Today was one of those days that's hard to explain to the in-laws.
You know, what are you doing today? Is it work? Is it with people from work? Is it with friends? Is it a conference? Is it for fun? No, yes, all of those and more. But also less. Something, everything and nothing.
Stuff is happening at the moment that I feel we'll look back upon and enjoy saying, I was there. Papercamp was one of those.
Win that ticket right there. Holding that ticket is a nice man called Andrew. Andrew bought a ticket and then got called up to the England World Cup squad and so can't go. So he has very generously offered it FREE to my listeners. It the Daniel Eatock D&AD lecture on next Tuesday, June 15th. (You could buy a ticket if you don't win one.)
Anyway. On with the competition. Simple question. Who would play Daniel Eatock in the Hollywood biopic?
Answers below. The one Andrew and I think is funniest wins. No swearing.
Andrew won a ticket to see Edward Tufte from this very blog. As a way of saying thank you he's written a review. In the interests of balance I thought you might like it.
This is not a map
This is what was waiting for you, balanced uneasily on your seat, as you arrived for Edward Tufte’s talk at the Royal Geographical Society. Respectfully re-produced, on a smooth 220gsm uncoated stock, it’s a graph showing the fate of the 420,000 French soldiers as Napoleon led them in a suicidal march on Moscow in the freezing winter of 1812. It’s a nice giveaway, and there’s a free elastic band, too.
Tufte doesn’t come to the UK very often. He’s been busy advising Barack Obama that his website design should be invisible, and “91% of every single screen should be content, and navigation is not content”. “Graphics should not be a special occasion”, he emphasised, after a faltering opening, because “Content doesn’t care what it is”.
He doesn’t seem to like designers very much; they worry about process too much at the expense of content. His ideal website design was a “well considered news site”, as practised by the New York Times. Tufte thinks touch screen technology will change our relationship with data, as it will give us back the “physicality of a gesture”.
His view of powerpoint (“It sucks”) seemed too easy, but his comment, “In only two industries do they regard their customers as users...” hung in the air, accusingly.
Tufte has been active in this area before 'infographics' became a common noun, and gaps in newspapers were filled with bar charts for figures that don’t need explaining, so when he says, “This is not a map”, and holds the piece of paper aloft, the room goes quiet; the elastic bands stop twanging.
He’s already explained at length why this is probably the best statistical graphic ever drawn, but he pauses for a second, and says, “This is an anti-war poster”.
A good day yesterday. We're busy working on a thing for our panel but we found the time to go and see Clay Shirky speak. He was very good for lots of reasons but it was noticeable that he was better at the art of speaking than many others here.
He spoke loudly and clearly, he had actual jokes with actual punchlines and he had a well researched arguement. All good. But as well as that he very clearly sign posted his talk. Upfront he told us the three parts his talk consisted of and then he mentioned each chapter when he reached that point in the talk. So you always knew where you were. Superb.
James very kindly made us all these wonderful books with lulu.com for use at SXSW.
It contains all the talks, a guide to Austin and Texas, space for notes and maps. And more. It's a lovely thing. And it fits coincedentally with my One Notebook Per Project strategy.
I've been using mine today to finish off my talk.
I was only there for 27 hours. Which is crazy. Silly, really. But I wanted to talk at Designyatra and I had a thing on Thursday and a thing on Sunday that I couldn't miss. So I left London on Friday morning and came back on Sunday morning. Like I said, crazy.
Designyatra was very well organised. Slick and efficient and interesting. And with Sir Martin Sorrell, Wolff and Olins on the bill it gets all the big names.
My talk went really well. People laughed and clapped, and even booed, in all the correct places. Which is reassuring when you're doing a completely new schtick.
I had to speak in front of 1,200 people, which is a lot. Not a lot for India, apparently, but a lot for me.
After I finished speaking I had few hours before my flight and so the organisers very kindly arranged a lightening fast tour of Mumbai for me. Thanks to Rosh, my guide and Rajesh who lent us his driver.
