Sunday, December 30, 2007

This Design Blog in Review

2007 is gone and what an interesting year it was! I learned so much! Writing for this blog has been amazing and it has taught me a lot in itself as well as a lot about myself.

It ocurred to me last week that it would be a good idea to list all my past articles so far and add some categories, so that it’ll be a good index of topics. So here goes:


► Business & Management
Designers beware… design is not just about designing.
Designers beware of… customer service.
Getting a client, instead of an occasional buyer.
Designers beware of… filing systems.
Designers beware of… finances.
Designers beware of… production lines.
Designers beware of… technology and supplies.
Designers beware of… time measurement.
Time Tracking Tool.
Designers beware: 10 tips on writing emails.
Designers beware: Setting clear goals and expectations.
Designers beware: 5 steps to productivity, the 5S.
Designers beware: 5S Phase 1, Seiri (Select).
Designers beware: 5S Phase 2, Seiton (Organize).
Designers beware: 5S Phase 3, Seiso (Clean).
Designers beware: 5S Phase 4, Seiketsu (Standardize).
Designers beware: 5S Phase 5, Shitsuke (Improve).


► Recruitment & Selection
Designers beware: 10 tips on designer resumes.
12 resume writing tips for designers.
Designers beware: Being the interviewee (Part 1).
Designers beware: Being the interviewee (Part 2).
Designers beware: Being the interviewer.
Designers beware: Your portfolio.


► Leadership & Self Development
Designers beware of… leadership.
Design leadership and the constant challenges.
Designers beware: Is the design manager or leader the one that is “better” than the rest?
How can I?
Learn English!
Paradigm shifts and design.
Positive feedback.
The 10 Major Causes of Failure in Leadership.
The 11 Major Attributes of Leadership.
Three books you must read before you're 30.


► Creativity & Inspiration
Design magazines.
Design on wheels.
Designers beware: Podcasts.
Designers beware: Travels.
Four Design Influences.


► Resources
Design resources: Coroflot.com.
Design Resources: Design Management Institute, DMI.
Design resources: Springwise.com and Trendwatching.


► Local
10th Design Showroom, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Expoartesanías 2007.
Latin American Design Events.


► Reference Articles
Design jobs: 3 great articles.
- Creatives Wanted: How to Prepare Yourself for Today's Job Market.
-
Turning Up the Volume: Teleconferencing Etiquette.
-
Five Sure Signs Your Job Is a Dead-End.
Design resources: 2 articles.
- Get A Life (And Other Remedies for Creative Atrophy).
-
The Proof is in the Process.


► Guest Post
Beginners guide to making money on the internet


► Personal
25 things about me.
Gracias, Merci, Thank you, Danke, Grazie, Obrigada...


I want to thank everybody who visited and commented on my blog! I am sure 2008 will bring more topics to write and discuss about!

All the best!

Special thanks to my friends Wayne Smallman and Carl Grint who have helped me improve this blog.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Expoartesanías 2007

“From December 6th to 19th at Corferias, the most representative display of handicrafts from Colombia and other countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela, among others, will take place.

820 exhibitors will display the most unique handicrafts in seven pavilions.

Some of the new features of the 2007 fair include a special pavilion devoted to Jewelry and another pavilion for international exhibitors..."*

A couple of weeks ago I visited Expoartesanías. I know in previous posts I’ve been ranting about how disappointing current colombian design is. Granted, I referred to design in the academy and what kind of designers are getting a degree.

However, I am thrilled to announce that what I saw in Expoartesanías is a whole different picture. Of course, Expoartesanías is about crafts, so no mass production there. However, there’s still design involved!

And lots of it!


So it seems that many designers and artists are out there working hard and making great design. Some students would be wise to approach them and learn from them.

I saw great furniture, great leather accessories, home accessories, innovative use of materials, remarkable jewelry, unexpected forms and objects, but all with that amazing colombian aesthetic.

I know it’s late to go see it now, but check the catalog anyway and set yourself up to visit the fair next year!

I still wonder, though, how do we bring together this real life experience of business and the academy? Why the gap? What am I missing here?

All comments will be welcome.
All the best!

*From the Expoartesanías website.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Hi, Everybody! This is just a quick note to wish everybody Happy Holidays and a 2008 full of success!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Getting a client, instead of an occasional buyer

cli·ent
–noun 1. a person or group that uses the professional advice or services of a lawyer, accountant, advertising agency, architect, etc.

But, I think we all know a client is much more than that, don’t we?


Clients pay for the service you provide for them. Give good service, and you will:
- Have a loyal client that keeps coming back for more, providing you in return, with steady income.
- Have a client that will give his friends good references of you, providing you with more work.
- Get an ally and a friend that will help your business grow, while you make theirs, grow.

Sounds great, right?

And how exactly do you get to that point?

Allow me to illustrate with a recent experience of mine:

A couple of weeks ago I wanted to buy a watch, so I went to the mall. There were about five stores that carried the kind of watch I wanted. So I went to the first store and requested the watch, and they had it, except they carried it in light blue and pink.

“Hmm, I’d rather it was black” I said to the sales guy. “We don’t carry it in black” he said. So I replied “Great, let me check other stores and see if I can find it. If I don’t, I’ll come back and buy one of these”, to which he replied “You’re not going to find it in this mall. We’re the only ones who carry this particular model, so you might as well buy it right away”.

“Thanks” I said, “I’ll take my chances”.

The second store I visited carried the watch and guess what: They had it in black! The sales lady was very polite, told me the price, allowed me to try it on… But I still wanted to see if I could get a better price somewhere else. “Thanks” I said, “I’ll check other stores and come back if I decide to buy this one”. “Great!” she said, “I’ll be here if you need me”.

Surely enough, I went to other stores, they all carried the watch in different colors, including black. Where do you think I went back to buy the watch?

See the difference? The first guy was interested in making THIS particular sale and getting his commission. The second lady was interested in what I wanted. I wanted a black watch, at a better price.
Sure, she wanted to sell hers too, but she was more focused on providing a service and letting the customer get the best deal (And of course, she was confident that I could not get a better price anywhere else). She was also very friendly and provided me with great service by giving me information and allowing me to try it on.

If I ever need to buy another watch, or if I know of someone that needs one, I’ll recommend that particular store. She got herself a client.

If I had bought the watch at the first store just because I couldn’t find it anywhere else, I would’ve become an occasional buyer and would have never come back. And I am not coming back.

