Creators: David Cole
1) What have you been making lately?
On the side I take on passion projects with my tiny boutique studio, Sleepover. Right now we’re designing the official Tumblr blog for New York City. I’m also designing the script writing and show management software for The Colbert Report, which is based on EtherPad, another product I designed. I feel very fortunate for it all.
Beyond that, I’m trying to break into game design, and I have a few projects in the works there, including an adventure game generator. (Screenshot below.) I have a terrible habit of committing to too many things, though amazingly this is a relatively light load for me.
2) What’s your favorite and/or newest tool that you use for work?
Tough call. Contenders would be Sass, GitHub, or Due, but I think I have to say Cloud. It’s become a tool as ubiquitous in my work day as Dropbox or Gmail. The plugin that shares the canvas of an open Photoshop document is a dream come true when we’re quickly iterating on design, and the rapid screenshot sharing is great for QA. It’s also a perfect spot for client or contractor deliverables, things that aren’t quite a fit for Dropbox.
They’ve taken a really simple idea and managed to flesh it out in every way imaginable. I look forward to a future where it’s integrated into other apps that I love.
3) What’s your favorite and/or newest tool that you use for fun?
The newest personal service I’m excited about would have to be Svpply. I was skeptical at first, as social shopping as a category tends to be really boring. But Svpply does so many things right. The community standards are impeccable, it’s tough to come across anything that isn’t beautiful. The interaction design is built for exploration and serendipity, not drilling down to a specific item. And it’s made by really great people to boot. At last, shopping is about treasuring things you love, not deal hunting.
Now when I’m considering a purchase I come to Svpply first and proceed to lose myself in its wonders. Few other sites have disrupted my basic behaviors as much.
4) What’s something great you’ve read lately?
So much has been written about the design process, satisfying clients, retaining artistic integrity. But that piece brings into focus what I could never quite put my finger on. It’s about why compromise in design is inherently flawed, and it takes the tack that designs are theories until they’re out in the world, and that really jibes with how I think.
I now feel equipped to grapple with clients and teammates in a new way. Consistency of voice in design is a virtue, not just for aesthetic reasons, but for clear logical ones. The premise seems obvious in retrospect, which just demonstrates that Mills is a perfectly persuasive writer.
5) Who should I interview for this series?
Definitely Robin Sloan. Robin lives up to his self-assigned title, “media inventor”. His insights into media and technology ought to be taught in schools. Take, for example, this piece: Stock and flow. I’ve been saying for a while that there should be an Internet canon, just so that we have some place to put this. (In fact, it was one of a few pieces that inspired me to just go ahead and make a personal canon.) He manages to be so insightful about creativity, yet also is an incredible creator in his own right.
When I’m making things, I tend to have a cast of people in my head that I’d be thrilled to impress. Robin regularly ranks at the top of that list. So, so witty, human, and anything else good that people can be. Just go read everything he’s written.