The Larger Scratchable Surface (iPad)

Well that was a surprise. Not the fact that it was indeed an Apple Tablet but the fact that it looked great yet was in simple terms, a bigger iPod Touch.

There were so many assumptions flying around the internet with regards to the name that everyone was potentially decided on the iSlate, which to be quite honest is a very cool name and one I had a personal preference with.

Then came the iPad announcement. What in the WORLD were they thinking. It sounds like something a woman would carry in a bag. I mean really, it’s not exactly, erm… well ya know? Right?

I’d heard rumours about the price being around the $1000-$1200 mark some time ago, of which was pretty expensive (depending on the features it rolled out with). We’re now being told the lowest model will ship at a cost of $499. Not bad in all fairness. Around the same cost as the iPhone was shipping at when they first came out.

The features are massively lacking in my eyes, the iPad is just an oversized iPod Touch. I put my view forward on twitter for someone to reply;

try surfing the web on an iPhone for 2 hours. The screen is too small.
Stephen Allred

Stephen was right, surfing the web on an iPhone for anything longer than 5 to 10 minutes can make you go cross-eyed quickly and you end up with some sort of crab hand within twenty minutes however the iPhone is a mobile device. The iPad seems like an inbetweener. It’s in a middle ground area where it’s not either. It’s certainly not something that you’d pull out on the bus and start using. You’re not about to carry it in a pocket and listen to music on it.

It’s also not something that I think I’d find myself using. My macbook covers all areas that I think need to be covered. If the iPad had a much more unique offering tailored to it’s unique design and build I think I’d force myself to buy one.

Don’t get me wrong I’m as much an apple fanboy as the apple fan however it’s just not something I can see myself using over my macbook. It seems very much like an introductory piece of hardware.

Starting young at Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is described by dictionary.com as being;

a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, esp. a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

I was 15 when I wrote my first mini business plan. It was before the big boom of internet cafes and well before fast broadband lines were plumbed in to houses up and down the country. My business plan was scribbled down on two sheets of A4 with an attached profit/loss and growth analysis sheet. I sat with my Dad on a sunny afternoon in Exeter whilst we were on a summer break, scribbling down an idea of setting up an internet cafe with the extension of it actually providing food to increase the turnover. I worked out roughly how much people would pay to use the service and on average how much they would spend on Food/Drink whilst they were there.

I also had the idea of setting up a roaming LAN Party company, where I would tour the country visiting major cities and bringing the PC Gaming community in to one large hall for a gaming competition. I looked in to the kind of sponsors to approach, how much it could cost to setup an event, how much to charge entrants, the likelihood of being able to sell food/drinks on site etc

It’s not usually normal for a 15 year old to write business plans, which showed when I told people about it and they’ve given me funny looks and said that I should have been out playing football or some other youthful past-time. Even though both ideas never came to fruition, I still felt that at the time they could have worked. I’ve always wanted to make money from a very young age, I’ve always had an interest in business and I’m not really sure where it came from. I do however believe that entrepreneurship is something that is instilled within our genes, just like being creative.

It’s not a bad thing…

If you look at a list of top entrepreneurs, the people involved generally started making their businesses and money well before they were 30. Most 30 year old people haven’t even achieved a management role with their companies at that age yet, young entrepreneurs who have created their idea in to a business have often started making serious cash.

The question is, why is it so wrong for young people to be entrepreneurs? Would it really be beneficial for them to have more of a ‘life’ and be more child-like by playing football/rugby on a Saturday instead of scheming away on their new business idea? Should adults hold back the thought process because they think it is wrong?

Making £2 per pathway

During the Christmas break, we saw about 12 inches of snow fall over a weeks period and our entire street came to an absolute standstill. Under the snow there lay at least an inch or so of solid ice which showed no signs of defrosting because of how cold it was. There was no movement from cars let alone anyone wishing to gamble on the ice covered pathways. One Sunday morning there was a knock at the door, living in a quiet street it’s usually odd for us to get visitors when we’re not expecting them. On opening the door there were two young guys, about 14/15 years old holding shovels and brushes.

They came up with the idea of helping everyone to get mobile by clearing the pathways of ice and were charging £2 a garden path. Genius! They must have cleared around 60 houses that day giving them £60 each for a few hours work. I couldn’t help but be impressed that they had used their own initiative to make some extra money from the bad weather.

Whilst this was a very small show of entrepreneurship, they still went out to make money from something that hadn’t been done in the estate at that time. Who knows if they have another idea of making money for something else but I certainly don’t think they should be restricted in their endeavors. Who knows whether a £2 pathway could turn in to a £2 million business in ten years time.

Never hold back…

I just wanted to say that you should never hold back if you think you have a great idea. Give it a whirl, if it doesn’t work out then you’ve just acquired one of the best things in life. Experience.

1080 Grid PSD

Currently working on a design for a side project (name and details to come) which I needed more space for. I upped the overall size to 1080px wide and created an 18 column grid system for it. The design is targeted to a unique group of professionals who in any event should not have an issue viewing the site.

You can download the 1080px 18 Column Grid to use yourself.

If you use it, let me know, it would be great to see what you have achieved with it.

If you liked this post, you may like to download the FREE Weather Icons I created. You can download them free of charge and use them as you like.