Who’s more intelligent? I bet by now you get my point…

Think of providing a service, a great service, instead of thinking about how to make one sale. Think of what the client wants and give it to them. It may be that the client doesn’t actually buy from you now, but they will remember you and come back if they see that you’re eager to provide them with value, rather than just take their money.

All the best!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The 10 Major Causes of Failure in Leadership

In order to reinforce my past entry, allow me to transcribe now another passage of “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, published in 1937.

Here goes:

The 10 Major Causes of Failure in Leadership

1. Inability to organize details.
Efficient leadership calls for ability to organize and master details. No genuine leader is ever “too busy” to do anything which may be required of him in his capacity as a leader. When a man, whether he is a leader or a follower, admits that he is “too busy” to change his plans, or to give attention to any emergency, he admits his inefficiency. The successful leader must be the master of all details connected with his position. That means, of course, that he must acquire the habit or delegating details to capable lieutenants.

2. Unwillingness to render humble service.
Truly great leaders are willing, when occasion demands, to perform any sort of labor which they would ask another to perform. “The greatest among ye shall be servant of all” is a truth which all leaders observe and respect.

3. Expectation of pay for what they “know” instead of what they “do” with that which they know.
The world does not pay men for that which they “know”. It pays them for that they DO, or induce others to do.

4. Fear of competition from followers.
The leader who fears that one of his followers may take his position is practically sure to realize that fear sooner or later. The able leader trains understudies to whom he may delegate, at will, any of the details of his position. Only in this way may a leader multiply himself and prepare himself to be at many places, and give attention to many things at one time. It is an eternal truth that men receive more pay for their ability to get others to perform, than they could possibly earn by their own efforts. An efficient leader may, through this knowledge of his job and the magnetism of his personality, greatly increase the efficiency of others, and induce them to render more service and better service than they could render without his aid.

5. Lack of imagination.
Without imagination, the leader in incapable of meeting emergencies, and of creating plans by which to guide his followers efficiently.

6. Selfishness.
The leader who claims all the honor for the work of his followers, is sure to be met by resentment. The really great leader claims none of the honors. He is contented to see the honors, when there are any, go to his followers, because he knows that most men will work harder for commendation and recognition than they will for money alone.

7. Intemperance.
Followers do not respect an intemperate leader. Moreover, intemperance in any of its various forms, destroys the endurance and the vitality of all who indulge in it.

8. Disloyalty.
Perhaps this should have come at the head of the list. The leader who is not loyal to his trust, and to his associates, those above him and those below him, cannot long maintain his leadership. Disloyalty marks one as being less that the dust of the earth, and brings down on one’s head the contempt he deserves. Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk of life.

9. Emphasis of the “authority” of leadership.
The efficient leader leads by encouraging and not by trying to instill fear in the hearts of his followers. The leader who tries to impress his followers with his “authority” comes within the category of leadership through force. If a leader is a real leader, he will have no need to advertise that fact, except by his conduct, his sympathy, understanding, fairness and demonstration that he knows his job.

10. Emphasis of title.
The competent leader requires no “title” to give him the respect of his followers. The man who makes too much over his title generally has little else to emphasize. The doors to the office of the real leader are open to all who wish to enter, and his working quarters are free from formality or ostentation.

I think many latin american leaders, in all areas, fall into these negative practices, don't you?

All the best!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The 11 Major Attributes of Leadership

I’ve been reading another book. It’s called “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. It was published in 1937, when Andrew Carnegie appointed Napoleon to study the characteristics of great achievers in America and to write a book that would summarize such characteristics.

I’d heard a lot about this book, so I decided to give it a try. I’m not finished yet, but I want to transcribe a passage of it here, since I believe it relates to the way I view design leadership.

So here goes:

The Major Attributes of Leadership

1. Unwavering courage.
Based upon knowledge of self, and of one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent follower will be dominated by such a leader very long.

2. Self-control.
The man who cannot control himself, can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s followers, which the more intelligent will emulate.

3. A keen sense of justice.
Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his followers.

4. Definiteness of decision.
The man who wavers in his decisions, shows that he is not sure of himself. He cannot lead others successfully.

5. Definiteness of plans.
The successful leader must plan his work and work his plan. A leader who moves by guesswork, without practical, definite plans, is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later he will land on the rocks.

6. The habit of doing more than paid for.
One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness, upon the part of the leader, to do more that he requires of his followers.

7. A pleasing personality.
No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect a leader who does not grade high on all the factors of a pleasing personality.

8. Sympathy and understanding.
The successful leader must be in sympathy with his followers. Moreover, he must understand them and their problems.

9. Mastery of detail.
Successful leadership calls for mastery of details of the leader’s position.

10. Willingness to assume full responsibility.
The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and the shortcomings of his followers. If he tries to shift this responsibility, he will not remain the leader. If one of his followers makes a mistake, and shows himself incompetent, the leader must consider that it is he who failed.”

11. Cooperation.
The successful leader must understand and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce his followers to do the same. Leadership calls for power and power calls for cooperation."

All the best!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Design on wheels

Tokio Showroom: Where is Japan going and what’s the future of the automobile?



That’s the title of last week’s Motor Magazine article article about the 40th Tokio Showroom, a showcase of the latest in car design.

Where’s colombian design when it comes to shaping the future of mankind? Well, I’ll let the link speak for itself (Beware it’s in spanish).

All the best!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Four Design Influences

As designers we pull from different sources to build our aesthetic awareness, our “visual culture” as a friend of mine used to call it. Here are four sources of design inspiration that I think can influence the way designers create, for the better.


Music:

Saturday night, a concert in Bogotá, the Iceland queen, Björk. She opens up the concert with a costume that made her look something like a mix between a mushroom and a jelly fish.

I was listening to the music and comparing the beats to the movements she made when she danced, how she expressed the music visually, with her body and how that connected with the stage design and the whole production including the other musicians and the different elements that were placed onstage that made for the visual experience of the performance. It was simply amazing.

There was another time in my life when this was very palpable. When I was in high school I had an art teacher. She once played some music for us in a boom box and asked us to draw what we felt. The results were rather interesting and varied, depending on the person. While some people drew in a linear form, others went back and forth with their shapes, up and down, changed colors.

Music has mountains and valleys, punches, speed, tone, it’s big or small, it’s very obvious or subtle, it can be deep, steep or narrow. Music can become something visual, something that has a shape, a size, even a color. And if it’s something visual, then it can be used to create design.


