Note: The other night, I ran into Friend of Pinch Jennifer Yocom at one of the many high-stepping social events I attend. I had just gotten a snootful of Dave Selden's excellent first blast on the City of Portland's plans to crowdsource at least part of the upcoming redesign of its Web site, and I'm afraid I buttonholed poor Ms. Yocom and subjected her to a Cabernet-scented blast of my own on the subject. At any rate, the next day (that would be today) I received an e-mail from the Mayor's Communications Director, Mr. Roy Kauffman. (Mr. Kaufmann published the text of that letter in the comment stream following Mr. Selden's post above, so I assume others received it as well and I will not trouble to reprint it here.) What follows is my response.
Many thanks for your note. I do appreciate hearing directly from Mayor Adams' office about this; I supported Sam as a councilman and as a mayoral candidate; moreover, I continue to support him as mayor, this little hiccup aside.
I have of course reviewed the contest rules and FAQ, and as a fellow who has earned his bread as a brand and Web development practitioner for over a decade, I must tell you in all candor that the City's solution to the problem of redeveloping PortlandOnline is troublesome at best.
Breaking the process of developing an important (and as of now, inadequate) Web entity such as PortlandOnline into four discrete RFPs to be serviced by four discrete suppliers -- even if the user interface design was not additionally parted out to a contest -- reveals the cumbersome nature of the City's purchasing process in relation to creative (for the purposes of this note, I'll use "creative" to mean the generative side of Web development, which includes but is not limited to accessibility, information architecture, CMS consulting, messaging and user interface design).
The City, of course, tries to be as objective as it can in determining suppliers, grading proposals on an ostensibly objective numerical scale with respect to many laudable aspects of doing business.
But creative is not objective. It is not a manufacturing or simple procurement process. And parting it out like the City has done in this case, with the "fun" or "artistic" part tossed off to an open contest with no compensation, shows that the City has no earthly idea how important an integrated approach to delivering information to its citizens is.
Crowdsourcing may be superficially democratic. But it is bad business. Asking a developer (or layman) to come up with a good or even workable solution based upon a thin brief, a FAQ and no contact with research or the parties involved in the project is naïve. You'll get something that looks like a Web site, certainly. You may even get something looks better than what you have. But you won't have a solution to your problem.
User interface is among the last steps in a successful Web development project, not the first. How the site looks should be a function of how it works. And right now, PortlandOnline doesn't work very well. Oh, you can pay your water bill, and now you can pay your parking tickets and that's fine. But doing it is a pain. Finding the proper phone number to call the police takes ten minutes of clicking around. The URL structure is inaccessible and contains ten-year-old scripting cruft.
How do you solve the problem? By taking it seriously. By assembling a team of people who trust one another, and who can work hand-in-glove with one another over the long process of development. For example, accessibility is also a UI problem. Social media is also an architecture problem. All of this has to happen under the rubric of message, for which I notice you are not offering an RFP.
PortlandOnline doesn't serve the citizenry, and wouldn't even if it looked nicer. I don't mean to tell you your business, and I know that the City's purchasing process and this contest are meant to be exercises in democracy, but the mediocrity of the result will not serve the public and will devalue your work as elected officials.
The private sector doesn't crowdsource or balkanize RFPs like this for a reason: the results don't tend to be good. It's hard enough to get a workable result with a coherent, disciplined team. I would suspect that if the City went about redeveloping PortlandOnline without the contest and the clumsy proposal process and presented the public with a simple, well-considered, well-architected site, the public wouldn't notice the absence of this kind of direct-democracy kabuki at all. And I don't think it would care.
You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the value (or lack thereof) that I perceive Mayor Adams' office places on creative. That's because I'm more interested in results. If Mayor Adams doesn't see the true economic (never mind cultural) value of the Portland's creative community, well, then: he's just another politician. John McCain, for example, holds a similar opinion. That also doesn't matter to me so much; I can make a living without dealing with such people.
But as a citizen, I am frankly embarrassed and frustrated by PortlandOnline. And I don't see that the City is taking serious steps to address it.
