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copywriting tips

Tips by Famous Writers for Good Copy Content

Creating high-quality content for the digital product is the issue of the same importance as thought-out design and careful bugless development. Copy is what makes design even more powerful breathing deeper life and sense into the webpage or app screen. Copy is information. And information, as it is known well, is the tool of incredible diversity and the key to many doors.

 

William G. Pollard once wrote: «Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.» Working with copy content for digital products, writers get even closer to the issue, as the texts they usually write are aimed at supporting the goals set behind a particular product, mostly solving problems or improving lives. Good copy strengthens design significantly, poor copy is able to kill great design solutions and hours spent creating code for the app of website.

 

One of our previous articles here in Tubik Blog was devoted to the topic of copywriting for UI. Today we would like to continue this theme with the set of practical and useful tips on writing from famous and recognized authors. They performed successfully in different genres of literature, mostly fiction, still many tips they give generally about organization of writing process, creative approaches and self-critique are applicable and useful for copy content of all kinds. Let’s review the first set and chalk them up for creating high-quality and user-friendly copy.

 

copywriting for digital products

 

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. (Jack London)

 

In one of our articles with tips for designers we have already unveiled this aspect of creative job, and the ideas which were offered are also fair for writers, especially those, who are working within particular tasks and products rather than in free creative flow. Creative people often say that they cannot work without necessary inspiration: they are just waiting for the muse which will help them to find the best solution. Like it or hate it, but muse which doesn’t arrive on time is not the reasonable explanation of broken deadlines or inappropriate result. Therefore, if you want to have the serious name and get respected by the clients, if you set the goal to have constant flow of projects and earn more and more, find the ways to call your muse when you need it, not waiting when it wants to come. By the way, the process of research and writing drafts is one of great ways. Appetite comes with eating, muse comes with working.

 

Write drunk, edit sober. (Ernest Hemingway)

 

That is another absolute truth for writers of any kind. Certainly, drunk is not meant literally here, still any writer knows that feeling of being a bit besotted by the idea under writing. When you caught the necessary state and vibe, you often see and feel the whole piece of writing in your mind and will wish not to stop until the last line is dropped on paper or screen. That’s the stage of pure creativity and it would be a big mistake to interrupt it: don’t hesitate, get dip into the process and write until the last full stop is reached. Still never ever show the result to the public: always take time to review and edit with sober and concentrated mind. This will let you see the small mistakes, misprints, duplication, poorly structured sentences and phrases. This will enable you to provide your reader with high-quality well-structured copy, which is the highest form of respect. So, in other words, write with hot heart, but edit with cold head.

 

The first draft of everything is shit. (Ernest Hemingway)

 

One more rule by Hemingway clearly echoes the previous tip. Always take the draft as just a draft. Any piece of writing needs revision, not only in the aspect of minor errors or technical alterations, but also reviewing the text thoughtfully after the first wave of inspiration has washed away and common sense comes into play. Review allows enhancing the initial idea with analysis, enables to feel the integrity and unity of general performance, estimate the appropriateness of stylistic elements and hierarchy of the elements etc.

 

The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like… So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter. (Neil Gaiman)

 

It’s quite easy to imagine this state of things for fiction writers, who mostly choose the theme and genre by themselves, but there will be many people saying that it’s impossible for copywriters: they write what they are told to write. Still, in this sphere the impact of sincerity and creative passion hasn’t been cancelled. Certainly, a great professional master will create copy for sometimes highly diverse themes: the trick is that in most cases this amazing proficiency level will be supported with the writer’s natural diversity and curiosity as well as broad outlook. People, knowing a lot, with lively and constantly learning minds, are able to get sincerely inspired by various issues and tasks. The best bloggers and copywriters are the ones who write on topics they really believe in and have something to share about — in this case, they have that great courage to write honestly and feel what the readers need to get from them. Finding your themes and strengthening in them has a huge benefit of getting tasks and being paid for writing on topics you really feel yours.

