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robertogreco : miltonglaser   13

Learning how to learn again
"I continue to be fascinated by how slow, seemingly inefficient methods make my self-education more helpful and more meaningful.

Example: This week I was reading Jan Swafford’s introduction to classical music, Language of the Spirit, and I wanted to see the lives of all the composers on a timeline. Instead of googling for one, I decided to just make one for myself with a pencil in my notebook. It was kind of a pain, but I had a feeling I’d learn something. Pretty much immediately I was able to see connections that Swafford wrote about that just hadn’t sunken in yet, like how Haydn’s life overlapped both Bach’s and Beethoven’s while covering Mozart’s completely. Had I googled a pre-made timeline, I’m not completely sure I would’ve studied it closely enough to get as much out of it as the one I drew.

Another example: I copy passages of text that I like longhand in my notebook, and it not only helps me remember the texts, it makes me slow down enough so that I can actually read them and think about them, even internalize them. Something happens when I copy texts into my notebook that does not happen when I cut and paste them into Evernote or onto my blog.

A lot of this way of studying has been inspired by my son, Owen.

Even before I had kids, I wrote, “We learn by copying… Copying is about reverse-engineering. It’s like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works.” Funny now that I have a four-year-old budding mechanic, who actually spends a great deal of his time copying photos and drawings of cars, taking them apart in his mind and putting them back together on the page to figure out how they work.

What I love about my son’s drawings is that he does not really care about them once he’s finished them. To him, they are dead artifacts, a scrap of by-product from his learning process. (For me, they’re tiny masterpieces to hang on the fridge.) Milton Glaser says that “drawing is thinking.” I think that drawing is learning, too, and one thing Owen has taught me is that it is more valuable as a verb than it is as a noun.

I felt sure that my children would teach me more than I taught them. I was not anticipating that they would actually teach me how to learn again…"
austinkleon  education  learning  howwelearn  reading  howweread  notetaking  2017  children  parenting  miltonglaser  howethink  memory  notebooks  janswafford  drawing  unlearning  copying  closereading  attention  writing 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Zizek’s Least Favorite Job | Submitted For Your Perusal
"When asked “What is the worst job you’ve done?” by the Guardian recently, Slavoj Zizek, in typical Zizek fashion, answered, “Teaching. I hate students, they are (as all people) mostly stupid and boring.”

Now, he might be right about most students being stupid and boring (though copping such an attitude displays a tremendous amount of arrogance), but, oddly enough, therein lies one of the pleasures of teaching. To paraphrase something designer Milton Glaser once said, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing a student go from a condition of inertness and inattentiveness to showing an interest in learning new things.

[via: https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/884841839307653120 ]
mattthomas  2008  zizek  teaching  howweteach  academia  education  learning  miltonglaser 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon — Milton Glaser: “The model for personal development...
“The model for personal development is antithetical to the model for professional success.”



"I have posted this before, but it popped into my head again today, as it’s one of the truest things I’ve ever heard about having a career doing creative work:
When I talk to students about the distinction between professionalism and personal development, I very often put it this way: In professional life, you must discover a kind of identity for yourself, that becomes a sort of trademark, a way of working that is distinctive that people can recognize. The reason for this is that the path to financial success and notoriety is by having something that no-one else has. It’s kind of like a brand, one of my most despised words.

So what you do in life in order to be professional is you develop your brand, your way of working, your attitude, that is understandable to others. In most cases, it turns out to be something fairly narrow, like ‘this person really knows how to draw cocker spaniels,’ or ‘this person is very good with typography directed in a more feminine way,” or whatever the particular attribute is, and then you discover you have something to offer that is better than other people have or at least more distinctive. And what you do with that is you become a specialist, and people call you to get more of what you have become adept at doing. So if you do anything and become celebrated for it, people will send you more of that. And for the rest of your life, quite possibly, you will have that characteristic, people will continue to ask you for what you have already done and succeeded at. This is the way to professional accomplishment–you have to demonstrate that you know something unique that you can repeat over and over and over until ultimately you lose interest in it. The consequence of specialization and success is that it hurts you. It hurts you because it basically doesn’t aid in your development.

