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Celebrating a decade of Abduzeedo

Celebrating a decade of Abduzeedo

Abduzeedo celebrates 10 years this week. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact date, the first post seems to be dated December 21st, however there are pages that seem to date back a bit earlier. That doesn’t really matter for me because the most important thing is the fact that it’s been a decade. In the tech world this is really a milestone for a design blog.  You all probably have heard the reasons I started the blog, so I won’t spend too much time on that. I will focus on the learnings over the past 10 years. I  will also try to highlight the mistakes, as those, in my opinion, are the responsible factors of learning. Beginning  I started the blog after my design studio got robbed in Brazil. It was a very difficult situation to go through, in my case it was amplified by the fact that it was the day I coincidentally decided to backup my files and had taken my external hard drives to work. As a result, I truly lost everything including all the equipment we had in our studio. That event prompted us to question ourselves on what to do next. Should we start over, from scratch; or should venture into something else. We chose the first. That experience taught me a lot, I decided to be more proactive about things I had in mind, not postpone for, sometimes, imaginary excuses based on fears and other insecurities that a shy and introverted person like me goes through. One of the first tutorials and also the icon for donations via Paypal. I got quite a few coffees :) With the blog I started to publish more of my thoughts and work I was experimenting with in Photoshop. That resulted in the tutorials, which became the biggest promoter of the blog.  Design blog New opportunities, new friends With the blog taking off in terms of traffic, it opened a huge door in terms of opportunities. Not only freelance work but also connecting with people from all over the world that discovered and read the blog. I also learned so much more about the graphic design industry that I was foreign to and in the end, I had the amazing opportunity to meet some of the guys I really admired. Designers like James White, Radim Malinic, Vitor Lourenco only to name a few. With Francois and the master himself, James White As the blog was growing I brought more people on board to help with posts and to keep the inspiration flowing. Aloa, Paulo Canabarro, Paulo Gabriel, Fabiano Meneghetti, Amanda Macedo, Francois Hoang and others. They were excited about contributing and motivated me to keep me going. After a decade a lot has changed. The design industry evolved tremendously. From tools to ways to share and get feedback, it’s amazing how much easier things have become. With that, new challenges have emerged. The information overload became one of the biggest challenges for anyone trying to do anything, especially designing. With that, Abduzeedo changed with those factors too. We started as a simple blog and little by little evolved to a bit more than that. Our goals of sharing what inspires us has never changed. But the content has. We moved slowly from sharing tutorials, due to market saturation, to a more curated type of content.  We also saw our traffic reach amazing levels and then decline too.  I never worried too much about traffic or monetization because the blog was always a side project. It’s something I do because I am passionate and I’m not obligated to do things differently due to commercial agreements. That is a big mistake, but one I am happy about doing. That way I can redesign the blog every year, or twice a year without worrying about the impact that it might have. In summary, I’d like to say that for me the biggest thing I have learned over the past 10 years of Abduzeedo is that sometimes, a bit of not planning, a bit of living day by day and not worrying too much about the future can have unexpected results. I never imagined I would have had the chance to write a post like this about something I started 10 years ago and probably, the most important thing for me, the pleasure of meeting all the amazing people along the way. It's very humbling to hear that we somehow helped to inspire individuals to pursue a career in the creative industry. Thanks Fabio and the Abduzeedo Family   

Welcome 2015

Welcome 2015

Another year has just started with it another set of expectations, goals and dreams to achieve and fulfill. Why this simple change in the calendar represents so much and has an impact so big in our lives? Why don't we do that every other month or every other day perhaps? I ask myself that every new year, however I also set my goals, remember the dreams I have and the most important, feel thankful for everything that happened till this day. Abduzeedo is part of that and has been for the past 8 years. In 2015 we will celebrate our 9th anniversary and I cannot believe that it has been almost a decade since we started the blog back in December 2006, after an ugly robbery back in Porto Alegre, Brasil. Since then, Abduzeedo has grown exponentially, following the Web 2.0 trend, has transitioned to the mobile web world and has matured. It went from being one of the few, where we could focus on things that inspired no matter the subject to a world where everything has its own nice and selective audience. With that, we have been learning every year as if it was the first. In the tech world crossing the 8th year lifetime by itself is a huge achievement and we are proud of that in a way that is hard to express in words besides saying THANK YOU SO MUCH for supporting us. So for 2015 we might rethink a bit our role in providing inspiration and good content. We want to age gracefully as good wine so you can appreciate and still get inspired. With that in mind we have some things in mind like: New design heavily focused on mobile and tablets Transition from 'more is better' to 'less is more' in terms of content Share more experience related content like case studies, things we learned at work, etc... Get back to regular bi-weekly tutorials, including Photoshop, AI, Sketch and HTML/CSS/JS Have more fun I know we can do that and I think that might be good not only for the blog but for everyone that has been following us for the past 8 years. Of course your opinion and feedback is important, so please, share with us your thoughts or things that you'd like us to do more in 2015. To wrap up this post and to welcome 2015, I want to share something that I read last year that really spoke to me on a deep level and made me think a lot about life. Perhaps I am just getting old and more spiritual but it made me see things in a different perspective and I think it's a good thing to read and start doing: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. I wish I didn’t work so hard. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. I wish that I had let myself be happier. Those 5 items are the top 5 things people say to nurses and doctors before they pass away. It sounds morbid to say that at this time of the year, but it's a good reminder that time flies, quoting Ferris Bueller. " Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Happy 2015 to all of us and let's make this a great one Fabio Sasso