 

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Always carry a note-book. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever. (Will Self)

 

Certainly, in present-day reality notebook can get transformed into a laptop, the tablet, the simple app for taking notes on the mobile phone — it doesn’t matter.  What does matter is being able to take a note any moment a fresh thought important to remember comes to mind. Sometimes it happens you come up with a brilliant solution or word combination, the brand name or great headline being far from your workplace and that is not the reason to lose it. As well as it doesn’t mean you should stop anything you’re doing if the good thought on work issues occurs to you suddenly. A small note, a couple of words taken down anywhere will really help. They will save the thought, will set the small tag to enable the writer pull it out and use at the moment when it’s convenient. Many writers know this small secret is an effective step to creative productivity.

 

Always be a poet, even in prose. (Charles Baudelaire)

 

The tip can seem a bit unrealistic for non-fiction writing. However, it definitely works. Words are the great tool transforming not only sense and information, but also voice, tone and mood. One of the big mistakes about copywriting is thinking that it doesn’t present such a wide field of expressiveness and imagery as writing fiction or big publicist works. Vise versa: in vast majority cases, copywriting requires high and intensive creative word processing as texts are mostly concise and restricted with many limitations and still they need to inform users, create necessary mood, transform information and often — persuade or touch some sensitive layers of perception. Lots of mechanisms and methods used by fiction writers and poets can be applied in copywriting: synonyms, idioms, metaphors and metonymies, alliterations and assonance, hyperbolas and litotes, anaphoras and epiphoras added thoughtfully and properly to the copy let it reveal new shades of the textual content. They can make the copy more creative, more vivid, more human-like and original. Furthermore, they enable the author to set the unique style of writing that will get recognizable, which is in particular need for those who create quite big texts for websites and blogs, advertising materials or presentations. Being a poet means adding an original creative spark to what is written.

 

copywriting tips

 

 

When you can’t create, you can work. (Henry Miller)

 

Copywriting is not only creativity. It is also analysis and learning, obtaining knowledge about object and spheres the copy is created about, researching and testing the created copy, editing and proof-reading. There is always plenty of work, even for the moments, when you do not feel yourself flying on the strong wings of inspiration. One more thing to mention: creativity gets stronger with practice. If your mood today is not creative, then set the practical tasks for yourself and make your skills better for the moment you muse comes to help you.

 

You can fix anything but a blank page. (Nora Roberts)

 

In creative work, sometimes the only thing which is needed is taking the first step. Have you ever experienced the moment at an exam or test when you see the task and feel the surge of panic: «I know nothing on that! That’s total failure! Nothing to say! No single word!» and then after a minute or two, getting calmer and colder, you bring out the best of your potential and give the good answer? Supposedly, many people went through that. And this is the part of creative routine, in particular working with copy, which can go through the variety of stages, from «I don’t know anything on this topic» to «There are tons of texts on that, how can I create something unique and original…». The secret is simple: start writing. Any result of the process will stimulate your creative force. Perhaps, you will create something horrible that will obviously need rewriting, and that will be the result also: you will know what is definitely inappropriate for this task and feel how to fix it. Just turn the key with the first line to start the ignition.

 

Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life. (E. B. White)

 

This is particularly true for copywriters. In most cases, they don’t have the luxury just to reflect the life as well as their own thoughts and feelings. Their key professional aim is to inform people, sometimes to educate and give instructions, guide and help, solve problems and persuade, to shape values and stimulate opinions. This is not the set of pathetic expressions, this is a real ground for the great responsibility a copywriter bears every day. Considering it and forming the professional approach with deep respect to the readers provides useful and thoughtful copy.

 

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Do not … address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client. (David Ogilvy)

 

This secret from the guru of copywriting has survived through several epochs of information and technology revolutions without any slight change. Readers still are keen to read something which they feel helpful and sincere, which appeals to them and brings a pinch or loads of actual usefulness or enjoyment.  As well as they do feel hypocrisy and purely technical approach to creating texts.