The truth of the matter is that understanding development comes from failure. People begin to get better when they fail, they move towards failure, they discover something as a result of failing, they fail again, they discover something else, they fail again, they discover something else. So the model for personal development is antithetical to the model for professional success. As a result of that, I believe that Picasso as a model is the most useful model you can have in terms of your artistic interests, because whenever Picasso learned how to do something he abandoned it, and as a result of that, in terms of his development as an artist, the results were extraordinary. It is the opposite of what happens in the typecasting for professional accomplishment.

Emphasis mine."
success  personaldevelopment  professionalism  miltonglaser  careers  identity  notoriety  personalbranding  specialization  expertise  accomplishment  stasis  failure  risk  risktaking  cv  neoteny  lifelonglearning  learning  howwelearn  life  living 
june 2017 by robertogreco
DE$IGN | Soulellis
"I’ve been thinking a lot about value and values.

Design Humility and Counterpractice were first attempts to build a conversation around the value of design and our values as designers. They’re highly personal accounts where I try to articulate my own struggle with the dominant paradigm in design culture today, which I characterize as —

speed
the relentlessness of branding
the spirit of the sell
the focus on product
the focus on perfection

and they include some techniques of resistance that I’ve explored in my recent work, like —

thingness
longevity
slowness (patience)
chance (nature, humility, serendipity)
giving away (generosity echo)

I’ve been calling them techniques, but they’re really more like values, available to any designer or artist. Work produced with these criteria runs cross-grain to the belief that we must produce instantly, broadcast widely and perform perfectly.

Hence, counterpractice. Cross-grain to common assumptions. Questioning.

And as I consider my options (what to do next), I’m seriously contemplating going back to this counterpractice talk as a place to reboot. Could these be seen as principles — as a platform for a new kind of design studio?

I’m not sure. Counterpractice probably need further translation. An idea like ”slowness” certainly won’t resonate for many, outside of an art context. And how does a love for print-on-demand and the web fit in here? Perhaps it’s more about “variable speed” and the “balanced interface” rather than slow vs fast. Slow and fast. Modulated experience. The beauty of a printed book is that it can be scanned quickly or savored forever. These aren’t accidental qualities; they’re built into the design.

[image by John Maeda: "DE$IGN"]

I’m thinking about all of this right now as I re-launch Soulellis Studio as Counterpractice. But if there’s anything that most characterizes my reluctance to get back to client-based work, it’s DE$IGN.

John Maeda, who departed RISD in December, where I am currently teaching, recently delivered a 4-minute TED talk, where he made this statement:

“From Design to DE$IGN.”

He expands that statement with a visual wordmark that is itself designed. What does it mean? I haven’t seen the talk yet so I can only presume, out of context. These articles and Maeda’s blog post at Design and Venture begin to get at it.

Maeda’s three principles for using design in business as stated in the WSJ article are fine. But they don’t need a logo. Designing DE$IGN is a misleading gesture; it’s token branding to sell an idea (in four minutes—the fast read). So what’s the idea behind this visual equation? As a logo, it says so many things:

All caps: DE$IGN is BIG.
It’s not £ or ¥ or 元: DE$IGN is American.
Dollar sign: DE$IGN is money.

DE$IGN is Big American Money.

and in the context of a four-minute TED talk…

DE$IGN is speed (four minutes!)
DE$IGN is the spirit of selling (selling an idea on a stage to a TED audience)
DE$IGN is Helvetica Neue Ultra Light and a soft gradient (Apple)
DE$IGN is a neatly resolved and sellable word-idea. It’s a branded product (and it’s perfect).

In other words, DE$IGN is Silicon Valley. DE$IGN is the perfect embodiment of start-up culture and the ultimate tech dream. Of course it is — this is Maeda’s audience, and it’s his new position. It works within the closed-off reality of $2 billion acquisitions, IPOs, 600-person design teams and Next Big Thing thinking. It’s a crass, aggressive statement that resonates perfectly for its audience.