New Year, New Design

New Year, New Design

A new year has just begun and with it a series of resolutions, plans and expectations. Abduzeedo has grown up over the past seven years, passing through several phases of maturity, from the beginning of the web 2.0 to the mobile first and massification of sharing content. Through the years our biggest goal was to share everything that inspired us in the creative industry. We tried to balance the content across disparate areas covering design, architecture, photography and typography to name only a few. We also learned a ton throughout the process and I believe that was one of the reasons that kept us motivated during our journey. To celebrate 2014 we are excited to unveil a brand new design. Since the launch of our last design in 2013 we noticed some issues especially in terms of design, simple details that caused a lot of headache for us, things like: Big images as heroes are beautiful, but with the web it’s very difficult to have an aspect ratio that preserves the image in the many different crops based on screen resolutions. We ran into situations that the hero whereby the hero was taking over the whole screen pushing the content too far down in the fold. The most important thing for us is making sure that Abduzeedo is easy to browse, the previous layout didn’t condone a seamless browsing experience that we were satisfied with. The new design The design principle that drove the new design was simplicity and reduction. To achieve that we have focused on: Organizing the content in order to have the latest posts featured and not just a hero image. Make sure the advertising spots were present from the beginning of our design efforts. This was really important because the ads are the biggest constraint in terms of design. They take up a lot of important real state but they are critical for keeping the blog running. Hide what could be hidden. The navigation got really simple that way. Remove the superfluous. Reincarnated features: Love posts. We also decided to bring back some old features. Now you can create an Abduzeedo account and “love” posts. The posts you “love” will be available in your profile’s page making it easier for you to find old posts that were useful or inspiring for you. The “love” feature is also our first attempt in trying to open the blog to more people. Our goal is to allow users to post in the future. Back to design: Typography In terms of typography, we introduced a new typeface for headers, sub-headers, titles and featured information. We chose Varela Rounded because its beautiful form matches our symbols. The body content is still the super versatile Source Sans Pro. Colors In terms of colors, we kept our philosophy of content first. Abduzeedo is almost a photo gallery, our content is made of 90% images and 10% text. The images are most of the times very colorful and they deserve the first plane, so we reduced our color palette to pretty much black, white, and 50 percent black and yellow for the accent color for links over black. Transitions and responsiveness Abduzeedo now works much better on different screens, resolutions and platforms. Our main goal was to ensure new content was perceived and featured as new. It was also important to keep this featured content above the fold. If you peruse on a tablet this will be apparent. For mobile, we are introducing a sidebar navigation with a sliding transition. It’s a very common pattern but it aligns really well with our design principles of simplicity and reductions. We are aware that it might cause some issues in terms of discoverability but we strongly believe our users will learn and get used to it pretty quickly. Outcome What you see now is the outcome of these ideas. We still have a lot ideas in terms of surfacing old content that is still very useful and current. Good examples are our series of posts featuring logos that we curated very carefully over the past seven years. We will keep improving this design, especially the minor details that make the difference in terms of well-crafted design. We believe the design is ready for launch but we are aware of some issues that you might encounter. We hope to hear from you about them and also your feedback in terms of usability and your overall experience. Happy new year and let’s make 2014 the year of well-crafted design.

Opinion: The Rise and Fall of Sharing Content

Opinion: The Rise and Fall of Sharing Content

This week Abduzeedo will celebrate its 7th anniversary. Our first blog post was published on the 19th of December 2006. It was a difficult time back then. I had recently lost all my gear and backup disks, the same with my friend and business partner Fabiano Meneghetti. With that unfortunate life event, Abduzeedo was born as a simple blog where we would share our learnings and inspiration. The goal was to join the burgeoning blogosphere. After 7 years, the landscape has changed immensely, Abduzeedo has grown and matured. We have learned by trial and error. Mistakes were made and we always tried to be transparent about our decisions and the direction of the blog. We shared tutorials and source files, never charging for any of our content. We also have been using ads since day one and to be honest with you, our main goal was just to be able to use the web services that were available. We wanted to be like the other blogs we love and admire. Like a kid playing dress up. Abduzeedo also gave us the opportunity to meet a lot of designers, artists and photographers that inspired us, which for me, has been the most invaluable outcome of all. Amazing people like James White, Trey Ratcliff, Vitor Lourenco, Radim Malinic to name only a few. We post about them frequently and we will keep posting about them and anyone that has done something that really moved us. Photo taken by Trey Ratcliff Nowadays, though, things have evolved. The internet is changing, more services are available and sharing inspiration has become much easier than when we started the blog in 2006. I love all of that, however some things are truly disheartening and make me rethink what we do here at Abduzeedo. Things like what happened last Friday when we received a copyright infringement notice from a photographer. We featured a beautiful photo in a post, giving full credit and linking back to the photographer and his work. We also saved the the image on our server for caching and speed issues only. We loved his work, it was on 500px and featured all options of sharing including on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and even an Embed Code. Maybe too used to the idea of sharing and fair usage, we included his image. Unfortunately, we received a series of requests, like removing the content, which we did right away, a demand for public apology, which we more than happily did on the same blog post and a penalty fee. We apologize for featuring his work on our blog. Our one and only goal was to share what inspired us with others. We are truly sorry. After 7 years, as I said, we have been learning by trial and error, just like any other blogger, artist, designer or photographer. If we were able to have success I believe it was because of our hard work, dedication and care to our audience and creative industry. We shared what we learned and what inspired us. But maybe it’s the time to stop. The new year will tell. Meanwhile thank you for visiting the site and apologies once again to those we featured and talked about. You inspired us, but maybe we should have kept that to ourselves.

Is it the end of RSS?

Is it the end of RSS?

The past week was very interesting, we saw big announcements; we have a new Pope, Samsung revealed the new Galaxy 4 and Google killed Google Reader. The last one of these announcements is the one I would like to talk about because it represents and reflects the changing times we are living in right now. Abduzeedo started in 2006, it was the boom of the Web 2.0. Social sites like Slashdot, Digg and Delicious (, Flikr were the king. Twitter was 2 years away from really becoming mainstream and Facebook was still cool. I remember that the most important thing at that time was to have an RSS feed on your website so people could subscribe and receive news automatically. It was like magic. RSS was the most important way to share your content. Apple and Firefox proudly announced that their products could easily subscribe and read RSS feeds. We over at Abduzeedo, were on the same boat, we were fans, and Abduzeedo had to have RSS for everything. RSS Rich Site Summary (originally RDF Site Summary, often dubbed Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format.[2] An RSS document (which is called a "feed", "web feed",[3] or "channel") includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. - Wikipedia Most of our traffic always came from RSS readers, it helped us to spread the blog to more people that kept receiving our new posts. That wasn’t only with Abduzeedo, other blogs were doing the same, especially in the design community. PSDTuts, Smashingmagazine and others were feeding the needs of millions of designers and enthusiasts around the world. It seemed perfect, endless amount of information automatically delivered to your computer. What could be better than that? After almost 7 years a lot of things have changed. Twitter, Facebook and Google+ allied with Flipboard, Feedly, Pulse and other news app became the RSS of this new era. Some of these apps still rely on RSS to get the info and I think that won’t change but what changed was that people are not subscribing to RSS feeds are they used to be. When was the last time you subscribe to a RSS feed, and what was it? Think about that for a second. I believe some people reading the blog won’t even know what RSS is, but that’s the reality. Things keep evolving and so do we, and when Google said that they would shutdown Google Reader, that was those milestones that we have in history. In my opinion RSS will be around for a long time because it’s really simple way, as the name says, to share content. However with phones and tablets, companies are able to deliver the content in much better and more beautiful way, look at Flipboard, Currents and Feedly. The biggest problem for me is that will limit the possibilities to discover new things. We will be always followers of what people curate to us. It’s understandable with the overflow of information, but it’s dangerous because at the end of the day, Abduzeedo and other amazing sites were borne and flourished because Google Reader and other RSS readers. Anyways, I just wanted to share my thoughts about this subject. It’s been a long time since we talked about the blog and how things are changing. We will start doing that more often because once again, more things are changing especially the way people consume design content, but that’s for the next post. What's your opinion about the future of the web and RSS? Share with us.

