designing content

This isn’t a post about design, but lets say that it is because what I will be doing is writing about design, and that’s what this is about. In the next day or two, the GDC National Blog will relaunch, with myself as the editor. I’ll be contributing entries on a weekly basis, some of which may find their way back here, but not necessarily in their entirety. The scale and scope of entries there will be related to design on a national level, issues that reach beyond geography and issues that relate to the core motivations behind the GDC as an organization. Topics will include:

  • Design’s role in Canada
  • National trends in design
  • Design awareness
  • The business of design
  • Design outside of Canada
  • Interdisciplinary design
  • The relationship between design and marketing
  • Sustainability in design
  • Design ethics
  • National efforts of other organizations like the GDC around the world
  • Project management and design
  • Designer interviews
  • Other items as they come up

The above topics might sound like news categories, but I will be writing it from my own point of view, keeping my own voice. Otherwise, it would be a lot closer to being news, and that role is already being filled. Ultimately the goal is to provide a glimpse at bigger picture issues (which I love) with the tone of a designer (which I am.)
I’ve also given some thought to assembling a cross-Canada national blogging team. I’ve got a few ideas of who would be good for the middle and west coast of Canada, and I’m keeping my eyes open for some good candidates from the east coast. I am concentrating on getting the new National Blog launched before taking on more organizational items. For now, the above topics will be the focus and I’m looking forward to getting into a new routine.

Photos from the GDC AGM 2009

GDC AGM 2009
GDC AGM 2009
GDC AGM 2009
On Thursday evening, we caught a flight from Victoria to Calgary, had a short layover and took off for Winnipeg – we arrived 20 minutes early. The Winnipeg airport has a sign that proclaims “WINNIPEG WELCOMES THE WORLD.” It’s very retro. It reminds me of being very young and seeing 70s stuff everywhere. All that said, it looks like it’s been kept in really good condition and I saw that a new airport is being built.
We caught a cab to the Fort Garry Hotel. You can tell right away that this hotel is from the rail era. At first we thought it was a Fairmont hotel because of the style, but it isn’t – it’s got its own history which is best explained on the Wikipedia page. We arrived around midnight and went down to a place called Johnny G’s for a beverage to finish off the evening of travel.

Continue reading Photos from the GDC AGM 2009

Live from the GDC AGM in Winnipeg

I’m at the GDC AGM in Winnipeg, getting a sense of the pulse of the organization at a national level. There’s a lot of productive dialogue going on regarding communications, the web, and moving the organization forward in a sustainable way outside of the web.
I’ll be doing a tutorial later this afternoon on the GDC Chapter pages – explaining the ins and outs of the blogs, events systems, where it is, where it is going and what is on the way. A roadmap for chapters and the GDC website, if you will. Pictured above is Valerie, Rod and Tara.

headed to Winnipeg

I’m headed to Winnipeg tomorrow for a few days. There *will* be updates from the road, provided there is readily available internet. The camera and laptop will be coming with me.
It’s been absolutely beautiful here in Victoria the last several days. We went for a walk on Monday night down to Dallas Road – where the above photo was taken – and it was so warm – a jacket wasn’t even necessary at 10 PM.

floodgate interest rates

Here’s a wider view of the weir. See if you can see, in it, where the previous photo came from.
I’ve been using this weir as a metaphor for monetary policy’s use of interest rates recently. As mentioned, the weir is used to regulate the level of the river and lake by providing more or less water based on the angle of the weir spillgates themselves. Lets break down the roles involved quickly:

  • lake = Bank of Canada reserve
  • weir spillgates = interest rate
  • river = economy

First lets explain why the weir is even there in reality. The river (update: the river flows FROM the lake) needs a decent level in order to operate effectively downstream. The river levels would be higher than necessary in the winter – when rain is plentiful and evaporation is minimal, so the weir levers would be relatively higher, but still open since they don’t want the lake to flood. In the summer, when river levels would otherwise be very low, the lake has enough water in it to drop the spillgates and provide more flow. This is important for many aspects of the river, not the least of which is fish and keeping the river relatively clean. This is the business of the river. Without water, things don’t move so good.
In Canada, we have an institution that manages the supply, cost, and availability of money. This institution lends to the banks, who then in turn lend to people and organizations for things like buying houses etc. This institution is called the Bank of Canada (BoC.) The banks base their interest rates for lending a little higher than what they can get from the BoC.
The BoC raises the interest rate (floodgates) to contract the money supply (increases level in the lake) to encourage saving. The BoC lowers the interest rate (floodgates) to encourage spending (increasing the level of the river, allowing more activity) – this happens since the cost of money is decreased through a lower interest rate.
So there you have it, an explanation of why the BoC dropped the interest rate to 0.25% this morning – it’s to open up the floodgates a bit, add some flow to the river, encourage spending and combat the recession.

weir at lake cowichan

The website has been given a new lighter treatment. Let’s call it tech-rust.
The above photo is from the weir at Lake Cowichan – actually not too far from the Caycuse Bell a couple entries back. It was built in 1956 and serves to regulate levels of both the lake and the river. On the other side of this, where the weir drains from the lake, is where the Cowichan River begins. If you ever go tubing on this river, you might start right beside the weir and float down the river for the next few hours. It’s a highly recommended experience. The weir is probably a dangerous place to go swimming at this time of year, and the water would also be pretty cold.
Not too far down the river is an old trestle that’s been turned into a bridge. The rust on that trestle is the new background on this site, layered a couple times and put under a little pattern that I conjured up last night.