Read: Has Innovation Lost its Meaning?

Noah Brier, one of the founders of Percolate, was recently interview in Fast Company where he addressed the meaning of innovation.

After reading Josef Schumpeter, who is known as one of the first people in our industry to really talk about innovation, Brier came up with his own interpretation of what innovation in today's world needs to mean.

"Innovation is part of a process that involves creating something new (invention), figuring out how to commercialize it (innovation) and then actually getting to adopt it (marketing)."

The interview also asked Brier, "How do you go about creating a culture of innovation?"

"If you buy my definition above then creating that culture involves both committing to inventing (or at least watching the market very closely) and then having a group of people in place with a keen understanding of the market dynamics and the ability to understand how to take an idea that is often half-baked and turn it into something the market will buy into.”

I love how Brier connects the dots here. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the work that comes flying our way but it's important to take a step back and really assess if we've pushed the ideas far enough. It’s about making the time and creating the space so that we have the ability to truly innovate for our clients.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

Monday Morning Inspiration: Cristiana Couceiro


I have fallen in love with the work of Cristiana Couceiro.  She is an illustrator/graphic design/collector extraordinaire based out of Lisbon who uses anything from newspaper, vintage photos, pieces of paper, books create her works of art.  These are just a few of my favorites.  Some of them were done for her clients like the NYTimes, Wired, Nike and Audi.  Others are from her personal portfolio.  You can see more of her work here.


Watch: Waste Land

This weekend I watched Waste Land, a documentary about the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz.  The film documents the creation of a series entitled “Pictures of Garbage,” which are portraits of garbage collectors called “catadores” in Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest  landfill on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.  The film follows the three year project from start to finish as Muniz and the catadores collaborate on the process of creating these works of art.  It’s an incredibly inspiring film and one that gives a voice to a community of people few know exist.  One of the most inspiring aspects of the film is that Muniz donates 100% of the proceeds to the catadores so they can educate, protect and improve the living conditions of Jardim Gramacho. To date, the project has contributed nearly $300k.   You can read more about the film here.

Discovered: The Punkt Alarm Clock

One of my New Years resolutions was to no longer sleep with my iPhone next to my bed.  No more checking emails as soon as my eyes open.  No more sending off late night emails that could wait until morning.  So our "charging station" got moved to the other side of the room, which meant we lost the other function of our phone--the alarm clock.  For the last couple weeks we have been using the classic Braun Travel Clock, my husband's from growing up, but it lacked a snooze button.

So the hunt began.  Our requirements were simple--well designed, slim profile and a snooze button.  We scoured blogs for "best alarm clocks," "modern alarm clocks," etc... to no avail.  Then, on a rainy Saturday afternoon we popped into Moss and came across what I am now deeming the perfect alarm clock.

Designed by Jasper Morrison for Swiss brand Punkt, the AC 01 is everything we were looking for and more.  I love how simple and intuitive the controls are and in addition to a snooze function, glow-in-the-dark hands and dial, it also has an led light that illuminates with a simple push of a button.  You can buy one online here.

Thank You: Steve Jobs


"[Y]ou can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." -- Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.

Monday Morning Inspiration: Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei, one of China’s leading conceptual artists, recently installed his piece, Sunflower Seeds, into the interior of the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall.  While at first glance all of the seeds look nearly identical, the exhibit actually consists of 100 million porcelain seeds that were each individually sculpted and painted in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen, which is known as the "porcelain capital" in China

When the exhibit was first installed, visitors were invited and even encouraged to walk, touch and  lay down in the seeds but last week they announced that the exhibition is now no longer open for human interaction due to the dust created when visitors walked on the seeds.  Either way,  I think the connotations typically associated with the term "Made in China," is brought into question.  The exhibit is up until May 2011 so if you are in London in the next seven months be sure to check it out.

*Photographs from the Tate and The Guardian

An Interview: Matias Corea

"To be able to really take advantage of the possibilities for communication and information transfer that exist online, you need to open your mind and start thinking about the overall systems at play." -Matias Corea

Design Droplets, an online industrial design and product design Magazine, recently interviewed Matias Corea, Co-Founder & Chief Designer at Behance.  I'm a big fan of Behance and their mission to organize the creative world through three platforms, the Behance Network, the Action Method and the 99% conference, which I had the pleasure of attending this year.  I love his call to action for designers to lead the way in which consumers get information.  Enjoy!

