So, can I ask you a question?

Answers from The Sherwins for April 2017



Hi everyone! It’s springtime—time for eggs hatching and flowers blooming, all that growth stuff. This also happens to be the month in which both of us were born.

In reviewing the questions we’ve received over the last few months, we’ve realized that a lot of people are curious about us as designer-people. Taking a little bit of a break from our usual advice column this month, we decided to give everyone a quick rundown of who we are, and provide answers to the most pressing issues of our industry, like board games and tea cups.

1. Where are you from?
We were both born in Virginia. That’s also where the first peanuts in the country were grown.

2. If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
D: Recording engineer.
M: English professor.

3. Advice for young designers?
D: Ask better questions.
M: Know when something doesn’t need to be fixed.

4. Most influential book about design?
D: A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, Christopher Alexander and other authors.
M: Design of Everyday Things, Donald Norman. Ugh, I’m such a cliché.
D: You could have said Oh, the Places You'll Go!
M: Aw, I love that book!
D: Can I change mine to Design for the Real World?
M: Nope. Too late.

5. Most influential book about business?
D: Thanks for the Feedback
M: Orbiting the Giant Hairball

6. Thing you hate most about your work?
D: Ideas don’t magically materialize onto the computer screen from my head.
M: Taxes.

7. Music you listen to when you need to get stuff done?
D: Bonobo, Cinematic Orchestra, Hidden Orchestra.
M: 65daysofstatic, alt-j, the Bad Plus.
D: Oh yeah, the Bad Plus.

8. Design-related guilty pleasure?
D: Industrial design. Of housewares.
M: Bolia catalogs.

9. Favorite board game?
D: Carcassonne. On my phone. I can beat the AI when it's playing Weird.
M: Codenames. Though nothing can hold a candle to Dark Tower.

10. Favorite typeface?
D: Gotham.
M: For work, Gotham. Personally, Garamond. My personal business cards are in Caslon. I also wouldn’t kick either Eaves out of bed for eating crackers.
D: Oh, wait! Mercury. Can I add Mercury? I’m adding Mercury.

11. Design heroes?
D: Brenda Laurel. Robert Fabricant. Genevieve Bell. Jane McGonigal.
M: Coco Chanel. Muriel Cooper. Kenya Hara.

12. Personal hobby that directly contributes to your professional success?
D: Electronic music. Rock climbing.
M: Playing video games. Cooking.

13. How do you stay inspired?
D: I read fiction and poetry and pretty much anything else I can get my hands on.
M: Chef’s Table. Looking at space photography.

14. Favorite color?
D: Red. *thinks* No, red isn’t my favorite color. I’ll say green.
M: Black.
D: Can I just have a favorite palette of color swatches?

15. Personal crusade in the industry?
D: Designing with, not for.
M: Accessibility.

16. Late night work session food of choice?
D: Quinoa salad. In a bowl.
M: Breakfast burrito. No bowl.

17. Most under-appreciated design skill?
D: Kerning. Hmm… That’s too easy. I should say something else. *pause* Nope. Kerning.
M: Color theory.

18. Worst work habit?
D: Over-embellishment.
M: I use a paper calendar. With a pen.

19. Strangest question you’ve ever been asked during an interview?
D: What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
M: What logo would you have tattooed on your forehead?
D: Wait, what? What did you say?
M: I said Bad Robot.

20. Future of design?
D: Automation. Co-creation with machine input.
M: Entire industry dedicated to helping companies recover from design thinking.
D: Really?
M: Yeah. Oh, and VR.
D: V-arrrrrRRR!!!!!

Have a great April,
The Sherwins


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The fine print: These answers shall vanish on April 30th, 2017. Send questions to questions (at) askthesherwins (daht) com. All questions become the property of Ask the Sherwins, LLC and may be edited. Our advice shouldn't be construed as a replacement for the appropriate legal or professional counsel.