Free Collection of Paul Rand Quotes
I can relate to his thoughts on computers:
The big problem is that the speed with which this machine operates is so fast that the normal contemplative time that one needs to do a design that makes any sense is not there. When you’re sitting and drawing you make a stroke and you fill in areas. There’s a time element involved. But with the computer, that time element does not exist. It takes up your physical, spiritual, and psychological time and your design time is just not there.
I’m getting better, but for the longest time I had incredible difficulty writing on a computer. I think at a pace that’s more suited to hand writing. When I write by hand, the words that go on the paper are usually the third or fourth draft because my mind moves much faster than my hand. And as it turns out, the third or fourth draft — what gets written — is usually pretty good. In contrast, on a computer, I type fast enough that I usually get the first or second draft down on the screen, and my first and second drafts are almost always crap.
From 37signals: More on Copywriting and Forms
The folks at 37signals give a well-deserved nod to good copywriters everywhere in this brief note about the importance of good words in all of the places no one likes to think about: error messages, button labels, user instructions, and so on. Not surprisingly, I agree with them.
Also, if you haven’t read Getting Real, you should.
Via idonethisblog. This article was actually a link in their excellent Copywriting as Scalable Customer Support post that I wrote about yesterday. So, in case you weren’t paying attention or didn’t click through, here it is.
iDoneThis blog: Copywriting as Scalable Customer Support
Here are 4 lessons that we learned as we knocked our support email volume down from as high as 16 per 100 new users to zero by becoming better writers.
My favorite part of this fantastic, fascinating article is this little kernel of pure insight: “…every piece of detail is an opportunity for confusion.”
Genius. Whether you’re a writer or a designer, these are words to live by.
Spacing After Sentences
Read this article if you’re still typing two spaces after each sentence. If you find it convincing, you might also consider not writing with crayons on wide ruled paper anymore.
American vs. British Punctuation
You’ll notice that in my writing here, I place punctuation marks outside of quotations unless they’re included in the quoted material. This approach is technically incorrect in America according to MLA, but it’s been gaining in popularity over the last few years. It’s called logical punctuation, and the name says it all. If it’s part of the quotation, then it should be inside the quotes; it it’s not part of the quotation, then it should be outside the quotes. Simple, right?
Logical punctuation’s increased usage is welcome news for me, as I’ve been writing this way for some time now. I have one problem with the Slate article, though. It says that traditional punctuation, or the American style, “emerged from aesthetic, not logical, considerations”. According to Wikipedia, this is inaccurate:
“Before the advent of mechanical type, the order of quotation marks with full stops and commas was not given much consideration. The printing press required that the easily damaged smallest pieces of type for the comma and full stop be protected behind the more robust quotation marks.”
If this is true, then perhaps the American style has lingered on all these years for aesthetic reasons, but the original, practical reasons no longer apply. I’ve read a little about this, and I can’t figure out why proponents of the American style don’t switch over.
Interestingly, Wikipedia’s description of punctuation does not include the above quotation. I found it by reading about the historical meaning and usage of — you guessed it — the full stop.
Via Daring Fireball.
45royale on Project Management
They call it “Product Management”, but it’s still a great series. 45royale Lead Developer, Adam Little, explains how he works focusing on the following five topics: making contact and choosing clients; working through contracts and other legal stuff; shaping expectations and developing a project schedule; tracking time and measuring success; and what to do if things don’t work out.
I read these a long time ago, and they shaped a lot of my thoughts on running a business and doing good work, especially the relational bits. They emphasize the importance of good working relationships and clear communication at every step.