Design, Journalism, Language, London

Guardian Adverts: still brilliant and timeless

London-based Newspaper The Guardian redesigned their print product in 2005. It won multiple awards for its use of the Berliner format along with the ease of readability, consideration of readability, flow from section to section and brilliant use of color, photography, illustration and language.

Later came the website redesign and new advert campaign. I met Creative Director Mark Porter and Special Projects Director Mark Leeds for while in London internship, research and Uni courses. More on that meeting here.

What’s most inspired is how well the redesign and team translated the print vision to their website and marketing campaigns. Nearly 10 years later, their adverts still inspire me:volumecontrolgu81






Design, London, Travel

City Quotes

Very rarely do achieve the 0 inbox. I archive everything and try to be awesome about replying to important messages. I’m always going for 0 but it’s a rare occasion that I get there. Upon this celebration, I decided to clear out the 9 half written letters in my drafts as well.

I’ve had an email titled London Quotes in that folder since 2007. Every time I go to clean up my drafts, I leave this one email there. I’ve had nowhere else to put these short summaries of what a very special time of my life was like on the Thames. So world, here they are.

You are now In London, that great sea, whose ebb and flow
At once is deaf and loud, and on the shore
Vomits its wrecks, and still howls on for more.
Yet in its depth what treasures!
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

“I came to London. It had become the center of my world and I had worked hard to come to it. And I was lost.”
-VS Naipaul

This melancholy London—I sometimes imagine that the souls of the lost are compelled to walk through its streets perpetually. One feels them passing like a whiff of air.
– William Butler Yeats

IMG_6348.JPGOne would think London was a depressing, upsetting unhappy place but it was quite the opposite. London is a glorious place. Be whomever you wish to be there and do whatever you like to do.  I learned more about myself there than I had anywhere else prior. London is a different kind of city. It’s magnificent and impossible and that’s what makes it fantastic. You can float through it and be completely lost and found all at the same time.

In August 2010 I created a new email drafts called City Quotes. Anyone who knows me, knows I love urban centers. My goal is to collect a quote about each city I’ve fallen in love with and do an art piece. I kept these quotes in my email drafts so I would continue be reminded they exist instead of getting lost in a Google Doc somewhere. The idea for this project still exists but it needs to live in public now.

It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago-she outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them. She is always a novelty; for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time.
-Mark Twain “Life On The Mississippi,” 1883

There are almost no beautiful cities in America, though there are many beautiful parts of cities, and some sections that are glorious without being beautiful, like downtown Chicago. Cities are too big and too rich for beauty; they have outgrown themselves too many times.
-Noel Perrin, Third Person Rural

And now I have zero emails and zero drafts. Guess I better start working on that project.



Capstone, Design, HCId, Journalism, London, Music, Poynter, Share, Travel

Make music, make friends: my social graph

I wish I had drawn out my interpretation of my social communities before I installed the new Facbeook app, Social Graph. What this app does very well is show me how my facebook friends are connected and clustered.

I ran the app, took a screen grab and began to label the clusters. When I loaded the app again, my clusters looked different. In these screen grabs I did not include some of the outliers. Most of those people are friends I made while traveling. There are so many ways to interpret my social circles. The app is slow right now and it doesn’t tell a story. But I can do that:

My Social Graph

Ultimately, what I found is that my techno community links my high school and ancestry communities the most. Media and music are still the center of my social circle here. My current job at the Office for Women’s Affairs is surprisingly barely connected to anything at all. I have two London networks that don’t overlap at all.

My Social Graph

I can see that media and music are the centrally what link me to people and my professional communities. I have strong clusters in Indiana and San Francisco that thickly overlap with my Chicago community.

My Social Graph

I found many of the outliers here to have a specific ethnic quality in common. I also had an absolutely random seeming smattering of “indian people” from all over the country in that cluster.

Overall, I’ve learned that my music communities centrally have guided my social life. I have an enormous high school network, which makes sense because I joined Facebook as soon as I graduated high school. My Bloomington music community is tightly connected to my student media groups which then led me to my job at the Star, the news design community, my Poytner Fellowship and the cluster of friends in Indianapolis who worked at Rolls Royce.

Last year, friends from my San Francisco Tech and Techno Community went to India for a wedding. They stayed with my aunts, uncles and cousins and must have friended each other. There are enough people from my high school who moved to San Francisco, listen to Techno and work in Tech, so we can see those overlaps too.

I was surprised how few links there were between my tech communities and RockMelt, but then again it makes sense because I did not get the internship by knowing someone, per say (which is quite rare). There was a 6-degrees of separation alumni connection there.