Introducing the new Abduzeedo

Introducing the new Abduzeedo

Abduzeedo has a new look as you can see, and we spent the last few weeks working not only on the new design but on a series of changes including new server at MediaTemple, upgrading our CMS to Drupal 7 and of course the new design. It was quite stressful for the whole team and I believe for you guys that had to deal with the downtimes. Everything is alright now and we would like to share a little bit of this whole process.There are three important reasons for these changes:SpeedServer/DrupalDesignSpeedSince the beginning of the blog we have been improving the site's speed. We have learned so much about server side configurations and how to make Drupal run fast. We are never satisfied since our last update we were experiencing some weird problems like site going down because of cache. That is terrible because when the content was updated to all the site would go down.We went back to the basics, we hired a specialist in Drupal and server optimization to help us to identify the reasons and the main one was that our Drupal didn't support some more advanced caching systems like Varnish. After mapping those things out we started our migration process.Varnish is an HTTP accelerator designed for content-heavy dynamic web sites. In contrast to other HTTP accelerators, such as Squid, which began life as a client-side cache, or Apache and nginx, which are primarily origin servers, Varnish was designed as an HTTP accelerator. Varnish is focused exclusively on HTTP, unlike other proxy servers that often support FTP, SMTP and other network protocols.Server/DrupalThe process of updating Drupal was going smooth until we hit a major block. Our server wasn't running latest software. We found that out when we switched the versions. The site went down, images weren't loading and of course nobody was happy.We contacted (mt)Media Temple and they were really amazing in providing us support and in a couple of hours we had our new server. The next step was for us to install the caching system we needed.It took us few days setting up and migrating Abduzeedo from one server to the other. But after that we were able to have our "dev" version running so we could tweak things here and there. It was at that time that we decided that we needed a new design.DesignWe are designers and enthusiasts and one of our goals with the blog is always to try different things, to not settle for too long because Abduzeedo is for us a laboratory for that. We love to share what inspires us but also to apply different ideas in the blog skin itself. We changed our design 8 times including this new version and we can surely say that it's not the last time.But why a new design? In the process of updating Drupal and changing servers we saw an opportunity to completely change everything. The only thing that was missing was the design. We were already thinking about that since the last version, so we decided to take the risk.The new design is focus on simplicity once again. We don't have many UI elements, the content is the UI. However we went a little bit further in terms of typography. The site now uses a non-websafe font from Google Web fonts. The font is the Source Sans Pro from Paul D. Hunt. It's a very versatile font with a beautiful light version.Source® Sans Pro, Adobe's first open source typeface family, was designed by Paul D. Hunt. It is a sans serif typeface intended to work well in user interfaces.Another big change is the color scheme. We were using the dark/black scheme for the past 3 years. We really like the dark theme but it's important for us to not settle, the only way to learn is by changing and taking some risks. We also wanted to make the content area of the blog more like a magazine so it would be easy to read on tablets especially.There are a lot of new things we tried in this new design. Here are some features:Big cover image: We wanted to make the experience of visiting Abduzeedo more visual. Not just a grid of images but a big cover image for the home-page and also for the article pages. The downside was the additional scrolling, however we believe scrolling is cheaper today than it used to be. We look at websites like Apple, Nest, Rdio, FastCo Design, Squarespace to identify patterns in terms of design so we could apply to Abduzeedo.Responsive: The blog fits mobile phones, tablets and desktop. We spent a lot of time testing that in order to make the experience in these different medias very pleasant. There are always constraints with that, especially the ads. But we believe we did better than the last time.Footer content: Another area we paid a lot of attention was the footer. The last design had a very cluttered footer, it was useful, but it could be improved. This time we tried to make the sections more distinct and inviting, especially the RAWZ.Bigger: We wanted to make the text light and readable. We are still exploring the typography but we increased our content font in 2pt. It makes the content easier to read and more beautiful to the eye.Little effects: There are some little effects that you might find, we won't list here, but one of our favorites is the parallax effect on the cover image (-webkit only).An evolving project.Abduzeedo will always be a work in progress. It's in our DNA, we need to change and we want to change. We love to design things and with the blog we have freedom to try. We might fail, but the only way to find out is after you try.We really appreciate your feedback and we know that the blog is not ours anymore, but we want you to understand that we, like you, are leaning new things every day and Abduzeedo is an opportunity for us to apply some of these things we learn and share with you.There are bugs, as we said it's still WIP so please let us know if you find issues. We haven't fully tested it in IE 7 and 8, but, if you use one of these browsers, please update them or move to a better browser like Chrome :)

