Cool Tool by Anthony Schmiedeler

I picked this baby up from an art store counter display about 3 months ago because the design caught my eye and I've been using it pretty consistently ever since. The OLFA Touch-Knife is a spring loaded razor blade, concealed in a flat circular container. Since it isn't a typical pencil-like shape it is very portable and it has extra surface area for good leverage and accurate cuts. I use it for opening pretty much anything. I also use it when I'm crafting and it's the closest cutting tool within reach. Yesterday I used it to remove a splinter because it was the only thing around that was suitable for the job. An excellent combination of function and beauty.

This post was inspired by Kevin Kelly's book Cool Tools

by Anthony Schmiedeler

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
— Robert A. Heinlein

On a quest to become a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-many.

Heard in the Tim Ferriss Podcast, episode 19.

Martin Venezky @ Facebook by Anthony Schmiedeler

"Find the thing you aren't looking for."

"Find the thing you aren't looking for."

"All these opposing forces that come together for a moment."

"All these opposing forces that come together for a moment."

"These are the advantages of not being organized."

"These are the advantages of not being organized."

I always love learning about other designers and artists processes. Martin Venezky did not disappoint in his talk at Facebook HQ. He strays about as far from the rules as one can with no real plan in the beginning. He relies on the mess and mix of materials and processes to find naturally occurring relationships in his work. It's tough to figure out whether it falls into the art side or the design side. But I don't really care because it's ALL good. Hopefully I can apply some of his free spirit to my own designs and let go of the reigns sometime.

George Lois at KC Design Week by Anthony Schmiedeler


KC Design week is following KU Design week and this was the first event. A live interview of George Lois, influential ad man and design legend. In typical George Lois fashion there were tons of f-bombs and good laughs but also some damn good advice. Here are a few points I took away from the conversation.

1. "Don't design!" - Lois said the key to his success was going with his gut and not over-designing his powerful ideas.

2. "Personality" - George Lois's answer to what made him stand apart and got him hired on the spot. It's something I need to work on personally.

3. "More than two people in a room is impossible!" - I couldn't tell if George Lois was pushing a lone genius working style but I definitely agree that too many people working on one thing will most likely lead to a stale idea that attempts to please everyone. But I'd also argue that working in small groups generates thorough discussion and more thoughtful design.

4. "You can be cautious and you can be creative but you can't do both." - Being cautious is a creative restraint that could limit the power of an idea.

All in all, it was an honor to see George Lois in person. I was energized and inspired to work harder and be the creative person that I want to be!