 

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. (David Ogilvy)

 

The principles of visual hierarchy have set strong rules for writers, journalists and editors for many decades, being transformed and revised for copy content created for digital products. It’s vital to remember: the text on a webpage or screen should be easily scannable and skimmable. And the first thing scanned by users is headlines. They need as much (if not more!) attention as the rest of copy. No wonder: in most cases headline is a crucial element of making the decision, it stimulates the reader to spent more precious minutes on further reading and creates first vibes of tone and style.

 

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If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. (David Ogilvy)

 

Writing for readers, know your readers. Using inappropriate style and language is able to destroy the chances of creating the text that will get target readers interested and wishing to read more. Surely, that doesn’t mean going to oversimplification and making your copy primitive aka clear for everyone. It means keeping the balance and making the text you create natural, first of all for the core target audience. So, definition and research of target readers is the important part of copywriting routine, preferably on pre-writing stage of working out a particular task.

 

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. (Stephen King)

 

It’s not a secret that practice makes perfect. Reading a lot, you get passive practice; writing a lot you level up you active writing skills. Both are crucially important for broadening professional horizons and setting up creative sails for every wind.

 

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Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. (Kurt Vonnegut)

 

People, reading the copy you write, trust you the most precious of their resources: their time. Consider that,  respect their time and effort, make use of that time and do it in smart and elegant way — your readers will be grateful and happy while you will get this respect back in professional recognition.

 


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tubikstudio ted-talks collection

10 TED-Talks for Creative People

In one of our previous posts we have collected the set of 20 inspiring and informative TED talks for designers. Seeing that it got quite popular and gave our readers a dose of inspiration, today we would like to continue this path and feature here a new set of speeches which we found useful and catchy.

 

This time the main topic of the day is creativity. No doubt that inspiration for designers of all kinds is much larger than design itself as well as for the writers it’s much broader than books and for the artists it’s far beyond the art. Inspiration is everywhere when we are ready and willing to absorb it. And, no doubt, the great spark of creativity and encouragement is traditionally transferred by avid creators who are keen to share their inspiration, experience and ideas. They say, a candle loses nothing burning other candles. And here in the studio we always take the moments of absorbing wise thoughts and creative ideas from great masters.

 

So, this collection is concentrated on creativity of all kinds from the experts in different spheres of human activity. We offer you 10 TED-talks all with the descriptions given on the TED website. Most of them are already classic, sometimes even could be called legendary, and that makes them even more precious as they have been successfully checked with the time and practice. The others are very fresh and reflect the trends of the moment. Enjoy watching!

 

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius

 

Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person «being» a genius, all of us «have» a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

And what I have to sort of keep telling myself when I get really psyched out about that is don’t be afraid. Don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed, for just one moment through your efforts, then «Olé!» And if not, do your dance anyhow. And «Olé!» to you, nonetheless. I believe this and I feel that we must teach it. «Olé!» to you, nonetheless, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.

 

David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence

 

Is your school or workplace divided into «creatives» versus practical people? Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build the confidence to create… (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

Everybody has a change-the-world thing. If there is one for me, this is it. To help this happen. So I hope you’ll join me on my quest — you as thought leaders. It would be really great if you didn’t let people divide the world into the creatives and the non-creatives, like it’s some God-given thing, and to have people realize that they’re naturally creative. And those natural people should let their ideas fly. That they should achieve what Bandura calls self-efficacy, that you can do what you set out to do, and that you can reach a place of creative confidence and touch the snake.

 

John Maeda: How art, technology and design inform creative leaders

 

John Maeda, former President of the Rhode Island School of Design, delivers a funny and charming talk that spans a lifetime of work in art, design and technology, concluding with a picture of creative leadership in the future. Watch for demos of Maeda’s earliest work — and even a computer made of people.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

… in many senses, a regular leader loves to avoid mistakes. Someone who’s creative actually loves to learn from mistakes. A traditional leader is always wanting to be right, whereas a creative leader hopes to be right. And this frame is important today, in this complex, ambiguous space, and artists and designers have a lot to teach us, I believe.

