1. How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer

    How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer

  2. Marcel Duchamp Étant Donnés — Manual of Instructions

    Marcel Duchamp Étant Donnés — Manual of Instructions

  3. it is what it is
What’s your deliverable? It’s a common question, as crass as it is self-evident. We deliver Design…24/7. But it’s a strange word – deliverable – with so many embedded assumptions. Someone else demands, requires, needs, wants, and ultimately pays (or doesn’t), but we always deliver. The verb makes sense, it’s the noun that’s the problem: what is this thing we are handing over? On most business forms, Graphic Design is listed under Service Industries, so that much is clear: we deliver service. We service people, people in need of…design. Okay, so maybe it’s not so clear after all. Perhaps the problem is in the shifting definition of the design object. The material nature of the design object keeps slipping over the course of a project and from project to project, client to client, year to year, generation to generation. A graphic design project starts out as a relationship, transforms into a process of loose analysis and more-or-less insightful speculation, then enters into a practically autistic phase of visual generation, followed by a synthesis of speculation and experimentation that morphs into a purely computational and mechanical production – accomplished with or without the involvement of any number of outside trades – and finally emerges in the world through a complex of socialization and acculturation that includes publicity, public relations, distribution, retailing, advertising, focus testing, and criticism. Some version of this process is applied to everything: from high art to low commerce, from the intellectual to the banal, from the edifying to the disingenuous. And the process may be interrupted at any point – in ways both positive and negative – by collaborators, authors, editors, clients, vendors, users, lawyers, censors, and politicians, all demanding modifications that range from the minor to the catastrophic. Add into the mix that the studio is comprised of thirty headstrong individuals engaged in multiple, overlapping projects – all utterly out of sync – concerning wildly different subjects, players, timelines, technologies, audiences, budgets and geographic locations. On top of that, designers have their own private agendas, ambitions, anxieties, compulsions, and references that they attempt to implement. Those agendas may mesh with the content at hand – and with the overarching, collective vision of the studio – or may be grafted onto content and live on parasitically. Personal vision is the designer’s value-added; it’s an indexical presence assumed so resilient it can survive in any context, from the base to the effete. The compelling aspect of design is that each part of this messy process produces things. There is a constant stream of material pumping out of the studio at all times. This superabundance defies any simple definition 
of the “object” (and any simple declaration of completion). Design can never be reduced to a direct process of transmission because the design object carries multiple messages: some overt, others sublimated, some literal, some haptic. And besides, the actual receptor of the communiqué is also opaque. It could be an imagined audience, an ideal audience, a peer, a studio mate, a passerby, whomever. Design is always about creating a physical effect: it is both read and felt. Designers make things – deliverables – but these are not always the discrete things for which one gets paid. The simplest study can yield an idea, effect or emotion. Printing, binding, programming and building don’t necessarily have anything to do with it. A designer’s “things” happen at every stage of a design process; they are always finished and never finished. But the bigger project, the one that is never complete, is the one that is carried over many projects and many years. 
It’s the project that demands persistent, diligent, never-quite-satisfying attempts. That’s the work, and the life, of the studio. So this book is a blurry telling of a blurry story. It superimposes diverse projects, scales, eras and voices onto a typical trajectory, starting from first contact and concluding with delivery into the world. It makes no attempt to segregate the polished from the in-process. Each thing is complete. Through rude juxtaposition it attempts to find an intuitive master narrative in a day-to-day process where clients come and go, the population of the studio is in constant flux, and projects fall into our lap or slip away without rhyme or reason. This is not a book about what our work is about, but about the way that it is about it. From the ephemeral to the concrete, each page is drawn from a pastiche of projects: some finished, some dead in the water, some successful, some not. It includes sketches, models, prototypes, collages, animations, drawings and site photographs – the things we make every day. This book tells the story of how we work, what we think about, and how what we think about becomes part of what we make. Here ends the attempt to explain it, the rest is left to the things themselves. They are what they are.