Food:

The other day I was watching Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on TV and he was visiting this restaurant in Spain, called “El Bulli”, where his chef and owner Ferran Adriá has a very unique proposal to gastronomy.

It turns out that Adriá and his team believe in innovation in both the dishes they make as well as how they present them, that’s why they work on a lab a great portion of the year, as if it was a chemistry project.

His team includes an industrial designer who has two functions: One, to come up with the symbols that identify the internal processes in the lab and two, to come up with the best crockery and the best cutlery to present the different courses.

How cool is that? Can you imagine working as a designer for something that is not obviously design related?

Check out El Bulli’s website and go to the section called “1983-2005 general catalogue” and see the amazing shapes, the innovating dishes, the way it’s all presented, not only as an aesthetic proposal, but as a culinary experiment, using ingredients and combinations that nobody has dared to use.


Art:

This is, of course, an obvious one. How has art impacted design? What a big question! And nowadays you often can’t draw a line between art and product design. Who is to say that an iPod is not artful? And remember the Bauhaus? Where’s the line there?

To me, art is anything, any medium that is used to express human emotion. Would you agree with me if I said that product design (and any kind of design, for that matter) is influenced by emotion?

How does an art piece make you feel? And how do certain design pieces make you feel? Is there a connection? What elements can we take from art, to apply to design?


Other designers:

Here’s another obvious one, but do young designers actually take the time to research other designers in the world?

When I was in college, we reviewed the work of French Philippe Starck. Little did I know that the guy was still alive! I thought that since many of his pieces were modern design icons, maybe he was already dead. Silly me…

Anyway, this is a French designer that has designed some of the most representative pieces of modern industrial design, from culinary objects, to entire hotels! And there are tons of pictures of his designs on his website. This is a great source of inspiration, to see how design problems can be solved with ease and style.

The point here is to research, to find out what who the big designers are right now! What they’re doing, what trends they’re creating! And then ask ourselves, what do I bring to the table?


There are many other sources of influence for designers. As Latin American designers, are we tackling on all of them? Are we researching, acquiring visual culture? What other influences can you suggest? Books, movies, local culture, history?

All the best!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Time Tracking Tool

Like most designers, I hated Excel. Then one day the best boss I ever had (an engineer, by the way) introduced me to the wonderful world of spreadsheets.

Excel is a very powerful tool once you get to know it. I don’t know that much, actually, but I have developed a few tools to keep track of design traffic and time. Last year I wrote about time measurement and mentioned briefly how to go about tracking time and tasks.

Today I want to go deeper and share with you a tool I created to track the time and activities you do on a daily basis.

It’s pretty simple. With it you can:

· Establish categories for your activities.
· Know how much time you’re spending in such activities, and filter by category.
· Find out if you’re wasting time in meaningless tasks.
· Find out if there are tasks you can delegate, empowering your employees.
· Measure how much time you’re spending at the office.

Also, as I said in the article I mentioned earlier:

You may find that it's more effective to hire a consultant to take care of certain time consuming activities or you may even ask for your suppliers to absorb such activities which would make your operation even more effective.

You need to be aware of how long do your typical projects take, in order to have accurate planning, and how much to charge.

You can plan more strategically ahead of time so that you know if you need to get some outside help for that big project that will be coming next week or if you have some free time to spend on leadership activities with your staff. In other words, when you know how long will your projects take and how they're organized in any given time frame, you get a broader vision of your business.


So without further ado, here’s the tool and the instructions:

I call it my "Follow Up Activities" spreadsheet. You can download the Excel file here. This is the file as I use it, and this file has been filled for activities for five days, as an example, but feel free to adapt it to your needs!
It’s basically a table with the following fields: Month, Day, Start, Duration, Category, Description and Comments.



Month: This is a text field. I like to name it "00-mmm" where “00” is the number of the month (for instance June would be 06) and “mmm” is the first three letters of the month’s name. Why? Because it allows me to sort by number of the month, instead of the name, so that January will always be at the top, for example.

Day: This is a number field. Type number of the current day.

Start: This is a date/hour field. Type the hour of the day in which that particular activity started, in 24 hour format.

Duration: It’s a date/hour field, with a formula where the duration of the activity is calculated by the starting time of the following task minus the starting time of the previous task. In the picture above the formula would be =C4-C3 for the first cell and then that is copied down on the cells of the D column.

Category: This is a text field. You define the categories of activities. In this example I’ve created seven categories. There’s one called “Breaks” where I record the times I spend on breaks and lunches.

Description: This is a text field. Type a description of the task. I use the same name for the same activity for example I always write “Packaging database” for that particular activity instead of using several different names for it.

Comments: This is a text field. If you wish to add something else like who you met with or if the project was billed, etc.


Now for some instructions:

· Data should be input by the minute, every time you change activity, you need to go there and input that information. This is key, and it needs to be done rigorously and with discipline. This way you always have current information and you're not stuck with having to type several days worth of information.

· The last activity of the day is called “Exit”. You only type the start time, but you must erase the formula in the “Duration” field for this activity.

· When the day ends, I like to use the “Comments” cell of the activity to add up the total hours I spent at the office that day. This is just a SUM formula that adds up the duration of all the activities. For instance in this particular day I was at the office nine and a half hours.



· There’s another worksheet in the Excel file, called "PT%", where I’ve added a Pivot Table report that will tell me how much time I’ve spent in each category or task. Pivot Tables are dynamic, and I can change the fields at leisure. For instance, instead of percentage, I can change it to hours.



· And I’ve also added a graph to illustrate those times.


Neat, huh? Well, I think so. Do leave some comments if you have some ideas about how to improve this tool!

All the best!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Design resources: 2 articles

Here’s two articles I read this week from How Magazine, that I want to share with my readership.

Get A Life (And Other Remedies for Creative Atrophy) by Jenny Pfalzgraf.
When creative impulses are few and far between , designers often turn to outside sources for a boost. Whether it's hiking in the mountains, getting a tattoo or bringing your pet iguana to the office, this freedom to explore your inner child feeds your business finesse.

The Proof is in the Process by George Shaw
A teacher once told me, "Anyone can be creative on their best day. If you want to make a living at this stuff (graphic design), you've got to be creative on the days when your car breaks down and your wife leaves you." I thought he was trying to get me to listen to country music, but eventually, I figured out what he was talking about.

All the best!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Design resources: Coroflot.com

A place where designers gather together!


