San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

When I moved from Seattle to San Francisco in 2012, SFMOMA was already closed for expansion and renovation. I never got to see it as it once was, but filled in many visits to the DeYoung in Golden Gate Park instead (looks a lot like a Star Wars vehicle, don't you think?)

Anyway, it re-opened, and my Seattle college college / Oakland roommate / bff Ross Patton made a visit this weekend. Seven levels of photography, sculpture, abstract,  modernism, etcetera.

A big surprise for me waited on the 4th floor. A collection of Design through the ages, from the typewriter to Swiss posters to current day data based annual reports. To quote Seinfeld, "I was (am) busting Jerry, busting!". Some posters, including the Gieselle ballet poster below, I had only seen in books. Pretty exciting. Makes me wonder what else they have in the collection...


My initial thoughts on our 1.5 hour driveway? SF MOMA, in comparison to the DeYoung, which is a bit smaller and had a wealth of rotating exhibits, has a little bit of everything in their collection. The museum has gorgeous white tones, wood, open spaces and minimalist yet effective signage on every corner. There are multiple area to eat, drink, sit, rest and relax. It is a well thought out experience meant for you to come back again and again.

I was too enthralled to take more / better photos, but design firm Snohetta who lead the expansion has some killer photos of the museum interior.



There are plenty of articles on Instagram rebrand so I'll keep this simple.

This morning I was reading an article on designers reactions to the new Instagram rebrand. Several of the comments included: "I hate it"," it's awful" etc.

Perhaps I am an optimist; I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume their decisions have intention behind them. I also find it slightly unprofessional when Designers completely smash something to bits without considering all sides, and especially the longview.

My reaction?

Take a step back and give some time to process and consider your thoughts and all sides. Good design doesn't happen oven night, and neither did Instagram's rebrand. And for that matter, neither does an informed opinion.

With over 6 years since any major visual changes, Instagram has probably used that time and experience to make an informed decision of their next move.

If you hate it now, ask your self the same thing after using the app for one week, a month and three months.

As designers, we're supposed to put in the research the process and iterations that inform our approach.

Just like the design process, only through time will we see if the results prove our initial hypothesis.

Origin Story

"Cartoons and graphics are not real art. You'll never go anywhere with this kind of crap."

That was the final summation by the Program Director of a magnet high school art program I was interviewing for in suburban Maryland. I was a teeny 8th grader with a scrappy "portfolio" (that would be a high compliment) of comic strips with emphasis on funky bubble typography.

I was never good at realism; I grew up re-drawing my favorite comic strips and carton characters since before I can even remember. I was drawn to their graphicness, simplicity, stories and character personalities. 

I left feeling offended, confused and lost. 

Lucky for me, I returned to my 8th grade art class next week to Career Day, where our teacher, Ms. Mullican (who pushed me to apply for the magnet program in the first place), brought in a professional who created things like books, illustrations and logos. He was what was called "a Graphic Designer". My mind was blown. "Wait - there is a career that combines drawing and these letters I have some strange affinity for? Someone got somewhere with what I was told last week was crap? There is a name for that?" That was it, I was in.

But as much as I felt kind of crushed by the brashness of that Old Curmudgeon Program Directors words I felt equally challenged. Not in an F-U kind of way. I transformed that challenge in to the drive for another challenge. Several, actually.

The challenge to make something that "cant be done", or a client can't realize on their own. The challenge to make something real, tangible, that exists at first in the mind and eventually as a tangible product. Challenge to use graphics, simplicity, story-telling, personality and problem solving to go somewhere; to enable a product or service make a real difference to the people who it is meant for.

A decade and a half later, I am still grateful for Ms Mullican and the Old Curmudgeon.