Architecture and the Lost Art of Drawing

In Last week’s Sunday Review the New York Times published an opinion piece by design polymath Michael Graves, making public a discussion that has been ongoing in design circles for some years now: The Death of drawing and what it means to the design profession. With the pervasiveness of digital technology is drawing by hand becoming a marginalized skill and a dying art? Graves speaks mostly from an architectural perspective and references his own growth as a practitioner as well as noting the need for digital and computation but lamenting a perceived lack of emotion in those designs.

“ … I find this quite different from today’s “parametric design,” which allows the computer to generate form from a set of instructions, sometimes resulting in so-called blob architecture. The designs are complex and interesting in their own way, but they lack the emotional content of a design derived from hand. “

At Yeh IDeology, this question is a daily conversation that we have with our clients. The visual nature of design makes hand drawing still an attractive piece of a portfolio and one that very quickly and easily shows process and how a designer, young or old, thinks. Yet without the ability to translate those drawings into 3D some of that value is lost and extends the design process unnecessarily. The ideal designer combines a solid foundation of hand drawing skills with the ability to translate and iterate quickly in 3D.

Where do you stand on this debate? Is Hand Sketching that important to your practice? Are tablets the right kind of in between system? And what does the future hold as technologies get faster and cheaper in this domain?

Read Graves' opinion piece here and tell us how you feel.

PepsiCo snags Mauro Porcini

PepsiCo made a really great move this past week by introducing Mauro Porcini as their first Chief Design Officer.This is a major win for PepsiCo and particularly their brand culture, which has undergone a variety of shifts during its lifetime without a key design chief to steer the ship. For a great visionary leader in design such as Mauro Porcini to handle the design language and image of the corporation’s top brands, PepsiCo may finally be able to settle upon an image or stronger sense of brand equity. Longtime rival Coca-Cola has known this for a while, whether purposefully or by a lucky draw, which is why the color red and scripted font are unmistakable throughout the world. And in a world where the brand is sometimes worth more than the product itself, bringing someone in who finally has the ability to say "This is who we are, this is what we are about, and we need to scream it from the mountaintops" is exactly the thing they need, not another, newer logo to take place of the old one. It's just another example of companies that are beginning to trust design, understand its value, and seek it out, and let designers take the reigns and utilize their creativity to establish brands. As more companies begin to understand that design isn’t just about styling pretty things, that in reality it's a vehicle and an invitation for the entire consumer experience, the world will begin to see more and more impactful and engaging brand experiences and start to develop more personable relationships with the product.

Pretty exciting stuff!

NYC Design Summit 2012 Recap

We're happy to say that the Design Summit 2012 at the Knoll Showroom was a smashing success! Presented in a collaboration between IDSANYC and Yeh IDeology, creatives from around the Northeast enjoyed an engaging conversation between our panelists and a fun connectivity event. Thank you so much to our wonderful panelists Gaz Brown, Cordy Swope, Tiffany Threadgould, and Dan Fogarty. Thank you for coming and we hope to see you at the next IDSANYC and/or Yeh IDeology event! Video of the event will be up in just a bit.

DesignBoost’s “Design Beyond Design” Event at Cooper Hewitt: Part Two

Our second day at Designboost was comprised of lectures by leaders pushing the boundaries of the design world. Of all of the lectures I was able to attend, I enjoyed the playful energy Philip Tiongson’s company Potion has been bringing to the interaction design & technology space.

My absolute favorite was Aaron Dignan’s lecture entitled “The Future of Work is Play.” He talks about the formula for creativity and play and how business has to understand the fine line and balance between boredom to creativity to anxiety. It’s exciting to hear because this is one of the main aspects that Yeh IDeology analyses when we match talent with our client’s opportunities. We look for that fine balance of variety and challenge so that the right candidate will be as ideally enthralled by the opportunity and the company energized by a committed new member with initiatives that are aligned to their creative team’s mission.

See Aaron's lecture below:

See part one of our coverage of the Designboost event here!

DesignBoost’s “Design Beyond Design” Event at Cooper Hewitt: Part One

I had a delightful time at the first Designboost held in the US hosted by the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum last week. It was an honor to be surrounded by such design luminaries. image (via)

On the first day, I participated in a discussion where the first statement was: “When design has turned global, production is still local.” We debated about the different aspects and ramifications of design and globalization. How do you balance the standardization that comes with globalization and how do you bring local globally? Together with Avani Agarwal, Fredrik Andersson, Carla Diana, Davin Stowell, Barry Richards, Chris Streng, and Karen John in my group we shared our own varying experiences with globalization of design. We came out with so many varying concepts that were diverse in their objectives and solutions.