 

It’s because leaders, what we do is we connectimprobable connections and hope something will happen, and in that room I found so many connectionsbetween people across all of London, and so leadership, connecting people, is the great question today.Whether you’re in the hierarchy or the heterarchy, it’s a wonderful design challenge.

 

Tim Harford: How frustration can make us more creative

 

Challenges and problems can derail your creative process … or they can make you more creative than ever. In the surprising story behind the best-selling solo piano album of all time, Tim Harford may just convince you of the advantages of having to work with a little mess.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

…yes, we need to run the stupid experiments, we need to deal with the awkward strangers, we need to try to read the ugly fonts. These things help us. They help us solve problems, they help us be more creative.

 

 Julie Burstein: 4 lessons in creativity

 

Radio host Julie Burstein talks with creative people for a living — and shares four lessons about how to create in the face of challenge, self-doubt and loss. Hear insights from filmmaker Mira Nair, writer Richard Ford, sculptor Richard Serra and photographer Joel Meyerowitz.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

Artists also speak about how pushing up against the limits of what they can do, sometimes pushing into what they can’t do, helps them focus on finding their own voice.

 

So experience and challenge and limitations are all things we need to embrace for creativity to flourish.

 

We all wrestle with experience and challenge, limits and loss. Creativity is essential to all of us, whether we’re scientists or teachers, parents or entrepreneurs.

 

Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!

 

Studies show that sketching and doodling improve our comprehension — and our creative thinking. So why do we still feel embarrassed when we’re caught doodling in a meeting? Sunni Brown says: Doodlers, unite! She makes the case for unlocking your brain via pad and pen.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

Under no circumstances should doodling be eradicated from a classroom or a boardroom or even the war room. On the contrary, doodling should be leveraged in precisely those situations where information density is very high and the need for processing that information is very high. And I will go you one further. Because doodling is so universally accessible and it is not intimidating as an art form, it can be leveraged as a portal through which we move people into higher levels of visual literacy.

 

Stefan Sagmeister: The power of time off

 

Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. He explains the often overlooked value of time off and shows the innovative projects inspired by his time in Bali.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

And one of the handy things that came about was that you could take the logo type and create advertising out of it. Like this Donna Toney poster, or Chopin, or Mozart, or La Monte Young. You can take the shape and make typography out of it. You can grow it underneath the skin. You can have a poster for a family event in front of the house, or a rave underneath the house or a weekly program, as well as educational services.

 

Shonda Rhimes: My year of saying yes to everything

 

Shonda Rhimes, the titan behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, is responsible for some 70 hours of television per season, and she loves to work. «When I am hard at work, when I am deep in it, there is no other feeling,» she says. She has a name for this feeling: The hum. The hum is a drug, the hum is music, the hum is God’s whisper in her ear. But what happens when it stops? Is she anything besides the hum? In this moving talk, join Rhimes on a journey through her «year of yes» and find out how she got her hum back.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

When I’m hard at work, when I’m deep in it, there is no other feeling. For me, my work is at all times building a nation out of thin air. It is manning the troops. It is painting a canvas. It is hitting every high note. It is running a marathon. It is being Beyoncé. And it is all of those things at the same time. I love working. It is creative and mechanical and exhausting and exhilarating and hilarious and disturbing and clinical and maternal and cruel and judicious, and what makes it all so good is the hum. There is some kind of shift inside me when the work gets good. A hum begins in my brain, and it grows and it grows and that hum sounds like the open road, and I could drive it forever.