The Importance of Sharing - FITC presentation

We have been talking about sharing and how it's important for designers to share for quite a long time. However, we didn't believe in that when we first started the blog back in 2006. We thought it wouldn't matter or make any difference. Today after these almost 6 years we are very sure that sharing is one of the most important things not only for designers but any kind of professional in this Internet age. We will share here what we presented at the latest FITC event in Amsterdam on why sharing is important. You help others This might sound so obvious and in fact it is. The fact that you are helping someone else would be enough to share more. However there's much more here than you think. By sharing work, you help other people and people feel very thankful for you helping them. You create a powerful bond between you and your audience based on social norms as Dan Ariely mentions on his book Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions . This same audience will spread out your work because they want to share as well. When we keep social norms and market norms on their separate paths, life hums along pretty well. Take sex, for in stance. We may have it free in the social context, where it is, we hope, warm and emotionally nourishing. By sharing you knowledge you will also become more motivated because you want to make sure you are sharing something that useful and worth sharing. You will learn a lot and get more confident When you start sharing your inspiration and your work as we started doing on Abduzeedo, you get extremely motivated and end up finding some many cool new things everywhere. You learn about new designers You learn about server and programming in our case with all the down sizes. You learn to be more efficient and do things faster because you also need some time off. You can learn another language, like most of the writers are not native speakers... that explains all the typos hah! You meet so many amazing people, like because in the end we are an amazing community where everyone tries to do better, evolve and the way we do is by pushing one another through our work. You also get more confident because you put yourself out there. That will be very useful for your designer career in the future, especially when you will have to deal with non-designers when explaining your work. You become more open to feedback As we mentioned before, you will gain by sharing you will learn more and will be more confident. That will make you more open to feedback and criticism. Which is essential for our evolution. We believe that it's only through different points of views and ideas that we can learn. Your learn how to filter constructive criticism from what is just words. "...abduzeedo, sincerely, this design is crap! of all people you should know better, please change it back!...” - comment about our new design. We receive all sorts of comments like the one above, that of course it is useless, but you learn how to not get affected by this type of comment ...To be honest? I like the old theme more than this one. I love new things, but this isn't it... I'm a reader of abduzeedo for the past 2 years. You won't lose me, you come up with interesting posts. Maybe it's just me, I have to accept the theme, dunno. Menu is looking good, but I think there is too less space between the thumbs on the homepage...maybe a bit more margin?” We also receive very good comments, that help us to see things we miss because we are so used about the work we are doing that those details pass unseen. It is the easiest way to promote your work The best way to promote yourself is by sharing. In the beginning we thought that sharing what we know would be used against me in the future because we thought we’d be teaching my enemies. As we’ve said, you learn so much and evolve as a designer but also create an environment where people spread your work and spread your work quickly. In technical terms you will be linked more, and get better SEO, making it much easier to be found. So companies pay a lot of attention about the participation on open source projects when hiring candidates It really shows that your passionate about because you found time to share that. We got some many work just because people knew our work from the tutorials on the blog. We also got the chance to work with clients we never thought we would work for such as Wired Magazine, Adobe, MSNBC and others. It can make a difference in your career and your life The message I want to leave here for you withs this post is that everything we said here today doesn’t apply to us only. Actually we had to lose everything to find that out. And despite the fact we cannot predict the future, we can in some way make it better: by doing your best. by doing your best. by trying to go that little extra when others settle for good enough. and one of the most important things, by sharing what you learn so you can always have other amazing people to push you to become better. Everyone can learn and share more, help more other people and in the end you will be evolving without even noticing. In this day and age it is super easy to do. The resources we have as designers are endless and everything is free, From starting a blog to building a community and create an audience. The only thing you have to do is simply find the time and dedication to follow your passion and make it happen. Think Less and Do More! Open the PDF of this presentation

Abduzeedo New Design: Simple and Responsive

Abduzeedo was created as a personal project. The main goal was to backup work while trying different things not only in the realm of graphic design but also experimenting with new trends in coding and stuff like that. Every year we try to refresh the site with a new design, however this time it took us a bit longer, but alas here it is. It took us a little longer this time because last year we felt it wasn't exactly the right time nor necessary. The site was still performing well but with all the talk about responsive web design we saw an opportunity and a need to get on board with that. As you can see there are quite a few changes not only in terms of visual design, but under the hood as well. We would like to point out 5 major changes: Color palette: After years of a colorful rainbow palette we decided to change. The idea was to create a super simple color palette while maintaining the dark background. So, to have a nice contrast we went with yellow, because there's no better contrast than black and yellow. Typography: We know that typography is the language in it's solid state. Web fonts are expanding with different options from Typekit, Google and many others. We decided to use Google Web fonts because it's super fast and reliable. Our font of choice was Armata. Responsive Design: Using HTML 5 Boilerplate and some Javascript files we made the site responsive for mobile, tablets and desktop. We are working on another version for larger resolutions. So stay tuned. A big thanks to WebdesignerWall for the amazing tutorials and tips. Family of Web sites: We used to keep everything in our Drupal CMS. Now we've launched 2 different sites : "UNEWZ" for user news and "RAWZ" for the daily inspiration submissions. Our goal is make the site even more open to users. Now everybody can submit images and write posts for the Abduzeedo community. We will use these Web sites to source quality content to be featured on the blog. Simple and big: you will notice that the home-page has less text. We hid the description text and made them visible only when you roll over the posts. We are also using bigger thumbs and bigger images in the articles. Abduzeedo is all about inspiration, and nothing like some big images to inspire us. We still have so much to do, designing a web site is, I dare say, an endless project. But that is why it's so much fun. We learn so much and we of course make and will continue to make tons of mistakes. So bear with us. We will be improving this new design on a daily basis. We hope you enjoy it and feel free to share your thoughts with us

Abduzeedo 2010 in Review

Another year has passed, 2010 is about to end and I will try to summarize the year in this post. I think that is a good way to share some experiences so we can learn with each other, as that has been the whole idea of Abduzeedo since the day one. There's also a post at Seth Godin' blog called “#YearInReview What did you ship in 2010?” which motivated me to do the same here in this article. So what did I ship? Well I have to say it’s pretty hard for me to say what I shipped, I could list a bunch of sites I did, freelance projects and presentations I delivered, however I will share with you some things that happened in my life in consequence of the decisions I make in the beginning of 2010, it’s much easier since my whole idea for 2010 was stay on the road as much as I could and meet new people. The last year started with a big change, I decided to go to San Francisco in mid January with the team, which I barely knew them, in order to finish and released their app. It wasn’t an easy decision since I had just come back from another trip and the right thing to do was to settle down a little bit, but I decided to take the plunge. The idea was that we would go and work on that project 24/7 in order to finish it, however I ended up doing much more than working, I’ve visited new places, met people I really admired and made new friends. Meeting New People In another post I wrote called What I have learned after almost 4 years of Abduzeed I mentioned about the importance of traveling in my life. This year I spent 6 months away from home, I haven’t planned none of that the only thing I did was say yes to the opportunities I had and because of that, a whole new series of opportunities were created, and with them new things happened. I had the chance to meet some amazing people, guys like Vitor Lourenço (Designer at Twitter), Everaldo Coelho (Designer at Apple), the mighty James White, Bert Monroy, Trey Ratcliff, Zorana Gee (Adobe), Rodrigo Mazzilli and Divoxx (, Demian Borba and family, Jacob Cass, Francois Hoang (AoiroStudio) and many others. With James White in San Francisco at the FITC Abduzeedo Meetup São Paulo I also had the chance to speak in design conferences and universities in Brazil and USA, which was simply awesome! I am really thankful for that because that led me to a whole new direction in my life and gave me much more motivation to do what I love, and everything only happened because I decided to go to San Francisco even though that decision didn't make much sense back in the day. Future Out goals for 2011 for Abduzeedo are the same as the day one, keep sharing things that inspire us and also share as much as we can about things we learn. We are also increasing our team of contributors with Nathan Weller and Marcos Torres now and others I’m sure in the near future. Besides that we have a big surprise scheduled to May, but we still cannot talk much about it, so stay tune. Another goal for Abduzeedo is a revamp in its design, as you have already seen, I’ve been posting some new designs like the new logo that can give you a hint about the direction we are heading to, so we are going to a much more minimalistic approach in order to focus even more in the content. 2011 Poster Google When I started Abduzeedo 4 years ago I didn’t plan anything, I never imagined it would grew or have the amount of traffic it has today, I did because I love to talk about design and also I had to do something after losing everything in my office’s robbery. Today I can say that what started as a side project has become the biggest promoter of my work changing my life completely. If I hadn’t started the blog I’m sure I would have never gotten the chance to work for the clients I worked, met some people I met and also gotten a job offer from Google. Back to the beginning of this post, lots of things happened in my life in 2010 and with all this things came more decisions to make. One of them was a very important one, that was working for Google. So in 2011 I will be leaving Zee and moving to California where I will be joining Google as Senior Graphic Designer. I'm just waiting for my VISA :) I’m sure this decision I made is just the beginning of a series of new things that will happen in my life and that is what makes life so exciting, I know I will love some and must regret others things that will happen but I will have to go through them in order to learn that. So I'd like to thank all of you for the amazing support you have given to Abduzeedo and I wish you all a fantastic 2011 and don’t be afraid of change, embrace it. Follow your passion but always remember what Barry Schwartz says in his fantastic book The Paradox of Choice: “The secret to Happiness is low expectations.” Happy 2011 to all! 2010 in Images San Francisco Apple Event at Yerba Buena San Francisco @amlight and my new baby, MacBook Pro 17 SSD in Raleigh, NC Photoshop Battle Abduzeedo Porto Alegre Meetup Speech in Canela, RS With Alexandre Keese at Photoshop Conference 2010 in São Paulo Zorana Gee at Photoshop Conference 2010 in São Paulo Pacific Highway 1 Waiting in line to get an iPad After spending the night in line for the iPad launch in San Francisco With Vitor Lourenço at Dennys in San Francisco Visiting Adobe HQ in San Jose, give a little presention over there :) With Vitor Lourenço, Rodrigo Mazzilli and Rodrigo Divoxx Visitng Macworld With the master Bert Monroy Poster of the Photoshop Battle in Porto Alegre, Brasil With my parents in San Francisco With Everaldo Coelho in San Francisco Speech at the Platt College in San Diego, big thanks to Demiam Borba With Francois Hoang in NYC Abduzeedo Meetup in Curitiba, Brazil At the iSeminar in Recife, Brazil San Francisco, the city by the Bay

