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Expect Excellence

Now that’s a company vision.

Don’t Indulge. Be Happy.

It’s easy to get caught up on buildings careers, moving forward, adding more money to the bank account, but the additional money isn’t what makes us happy. When I left my job to start working for myself, my salary went down significantly in that first year on my own, but I was a lot happier. Now, as I’m older and my business is more established, I’m starting to take a critical look at how I use money. After all, it’s just a tool. We often use it as a barometer of success, but I think my day-to-day happiness is usually a better barometer of whether or not I’m headed in the right direction, professionally and personally.

Driving Innovation

There’s so much brokenness in our existing patent system. I’ve never understood why anyone would think we can fix it.

Intention

My dad has a saying, “You get what you intend, not what you hope for.” How many things in our lives are we actually intentional about, though? In the creative (and development) world, I consistently see studios grow beyond their optimal size. Our culture rewards it, and often our internal drive is to be bigger because we’re told that bigger is better. But is it?

I haven’t been distracted by pushing a boulder up the wrong hill. I get to focus on doing really great work for excellent clients.

Like Berger & Föhr, I’ve been intentional about operating as a shop of one—I’m a bit of a design and development multi-tool. Some projects I team up with others (like Berger & Föhr) and other projects I handle by myself. I may not be this size forever, but it has been an intentional choice and a lot of rewarding things have come from it. The biggest bonus, though, is simply that I haven’t been distracted by pushing a boulder up the wrong hill. I get to focus on doing really great work for excellent clients. And, contrary to popular belief, my access to bigger and better projects has often come as a result of my practice size, not at the expense of it.

How intentional are you about the size and goals of your business?

Bypassing Wall Street

Yes, it takes longer—the term “slow money” is brought up later in the article—but can you think of a better way of investing money than in things “we can touch and/or impact and understand”? Money is just money, but this type of investment strategy can’t help but be rewarding on many other levels.

Find Your Greatness

The caliber of Nike’s ads is consistently high, but I especially enjoyed this one that aired during the Olympics. The core message is pure storytelling—and storytelling that the audience can put themselves into, no less.

Further, how do we give people hope if they can’t mentally put themselves in the shoes of someone who is close to their situation, but maybe just a step or two ahead?

That said, a lot of people thought the ad mocked its subject, Nathan, a 12-year-old who is overweight. It makes me wonder: how are we supposed to have a candid conversation about overcoming obesity in our society if we don’t acknowledge the people (and especially the children) that are affected by it? Further, how do we give people hope if they can’t mentally put themselves in the shoes of someone who is close to their situation, but maybe just a step or two ahead?

Yes, Nike stands to make money if a greater number of overweight people decide to take up running or walking and need to buy athletic shoes. But would that really be a bad side-effect of inspiring people to face up to some of their own, personal adversity?

(via @IvoMinjauw)

Tavern Vinegar Co. Packaging

by Christine Wisnieski

There is a lot of fun stuff happening in packaging design these days, but it’s not often that I see a design that manages to balance modern touches with something that feels traditional to a liquor bottle—yet it’s for artisanal vinegar. Nicely done.

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Doping Dreams

How to Get Doping Out of Sports

A heartfelt take on doping in sports from a former professional cyclist and admitted doper.

For whatever reason, cycling was (still is) the only professional sport I’ve cared to follow. It’s the only sport I’ve ever participated in, actually felt like I belonged, and even had a brief modicum of success in. I never aspired to be a professional and never was faced with the choice between doping or dropping my dream. But I’ve had other dreams in my life that I’ve pursued with similar stubbornness and, while I’d like to think I’d make the hard choice and walk away clean, I worry that I wouldn’t have.

I love this sport, and I hate the argument that doping is just a part of it—something to be accepted—because it makes me think of the few times in my life that I’ve felt pressed into holding secrets or living lies, and I don’t want young athletes in the sport to be faced with that choice for something they love.