Linked: Simplify!

Most people are surprised that I actually like math. I didn't necessarily enjoy it in high school, but I'm completely fascinated by it now. And I really wish I paid more attention. People assume that as a designer, I don't need to do math. But that's not true at all. I use geometry and algebra all the time. I occasionally even need to break out a spreadsheet that – gasp – has some formulas. 

One of my favorite blogs is Math with Bad Drawings. I love how Ben simplifies really complex concepts into simple drawings. Today's post – Simplify! – is wonderful. And if you like math, you should check it out.

Linked: Goulet Pens matches Pantone's Colors of the Year

Last month, I posted a note about Pantone and fountain pen inks. Specifically, one of my thoughts was that someone could market special edition "Color of the Year" inks and pens.

Well, Goulet Pens has a blog post that lists inks and pens that match up nicely with Pantone's Colors of the Year: Rose Quartz and Serenity. A nice post, beautifully photographed. 

Linked: Upgrade #65

Earlier today, I posted about how confused I was about what direction to take with my next mobile device.

Then on my way home, I was listening to podcasts and caught Upgrade #65: Holiday Firewall with Jason Snell and guest host Merlin Mann.* At about the 1:30:00 mark, they talk about how confusing it is to pick the right Apple product today. Good to know that others are as confused about their options as I am.

* Merlin Mann is also the creator of Inbox Zero.

Linked: The Advent Resolution

Just a heads up, really. I've started a little project on the Off Topic section of the site called The Advent Resolution.

The Advent Resolution is simple: Prayerfully prepare for the coming year. 

Because of this, I'll be writing significantly more in Off Topic through Christmas. I'm still planning to write daily, though, and hope to stick to my posting schedule. Follow along and let me know what you think.

Kickstarter: Get your Secret Species children's book!

in honor of Black Friday! My friend Marius Valdes has a Kickstarter for his new Secret Species children's book. It's already funded, but if you want to get an awesome book, you have until Wednesday, December 2 to back the project and get a copy. 

Marius and I have collaborated in the past on many projects including Valdes Clarendon and Valdes Poster Sans. If you love his artwork as much as I do, back the Kickstarter today!

Linked: Dear Design Student

Dear Design Student is a blog over on Medium that offers helpful, honest and occasionally harsh advice to students. I struggle with many of these issues with my students and this is a great resource for student designers and young professionals.

A couple of my favorite recent posts:

Linked: National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month.* I've always been fascinated by the concept of NaNoWriMo and am thinking about participating this year, despite the fact that I don't think I've written something fictional since elementary school. The point of NaNoWriMo isn't necessarily to write something great – it's to give yourself the motivation to write to a goal. 

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.

Sounds fun. And I've got a couple of ideas rattling around in my brain. We'll see how it goes. I'm going to use my favorite writing app, Ulysses, to manage the writing process and daily goals. And of course, I'll post updates here about how it's going.

Also, I need a new a mug.

* November is also Movember.

Linked: Sharing your creations

This nice little post from Seth Godin today really made me think. I often fall into the trap of refining and refining until something is "perfect" before I put it out in the world. The problem is that nothing is ever perfect, and so nothing ever gets released. I need to remember to be proud of my projects and not ashamed of their flaws.

It's a nice thought to take into the week and I figured I'd share...

Writing with Ulysses

I recently started using a new application for most my writing. Ulysses is a distraction free text editor with a wide range of additional features and an outstanding interface. It's available for Mac and iOS. I was planning on writing a long article about Ulysses, but the folks over at the Sweet Setup beat me to it. They've got a great review of the app.

Ulysses is a Markdown app. (If you aren't familiar with Markdown, it's a way of formatting documents quickly and efficiently.) I'm still uncovering all of the features in Ulysses, but I'm impressed. It's not cheap, but it's worth every penny.

Ulysses features an intuitive interface that works well on the Mac And iOS devices.

Ulysses features an intuitive interface that works well on the Mac And iOS devices.

I did have one problem with Ulysses and syncing. When I first bought the iPad app, some text it had written on my MacBook Pro wouldn't sync. I struggled with the issue for a little while, but then figured out that if I made any change to the text, it would then upload and sync. So I added a space to the beginning of each problem file and everything synced perfectly from that point on.

They also mention a few other writing apps as honorable mentions at the bottom of the article. And they are some of my favorites, too. Specifically:

Scrivner: I really love Scrivner. It's exceptional powerful, but really complicated. Lack of sync is challenging and I prefer the Ulysses interface, but for really long form work, it might be the best option in the App Store. 

Byword: Still one of my favorite distraction free writing apps. Byword works on iPhone, iPad and the Mac. Great app and I highly recommend it if you want a Markdown editor that isn't as expensive. My go-to note taking app.

Rebranding with stencils

I've been playing around with stencil designs a lot lately and I recently came across this rebrand of Army West Point athletics by Nike. I love how they've used the stencil throughout everything. Check out the rebranding microsite to see the entire identity.

"Stenciled" on the back of a lacrosse jersey.

"Stenciled" on the back of a lacrosse jersey.

Also, while I'm not a big fan of overly constructed design rationales, this explanation for why Nike chose a stencil was perfect:

During World War II, the U.S. Army deployed approximately three million trucks, tanks and other vehicles, each of which was marked. Items were tagged using stencils because they were fast, easy to use and produced clean markings. The distinctive look of stencil type is created from the gaps between horizontal and vertical portions of the letters designed to serve a routine function durability.

This typographic style is authentic to military culture and the use of stencil letterforms by the U.S. Army dates back to the Civil War. New and innovative stencil fonts have been common throughout the twentieth century and never fall out of style. Strong primary typography is a critical component of the Army West Point Athletics identity.