Matias, Welcome to Design Droplets. Thank you for taking the time to chat, could you please give a quick introduction on yourself.

My parents are Argentinean and both architects. I was born in Barcelona, where I studied graphic design. My roots are in typography and print, but I fell in love with interactive design when I started Behance with Scott Belsky. I have lived in New York City since 2002 and I feel at home here. I’m a jazz lover, and I love driving my vintage BMW motorcycle around the city.

Can you talk about your influences and personal design philosophy?

In my school years in Barcelona, electronic music was omnipresent and offered many opportunities for design – flyers, posters, branding for clubs. That was a big source of inspiration for me, as it was a medium which gave me a lot of freedom and space for exploration. After class I would do my school and freelance projects at my little desk in my father’s architecture studio. All the conversations I overheard, the models being built behind me, the shelves packed with books and the work of the architects of the modern movement really left a mark on how I see and think about design.

To me, design is about solving problems, that’s what ‘being creative’ means to me. Limitations, boundaries, barriers, obstacles. I think that happens in every single creative project, even when we do personal work.

You are the chief designer at Behance, can you give a quick overview of Behance (what it is, where it came from, why it exists etc…) and share a bit about the development of Behance from a design perspective?

Behance is a company with the mission to organize the creative world. Everything we do serves that mission. We have developed the Behance Network, the largest Creative Professional community online, to help creatives present themselves and their work. We built the Action Method, a system for productivity on paper and online, and the 99% content site and conference, to share the best practices of the most productive creative people and teams.

We believe creative people have the most ideas, the most power to affect change, but the hardest time making those ideas happen. Design can play a huge role in helping people not just generate ideas but execute them. That’s why Behance is a design-driven company, always. Our audience is creative professionals, and we believe they are more likely to use systems they are attracted to. Design is also important in terms of usability – if our mission is to organize the creative world, then everything we put forward needs to be intuitive and incredibly easy to use, so that’s always a primary goal when facing a design challenge.

You are a fantastic example of design skills being highly transferable. You trained in Graphic Design, dabbled in Architecture through your fathers architecture practice, then jumped head first into web design with no prior experience, are involved in creating the 99% conference and co-created the Action Method products (product design). What are your thoughts multidisciplinary design and design skills being transferable to any field a designer puts her or his mind to?

I think all designers should be multidisciplinary. Design to me is a way of living and thinking, it’s about solving problems. In many ways, the process across fields is almost identical when we have a problem to solve.

The biggest challenge in jumping from print to web design was to understand that websites are basically visual databases. To be able to really take advantage of the possibilities for communication and information transfer that exist online, you need to open your mind and start thinking about the overall systems at play. Growing up in my father’s architecture studio helped me understand this. By looking at the blueprints of huge hospitals and other large, complex buildings, I learned to embrace dependencies between elements and to think about the big picture, not getting caught up in the visual details before the structure and flow of the system is defined.

While Behance provides amazing platforms and tools to empower designers and others to make ideas happen, what do you think designers can do to empower themselves to make their ideas happen?

We can provide all the possible tools in the world, but it’s up to designers to decide to use them. You have to want to change the way you work. What is it they say, that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery? Scott, my partner at Behance, recently wrote a book on this topic called Making Ideas Happen. He talks about how creatives get “addicted” to new ideas, and then when it comes to executing, they lose steam and focus.

Choose one thing and stick with it until it’s done. The best way to get there is different for everyone, you have to find the system that works for you and that you will actually use.

You love typography, what tips can you give product designers and industrial designers on using fonts on products?

There’s a subtlety to typographic work that a lot of people neglect. That’s why most people don’t even know what a typographer does for a living. Anyone can put type on a bottle or packaging but only the ones who understand typography can make it belong to the object.

I don’t think there are set rules or tricks to good typographic work, I think there should be a learning process in which you develop a feel for what works and what doesn’t. Collaboration with an experienced graphic designer is the best starting point to be able to do typographic work on your own.

Irrespective of whether its graphic, fashion or product design, in your opinion how is the web changing design?

