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What are questions?

“Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question — you have to want to know — in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.”

Jason Fried paraphrasing Clay Christensen on Medium.

A 200-year transformation: How the Mall became what it is today

This is an utterly awesome piece by the Washington Post. Growing up in Northern Virginia, the Mall was essentially how I perceived Washington, DC. Then, as a student living downtown, I would walk past the White House on my way to class, or take a late night bike ride around the museums. Yes, tourist season never stops — but you can’t help but appreciate the fact that, like Paris or Rome, people from all over the world come to Washington, DC, just to see what’s there.

It Makes No Sense That Word Processors Are Still Designed for the Printed Page

The thing we’ve lost with modern word processors is simplicity. There are more layers between us and the page than ever, and the story barely even has room to breathe. I want as little between me and the article I’m writing as possible, and I’m sure other writers have to feel the same way.

This article from Motherboard is just my type of clickbait. I believe that clunky tools like Microsoft Word have done irrepairable damage to the way people think about communicating. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the features and widgets of Word that we forget how to formalize our thoughts for other humans. When was the last time you knowingly used a legitimate heading in your document and not just a bold line of text? (Yes, there is a meaningful difference between the two.)

The beautiful thing about Markdown is that, free from the distraction of visual formatting, you can seriously focus on the structure and subject of whatever you’re trying to say. The syntax is 100% platform agnostic and doesn’t require any special apps (though there are many out there). Just open up TextEdit or Notepad and formalize your thoughts.

World’s Biggest Indie Ad Agency Wieden+Kennedy Have Mastered Office Culture, Too, NBD

No matter the client or project scope, the agency first undergoes what Featherstone refers to as an “archeological” process. “We have to understand the brand and go to its roots to understand its DNA.” Once the agency is able to identify what a brand is ultimately about, Featherstone says, “We try to find what’s human about the brand, because we’re designing stories to build emotional connections.” Hoffman adds, “As far as style goes, it can be funny, like Old Spice, or serious, like Nike. But if a story is based on truth, then no one can argue with it. We can be successful with any brand if they will let us dig into the truth.”

From AIGA Eye on Design

The Absurd Primacy of the Automobile in American Life

Oddly, the most immediately devastating consequence of the modern car—the carnage it leaves in its wake—seems to generate the least public outcry and attention. Jim McNamara, a sergeant with the California Highway Patrol, where officers spend 80 percent of their time responding to car wrecks, believes such public inattention and apathy arise whenever a problem is “massive but diffuse.” Whether it’s climate change or car crashes, he says, if the problem doesn’t show itself all at once—as when an airliner goes down with dozens or hundreds of people on board—it’s hard to get anyone’s attention. Very few people see what he and his colleagues witness daily and up close: what hurtling tons of metal slamming into concrete and brick and trees and one another does to the human body strapped (or, all too often, not strapped) within.

If U.S. roads were a war zone, they would be the most dangerous battlefield the American military has ever encountered.

From The Atlantic

Beyond The Whiteboard: Rethinking How Business Schools Teach Design

“In business, design has become very systemized,” Helfand says. She equates some of the techniques that businesses rely on (such as whiteboard brainstorming) as hoary, plug-and-play techniques that are just surface cover for a lack of real understanding about what makes design work.

Down the line, this superficial knowledge of design can cause problems between designers and clients, who are not really speaking the same language, even though they might think they are.

Jessica Helfand and Michael Bierut featured in an article on Co.Design about their new program at Yale School of Management.

It feels like design thinking has reached its saturation point. This program sounds like a good sort of course correction.