Coroflot.com is an online community dedicated to all the branches of design, where designers can promote themselves through:

· Uploading their resume.
· Uploading their portfolio.
· Joining groups (Like D Colombia).
· Searching jobs (Mostly abroad).
· Commenting on other designers work.
· Networking.

If you are a designer, then you need to be here.

I’ve actually used this site to recruit designers before, and every day it is becoming more and more popular in Colombia, so do take the time to post your information here. I’ve been a member for years.

As colombian (And Latinamerican designers) we need to stick together, help each other and promote latinamerican design. This is a great place to start.

Germán Salamanca had already commented on this site last year, however the site has had a revamp this year, so it’s worth it to check it out now and enroll if you haven’t already.

All the best!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Latin American Design Events

As a second post today, my friend Leonardo Mora told me about three design related events going on in Latin America.

Design Fest, in Guadalajara, México.

Latinamerican Design Summit, at University of Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, already gone for this year, but coming up again next year.

Is it be possible for we colombians to organize events like these?
Or maybe our designers will join such events!

All the best!

How can I?

The other day I was listening to a radio show and one of the people cited a question that got me thinking about Colombian designers’ attitude towards design and work in general.

How can I…?

I don’t think I’ve been on the field as much as I would’ve wanted. Still, It’s no secret that I get this impression that many Colombian designers (and some Latin-American designers, maybe?) suffer from “third world” or “small” mentality, where we’re basically living and working by default.

This was especially evident when I went to the 10th Design Showroom at my university a few weeks ago.

So, they call themselves “lucky” if they can land a job. A job, which for the most part, is very poorly rewarded in our country. I think it’s easy for young designers here to get into a self-pitying pattern where external circumstances define their future as people and as professionals.

And so they find themselves waiting for a company to offer them a job, waiting for that lucky break, basically waiting to see if maybe the stars align so that they can get a better quality of life and maybe, just maybe, pursue their dreams.

So… back to the radio show I was listening. How can I…? And fill in the rest yourself!

How can I add value to this company?
How can I make my portfolio all the more attractive?
How can I be different from other designers?
How can I make some money?
How can I make work easier and more effective?
How can I help this customer reach his goals?
How can I make this logo different?
How can I approach this issue from an unexpected angle?
How can I make this project innovative?
How can I do better work?
How can I learn more and grow as a designer?
How can I stimulate my creativity?
How can I change?
How can I become the person I want to be?
How can I land the awesome position at that amazing company?




The list goes on! Did you notice something? This question immediate causes your brain to come up with answers! Notice that it’s a completely different attitude than “Why can’t I get a job?”

Do write some comments and list some more “How can I…?” questions. I’m sure it’ll be fun!

All the best!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Learn English!

As I’ve said before, Latin American designers must speak English. This will open up doors for them everywhere!

However, I am not the bearer of good news. I think when it comes to English (or any other foreign language, for that matter) there are two kinds of people:

· Those that really have to work at it.
· Those for whom it just comes easy.

Unfortunately most people are in the first group, and that’s the bad news. Such people need to really work at it and be disciplined to learn.

There are basically two (and a half) ways to learn English, in my opinion:


Option 1: Take a course.

This means doing all the exercises and walking the extra mile by enrolling in every English speaking activity they can think of. Watching TV in English (no subtitles) like news and movies, listening to music in English, attending events organized by the UK and American Embassies or English institutes such as Berlitz.

So, if you’re up for the challenge of being consistent, disciplined and reaching your goals, this is a way to do it. If this option speaks to you, allow me to recommend the British Council and Wall Street as two good institutes.

Unfortunately, I don’t know the first person that has really learned like this. Learn to speak well, I mean. Anyone can “kind of speak pigeon English”.


Option 2: Travel abroad.

In my opinion, this is the fastest and best way to learn English. And most people have this idea that maybe it’s too expensive. I can assure you, there is always a way. Spend at least six months abroad, learning. I recommend you do this through an institute, so that you have some structure to follow.


Now here comes the “half”:

For those special people for whom English comes easy (like me, it’s a gift) there is another way. I never did go abroad to learn English, the first time I went to the US, I’d been speaking English for years. In fact, I learned in about six months when I was twelve years old.

How? I used to be a TV-holic, so just by watching English spoken TV shows with closed captioning (subtitles in English) I learned how to use sentences, the context, grammar and pronunciation. I did help myself with some English textbooks to understand the structure better.

If you are this kind of person, congratulations! All you have to do now is work at it, so that you won’t forget it. Watch TV, listen to shows and write in English daily!

And here's a little tip for all of you who are learning: Don't over pronounce words so much. We spanish-speaking people tend to over pronounce, but in english there's no need to do that. In fact, english can be pretty much mumbled and it will still sound ok. This will make your speech sound more natural, less latin.


I guess the advantages of speaking English are obvious:

· You can access tons of information on the web (and many different sources, such as books and newsletters), about every topic imaginable.
· Podcasts and audiobooks are at your disposal.
· You can join networking communities online and exchange information with people from all over the world.
· Out of this networking, great business opportunities may arise.
· Access to the latest global news.
· A valuable asset for your resume.

I have an English friend (from England, actually) who’s learning Spanish and he says that as an English speaking person, if he learns Spanish, he’ll be able to communicate with the vast majority of the planet. I think he’s right.

And in this day and age, Colombian (and Latin American) designers cannot afford to be left behind.

All the best!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Design jobs: 3 great articles

As a second post for today I want to place a link to three articles from How Magazine which I think are very relevant to young designers today:

Creatives Wanted: How to Prepare Yourself for Today's Job Market
Turning Up the Volume: Teleconferencing Etiquette
Five Sure Signs Your Job Is a Dead-End

Enjoy!

Design resources: Springwise.com and Trendwatching.com

This week I’m going to present young designers with two more resources they can use to expand their creativity and be on top of the latest news.


Springwise.com


“Springwise and its network of 8,000 spotters scan the globe for smart new business ideas, delivering instant inspiration to entrepreneurial minds from San Francisco to Singapore. Time to start the Next Big Thing!

Springwise scans the globe for the most promising business ventures, ideas and concepts ready for regional or international adaptation, expansion, partnering, investments or cooperation. Ferociously tracking more than 400 global offline and online business resources, as well as taking to the streets of world cities, digital cameras at hand.”
Need I say more? In Springwise you’ll find the latest, most wackiest and smartest business ideas from around the globe. It will:

· Be a source if design inspiration.
· Be a source of news and design trends.
· Be a source of practical ideas even you can implement.

