Design Media Podcast Sports

A new venture

The Design Game: a podcast about the role of design in sports.

In November, I reached out to good friend David Merriell about starting a podcast. I had been feeling creatively unsatisfied for some time and wanted to explore a new outlet. We knew we wanted to discuss something of which we both enjoyed and were knowledgable. Through a suggestion from David, we settled on the idea of discussing the role of design in sports. After a couple of name changes, The Design Game was born.

Being first-time podcasters, we learned a lot in the months leading up to our first episodes – equipment, editing, technology, RSS feeds, and the iTunes store. We thank Cliff Ravenscraft of Podcast Answer Man for his incredibly useful tutorials. Without his clear, concise YouTube clips, we’d still be fumbling around the internet trying to figure out the podcasting workflow.

Our first four episodes explore both the smallest design challenges like 1-game uniform designs to larger challenges like the design of NBA All-Star Weekend events. In the coming months, we’ll explore golf fashion and culture surrounding The Masters, European football and jerseys with ads, and throwback culture.

We hope you will listen and we look forward to sharing our thoughts on all things design-related in the sports world.

You can listen to every episode on iTunes or at


Design Everyday

My morning routine involves a repeatable, sequential order: take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, style my hair, and get in my car. The entire process takes 40-60 minutes, depending upon the cooperation of my daughter.

Seems like a normal morning, right? What you don’t see is design – something that’s 99% invisible as Roman Mars would say.

These seemingly unnoticed routines and progressions occur every day. And it’s we who are the conductors of our planning and experience. This is design. We all use design. And we all, at some point in our lives, are designers.

Let’s look back at my morning routine. There’s plenty of invisibility that makes the process successful.

  • Selecting my clothes the night prior
  • Setting my alarm for a specific time in the morning
  • Having a towel nearby for my shower
  • Prepping part of my breakfast the night prior
  • Having my hairstyling products at an arm’s length

All of these tasks require design in order to succeed. Sure, it may seem like the invisible tasks would happen without thinking – or without design – but there’s a reason they make sense. They’re behaviors that folks have been improving, designing, and implementing for generations.

Mike Monteiro, the Design Director at Mule Design, points to the importance of the history of design in his talk from Webstock ’13 called “How Designers Destroyed the World.”

You are merely the present link in a chain that stretches back to the dawn of humanity and part of a network that spans the globe. And just like you learned from the mistakes of those in the past, you need to document and share your own successes and failures for the benefit of those coming after of you. Learn from those who came before and inspire those who came next.

The web, at the ripe old age of 25, doesn’t have the benefit of the “dawn of humanity.” Our current web design strategies, styles, and techniques change rapidly. But we’re getting better, day after day.

With every milestone in web design, our design processes and workflows become more and more ingrained in our day to day tasks. And over time, design strengthens until it’s inevitably invisible.

That’s the mark of great design – no mark at all.

Recommended reading: the folks at A List Apart are reliving some breakthroughs in web design as part of the 25-year celebration. 

Concepts Design Music

Bon Iver poster series

Track 1: Perth

For far too long, I’ve wanted to design a poster series around an album. Bon Iver’s second studio album, “Bon Iver,” served as a great subject. It’s a tightly edited, beautiful album that’s both simplistic and complex. I wanted to match the calming nature of the album with a minimalistic approach to the posters. Have a look at all 11 posters after the jump.

Design Self

5 things I would change about my design school experience

Newhouse designers! If my four years at Syracuse University represented an authentic design experience, your time at the Newhouse School will be fantastic. But nearly 10 years after graduating, here’s what I would do differently if I enrolled today:

  1. Invest additional time with Steve Masiclat: To this day, he’s my favorite SU professor. He’s funny, brutally honest, and his teaching challenges you.
  2. More “fake” projects: Make up a company and design everything for them. This shows off your design skills and develops your thinking around brand development.
  3. Read “Design is a Job” by Mike Monteiro: It gets better every time I read it. The book/guide teaches the fundamentals of succeeding as a designer outside the cozy University culture.
  4. Experiment with a different medium: Create a podcast. Or a video series. Design t-shirts. Dive into photography… something where design plays a crucial role. It’s essential to stretch your skill set and do things that make you feel uncomfortable (but also create great equity in your personal brand). Not everything you develop will work – and that’s the point! You’ll learn from the duds and the successes alike.
  5. Explore the city: I wish I had invested more time in downtown Syracuse, specifically the arts scene. Attend an event, show, or simply walk around downtown once a month. It will introduce you to other folks who live creatively.

Know that your time at Syracuse is incredibly valuable and finite. Take advantage of your design freedoms to create something powerful. Go forth!

Culture Design Self

Let’s get personal

Steven Pressfield’s post on culture hit me at the perfect time. In it, he talks of institutional culture (Apple, NASCAR, The Marines)… but more importantly, the power of personal culture.

But there’s such a thing as individual culture as well. A personal culture unique to one individual. Personal culture is what you and I have to have, and if we don’t have it, we have to acquire it. As artists and entrepreneurs we must design, construct, and perpetuate an interior culture that is as vivid, unique, and self-empowering as that of the corporations and institutions we work with and compete against.

Pressfield stresses the role of self in our work. Yes, most of us work for larger companies with their own cultures. But it’s the personal culture that can help us do our best creative work that aligns with our beliefs and desires.

Never was this more apparent than in our recent company planning session for 2014. We shared an institutional culture – meeting together with a shared feeling of the importance on planning and direction for the agency – but our personal cultures came to the forefront through recommendation and goals on what we wanted to do as individuals in the coming year.

Here’s how Pressfield describes culture:

A culture (in an institution or an individual) is comprised of a belief system, a style, a clearly-defined aspiration, a set of virtues that are cultivated and a set of vices that are forbidden or at least discouraged.

For me, my current culture includes the following:

  •     Practicing a level of design that is clear, smart, and fun
  •     A high level of respect for the beautiful
  •     Human relationships driven by humor, empathy, politeness, and generosity
  •     Valuing cleanliness, organization, and timeliness
  •     Expressing myself through written and audio outlets

Note the use of “current” – personal culture mature over time.

Because the new culture, if it’s true, will be a deeper, more authentic version of the older one.

2014 is sure to be a big year for the agency and I. Through the power of personal culture, I can bring my beliefs, style, and virtue to HB to both better myself and the agency.