Apologies for the length of this note; one good outcome of this exercise has been to exercise our community a bit. I'm going to copy my business partner, Eric Hillerns, on this. As vice-president of the local chapter of AIGA (our professional organization), he has taken a leadership role in opening this issue to a broader audience. I hope that we can include the Mayor's office in this dialogue.
We've been at this Twitter thing for a while now and have been amazed at the community, the ideas shared, and the connections made. @Pinch_Bespoke was hatched as a simple concept; six tweets a day on issues related to brand, design, and sustainability. No more and no less.
We engaged with the understanding that the real power of Twitter is in contributing to the conversation. As a small shop, we quickly grasped the commitment involved in responding (in real time) and attending to our billable work. And while only marginally conversational, the monologue model seemed an attractive compromise in that it might provide some value in terms of sharing what we know, what we're reading, what we admire, and what we hear. And that's it. A bit like the Pinch Digest used to be, yet more fluid and perhaps, less timely.
So now we simply ask for your input: How are we doing? What more (or less) would you like to see? Is @Pinch_Bespoke of value to you or is it our own vanity that keeps us posting? What can we do better? And should we continue? Your feedback is important to us and we hope you'll take the time to drop us a comment. In fact, if you do, we'll send you a heartfelt "thank you" (and a @Pinch_Bespoke shout-out).
Most of all, we thank you. We're learning from each of you.
I'd imagine that you're just shaking off the rust from last evening's party at Wieden + Kennedy and what appears to have gone down in room 422. We've received some kind comments from AIGA folks about the insider's guide posted Thursday. While it merely scratches the surface, I'm pleased that you found it helpful. What with this weekend's Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade, and a number of associated events, there is plenty to do. Most of you are tourists, so if you feel so compelled to join in that revelry, so be it. Enjoy.
If you have a break in the schedule, or are just getting your day started, I'd suggest heading over to Portland Farmers Market PSU. My favorite way to begin the day is with a wood-fired bagel from Tastebud or Pine State Biscuits and a hot coffee from Stumptown Coffee. The market runs until 2 p.m. With the weather a bit cloudy, it won't be as busy, but it's still a hub for activity on Saturday mornings. And yes, you can find bacon, if you must.
If you're looking for afternoon spots that are fairly near the hotel, I'd recommend Higgins (opens at 4 p.m.), Clyde Common or Kenny & Zukes (at the Ace Hotel), Typhoon!, or any of the foodcarts in the downtown area. (Check Food Carts Portland for locations.) Portland Food and Drink usually does a pretty good roundup of the week's food news and their review listing is also helpful.
If you're looking for more this evening, I'd suggest you check out Holocene's Anniversary party (1001 SE Morrison) tonight which will host a fine collection of Portland's more interesting bands (Talkdemonic is a personal favorite). Jens Lekman (Wonder Ballroom) and Neko Case (Crystal Ballroom) are also in town. If you haven't already, you might consider popping into Doug Fir for the later (9 p.m.) Handsome Furs and The Cinnamon Band show. The Portland Mercury has more. Julian Chadwick's PDX Pipeline just listed its Twitter-fueled "Best Late Night Food in Portland" and "75+ Portland Weekend Parties and Events", plus bits on the best Indian, Sushi, Thai, and breakfast spots. Hangover or not, you will have Sunday morning to think about.
You might also check Travel Portland's full listing of events as well as Dave Allen's (@pampelmoose) posts on the indie scene. Speaking of our friends at Travel Portland, if you're using Twitter, you might want to check their Twisitor Center or follow @travelportland.
While I'm not attending this year's retreat, the Portland chapter and Twitter is keeping me abreast of at least some of the happenings. Props to AIGA Idaho for keeping us all in the loop and AIGA Atlanta for some of the live feed action. I'll hope to see more of you this evening. Oh, and Phil Hamlett, I believe we have a beer or two on the books for this evening?