[Image of stenciled "CAPITALISM IS THE CRI$IS"]

DE$IGN makes me uneasy. The post-OWS dollar sign is loaded with negative associations. It’s a quick trick that borrows from the speed-read language of texting (lol) to turn design into something unsustainable, inward-looking and out-of-touch. But what bothers me most is that it comes from one of our design leaders, someone I follow and respect. Am I missing something?

I can’t help but think of Milton Glaser’s 1977 I<3NY logo here.

[Milton Glaser I<3NY]

Glaser uses a similar trick, but to different effect. By inserting a heart symbol into a plain typographic treatment, he too transformed something ordinary (referencing the typewriter) into a strong visual message. Glaser’s logo says that “heart is at the center of NYC” (and it suggests that love and soul and passion are there too). Or “my love for NYC is authentic” (it comes from the heart). It gives us permission to play with all kinds of associations and visual translations: my heart is in NYC, I am NYC, NYC is the heart of America, the heart of the world, etc. .

Glaser’s mark is old-school, east coast and expansive; it symbolizes ideas and feelings that can be characterized as full and overflowing. And human (the heart). It’s personal (“I”), but all about business: his client was a bankrupt city in crisis, eager to attract tourists against all odds.

Maeda’s mark is new money, west coast and exclusive. It was created for and presented to a small club of privileged innovators who are focused on creating new ways to generate wealth ($) by selling more product.

Clever design tricks aside, here’s my question, which I seem to have been asking for a few years now. Is design humility possible today? Can we build a relevant design practice that produces meaningful, rich work — in a business context — without playing to visions of excess?

I honestly don’t know. I’m grappling with this. I’m not naive and I don’t want to paint myself into a corner. I’d like to think that there’s room to resist DE$IGN. I do this as an artist making books and as an experimental publisher (even Library of the Printed Web is a kind of resistance). But what kind of design practice comes out of this? Certainly one that’s different from the kind of business I built with Soulellis Studio."
paulsoulellis  2014  conterpractice  design  humility  capitalism  resistance  branding  speed  slow  consumerism  sales  salesmanship  perfection  wabi-sabi  thingness  longevity  slowness  patience  nature  chance  serendipity  generosity  potlatch  johnmaeda  questioning  process  approach  philosophy  art  print  balance  thisandthat  modulation  selling  ted  tedtalks  apple  siliconvalley  startups  culture  technology  technosolutionsism  crisis  miltonglaser  1977  love 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Six pieces of wisdom (and one heap of nonsense) | Industry Voice | Design Week
[1] Milton Glaser said, ‘Just enough is more’ …

[2] Howard Aitken said, ‘Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats’

Too much design is style passing for ideas. Stylishness is easy sell because it’s undemanding and nice to have. Intelligent, boat-rocking ideas are harder to conjure up and more difficult to sell because they drag people into their discomfort zone. They take risks, challenge assumptions and take advantage of the unexpected.

[3] Bob Gill said, ‘Each one of my jobs is about things people could have seen themselves if they bothered to look’ …

[4] Larry Smith said, ‘Constraints fuel rather than limit our creativity’ …

[5] Jan Kaplický said, ’It’s not a sign of creativity to have sixty-five ideas for one problem. It’s just a waste of energy’ …

[6] Alan Fletcher said, ‘You’re just pissing about’ …

[one heap of nonsense] ‘…continual optimisation activity…direct unequivocal propositions… convergent tangible context…universal functionality…competitive brandscape analysis…indispensible secret agents of engagement’

This sort of contrived, overblown and self-important nonsense does our industry no good at all. It gives the impression we’ve got something to hide. We’re supposed to be communicators, so let’s say what we mean – and mean what we say. David Ogilvy said, ’Never use jargon words like reconceptualise, demassification, attitudinally, judgementally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass’."
design  via:litherland  miltonglaser  howardaiken  bobgill  larrysmith  jankaplicky  alanfletcher  simplicity  ideas  cv  jargon  language  contraints  creativity  efficiency  stylishness  style 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Sol LeWitt’s Advice to Eva Hesse: Don’t Worry About Cool, Make Your Own Uncool | gwarlingo
"The unromantic truth is that being an artist in any field is hard work. Because artists need a lot of time alone in order to create, they wrestle with loneliness and insecurity. They face continual self-doubt, as well as the criticism of others. Many artists work with no financial safety net or healthcare. Those who do have some financial stability often work day jobs that drain precious time and energy from their creative work."

