Metaphors, Idioms and Why the Save Icon is Broken

Metaphors are great, until they lose their meaning. Then they become confusing, seemingly arbitrary phrases to those not in the know. The save icon is an idiom in visual form and there’s nothing good about that.

In a recent post I promised to write a follow-up article on why the save icon was “objectively” broken. I know this topic has run its course, so I will keep this brief. I’ve started to think more broadly about this save icon subject—specifically around using metaphors in design. The metaphors for computing concepts established decades ago are starting to show their age and time has exposed the weaknesses of relying too heavily on them.

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The Dichotomy of "Simple"

The word “simple” has varied meanings. This is certainly common in the English language, but the broad definition of the word can create confusion within the design community. This is not helped by the word’s influence and pervasiveness in the designer lexicon. However, the most challenging aspect is that “simple” can often have opposing, conflicting characteristics, creating situations where a design can simultaneously be simple and not simple depending on one’s point of view. Continue reading “The Dichotomy of "Simple"”

Write Like You Design

Good designers make beautiful things. Why then do so many create such poor sentences?

I have long held the opinion that writing was part of design. I simply did not practice it. Writing was not given much priority while I attended art school. Writing continued to be of secondary concern during the early years of my career. Evidence of this can be seen on this blog. I started taking my writing more seriously after my wife, who has her master’s degree in English, started editing my posts. It progressed further while working at Adaptive Path, where it was clear that how we communicated our work could be as important to our job as the work itself. Currently, the attention given to language in the work at Seabright solidifies a dedication to the writing process in my practice. Continue reading “Write Like You Design”