Continued from Trend vs. Timeless – Back to the Basics

On my quest to re-visit the basics of design, resonant constants appear at every turn. I hadn’t expected that a refresher of the elements and principles would, at the core again and again, circle back to how people see, the way they think, and how we read. I didn’t even realize I had lost sight of this! But now that I’m reminded, I find myself consciously weighing the implications every day.

In my first blog I was drawing a lot of circles reading You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler. And yes it’s been 30 days but unfortunately I’ve been a bad student and still can’t draw. I found myself more caught up in the whys than the hows! The book illustrates how to create the illusion of depth in drawings – how people see. It’s a great read and if you want to learn to draw, I highly recommend it.

Part of the time I was supposed to be drawing I was reading The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman. Its’ principles sparked my current obsession with interaction. Affordances, signifiers, mapping, feedback and the advantage we can strike with a balance of interplay between knowledge in the world and in the head. Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence says of it, Design may be our top competitive edge. This book is a joy – fun and of the utmost importance.

I’ve just started a short read, Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. The focus is more specific to Team 218s Web Services and emphasizes Web Usability. And right next to it, just waiting to have a hint of coffee oops on its new pages, is Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. (Yes I’m one of the tactile, let’s say mature generation, who still buys books)

Ahhh, the homestretch to Spring… Happy sunsets AFTER we get off work to all the other eight-to-fivers who’ve been missing the light of day!