5 Anti-Principles of Good Design

Simplicity, originality, utility, systematization and continuous evolution are the typical tenets of good design. I propose the opposite. Here are my anti-principles of good design: Continue reading

The World Beyond Experience

Post-modern individualist culture has no common goal or purpose—no empire, no religion. Everyone is an individual with their own tastes, dreams, views and ambitions. Everyone pursues their own goals, seeks out their … Continue reading

Culture as shared taste. Subjective is not the same thing as individual. Taste is subjective, but not unique. In other words, taste is a property of the subject—the person doing the judging—but it is not necessarily unique to that subject, given that: 1) we share more than we differ on, not only biologically, but culturally, and 2) we can agree on the things we like—i.e. we discuss and develop taste collaboratively, not just in isolation. What someone deems good will be their judgement, but not only theirs. Shared taste—i.e. shared values—is what we call culture.

Against Creativity

On the destructive aspect of the modern day obsession with originality
In our age of consumption, creativity itself becomes an item of consumption. What I mean by this is that for the consumer market the originality of a design becomes just as important … Continue reading

Water and Wine

Umair Haque writes about good and bad technology in Prosperity in the Age of Intelligent Machines. He redefines “high” and “low” tech from the standpoint of whether or not it enriches the … Continue reading

This Will Kill That

In a chapter titled “This Will Kill That” of Notre-Dame de Paris, Victor Hugo presents his thoughts on the death of architecture, or rather, on the migration of civilizational content from the … Continue reading

Virtue

In the post-modern world, the world of mass consumption, success is measured by your power of consumption, that is, your wealth. Thus we have people who buy expensive goods like cars and … Continue reading

Designing Action

I mentioned in my previous post that typefaces which are heavily influenced by handwriting give us the pleasure of feeling a sequence of perfectly executed strokes. In addition to this, there is … Continue reading

The Letterform in a World Without Handwriting

As handwriting gets replaced by typing, and as students move from the pen to the computer, the essence of the letterform undergoes a change. It is not hard to imagine that in … Continue reading

Starting a Newsletter

Differentiating between facts and perspectives, and my new newsletter
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. Continue reading

Further Reading

Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds. Thus, in the words of Ruskin, what good books give us is not mere knowledge, but sight.

Every month I send out recommendations for exceptional books that will challenge your thinking and give you more eyes on a range of topics that include design, technology, history, media and philosophy. Sign up below: