Tuesday, March 21, 2006

education and the economy

Noted from Cool Cleveland:
Smarter, not bigger cities

Surprise! It seems the Census Bureau estimates have been misleading – cities are not in decline and in an even bigger surprise, we discover that a city’s economic success in no longer tied to its population. The most reliable factor to ascertaining the future economic success of a city?

The percentage of citizens that hold a college degree.

OP-ed at Planet Netizen
Brian Sooy & Co. is located in the middle of a self-admitted working-class county, with leaders that have great aspirations for higher things:
  • encouraging the growth of innovation technology companies
  • enabling small business owners to think entrepreneurially
  • Creating new startups by entrepreneurs
To this point, it's been classic: "If you build it, they will come." Lorain County Community College's innovative University Partnership allows residents and students to pursue Bachelor's and Masters degrees at the local community college. It's been very successful, and is one of the keys to improving the economy within our region.

We have a Far Side cartoon on our refrigerator, picturing a sheep standing up in a herd, yelling "Wait, wait, listen to me... We don't HAVE to be just sheep!"

Picture me standing in the town square, standing on a park bench, yelling "Wait, wait, listen to me... we don't have to be just working class!"

"Working class" is a way of thought, not a lifestyle. Change the way we think and perceive the region, and the region (and the economy) will change.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Connecting the dots

I've been thinking a lot lately about connecting the dots, and how much connecting dots has to do with pattern recognition, and how pattern recognition helps us get through life.

We use pattern recognition everyday, especially when we read. I realized how prevalent this was when my kids received a Scrabble game from their grandparents – finding new words from the 7 letters you pick from the bag requires a certain level of pattern recognition.

Helping my son with math homework is pattern recognition: teaching him that solving the problem is a matter of recognizing the type of problem, then applying the formula.

Discussing the design of a new typographic logo with a client, requires an argument for pattern recognition – a "p" doesn't necessarily have to look like a "p," because we read the pattern of letters that create the words we read – we don't read individual characters in a word.

Even spam filtering is based on pattern recognition, just like the search and replace function in your word processing software

Not that this is ground-breaking thinking, but it's intriguing.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Where do designers fit in?

Graphic designers occupy a unique place in both society and the marketplace. We forever struggle how to articulate what we do and why we do it, yet our work influences society in ways most people are unaware of. We can articulate other's messages, but not define ourselves.

I'm always dismayed when I fill out a form on a web site that is asking for company information. When I come to the dropdown, rarely am I presented with the option of "graphic design." If I scroll to the Gs, I might see government, If I look in the Ds, I might see... no choices. See! WE could be there – D for Design.

Of course, we all struggle to fit in somewhere, whether we admit it or not.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Tag I'm it

Tag, I'm it. Frank McClung from B-L-A-N-K tagged me for the "Four Things" meme. Sorry it took so long to post.

Four jobs I have had:

  1. Groundskeeper
  2. Delivery boy (yes boy!)
  3. Media assistant
  4. Design apprentice (sans a guy with bad hair; but I have stories to rival any TV show)
Four things I wished I'd done earlier in life (not necessarily in this order):
  1. Learned to snowboard
  2. Learned more from my father and mother
  3. Invested more
  4. Found a mentor
Four places I have lived (do different houses count?):
  1. Elyria, OH
  2. Bowling Green, OH
  3. Cleveland, OH
  4. Elyria, OH
Four countries I'd like to visit :
  1. Italy
  2. Papua, New Guinea
  3. Bali
  4. Australia
Four of my favorite dishes:
  1. Angel hair pasta with red sauce
  2. Salmon with orange glaze
  3. Almost any breakfast special involving scrambled eggs, sausage links, pancakes and hash brown potatoes
  4. A chicken burrito with green sauce and salsa from Luchita's
Four sites I visit (almost) daily (interesting indicator of how an individual uses the web. I don't use it as often as a source of news or information unless it's task-oriented):
  1. Creative Pro
  2. Let the Good Times Roll
  3. Netcraft
  4. LogoLounge
Four software applications I can't live without:
  1. Entourage
  2. FontLab
  3. Live365 player
  4. Firefox
Four things I'll never forget (again, not in order):
  1. Seeing all the stars in the sky at Quartz Mountain in Oklahoma
  2. Meeting my wife
  3. What my children teach me about being a child to God as my father
  4. How to play the violin
Four bloggers I am passing the torch to:
Bad: I don't know four bloggers. Someone has to work while y'all are out there writing. Perhaps Guy Kawasaki will take up the meme.