Check it out and subscribe to the free newsletter! The latest issue covered:

Product placement agency targets YouTube
Marketing & advertising

Crowdfunding software projects
Media & publishing

Zero cents per minute Update
Telecom & mobile / Marketing & advertising

A social marketplace for clothes hounds
Fashion & beauty

Solar-powered vending machines
Eco & sustainability / Food & beverage

Helping seniors relocate
Life hacks

Free love at the food court
Marketing & advertising

Freeze-dried eco burials
Lifestyle


You can search their webpage by date or by industry, or you can even submit an idea!
Why not give it a try?



Trendwatching.com


“Trendwatching.com is an independent and opinionated trend firm, scanning the globe for the most promising consumer trends, insights and related hands-on business ideas. For the latest and greatest, we rely on our network of 8,000+ spotters in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Most of our findings are aggregated in a free, monthly Trend Briefing, which is sent to 130,000+ business professionals in more than 120 countries. (…) Our trend findings help marketers, CEOs, researchers, and anyone else interested in the future of business and consumerism, to dream up new goods, services and experiences for (or even better, with) their customers.”


In other words, they spot market trends, given them a name and then they follow up on them and show different examples. Some of the trends are:

5*STAR*LIVING
(AFTER) SPOILING DATE
BEING SPACES
BRAND SPACES
BRANDED BRANDS
COUNTER-GOOGLING
COUNTERVALS
CRIBTIMONIALS
CROWD CLOUT
CURATED CONSUMPTION
CUSTOMER-MADE

Visit their trend page, to see more!

This is where the world is headed, so designers, beware!

All the best!

Monday, September 24, 2007

10th Design Showroom, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Last week I visited the Design Showroom at my university (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) and I was surprised by the examples of student work which weren’t what I expected after ten years of cellebrating this event.

Before reading on, I should say that I don't consider myself an authority in design or design trends, but as a mere user, I am entitled to my own opinion.

The Design Showroom is a compilation of the best student work of the year and it’s been organized by my school during the last ten years. I was actually honored to be a winner in the “Graduation Projects” category back in 1998. It’s presented as an exhibition in the Architecture Museum located within the campus.

The Showroom is supposed to present the visitor with the top projects which are selected based on some predetermined criteria.

I was there for the very first Design Showroom 10 years ago, back when access to the Internet was limited still and I thought the world was small, and I remember thinking that the projects were really good and in tune with the times. I went to see the exhibition to find that after ten years it seems that Colombian design hasn’t grown much (At least in my university).

I saw the same kinds of projects, the same device for picking fruit, the same transportation vehicle for the handicapped, the same furniture… And what’s even sadder, our aesthetic sense is going downhill… I barely saw anything that I would tag as “beautiful”, let alone, “saleable”.

Now, my concerns are hardly about beauty —though design definitely has to do with it— but more related to our vision as designers. It would seem that Colombian designers have a limited vision of the world today and the world of the future.

I worry that our new designers are still plagued by the “third world” thinking, that they still think we’re small and that we have no impact as a country. Is that it? Is that why they keep designing as we did ten years ago? Globalization is with us today, so this kind of thinking really doesn’t serve us.

How can Colombian designers be top notch when years (even decades) ago movies like Total Recall, The Fifth Element and Minority Report (just to name a few) have presented such futuristic societies, their devices and their weird and innovative usability proposals? How can we compare?

And let’s not talk fiction, let’s talk reality. Watch this video of Jeff Han’s Jeff Han’s 8 foot Multi-touch display wall; this is already shipping! It is commercially available! So where is Colombian design compared to technology like this? To usability trends like the ones we are already seeing commercially? Have any of our young designers even seen an iPhone or iPod Touch presentation video? How can we measure up?

And yes, in a country like ours design has a big social function, but let’s not kid ourselves here: Design is primarily a business tool, a way of making successful products that ultimately, enhance the human experience. So are our designers in touch with the current design and market trends? How about usability trends? And what about the way design is affecting other cultures and societies? Are they not watching TV or going online sometimes?

Can any of that be applied here? Of course! So what’s the gap then? Where are the dreams of the designers and the wild ideas? And let’s face it, if these guys aren’t having wild ideas while at school, the opportunity to implement them is much smaller once they graduate.

I reviewed the teacher’s list at the Showroom and yes, many of my old teachers are still there. Are they encouraging futuristic and trend-conscious thinking in their students? And what about the new teachers? Is anybody in contact with what’s going on in the world in regards to design? In my opinion, our designers are designing the same stuff we did ten years ago, when we didn’t have as many resources as they do today.

And this also brings me to my next point: It is imperative that designers speak English today. In my experience speaking English has opened so many doors for me and has given me access to huge amounts of information from the web. I think it should be mandatory in university curriculums and it should be as important a subject as the creative ones.

What I did see, much to my relief, was the use of 3D software to present the projects. Back in my day we didn’t have access to such technology, but it is good to know that at least our designers are using that resource.

One of the really good proposals is IO, a lighting sculpture.


Another one is wawawasi, an aid for parents with children who are learning to walk. This one I actually think has great commercial potential.

Aside from that, I regret to say that I wasn’t moved. And the graphic design projects don’t offer anything new either.

My friend César Galán, has allowed me to use his photos of the Showroom and share them with you. Click here, to see them.

I would love to receive some comments from people from other universities, telling me how they view design in their respective schools, if they feel I’m off my rocker here… I sure could use some hope!

Anyway, if you’re a young designer, I recommend you check some of my old posts:
Design Resources: Design Management Institute, DMI.
Design magazines
Designers beware: Podcasts

… and come back to my blog because I intend to reveal more resources to check.

If you’d like to see a couple more videos of Jeff Han’s amazing touch screen wall, click here and here.
Also, I recommend you check How Magazine’s August 2007 issue entitled “The Future”.

All the best!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Design Resources: Design Management Institute, DMI.

Hello, there, Everybody! It’s been a long while! Do forgive me, life has been hectic. Anyway…

Here’s another wonderful resource I think designers from all over the world should know about, the Design Management Institute in Boston, US.