I wish I could make some sense of the random smattering of Indian people. That cluster is concentrated with Indian people I know from all over the country and world. I guess we really are all family.

I would love to search for specific friends in this app. Still, very cool. This is also the first time I got to check off every category in my tags!


Incredible !ndia

Enjoying family, weddings, foods and bearing the heat in India for a few weeks.  Then travels around Europa!


Playing Ketchup

Let me explain: I’ve been doing everything. Let me walk you through it.

We slaved away on our million word papers (7,263 to be exact). It was kind of like a war zone in the common room. Note the Tim Harrower book:

Damage Control

I slaved away throughout the weekend but Shilpa took me on a study break. We dropped some heavy clams for Mexican cuisine. Less like a war zone:

Study break

Sunday (Easter) I saw Shilpa again and we went to the the Eucharist at St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was packed, kind of like a War Zone with Jesus undertones:

Easter morning after Eucharist at St. Paul's Cathedral

The Redcliffe Gang organized a dinner thing. It was the best we’ve eaten in a very long time. Power eating before final pushes on our paper. I wasn’t sure what I should contribute, so I brought samosas. I mean, it’s London, come on!

The Feast

What would London be without a Samosa?

Sadly, I had my last day of work. Since my blog is being funny, here’s the YouTube link. The funniest part is that when I started working there it would have been WAY too dark to even get out a camera. Now it’s happy sunshiney.

Dad would have loved this. I made it to my Hyde Park Corner just by sunset.


I also attended a service at Westminster Abbey and saw the rest of the Design Museum. Here’s a nice shot from my walk through Trafalgar Square:


Shilpa and I tried to go to Ministry of Sound. We tried so hard to get there but.. it was closed. Here’s the failed attempt documented:


Today, I detoxed and it was the best. I woke up to the beautiful sun. Got down to the convenience store to break some notes to get change for Laundry. I bought myself a Guardian and did my laundry. While waiting for the tumble I made Chicken and pesto pasta and a side of greens, cucumber, and strawberry salad. All made by mis manos (hands). I pieced through the paper then folded my warm clothes. The sad part was packing my suitcase. I think I’m going to get it all to fit. Hopefully. I napped, blogged, and here I am. Tonight is the last time I’ll get to go to The Fest. Friendliest Pub in London:
The Fest on Fulham

Tea at The Savoy was delightful and delectable:

Tea room

London, Travel


The weekend started off great though. Because of the bank holiday and Parliament being in recess, work is a bit slow. I had a leisurely lunch with the boss and some of my coworkers. Baking in the sun happily reminded me much of Chicago heat, however there was a bit of squirm coming from the Londoners’ direction. They like their fog I guess!

Because of the bank holiday again, we were encouraged to head off from work a half hour early and grab a few pints on the river. There was a cute little yacht, and by yacht I mean crumbly boat just across the street from the office on the water. So we had a few drinks and started off a great weekend.

A bit tipsy, I talked myself into some KFC (I know I know) and went off to our usual Thursday Pub where they really know our name and expect us there. Also, for students, a pint is one pound. The owner, Paul, jokingly yelled at us when we were late one week! He said we should have called. Gotta love The Aussies.

We go to The Fest, on Fulham. Do it. It’s a German Pub and Cassie got dressed up in one of the embarassing and amazing deustch outfits. She had to put down a 20 quid depost. I’ve got one more visit to the Fest under my belt, HOW SAD.

These are the regulars minus Jason who was in Dublin. Pretty fun crowd!

But since then I’ve more or less been trapped in the flat this weekend. I need 7,500 words on the design of newspapers in London by Wednesday. The only (and most important) thing getting me through this is that I could write much more than that. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll go over the limit and have to chop down. Also, Hey Guardian… why are you so beautiful?

Shilpa helped me take a break and we put down some heavy clams for Mexican food. I can’t explain how long it’s been since my lips have touched a Quesadilla. Or have chips (and I don’t mean potato wedges) come before the meal with Salsa. Know why Christopher Columbus went to India… spices. This I now understand.

We are going to hit up some of the glorious churches of London tomorrow for Easter. I make no promises, but I’ve got £10 riding on Jesus’ return, his divinity is a different wager.

I feel like I should mention that I’m no longer homeless for this summer in Indy. I’ve actually scored a pretty sweet pad and the tenant and I have a mutual friend (by chance).
This is unrelated, but I found a photoshopped pic of London flooded. Pretty creepy to say the least. My office is about an inch off the photo an surely half under water.