I hypothesized if you devised a design service template that could overlay any industry culture then the local cultural resources whether it be people, ideas or materials could grow and fill in that lattice. Then structurally each design service template would resemble the others and yet each locale’s end result would be unique from the local origins of it’s ingredients. Somewhat like how Mc Donald’s sells pasta in Italy and sushi in Japan each caters to it’s own local preferences and yet there’s continuity to the brand.

The second event I attended was entitled “Where does politics end and design begin?” In this seminar, together with Ivar Draganja, Avani Agarwal, Carla Diana, Andrea Ruggiero, Julie Taraska, and Brad Dixon, we discussed the various ways in which design and politics impact each other, and if they even should work together. “Can the two form a strong unit, and make a real difference and should they?

I ultimately believe that design could really help our government, especially now when we are seeking to reevaluate the ways in which our government work. Design in the form of design research, design strategy, and service design could play a huge part in helping to explore where to go from here. Think of the research that could be done on the healthcare and education system. This one was a fascinating topic and I was chosen to be video taped for this one. Stay tuned for the clip once it’s posted. I hope I sound articulate.

For each seminar, Designboost chose one representative to speak about the topic at hand. I was lucky enough to be chosen for one of them, and the video should make it onto the Internet sometime soon—I will share it with you then.

image (via)

That night we all had fun at a speed networking event. Exhausting yet fun and fueled with wine & Swedish whiskey I met so many people passionate with their own unique design initiatives. There was so much networking going on you could barely hear yourself over the cacophony and energy of sharing initiatives & support.

See part two of our coverage of the Designboost event here!

Bill Taylor's "Practically Radical" Book Signing Launch Party

Back on January 5th, 2011, I attended Bill Taylor's book signing Launch Party honoring the release of his new book "Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself." It was hosted by Fast Company and TBWA. Attending this event was a perfect example of networking. Over all it was a great intimate event with some of New York's most interesting thought leaders and game changers and I ended up making some random connections and amazing events spun off of them.

My dear friend Meredith Goodwin, Lighting Design Manager at Nulux invited me to this event and we ended up met some new and old friends. Here she is meeting Jean-Luc Mege and Brandon Williams, Senior Vice President at TD Bank, who she introduces me to.

Jean-Luc Mege is a very well established photographer here from France making a new name for himself in NYC, no doubt it won't take long.

Who would think that I would get to meet I get to meet the heads of my bank TD Bank at a book signing? Brandon Williams and Joseph Paradise, VP, Retail Market Manager of TD Bank not pictured here quickly put me in touch with my local branch manager Sheldon Berg, who within weeks came to my office to meet me. Little known facts- TD Bank is open on Fridays from 7:30am till Midnight. And they are the only banks with police officers stationed there. I do love how convenient they are, and for an entrepreneur business owner those extended hours really help me manage my time.

This is the serendipity of networking. Randomly introducing myself to new interesting game changers at the party I met Peter Clayton founder of Total Picture Radio and Jobs In Pods. Within a few seconds we realized our circles overlapped as we're both about promoting careers and leadership. The best unexpected thing that came out of this was Peter Clayton's invitation to interview me for his podcast interview for Total Picture Radio which we recorded a month later (you'll get to read and hear about in my subsequent blog).

I was lucky to have my copy of the book signed by Bill Taylor and in honor of the event, I had a blast standing up on the "Practically Radical" Soapbox together with Meredith declaring my "Practically Radical" New Year's Resolution. I declared my resolve to transform Yeh IDeology, shake up the industry, and challenge myself in 2011.

Over all we had a great time catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Here's Kofi Aidoo on my team with our industry friend JooYoung Oh, and our friend Ayse Birsel was there as well.

Networking can deliver some great serendipitous results but it won't happen unless you get out there. I always find too that it's a lot more fun if you go with friends and collaborate helping each other meet people.

A Network of Friends

This December, while teaching my Careers Strategy students about networking as an adjunct professor at Parsons New School, I asked them, “What Makes Work Fun?” In my lecture, I told them that most people view networking as a business task and a necessary evil. But in reality, if you approach and treat people properly, your business world can become your world of friends as well. It’s a simple matter of taking the time to recognize the people with whom you work as unique and important individuals. It’s human nature to choose people you know and trust, and in fact research shows that people do this when hiring, choosing vendors, partners, services etc…. So in business, networking is essential. But beyond that when you make it a point to get to know those with whom you interact, you can transform your business world as well and work becomes fun when those with whom you work become your friends.

As I reflect on 2010, I realize how over time I have found great friends in the clients and candidates we know, regardless of whether we're working together or not. On the client side, I have such an appreciation for all the people with whom I engage in companies, from the HR and hiring managers, to the secretaries, bookkeepers, and assistants. As a business owner, I value the vendors and people with whom we work to keep our business running: our web and branding consultant, our tech guru, our bookkeeper and accountant, to name a few.

