Weeknotes 10 January 2020

By solle on 13/01/2020 — 3 mins read

Where we choose to live is so important if you don’t really belong anywhere. You have no home, no area of belonging you can turn and point at over the canals of time. You might have created a place in the here and now but something is missing and you keep moving, searching for an invisible memory/

Thanks Mark, I think this is the best description of how to operate as a good designer (good being far more important than great): “Economic Design is maximum effect with minimal resources. Economic Design is intellectually and materially efficient. Economic Design acknowledges that so much great work has been done before and therefore takes the liberty to repurpose existing forms when appropriate. Economic Design is the ideology of unwritten manifesto. Economic Design is not minimalism. Economic Design is not functionalism. Economic Design is not appropriation. Economic Design is totally economic. (Zak Kyes in conversation, cited in Zak Kyes Working With…)/

The other Weeknotes Mark got me thinking about design career futures. Sometimes we don’t know whether we are doing the right thing and what is the right design thing to be doing as you get older. Design practitioner or design leader or design leadership consultant or product management? As Mark mentions, is it a binary choice or is it just a case of becoming an older designer. Or is it just time to do something different/

(I feel a bit like I’m currently having a conversation with two other weeknotes)/

When planning for getting old, I’m going to ensure that life becomes as simple as possible. As little technology as possible. As few contracts and interactions with the commercial world as possible. Cutting complexity and confusion as close to zero. If you are unsure about this, you aren’t visiting your elders often enough/

Everyone knows the profit to be reaped from the useful, but nobody knows the benefit to be gained from the useless. Olga Tokarczuk (Drive your plow over the bones of the dead). I keep quoting this book. It really is that good/

Sometimes I see opportunities for photographs that I don’t manage to take and sometimes I wonder if I could have made more effort to stop what I was doing and try to take it. Sometimes rather extreme like get off the train and walk back but more often just lazy as a passenger in a car and not getting the driver to stop or returning later. Often I think of the image freeze-framed in my mind’s eye for quite a while but it then inevitably fades. One idea I have had is to write down a description of it as I remember it. Capturing the memory rather than the data/

Try and read a book a week this year or look at the internet. You choose/

Frank Chimero’s Burnout List resonates like a church bell. Glad he kept it raw like this rather than successfully turn it into an essay. I think it is more useful/

(From Robert McFarlane’s Underland) Probably the most challenging design task anywhere in the world. The need to communicate to an unknown future beyond probable human-related time that buried nuclear waste should be very much left alone. DO NOT TOUCH is simply not good enough. This is actual science fiction. End of the world science fiction. The description of site marking plans for The Waste Isolation Project in New Mexico gives one a sense of the scale of the problem. The struggling talking heads in the documentary Into Eternity captures it perfectly. “Nobody knows anything at all”/

Noah’s Ark is an appalling name for a ‘meat feast’ pizza/

And 72-year-old men spitting on live TV is not a pretty sight/


I am a user centred design leader working across senior design leadership teams and user centred design operations. I work across a wide range of digital services within the public, private and not for profit sectors.