Thursday kicked off the 2009 AIGA National Leadership Retreat in our little town of Portland, Oregon. I serve on the local AIGA chapter board and had the good fortune of attending the annual event two years ago in Miami. I found it to be informative and inspirational. Now, I don't use that term much, inspirational, but it fit; it's a well-run gathering and an effective incubator for ideas. The few days of that retreat were jam-packed with programming, but when I stole a couple of hours for myself in Miami, I longed for an insider's perspective of what was happening locally, and where to eat. Away from the confines of the hotel.
For those attendees visiting Portland, we've pulled together a very rough list of our favorite eateries, as well as a run-down of a few of the events happening around town. This list of events comes by way of Leigh Feldman's excellent e-newsletter LifeisaParty. I'd urge you to request it from Leigh by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
So, attendees: we know you're at the Hilton and that's just fine. The New York office of AIGA had to pick a self-contained location cozy enough to host 250. But it's hardly representative of Portland. Not even close. Now, I know that time is limited and I'm not suggesting you pull yourselves from the retreat activities, but for chrissake, live a little. You might be interested why so many designers arrive here in the first place, and then why they end up calling Portland home. And I can tell you that it's not chain hotels, it's not the suburbs, and it's certainly not Macaroni Grill.
Following our call for entries, Pinch and Substance have worked to pare our slate down to seven presenters for this installment of Show and Tell PDX. As we discovered during our previous event, there's no telling what might be said, who will share what, or what we might take from the evening's discussion. What we do know is that it will most definitely inspire and inform. And these folks will do the talking:
Matt Garland of Pet Theory: Flex-based Chat
Natalie Ramsland: Sweetpea Bicycles
Robert Lewis and Todd Greco of Fashionbuddha: Multi-Touch Table from Scratch
Chris Teso: Controlling Interfaces Without Interfaces
Stacy Westbrook of happy, inc.: Homebrewing
Matt Anderson of Struck Creative: How to Create a Global Panic
John Schreiber of Milkmuny: Making Products from Reclaimated Materials
Join Pinch, Substance, our presenters, and a collection of Portland's most talented (and friendly) folks on Friday, May 22nd at 6 p.m. Substance World Headquarters, 1551 SE Poplar Ave, Portland. If you use Twitter, you can track the event at #sntpdx. Please let us know that you'll be attending and RSVP at Upcoming.
We had such a fantastic crowd (and an equally grand time) at our first Show and Tell PDX, we’re going to do it again.
On Friday, 22 May, Pinch and Substance invite you to meet and greet with other like-minded people. There will be plenty of activity in Portland around WebVisions and we wanted to be able to capture and contribute to that energy. So if you are still in town and would like to start your weekend off with some inspiration, we'd love for you to join in.
If you’re interested in presenting, send us your idea by Monday, May 11 and we'll sort through the pitches to curate an interesting evening. The format is simple: you have 10 minutes to share something that that explains “What are you working on?” We invite everyone to submit an idea and hope that everyone will. At our last event we had designers, coders, beverage and bacon entrepreneurs. What will we uncover this time? Send your ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will start the conversation.
We’re looking forward to you joining us for an informative, enlightening and entertaining evening. If you’re planning to simply attend, we’d appreciate your RSVP via Upcoming. We plan on getting started around 6:00 p.m. with drinks and music. We'll begin the program at about 7:00. The event will be held at Substance World Headquarters, 1551 SE Poplar Ave, Portland.
Last evening, we had the opportunity to gather with a select group to discuss concepts for a proposed design museum in our small city. One of the many challenges with such a project remains the preconception of what a museum is and its associated costs, in terms of both capital and perception. That being said, Portland is nothing if not eager to challenge the assumptions established by that very label (Museum, with a rather oversized uppercase "M") and to consider alternative means in which to approach a project of this type. The group was facilitated by organizers Zara Logue, Dieter Reuther, and Karen Korellis Reuther, as well as representatives from Nike, Ziba Design, Second Story Interactive Studios, Portland Spaces magazine, Maxwell PR, and others. LUNARR Co-founder Hideshi Hamaguchi presented a useful model concept to address biases, constraints, and tradeoffs. Fill a room full of designers and every word will be duly scrutinized (read; "destination" and "objects") but an initial working vision resulted in "a destination where people find enjoyment, inspiration, and meaning in exploring authentic objects of design." A very good beginning, we believe.
