Michael Arestad: Open Source Everything


Howdy designers! I’m sure it has been drilled into you, over and over again, that you need to watermark your images, add copyrights to your website, and guard your secrets like a national treasure. After all, who knows what would happen if neither you nor your client owned the rights to your creations? Other people might copy you and make potentially hundreds of dollars off of your hard work. Well, you know what? That’s entirely possible; and for certain clients, make sure you do just that.

However, I’m proposing an alternative route that just might change your life in the best ways if you decide to take the leap. Your clients will also benefit from a different way of thinking.

Open source as much as you can get away with.

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Carl & Elena Schrónez: Things We’ve Learned From Telling Others’ Stories


Back in 2009, I discovered that the world wasn’t all the same. Surprise! Yes, this was a realization for me. Sadly, but truthfully, I believed that race and socioeconomic status were the only things that gave the world its organization. I am African-American, so I knew diversity was a good thing, but I only understood it on a topical level. Partially, this belief is a result of growing up in a small town with my entire, insanely large family living blocks away from each other. I had no reason to think that people lived outside of this perspective. The other cause for my belief is that mainstream media often reinforces this same idea. Nevertheless, it may have taken me a while, but I got it — the world is diverse. Also sad but true, there are many people that still haven’t had this “epiphany” yet. The capacity for infinite variation in humans is what made me start to tell their stories, especially those of people who were creatively using their unique perspectives and passions to construct new opportunities and new lives for themselves. Read More

Bob Baxley: Don’t Judge. Just Observe.

Bob Baxley

I find myself in the elevator of the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Seattle, where for the second year in a row, I’m attending a week-long video game tournament with my teenage son — last year at his request, this year at mine. We stop at the second floor, the doors open, and in walk two twenty-somethings looking much like somebody you would expect to attend a week-long video game tournament. That they’re wearing their entrance badges is also a hint. Read More

Olatokunbo Fagbamigbe and JR Kanu on Proprietary Design vs Conscientious Design


Our plan for this article was to showcase unique aspects of Nigerian design and how these aspects informed the contemporary design of products, processes, and structures of Nigerian society today. First off, we struggled. We then decided to poke about the history books. Maybe there was something there we’d missed. Our expedition led us to happenings in the 12th to 15th centuries, the pinnacle of the brass arts in our country’s history. During this period, a lot of brass work was designed in the Ife and Benin Kingdoms. These works of art are now on display in museums around the world, most notably, the British National Museum. What’s more, these and other amazing feats of Nigerian creativity are at risk of being lost forever. Read More

Alice Rawsthorn on Design and Choice

Coming Soon: On April 21, join a free, online conversation with design and technology leaders about the people and groups that we sometimes exclude, and the need to create products and services that welcome them. More information at x.design.blog

Alice Rawsthorne, by Michael Leckie

Alice Rawsthorne, by Michael Leckie

When Aimee Mullins turned 16, she was given a new pair of lower legs. Made from woven carbon fiber, they were lighter and stronger than the wood-plastic compound prostheses she had worn until then, as well as easier to put on, less painful to wear, and less likely to fall off. But they were also designed to be worn by all genders, and coated in thick foam that came in just two colours: “Caucasian” and “Not Caucasian”. Read More

Jessica Helfand: Design and Precedent

Jessica Helfand, by John Dolan

Jessica Helfand, by John Dolan

Earlier this summer, an internet gimmick surfaced on social media where people randomly posted their first seven jobs. Implicitly, this meant that you had to be old enough to have held seven jobs in the first place (a fact that eliminated pretty much anyone under forty). Nevertheless, referencing these forgotten anecdotes quickly became a kind of sport: what emerged was a combination of irreverence (famous people divulging they’d once been interns) and insouciance (less famous people declaring they’d only ever been interns), all of which produced a surprising result. Read More