Blogless: Blog of Design Less Better.

Posts tagged Clients.

Should you work for free?

DLB favorite Jessica Hische presents a flowchart to help you respond to spec work requests.

Jessica Hische: Should you work for free?
An excerpt from the chart.

TLDR: Should you work for free? No, unless it is for your Mom.

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NickJan 19, 2011
 

Four Design Links:
July 8, 2010

Four Design Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week. This week: the power of the pause, unhealthy 3D, stupid designers and their clients, and Dell's unethical behavior.

1. The Power of the Pause

One for the Less is Better file, Bobulate asks us to consider the effect of pauses within design:

Walter Benjamin reminds us “architecture is experienced habitually in the state of distraction.” So when a structure that’s always been present on your daily walk suddenly becomes an empty lot, your definition of space and flow changes — there is a pause. And the surrounding environment takes a new form.

Read More.

2. More Evidence that 3D May be Harmful

Revisiting an old story, Slashdot has a few links that suggest 3D television might have adverse affects on people, particularly children.

Sega uncovered serious health risks involved with children consuming 3D and quickly buried the reports, and the project. Unfortunately, the same dangers exist in today's 3D, and the electronics, movie, and gaming industries seem to be ignoring the issue.

Read more

3. Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Another client post, this time from Andy Rutledge. I tend to agree with his take; designers should own up to more responsibility for a good or bad client experience:

There’s an easy test for evaluating design professionalism. The quality of your client experiences is directly proportional to the quality of your professionalism. If you have “stupid clients” it’s because you’re behaving stupidly to begin with, for we attract what we project. If you’ll stop being stupid, your clients’ IQs will increase dramatically.

Read More.

4. Dude, You're Getting a (Broken) Dell

Some bad ethics-related press for Dell. It seems they tried to cover up a hardware problem with some shady behavior and got written up in the NYT:

Documents recently unsealed in a three-year-old lawsuit against Dell show that the company’s employees were actually aware that the computers were likely to break. Still, the employees tried to play down the problem to customers and allowed customers to rely on trouble-prone machines, putting their businesses at risk. Even the firm defending Dell in the lawsuit was affected when Dell balked at fixing 1,000 suspect computers, according to e-mail messages revealed in the dispute.

The broken components had an estimated 97% failure rate, and they're not even going to fix their own lawyers computers? I'll say this: they stayed committed to their own story. To fix the computers would be to admit there was something wrong with them.

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NickJul 8, 2010
 

Four Design Links: March 25, 2010

Four Design Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week.

1. Watch this Presentation: Square

Something that caught our eye a while back. This video is one of the most clever and legible explanations we've seen. It takes a complex, multi-step product and makes it seem accessible to anyone. Bravo!

2. The Six Things Clients Want

A nice reminder of what the designer's job really entails, e.g. you aren't just building your client a website, you're inspiring them, bringing in ideas, and improving process. See past the product in the contract. What does your client really want?

3. Adobe's Magic Paintbrush: Context Aware Fill

Very impressive technology demo. The "uncropping" part at the end is astounding. I was skeptical, but it's not a hoax. This will be in CS5.

It's not 100% perfect, but from the look of things, it's about 90% what you'd get if you spent hours with the Clone Stamp. I'd call that progress.

((as somebody commented on the Adobe blog, with this tech, sites like iStockphoto are going to need some new watermarks...))

4. A Manifesto of Manifestos

I like this post and tend to agree with its observations. Sort of a meta-manifesto.

Needs to be 10 points, though. A nice round number. ;)

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NickMar 25, 2010
 

Day-Ruining Invoice Notepads

These Day-Ruining Invoice Notepads are hilarious. A great idea, and a funny gift for your designer friends.

Day-Ruining Invoice Notepads (close-up)
Day-Ruining Invoice Notepads (full)

Jessica Hische has created Day-Ruining Invoice Notepads. The covers are letterpressed and the interiors are 2 color offset. They're bound with glue black binding tape. As Swiss Miss notes, a set of them will "certainly make any designer snortlaugh if you give it to them."

You can buy them here.

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PaulFeb 19, 2010
 
Tagged with: Business, Clients, Design, Humor

Four Design Links: February 4, 2010

Witness the return of Four Design Links!

1. Saul Bass: On Making Money vs Quality Work

"It costs every designer money to make things beautiful."