DesignChat Guest - Kate Bingaman-Burt

This Wednesday, July 28th, DesignChat welcomes Illustrator & Graphic Design Professional Kate Bingaman-Burt — Author of “Obsessive Consumption” and Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University. Bingaman-Burt’s career continues to light-up the DIY, twee-style, & craftism movements with sometimes colorful, but always beautifully-simple, illustrations — illustrations that really capture the feelings behind each image, whether that be guilt, envy, greed or sometimes lust. Think school notebooks full of lovingly-drawn spontaneous sketches. It’s a movement captured by her pen and embodied by current cultural touchstones like ““, “Renegade Craft fair” and “ReadyMade” magazine; a magazine for whom she’s created several headers and titles in her recognizable style. Her other works include illustrating the book “Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design” as well as promotional materials for the documentary of the same title. She continues to teach Graphic Design as an Assistant Professor at Portland State University as she shows her work with artist representation. Her illustration and much of her Obsessive Consumption works are available through 20× an endeavor that’s “making art available for everyone” — worth a look for affordable contemporary artwork you CAN afford. Most importantly, Kate Bingaman-Burt seems to be living and documenting her life as a statement about consumerism. Not really preaching about it, but instead just observing her own consumerism and taking us along for the ride. Screen printing, education efforts, illustrations, zine workshops, and soon-to-be museum exhibits, all seem to hold a mirror up to society. Bingaman-Burt truly embodies the quote “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Join us, and Kate Bingaman-Burt, this Wednesday at 7pm CST here at, for a live video and text chat. We’re already “obsessing” over what to talk about first. Other places to learn about Kate Bingaman-Burt: http://www.20× Limited editions of “Obsessive Consumption” that include an original drawing are available via PayPal from her website for $35 here. Join DesignChat every Wednesday night.