On Tuesday, February 17th, AIGA Portland hosted a panel discussion for their quarterly Career Tools series at Elephants Delicatessen in Portland, Oregon. The event addressed AIGA’s nationwide efforts to assist its members during this difficult economic period. The capacity turnout (nearly eighty in total) signaled that the topic was clearly an issue on the minds of many.
Moderating the panel was Julie Beeler, Principal of Second Story Interactive Studios.
Steve Sandstrom from Sandstrom Partners
Sean O’Brien from Wieden+Kennedy
Ryan Buchanan from eROI
Mary Kysar from Makelike
Steve Potestio from 52 Ltd.
Scott Niesen, branding and marketing specialist
For firms, freelancers and students in attendance from the disciplines of graphic design, retail design, interior and environmental design, advertising and industrial design, it made for a lively discussion from some of our city’s leading authorities. And contrary to the model of displaying the output of our work, the event centered on process, or more importantly how we—as people—process our work during the stormy economic climate. And perhaps how we—as a city—position ourselves for sunnier weather.
Rather than providing an overview summary based on personal opinion and the feedback from others at the event, we have attempted to capture the morning’s comments in the panelist’s own words. The event was not recorded, so these are the notes from our own capture. To the best of our abilities, we have attempted to patch our own transcription without altering the tone or content of any of the responses. Some answers were abridged.
Thanks to Elephants Delicatessen, AIGA Portland, and to the event sponsors, for a fantastic discussion. And special thanks to Steve Potestio and Heather Dougherty for chairing the programming role at AIGA Portland. Most directly, we should thank Lindsey Hammond of HUB Collective and her volunteer team for pulling off another informative and entertaining morning of meaningful dialogue.
Julie Beeler (Moderator): The New York Times recently ran an article entitled “Design Loves a Depression” which caught the attention of many. Whether that is, in fact, true or not, how has the recent economic condition affected your studio or your process?
Ryan Buchanan: For eROI, it’s been mostly small changes and further formalizing our process. More time upfront means less time is necessary on the back end. We’ve worked to improve our definition of scope. Clients understand that agencies also need to make a living, if they’re going to serve them. We’re building more and more sites using content management systems which gives the client flexibility. Their content is editable and overall, more manageable.
Mary Kysar: I’d agree. We’re checking in with the client more often in order to not waste creative dollars.
Scott Niesen: Like all of us, clients are looking for ways to save money. The approach, in general, is saving them, and us, more money.
Sean O’Brien: These days, Flash, for example, is looked at as a short-term solution. It used to be “the thing”. Longer term solutions are more important. Better definition of client and project goals and how to build together toward that end. We’re seeing a trend in at W+K to plan further ahead, to be more agile by rapid prototyping during development; by building, testing, breaking, and refining. We’re seeing this as a real trend in the industry and among our clients.
Steve Potestio: Yes, and we’re also seeing that the idea of “agility” relates back to how businesses should be doing things. So that they are not wasting budget by creating start and stop situations.
Beeler: Are you seeing upsides (to this environment) in terms of what you’re learning and the investments in deeper planning?
O’Brien: Absolutely. it is creating an environment for more creative thinking. And it is requiring us to be more responsible with our clients’ budgets.
Potestio: We see it as an opportunity to provide more value. We’re asking, “are there more, or other, services or solutions that we can provide?”
Buchanan: When we’re talking to current or new clients, we’re always talking about new opportunities given the economic climate. At eROI, our clients are telling us that they have been happy with e-mail, but (they’re saying) “if you (eROI) can show me what’s more effective, then I’ll listen.” This is a time to experiment with the client’s marketing model. It’s interesting that fewer advertisers mean more opportunities to craft a stronger message.
Kysar: In many ways, it better narrows the world of possibility. It gets us to talking about what is necessary.