Finances are not my forte, but finding an accountant and bookkeeper I trust unequivocally AND enjoy working with has made handling these tasks practically enjoyable. When you find great people appropriately skilled for your business needs, whose values and work styles resonate with your own, work becomes almost effortless and enjoyable.

People want to matter, but the world at large feels so impersonal. People don't expect to be recognized or acknowledged as individuals. I make it a point to notice people as much as I can when I interact with them, no matter how brief or incidental our time together may seem. I greet my bus driver, dry cleaner attendant, deli cashier, mail carrier, and bank teller by name if possible, and inquire about their day, and I don't forget the people who support the people with whom I work, including my doctor's secretary and my client's assistant. I love the startled looks and smiles I get when people realize I really see them. It's a great feeling to make someone’s day by acknowledging them unexpectedly, and it can make my day.

When you respect and acknowledge people, they become more than just acquaintances. They truly become your network of friends, which improves your quality of life and makes the world and your experience in it more enjoyable

Company Holiday Party at SPiN

We’ve been so busy this year with so many projects on our plates that we almost forgot to plan our company holiday event. In the past we’ve gone to dinner, but we wanted to have a great company party and to do something different this year.

Last year the ping pong bar/club SPiN opened up on 23rd Street off of Park Avenue. Ending a romp around town during an ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) event in May ’09, we ended up at SPiN. My dear friend Arthur Young-Spivey, the man about town who led us there, pointed out one of the club’s owners, Susan Sarandon, as she was showing Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher around the bleachers to a dark corner lounge chair. That proved to be one of my best celebrity sightings ever!! As savvy New Yorkers, we satisfied our furtive glances, then turned our attention back to the two dapper pros whipping balls back and forth across the premier table.

We couldn’t get a table to play that night because the reservations have to be made way in advance but I knew we had to come back and try it. So this year after mulling over bowling, ice skating or billiards, we booked us a table at SPiN.

Just about everyone has played ping pong at some point in their life. Some contest their expertise, some challenge others, and some down play it.. Got to watch out for those. haha Either way, we were having a blast whacking those orange balls around. The best thing about this company holiday event is that there are so many great people who have helped us make Yeh IDeology what it is today. We were able to invite quite a few friends to the table (pun intended) and celebrate.

A little decadent detail about this club was that we never had to pick up any of the balls we were letting loose. Roaming the club were special attendants with nets on sticks who deftly scooped up all the ping pong balls. It was a good thing too because we played singles, doubles, and sometimes we were just trying to shoot as many balls at each other as fast as we could. We laughed so hard our cheeks ached.

One game I’ve always wanted us to try is Round Robin ping pong. There were seven of us, each with a paddle, rotating around the ping pong table. As one person hit the ball, the next person would step up to hit the ball. It got to a point where we were dizzy from circling the table, skipping sideways. There are ways to make the game more challenging, like sharing only two paddles between everyone and reducing the numbers down to two as people miss their shots, but this was about letting everyone have fun and we had a blast.

We noshed on delicious food from the restaurant Ducks in the back of the club. The sliders were delicious and the vanilla popcorn addictive and not at all as saccharine sweet as you’d expect. They had a great selection of beers, wine and cocktails too. What you don’t realize is what a workout you get from ping pong. Definitely have those waters ready.

All in all a fun company holiday party. Can’t wait to figure out what we do for next year.

Office photoshoot with photographer Andrew Steinman

There are so many things to do for our new website and corporate identity launch. One new thing that I didn't expect would turn out to be such an incredibly fun assignment was a photo shoot. When Mel Lim, our brand identity visionary, told me she needed shots of our office, I thought “Sure, we'll take a digital camera and just shoot away for a couple of hours one morning.” I realize now that our team is talented in many ways, but we're not skilled at being models and being the photographer at the same time. Let's just say that when Mel saw our homemade shots, she suggested in the kindest way that we do this the right way. We had a good laugh. After much deliberation, I turned to my friend Andrew Steinman, whose key strength, besides being a phenomenal photographer, is making ordinary people feel at ease in front of the camera, to the point of having fun.

This morning we had a blast. While Andrew and his crew got set up, we noshed on coffee and bagels. There is something to learning how to be comfortable in front of the camera. Most of us are shy, and while we want to look great, we’re a bit awkward. Andrew quickly diverted our attention, lightened the mood, and put everyone at ease. Soon we were all laughing, joking, and teasing one another.

We all work so hard, Our work is sensitive and we’re all dedicated to the success of this business. Having a photo shoot was a fun morale booster and a great change of pace. It turned into an excellent company event where everyone relaxed and socialized.

Being a consummate perfectionist, Andrew took tons of great shots. While you’ll get to see many of the shots throughout our website, there will be many you won’t see. As a side company perk, my team will be able to take some great shots home to enjoy and remember the event and the day. Out of what I thought was just going to be a side project for our brand repositioning, evolved an invaluable and fun company experience.