SF Art Institute
23rd street studio
Clay by the bay
Case for Making
3 fish studios
These stairs are my Thursday morning inspiration. I love the thought that went into these designs; the architects didn’t just think about the utility of stairs but how they would shape the space around them. There’s something that feels lightweight and carefree about stairs that bend. They look sculpted rather than assembled.
To abstract something is to break it down into it’s simplest form.
Abstract: The Art of Design is a new Netflix series that showcases designers and artists in different fields. The first episode, which features illustrator Christoph Niemann, talks about the essence of creative work and abstraction – the ability to look at an object in a completely new way that helps connect the artist to the viewer.
It felt really refreshing to see a documentary that talks about the creative process. The finished piece is often not the result of some pixie dust but of just getting to your desk, sitting down and giving yourself time to explore the right solution.
I highly recommend it to all designers and artists – regardless of what field you’re in. Below (and above) are some of Christoph’s artwork:
For New Year’s Day 2017, we (Kevin, Anjali, Hiba and I from Google Maps) made this greeting for folks around the world 🙂
It was worth the extra couple of days of work just to read the twitter responses after:
Google Earth’s satellite imagery has recently gotten a lot better. As you get a more complete view of the world, you can start to uncover the world in new ways. I found myself deeply immersed in it one day – first by zooming to Cairo, then to Dubai, then to the rest of the world, gravitating towards geometric shapes that we’ve built and repeated, among the rectangular tiles of green and yellow that we’ve designed through agriculture. Humans are crazy. We’ve changed our world in a massive way – we’ve changed its mountains, forests, grasslands and even rivers. Below is a sample of what I’ve found.
More strange things
Words you can read from space (anyone here good at reading Chinese?)
Shapes in agriculture
A couple of months ago, I thought it’d be fun to draw my coworkers as cartoon animals. I got a photo of them and then asked them what animal they wanted to be.
They said: “bear, brachiosaurus, giraffe and alpaca.”
I was looking at Numbeo’s quality of life index this weekend. They have different things that factor into their overall index, like climate and safety. I thought: “hey, why not see who – Boston or SF – would win if I looked at all of these objective factors (through my very subjective lens).
Full-size >> 01
Turns out, Boston does pretty well on everything except climate.
Then I decided to make my own chart with more employment-focused factors that contribute to “quality of life” for me, as a UX designer, in the bay area.
Full-size >> 02
Ok – so I’m a little biased, but I didn’t just do this to remind myself of why I moved out to San Francisco.
I did this to understand that quality of life is important. All those things that Boston wins at – those are real and I feel the difference daily when I go into the grocery store and a dozen eggs are selling for $6.99. It hurts when I pay rent every month. It’s half my take-home paycheck.
But quality of life is also dependent on many things, and most of the time the things that aren’t captured in these charts are actually the most important ones – the people we care about or choose to love and the career we choose to take.