Beeler: We’re all seeing lower budgets these days. Given this situation, can you provide more detail in terms of how your firms are managing to create quality design?
Steve Sandstrom: I don’t believe that the work we do at Sandstrom Partners has changed much in terms of philosophy. The process has changed. Planning, which is a new offering for us, allows us to speak “MBA” with clients in a world of case studies, which, by the way, I believe is the worst philosophy for business. Planning, as a distinct service, helps everyone get smarter going in. We can speak with business folks. As far as new clients, the situation requres accepting more clients than we would have previously accepted. With seventeen mouths to feed, it means we’re doing more and perhaps it’s more difficult to maintain our (previous) ideals quite as strictly.
Pinch. A design office., along with our friends at Substance and the Flash PDX User Group, invite you to an evening of show and tell. We asked (just about anyone who would listen) to show us what they'd been working on and we're pleased to announce that the finalists for our first event have been determined. Join us all on Tuesday, March 3rd at 6:00 pm, at Substance (1551 SE Poplar Ave, Portland). We'll get started at around 6:00 p.m., with drinks and music and begin the program by 7:00 p.m. We’re looking forward to you joining us for an informative, enlightening, and — with a little luck — entertaining evening of sharing. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP at the Upcoming listing or Facebook page. Find out about what these guys are up to. Next, it'll be your turn.
Jason Sherwood: Choffy for everyone
Shaun Tinney (of Substance): Adobe AIR Image creator
Scott Benish: State of the Salmon
Gene Ehrbar (of Anomaly Incorporated): An Introduction to SnappyCards
Vince LaVecchia (of Instrument): Building Flash sites that don’t suck
Anselm Hook: Spinny Globe
Cinco Design: UI/UX (TBD)
Noel Franus of Sonic ID: Picasso meets the flow chart
Jason Glaspey: Mmmm. Bac’n
Rael Dornfest: Thinking about Twitter
Hot beverages provided by Choffy.
Cold beverages provided by Substance and Pinch. A design office.
Spinning vinyl by Brian Emery.
As a design firm, we've been interested in the debate surrounding crowdSPRING, the "crowd-sourcing" site focused on providing cut-rate graphic design for low-budget projects. The idea has been around for quite some time and as crowdSPRING co-founder Ross Kimbarovsky is quick to point out, his company is not the only concern offering these services. The topic bubbled up again last week when Forbes magazine published an article calling out a "snooty" design community and leveraging the fears of old (and the hope of new) in a thinly veiled advertorial for Kimbarovsky's company. The "conversation" swept the design blogs and diverse positions were posted from all angles. We jumped in and somehow wound up smack dab in the middle of David Airey's little mosh pit. We admit to liking it a bit.
Yesterday, Fast Company threw their hats into the ring. Well, maybe not the publication itself, but Aaron Perry-Zucker, a regular Fast Company contributor, RISD student and the lead behind Design For Obama, a project for which we hold great respect. Perry-Zucker is a smart young man and we respect him, but we had little respect for his lethargic position on this post, titled "Democratizing Design?"
Monday proved to be a good start to a new year in business. I was again reminded of why I love working and living in this humble little city. We had just thawed out from what was an unusually white holiday break. The kids had tacked on a few days to their already long vacation and I got the sense that folks were more than a little itchy to get back to work. Among other things to look forward to, 2009 marked what will be a new federal administration, and at least for the folks who I chose to spend time with, that's reason enough to be optimistic. Fact is, for our firm, business was way down last year. That was due to many complex factors but the general view of the economy certainly didn't assist in loosening the purse strings attached to brand development. It's overly simplistic to lay blame on outside forces, but this economy is larger than a few guys (and a girl) working out of a small design studio in Portland, Oregon.
The day started with a sense of ordered measure. I was alone in the office (Conahan was designing a new skate park and McIsaac had his jetset on, spending at least part of his holiday New York trip with friends of the studio, Hal Wolverton and Alicia Johnson). Lisa was at Forest Park Conservancy and I was accompanied by nothing more than a quiet phone and a satchel of trip hop cuts that I had compiled during the break. It seemed that everyone—clients, neighbors, partners—were engaged in a collective inhale that occurs just prior to jumping in headlong.