Brian Hoff talks about the redesign of TDC

In this exclusive interview, the designer from Philly, Brian Hoff talks about the redesign of his blog TDC (The Design Cubicle). It will open your eyes to his goals on the redesign, the process on the making and much more that beyond a pretty interface design. For those who don't know him Brian Hoff is a graphic designer from the always-sunny Philadelphia. He collaborate mostly on web design and brand identity, but he's experienced in building all kinds of quality, strategic design, both on the web and in print. Brian recently redesigned his blog The Design Cubicle with changes that made me drop my jaw, the quality of the redesign is intense, with a lot of attention in details I just lovely and satisfying to navigate through the new design. Why did you think a redesign was needed for you blog and when do you think other bloggers should consider working on a redesign? Having started the Design Cubicle almost two years ago, I was more looking for a place to record my thoughts and processes and choose a standard, free Wordpress template which I customized and tweaked at the time. It really didn't reflect my design sensibilities but at the time it served its purpose. However as the blog took off, my work was maturing, and business was growing because of the exposure, it was in dire need of a matured look, reflection of my passion for design and functionality of how the website should look and needs of the readers. This was my first ever blog, so I had a lot of extra elements that did not need to be there and were of no interest to my readers. Blogs should consider redesigns or realignments when things need to be polished matured or just all around updated for the better of functionality. Also, you should pay close attention to your readers and the purpose of the blog and bring the focus and design to those elements. When I started my redesign process, I kept seeing my designs turning out similar to the "more traffic driven" blogs, which I feel are often flooded with too many ads, buttons, widgets, and other distractions. My focus was to bring back the attention to what people visit my site for: to read, learn and interact. What was the goal of the redesign? It sort of touched base with this question above, however the functionality was most important when considering my redesign was placing emphasis back on the content and improving readability and experience. I wanted to redesign to reflect my design sensibilities, which are heavily inspirited by print design, typography, and small detail. I also wanted to focus on sharing more valuable, quality information from others by adding the new Notebook section, which replaced my weekend round-up called "Sweet Tweets." I now update the Notebook "on-the-fly" and mostly everyday as I discover a great, informative article or resource. Tell us about the process of making this happen, how did you turn this idea into reality and how long did it take? The entire process started about a year ago which underwent countless revisions and restarts. I even put it aside for a few months to let my thoughts digest. The color palette was inspired by a book cover I saw while browsing a book store in Princeton, New Jersey. Also, I wanted to replace the old logo with more of a masthead to reflect a more editorial sense of the site. The detail surrounding the outer edges of the content area (the cross-hatching pattern) was inspired by a neighbors fence and how the grates interlaced one another in a rounded fashion. I decided to remove a lot of sidebar clutter and focus more on important elements such as, social media, work availability and navigating around the site. This decision was based on analytical research by discovering what my visitors were clicking on the most. What was the biggest challenge you faced while creating the redesign? The biggest challenge was knowing that I wanted to go a bit different from the standard, redundant blog aesthetics / layouts / etc. While I could have went with the easy route and took a similar approach (many of my earlier renditions took this approach), I wanted to push my own boundaries and levels of where I would like to see my work. Challenging because it can be a bit nerve-racking knowing that because something that is often "unfamiliar" might not be approved of by others. In the end, the amount of positive feedback I received was overwhelming though, so it helped to later calm the nerves. The details on the new design are incredible, in which part of the process do you start applying these details and how important you think they are for the overall result? The tiny detailing was held off until the vary end mostly. I fully attest to the small details that make a huge difference. Other's work I admire always have the right details in the right places that take a good design and make it great. Paying attention to minor details often helps to push your work over the edge, although it's important to note that sometimes too much attention to detail can do the exact opposite. Finding the right balance is the science behind the art form. You are a typography lover and as we can see the new design has some typography improvements with the use of fonts from TypeKit. Why did you decided to go with that and how did you select these typefaces? I'm a huge supporter of what the folks over a Typekit are doing. Coming from a traditional print design / fine arts background, typography was always a passion of mine and for a while always felt restricted on the web. There are so many type foundries out there with beautiful, quality and suitable typefaces and it's amazing to see companies like Typekit and Fontdeck supporting this. The font used for the body copy, FF Dagny Web, was selected based on readability mostly. It works extremely well at very small sizes, renders extremely smooth since it was reformatted for specific use and legibility on screens, plus it went well with the rest of the type on the page. I, along with friends Trent Walton and Dave Rupert, spent a few hours one day going back and forth with a few different options deciding which worked the best. In the end, Dagny was the best fit. The result of the redesign is simply beautiful, and the new look has been on for a few weeks. How was the acceptance by the viewers and looking back would you change anything? To be honest, the amount of positive criticism has be astounding – much beyond my expectations – and I am extremely humbled by all of it. Site's that I admire, such as Unmatched Style, Cameron Moll's website, and Web Standardistas, all shared really kind feedback and praise, while the amount of comments on my 'Launch post' was all well taken in for the most part. I've also received good word on Twitter and email that the Notebook section is a new favorite, so that makes me extremely happy as well. It's great to be able to easily share other valuable information with my readers. From a direct standpoint, I guess I can say the acceptance has been mostly positive. From an evaluation standpoint, It appears that I am receiving more visitors and more importantly, more comments per post than previously. [I think] it's due to placing emphasis back on the content and having the number of comments butting out on the left side helps to draw more attention and encourage participation. Beyond the good, my readers have also provided me with valuable feedback, such as adding a 'Back to top' link (in the back bottom footer). One thing I recently changed is the wording of the blue 'Contact me' link at the top (used to read 'Email'). I've probably received around 10–15 emails with a link to my article and nothing else. It appears that some were getting confused and thinking the 'Email' link would email the reader my article for future reading / reference. I've since changed it to read 'Contact me' and it seems to be taken for what it is now. Thank you Brian for taking the time to for this interview and keep up the great work! Here are some exclusive screenshots from the previous design and the new design with the process in between. Old Design Process of Redesigning Process of Redesigning Process of Redesigning Final and current Design Now make sure to check out The Design Cubicle

Public Question: Dealing with Creative Block

This post is part of our new series of articles in which we will be answering questions related to design, inspiration and creative process sent by our readers via email. If you have any questions, let us know. Send them via email to with Public Questions as subject. Question What is your top recommendation for avoiding uninspiration in graphic design as a job? Amanda Macedo Avoid having days too rigidly planned. I hate routine and try to steer from it as much as I can. Of course that's not always a realistic goal, but I think it's important to dedicate some time whenever possible to doing nothing and letting your mind wander. You'll come to find that often times that's when creativity flows best and you'll be most inspired. I get hit with the best ideas when I'm in the shower. Try it. Be active in the design community. Sharing links and discussing ideas is vital to being constantly inspired. Load up your Twitter feed with designers and bloggers and engage them in conversation. If not that, then simply listen to what they have to say and the interesting things they share. You're connected to so many people on the Internet; take advantage of it. Subscribe to RSS feeds. This is probably your best bet to avoid being uninspired. I often start off my day with a cup of coffee, a poptart, and a solid hour going through my Google reader. These mornings make all the difference because they get my creative juices flowing. Also: use Feedly (thanks, boyfriend). Surround yourself with passionate creative people. My social circle once consisted of people with a wide range of interests and hobbies. While this in part is great because it opens you to different things and new ideas, it can also at times be a little discouraging because you have no one to fuel your passion or talk design over coffee with. Get out and meet new people! (Keep your old friends too. Nobody likes a fickle friend…) Fabiano Meneghetti I believe it's really important to have good design briefing about what will have to be done, either for a client's project or personal. If we can get as much details as possible about the project and expectations it will be easier to achieve the goals and the best result. Besides that a good search for references for inspiration, sketches on paper, which is faster and easier to make some ideas come true, and experimentation will definitely help you to overcome the lack of inspiration. Another thing I believe is really important is a good workspace, with nice music playing and that you feel comfortable, that definitely makes a lot of difference because makes you want to stay in there working and will help you get inspired :) Fabio Sasso I talked a little bit about that in my last post in wich I share my thoughs on creativity and design process. In my opinion the most important thing before starting anything is talk with the client, ask as many questions as possible about the project and the target audience. That will give you the clues to search for inspiration. The same goes for personal projects, ask yourself what you want to do and have a clear idea in your mind, then stick to it otherwise you will be having cool ideas all the time and none of them will turn into real results, you will get frustrated and that's not good. I also believe that we need to have a good set of skills and visual references so we can automatically start brainstorming ideas. That comes from art and design books, magazines, movies and the web. Inspiration is everywhere, as cheesy as it might sound it is totally true, the secret is how to find the right now. Image inspired by the movie Clash of the Titans Another thing I do when after a few hours working on a project and not getting satisfied with the results is stop everything and go to the GYM or to run a few miles. That really helps me to freshen up my mind and ideas. Most of the times I will get some answers or new ideas. Paulo Gabriel I think one must avoid all preconceived notions on the subject you're designing for. You must be set free of these strings, so that your design is not tendentious. Along with that, it's important to learn the subject and see it as an insider. Your answer We really want to hear from you as well and we believe that sharing opinions and knowledge is the best way to evolve not only as individuals but the whole industry, so please, leave a comment with your answer for the question above. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Thoughts on Creativity and Design Process