I learned about DMI several years ago when I was on a quest to find more information about design management. As they put it:



“The Design Management Institute (DMI) is an international nonprofit organization that seeks to heighten awareness of design as an essential part of business strategy. Founded in 1975, DMI has become the leading resource and international authority on design management. DMI has earned a reputation
worldwide as a multifaceted resource, providing invaluable know-how, tools and raining through its
conferences, seminars, membership program, and publications."

The thing I like the most about DMI is that they are an unlimited source of information and education for any designer, even for us, who don’t live in the US, with the online tools (like Webinars) they’ve got.

There are also many conferences and seminars people in the US can attend. The agenda for October includes:

Design Research for Product and Service Innovation in Chicago.
Law Meets Design in New York.
From What’s Possible to What’s Right online.

Check out DMI’s calendar.


Most of the conferences and seminars are not free, but fairly priced and the topics are really interesting, because they cover design management issues that they don’t teach you at school (Or at least not my school).

Do click around their website to see all the different resources (They even have a job bank) and/or subscribe to their newsletter to get the latest news!

All the best!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Beginners guide to making money on the internet

Hello, Everybody! Today I bring you a guest post from John Mitchell. Very interesting read. Enjoy.

This is part 1 of my step by step beginners guide for making money on the Internet.All the Programs listed below are proven to generate income.

Step 1: Join Quidco.
Quidco is fantastic. It's a site that gives you cash back when you visit online merchants through them.When you buy or join anything through Quidco the merchant pays Quidco a reward, Quidco then passes 100% of that reward back to you.They charge you £5 a year admin fee, which they take out of your earnings.
Some of the Web's top merchants are there, e.g. Play.com, HMV, Tesco, Ebuyer. In all there are 1400 merchants currently listed on Quidco.Before you buy anything check to see if it's available on Quidco by clicking here

Step 2: Join Ciao.
Ciao send you surveys over email. For each survey you complete Ciao will pay you for your time.The amount varies for each survey but is generally between 50p and £2.50 and you can normally complete the surveys in a number of mins.
Ciao send me a number of surveys every week, and the money really adds up.It's useful to make sure that your profile is up to date to make sure that you get as many surveys as possible.
Click here to join Ciao.

Step 3: Join YouGovYougov is similar to Ciao. They send you surveys to your email address and they pay you to take part. They don't send as many surveys as Ciao but the surveys tend to be slightly more straight forward to complete.
Click here to join YouGov

Step 4: Join Clixsense
Clixsense is a site that pays you to look at adverts. Every time you log in click on the link to view adverts and a list of available adverts is displayed. Each advert is worth a different value and when you look at the advert for 30 seconds your account is accredited with that value. Generally the ad's are worth between 1 and 5 cents to view.
I know this doesn't sound like a lot of money but there are several adverts everyday and it soon adds up.Click here to join Clixsense

Step 5: Join Media Dollarz
Finally in this part a real freebie to start you on your money making way.
Media Dollarz is a company similar to Quidco. They pay you to join trials and shop with merchants.Media Dollarz will pay you $2.50 just for joining and validating your account. You are then free to withdraw the money into a paypal account as soon as you like. Free Money in mins.
Click here to join Media Dollarz



John Mitchell is an author of 3 Blogs, he is running a project to investigate how the Internet can be used by everyone to generate an income.His blogs can be found at:
http://webdosh.blogspot.com/
http://ourpieceoftheriver.blogspot.com/
http://chocolate-recipes-for-you.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 24, 2007

No post this weekend.

Hello, Everybody! I regret to inform you that other priorities got in the way of my writing this weekend. It seems that I've gotten busier and busier. I am trying my best to keep my blog up.
See you around.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Positive feedback

As most people, I was never very good at recognizing people’s efforts or saying a kind word whenever they showed some progress. In time I realized I had to leave my comfort zone in order to obtain better results.

I think that most people have trouble giving positive feedback. I know I do. However when you’re leading a team of people, be it a design team, your family or people working with you in any other endeavor, you really need to learn to acknowledge even the smallest efforts for improvement.

Why?

Well, who doesn’t want to be acknowledged and not taken for granted? Don’t you want to be? Don’t you get a little spring in your step when someone says something positive about you?

Would you agree with me if I said that positive feedback can largely increase your team’s productivity?

Well, that’s old news, yet I see too many professionals and managers who avoid it.


But what is positive feedback?

It is the action of telling somebody effectively that what they’re doing is acknowledged and recognized.

That’s pretty simple, isn’t it?

Not quite. You see, saying “good job” to someone doesn’t bear the same connotation to actually stating what it was they did well and its impact.


So how to go about it?

There are many resources on the Web about this subject and several ways to use it. Here’s my take on it:

When you spot something that someone has done, when you catch yourself thinking “hey, that’s pretty good”, every single time, even if it’s something small, follow the next steps:


Step 1: State the time.
The specific time in which the person did something well. The phrase should start with their name, followed by an expression of time.

E.g. “Hey, John, this morning…”
John, yesterday during the meeting with customer x…”.
Be as precise as possible.


Step 2: State the action.
The actual thing they did. The fact.

E.g. “Hey, John, this morning when you delivered the sketches on time…”
John, yesterday during the meeting with customer x you supported the concept we were presenting with the items you brought…”.


Step 3: State the impact.
On the operation, how what they did affects the results positively and how it makes you feel.

E.g. “Hey, John, this morning when you delivered the sketches on time, it proved to me that I can trust you with deadlines, that you’re a professional and that you care about what you do”.

John, yesterday during the meeting with customer x you supported the concept we were presenting with the items you brought, which allowed the customer to visualize the project more effectively and made me feel very proud that you’re on our team”.


See, if you’re this specific when giving feedback it has a bigger impact on the person and encourages them to keep striving to be better.

I still struggle a bit with it, it doesn’t come as natural as I’d like, but I’ve found that giving positive feedback builds up relationships and contributes to a more effective and productive work environment.

Care to try this at home, as well?

All the best!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Paradigm shifts and design

I started at my new job this week. I haven’t been exposed to the specific tasks of the position, yet I’ve learned a few lessons…

It is a big company, so there were these introductory activities that are meant to give the newbie an idea of what the company is, where it’s going…

As a designer and professional I look for new challenges, I look to acquire new knowledge. Which may in the beginning be interpreted as challenges related to the technical aspects of design, form, color, sketching, specifications…

And then sometimes you find your challenges somewhere else and related to other things different than design.

This week I met this guy, 25-year-old. At first glance one of those yuppie guys that work in the commercial field, remembers everybody’s name, always smiling… you know the type, right? Your typical sales manager in the making.

