David Airey takes over the NO!SPEC Campaign

David Airey Redesigns NO!SPEC

After long last I found someone to take over as project manager of NO!SPEC – the wonderful David Airey. A perfect choice, David has been an unwavering supporter of the campaign for years.

My buddy Jay Wickham will continue to back the campaign as programmer (thank goodness). And I will give what support I can.

And hey, all you other designers out there – you can help too! Tweet. ReTweet. Write posts. Comment on forums. Send spec experiences to share on nospec.com. Whatever. Every little bit counts.

BTW: If you’ve signed up for the feed at no-spec.com switch to nospec.com. The no-spec.com url will (eventually) point to nospec.com.

So long and… thanks for all the fish…

Catherine (Former Project Manager: NO!SPEC)

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Top Graphic Designers on Twitter to Follow

Top Graphic Designers on Twitter to Follow

Follow Top Graphic Designers on Twitter to Boost Your Career

From North Onion, a sweet way to wake up on a Tuesday morning…

We strongly encourage you to follow the feeds and visit the blogs of these top-tier artists, but offer a word of warning: featured Twitterbugs have a knack for finding projects so compelling that a person could be distracted from actual work for several hours at a time. Proceed carefully….

Agreed. There are certainly a great number of designers on that list. Btw – if you do plan on following me, please go for @nospec over @thecatat7. The NO!SPEC Campaign is where I spend most of my time these days as there just isn’t enough time to do it all.

Thanks for the follow in advance. And a thanks goes to Rebecca Palmer for supporting the design industry.

Ho ho ho everyone…

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NO!SPEC Redesign: David Airey and Jeanette Wickham

David Airey Redesigns NO!SPEC

Some of you might know that I also run the NO!SPEC Campaign. For those who aren’t aware, the early campaign days are documented in the categories to the right.

The NO!SPEC Campaign was put together in a mammoth rush. Two overlapping teams were created to come up with design and copy, each team with an aim of working towards the final product. Doing it this way made it sort of a scattered experience at best, but it garnered results.

From the very beginning we knew that the site would eventually need a quieter redesign. That the IN YOUR FACE [insert expletive here] layout wasn’t meant to last forever. Also needed was a logical nav structure, as sometimes finding things was… whoooh…

But for years we were too shagged out busy with the campaign; less concerned with making pretty.

Every so often I’d get emails from designers offering to redo the site design. Jay and I would look at portfolios, check out code, and then get back to the campaign.

Several months back long-time buddy David Airey offered to do the redesign. I knew David’s portfolio and I was also aware of how he worked with clients. So I knew that we’d work well together too.

As Jay is the one responsible for everything under the NO!SPEC hood, I forwarded David’s offer. Jay blessed it with a yes.

David mentioned that the design brief was brief.
And indeed it was.

David: Brief?
Cat: Simple.
David: This?
Cat and Jay: Like.

As expected, the redesign went smoothly. No drama. No snafus. Although – and I just have to confess this part – late in the day (after most everything was done) I did start hankering after a third column to share @nospec twitter tweets. Heh. Don’t you just hate that from clients? But, without making a last minute request, I shelved the idea for afters.

If you read the comments in David’s post about the redesign you’ll see some grumbling (nothing huge, mind you). Also in the comments is an excellent point made by Jeff Fisher (LogoMotives).

I do think that many forget the NO!SPEC site is not just a resource for design students and those in the design profession. I often direct businesses, organizations, “contest” coordinators, educators, publications and others to the website for information about the topic of speculative work. I did so yesterday after receiving an invitation from GermanAviation.com to participate in a ‘competition’ [i.e. “contest”] for a new logo design. Who knows if they even bothered to visit the site for a little NO!SPEC education – but, if they did so, a very professional presence was there to be explored.

Looking at the bigger picture – communication industry + clients – is one of the main reasons I went with a calmer, more professional design this time.

All in all, I expected more of a negative reaction, but in a different direction. No matter. Eventually, everyone will get used to the cleaner design. And hey, I promise that we’ll do our best to muff everyone off with the next revamp… kidding ;-)

I’m all the way down here and there’s thanking yet to do.

The NO!SPEC Campaign started out with 20 tireless designers in the NO!SPEC committee. And they were brilliant. Some even worked through illnesses brought on from the late hours needed to put the project together. But people do have jobs and lives to get to, families to see, and all that.

So the way the NO!SPEC team shakes out today, there is a smaller, looser team comprised of Jay Wickham, David Airey, and Steve Douglas. [edit] I forgot to add myself. Between the four of us, we hold down the fort. You see, when I’m fed up with the spec cacca (it can get pretty depressing), it’s Steve and David who prop me up, giving me the support to continue on. And it’s Jay doing what needs to be done codewise, as well as fixing what I break (which is often).

Jeff Fisher, a member of the original NO!SPEC committee, continues to support the campaign on a regular basis. And btw, the original committee is not permanently out of the picture. They come in ever so often when I yelp for help.

Debbie Millman, who we all know and love, is another designer working on spec issues (I swear that lass never sleeps). And when I’m fussing up a storm, Deb sometimes sends soothing noises my way.

So a HUGE thank you from me goes to everyone involved. Everyone who has worked on the NO!SPEC Campaign in the past, all the way to the present, and even to those coming in later. Everyone who has written a post about spec issues, tweeted and retweeted those posts, whatever. It’s all important. And I thank you.


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You Look Like The Right Type

You Look Like The Right Type
You Look Like The Right Type

Due to annoying spam, awhile back I shut down DWB’s contact form and pointed people to my Facebook account instead:


My FB has been noticeably Thai related lately, but that just might change.

This morning I woke up to a message from Mark Addison Smith, a graphic designer and educator working in Chicago.

What my blog is about:

Each day, I listen in and write down dialogue I hear spoken around me from honest-to-gosh real folks. At the end of the day, I turn my collected text into a stack of illustrations. I post one a day on my blog: YouLookLikeTheRightType.blogspot.com. Twenty-four hours later, the cycle begins again.

I’ve been recording conversations and illustrating dialogue since November 23, 2007, when a young lady stopped me one evening in the Chicago loop and asked me for a cigarette. Apologizing for not being a smoker, she snapped her finger and said, “ahh, you look like the right type.” I went home and illustrated her words, and now have over 2000 drawings to date.

It’s interesting to me how non-related conversations suddenly find connections and start speaking to each other from drawing to drawing. The extension of the digital blog as a curated space for many of the illustrations contrasts with their hand drawn, hands-dirty conception; it sort of speaks about our need for “just the basics” amidst all things complex.

Check it out to see if you are taking mental notes of similar stuff as well.

My favourite?

You Look Like The Right Type


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