 

Rory Sutherland: Perspective is everything

 

The circumstances of our lives may matter less than how we see them, says Rory Sutherland. At TEDxAthens, he makes a compelling case for how reframing is the key to happiness.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

So the power of reframing things cannot be overstated. What we have is exactly the same thing, the same activity, but one of them makes you feel great and the other one, with just a small change of posture, makes you feel terrible. And I think one of the problems with classical economics is it’s absolutely preoccupied with reality. And reality isn’t a particularly good guide to human happiness.

 

What you also notice is that in any case our perception is leaky. We can’t tell the difference between the quality of the food and the environment in which we consume it. All of you will have seen this phenomenon if you have your car washed or valeted. When you drive away, your car feels as if it drives better. And the reason for this, unless my car valet mysteriously is changing the oil and performing work which I’m not paying him for and I’m unaware of, is because perception is in any case leaky.

 

Adam Grant:The surprising habits of original thinkers

 

How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies «originals»: thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals — including embracing failure. «The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most,» Grant says. «You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.»

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

Originals are nonconformists, people who not only have new ideas but take action to champion them. They are people who stand out and speak up. Originals drive creativity and change in the world. They’re the people you want to bet on. And they look nothing like I expected.

 

Procrastinating is a vice when it comes to productivity, but it can be a virtue for creativity. What you see with a lot of great originals is that they are quick to start but they’re slow to finish.


 

As we can see, the set of talks is diverse and involves the thoughts based on different fields of human activities and self-expression. Anyway, they enrich us with the ideas which bring us closer to the user, to creating efficient design and taking everything possible from our natural creativity.

Book tubik studio inspiration

20 TED-talks for Designers. Inspiration Full of Thoughts.

In creative jobs, design in particular, inspiration is one of the keys to productivity. Perhaps, one of the most productive kinds of inspiration is the one taken from experts, successful people who have experienced what they share. Today we’re going to recommend you a set of interesting and informative TED-talks that we think could be interesting, useful and helpful for designers as well as other creative people! Should be said, TED is a great resource of wise and informative things to learn in diverse directions and spheres, so we never miss the chance to share our findings there.

 

Here we offer you 20 TED-talks all with the descriptions given on the TED website. Most of them are already classic, sometimes even could be called legendary, and that makes them even more precious as they have been successfully checked with the time and practice. The ability to analyze take the best from the past usually broadens the creative horizons and becomes a solid foundation from innovative thinking. We also added some prominent thoughts full of wisdom and practical experience. So, let’s move on!

 

Don Norman: 3 ways good design makes you happy

 

In this talk from 2003, design critic Don Norman turns his incisive eye toward beauty, fun, pleasure and emotion, as he looks at design that makes people happy. He names the three emotional cues that a well-designed product must hit to succeed.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

The middle level of processing is the behavioral level and that’s actually where most of our stuff gets done. Visceral is subconscious, you’re unaware of it. Behavioral is subconscious, you’re unaware of it.Almost everything we do is subconscious. I’m walking around the stage — I’m not attending to the control of my legs. I’m doing a lot; most of my talk is subconscious; it has been rehearsed and thought about a lot. Most of what we do is subconscious. Automatic behavior — skilled behavior — is subconscious, controlled by the behavioral side. And behavioral design is all about feeling in control,which includes usability, understanding — but also the feel and heft.

 

Emotion is all about acting; emotion is really about acting. It’s being safe in the world. Cognition is about understanding the world, emotion is about interpreting it — saying good, bad, safe, dangerous, and getting us ready to act, which is why the muscles tense or relax. And that’s why we can tell the emotion of somebody else — because their muscles are acting, subconsciously, except that we’ve evolved to make the facial muscles really rich with emotion.

 

 

James Patten: The best computer interface? Maybe … your hands

 

“The computer is an incredibly powerful means of creative expression,” says designer and TED Fellow James Patten. But right now, we interact with computers, mainly, by typing and tapping. In this nifty talk and demo, Patten imagines a more visceral, physical way to bring your thoughts and ideas to life in the digital world, taking the computer interface off the screen and putting it into your hands.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

And when you think about it, this makes a lot of sense, that using specialized physical objects would help people use an interface more easily. I mean, our hands and our minds are optimized to think about and interact with tangible objects.