Classic tourist shots. You don't get that on other design blogs. All my poses are even on brand!
Mumbai is a fascinating place. Impossible to take in in 27 hours. Obviously.
I want to go back.
Thanks to the organisers for inviting me, accommodating my ridiculous timings and for making me feel very welcome.
I'd like to say thanks very much to Matt who managed 14 posts in 22 days, the longest guest stint we've ever had at NDG. He did a stellar job; as you guys seemed to have noticed judging by the comments.
My favourite posts were the on-street kerning, the awesome giraffe floral dalmatian combo and the debate about the most reproduced image. On that last post, Russell once asked me what the oldest logo still in use today was. Which is a similar question. As Max points out at first I assumed it was the Christian Cross. But after a bit of desk based research I reckon it's the four letters SPQR which come from the latin Senatus Populusque Romanus and means "The Senate and the People of Rome".
It's still used in Rome's coat of arms, on civic buildings, public fountains, and (just for Michael Johnson) manhole covers.
The exact date of it's origin is unknown, but it was obviously pretty soon after the foundation of the Roman Republic and therefore before the crucifixion of Jesus and therefore presumably before the cross was used as a symbol by the Christian church.
Although it's not a logo as we know it today, it's definitely a word mark and it has recognition and meaning which therefore more than qualifies it as a logo.
Back to business as usual. I'm off to Mumbai on Friday to speak at the Kyoorius Designyatra. (Designyatra literally means Design Pilgrimage.) There are some awesome speakers including Erik Spiekermann, Michael Wolff and Sir Martin Sorrell. I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to talk about yet but I think it's going to be along the lines of 'Things I passionately believed last year that I don't believe any more". If I can make the title less clunky.
I'm pretty excited to be going out there. I'll try and blog while I'm there, even though I'm only there for 29 hours. Hopefully I'll bump into Jamie the pigeon.
Oh yeah, and I'll blog about that poolside newspaper up there in a bit.
Last night seemed to go really well. I enjoyed myself, although I was more nervous about hosting than I ever have been about speaking. All the speakers were fab and did a brilliant job of sticking to 8 minutes.
Rather than me blather on, let us let Twitter do the review for us.
There's no way to be nice about this. Your jokes were awful, all of them.
I was sent a million, <insert font> walks into a pub, barman says "Whythelongface" and a thousand "How many graphic designers doesit take to change alightbulb?" "Doesithavetobealightbulb?" very lame. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Still, winners have been chosen and notified by email.
I'm getting pretty excited about tonight, it will be very different hosting and not speaking. Still if Richard E Grant can do it, then I'm sure I can.
If you're coming tonight use the Twitter hashtag #8x8 during the event and I'll read out the best ones in the breaks. Should be a great night, the mightly Iain Tait is up first and look what he did at his last presentation...
This Wednesday it's 8x8 London an event I'm hosting. Yes, hosting. 8 brilliant creatives are speaking and I'm going to try and hold the whole thing together like Terry Wogan at Eurovision with only an air horn and some poor jokes as props.
Due in no part to me the event is sold out, but I have some a handful of tickets to give away on the blog.
But I need something in return. I need design jokes. So email me your jokes and the best 4 will win a ticket. Email rather than comment as I don't want to give the punchlines away!
My email address is over here. That's kind of an initiative test.
They asked me if I wanted a projector and I said no.
I'd like to move away from the crutch of PowerPoint. You don't see Obama using funny slides, do you?
Anyway. I still had points to make and I still had words I wanted people to remember. And seeing as I was sort of talking about business models and the like I toyed with the idea of using plastic figures. Or little gifty things. But that didn't feel quite right.
So I made some spreadsheets in Excel.
I'm pretty fond of them, so I'm uploading them here for you to enjoy. Obviously these slides won't mean anything to you unless you were at the talk, so just sit back and enjoy the pictures.