In one of the activities we were all asked “what is something that few people know about you?” and his answer was “overcoming a back injury in a taekwondo match”.

I later on asked him about it and he told me about being in bed for two years because he’d broken his back, he wasn’t able to walk and he was told that if he were to walk again, he’d be “walking strange”.

I can tell you something, six years later, he’s not walking strange. Not only that, the guy jogs every day and at 25 he has a clear picture of where he’s going, what he wants; he’s building his life.

So this knowledge took me from seeing him as the yuppie careless kid, to admiring his vision and persistence and even feeling jealous of him because when I was his age I had no idea of where I was going.


Oh, but there was more for me to learn this week…

Another one of the people in the activities was this girl… She got there late, for starters. I immediately made the judgment that a person that would arrive late wasn’t very committed or maybe she just didn’t care.

During the day it became obvious that she was loud, bossy and obnoxious. I was thinking “thank the Lord she’s not in my area, I don’t have to work with her”.

And as luck would have it, at the end of the day I learned that she and I will actually be working really close together.

How ironic, huh?

I also learned that this twenty-something woman has a child and a husband, goes to college and works full time. Her day starts at 4am to study for her finals and then get her son ready for school at 5:30.

How about that? Suddenly my perception turned 180°, I could see her struggles and enthusiasm.

But what does all this have to do with design, you ask?

Not much, I guess.

But I wanted to bring this experience up to illustrate how we can get so immersed in our misconceptions that it takes a shift in our paradigms to understand, to be able to see further.

Would changing our paradigms have anything to do with design?

How about making assumptions about a problem? About people?

Could there be other alternatives? What else could it mean?

How else could we approach the issue?

Be open, be generous, be humble.

All the best.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Design leadership and the constant challenges

Early in my career I was faced with the challenge of being in charge of a section of the company I worked for which included having a person reporting to me. I remember feeling completely scared of becoming a bad boss!

At that time I consulted with a colleague of mine who’d had a lot more experience and he gave me a few pointers. In the end, his best advice was “just be yourself”.

So I became G’s boss.

G happened to be very receptive from the start as we were both learning all the technical aspects of the job.

In the beginning it was hard to get him to see the bigger picture, to plan ahead, he couldn’t imagine how he could predict the events and therefore, the actions to be taken for the upcoming weeks.

But during the five plus years that G and I worked together we both grew professionally to a point where we achieved autonomy in ourselves but presented results as a team.

This was an amazing growing experience and led me to want to continue to grow as a leader.

I recently was faced again with another “being the boss” challenge. Two girls reported to me. One fresh-out-of-college designer and another one with a bit more experience.

This posed a bigger test because I had to use different languages to speak to each of them.

Since my experience with G had been so good and we’d grown together at the same pace, I thought I could just use the same method with anybody.

Not!

Miss F, the fresh-out-of-college designer needed me to hold her hand a bit more, to walk her through the steps of the different activities, to guide her. And she would usually come back to me with “What do I do now, Carolina?”

And I found myself resisting the urge to give her a straight answer. I had to get her to think, to come up with solutions by herself, to be more independent every day, to ask me less.

In the eight months that we worked together she came a long way and could do most of her work all by herself. I was very proud of myself and her.

The other girl, Miss Q, she had a bit more experience and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Also, she was strong-willed and assertive. This demanded a different approach from me, one where the ideas would mostly come from her, with a little guidance from me.

This also resulted in a great growing experience; the more I demanded from her, the more she would give and the more she came up with new ideas and solutions.

I have a point, I promise…

Sometimes designers end up becoming creative directors or managing a small group of creative people, which may not be something they ever saw themselves doing.

So here are a few tips to be more effective in that arena:

Be yourself, really. As I’ve said in a previous post, it’s not about barking orders or being in a position of power. It’s about getting the best of people and people will give you their best when you are authentic, honest and real.
Be clear about goals and expectations. Communicate them frequently.

Spend some time trying to figure out what the other person is about, what their mental process is, how they handle information, so that you can figure out the best way to get through to them.

It’s not about them adapting to you or following your lead, but quite the opposite. It’s about you stretching yourself to find the most effective way to get the best out of your team and have some fun while doing it!

I am so looking forward to more leadership challenges in the future, as they are the most interesting part of my work!

Mi idea with this post is that designers think outside of the box and start reflecting on the direction their career can go in the future and if they want to be in a leadership position. If so, start preparing.

Read some books about personal leadership, building teams, managing people and resources… Become aware. There’s a lot of information on the web, podcasts and books.

Epilogue: G went on to take my position and is now the design leader there. Miss F and Miss Q continue to work in my previous company, where they are faced with bigger challenges everyday. The both insist that I was a great boss ;-)

All the best!

12 resume writing tips for designers

Looking for a job? Finding a new design position can be a very daunting and stressful experience, especially if you're a fresh-out-of-college designer applying for your first creative job.

In my recruiting experience I've found that most young designers in South America and Colombia would benefit from some guidance with regards to self-promotion.

So if you're fresh out of college, or a senior designer straight out of a long career, here are twelve top tips for designers' resumes that can help you land that all-important interview:

  1. Do some research
    Even if you think you know everything there is to know about designing a document, use your design know-how to effectively present your resume.

    There are tons of websites with information about designing a CV (Curriculum Vitae) like Rita Sue Siegel Resources, for example.

    Now, being a designer, most likely you're expected to show your creative side in your resume (At least I expect that.)

    Nevertheless, this is a document for you to show that you're a professional and therefore, all the right information must be included, even if it means sacrificing that beautiful symbol you want displayed throughout the whole document.

    So your flair for design is there only to enforce the information in your resume. Always remember: style over substance is a big no-no!


  2. Customize your resume to match the position
    Designers can work in different areas of design. I've seen this especially with graphic designers.

    If the position calls for an illustrator, make your resume reflect that in the jobs or projects you want to show.

    If the position calls for a web designer, then include all web work you've done with links (making sure those websites are still active!) If you think something else will add to your value proposition, include it.

    However, don't try to squeeze all your work experience in just one page if some of it has no relevance to the position.


  3. Make it a one-page resume
    Yes, all necessary information can fit in one page, as weird as it sounds.

    You have to think that the person receiving your resume is receiving a lot more and she probably is printing them out to read at her leisure (i.e.: when she has the time.)

    Make her job easier by including all pertinent information in a single page; you will earn some extra points for that.

