the basics of typographic design. Whether you’re a young or seasoned designer, it’s an excellent material, worth reading and having.

The book is available as a digital edition, in PDF, entirely for free. What more could we ask?

Click here to download the book


The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels. Find the best people to whom you can delegate, and know their strengths and weaknesses. If you think you can do it better, delegate anyway and try as hard as you can to close that gap by giving your colleague or employee the right feedback. Then recognize and accept that just because someone does something a little differently than you would, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. What counts is that your goals get accomplished at a sufficient level of quality.

Eli Broad, American businessman and philanthropist, on a recent online interview.

Everyday Circles.

Some time ago, out of boredom, I started a random experiment on Instagram: To take straight shots of the different circles we see everyday around us. To keep track of it, I created a simple hashtag called #everydaycircles. You can check it out on Instagram and start submitting your own creative shots.

Here’s a selection of my favorite ones so far.

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Playing like yourself.

Sometimes you need to play for a long time to be able to play like yourself.

Miles Davis, legendary American jazz musician.

My Website, Reinvented.

Today I introduce my new digital space.

2012. It’s been 3 years abroad. 3 continents. 3 different countries. 6 different houses. 2 jobs in 2 different world-class companies. An uncountable number of incredibly smart people. Innumerable moments of profound personal breakthroughs.

All ignited by a simple, almost childish blog in 2005. It revolutionized my world by getting me my
first job while still in college. That was followed by a portfolio website in 2008 – made on, surprise, iWeb. It revolutionized my life completely again by uprooting me from Brazil, launching me into Europe and its effervescent digital scene.

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