 

Margaret Gould Stewart: How giant websites design for you (and a billion others, too)

 

Facebook’s “like” and “share” buttons are seen 22 billion times a day, making them some of the most-viewed design elements ever created. Margaret Gould Stewart, Facebook’s director of product design, outlines three rules for design at such a massive scale — one so big that the tiniest of tweaks can cause global outrage, but also so large that the subtlest of improvements can positively impact the lives of many.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

Now, the first thing that you need to know about designing at scale is that the little things really matter.

 

The next thing that you need to understand as a principle is that when you introduce change, you need to do it extraordinarily carefully. Now I often have joked that I spend almost as much time designing the introduction of change as I do the change itself, and I’m sure that we can all relate to that when something that we use a lot changes and then we have to adjust. The fact is, people can become very efficient at using bad design, and so even if the change is good for them in the long run, it’s still incredibly frustrating when it happens, and this is particularly true with user-generated content platforms,because people can rightfully claim a sense of ownership. It is, after all, their content.

 

Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces

 

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you’ll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books — remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

You know, at times of technical innovation, designers want to be influenced by what’s in the air. We want to respond. We want to be pushed into exploring something new.

 

Aris Venetikidis: Making sense of maps

 

Map designer Aris Venetikidis is fascinated by the maps we draw in our minds as we move around a city — less like street maps, more like schematics or wiring diagrams, abstract images of relationships between places. How can we learn from these mental maps to make better real ones? As a test case, he remakes the notorious Dublin bus map. (Filmed at TEDxDublin)

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

So for a successful public transport map, we should not stick to accurate representation, but design them in the way our brains work.

 

Stefan Sagmeister: Happiness by Design

 

Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister takes the audience on a whimsical journey through moments of his life that made him happy — and notes how many of these moments have to do with good design.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

You know, one is: just working without pressure. Then: working concentrated, without being frazzled. Or, as Nancy said before, like really immerse oneself into it. Try not to get stuck doing the same thing — or try not get stuck behind the computer all day. This is, you know, related to it: getting out of the studio. Then, of course, trying to, you know, work on things where the content is actually important for me. And being able to enjoy the end results.

 

Tony Fadell: The first secret of design is… noticing

 

As human beings, we get used to «the way things are» really fast. But for designers, the way things are is an opportunity … Could things be better? How? In this funny, breezy talk, the man behind the iPod and the Nest thermostat shares some of his tips for noticing — and driving — change.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

Why do we get used to everyday things? Well as human beings, we have limited brain power. And so our brains encode the everyday things we do into habits so we can free up space to learn new things. It’s a process called habituation and it’s one of the most basic ways, as humans, we learn.

 

My first tip is to look broader. You see, when you’re tackling a problem, sometimes, there are a lot of steps that lead up to that problem. And sometimes, a lot of steps after it. If you can take a step back and look broader, maybe you can change some of those boxes before the problem. Maybe you can combine them. Maybe you can remove them altogether to make that better.

 

Our challenge is to wake up each day and say, «How can I experience the world better?»

 

Chris Urmson: How a driverless car sees the road

 

Statistically, the least reliable part of the car is … the driver. Chris Urmson heads up Google’s driverless car program, one of several efforts to remove humans from the driver’s seat. He talks about where his program is right now, and shares fascinating footage that shows how the car sees the road and makes autonomous decisions about what to do next.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

The better the technology gets, the less reliable the driver is going to get.So by just making the cars incrementally smarter, we’re probably not going to see the wins we really need.

 

…it’s not to say that the driver assistance systems aren’t going to be incredibly valuable. They can save a lot of lives in the interim, but to see the transformative opportunity to help someone like Steve get around, to really get to the end case in safety, to have the opportunity to change our cities and move parking out and get rid of these urban craters we call parking lots, it’s the only way to go.

