Posts

2024

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Enough to Know

What are you scared of?

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Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick Three?

Three is better than two.

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Don’t Judge a Book By Its Timestamp

If not now, then maybe later.

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Behind the Curtain

Mid-life crisis abounds.

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Replacing a 9-Figure Company’s Corporate Typeface

Build enough trust to influence change.

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How I Choose Typefaces

Pick a typeface like a pro.

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You Are Special

Use your superpowers to set others up for success.

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The Crystal Email

The greatest power move is compassionate service.

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Shoot Your Shot

Increase your percentage of getting what you want.

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6 Techniques for Group Decision Making

Help your team move forward.

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Math: A Great Design Tool

Use specificity to lead to action.

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Spine

A story of when I walked away from a good project.

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The Advantages of Imposter Syndrome

Choosing to have imposter syndrome can help.

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The Journey to a Dream Client

Take the scenic route.

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Creating Portfolio Pieces

The art behind creating portfolio pieces that convince.

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My 40th Birthday in Peru

Turning over the hill, looking over some hills.

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How Long Does It Take to Design a Landing Page?

A surprising answer for how long good design takes.

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A “Definition of Done” Template

How do you know when to stop?

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Talk About Yourself

Once you do, then they will.

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How to Get Free Mentorship from Someone You Admire

Maximize the mentorship.

2023

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2023 Year in Review

The ups and downs of 2023.

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Call it Good

If you don’t, why would they?

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The Sweet Spot for Design System Work

There’s a narrow window for effective design system work. It sits squarely in the center of a spectrum that’s too easy to slide towards one end or the other.

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Does Web Design Matter?

It’s different now than it has been in years past.

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Improve Your Webcam Quality

Setting up a DSLR as your webcam.

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A Case Study: Building an Accounting Brand & Website

The story of a small project I did earlier this year.

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Commit to Commit

When “yes” or “no” doesn’t work.

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Creating a Success Metrics Tracking Practice

It might be simpler than you think.

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Designing Everything

Do as much as you can on purpose.

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2023 Adirondacks Fall Foliage Photography Trip

A special trip during a special time of year.

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Answers to Common Design Questions

A few quick takes and hot takes about design.

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How Much of a Rascal Are You?

Make change without approval.

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How to Calculate Opportunity Profit

Make better decisions about what to say yes and no to.

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Career Paths, Ladders, and Leveling in Design Systems

We need better structure for design system roles and responsibilities.

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A Design System Coach’s Portfolio

It probably doesn’t look like what you’d expect.

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Breaking Down Design System Effort by Week

How designers, engineers, writers, and DesignOps contribute to a design system effort, by the numbers.

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The Rest is History

How can we normalize rest as a crucial part of our work?

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Extravagance as Savviness

Look like a million bucks.

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In Search of a Better Design System Metric than Adoption

There’s a better leading indicator.

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Don’t Get Paid What You’re Worth

Get paid what you’ve earned.

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Salary and Income Transparency: Now With More Context!

More context to understand money more accurately.

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Consent to Proceed

A little extra friction in a conversation can unlock a lot more confidence.

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Add a Chapter

The story’s always being written.

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Config 2023 Recap

What’s really special about in-person conferences.

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Mastering Manual and Mundane Work

Is manual work worth doing? Skip it or face head on?

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How to Pitch Anything to Anyone

Get more of what you want.

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Pre-Launch Jitters

Noticing the feelings before putting something new into the world.

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Artificial Intelligence & Humanity

What I rely on AI for—and what I don’t.

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The “Free” Part of “Full Price or Free”

When should you work for free?

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Full Price or Free

I have two modes of working with people.

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I’ll Match Your Effort

Help without doing the work.

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The Work Always Wins

How to establish ownership of most situations.

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How To Be a Hands-On Leader Even Though You Know You Shouldn’t But You Will Be Anyway

One of the biggest lessons I learned from both my teachers and my interns: let them finish.

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One Fundamental Decision

How to evaluate the job and success of a consultant—especially if that consultant is you.

