It’s ugly so it doesn’t work.

The Thickness of Napkins

The Thickness of Napkins
“What does a napkin tell you about a restaurant? Quite a lot. A restauranteur friend told me about a survey that showed a massive correlation between category of napkin and customer satisfaction. That’s not to say you can hand out deliciously thick napkins in a shitty burger joint and immediately win customers over. It’s a cause and effect thing. The napkin represents a degree of care, preparation and devotion that goes above and beyond asking if they want fries with that.”

This brief, but poignant article by Des Traynor, COO at Intercom, reminded me of a lesson I learned in developing Lyrek CEMS for the Fashion & PR industries back in 2007.

I sat down during a training session with a woman that ran the PR for many industrious fashion designers and started walking her though the product, then called Reserve-U. Her response:

“It doesn’t work.”

I rebutted with confidence that the product had been thoroughly tested and I assured her there were no bugs in the system.

“You don’t understand,” she said. “It’s ugly, so it doesn’t work.”

Read the rest of the article on ERA404’s web site, here:
http://www.era404.com/press/building-a-better-mouse-trap/

Read the rest of “The Thickness of Napkins” on Contrast:
http://www.contrast.ie/blog/the-thickness-of-napkins/
(via @raf)

The Tao of Oil Painting

Adirondack - Detail 1

When I look over the scope of a fairly intensive project, it’s pretty daunting. I see a colossal list of components for a design and try to comprehend how I’m going to manage it all. And with most design projects, each successive layer builds on the previous one.  Read more

You Work For Her

A dozen years ago, I was sitting in the senior design lab at Ferris State University with the soon-to-be graduating class. Looking around the room, it was hard not to notice that I was only one of three guys in the room. My freshman year, close to fifty students had gathered in the survey courses. Whittled down to a dozen through the pressures of the program and a rigorous portfolio review, I found myself within the gender minority. In fact, all the professors of my core classes were also women.

Last fall, partially due to an increasing percentage of my studio‘s clientele being female, we rebranded the company to better appeal to women. This Spring, looking up from a dozen concurrent projects, I realized that, other than a few long-term clients from the previous decade, 100% of the projects I was working on were for women. Even those accounts built on the life and work of men were being driven and managed by female liaisons. And the digital peripherals of the design world also have afforded me the privilege of working with a rising number of women stars—notably Krystyn Heide (@SquareGirl) of SquareSpace and Caroline Schnapp (@CarolineSchnapp) of Shopify.

It makes perfect sense, when you think about it. Read more