 

David Carson: Design and discovery

 

Great design is a never-ending journey of discovery — for which it helps to pack a healthy sense of humor. Sociologist and surfer-turned-designer David Carson walks through a gorgeous (and often quite funny) slide deck of his work and found images.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

I’m a big believer in the emotion of design, and the message that’s sent before somebody begins to read,before they get the rest of the information; what is the emotional response they get to the product, to the story, to the painting — whatever it is.

 

Why not experiment? Why not have some fun? Why not put some of yourself into the work? And when I was teaching, I used to always ask the students, What’s the definition of a good job? And as teachers, after you get all the answers, you like to give them the correct answer. And the best one I’ve heard — I’m sure some of you have heard this —the definition of a good job is: If you could afford to — if money wasn’t an issue — would you be doing that same work? And if you would, you’ve got a great job. And if you wouldn’t, what the heck are you doing? You’re going to be dead a really long time.

 

Philippe Starck: Design and destiny

 

Designer Philippe Starck — with no pretty slides to show — spends 18 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question «Why design?» Listen carefully for one perfect mantra for all of us, genius or not.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

And here is something: nobody is obliged to be a genius, but everybody is obliged to participate.

 

With billions of people who have been born, worked, lived and died before us, these people who have worked so much, we have now bring beautiful things, beautiful gifts, we know so many things. We can say to our children, OK, done, that was our story. That passed.Now you have a duty: invent a new story. Invent a new poetry. The only rule is, we have not to have any idea about the next story. We give you white pages. Invent. We give you the best tools, the best tools, and now, do it.

 

David Kelley: Human-centered design

 

IDEO’s David Kelley says that product design has become much less about the hardware and more about the user experience. He shows video of this new, broader approach, including footage from the Prada store in New York.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

…it’s really exciting that we’re taking a more human-centered approach to design, that we’re including behaviors and personalities in the things we do, and I think this is great. Designers are more trusted and more integrated into the business strategy of companies

 

Linda Hill: How to manage for collective creativity

 

What’s the secret to unlocking the creativity hidden inside your daily work, and giving every great idea a chance? Harvard professor Linda Hill, co-author of «Collective Genius,» has studied some of the world’s most creative companies to come up with a set of tools and tactics to keep great ideas flowing — from everyone in the company, not just the designated «creatives.»

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

Leading innovation is not about creating a vision, and inspiring others to execute it. But what do we mean by innovation? An innovation is anything that is both new and useful. It can be a product or service. It can be a process or a way of organizing. It can be incremental, or it can be breakthrough. We have a pretty inclusive definition.

 

Innovation is not about solo genius, it’s about collective genius.

 

What we know is, at the heart of innovation is a paradox. You have to unleash the talents and passions of many people and you have to harness them into a work that is actually useful. Innovation is a journey. It’s a type of collaborative problem solving, usually among people who have different expertise and different points of view.

 

Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

 

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original — if you’re not prepared to be wrong. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this. We stigmatize mistakes. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.

 

We know three things about intelligence. One, it’s diverse. We think about the world in all the ways that we experience it. We think visually, we think in sound, we think kinesthetically. We think in abstract terms, we think in movement. Secondly, intelligence is dynamic. If you look at the interactions of a human brain,as we heard yesterday from a number of presentations, intelligence is wonderfully interactive. The brain isn’t divided into compartments. In fact, creativity — which I define as the process of having original ideas that have value — more often than not comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things.

 

Young-ha Kim: Be an artist, right now!

 

Why do we ever stop playing and creating? With charm and humor, celebrated Korean author Young-ha Kim invokes the world’s greatest artists to urge you to unleash your inner child — the artist who wanted to play forever. (Filmed at TEDxSeoul.)

