A blank canvas is full of promise, an open plain waiting in lay for us to cast upon it our infinite depth of creativity. Except it isn’t. Not really.

Many years ago I was due to exhibit some graphic design work. The deadline was just two days away and I had nothing ready. Nothing to exhibit. I was not having fun.

That night, two days before the show, inspiration arrived. At a very inconvenient time – 3am. Typical. But hurrah, I’d thought up a solution. I felt lighter.

The idea was this: I’d create a blank canvas in Photoshop measuring 100cm x 100cm. I would then open a web browser and start copy and pasting images from a Google image search right onto that Photoshop canvas. I’d do this five times in total – five pieces of work to exhibit.

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I’ve just launched a new product. It’s called Jar of Fireworks and it’s a productized consulting service. Yeah, what a mouth full huh. In plain english it just means I’ve packaged-up some of my time along with managing an A/B testing tool to run design experiments.

The product offering is simple; for $690 each month you get an hour of my time to discuss design and any goals you have with your website, like increasing signups. I also setup and run three A/B tests that align with your goal. Each test comes with a report card at the end. The report card includes actionable next steps based on the results of the tests. That’s it. Very focused, no fluff.

I’m really excited about the simplicity of this product.

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3 weird design tricks

Anyone can better their design skills. I really believe that. I’m not talking about becoming the next Stefan Sagmeister, rather this is about feeling more confident the next time you’re putting together a presentation or formatting a document.

During my years as a designer I’ve given the same advice to plenty of non-designers that could use some simple design guidance; the 1-2-3 rule.

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Naming a startup

I’ve done a lot of thinking and work around the naming of startups and projects lately. There seems to be a lot of stale advice out there around this subject. Naming a startup in 2015 is a different game than it was in 2010, let alone way-back-when, around the year 2000.

In short, the general advice seems to be that a good name be no more than two syllables, which is harder to come up with than it sounds. Also given all single dictionary word dot com domains are mostly unavailable, and that any combination of words adding-up to only two syllables seems to be harder to discover by the day.

If you can’t manage that, not to worry, just slap “ly” on the end and everything is sunshine and rainbows. Actually, I’d really encourage anyone that was honestly contemplating the ly approach to be a bit more creative. You really can do it. As hard of a task naming is, put in that extra effort. It’ll be worth it. I promise.

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It’s kinda odd the things that pop into your head at 2am on a Tuesday morning while trying to sleep. This time it was why I’d never design a logo for less than $5,000. Yeah I know, a fairly random thought. Anyways, why the number $5,000? I reasoned it simply wasn’t worth the effort I’d want to invest in such a project. I’m talking proper logo design development, you know the kind of design work that is accompanied with usage guidelines and variations. It just didn’t reconcile.

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