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Deliver Value Every Week

The simple process I use on every project.

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Leaving Room for Creativity in Design System Work

Are you suited for design system work, and is it suited for you?

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Should You Work in Design Systems?

Are you suited for design system work, and is it suited for you?

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Mentorship vs. Coaching vs. Directing vs. Modeling

Being intentional about learning.

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Choosing Between Two Good Options

How do you decide?

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The Danger of ‘Whaddya Think?’

Get better feedback.

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My Daily Recap Template

A 5-minute ritual.

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A Simple Framework For Building Trust

Three easy steps.

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What is a Design System?

6 different types of design systems.

2022

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2022 Year in Review

The ups and downs of 2022.

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Yes, Under These Conditions

Accountability between “yes” and “no.”

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Whoever Wants It More Does the Work

Exposing and flattening power dynamics in any relationship.

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Ask

You shall receive.

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Three Times is a Pattern

A starting point for design system contribution.

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Resist criticizing tools for what they are bad at. Resist designing tools that are well-rounded.

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A cognitive bias in which there’s a tendency to notice something more often, leading someone to believe that it has an increased frequency of occurrence.

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A digital nomad is defined as someone who uses technology, especially a laptop and a wireless network, to work remotely from anywhere in the world.

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superfriEnd

I’m shutting SuperFriendly down.

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A surprisoligist explains why it feels good when the unexpected is sprung on us, and why surprise is actually good for us.

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Beautiful, affordable Wordpress templates.

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A reflection on art created by artificial intelligence.

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Details on how Charli’s income streams increased and decreased over the past year

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A CSS approach that’s blowing my mind.

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Now what do I do?

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Helping people guess right.

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The Folly of Design System “Foundations”

The idea of “foundations” is one of the biggest threats to creating a design system people use.

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Measuring Quality with Design Systems

Part 2 of a conversation between Amy Hupe, Nathan Curtis, and Dan Mall.

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Identifying Useful Design System Patterns

Avoid design system graveyards by capitalizing on patterns that are already in use.

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Measuring Speed with Design Systems

A conversation between Amy Hupe, Nathan Curtis, and Dan Mall.

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Design System Coverage

How much of a page should be made up of design system components?

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10 Years of SuperFriendly

A decade in business!

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2021 Year in Review

The ups and downs of 2021.

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SuperFriendly 2021 Wrap-Up

SuperFriendly’s worst year to date and one of my biggest professional failures. Time for a big change.

2021

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Design Systems Prepare You for Change

The moment where a design system proves its value most.

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Design Systems & Magic

Lessons about design systems from Harry Potter.

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Design Tokens Resources

Beginner-level guidance on design tokens.

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It’s Easier to Revise than Create

How to hack starting from scratch to make something great.

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May 30 – June 5, 2021

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May 23 – May 29, 2021

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Building Momentum

What should you do when you feel like your projects are going slower than you’d like?

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May 16 – May 22, 2021

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May 09 – May 15, 2021

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May 02 – May 08, 2021

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Play with Arcade

Our new design token manager is now officially open to the public.

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Support Systems for Learning

Defining and examining 10 different ways people learn.

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My Typical Day

Wake up to bedtime.

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    2020 Year in Review

    The ups and downs of 2020.

    2020

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    SuperFriendly 2020 Wrap-Up

    A look back at SuperFriendly in 2020.

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    Design Systems for Email

    Bringing modular design practices to email.

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    A Syllabus for Web Design & Web Development Apprenticeships

    An intentional way to teach web design and web development from scratch.

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    A CEO’s COVID-19 Calendar

    A daily routine for a COVID-19 world.

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    Useful Sections for a Design System Reference Site

    More people will use your design system if it’s easy to browse.

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    Making Design Systems Public

    Is making your design system public worth the effort? In short: yes, it is.

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    Better Webcam Video

    Stepping up quality for video calls.

    2019

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    2019 Year in Review

    The ups and downs of 2019

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    SuperFriendly in 2020

    Looking forward to a new kind of year for SuperFriendly by looking back at the past few years.

