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Art Spiegelman: we think in emoticons

I’ve read ‘Maus’ many times and I just admire the way Art Spiegelman uses the medium of the graphic novel to connect us to political ideas & beliefs.

In this interview he gives us an insight into why he believes in the medium of graphic novel & his creative process, particularly in the paragraph below:

"A lot of my larger projects come from narrative, which comes from words, but they’re essentialized words, not sentences. They’re like keywords. And those keywords immediately conjure up pictures for me. It’s a little like how Miles Davis once put it: ‘I’ll play it for you first and tell you what it is later.’ So I’ll also find myself drawing and then working my way backward to find out what I’m thinking about and what I have to put in place. The whole thing exists somewhere in between words and pictures because that’s probably how we think. Not just me. Not just this cartoonist. We speak in words, obviously, but we probably think in some kind of … Well, we probably think in emoticons."

Two things stand out. Firstly, the need to articulate ideas into keywords. It  reminded me of this Coppola interview where he tell us how he synthesizes the theme of a film into one or two keywords.

Secondly, we think in a mix of words and pictures. Spiegelman totally nails it when he refers to this combine as an ‘emoticon.’

Words & emotions get blurred when we talk about ideas that move us.

What makes a story unique?

One of thing that hooks us into storytelling is uniqueness, blended with that which we can recognize.  Relatability gives us egress to the story, but uniqueness gives us momentum and traction.

I remember one writer explaining the process of describing characters—that the inexperienced would spend time on what was most prevalent about a character. For example, that he wore khaki pants, a brow jacket… 

None of these left an impression, but the story she always remembered was one where a character was described in such a way that his top lip was thinner than his lower one. This very unique detail let her hold on to remembering who the character was (gave her traction) … and traction is what invariably let the mechanism of the story carry her forward—giving her momentum to the end.
Read the complete piece here

What is your sentence?

In the end, simplicity is best. 

What is your sentence? is a question designed to help you distill purpose and passion to its essence by formulating a single sentence that sums up who you are and what, above all, you aim to achieve. It’s a favorite question of To Sell is Human author Daniel Pink, who acknowledges in his book Drive that it can be traced back to the journalist and pioneering Congresswoman Clare Booth Luce. While visiting John F. Kennedy early in his presidency, Luce expressed concern that Kennedy might be in danger of trying to do too much, thereby losing focus. She told him “a great man is a sentence”—meaning that a leader with a clear and strong purpose could be summed up in a single line (e.g., “Abraham Lincoln preserved the union and freed the slaves.”).

Pink believes this concept can be useful to anyone, not just presidents. Your sentence might be, “He raised four kids who became happy, healthy adults,” or “She invented a device that made people’s lives easier.” If your sentence is a goal not yet achieved, then you also must ask: How might I begin to live up to my own sentence?

Read the entire piece here.

Stefan Sagmeister: You are not a storyteller. 

Industrial design is a curious profession. Its practitioners are not quite artists, though they are artistic; they are not inventors, though they are inventive; and they are not engineers, though the best of them bring a deep technical understanding to their work.

The Verge profiles Yves Behar here.

Perhaps, it is this in-between state of Industrial designers that impels them to push the envelope in design and innovation.

For centuries, the myth of the lone genius has towered over us, its shadow obscuring the way creative work really gets done. The attempts to pick apart the Lennon-McCartney partnership reveal just how misleading that myth can be, because John and Paul were so obviously more creative as a pair than as individuals, even if at times they appeared to work in opposition to each other. The lone-genius myth prevents us from grappling with a series of paradoxes about creative pairs: that distance doesn’t impede intimacy, and is often a crucial ingredient of it; that competition and collaboration are often entwined. Only when we explore this terrain can we grasp how such pairs as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, and Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy all managed to do such creative work. The essence of their achievements, it turns out, was relational. If that seems far-fetched, it’s because our cultural obsession with the individual has obscured the power of the creative pair.

— The power of two, The Atlantic

Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers,” he says. “We believe that applying the Open Source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.


In April 2012 we produced a cover on 3D printing entitled “The third industrial revolution” it inspired Kae Woei Lim, a designer at XYZ Workshop, to actually recreate it in three dimensions. The results are superb. 

(via notational)

In other words, to produce work and build an audience in the digital context is a dynamic choreography, and to succeed depends on the degree to which your mindset is emergent: Adaptable, responsive, and always in the process of becoming something new.

The emergent mindset, on Medium

Seven digital deadly sins →

It has been 25 years since the invention of the world wide web and more than 2 billion people are now connected. How does this information revolution affect us personally, socially and morally? In this interactive feature, a collaboration between The Guardian and The National Film Board of Canada, we find out what pride, lust, greed, gluttony, envy, wrath and sloth mean in the digital world.