Samantha Zhang on Crafting Design Systems for Big Data

Tailoring design for one dataset is easy — designing a system that works for all datasets is much more difficult. As we enter this era of big data, we face a critical challenge: how do we create more robust, scalable designs that can adapt to different content inputs and edge cases?

That’s exactly the kind of system that we’ve been building at Graphiq — a system that powers more than 10 billion embeddable visualizations on 700 topics, generating more than 300 million impressions per month on the websites of some of the world’s largest publishers. Read More

Valerie Casey on Transforming Creative Bias Into Power


In May of this year, I prototyped Creative Power Dayan experiment to show young people that strengthening their creative muscles would make them better at everything they tried—from schoolwork, sports, and the arts, to being better friends now and being stronger leaders in the future. We engaged more than 500 students aged 10-14 in 22 classrooms in the US, Canada, Iceland, and Ireland. The workshops were facilitated by trained volunteers and included hands-on activities and discussion designed to build three essential creative muscles:

  1. Seeing connections between disparate concepts
  2. Developing an openness to new ideas
  3. Building resilience through experimentation

Read More

Phillip Tiongson on Design, Filipino Tennessean Style



Photo by Winston Struye

My experience being Filipino American Designer right now (and this literally happened to me last night):

New Person: “So, where are you from?”
Me: “I’m from Tennessee.”
New Person: “Oh, really? Huh… (awkward pause) but…”
Me: “But, yes I was born and raised here, so I’m American, but, yeah, my parents are from the Philippines. They came to be the doctors of a rural town, and had me there.”
New Person: “Oh, the Philippines! I was wondering…” Read More

Jongmin Kim on Embracing ‘the Essence of Programming’


I see myself as a designer/developer hybrid. As a developer, I used Flash for the past five years to build interactive websites. Currently, I am a Senior UX Engineer at Google and mainly use HTML5 and Javascript. A few aspects of my professional philosophy were of great assistance in my transition from Flash to HTML5.

First, I tried to develop my own skillset and not merely focus on Flash. A lot of people are proficient in Flash, but not many can use it to create attractive designs. Instead of trying to become an expert in Flash, I tried to become a designer that could create quality output with great design, animation, transitions, and user interaction. Thus, my focus was on the content and not the platform. The technologies demanded by the market constantly change, so I thought it would be dangerous to depend on a single technology. Flash would someday become obsolete, and I wanted to develop a unique set of abilities that would not become outdated. These abilities allowed me thrive when creating things with HTML5. Read More

Jessie Shefrin On Critical Making

Making is a Kind of Thinking and Thinking is a Kind of Making


Photo by Justine Hand

When the ground shifts, the next chapter begins. Making things can expand one’s understanding of what it means to be human. Once, I made a series of drawings with my eyes closed that terrified me. After much consideration, I decided to continue working on them. Finding the vehicles for exploring the edges of your experiences can be a way of transforming thinking into practice. Change is inevitable, adaptation is optional. Read More

Ian Bogost: Play Anything


As a game designer, I’m often asked what designers of all stripes can learn from games. Games, after all, appear to be magical objects. Dark ones, even. From Tetris to World of Warcraft, games have an uncanny ability to lure players in. Once hooked on a game, people will spend nearly endless time pursuing bizarre and arbitrary goals—like navigating configurations of four squares in a grid to remove lines. Meanwhile, it’s almost impossible to get those very same users to spend more than a few seconds with an app, an experience, or a gizmo before they abandon it in disgust or boredom, never to return again. Read More

Kyna Leski on the Storm of Creativity

Processed with VSCO with s5 preset

Photo by Ira Garber

I wrote the The Storm of Creativity from the inside, from my observations as an architect, an artist, student and teacher. It is about the workings of the creative process, the cycles within cycles that bring about creative discovery.  By “workings” I mean stages of a process one navigates in knowing, making, or discovering something that does not yet exist. These stages are not really something one can schedule or impose externally or follow as a recipe; rather, they are stages one experiences internally. Even though a stage may quietly commence internally for the creator of a work, it can be empowering or debilitating. Simply put, the creative process is bigger than you. It is like a storm that slowly begins to gather and take form until it overtakes you — if you are willing to let it. Read More

Amy Whitaker on Art Thinking: Where Creativity and Commerce Intersect

amy whitaker by sheiva rezvani

Amy Whitaker, by Sheiva Rezvani

In 2004, Daniel Pink declared in the Harvard Business Review that the MFA was the new MBA. That same year, I graduated from an MFA in painting program at the Slade School of Fine Art—after already having an MBA.

Having an MFA and MBA as of 2004 made me somewhat exotic. But what was surprising was to realize how intertwined creativity and commerce actually are for all of us. Read More