Mad Quickies

Mad Quickies: A Brief Quest for Good Reads for Designers

I was thinking recently about how there is a fair amount of design writing that just ticks me off. A lot of it—even if informative—can be condescending, obvious, cloying, clique-ish and/or downright insufferable. I wonder: is this just my bad attitude? Have I not had enough delicious coffee today? Should I look into this?

Yes. Yes I should.

So I made a point to wade out into the internet to find some sites I hadn’t visited before or writers I hadn’t read.

And I found some things.


Personal essay with a nod to the giants

When the World Was Young
by Sean Adams

This captured my interest and I felt like Adams was telling a story I understood. Maybe it’s because I’m a designer of a certain age? At any rate, I could easily relate. I like his tone and I would read more of his work.

“I would like to say that I did my best work in my twenties and now have matured into a stable approach. But, the opposite might be true. I don’t know yet. I’ll decide that when I’m 80. We look at young designers and assign a set of values to them: rebellious, energetic, vibrant, and breaking new ground. We assign values to designers over 40: leaders, maintaining the status quo, stable, and stalwart. Like most generalizations, these don’t apply to all.”

The all-too-brief essay is followed by a cool scroll of the old guard and recognizable works. Very cool.



An industrial design statement

Getting Warmer: The Evolution of Human-Centered Hardware
by someone at frog*

Surprisingly, frog design—which has been around for years—had this brief, insightful ,pleasant post.

“By looking back through the evolution of personal technology, we can see that hardware is most definitely getting warmer, softer and more human-centered.”

*No attribution. I can only think that frog is some kind of communal hivemind. Pond. Lilypad borg I don’t know


A surprisingly good project that doesn’t annoy me from a brand that usually does.

Lacoste swaps famous crocodile logo for ten endangered species
by Daphne Milner

The only reason this made it into this list is this:
“The money of each sale will be donated to the species’ conservation.”

[It was heartening to see something about saving endangered animals while the Trump administration savages the planet.]



Apparently, Los Angeles is [or was] looking for a designer using a method that is being hailed as hilarious.

– – –loud buzzer sound– – –

Maybe I’d think this is funny or noteworthy on another day but I don’t think so. There are so many layers to this that are dumb but just consider this: the whole Comic Sans thing is funny out there, but among designers? It’s such a hackneyed bit that I cannot abide it.

Moving along…


Esoteric type talk meets timely political commentary

Fact magazine covers
Stark typography to deliver stark criticism in the politically charged 1960s.
Contributed by Nick Sherman on May 17th, 2017. Artwork published in January 1964.

Good stuff, man.


Then I went to

Now look- I have nothing against them. And I still get their newsletter. But I stayed away for a while because they revamped their site to the point that it was unreadable. I mean, a total nightmare. Clearly someone got my memo because now I can at least navigate it without having to explain to Marco T. Cat that I’m not mad at him and mommy’s yelling for reasons beyond his control.

Unfortunately everything was on the verge of being off-putting and 99% of all the images on the front page were dudes so no links for you today,


A step in a positive direction

Help us Move the Needle on gender equality
by Marcus Fairs, editor-in-chief at Dezeen

This brief call-to-action, although written by a guy, rings true. In fact, Fairs takes the heat for a gender-parity-in-architecture discussion at an event with an all-male panel.

It was… encouraging.


When in doubt, I look to Louise.

What I mean to say is, I had had it by this time. There is a LOT out there about design and designers but posts that don’t burn my toast aren’t in the majority.

So I ended my quest today gazing at the work of one of my heroes, the divine Louis Fili.

Take look at Fili’s

Follow her on

Ahhhhh much better.


Featured image:
“Cipe Pineles, Seventeen magazine cover, 1949″







Geologic Universe, vault-keeper. Sheer Brick Studio, principal. Empty Set, designer. Bethlehem Mounties, media. WDIY 88.1FM NPR station programmer. Skepchick.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Check Also
Back to top button