    Now, you're a designer, play with typography, space, color… it's also very important to make sure the information is presented in an organized, clear, easy-to-read way and have some fun! Make your personality and style show through.


  4. Proofread your resume
    Don't forget to double – better yet, make that triple – check your document for typos and grammar errors. Nothing says “unprofessional” like a sloppy resume.

    Set time side and get someone else to read your resume through for you. Maybe your mom, your dad, a friend maybe – anyone, so long as your resume is proofread.


  5. Highlight your name and contact information
    Your name and your contact details are the most important part of your resume!

    Make them stand out by placing them where they will be easier to read for the recruiter: most likely the right top corner of the page, or top centered.

    Do include all your contact information, telephone numbers (cell included) where you can be reached for sure.

    If your email is something like “big_stud@hotmail.com” it's better to get a new one, just your name and last name, something that identifies who you are.

    I personally think that it's not necessary to include your photo, though I've seen some pretty cool ways to add a picture of yourself as an illustration or an unusual treatment in Adobe Photoshop.

    If you're applying for a job as an illustrator, this could be a good way to highlight your resume and maybe stand out from the rest.


  6. State your profile
    Include a brief paragraph expressing what your profile as a designer is, or what your major, or preferred areas of expertise are and what short-term goals you have.

    This helps the recruiter see quickly if your profile matches what they're looking for.

    Additionally, try not to talk about the long-term in a way that sounds like you're just using your prospective employer as a stepping-stone in your design career.


  7. Add the professional experience information
    Include your work experience, listing jobs in reverse chronological order. For each job include:

    • The time period (the date when you started and when you finished) for that job, including year and month.

    • The responsibilities of your design position.

    • The achievements of the position, and how they translated into either an increase in sales or the reduction of costs for the firm. Add some numeric information, when possible.


    If you've worked as a web designer, or have links to your work on the Internet, make sure they work properly and contain all updated information.


  8. Add the academic information
    Include the qualifications you have and filter them to be pertinent to the position you're applying to.

    Also list your qualifications in reverse chronological order, too.

    Be sure to include the year in which you graduated and the title you received.


  9. Make sure you send the right file
    When sending your resume file through email, take into consideration:

    • Check that your file is complete. Yes, I've received resumes that only list the jobs, with no name or contact info, because the person forgot to include the previous pages!

    • Here's another chance to stand out by naming your file with your name, e.g.: “carolina_ayerbe_CV.pdf”; make the work of the recruiter simpler and make your design resume easy to find among all the files she's downloaded that are called “CV.doc”, “resume.pdf” and every other file name that doesn't provide any information as to what it contains.

    • Include your name, title and the position you're applying for in the subject line of the email.

      It makes it easier to find you in the long list of emails the recruiter receives every day.

    • Write a short, warm and assertive email message to go with your attachment. This will effectively act as your covering letter.


    Don't just send the attachment alone; some people might take this gesture to be rude. Say hello, at least. Be polite!

    Don't underestimate the value of a well-crafted message selling the benefits the company will get by hiring you.

    If necessary, go back to the Tip 1 and do some research on how to write a proper resume covering letter.


  10. Don't lie
    Most recruiters can see through a liar. Show your work in a dignified way, talk about your accomplishments, but don't try to sell things as more than they really are.

    I once received a CV from a designer who'd presented himself as a “brand creator”. Hmm, interesting, I thought.

    When I interviewed him and asked him how he went about creating a brand, it became obvious the guy had no idea what he was talking about. We both wasted our time.

    Be honest about what you've achieved as a designer. It's much more effective.


  11. Combine your resume with your portfolio
    I really like it when the resume includes some examples of the work the designer has done.

    All contact, work and academic information should be in the first page.

    From the second page on, it's a good idea to include three or four examples of your best work. This will be the entrée for the recruiter to ask for a more complete portfolio from the designer.

    Don't send twelve pages, though. Still keep it short, two or three pages maximum.


  12. Be professional
    Most young designers aspire to rise to the level of a professional. Design is a business; it's not just about the perfect decoration in the pretty resume. I'll say it again: style over substance is a big no-no!

    It has to convey a message of professionalism, that you can actually do the job and that you know how to speak the design language inside a business setting.


I hope these tips help out a few designers out there.

For more resources visit:

I look forward to receiving some comments.

All the best!

This article is a revision on a first version I posted a while ago. Thanks to Wayne Smallman, technology blogger and fellow designer for revising the english version of the original article.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Design magazines

As I’ve discussed before, I think young designers in Latin America would benefit from expanding their scope and trying to find new and wider sources of information. One of those sources are design magazines. Though the web has opened up many doors for designers, there may be some that will read this information for the first time.

Remember how I said that I used to think that my world was really small? Well, when I was at the university I used to think that design magazines were beyond my reach. In those days there was a really beautiful one called Abitare, italian, awesome… we used to see them at the design building’s library.

As years went by, I started working and got a credit card and what do you know…? Using credit cards, you can buy things abroad! I don’t know about you, but this never occurred to me when I was in college (I know, I know… I was either too innocent, or didn’t have good friends!).

So I wanted to let you know about two magazines I’ve been subscribed to for years.

How Magazine: This magazine focuses on graphic design, which being a designer, I love. And it shows some great examples of graphic design, they have contests and then they feature the winners and the contestants, so it’s a great source of visual culture.

Furthermore, what I really love about this magazine is its business edge. You will find design business related articles, from hiring an accountant for your design studio, to how to boost creativity and be a great design leader.

They also do a “Business Annual” every year (no kidding, huh?) that covers even more business related topics like salaries and legal stuff. To me, this magazine is a must read for every designer. It’s American, but I think it conveys the global design business trends of today.

ID Magazine: Sister of How Magazine, ID focuses more on my field, industrial and product design. It doesn’t have the same depth in business issues, but it’s a great showcase of the best of current design. I suggest you get this one too.






So my message for this short post is…

1. Get a credit card! I don’t care if you’re a student, banks always have special promotions for you.
2. Research and subscribe to design magazines. If there aren’t any good ones in your region, subscribe to a couple abroad!
3. Even if you can’t afford it, research local publications. It also doesn’t have to be on your design discipline, you can check some decoration magazines, or architecture… it’ll all become what I call “visual culture”, feeding and stimulating your brain with more design!

I mean, that’s why we became designers, isn’t it?
Hey, do leave a comment if you want to suggest more magazines!
All the best!