"Making space and time to create without interruption is difficult but essential. Our competitive culture rarely rewards stillness and imagination. From childhood, we are programmed to stop day dreaming and told to be constructive and busy instead."

"Artist Sol LeWitt understood fear and the importance of doing better than anyone.

In 1960 he met Eva Hesse, and the two artists formed a decade-long friendship. As Stephanie Buhmann details, “despite superficial disparities (LeWitt’s oeuvre is usually thought of as idea-driven while Hesse’s works reflect the opposite: intimacy, personal gesture, and physical sensuality),” the two artists shared a lot in common. “While Hesse drew inspiration from Minimalist aesthetics and the conceptual clarity that characterized LeWitt’s work, LeWitt respected Hesse’s devotion to the trace of the human hand in art.”"

The letter:
Dear Eva,

It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and you [sic] ability; the work you are doing sounds very good “Drawing-clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder… real nonsense.” That sounds fine, wonderful – real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!

I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work – the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell – you are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work – so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working – then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO!

It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible = and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that shit I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that.

You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can – shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.

I would like to see your work and will have to be content to wait until Aug or Sept. I have seen photos of some of Tom’s new things at Lucy’s. They are impressive – especially the ones with the more rigorous form: the simpler ones. I guess he’ll send some more later on. Let me know how the shows are going and that kind of stuff.

My work had changed since you left and it is much better. I will be having a show May 4 -9 at the Daniels Gallery 17 E 64th St (where Emmerich was), I wish you could be there.

Much love to you both.

Sol
sollewitt  evahasse  chuckclose  gwarlingo  michellealdredge  2011  art  artists  glvo  work  doing  making  makersschedule  childhood  creativity  time  focus  iraglass  stephaniebuhmann  insecutiry  loneliness  self-doubt  howwework  criticism  miltonglaser  canon  1965  inspiration  letters  correspondence  motivation  psychology 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Imagine Design Create
"…What’s holding design back?

…short answer…art schools…[where m]ost design programs are housed…art school teaching still follows a medieval model: Master & apprentice.

Studio courses are mostly about socialization— sharing & creating tacit knowledge through direct experience. Students learn by watching one another. Teachers rarely espouse principles. Learning proceeds from specific to specific. Knowledge remains tacit.

Practice is much the same as education. Over the course of a career, most designers learn to design better. But what they learn is highly idiosyncratic, dependent on their unique context. The knowledge designers gain usually retires with them.

Rarely do designers distill rules from experience, codify new methods, test & improve them, & pass them on to others. Rarely do designers move from tacit to explicit. …

Design doesn’t have feedback loops that include funding, research, publishing, tenure, and teaching, These feedback loops ensure quality. Without them…"
criticaleducation  mentorships  masters  apprenticeships  knowledge  miltonglaser  nicholasnegroponte  graphicdesign  learning  teaching  experience  designcriticism  criticism  peerreview  2011  via:anne  hughdubberly  education  arteducation  artschools  design  artschool 
december 2012 by robertogreco
An Anatomy of Uncriticism: What happens to design when we’re afraid to take on our sacred cows?
"three categories of popular practice that seem largely uncriticized…living legends…too good to be criticized: the power of intentions…the power of happy.

In a recent talk at AIGA Chicago, Alice Twemlow, the chair of the design-
criticism M.F.A. program at the School of Visual Arts (where I also teach), argued that criticism does the most good when it moves from talking about design to talking about society and the world…

Should critics be silenced by economic success? By the limits of their own geography and experience? If they were, design could turn into an online popularity contest, about nothing more than what gets the most retweets…

