enlightenment

Thomas Edison Electric Lamp Patent Illustration

Jokes about screwing in light bulbs aside, the insight required to invent the first electric light was serious business.

Thomas A. Edison
“One might think that the money value of an invention constitutes its reward to the man who loves his work. But I continue to f ind my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success.”
– Thomas Edison, Inventor

As Thomas Edison rolled lampblack in between his fingers, the idea that a thin, carbon wire could make a workable incandescent filament for the electric lamp came quickly and unexpectedly. However, the worldwide search to find just the right substance to make carbon wire required systematic study across a broad range of disciplines and countless experiments.

Edison realized his ideas and experiments would be of little value later if they were not written down. By the time of his death in 1931, Edison and his labs recorded over five million pages of ideas, designs, experiments and data on every subject from electricity to batteries to business operations. It’s in Edison’s spirit of ideation with documentation that I keep this journal.


How to Give Creative Feedback—and Live to Tell About It.

I’ll admit it. Most creatives don’t have very thick skin when it comes to critiquing their work. And that includes me.

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Why Executives Should Be Directly Accessible to Customers

My mother-in-law, who has onset dementia, forgot to hang up when calling her relatives in the Philippines and wracked-up a 239-minute, $723 call as a result. No, the call won’t automatically disconnect on international cell calls even if one party hangs up (or at least it didn’t in this case). It is a mistake anyone can make.

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What Donald Trump Taught Me About the Blind Side of Design

I never saw it coming. The “it” was the tidal wave of popular support for Donald Trump’s appropriated “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan embodied in the poorly designed but now iconic red trucker hat. With one election and an armada of hats, Donald Trump exposed the blind side of design.

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The Single Biggest Mistake Businesses Make Regarding Website Design

I’ve noticed many entrepreneurs, marketing directors, and established business owners have an unrealistic expectation about the time it takes to design/redesign a website.

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Perspective

It’s one of those valuable life assets you cannot buy with money, garner through talent or earn with hard work. Perspective comes with time and reflection as you consider successes, trails, mistakes, failures and circumstances.

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When Design Doesn’t Work

Is there a time when design doesn’t work for a company, service or product? I don’t mean a design that doesn’t sit right with you. I’m talking about design with a capital “D” which, when applied correctly, is actually unnecessary or even counterproductive.

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Class & Design

Like it or not, design has class. And no, I don’t mean it’s classy as in elegant or fashionable, although design is a very trendy business world accessory. And I don’t mean design has class as in groups that share common attributes. I mean design has class as in an artificial social hierarchy — much of it self inflicted.

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What Is Design?

Do you ever have difficulty explaining to others, let alone your mother, what exactly it is that you do for a living, or what design actually is?

It seems that when I try to explain design, I get hung up somewhere between explaining the process, and giving a laundry list of outcomes (e.g., brochure, logo, website, etc.).

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Misperceptions of a Citizen Designer

I would wager that the vast majority of the people reading this entry consider graphic design to be quite important. Just how important is the question. Most graphic designers acknowledge that with our profession comes an uncertain degree of social responsibility.

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