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Leo Burnett Company, Limited
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Toronto, Ontario M4W 3R9
+416 925 5997

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Read, Listen, Follow: Design Round-Up 2012

There’s nothing like a flip to the year to feel the need to kick up your creativity. So with that, I’m rounding up some favorites with the hope that something here awakens your inner designer and gets those creaky wheels turning.

Luke Wroblewski (just call him “Luke W”) has written a couple of stellar books on form design and mobile design, and he is a super-active blogger. He is often part of the “An Event Apart” road show (catch it if you can), as well as lots of other conferences. I highly recommend his post “Future Friendly” about designing for mobile first. He continues the proselytizing at, so if you care about beautiful, engaging design for multiple devices–and who doesn’t–check them out.

The venerable interaction design blog Johnny “It’s All About Interaction” Holland has posted their most popular articles from 2011. My personal favorite is an egg-headed walk through experience models. I and many folks on my team have been creating experience models (we sometimes call them “ecosystems” or “user journeys”) for years, and this is the first article I’ve seen to lay out concrete guidelines. I’m jealous I didn’t do this myself! So thanks to author Marc Sasinski and check it out: Experience Design Models: Minding the Gap Between Ideas and Interfaces.

Fast Company Design covers a wide swath of design with robust articles and commentary, and a focus on design for business. You can short-cut the blog (I find it a bit unwieldy to navigate, although nice to look out) by following their feed @FastCoDesign, which pushes a link to every article but not much more.

For the best advertising blog, skip Agency Spy and swing by AdScam, the home of deliciously malicious ad old-timer George Parker. Parker skewers advertising agencies, CEOs, social media, and the entire business world, but every now and then he pulls out a sincere tribute. This farewell to Steve Jobs, written when Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple in August 2011, captures Jobs’ prickly genius. Behind the profanity, Parker brings wisdom and perspective and most of all humanity in all its cranky glory. (Warning: NSFW unless you work in advertising. Profanity, Hitler, and nudity are frequently seen on AdScam. Not kidding.)

Moving on to a podcast I adore, check out 99% Invisible, “A Tiny Show About Design.” Host Roman Mars takes a look each week at a single topic in architecture, product, sound, sport, among many other areas. He’s up to nearly 50 shows by now, each about 10 minutes long. My favorite is Ep. 30, The Blue Yarn, about how a hospital hired a Japanese quality sensei to completely remake how they treat their patients. I referred someone in the agency to this podcast when we were trying to streamline our byzantine workflow.

Out in twitterville, I suggest @UXBooth. In addition to their own articles, they find good content in the user experience world, and not always from the usual sources. For quick hits on design, you can’t do better than ID Magazine’s @IDOnline. Frequent but not overwhelming posts feature products, architecture, graphics, packaging, retail, internet, apps, and photography (although they’ve been oddly dark since December 31. Here’s hoping they haven’t shut down the feed!).

Well, git along now, little dogies, and explore. Post your favorites in the comments or send them to @frandiam or @leoburnettblog. I’ll be happy to send you my WHOLE list of podcasts, blogs and tweets I follow. It’s a wonder I get any work done.

—— Fran Diamond is VP, Director of Experience Design at Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett. You can find her tweeting @frandiam, or read her intermittent musings and photoblog on