2. Productivity in 11 Words

To-Do List
Photo by Jayel Aheram

"One thing at a time. Most important thing first. Start now."

Probably the best thing I read last week.

Via.

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NickFeb 4, 2010
 

Four Design Links: December 10, 2009

Bundle-up with Four Design Links, a curated collection of stories we've been reading this week.

Watercolor of a turkey by Karen Faulkner
Photo by Wally Gobetz

1. The Lazy Designer’s Guide to Success

Pentagram's Michael Bierut offers seven ways designers can work smarter, not harder.

#4. Do as you’re told.
Simply following the client's instructions will yield wonders. For Bierut – who likes limitations – creating the gargantuan sign for Renzo Piano’s New York Times building was fairly straightforward. The Times Square Alliance mandates that all buildings in the neighbourhood feature bright, large signage, to "keep Times Square looking like Times Square,” says Bierut. (He adds that, for Piano, hearing the words large-sign-stuck-on-your-building must have been, "like, the biggest 6-word, ‘F--- you, architect’.”) And so, the almost 6 meter-tall logo was chopped into 893 pieces and applied to Piano’s ceramic rod façade.

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NickDec 10, 2009
 

Four Design Links: July 28, 2009

Surprise! Four Links hits on Tuesday this week. Come and get them.

1. New Media Artworks: Prequels to Everyday Life

In a story related to Paul's piece last week, Golan Levin writes:

some of today’s most commonplace and widely-appreciated technologies were initially conceived and prototyped, years ago, by new-media artists.

Golan Levin -- Comparison of Aspen Movie Map and Google Street View
Comparison of Aspen Movie Map (1978-1980) and Google Street View (2007).
Image arranged by Golan Levin

2. Lessons from a failed meeting with a Social Media Guru

Matt Daniels chronicles how not to pitch a client your expertise.

3. Making Money with Flash Games

Lost Garden has an extensive article about revenue streams for independent game publishers. Even if you're not into selling Flash games, there are some good thoughts to consider.

Ads are a good secondary source of revenue, but surely there are richer sources …? There is an obvious one, used for decades by all other game industries...why not ask the players for money?

4. The New Yorker Critiques the Kindle

Those used to reading blogs don't often see design criticism of this magnitude: Nicholson Baker of the New Yorker has 6,300 words on the Amazon Kindle.

I forced myself to read the book on the Kindle 2. It was like going from a Mini Cooper to a white 1982 Impala with blown shocks. But never mind: at that point, I was locked into the plot and it didn’t matter. Poof, the Kindle disappeared, just as Jeff Bezos had promised it would.

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NickJul 28, 2009
 

Social Design and Ethics

When designers leave the professional domain of the persuasive to take on broader social problems, the ethical stakes are even higher.

A recent New York Times article showcases the so-called "social design" (alt. "service design") phenomenon. Social design, apparently, is a sort of hybrid practice that applies the creative approaches traditionally associated with professional designers alongside the research approaches of ethnographers, anthropologists, and sociologists to create novel solutions to social problems.

This is certainly an interesting territory for designers (reminiscent, philosophy heads will recognize, of the great Critical Theory movement as defined in the Frankfurt school in the 1930s and 40s) and I would argue it is also one whose every potential engagement will be an incredibly high-stakes ethical proposition.

Consider the Times' example: The ReD Associates social design firm (comprised of designers alongside ethnographers, etc.) was asked by the city of Copenhagen to propose solutions to improve the rate of employee sick leave in the city's offices. Apparently, sick leave was costing the government something on the order of $140 million per year.

The firm found that a third of all of employee sick leave was motivated psychologically -- mostly low morale -- rather than by poor employee health (e.g. caused by physical stressors in the work environment). That is a tragic, Kafkaesque fact, and there's no doubt that design brains could be put to good use in addressing it. The tragic nature of the problem is also what makes the ethical stakes so high in developing a design solution. The Times writes:

ReD suggested various measures...intended to coax absentees back to work. After four weeks' absence, each employee has a formal discussion with a manager, who will be encouraged to consider whether he or she would benefit from changes in the working environment, or from edging back to work by returning part time.

Which I read, sadly, in the following way: Rather than address endemic problems of office culture, the designers put procedures in place to provide therapy or threats to downtrodden office workers. Of course this worked: the Times reports that "the sick-leave numbers are already heading in the right direction -- downwards." But is it a good design solution?

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PaulJun 8, 2009
 
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