    it is what it is

    What’s your deliverable? It’s a common question, as crass as it is self-evident. We deliver Design…24/7. But it’s a strange word – deliverable – with so many embedded assumptions. Someone else demands, requires, needs, wants, and ultimately pays (or doesn’t), but we always deliver. The verb makes sense, it’s the noun that’s the problem: what is this thing we are handing over? On most business forms, Graphic Design is listed under Service Industries, so that much is clear: we deliver service. We service people, people in need of…design. Okay, so maybe it’s not so clear after all. Perhaps the problem is in the shifting definition of the design object. The material nature of the design object keeps slipping over the course of a project and from project to project, client to client, year to year, generation to generation. A graphic design project starts out as a relationship, transforms into a process of loose analysis and more-or-less insightful speculation, then enters into a practically autistic phase of visual generation, followed by a synthesis of speculation and experimentation that morphs into a purely computational and mechanical production – accomplished with or without the involvement of any number of outside trades – and finally emerges in the world through a complex of socialization and acculturation that includes publicity, public relations, distribution, retailing, advertising, focus testing, and criticism. Some version of this process is applied to everything: from high art to low commerce, from the intellectual to the banal, from the edifying to the disingenuous. And the process may be interrupted at any point – in ways both positive and negative – by collaborators, authors, editors, clients, vendors, users, lawyers, censors, and politicians, all demanding modifications that range from the minor to the catastrophic. Add into the mix that the studio is comprised of thirty headstrong individuals engaged in multiple, overlapping projects – all utterly out of sync – concerning wildly different subjects, players, timelines, technologies, audiences, budgets and geographic locations. On top of that, designers have their own private agendas, ambitions, anxieties, compulsions, and references that they attempt to implement. Those agendas may mesh with the content at hand – and with the overarching, collective vision of the studio – or may be grafted onto content and live on parasitically. Personal vision is the designer’s value-added; it’s an indexical presence assumed so resilient it can survive in any context, from the base to the effete. The compelling aspect of design is that each part of this messy process produces things. There is a constant stream of material pumping out of the studio at all times. This superabundance defies any simple definition 
of the “object” (and any simple declaration of completion). Design can never be reduced to a direct process of transmission because the design object carries multiple messages: some overt, others sublimated, some literal, some haptic. And besides, the actual receptor of the communiqué is also opaque. It could be an imagined audience, an ideal audience, a peer, a studio mate, a passerby, whomever. Design is always about creating a physical effect: it is both read and felt. Designers make things – deliverables – but these are not always the discrete things for which one gets paid. The simplest study can yield an idea, effect or emotion. Printing, binding, programming and building don’t necessarily have anything to do with it. A designer’s “things” happen at every stage of a design process; they are always finished and never finished. But the bigger project, the one that is never complete, is the one that is carried over many projects and many years. 
It’s the project that demands persistent, diligent, never-quite-satisfying attempts. That’s the work, and the life, of the studio. So this book is a blurry telling of a blurry story. It superimposes diverse projects, scales, eras and voices onto a typical trajectory, starting from first contact and concluding with delivery into the world. It makes no attempt to segregate the polished from the in-process. Each thing is complete. Through rude juxtaposition it attempts to find an intuitive master narrative in a day-to-day process where clients come and go, the population of the studio is in constant flux, and projects fall into our lap or slip away without rhyme or reason. This is not a book about what our work is about, but about the way that it is about it. From the ephemeral to the concrete, each page is drawn from a pastiche of projects: some finished, some dead in the water, some successful, some not. It includes sketches, models, prototypes, collages, animations, drawings and site photographs – the things we make every day. This book tells the story of how we work, what we think about, and how what we think about becomes part of what we make. Here ends the attempt to explain it, the rest is left to the things themselves. They are what they are.

  4. Apartamento Magazine #12 (Autumn/Winter 2013-2014) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

    Apartamento Magazine #12 (Autumn/Winter 2013-2014) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

  5. Apartamento Magazine #11 (Summer 2013) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

    Apartamento Magazine #11 (Summer 2013) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

  6. Apartamento Magazine #10 (Winter 2012) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

    Apartamento Magazine #10 (Winter 2012) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

  7. Apartamento Magazine #7 (Spring/Summer 2011) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

    Apartamento Magazine #7 (Spring/Summer 2011) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

  8. Apartamento Magazine #6 (Autumn/Winter 2010-2011) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

    Apartamento Magazine #6 (Autumn/Winter 2010-2011) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

  9. Apartamento Magazine #5 (Spring/Summer 2010) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

    Apartamento Magazine #5 (Spring/Summer 2010) An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

  10. Apartamento Magazine #4 (Autumn/Winter 2009) — An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine

    Apartamento Magazine #4 (Autumn/Winter 2009) — An Everyday Life Interiors Magazine