In Google We Trust

We don’t know how the Google algorithm works, yet we trust it to deliver results which are best for us!? Erm hang on a minute… Millions and millions of searches must go through the various international Google websites daily. Google presents us with websites in a specific order which they deem substantially correct for the keyword search that we enter. They also present us with paid results which advertisers pay Google to present the average Joe.

The internet is full of users who I would put in a ‘general’ category, you know, the majority of people who ‘use’ the internet to buy the odd thing, check out facebook far too much, read the news etc. This general category don’t particularly understand why things work the way they do, or why things look a certain way they just expect it to be ‘just like that’. They’re the category that believe Google are doing their best for them, that they’re delivering the results they want.

What if they’re not? Has anyone questioned it?

We trust Google to deliver results which are definitely what we’re looking for. This after all is one of the reasons that made it the biggest search engine in the world today. Do we really know that in those 10 links on the first page of results, the result you’re definitely looking for is there? How do you know that it’s not in fact on page 53?

It’s a strange question of course, but one that we’ve never queried as we expect them to be doing everything right. Surely Google wouldn’t be pulling the wool over our eyes, right? I’ll leave this open for discussion.

What Milking a Cow can teach us about a Design Process

A design process is just that, it’s a process. You start at the beginning, work through and end up with a finished product, whether you’re working on a website design or logo design. Most designers have different processes which they work to during a project, a process which works well for them so they can get the job done in the easiest and most inspiring way as possible.

Designers can learn a lot about a design process from milking a cow. I know, I know you’re saying “pull the udder one” but we really can. Everything involved in milking a cow can teach us something.

The Short Stool – (A comfortable inspiring place)

The short wooden stool lies at the heart of the process, enabling the ‘milker’ to be in the best place for the job, at the correct height to use his tools and achieve his goals. Just like a ‘milker’, we designers need to be in our creative zone when doing our job. The short stool for a designer is that office, desk or coffee shop where we start our process. It is that one place where we should start our journey where we feel most inspired and comfortable to do our job to the best of our ability. Don’t forget that you also need to be ergonomically correct and take plenty of breaks during the design process so you don’t strain your eyes or hurt your back.

The Pail (Tools)

The Pail or milking bucket is the one thing used to collect the milk, it’s one of the only tools involved in milking a cow. It needs to be big and strong enough to hold the amount of milk that you need. For a designer, the pail represents the tools needed to do the job, whether it’s an iMac, Moleskin or pencil and paper. If we don’t have what we need then the process is already broken. Make sure before any design process that you have everything that you need, there is nothing worse than getting so far and having to stop because of an unnecessary interruption.

Your Hands  (The Work)

The teets aren’t going to pull themselves and your hands need to be clean and warm so as to not shock the cow. You’re not exactly going to pull any teets during your design process but you will be using your hands a lot. No matter what kind of design you are putting together you need to find out what things need to take place during a specific process. Many logo designers have a design process that works and these can be suitably changed for other designs. Once you figure out what works best for you, every job you take on thereafter will be ten times easier. Take good care of your hands, and your hands will take good care of you and so will your work.

Be Gentle (The Client Communication)

As you’re pulling the teets you need to be aware that any one pull could make the cow uncomfortable. You have to be firm but fair with your cow to get the best out of it. The love and care that you show your cow is well represented in a design process. It appears as the communication elements of your process, be careful not to call your client a cow as it could bring unintended offence and loss of earnings however you should be aware that in any design process the communication between the client and yourself is paramount. Both the client and the designer need to understand what is to be achieved during the process and in what way payment is going to be transferred at what time.

The Milk (The Finished Product)

Ah creamy goodness! Just what the client ordered! When the ‘milker’ sat down on that small wooden stool, this is what he was aiming for. Even though the ‘milker’ sat for hours on the stool and filled the pail with milk with those warm hands making sure they were gentle throughout the process, they still had to make sure they knew how the milk would be made ready for consumption. In a designers process, they must make sure that all files are prepared correctly for use and are sent to the client in whichever format they require. This will not only increase the relationship between the client and yourself but will possibly increase the amount of opportunities you have in the future.

We as designers have a lot to thank cows for, their entire milking process can teach us more about design processes than we would have ever thought.

Next Year I

I recently posted about my achievements in 2009, these were quite comprehensive as the year seemed jam packed full of ‘stuff’ from start to finish. A lot of people online have gone in to posts looking back on 2009 and looking forward to 2010. I believe, 2010 will be an incredible year for people within our industry. On a personal level I have a bigger journey to take in 2010 than I’ve taken before in my current profession. Next Year I…

Would like to buy a decent camera and learn how to use it.

Take more pride in my blog and redesign it (finally).

Create better content for my readers.

Read at least 3 fictional books throughout the year (I’m addicted to non-fiction).

Game less but play harder.

Purchase a 27″ iMac.

Go to more conferences.

Meet more people from the ‘online world’ in the ‘offline world’.

Start weight training (again) and look after my body.

Write a book.

Design more of anything rather than some things.

Teach myself more about design, there is so much more to learn that what you know.

Do more talks.

Do at least one design related talk.

Get Married (3rd April).

Read all of my design related books.

Give more back to the design community.

Do more for a specific charity that I know where the money goes.

Write more for other blogs/magazines.

Learn one new thing per day (no matter how small or trivial)

Create a typeface from scratch.

There is quite possibly a lot I’ve missed out or forgotten about and I’m never one to hold myself back when I want to achieve something. Hopefully in 2010 I will be able to achieve all of these and more.

How about you? What would you like to achieve in 2010?