What we do for money.

How can you balance the desire for money with integrity, honesty and peace of mind. What would you do for money? What kind of projects would you do for money?

This is a loaded topic. If you work at an agency, you probably have no choice.

We only take projects that align with our skillset, our interests and client relationships. We are in a fortunate position in this way and I feel blessed to have the luxury. Could we make more money being shady and dishonest? Definitely! Would we? Nope.

The thought makes me ill.

I read today that the PR agency Ketchum is doing work for the Russian government. There are a few highly paid lobbyists in Washington that work on behalf of the Russians too. It is akin to working for the Third Reich. Would I accept huge amounts of cash to do the same? It could mean a vacation home in the Hamptons, or a new Mercedes-Benz S63. Would you do it, playa?

I would rather be able to sleep at night and be proud of what I do. The aforementioned are despicable human beings and Americans.

Honor and integrity above all. You can charge for work that is honorable. Really.






I recall web “design standards” in the beginning. I could not believe it. How could someone have the audacity, rather – the gall – to apply standards to a medium that was less than a few years old at the time. There was a guy – anyone who has been in the business long enough knows who I am talking about – especially if you worked at Ogilvy – who would rail against large images, graphic text, anything that did not look like garbage basically. He is now running a company “evidence based usability”…whatever. People love things that sound “important”. That said, I am sure he is very nice. I just don’t like being told what to do.

The web is moving quickly. It’s actually running as I write this. Design is becoming more integrated into actual coding (like responsive design).

How could you apply “design standards” to something like this? It is ridiculous. It’s as if someone said. “All you can do with tomatoes is to cut them thusly, apply salt, and serve. This is evidence based eating, it is how people interact with a tomato”

Anyway, things like this obviously annoy me. They stifle innovation. They make designers and programmers and business owners afraid to take risks. Afraid to offend or God forbid – have some person not click on “buy now” on their site. Or even worse, abandon the site. My feeling is that if someone is not interested, it does not matter what the design looks like or how it is built.

Principles of type, layout and design have been around for hundreds of years. They are still evolving. Every day. Why can’t web design standards evolve. To codify them at such an early stage is folly. Websites live and die everyday. The good ones, the good functionality quickly becomes pervasive. Like responsive design that takes down to mobile.


Song of the day: June 23, 2014

This song is super cool, very throwback to the 1960′s – but better. I like music that takes me to places far away. This does it (for me)….while this may not be deep design music, it is certainly busy music for creative energy.  #ukraine, #donbass, #ceasefire

The Brian Jonestown Massacre –  Memory Camp


LIVE THROUGH THIS AND YOU WON’T LOOK BACK: Simple Steps to being a great designer. Dispatch 1.1

This is the beginning of my novel/expose/book whatever. It begins here.

My friend/colleague/former protegé Adam Chaloeicheep has been saying to me for years “man, you need to write a book and teach this at a university.” It was never time for me to consider writing a book until this morning. Maybe.

I will form some ideas on this blog. I have a definitive point of view in terms of what makes a good designer in terms of how one should live, how one should work with others, how one should treat clients, criticism, collaborators, children, old people, etc.

My experience in this field ranges from high end design and creative for Mercedes-Benz, down to laboring over PowerPoint slides and forcing it to do what I want as best as I can. The funny thing is, the unenlightened would say “Mamus, you are so senior, you don’t do that kind of work anymore, you just focus on the good stuff – the branding – the image of the brand and campaigns”. That is partially true, but working on tedious tasks like PPT, or charting, or poster boards for a show keeps you sharp. What you need to understand is all experience is cumulative. You would be surprised how much things really work together – especially with technology. For example, how do you resurrect a file that is sent by a client that is named simply “chart” and you have no idea what it is – PPT, .eps, .tiff, etc. and your Mac does not recognize this kind of file? And it is 2AM the night before the “biggest pitch we have ever had” and your  dog is sick and you have a cold. Generally, you feel like you are going to die right at your computer. Anyway, you change the name of the file to chart.jpg or chart.pptx until you get a little icon and your Mac will most likely recognizes it. Little things like this make all the difference in the world – not only to you and designers who work with you – but your kids (if you have kids now or in future) or clients who are stuck.

Does this matter?

Do you just say “let the IT guys deal with it”. If this is your  approach to the world, you will find it difficult to truly succeed. If you do, it is not for your talent, experience or skills – it is for some other reason like – your in-laws own the business, you are the only person in a 300 mile radius who knows Photoshop,etc. This is my opinion.


welcome to now


Is this amazing? I love music that takes me away. It drives my creative, it becomes my existence and how I go through the day. We are working with new friends in Ireland and this reminds me of Ireland very much. Open. Be in love any way you can.

The Gloaming –  The Necklace of Wrens