This is the seventh essay in a collection of twelve written by Byron Ferris for the "Design Sense" feature of the Sunday Northwest Magazine insert of The Oregonian during 1984 and 1985. – Ed.
Recently on a pleasant California weekend in Palo Alto, we visited Stanford and had a look at the electronics firms of the "Silicon Valley." This area where so much of the computer industry started is not really much of a geographic valley; rather, it's an area south of Stanford University where new electronics-age companies began developing near the school's science departments.
In Oregon, we're seeing a similar growth of new companies spreading out from Tektronix in an area around Beaverton and Hillsboro, an area that's becoming known as the "Silicon Forest." The area is not much of a true forest – it has trees, of course, and plenty of greenery, but the region, which is west of Portland where the air flowing from the Pacific Coast is fresh and clean, is mostly buildings, with homes and plants. It offers good living and a good environment for the manufacture of electronics, which requires clean conditions.
Has your organization started to utilize Twitter as a social media tool. If so, how is it working out?
Posted by: Nepal Patel, Vice President, Sales at GasPedal
Editor's note: Answers on this one were all over the board; most seeming somewhat skeptical of Twitter's ability to turn a profit. Certainly understandable. But rather than attempting to debunk a movement, we just tried to share our experience with Twitter, thus far. Who knows? Tomorrow, our answer might be very different.
Yes. And it has been fulfilling, thus far. For personal use, Twitter has been all that has been billed in other answers that you've received: an excellent link to conversations, ideas, topics and events that were occurring right under my nose. Many, directly related to my business. At the same time, it has proven to be time-consuming and in truth, from time to time, a bit silly. Of course, so are relationships and that's what Twitter is really about.
For many, Twitter is beginning to assume the place of traditional e-mail. Others simplify it as "group IM." It is neither of those in my opinion. As with any new model, there is certainly a learning curve. I sat on my hands for a couple of months and just listened to the tweets. Who was saying what, how they were saying it, and why. And like any relationship, some simple listening paid with great dividends. By then, I felt that I knew who I wanted to hear from. And more importantly, I felt that I could speak with other "tweeps" in a manner that was both appropriate and meaningful. In each attempt, I aimed to contribute.
From the perspective of business, Twitter seems another thing altogether. In business, we work to surround ourselves with people we respect. Naturally, those people become closer to each other on a personal level and the network expands exponentially or contracts depending on the values of that network. As they become closer, conversation tends to become more casual. This is both good and bad (but that's an entirely separate post). That having been said, I don't believe that there is yet a tried-and-true model for Twitter success. But that's part of the beauty of the app; it is becoming exactly what users define.
What did we do? I am a principal in a small design firm. We blog a bit and we attempt to stay in front of the people with whom we wish to work. Within the last week, we "launched" a strategy that appears slightly different from the ways that we have seen Twitter utilized to date. With certain exceptions, it seems that firms using Twitter rarely stay on message. The closest parallel we could draw to our intended strategy was to providers who focus on a specific interest; the Arts section of the New York Times.
Why did we do it? We quickly realized that our general blog posts required significant time and effort. We have much to share and we wish to do it quickly. Yet beyond the creative outlet that blogging provides, one of the primary reasons we invest the time is to demonstrate our approach to our work and to communicate what design means for business. In order to be more efficient with what we share, we've established a simple Twitter strategy for (1) feeding traffic to our site, (2) for building our resource database and (3) for staying in front of interesting people on a daily basis. To do so, we must provide content of value. It is our view that the folks who are using Twitter are the folks most likely to spread the word about any subject, particularly when it is of value. And the approach certainly won't hurt our SEO.
We developed our Twitter strategy on a simple premise: Provide six tweets a day on issues related to brand, sustainability and design. Talk about the things we know and nothing more. No feedback, no lengthy strings supporting our posts. It needed to be manageable; a one-way information source that positions our firm as thought leaders and shares one studio project, announcement, or discussion per day. The remaining five are about our industry as a whole. We intend to keep it focused and consistent. While we have just begun, the feedback has been incredibly positive.