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

We don’t know why we should be artists, but we have many reasons why we can’t be. Why do people instantly resist the idea of associating themselves with art? Perhaps you think art is for the greatly gifted or for the thoroughly and professionally trained. And some of you may think you’ve strayed too far from art. Well you might have, but I don’t think so. This is the theme of my talk today. We are all born artists.

 

David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization

 

David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

The eye is exquisitely sensitive to patterns in variations in color, shape and pattern. It loves them, and it calls them beautiful. It’s the language of the eye. If you combine the language of the eye with the language of the mind, which is about words and numbers and concepts, you start speaking two languages simultaneously, each enhancing the other. So, you have the eye, and then you drop in the concepts. And that whole thing — it’s two languages both working at the same time.

 

Aaron Koblin: Visualizing ourselves … with crowd-sourced data

 

Artist Aaron Koblin takes vast amounts of data — and at times vast numbers of people — and weaves them into stunning visualizations. From elegant lines tracing airline flights to landscapes of cell phone data, from a Johnny Cash video assembled from crowd-sourced drawings to the «Wilderness Downtown» video that customizes for the user, his works brilliantly explore how modern technology can make us more human.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

Our lives are being driven by data, and the presentation of that data is an opportunity for us to make some amazing interfaces that tell great stories.

 

…an interface can be a powerful narrative device. And as we collect more and more personally and socially relevant data, we have an opportunity, and maybe even an obligation, to maintain the humanity and tell some amazing stories as we explore and collaborate together.

 

Golan Levin: Art that looks back at you

 

Golan Levin, an artist and engineer, uses modern tools — robotics, new software, cognitive research — to make artworks that surprise and delight. Watch as sounds become shapes, bodies create paintings, and a curious eye looks back at the curious viewer.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

I’m an artist, and I’m really interested in expanding the vocabulary of human action, and basically empowering people through interactivity. I want people to discover themselves as actors, as creative actors, by having interactive experiences.

 

Milton Glaser: Using design to make ideas new

 

From the TED archives: The legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser dives deep into a new painting inspired by Piero della Francesca. From here, he muses on what makes a convincing poster, by breaking down an idea and making it new.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

Sometimes, in the middle of a resistant problem, I write down things that I know about it. But you can see the beginning of an idea there, because you can see the word «new» emerging from the «old.» That’s what happens. There’s a relationship between the old and the new; the new emerges from the context of the old.

 

Tim Brown: Designers — think big!

 

Tim Brown says the design profession has a bigger role to play than just creating nifty, fashionable little objects. He calls for a shift to local, collaborative, participatory «design thinking» — starting with the example of 19th-century design thinker Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

Systems thinkers who were reinventing the world, to a priesthood of folks in black turtlenecks and designer glasses working on small things. As our industrial society matured, so design became a profession and it focused on an ever smaller canvas until it came to stand for aesthetics, image and fashion.

 

So if human need is the place to start, then design thinking rapidly moves on to learning by making. Instead of thinking about what to build, building in order to think. Now, prototypes speed up the process of innovation, because it is only when we put our ideas out into the world that we really start to understand their strengths and weaknesses. And the faster we do that, the faster our ideas evolve.

 

Richard Seymour: How beauty feels

 

A story, a work of art, a face, a designed object — how do we tell that something is beautiful? And why does it matter so much to us? Designer Richard Seymour explores our response to beauty and the surprising power of objects that exhibit it.

 

 

Some thoughts to remember:

 

Form is function. It informs, it tells us, it supplies us answers before we’ve even thought about it. And so I’ve stopped using words like «form,» and I’ve stopped using words like «function» as a designer. What I try to pursue now is the emotional functionality of things. Because if I can get that right, I can make them wonderful, and I can make them repeatedly wonderful.


 

As we can see, the set of speeches is quite diverse: some of them are giving the examples of designs, some unveil the life and routine case of famous experts, some bring general ideas on creativity and design process aspects. Anyway, they enrich us with the ideas which bring us closer to the user, to creating efficient design and taking everything possible from our natural creativity.