DO Design by Alan Moore

Do Design book

Last month I had the pleasure of seeing Alan Moore, author of DO Design, give a talk on Creating Enduring Beauty.

Ahead of seeing Alan talk I re-read DO Design and was struck by this passage:

The purpose of the work for the Shakers was as much to benefit the spirit as it was to produce the goods.

The universe had clearly decided it was time for me to think about the Shakers and their design philosophy as earlier in the week I had saved this quote defining it thus:

Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful.

Isn’t that the most perfect philosophy for designers, creators, makers, craftsmen and us all?

In DO Design Alan proposes 14 principles for creating enduring beauty:

  • Be curious about the world
  • Increase your depth of field
  • Develop an ability to adapt
  • Observe
  • Go see
  • Understand language
  • Be open
  • Work better together
  • Start with optimism
  • Recognise no boundaries
  • Surrender
  • Only work with good people
  • Let go of fear
  • Seek to create enduring beauty

These principles are described in more depth in DO Design and are worth the price of admission alone.

Read, absorb and re-visit regularly.

New Adventures In 2019

After a six year hiatus the fabulous New Adventures conference made a welcome return to Nottingham’s beautiful Albert Hall.

Six years, felt so much longer whilst we waited for a new adventure, but melted away as we arrived in Nottingham to meet with friends and faces from adventures past.

New Adventures has always been more about concepts than code, and 2019 was another perfectly curated collection of thought provoking talks.

Highlights for me were Jeremy Keith’s opening talk which called on us to examine the building blocks and layers within the experiences we create.

Helen Joy brought to life the importance of user and customer research, and I hope encouraged the audience to seriously and deeply consider and understand the end-users of their products and services. Ethan Marcotte closed the event with a rousing call to arms for web workers.

New Adventures 2019 felt like conferences used to feel – significant.

An occasion, a gathering, a happening where new ideas, big ideas and important ideas are shared. Ideas that invigorate, enthuse and inspire us to new adventures – wherever they may take us.

Tom Bihn Western Flyer – Some Years Later

Tom Bihn Western Flyer
When I wrote my original review of the Tom Bihn Western Flyer I had just returned from, what was then, the final New Adventures conference.

So I’m delighted to be writing this update back in Nottingham for the triumphant return of New Adventures, once again accompanied by my Western Flyer.

It’s been almost six years since my original review so I thought an update on my Western Flyer might be useful.

I was surprised to see that the original review was six years old not just because it feels like yesterday, but because my Western Flyer still looks like new. I’ve taken this bag all over Europe, from Belfast to Berlin, it’s been in planes, trains and automobiles and is showing no signs of wear. None. Nada. Zip.

I knew Tom Bihn had a great reputation for quality, but this is something else – every stitch, every seam and every zip is still 100%.

Speaking of zips there was one part of the design that bugged me, but I ‘fixed’ it.

There are two of double zips on the bag and I found the zip pulls jangled together when walking . After a few hours sightseeing around Berlin with my Western Flyer on my back they had to go.

So I took a brave pill, grabbed my tin snips, cut off all of the metal tags and replaced them with paracord zip pulls.

Ahhhhh the sound of silence.

Other than that one minor annoyance, the Western Flyer is still one of my favourite pieces of luggage.

I use my Western Flyer whenever I can and it always makes me happy, both for it’s excellent design and because I associate it with travel and adventures large, small and new.

The Creative Process – A Sketch

Process Print From Brendan Dawes

I love this sketch from my friend Brendan Dawes – it conveys the creative process beautifully. I’ve seen Brendan use this in his talks, and as he says, it’s always met with a flurry of smartphone action, I may even have snapped it myself.

Brendan is now releasing it as a robot drawn print in a limited edition of just 100.

Treat yourself for Christmas or better still treat me :)

Keynvor – Preservation

By far my most played and most loved new music of 2018 is Preservation by Keynvor.

Preservation is a wonderful EP, composed by Sebastian Plano, that combines modern classical almost soundtrack-like music with recorded soundscapes of the rugged Cornish coast to create a beautifully evocative suite of music.

Keynvor (pronounced Cain-Vor) is the Cornish word for ocean, and the recordings of the Cornish Atlantic coast are intertwined with the music to spine-tingling effect.

Preservation is supported by Cornish brewer Sharps, with royalties from streams and downloads being donated to Cornish based charity Surfers Against Sewage to help fund their campaign against plastics and pollution in our oceans.

Download and enjoy, maybe with a Cornish beer, and help support the campaign to keep our oceans clean.

Find Time For Quiet

Tis a busy world. To have great ideas, you need to find 20 minutes in the morning for thinking of nothing.

Just 1.2% of your day.

You have to create a space for those ideas to come to you.

– Do Lectures