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    More on Bootstrap for Your Design System

    A counterpoint to “Should You Use Bootstrap or Material Design for Your Design System?”.

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    Should You Use Bootstrap or Material Design for Your Design System?

    Weighing the pros and cons of rolling your own design system.

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    The Hot Potato Process

    A better way for designers and developers to truly work together.

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    Communication Arts Interactive 2020

    A rundown of the kind of work I want to see awarded in this year’s competition.

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    Avengers: Endgame

    My review. Major spoilers included.

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    Typography in Design Systems

    A typographic system that optimizes for guessability.

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    My Experience with Laser Eye Surgery

    A play-by-play.

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    Break-Even Points for Value Pricing

    A play-by-play.

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    Designer + Developer Collaboration Workshop

    Recapping our Philly workshop.

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    Starting a Design System

    What are the first steps?

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    2018 Year in Review

    The ups and downs of 2018.

    2018

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    Clients by Brand Color

    Celebrating clients over the years.

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    Passing the SuperBooked Baton

    New leadership for SuperBooked.

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    Design Systems: Mastering Design at Scale

    A video series in partnership with InVision.

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    Work With Me to Redesign the Shop Talk Show Website

    An opportunity for someone who might not have it otherwise.

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    A Portfolio Hiring Managers Can’t Deny

    Tell ’em exactly what they want to hear before they even ask.

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    Designer + Developer Workflow

    A real view into at what collaborative workflow looks like.

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    Smashing Conference Toronto 2018

    Reflections from a speaker about doing a new (kind of) talk.

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    Distinct Design Systems

    What makes a design system better than any other?

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    The Only-ness Statement

    A simple brand exercise that speaks volumes.

    2017

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    How to Scope Work

    A skill that separates the amateurs from the professionals.

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    Stealing Your Way to Original Designs

    There’s nothing new under the sun.

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    Design Systems: Pilots & Scorecards

    Pilots are a great way to start a design system.

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    Bad News. Good News. So What?

    A simple framework for effective storytelling.

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    Cooking with Design Systems

    Design systems make deciding in the browser much easier if you have the right ingredients.

    2016

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    Investments

    Using an investment framework to help evaluate what’s worth doing.

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    Voting for Trump is Unbiblical

    Measuring Trump against the Bible’s criteria for leaders.

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    Accountability

    A 3-step formula for accountability between yourself and those you interact with.

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    SuperBooked

    Announcing SuperBooked, a service that helps you find work with a little help from your friends.

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    Researching Design Systems

    An inventory of the most popular design systems out there.

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    Apprenticeships

    A fantastic solution to bridge the gap between opportunity in tech and those in need of change.

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    Great writing from Mike really brings me back.

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    Selling Design Systems

    How to convince your boss that a design system is a good idea.

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    Oil Change & Pizza

    Death to “full service.”

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    To overcome your fears, you need [permission] to try something different.

    2015

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    Content & Display Patterns

    Embracing the difference in pattern types is the key to making a modular design system infinitely more scalable.

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    Titles are Important

    Don’t believe anyone that tells you otherwise.

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    I Don’t Have Time

    That magical phrase that gives you permission to brush off the things you really want to do.

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    Time for Work

    What’s the minimum amount of time we should be working per week?

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    Switch

    Dealing with creative block.

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    Finished Business(ology)

    The time has come for me to step away from Businessology.

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    Finding Clients

    Like magnets and archaelogists.

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    Pricing

    How to start charging for your work.

    2014

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    The Businessology Roadshow

    Learn about the business of design in person.

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    On Creative Direction

    A primer on creative direction as compared to art direction and design… and what they all mean in a digital context.

    2012

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    Authenticity

    Some speaking advice from Jeremy Keith.

    2010

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    FullCodePress

    An event that challenged 3 teams to build a website for a non-profit organization in 24 hours.

    2009

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    Typedia

    Wikipedia for typefaces.

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