I will start this post off by saying that everybody is creative and for some that might come as a surprise, but I believe in the idea of creativity as a means of solving problems; the easiest and most efficient way possible. When I say easy I'm referring to the timeframe that it takes to complete the task, and efficient to how well received the work is from the target audience. But the question is what to do when we cannot come up with any good idea or the so terrified creative block. The creative process is something unique because it’s personal, we cannot teach someone how to come up with ideas but we can learn how to organize our thoughts in order to make our ideas easier to achieve in the form of a good design. At least in my opinion and let me explain why. Overflow of Inspiration We are bombarded with information all day long and even when we are sleeping we might dream and have ideas and therefore inspiration. That is good in terms of having lots of resources available but it’s really bad as well because with that amount of information it’s pretty hard to make a decision. That’s why I believe that our decisions have to be made with goals in mind and these goals alongside with a clear idea of our target audience will help us filter this avalanche of ideas and inspiration. ...designers give form to products, interiors, and visual communications, and satisfy the functional, psychological, and aesthetic needs of users... Create Constraints In order to overcome this problem it’s really important to define some constraints. If we have too much freedom again it’s hard to make a decision because it tends to fall to our personal opinion and we can't rely that everybody will like the same things we do. The book Making Ideas Happen covers this topic really well saying that in a specific research with designers, they were much more productive when they had more constraints in a project than those who had more freedom. My suggestion to creating these constraints is to fall back to the importance of having a good design briefing before starting any sketch or firing up the computer. Talk with the client, try to understand exactly what you have to do and for whom you will do it. That is key. Before starting anything I asked all questions I had and defined the constraints, that made the whole process a lot easier Try, try and try some more I've already said this in some speeches I gave, but it’s true. The only way to come up with something cool is by trying, testing, and evolving ideas. If you just wonder and never do, you will have nothing to evolve upon. It’s like the fear of the blank page. Once you start adding things to it, it's not that complicated anymore…it’s all about playing with the elements, right? Or like the inertia principle, once we get the object moving it’s hard to stop. When I was in college I had an amazing professor and he used to make us sketch at least 150 variations for a logo project, he used to say that the first ideas we have are always based on something we saw and it’s already known and popular, that’s why we did it. Only after we run out of ideas is when we will start innovating. Delivering I tend to think that the next idea will always be better, which in reality most of the times is and that’s why I had so many projects that were never finished. As I mentioned in the last post we have external factors that might make us unsure and insecure of our ideas. Now, I believe that we have to think of design as an evolving process that means once we have an idea and have gone through the creative process with the right constraints and we know that we did our best we must deliver. Once we deliver we can start thinking on improving upon it. Seth Godin mentions that he is successful because he delivers more while other people keep postponing the delivering in order to finish a master piece which might never happen. He also talks about the last minute questions before delivering what he calls the Lizard Brain calling. Amazing talk about delivering by Seth Godin You don't need to be more creative, all of you are too creative.... what you need is a quiter lizard brain... - Seth Godin" Creating something is always exciting, and having ideas is super easy that is why I am sure that everybody is extremely creative. Now the secret of success is making these ideas come true. The most comforting thing is that we start a project with at least 50% chance to succeed without even doing anything. Now try to imagine if we give it our best, how much that percentage would chance in our favor. Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Question? We want to hear from you!

Lately we've been talking a lot about ways we can get closer to you, the readers and members of our community. A few weeks ago we did our very first livestream, which might have lacked a bit in organization since it was, after all, our first go at it, but hopefully you guys enjoyed it as much as we did. We hope to incorporate these streams into our regular schedule to give you guys some insight into why we do what we do and to let you get to know us a little bit more. In efforts to further bring us closer to you, we've decided to start a weekly installment of posts in which we will answer one question you might have per post. We receive a lot of emails with your questions, and often times most are the same. By publicly posting and answering these questions directly on the blog, it helps not only you but also others seeking similar answers. Realizing that most of your questions are opinion-based, instead of offering you one straight answer, each one of us will give you an individual answer based on our own unique experiences. So, if you have a question, we want to hear from you! Send your questions to with "Public Questions" as the subject and every Tuesday you'll get an answer.

