What We’ve Been Looking At

We’ve been feeling inspired lately– by chunky stationery, blossoming cherry trees, and hairdryers. What? You thought we only liked art, design, and high culture? You’re mostly correct, but sometimes we like to get down with the newest trends in the dry hair revolution. Here’s a look at what we’ve been staring at, playing with, and getting inspired by this week.

This Vincent Van Gogh Tumblr
Radiohead erasing their Internet presence
This form game
Wild Belle’s new album
Love from Storycorp
The Goldfinch
These $5 bucket stools

 

The Art of #I’msorry

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Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me. – Steve Jobs

What pulls us toward stories like Humans of New York, or Humble Pied, or those amazing New Yorker videos? It’s the opposite of what traditional marketing and advertisements try to sell us or tell us how to live. It’s real people sharing their stories. It’s humility. It’s beautiful. It’s messy. And sometimes, it’s frightening. Your story doesn’t have to be perfect to tell it. It just has to be honest.

Don’t Hide

We’ve all heard about the difficult legal battle with Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs’s struggle with a terminal tumor, and even Jessica Alba’s pending legal battles with The Honest Company.  The thing about being in the public eye (i.e. owning a business) is that it’s sort of hard to hide when something…happens. And obviously, things are going to happen. You’re going to struggle. You might sell over a million dollars worth of products in your first year, but you might also struggle to hire people who fit with your core model. That’s okay, and that makes sense. We think the best thing to do here is be honest.

Here are some companies that have been honest about their mistakes (and apolitweeted about it– we just made that word up. You can thank us whenever.)

This  apology ripoff that was never apologized for reminds us that unless your apology is sincere, it’s probably not even worth saying it. This spring, we’re looking forward to all of the new twitter apologies, twitter apologists, and apolitweets because it shows real companies being real honest about real issues. And that’s real cool.

Studio Inspiration Roundup

We recently profiled some artists we love, but we find inspiration in craftsmen and women from a variety of different fields. We get excited by architects, we can’t stop staring at Bruce Monro’s Field of Light, and we’re endlessly excited by magnets. Here’s a studio roundup of people, objects, and ideas that we’ve been excited by recently.

Zaha Hadid
Frank Gehry
This
Raya Sader
Art by Eva Magill-Oliver
Jim Olson
The way Ian Simpson says “riffraffs” when talking about light
The Museum of Brands
Aelfie Rugs

 

Good Stationery is Nothing to Fight About

 

stationery

“Stationery” is a term that used to refer to anything that a stationer sold. While this word was pretty common in 1688,  it’s sort of fallen out of popular use in 2016 (where we’re facing down interjections like “meh” and words like “literally” for figuratively.)

But the history of stationery is literally a modern-day soap opera. There are pens made exclusively for women, “vintage” stationery that’s supposed to spark our interest in romance (we’re already hearing ourselves repeating Endymion), a $26,000 fountain pen that you can own, and serious fights over pen designs.

The fact is that stationery can cause an uproar, and you want to make sure your designs matter.

Stationery, first started by the Egyptians with the discovery and use of papyrus, has caused grown women to fight each other in stores and a really large pencil to incite smiles from babies. But stationery wasn’t always this popular– even the venerable Post-It Note founders had to force people to take samples.

But today, stationery is a big business, and if you’re not ready to stick with it (Post-It joke, sorry), you might as well not even use it. One question you might be asking is “do people even use stationery anymore?” to which we scoff. Uh. Yes. If you have to mail documents, send invoices, or incorporate direct mail into your business, then you’re going to want to make sure that your stationery is up to standards and to ensure you’re missing some common design errors. You wouldn’t want to cause any fights over poor designs!

 

Destroy the Whatever

There’s a little phenomenon that we like to call whatever. Whatever happens when you’ve got one extra thing on your plate so you sort of push your goals aside. Whatever can happen at any time: You have 9 projects to manage, a baby spitting up on your work documents, an intern who recently quit, and a team of people looking to you for answers. One of them says, “Why don’t we throw this logo on the site today?” You’re tired. You don’t like the logo but you don’t have any other options, so you whatever it. It goes up. It stays up. 3 years later, it’s still there and there’s a whole new list of whatever moments happening.

Let’s destroy the whatever right now.

It was good before so…

When your site was designed, it was probably working as it should have. The story of your company was a good story for then. The web design firm or freelancer that you worked with probably had a good grasp of the design zeitgeist. Their decisions were made based on their current climate. But in the design world, even a 1-year-old website can look as outdated as an IBM typewriter. We don’t know of any companies whose vision, branding, or goals have remained the same for the entirety of their company.

It’s sort of hard to find a company that has the same goals for an entire 6 months, so it’d be ridiculous to assume that it’s a good idea to leave your site as-is for years and years. Something’s gotta give. And it’s probably necessary to give up all those whatevers and start connecting to make your site yours for now.

It’s time to get inspired.

Find a design firm whose goals align with yours. Find a team that knows how to elevate your vision and translate it into a website that houses all your needs. So you have one less thing to do and one more way to highlight your company.

It’s time. Let’s get back to those goals. Let’s figure out a way to make your website great again. Check out portfolios and get moving. Let your website do what you need it to do, and don’t do it alone if you don’t want to…or whatever.