Every damn month I bring this thing to you. I’m not sure what this is. It’s okay, we’ll get there together.

You can subscribe here always for free, and unsubscribe there which is never a good idea if you know what’s good for you. Things happen to people that unsubscribe from this newsletter. I’m not saying what they are, but you know, things.

You might be wondering who the hell I am. I’m a dude from Cleveland who lives now for the second time in a nice and out of the way bit of Central Europe, who lived in London for ages. I’m supposed to be a designer, but would rather be twenty five years younger and a rock star or professional skateboarder. Those clearly didn’t work out, so here I am with this newsletter.

My journey might seem winning. I get that. But I’m not half as winning as you are because you’re still reading this newsletter.


Things I Wrote You Might Read

The July Top 10 is your guide to what you missed this past month.

Some thinking on Where AI is missing in design.

I’ve been trying to write this Game review of Crossy Road forever and don’t know what happened, or what this rambling ruin of a thing is even about.


There is a lot of chatter from the web3 community on AI and originality. This chatter is actually fairly prescient in wondering out loud about the tidal wave on the horizon of robot generated words and pictures that will subsume human civilisation. When a machine can seemingly make anything in milliseconds, then how else can we guarantee that something a human creates is an original? According to the denizens of distributed ledger technologies, this is has been the real purpose of it all along, to provide an antidote to the infinite sausage factory that is AI.

I think it calls to mind something different as well, namely the aesthetics of AI and of our classic notions of value and originality. It’s the blob vs the singular, rare artefact in the museum, or on your mantle, and the questions of what things we value look like and where they live.

Your Midjourney pic means nothing by the way.


Hey you’re a designer, why isn’t this a design newsletter you ask? Because I don’t dislike you Dear Reader, and don’t want to burden you with this curse where you can’t just look at a thing and think, oh, look a door. Oh, there’s another app. And that’s that. No further thought beyond that. But I suppose there should really be some sort of implications of design here or something but I’m tired.

Here’s one, imagine you had to design the online experience of Europe’s leading crab museum. You’ve already failed, because you didn’t design this and neither did I, which is the future. I almost did a masters in designing museums and even worked on one or two in some capacity, but I, like you, lose here severely.

Recently, I was listening to Debbie Millman’s excellent podcast Design Matters, in particular this episode with Jack White, where he explained their aesthetic. Apparently, the relationship between the White Stripes’s look and sound and how it came together. How dumb are for not realising that it came from from digging through crates of 1920’s era American blues and as a then upholsterer realising that at the same decade in Europe, an equally stripped down, compositionally minded, brutally and beautifully basic style was happening. Duh.

In graphic design news, which the world is obviously on the edge of it’s respective seat’s thinking about, Sweden has its own font. Having spent a lot of time dealing with and seeing the UK’s quasi-official font Transport, I’m sadly excited by this.

Rabbit holes

Natural cooling systems and architecture

If you were wondering if global warming is real, you should go outside right about now. No need to worry of course, and I’m not talking about the liberal, coastal elite making all this up though, I’m talking about people in the Middle East, you know the lot who invented civilisation and writing and the wheel and all that, well they also invented air conditioning thousands of years ago. The malqaf is badass and we should have them in loads of more places, and architects (I’m looking at you James) should be sorting out traditional wind catchers with solar.


I never think about beavers. Neither do you. Well next to never. Sometimes, when I’m in northeastern Ohio and driving through a park I see their determined and cute little dams, little fortress testaments to engineering on a cuddly scale. Oh but wait, there’s more.

In one of the more punker things I can imagine, there are outlaw “rewilders,” that is people buying beavers, which is something someone can just do, to release into the wild.

And what of beavers and the obvious defence and geopolitics angle Jim? I’m glad you asked. The Ukraine’s beavers have been hard at work defending the borderlands, drowning once flat and dry land into marshes impassable for invading Russian tanks.

Perhaps equally important is there is a Ukrainian mountain unit called “The Transcarpathian Beavers.”

[All over logo graphic thing]

Technology might need to be destroyed if it doesn’t itself

[Shake Junt type ridiculous collage graphic - use images from public domain sites if can]

There are few things I love more than when overseeing tech is super easily defeated. It reminds me of when they were trialling facial recognition systems on ATMs which didn’t work when you’re drunk.

Lexicon Lowdown

I implore you, English speakers and writers, to for the love of all that is good, stop fucking using the phrase lean-in. There is no word as insipid, tired and loaded with evil as “lean in.” A phrase from a book written by yet another millionaire imploring not rich people to work harder. And then it entered every goddamn business conversation.

I’m leaning the fuck out. I’m not dropping out. I’m dropping in and tuning it all out.

Summer Trend Watch

Youngsters are very desperate to be part of anything new that is actually really old and may or may not be disgusting, for instance with something I thought could never be hiptered, which is stew.

As a skateboarder who used to actually do this to my shoes, I think Vans might have just hit their low point.


Thanks for sticking around. You're the best, you really are. Hang in there and see you next month.