On Thursday evening, AIGA Portland hosted the second installment of Designspeaks at The Cleaners at Portland's Ace Hotel. Our guest for the gathering was Byron Ferris, the elder statesman of all things design-related in this region. Byron was born in 1921 and has been practicing design since the 40's here, as well as in San Francisco, New York and London. He's an industrial designer, graphic designer, writer, critic, arts patron, philosopher and epic joke-teller. His resume unfolds like Phil Meggs' tome, A History of Graphic Design: the first U.S. delegate to ICOGRADA; instructor of design and letterforms with Lloyd Reynolds at the Art Museum School and Reed College; Educational Auditor at Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, Germany; Associate Editor of Communication Arts; partner at Bachman-Ferris Advertising (which later merged with McCann-Erickson Advertising) and of course, Design Council; founding member of Sitka Center for Art & Ecology; writer of countless essays and longer works, including the "Annuls of Design" a history of design from Ben Franklin to Bill Bernbach, and Fell's Guide to Commercial Art.
As I mentioned in my introduction that evening, I had hoped that more of our region's founding fathers (and a few mothers) of design could have been on hand. Doug Lynch, Charles Politz, Peter Teel, Dick Wiley, Joe Erceg, Clyde Van Cleve, Annie Marra, Wes Waite, the Rickabaughs, Irwin McFadden, Warren Eakins, Mel Ulvin, Homer Groening, the aforementioned Mr. Reynolds. Some were there that evening. Some have moved on and some have passed on. And then you have those rare birds like Byron, who continue to make brilliant work, as he has for more than 60 years. It becomes clear when you see the breadth and depth of his work, that Mr. Ferris has been the hub from which much of the best work in this town — perhaps the creative instrument of the town itself — has spun. In 2008, he couldn't be more current or more relevant.
That evening, I was honored to meet Mr. Ferris' wife, Carol, and see Tim Leigh and Loren Weeks in the house. Among others in attendance (and some for whom I've not seen in entirely too long) were Heather Barta, Lloyd Eugene Winter IV, Johnny Levenson, Tiffany Jackson, Debra Haines, Heather Dougherty, Mike Buchino, Alice Baldwin, Bram Pitoyo, Amber Case, Mark Evans, Tyler Ashcraft, Jackson Sherwood, Melissa Delzio, Mark Conahan, and Eugene Ehrbar. There are others, and I apologize for forgetting them here. I'm getting older and the memory just ain't what it used to be. A very special thanks to Erik Ratcliffe for chairing the event and to Adam McIsaac (yes, that Adam McIsaac) for handling the A/V duties. Of course, FILTER and Steve Gehlen of The Portland Creative Conference (Cre8Con) deserve their propers for sponsoring the event. The evening was nothing short of brilliant and that's thanks to all of you. But especially you, Byron.
Things have a funny way of working on the internets. The Word of Mouth devotees liken it to that Breck commercial "You Tell Two Friends..." from way back. However you wish to describe it, we've been pleased that someone, somewhere, has taken notice of our little workshop. A month or so ago, we mentioned that a couple of the tastetrackers (SeptemberIndustry, AisleOne, Thinking for a Living and FFFFound!) had picked up on the goings on at Pinch. We even had our first taste of the sincerest form of flattery from a friend in China. Well, late last week, lightning struck yet again. It's been nice to receive the props from Screenfluent, minimalsites, Web Creme, and Most Inspired. A couple of thousand page views per day is pretty decent for a shop of our reach. That is to say, a reach that was previously, somewhat limited.
All the while, other things have been clipping right along. Client work continues, Bespoke keeps growing, and we've "launched" our Twitter feed, at twitter.com/Pinch_Bespoke. It's based on the simple premise of providing six tweets a day on issues related to brand, sustainability and design. A week in has produced some interesting results with some prominent players in the industry deciding to follow along. We hope you will, too.