London, Music, Travel

Bloomington does London

This was the last weekend of visitors. Alec arrived Thursday and we enjoyed the perfect concert at the Koko.  It was a conglomorate of his and my music taste with the largest disc ball I’ve ever seen.  We arrived as James Holden was doing his first of two sets.  I liked this first better, it was more chill.  Then Green Gartside (Scritti Politti) & Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) was the meat of Holden’s sandwich set followed by an insane jam session with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) and Steve Reid!  We met up with Annamarie that night to continue the perfect weekend.

Early that morning I took them to my favourite classic place for visitors, The Troubador.  Then we slopped through some rain and I took them to Buckingham Palace and Westminster.  We sought salvation in the National Gallery and saw the Manet to Picasso exhbit.  Annamarie went to see Marry Poppins with her Roma roomies and Alec and I toured Soho.  Some how we made it out to Zoobar, a classic London day.

On Saturday, graced by the sun we split our ways and Alec got to see the South Kensington Museums.  I took Amar around to all the shops she’s been missing at High Street Kensington.  Poor little girl in Roma has not seen in H&M in forever.  I got a super cute cheap bag from Top Shop with a huge discoball on it, it reminds me of the Koko! They got a taste of my favourite takeout, by favourite I mean cheapest, and it became a Snappy Pizza evening.  That night, tired from Londoning we spent the night in and made it to Kings Kebob at a good solid 2am.

We woke up, dropped Alec off at the Tube and proceeded onto Notting Hill Gate where it was not crowded, touristy, or annoying.  In fact, I got the perfect pair of shoes I was looking for, for 3 pounds. Pink athletic pumps!  We did our thing, and got McDonald’s and then I took her to meet her roomies and we said by.

I came with the intention of napping only to pleasantly find an email from Matt telling me him and Jonathan are back in London till tomorrow.  We met up for some drinks and I got a peek at some upcoming goodies for the paper at The Savoy.

I also met some really fun Londoners on my Tube ride home! What a great weekend I have no idea how I made it to class this morning.


Passing Through

Newspapers, Dim Sum, and London itself were reasons enough to get together. A group of world travelers coming from every direction found themselves here and hungry. Robb Montgomery and I brought along some family to meet up with Matt Mansfield and Jonathan Berlin who are on their way to Malofeij!

We made our way around the Goodge Street area graced by the best weather I’ve seen in London, yet. By chance we stumbled upon a delicious Dim Sum restaurant and got our chop stick on. Parties then split and the newspaper nerds carried on for a few more drinks and some idea exchange. But really, would it be any other way?

Photo swiped Matt’s SNDBlog Entry:

Another reason why it’s pretty tough to be lonely in londin.

London, Travel

Writers on Coulour

When visiting somewhere new, you hit all the attractions based on a hierarchy. You make sure to visit all the places you ‘have to’ then all the places you ‘want to’ and if you’re lucky all the places you hadn’t thought about.

I took myself to the Barbican Arts Center today and checked out an architecture exhibit by Alvar Aalto and also Tomas Saraceno’s The Curve. I really enjoyed both.
But honestly, my favourite part was sitting outside at the Lakeside Terrace. The sun finally came out, the kind Barcelona had. Where my eyes had to squint, myface and back got warm, but the wind was still pretty cool. Anyway, I bought a set of 9 cards with poems about colors on the backs of each. They’re really lovely, and I read them by the fountains outside. I cannot wait to set them up… when I live somewhere.

Writers on Colour

Poem Shown: Take a Brush (Green)
By Michael Rosen

Take a brush:
the sky is green
the grass is blue
you are purple
the house is silver
the sun is black
the river is gold
the world has changed.
Did you do that?

from Writers on Colour, Barbican New Poetry Commission

Design, London


Peter came this weekend to finish off his 2 week backpacking abenture. We had so much fun, I got to take him to the Pub where everyone knows our name, The Fest. We had “Pound-a-Pints” for student night! We woke up bright and early to enjoy the Changing of the Guards… kind of a long spectacle. We then saw Churhills Cabinet War rooms. After fatigue we half tried to see Westminster Abbey and Parliament, but backtracked to get some food. Milkshakes were watery. ickh.

From there we bought shady tickets for Avenue Q out of a hut. The show was really funny and we both enjoyed it a lot. Peter and I saw Theatre in London, what?!

Then, we squeezed in breakfast at The Troubador before the Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern the next morning before he took off. I also had to make Peter wait as I took lots of pictures of the Financial Times building. There’s so much city to see, and I think Peter got a good peek. Sad to see him go, but it was perfection to have him!

Just hours after he left, Chris Courtney was kind enough to take me out for some drinks as he was meeting with someone who helped set off the design for The London Paper, lucky me.  I really do love newspapers.