The New Sway

In November 2011, my friend and fellow designer Rory King and I started an experimental zine called Sway. Sway was birthed out of a shared desire the two of us had to return to the experimental, exploratory work we did while we were in college. Realizing since we graduated, we had not engaged in the type of work we did there, we wanted an outlet to use graphic design as a platform to explore our various interests as well as grow as designers.

Each issue followed the same format we created at the beginning: each issue had a theme and both of us had six spreads to respond to that theme. Each issue had predetermined typefaces and a set paper size but the rest was open to whatever we wanted to do. Over the following year, we produced nine issues, all of which I’m proud of for various reasons. In the middle of completing the ninth issue, we had a sense that this format had run its course and put Sway on a temporary hiatus while we figured out what to do with it next.

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“If you spend your life doing what you love, the speed at which the world goes on and changes around you is irrelevant.”
Milton Glaser, from this interview with CoolHunting on his recently designed clocks.
“Designers stand between revolutions and everyday life … [They] have the ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and social mores, and to convert them into objects and ideas that people can actually understand and use.”
Paola Antonelli, But is it art?

Herman Miller has a new series on their site called Why Design where they will be profiling designers. From the site:

At Herman Miller design is the language we use to ask questions and seek answers to the problems our customers face. The design process is a journey into the unknown—or as George Nelson once quipped, “I have never met a designer who was retained to keep things the same as they were.” Before we decide what we do and how we do it, we like to begin by asking the question “Why?” In Why Design, a new video series, we explore the world through the eyes of our designers, and share something of why we value their point of view.

The first profile is Yves Béhar and is an inspirational video on how surfing is like improvisational jazz and how that compares to the design process. It’s a great first profile and I’m looking forward to future additions to the series.

Guys. I met one of my heroes today.

Guys. I met one of my heroes today.

“If you can sustain your interest in what you’re doing, you’re an extremely fortunate person. What you see very frequently in people’s professional lives, and perhaps in their emotional life as well, is that they lose interest in the third act. You sort of get tired, and indifferent, and, sometimes, defensive. And you kind of lose your capacity for astonishment — and that’s a great loss, because the world is a very astonishing place. What I feel fortunate about is that I’m still astonished, that things still amaze me. And I think that’s the great benefit of being in the arts, where the possibility for learning never disappears, where you basically have to admit you never learn it.”
Milton Glaser, considered by many the greatest graphic designer alive and celebrating his 83rd birthday today, on art, purpose, and the capacity for astonishment. (via explore-blog)
“I want everything we do to be beautiful. I don’t give a damn whether the client understands that that’s worth anything, or that the client thinks it’s worth anything, or whether it is worth anything. It’s worth it to me. It’s the way I want to live my life. I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.”
Saul Bass, who died 16 years ago today.

I don’t know exactly where or when I first came across the work of Hillman Curtis. I have a distinct memory of watching his Stefan Sagmeister film sometime during my senior year of high school. I proceeded to watch the rest oh his Artists Series, each of which left me inspired as I left for college and started my journey to graphic design.

I found myself returning to the films every few months during my first two years of school and having discussions with professors that derived from Hillman’s work. When I dabbled in film a few years ago, his short films were an inspiration. I know a lot of designers feel the same way and it was truly amazing to watch the outpouring of love and memories on Twitter through out the day.

Hillman died today after a long battle with colon cancer. He was 51.

“[S]top acting like decorators. The more we cater to demands like, “I need a mockup of a brand new design for our homepage in two hours to show to our investors,” the more we reinforce the notion that we just ‘make pretty’. That’s not design, that’s being a pixel-monkey.”

Josh Brewer, Principle Designer at Twitter from this interview with The Web Standardistas. He continues:

Another thing, and maybe the most important, is to talk about and share our design process. Helping people understand what it is we do when and how we do it is key in changing that perception. It gives them a vocabulary and a context that changes the way the conversation happens and ultimately can lead to more collaboration up-front, which is a good thing.

“We don’t do focus groups - that is the job of the designer. It’s unfair to ask people who don’t have a sense of the opportunities of tomorrow from the context of today to design.”
Sir Jonathan Ive, on Apple’s design process
“A book ought to not only document its contents but actually perform or enact its contents. In an ideal case, those things are so seamlessly integrated that sometimes it’s hard to tease out the content from the form.”
Prem Krishnamurthy of Project Projects on the format of the book in this great interview from Triple Canopy.