What I have learned after almost 4 years of Abduzeedo

It’s been almost 4 years since I started Abduzeedo and my life has changed in ways I could never imagine. In particular when it comes to meeting new people and learning new things. Because of the blog and its visibility around the world, I have been invited to talk at many universities and conferences worldwide. I'll be the first to admit that I am far from being a good public speaker, but to get an opportunity like that is really cool. I'm always learning from these experiences, and that in itself is awesome enough. When I ask people what they want me to talk about at these events they always say, "Talk about how you made the blog popular", or "Talk about how you make money from the blog". That leads me to think that all everybody wants is fame and money. Well… what else might you want? I can tell you one thing, if you do something just because of the money and the fame it’s pretty hard to get both because your decisions are made based on this logic and by this logic we sometimes close doors to greater good. There's this really good book by Malcolm Gladwell called Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. It talks about this: Gladwell's conclusion, after studying how people make instant decisions in a wide range of fields from psychology to police work, is that we can make better instant judgments by training our mind and senses to focus on the most relevant facts—and that less input (as long as it's the right input) is better than more. Perhaps the most stunning example he gives of this counterintuitive truth is the most expensive war game ever conducted by the Pentagon, in which a wily marine officer, playing "a rogue military commander" in the Persian Gulf and unencumbered by hierarchy, bureaucracy and too much technology, humiliated American forces whose chiefs were bogged down in matrixes, systems for decision making and information overload. But if one sets aside Gladwell's dazzle, some questions and apparent inconsistencies emerge. If doctors are given an algorithm, or formula, in which only four facts are needed to determine if a patient is having a heart attack, is that really educating the doctor's decision-making ability—or is it taking the decision out of the doctor's hands altogether and handing it over to the algorithm? Still, each case study is satisfying, and Gladwell imparts his own evident pleasure in delving into a wide range of fields and seeking an underlying truth. Why do I bring this up? I have some examples in my life that might enlighten you further. The Robbery In 2006 I was just a graphic and web designer doing my best to deliver good quality work. I noticed that the blogosphere was getting bigger and that this social media thing was the future. But I always had some excuse to not get into it…usually external factors such as, I don’t have time for such a thing, or nobody will pay attention to what I say, or there are guys much better than I. My brother had a blog back in those days and he kept asking me why I didn’t and that I should start one. I was very stubborn until something happened. Towards the end of November 2006 my office was robbed and with that I lost my laptop and backup disks. That was a key factor that led me to start Abduzeedo. This whole thing made me forget those excuses and simply do something…which is exactly what I did. First logo I learned that sometimes we have to think less and do more, because when we have too much information it’s pretty hard to make a decision. And also, this information might suffer the influence of other people’s opinions as well. Doing what I love helped me improve my skills Because of the blog some great opportunities started appearing. One in particular helped me to evolve a lot: writing for PSDTUTS. When Collis invited me I accepted on the spot and was pretty happy about it, but when I talked to some friends they always asked, "You're going to write tutorials for a competitor?" Well, I didn’t even think about it that way. I just wanted a motivator to push me to explore and learn more about Photoshop. Plus, they were also paying me for those tutorials, so that was amazing. I learned Photoshop so much in those days and it was so much fun. I loved writing those tutorials especially trying to simplify effects and share with the community. Writing for PSDTUTS turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done for Abduzeedo. After the few months I wrote for them the traffic on Abduzeedo grew considerably and besides that, more people got to know me. As a result, I was invited to write for magazines and other publications as well. Digital Arts Tutorial Traveling Well this is something that doesn’t make much sense at first, so let me explain. In 2008 I decided that I would go to the US for the summer. I told my business partner, Fabiano Meneghetti and he understood and totally supported me. However some people thought I was crazy simply leaving my company here and going out there. Even though I thought it was the right thing to do, those bad comments got me thinking and sometimes made me a bit unsure and insecure about my decision. Nevertheless, I went. After those 3 months in the US I got the chance to meet so many people, and even got a job which ended up paying for all my traveling expenses. But the most important thing was that I learned so much from that experience. I also was able to improve a little bit of my english with the help of my amazing cousin Amanda Macedo AKA @amlight. The same happened in my other trips, and in the last one it was no different. I had just gotten back to Brazil when some guys invited me to join them in this new venture: an american startup with a mobile platform project. So, we went to San Francisco. While planning the trip I was kind of scared after looking at rent prices. Nevertheless, I went…again. And thank God I did. Going to San Francisco was incredible and once again the experience I had was gold. If I had stayed here and done the right thing in terms of logic, I never would have visited Adobe and talked about my work to the Photoshop engineers or shaken hands with Russ Brown. I never would have met Trey Ratcliff and seen him speak at Google, or hang out with Vitor Lourenço one of the mighty designers behind Twitter. Rodrigo Mazzilli (, Vitor Lourenço (Twitter) and I at Twitter HQ With Bert Monroy, the master of the masters :) As you can see a lot happens when you make a decision. Of course there’s always a downside. Nothing after-all is perfect. Life would be boring otherwise. Also, everything takes time. It’s sort of like planting…you'll never get results right away, because you need to get experience, learn and be prepared. We have to persist if we believe in what we’re doing. At least it was like that with Abduzeedo. It took over one year for the results to start appearing. I believe the most important thing in life is to do what you like and make decisions based on your own opinion and not based on what other people think. I know that's pretty much what Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech at Stanford and it makes so much sense. Or perhaps it makes more sense now after these almost 4 years of blogging, because that is the most important thing I have learned. In other words, put yourself out there, have passion, confidence, and persistence. Recommended reading Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose Rework Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Garage Project by IdeaFixa

IdeaFixa is a super cool Brazilian project based on collaboration of visual artists to promote ideas, talents, initiatives and professionals for all the creative fields: Photography, Design, Arts, Illustration, animation, 3D and others. So, IdeaFixa and Inesplorato are launching a new project called Garage Project. About the Project Garage Project is really cool initiative to encourage us, artists and designers, to do and promote our personal projects. Pretty much all ideas or sketches that are authentic and innovative will be accepted. For more information visit IdeaFixa inspiration

2010: A Creative Year

Another year is closing and a new one is on the way. The start of every new year is filled with planning and goals for the next 365 days that follow. It's not any different for me. I have some crazy resolutions for the next 12 months, and I believe 2010 will be a creative year. One for the books. I was reading some articles online. One in particular was a really interesting post by Mike Kuz (one of my favorite designers) for called a New Year’s resolution, where he talks about trying more and not limiting yourself to the web when designing for the web. “A key factor in creating something original and fresh for the web is to stop thinking in terms of web design. The first thing we need to do is forget the notion of headers, footers, side bars etc. A website doesn’t necessarily need any of these, so even before we’ve started we’ve already limited our design possibilities by thinking in these very conventional and generally accepted web terms.” - Mike Kuz Besides reading articles I love listening to podcasts when I’m running. I've listened to some really great ones, but there's two in particular that I want to mention. The first is from the IA Summit 09 called Creating Magic Kingdoms: User Experience Lessons from Disney’s Imagineers by Mike Atherton. Mike talks about passion when doing something and how that helps us to achieve our goals. He uses Disney and their engineers or as he calls them- "Imagineers" as an example. It’s very motivating with great insights about the importance of trying and believing in what you’re doing. “Our greatest asset was ignorance. We didn’t know we could fail” - Marty Sklar, Imagineer. You can see the slides and listen to the podcast below. The second podcast that I found useful was a great episode from the SpoolCast, podcast from the by the mighty Jared Spool, called Innovation Beyond the Buzzword. It was an interview with Scott Berkun and he talked about the meaning of the word innovation and how we can bring it into our projects. The part that I enjoyed the most was the discussion about how to be creative. He says that everyone is creative but somehow we deny that because it is something very particular of each person, there’s no right or wrong, but instead only points of views. We simply don’t want to expose ourselves or get into discussions or arguments about our thoughts and we end up choosing the logic fields like math or science where there’s one right answer. “True innovation starts with you allowing yourself to be creative and recording your ideas religiously in a safe place like a notebook or sketchpad. Don’t self-censor, either. Initial precision and “getting it right” are the antithesis of creativity. It’s essential to let the ideas flow, and your ideas will improve as you continue to record them. Your journal is an incubator of ideas. Not every idea will be a success, and some will be terrible! But Scott says that’s OK. When an opportunity for change arises, you’ll have a treasure trove of ideas to pick though.” They go on to talk about the importance of group trust when you have an idea because that's what's necessary in making the idea come true. This leads to one of the most important topics for us designers that is how to provide useful feedback, or honest and constructive criticism among teams and individuals. “Good critiques take practice and trust within your team. This usually requires time and commitment.” - Scott Berkun I highly recommend that you listen to this episode. You can do so below Great design by Glennz, one of the most creative t-shirt designers out there. Glennz simply plays and tries different concepts for well known things like this one. When I said in the beginning of the text that 2010 would be a creative year I meant that the best way to be creative is practicing and exercising creativity. There was a time where I believed that good ideas would come out of the blue. I later found out that there's always a lot of thought involved. Nobody simply comes up with a good idea if there's not a problem to solve, a question to ask, or a desire to fulfill. I want to propose that we all make 2010 a great and creative year by sharing our knowledge and not being afraid of experimenting. Let’s be less critical about the outcome of our experiments and more cheerful about our discoveries in the learning process and the evolution path in the design skills. That's what's most important after all.