Oct 11

My Morning Workflow Part 1: Chai and Spotify…

I thought I’d share some of my morning routines in case anyone’s looking for something to add to theirs.

Each morning, as my wife is finishing getting herself and our daughter ready for work and school, I make a pot of chai which my wife actually taught me how to several years ago when we were just dating. The principle is really basic. I fill a small pot with water, throw 4 black tea bags in, a palm full of cardamom pods, half a palm of cloves, about a tablespoon of ground ginger, two cinnamon sticks and a small piece of star anise. I bring it to a boil and let it simmer until it’s reduced by 2/3. Then I pour soy milk in until it’s a medium beige color. I add about 4 tablespoons of sugar, stir and pour. The pouring I do over the sink because I tend to spill it.

Next is to find some cool tunes. I usually gravitate to something chill especially if it’s a rainy morning. My favorite artists tend to be instrumental DJ music like DJ Shadow or Sabzi from the Blue Scholars. I also love listening to indie artists like Ryan Adams or Bon Iver. Now in the past I’ve almost exclusively used iTunes with the occasional dip into Pandora or Grooveshark. Nowadays though, I use Spotify almost all the time. It’s great because I can find artists that I don’t currently own as well as see what my friends are listening to. I usually have it running on my work MacBook which I then stream across the house to my stereo system via AirFoil and my personal MacBook. This way I can control the music as I’m working. Also I love using Butler to control my music. If I’m using iTunes, Butler has built in keyboard shortcuts for pausing and skipping. For Spotify, I setup some simple actionscripts to help with those tasks. Everything is running through Growl so I get to see what’s playing as it goes.

Occasionally I like listening to KEXP in the mornings—John Richards puts on a hell of a show. If I’m doing that I just have my stereo tuned to 90.3 FM here in Seattle, and I use a Dashboard Web clip to grab the KEXP playlist. This way I also see what’s playing. If I want the ability to pause the music as I’m listening to KEXP, then I just listen to the station through the iTunes radio player.

With some good tunes playing, and a warm cup of Chai, I then crack open my email programs to get the day started. That however is another post. Until next time…

Apr 10

For all you Atari fans out there…

I just came across this fantastic commercial put together by the folks at One More Production out of Paris. It’s a fantastic combination of old school video game nostalgia, amazing 3-d graphics, and beautiful cinematography. Enjoy!!

Pixels by One More Production

Mar 10

Advice for Design Students Part 1: Passion

The Highway by Clint Bush

© 2008 Clint Bush

I found my self giving advice a couple times recently to students either recently graduated or still attending design school, and I have to say I don’t really know the point when I went from insecure frosh to someone giving out advice. Truthfully I don’t know if I’m 100% confident about what I do now. Actually I don’t know if I ever will be. Maybe that’s what drives me to keep getting better and perfecting my craft.

It brings up an interesting question on what is a professional? Let’s face it, we all step out of school clueless. Academia has prepared us to take tests, recite useless information, and get high praise for something gone right or gentle criticism for something gone wrong. None of this, or at least very little of it actually exists in the real work environment.

In the real world, a professional designer is faced with hovering clients, ever changing scopes of work, and deadlines that make you want to run for southern Mexico, tequila in hand. Somehow though, as a professional you wade those murky waters, holding your sanity as high above the water as you can. Day after day, week after week, month after month. But do we run for the border? Do we pull our hair out and turn to a life of crime. Well some might, but the majority of us don’t. We even go so far to say we like it. Hell we LOVE IT!

What is it then? I’ll tell you what I think (as if I hadn’t been doing that already). It’s because we DO LOVE IT. It’s our passion, our life’s work. Maybe it’s been said before, but I like to say “I don’t want my work to be my life, but I want my life to be part of my work.” Design is a part of me. I find myself always scouring my surroundings looking at other design. I drive my wife crazy sometimes because I’ll look really close to menu boards and signage in restaurants or stores just to see how well it was put together. I’m constantly taking pictures of signage and other things I find interesting. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a KFC sign, or the Sistine Chapel.

My point is that for you folks that are just entering the field or about to enter the field, prepare yourself as much as possible. Spend time looking at everything you can. Examine design. Make it part of your life. Read, look, learn, and repeat. Passion transcends fads, technology, recessions. Passion drives us when nothing else can. Passion can make you successful, but you have to feed it. You have to give it what it wants. Otherwise it will wither and subside. So FEED YOUR PASSION, and your passion will feed you.

Jan 10

Design: Clients from H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS!!

Everyone who has ever worked with a client knows and hates that age-old adage, “The client is always right”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to cram those very words down my own clients throats, but inevitably I suck it up, finish the job, and dream of alcoholic summers on some tropical beach.

Well Matthew Inman of, has summed it up in one of his very funny comics, “How a Web Design Goes to Hell.”

If you like this one, also check out “Why I Believe Printers were sent from Hell…”.

Website thumbnails provided by BitPixels