Many people give lip service to the idea of customer-centered design. But how much do they interact with customers — asking questions and listening closely to the answers? In case you’re curious how my Explorer series of journals got started, here’s the story.
I was the customer for my first journal -- the Compass Rose pictured above. It came straight out of my Navy experience and my love for water, boats, and all things nautical. As a teen I once spent an entire summer learning to tie knots from the Encyclopedia of Knots and Fancy Ropework -- a gift from my stepfather. My crowning achievement was learning how to tie a Monkey's Fist, which is used on the end of lines to throw them ashore.
For this first cover design, I searched high and low for nautical elements that I really liked.
The long spikes from this compass rose appealed to me…
… but I wanted something more solid for the lettering, and found this…
…plus the long extensions of the above image appealed to me as well.
To add a bit of flair, I asked my artist to work in this fleur de lis:
I also wanted a banner that would inspire adventure and speak to the entrepreneurial spirit. Having suffered through two years of Latin as a high-schooler, naturally I had to throw that in too (thanks, mom).
Once the pieces were assembled, my artist produced this hand-drawn version:
Banner translation: “Always Exploring”
I really liked the hand-drawn art and wanted to use that in the mold to make my cover as unique as possible. I liked the little imperfections in the dots and the shading.
Alas, my manufacturer did not share my love of pencil nuance and required me to produce a vector image. The resulting graphic, once debossed in vegan leather, produced the image you see at the top of this page.
The compass is turned slightly to the east because, well, how often are we really going due north? Pointing it straight up just didn’t seem as interesting. Since I’m slightly off-kilter anyway, this was somewhat inevitable.
For my second product, I wanted to gather feedback from the public before committing to a direction. I decided to focus on a female audience and crowd-source the major decisions about the cover.
First, we needed to decide on the concept -- what kind of image to use. For this, I set up a simple poll and sent it to my Facebook friends. I asked people to choose from a list of items:
As you can see, the audience of people interested in voting was not that large. Still, I got a clear direction out of the feedback and proceeded with the Tree concept.
Next, I needed to narrow the field. There are way too many types and styles of trees to pick from. So, I asked for favorites from a specific black and white search on Bing.com. The results were mixed…
…but gave me some direction and I was able to move forward from there. After some searching through licensed art libraries, I found the one below. The fullness of it, the gentle curves, and the crisp simplicity of the pattern appealed to me…
Since my audience were not Latin nerds this time, I decided to put the banner in English.
Given the female focus, I decided to go with a lighter color for the faux leather, resulting in this final cover once the debossing was done:
I hope that gives you some insight into how I think about design and how each new product will likely be shaped.
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Of course you want more joy in your life. Who wouldn't?
Joy and gratitude are very much interconnected. In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown notes: "Without exception, every person I interviewed who described living a joyful life or who described themselves as joyful, actively practiced gratitude and attributed their joyfulness to their gratitude practice."
Journaling can help develop and enhance your gratitude practice - and so too it can help develop and enhance your joy. Here are six tips to help you get started.
How do you feel about new beginnings? The uncertainty of what's to come can be scary, exciting, nerve-wracking, overwhelming.
You can take control of each new beginning by setting intentions. Intentions are not goals. A goal is something that you work towards and check off your list when it’s done. Intentions are about your way of living. They're about who you want to be in this world and how you want to show up. Intentions are rooted in mindfulness and gratefulness.
Many people set intentions through meditation alone. But, you can absolutely set intentions in a blank notebook and there are several benefits to doing so.
Bullet journals, in particular, are known for their splashy, artistic spreads, like those tagged as #bulletjournalspreads over at Instagram. One look at all the flowers, cartoon characters, and pastel colors, and some men might decide that, nah, bullet journaling is NOT for them. As one Redditor says, he was initially “blown away by all the girls with fancy tape and stuff.”
Here's the thing, though: journaling is what you want it to be.No one says you HAVE TO use “fancy tape” but no one says you CAN’T. Stop worrying about what your journal should look like and just start writing.