Abstract Design Inspiration Presentations

The Image Quilt

ImageQuilt 2015-11-02 at 6.42.48 PMAt a recent one-day course taught by Edward Tufte, he introduced me to the notion of an “image quilt” – a mosaic of images that you can create using an extension available for Google’s Chrome browser.

Here’s an example of just such an image quilt – based on a Google image search using the phrase “ny times infographic

When creating an image quilt, you can make a number of adjustments including size, spacing, ordering, etc. as well as removing certain images from the quilt before saving it as a PNG image file.

Tufte also suggested that when searching for things on Google he often chooses to view image search results – not the regular web search results. He notes that the regular web search results have typically been extensively “gamed” using techniques like search engine optimization to influence placement of the results on the page. He suggests that isn’t the case with the image results. I’ve been trying it more frequently – it is a useful alternative for certain kinds of searches.

Design iPhone 5 Photography VSCO Film

Abstracts on the Shelf


These are some iPhone 5 shots taken in the lounge of a hotel I recently visited. I had been reading in the lounge one evening and, while heading out, noticed these interesting pieces in cabinets well lit by halogen spots above them. I played with a couple of them in VSCOcam – but most are straight out of the iPhone 5 camera.

“The best camera is the one you have with you…”





Books Design Work

Enjoying Nancy Duarte’s New Book: resonate

I’m a big fan of Nancy Duarte and the amazing work that she and her team at Duarte Design perform to help make presentations into something we can really enjoy. Being just up the road in Silicon Valley, I was fortunate to be able to attend one of her workshops (taught with Garr Reynolds) about 15 months ago – and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

resonate by Nancy Duarte

Nancy’s first book, published about two years ago, was slide:ology. In the preface to her new book, resonate, she notes that the new book is actually a prequel to the first – having realized that first you need to figure out the story you’re telling – and THEN you can create the most effective slides to tell that story.

I ordered the book on Friday and received it yesterday. Just finished a first pass skim to get a sense for what’s inside – and, I must say, it’s quite the “tour de force” about visual storytelling. I enjoyed her conclusion to the opening introduction:

“The future isn’t just a place you’ll go; it’s a place you will invent. Your ability to shape your future depends on how well you communicate where you want to be when you get there.”

Some of the case studies are particularly compelling – including the Steve Jobs’ 2007 keynote introducing the iPhone and Pastor John Ortberg’s storytelling from the pulpit. Lots more too!

If you enjoyed slide:ology or Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen, you’ll enjoy resonate as well. Highly recommended!

(Note: affiliate links included above)

Design Living

Contempt for Authority

Just read a nice profile of Edward Tufte by Adam Aston in BusinessWeek. Loved the opening quote:

“My father once told me that I would never be successful because I have too much contempt for authority,” says Edward Tufte. “I think that’s been an enormously successful strategy.”

I’ve been to a couple of Tufte’s local sessions in Palo Alto – both were great fun and provoked lots of new insights.

Business Design Presentations

Having Fun at Presentation Reboot @ Duarte Design

One of my partners from Glenbrook, Russ Jones, and I attended the great Presentation Reboot session held at Duarte Design in Mountain View on Tuesday.

Taught by Garr Reynolds and Nancy Duarte, the session was a deep dive into creating effective presentations – and a whole lot of fun too – as you can see in the picture below that Garr took!

Presentation Reboot at Duarte Design

Another attendee, Chris Spagnuolo, posted a review of the session on his blog.

Design Living

Honoring Jay Fliegelman

It seems that the older one gets the more there’s an interest in reading obituaries.

While browsing this afternoon, I happened across an article written with great care by Cynthia Haven from the Stanford News Service about the death earlier this week of Jay Fliegelman, the Coe Professor in American Literature at Stanford. He was only 58 years old.

Haven’s article goes on to talk about Fliegelman used his “important collection of more than a hundred rare books” to truly bring history to life for his students.

Last month, I attended Edward Tufte’s two day experimental course in Palo Alto. Tufte also punctuates his presentations on information design with his own set of rare masterpieces.

Special teachers – like Fliegelman and Tufte – awaken our senses to new insights we’d never have learned without them.

Design Web/Tech

Tufte’s Experimental Class

Edward Tufte’s teaching a new two-day “experimental class” next month in Palo Alto (Thursday-Friday, July 12-13). I attended Tufte’s one day session a couple of years ago – and am looking forward to the “deeper dive” of the two-day session next month. “The two-day course is the theory of analytical design with examples; the one-day course, examples with some theory.” There’s nothing better than a deep immersion!