Icon shortage

Is this too obvious or am I missing something, but why did Instagram (a Facebook product) just launch an Instagram Direct service, using an almost exact copy of a Gmail icon?

Gmail (left) vs Instagram (right)

gmail instagram

Surely, someone at Instagram would have picked up on that. Yes, it’s a different service, but both being such big names — I would think they would at least try a little harder than just rounding off the corners.

Reminds me a little of the Virgin and Telstra websites a few years back.

Personalised emails

My first thought when I get a personalised marketing email from someone is “Who the fuck are you?”. Those aren’t emails that quite obviously come from a company and they just have my name in their database. These are from companies, which are sent from an individual working at that company (marketing guy, random artist, etc), but I have never actually met or even heard of that person. They usually start of with something like “Hi Alex, I’ve had such a busy…”.

Getting too personal by email with people you don’t actually know isn’t a good thing. It’s nice to get an email that’s personalised, but don’t make it too obvious, people aren’t stupid.

On another note, Google Hangout emoticons (previously known as Gmail Chat) have put on some weight. I call them “obese smilies”. Just look at these little blobs. Where are all those diet nuts looking, kids will be using this and also get fat. Start an anti-fat-emoticons campaign, quick!

obese google emoticons

Government Easy Pay

Ever tried registering or renewing your business name online? It’s the most excruciating process. I won’t be going into details, but here is just a taste of it. After all is finally done and paid for, you are presented with the following screen. Apparently, unless you click on the tiny “x” at the top right of the page — your payment will not go through. Government easy pay


I highly recommend others trying out this system, especially those who are studying UX and are looking for bad examples. And they call this “Government EasyPay”.

Free education for everyone, everywhere.

Free education has always been: libraries (apart from schools, but that’s not entirely free either). You go to a library, grab a book, read and learn.

It then became a little more about learning from the internet. You watch YouTube, read blogs, tutorials, google information. Again, all done in your own time, but this time from anywhere you have access to the internet.

None of the above free education sources have really given you a structured, sometimes officially recognised education. Everything was left for you to research, read, find the right places to find the right information, often dig through the clutter of useless crap we find on public domains.

I have recently come across a website called Coursera. In summary, as they put it, “Coursera is an education company that partners with the top universities and organizations in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.” Basically, a free course of the topic of your choosing, where at the end of it – you can even get a certificate from the university that hosts the course, which you can add to your resume.

Some of the great things about this, is how current the information in those courses. Instead of buying text books written last year, you are given examples that sometimes are literally days old. Case studies that can be applied to the world today.

Since starting a course in Coursera just to see how things go, I’ve come across a few other websites, offering something very similar  – free education for everyone, everywhere. One is called edX and the other Udacity. Now, what will happen to those universities who do not adapt with change and stick to their current business model, which is in most cases, an expensive 3-5 year in-class degree? For some courses, of course, you will always need human interaction and proper, controlled training. But for many others – who knows, but some universities will end up where many book shops and video/music stores are now, closed.


UPD: Came across another one, this one geared more towards designers: Aquent Gymnasium

Foot or Food?

There are lots of normal people on websites such as Facebook, Instagram, etc. And then there are those that like to take photos of their feet on the beach to show that they are on a holiday (or elsewhere) and others, or often actually the same people, who like to take a photo of everything they eat, food porn,… before they actually eat it.

Ok, everyone has their peeves, and I guess this is one of mine. In fact, a while back I’ve asked my friends to take photos of their food, after they have eaten it, and send it to me. Still a project in progress, but something I would like to take further.

Photo feet and food

Full of agIdeas

Will I go next year? Probably. Is it too much like TED? Yes. Do some speakers need training in public speaking? Definitely. But overall, what did I think of the event? Worth the trip.

Some of the things that were mentioned over the 3 days:

  • sensitivity – use it with food, music, sound…
  • stop blaming arabs for everything
  • shoot in the rain
  • shoot square
  • “never trust your first ideas. they are too obvious to be inventive” – Heribert Birnbach
  • watch out for rolling projects
  • in digital design never ends
  • “motion graphics move when a designer can’t decide where to put them” – Ian Anderson
  • “don’t be a cunt all your life” – Ian Anderson
  • something about 666 and technology is the devil
  • taking risks with people builds intense loyalty
  • “you cannot discover a new world with an old map” – Andy Stalman
  • hug strangers
  • write all over your body and walk around the streets. and look up
  • big balls or big ears. take it as you like
  • “trend and genuine creativity exclude each other” – Heribert Birnbach

Also, took some photos. With my phone.

Cities embracing design

Melbourne has always been considered a more cultural, arty place (by most anyway). A designer-friendly city, with it’s relaxed café-like environment. As opposed to Sydney, a fast-paced labyrinth, more geared towards the commercial, business oriented persona.

Melbourne has the agIdeas and just recently the state of Victoria launched Design Matters. What do we have in NSW? I recently received an email from the Sydney based design event, Sydney Indesign. The only issue with that email was that the organisers (PowerHouse museum as it seems) decided to launch the event by doing something that designers (their main target market) despise and look down upon the most — crowdsourcing design contest.


An instant backlash through social media, blogs and forums, wasn’t that expected? The best would be the actual entries that they have received, which were mainly posters of protest against this whole idea of exploitation. I won’t be going into details why designers shouldn’t get themselves into design contests, there is enough on that written already. $1,000 prize, even that number itself is a joke.

The good news, and I would say this is mainly due to the negative publicity they have received — the contest was pulled off the website within about 1-2 days. Good job guys, let’s just all imagine that this never happened 🙂

A couple of examples of the entries, too bad I didn’t save them all.


Design in Russia, apparently it exists

This is an official trailer to a video (film?) about design in Russia. Graphic design, or design in general does exist in Russia, but very often it is overlooked.

While watching the design develop in Russia over the past few years, I’ve noticed the two extremes. Where at one end you see things designed by so-called designers or design companies that make you want to rip their fucking hands out. On the other, you come across some of the best designed pieces around, both in web and graphic design.

Design schools? From speaking to people that live in different parts of Russia (and even teach design there) — those are hard to come by. But, watch the video, there is a glimpse of hope in it.


official trailer THE MODERN RUSSIAN DESIGN from Sergey Shanovich on Vimeo.