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“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ― William Morris

Book Review – 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School

Posted: January 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Bookshelf, Inspiration, Interaction Design | Tags: , | No Comments »

101-things-i-learned-in-architecture-school
I picked up ‘101 Things I Learned in Architecture School‘ at the Tate Modern the other day and it felt so good in my hand that it easily found it’s way to the cash register. To me that’s the mark of a good product, when you hold something and don’t want to let it go, a tactile feature that many book manufacturers now use to remind us why the all-powerful Kindle is not the only way to read. Of course you can’t, as they say, judge a book by it’s wonderfully thick card cover, but thankfully this little gem of a read more than matched up to that initial feeling.

Written for students of architecture, the book collates 101 little factoids and observations drawn from a lifetime of teaching and practicing architecture. Each double faced page has a simple, clear sketch, coupled with trim, concise and informative text to describe the point being made. It’s the sort of book you can pick up when you have a few minutes, dip into, read a tip then put down – though likely you’ll find yourself engrossed for longer than you intend.

Although I’m not an architect, the insights into the understanding of human behaviour, visual communication and spatial planning are fascinating and resonate with many aspects of digital product and service design. Architectural tips such as designing a small entrance way that leads into a larger space to create a sense of awe, made me contemplate how that might equate to the user flow through an app or site. Or recognising how the empty spaces between buildings vary in importance from dense urban sites to suburban sprawl and the effect that has on the places that people gather.

At some point we can only hope that someone, perhaps you good reader, creates such an engaging text that directly relates to digital products. In the meantime this is a great source of inspiration.


Book: Making Ideas Happen

Posted: July 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Bookshelf, Inspiration, Product Management | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Making Ideas Happen

Just read the excellent ‘Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality‘ by Scott Belsky, founder of the Behance network. You may know Behance from their excellent Action Method system and series of related notebooks, all of which – along with the book – are aimed towards helping people in creative industries be productive and get things done. Of course these days pretty much all of us work in creative industries if you’re not stuck in a McJob (in which case get out…).

As the book’s title suggests, Belsky wants to help you get the genius creative thought in your head out into the real world where it can either flourish or fail – but at least it will be real. To make this happen he’s gone round asking a number of successful people in the sphere of creative execution as to what they’ve done just to make stuff happen. The book distils this down into easy to understand sections backed up with good real-life examples.

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