…if criticism is to be constructive, it has to take on the Apples, not Snow White as represented by an apple with a bite out of it."
massimovignelli  miltonglaser  seymourchwast  oxo  stevejobs  urbanized  objectified  paulrand  linkbait  brucenussbaum  designimperialism  humanitariandesign  garyhustwit  highline  chipkidd  yvesbehar  gracebonney  designsponge  tinarotheisenberg  dezeen  alicetwemlow  2012  getcritical  examinedlife  swissmiss  designobserver  design  criticism  alexandralange 
january 2012 by robertogreco
5 Voyeuristic, Cross-Disciplinary Peeks Inside Great Creators' Notebooks | Brain Pickings
"The nature and origin of creativity is the subject of many a theory. But, rather than theorizing about it, wouldn’t it be great if we could just lift the lid of a great creative mind and see just how the machinery works? Well, we sort of can — by way of great creators’ private notebooks and sketchbooks, which offer a trip to as close to the creative process as we can get. After last week’s rare look at Michelangelo’s, here are five cross-disciplinary favorites, spanning everything from street art to field science."
art  books  creativity  writing  notebooks  2011  classideas  thinking  stefansagmeister  miltonglaser  michaelbierut  marianbantes  odedexer  nomabar  amyfranceschini  sarafanelli  timlane  paulcox  tristanmanco  illustration  meriwetherlewis  annabehrensmeyer  rogerkitching  jennykeller  glenngriffin  deborahmorrison  sophieblackall  tadcarpenter  jillbliss  juliarothman  stevenheller  litatalarico 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Famous Creators on the Fear of Failure | Brain Pickings
"While intended as advice for design students, these simple yet important insights are relevant to just about anyone with a beating heart and a head full of ideas — a much-needed reminder of what we all rationally know but have such a hard time internalizing"
design  psychology  creativity  failure  innovation  doing  making  resilience  learning  paulocoelho  stefansagmeister  reiinamoto  miltonglaser  fear  2011 
july 2011 by robertogreco
miscellany · Art is fundamentally a survival device of the...
"Art is fundamentally a survival device of the species. Otherwise it wouldn’t be so persistent. It wouldn’t be in every culture. We wouldn’t know about it…

How does art help you survive? It helps us survive by making us attentive. In a simplistic way, when you go past a forest and you look at it and you say, ‘that looks just like Cézanne.’ And you realize Cézanne has made you see the reality of the forest in a way that you never could have seen before. He’s made you attentive. Every work of art that you care about makes us attentive. And if it doesn’t do that it ain’t art."
art  miltonglaser  attention  attentiveness  noticing  glvo  survival  human 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Sci-Fi Hi-Fi: Weblog: It was a couple of simple questions: Have you ever...
"couple of simple questions: Have you ever made a mistake? &, if so, what was your worst mistake? people who said, ‘Gee, I haven’t really had one,’ or, ‘I’ve had a couple of bad outcomes but they were due to things outside my control’—invariably those were the worst candidates. & residents who said, ‘I make mistakes all the time. There was this horrible thing that happened just yesterday & here’s what it was.’ They were the best. They had ability to rethink everything that they’d done & imagine how they might have done it differently. — Charles Bosk, on “a set of interviews w/ young doctors who had either resigned or been fired from neurosurgery-training programs, in an effort to figure out what separated unsuccessful surgeons from successful counterparts,”...The more I’ve had to deal with people professionally, the more convinced I’ve become that, as Milton Glaser says, “One of the signs of a damaged ego is absolute certainty.” Beware of people who lack the capacity for self doubt."
success  mistakes  learning  hiring  ego  miltonglaser  self-doubt  cv  honesty  human  failure  tcsnmy  certainty  administration  management 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Milton Glaser: Ten Things I Have Learned
"1. You can only work with people you like.

2. If you have a choice, never have a job.

3. Some people are toxic. Avoid them.

4. Professionalism is not enough. OR The good is the enemy of the great.

5. Less is not necessarily more.

6. Style is not to be trusted.

7. How you live changes your brain.

8. Doubt is better than certainty.

9. On aging.

10. Tell the truth."

[Note 15 May 2012: Kottke has been updating this link: http://kottke.org/02/05/just-enough-is-more ]
via:rodcorp  miltonglaser  advice  aging  life  work  careers  failure  success  people  society  innovation  inspiration  yearoff  complexity  simplicity  psychology  productivity  wisdom  philosophy  design  lifehacks  creativity  ideas  observations  ethics  employment  living  business  learning  howto 
february 2008 by robertogreco

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