I find it more interesting how design is changing the web. At the beginning, it was all about the tech side, the coders, the engineers. But every day we’re realizing that innovation comes as much from the designers that are trying to push the boundaries and think of different ways to use that technology. In many ways, technology is now trying to catch up with the creative uses that designers are finding for the medium.

On the other side, the web is allowing people around the globe to get more exposure, which brings to the surface better work, which ends up raising the bar across all fields in the creative industry.

How important is organization for making ideas happen?

Essential. There’s an excess of ideas and a lack of good execution. Organization helps to prioritize, and that leads to smart resource allocation, from personal energy to monetary management.

Apart from the Behance family of sites and products, what reading (online or offline) material would you recommend for designers?

For those who want to learn the basics on typography and understand where everything comes from, I recommend The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst.

And, anything that is not about design – I really believe that inspiration and growth come from stepping outside of your ‘bubble’, your comfort zone. So I would suggest reading about other things. I think that it’s also very important to travel outside of your country. It may sound like a cliche, but different cultures and landscapes really do help open your mind. Most of my best ideas come from these moments of exploration and distance.

Matias, thanks for taking the time to talk with us here at Design Droplets. Do you have any final thoughts or advice for Design Droplets readers?

We need more designers that understand the web and can push it forward. Web design is no longer about applying the corporate color palette and making it look pretty. There’s a growing need for designers to take the lead in shaping the way we get information. Designers need to realize the role the Internet will play ten years from now, and trying to jump on it then will be much harder than starting now.

World Building in a Crazy World

worldbuilding-big Many of you are probably familiar with Jonathan Harris.   He is, in my mind, a genius.  While he has created a number of fantastic projects, he seems to have gotten the most press for We Feel Fine, an interactive exploration of human emotion, which also just recently became the We Feel Fine book.  If you haven't checked it out, do.

More recently, he created a series of vignettes titled World Building in a Crazy World, which are based on a talk he gave at UCLA as part of the Mobile Media Lecture Series.  When I first came across them, I was in a cozy hotel in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome wrapping up a two week vacation and mildly dreading heading back to NYC.  After reading them, my mind shifted; I wanted to dive back into the projects I was working on and see how I could make them better.  I became "less concerned with how the world is, and more with how the world could and should be."  As Jonathan sees it, the series is about the current state of the digital world.  As I see it, the vignettes are about life and how to be more conscious of how we live it.

Think about his points.  Soak them in.   Apply them to your life where it feels right.  I did and I'm a better person because of it.

au revoir simone

aurevoirsimone It is very rare that a day goes by where I don't feel blessed, fortunate or lucky.  It is only 3:28pm on this Monday afternoon and I have already felt that feeling a handful of times; it helps that I woke up to gorgeous sunny skies.  After opening the curtains, I made a delicious breakfast of fresh ricotta, thinly sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of aged balsamic on toasted whole wheat bread. But I'm not here to tell you that I'm in a good mood or had what I deem the perfect breakfast.  What I'm here to write about is how damn lucky I am to have so many talented and amazing friends.  Tonight, after an event at The Eldridge with the Dining and Libations Society, I’ll make my way out to Williamsburg to cheer on Au Revoir Simone, an amazingly talented group of musicians.

Our friend, Erika, who plays in the band, graduated with us from Skidmore College and we’ve been fortunate to stay in touch with her since then.  Tonight they are surprising people and doing a small show in Williamsburg.  Then they head off to Europe to release their new album, Still Night, Still Light.

Congratulations lovely ladies.  This is an amazing journey to watch from the sidelines!

You can preorder the album here.


The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography

The fine folks at Humble Arts Foundation have recently published The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography, which features one of Dan's images.  "The Collector's Guide is an invite only, unique 180–page source book distributed to collectors, art dealers, gallery directors, photo editors, museum professionals, and independent curators. Published biennially, The Collector's Guide aims to further Humble's mission by bridging the gap between ambitious early-career photographers and often-unapproachable photography professionals and art institutions."

We were lucky enough to score two copies of it at this year's  and they are beautifully designed and contain some amazing photographers including Timothy Briner, Brian Berman and Carlo Van de Roer.

You can pick up a copy here.