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I try to keep up on the latest font development tools as much as I can and take advantage of them. There are a lot of tedious and technical aspects to making fonts, and anything that helps with that is welcome. I’m mostly self-taught and love to learn about new tools and techniques. Sometimes I think I spend more time doing that than actually making fonts, but it has served me well.Mark Simonson.

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Learn as much about our culture as you possibly can, by reading, by traveling, by involving yourself in things that go on. But don’t become an artist. Don’t think, «I’ll do it intuitively.» You have to learn if not to code at least to appreciate code, to understand code. Because code is what nuts and bolts were a hundred years ago.

If you don’t know anything about mechanics, you can’t survive in this world. If you don’t know anything about how a computer works or code works, as a communicator, which is what a designer is — the interface between machines and man, that’s what we are. We are the interface, we interpret what the machine says into visible language. If you don’t understand how the machine works, you’re going to be laughed out of the room by the engineering guys, because you can’t communicate with them.

Erik Spiekermann .

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When you procrastinate, you’re more likely to let your mind wander. That gives you a better chance of stumbling onto the unusual and spotting unexpected patterns. Nearly a century ago, the psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik found that people had a better memory for incomplete tasks than for complete ones. When we finish a project, we file it away. But when it’s in limbo, it stays active in our minds.

Begrudgingly, I acknowledged that procrastination might help with everyday creativity. But monumental achievements are a different story, right?

Wrong. Steve Jobs procrastinated constantly, several of his collaborators have told me. Bill Clinton has been described as a «chronic procrastinator» who waits until the last minute to revise his speeches. Frank Lloyd Wright spent almost a year procrastinating on a commission, to the point that his patron drove out and insisted that he produce a drawing on the spot. It became Fallingwater, his masterpiece. Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter behind «Steve Jobs» and «The West Wing,» is known to put off writing until the last minute. When Katie Couric asked him about it, he replied, «You call it procrastination, I call it thinking.»

Adam Grant.

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One thing we found with graphic designers is that they are used to presenting their work to clients on a regular basis. So people who do good design, you figure they’re able to talk through their work to a rather unforgiving audience that is the client. So you figure if they’re able to get that work through that aspect of the industry, then they should be able to present to a somewhat larger group of people. We’ve found that that’s actually very true for graphic designers.

On the other hand, type designers have less contact with clients on a regular basis. I’ve been to a lot of TypeCons and it’s not uncommon to think something like, “The content is interesting, but this person’s going to put me to sleep.” I think there is something about being in direct contact with clients and having to explain your work over and over that makes for a good speaker.

Armin Vit.

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Now, I don’t have the interest in writing more in-depth things. It is a reflection of publishing in general. You could say that it’s a bad thing because it’s shallower content, but that’s what people want. I’m the same way when I consume content online. I read something and I move on to the next. It works both ways.Armin Vit.

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Before you could have a consolidated conversation in one place, as was the case with Speak Up, now it started to spread all over. Social media, as it relates to the design conversation, doesn’t really add up to much other than, «Hey, look at this! I think it’s great. I think it’s bad.» But that’s it. There’s no real dialogue going on.Armin Vit.

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You should know this: The road drives. I’m trying to be a bit more explicit about steering things, choosing things and pursing them than I have been in the past. Sometimes you make your opportunities, and sometimes you trip over them. You can also plan yourself out of opportunities. The good thing is, at the end of the day I’m totally stoked with where things are right now and what my days look like. Sometimes it’s a matter of following a whim, and to do whatever you want when the pencil hits the page.Frank Chimero.

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Sometimes I say, «Hey, I know you have a lot of expertise here, but this is what I’m thinking. Can you tell me why these ideas are not the right ones?» Or sometimes I’ll go their way. Luckily, the engagements are usually long enough where you can entertain people’s assumptions. That’s all that these things are—they’re assumptions.

In this case, you’re talking about a conflict of assumptions where I have one set of assumptions and they have another set. It’s really important to figure out ways to suss out which are correct. Luckily, when there have been disagreements, my clients have had a rigid enough internal process that we’ve been able to test the assumptions. What’s ironic is that when clients have a set of assumptions that are in conflict with mine, almost every single time we are both wrong.

I think we look at conflicts as if one party is right and one is wrong. Maybe conflict is an indicator that you’re both wrong.

Frank Chimero.

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For me, design has changed from a method of decoration to a manner of construction. How do the pieces fit together? How can we design things so they are useful, scalable and maintainable? This was particularly important when I stopped illustrating, began consulting and working as an interface designer. My new landscape was incredibly technical, with a lot of specific necessities. I think you have an abundance of technical constraints whenever you transition into that space; you’re typically designing for unknown content, so you are designing systems. The scalability of those systems is what counts. It is not simply a matter of how many pages you serve out or how big a page can be. It is also about how different kinds of content can elegantly fit into what you’ve made.Frank Chimero.