Category Archives: Books

What Makes You Shop?

Image Source: Kathleen Noonan, CourierMail.com.au

Kathleen Noonan’s Last Word article titled “Things That Make Us Shop”, in the Queensland Life section of the Courier Mail last weekend caught my attention.

Kathleen was referencing River Clegg’s writing of “Buying This Thing Will Make Me Happy”, from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, the literature site founded by author Dave Eggers.

Noonan’s article refers to Cleggs writing about people’s shopping behaviours and the reasons that I’m sure most of us can relate to.

I observe my own daughter who declares herself “bankrupt” at least once a week, however, she always manages to afford at least one pair of shoes and a dress or two that she “just had to buy because they were soooo cheap”. I don’t know how she does it!

In a quote from Clegg’s writing, he says “It’s really cool. They just started making it and not many people have one yet… Other people will look up to me because I own this thing and use it frequently, which will make me very happy. When I’m at a party, for instance, I can wait for a moment when people start talking about how cool it looks from the latest advertisement. Then I can stroll over and take it out and start using it”

Noonan also refers to the thoughts of evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller who wrote in his book Spent, that “humans evolved in small social groups in which image and status are very important, not just for survival, but for attracting mates, impressing friends and rearing children. Today we ornament ourselves in goods and service more to make an impression on other people’s minds than to enjoy owning a chunk of matter.”

My daughter, however, will state that she always shops for “survival” as she never has any clothes or shoes to wear!

The Role Consumerism plays in our lives has gone from something we did out of necessity to something we did as a little treat, once in a while, to today, a replacement for life’s meaningful pursuits.

So, what makes me shop? Obviously, clever marketing and merchandising play a big part, but most of all, great customer service!

Yours in great shopping
Angie Rapisarda

Shilo Shiv Suleman: Using tech to enable dreaming – TED Talk

Has our technology — our cell phones and iPods and cameras — stopped us from dreaming? Young artist Shilo Shiv Suleman says no, as she demos “Khoya,” her new storybook for iPad, which floats us through a magical world in 7 minutes of pure creativity. I found this very interesting.

Shilo Shiv Suleman is an illustrator, storyteller and iPad book creator.

Yours in Magical Storybook Creation
Angie Rapisarda

The power of Apple iBooks

Imagine a classroom where all the books are located on the one device and reading them is a total interactive experience. We have come so far with technology in the last 10 years. Feeling a little old, I remember back to the days when I had to cart text books around, reading and then writing out notes on paper. At the time, I could never have imagined anything so different. The new Apple iBooks allows students to interact with what they are learning. Tapping into more of our senses, making learning, fun, interactive and most of all memorable.

Apple iBooks is also a great tool for writers, making laying out and publishing books incredibly easy with a very professional outcome.

I challenge you to view this video and not feel a little bit jealous of the experience we never got to experience in our school days.

Yours in exploring Apple iBooks.

Belinda

Brio Group’s Christmas Gift Guide

Do you leave your Christmas shopping til the very last moment? Never sure what to get the creative in your family? Never fear, Brio Group have put together our very own creative Christmas gift guide to lead you in the right direction.

Belinda Vesey-Brown, Managing Director

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography Audiobook,$22.79USD

Make sure it is audio so you can listen where ever you are.. to get in all 25 hours of insight on this amazing entrepreneur.

Amber, Studio Manager

Frankie Magazine 2012 Daily Journal, $24.95

This is for the organiser of your family. They’ll look forward to opening it up everyday and getting that warm fuzzy feeling from the beautifully crafted and designed spreads. It is too pretty to pass up! – Get in quick! It is sold out online but still available at some local newsagents or NationState.

Lee, Web Developer

Canvas Pop Instagram Prints, prices start at $29.95USD

 Now you can turn your artistic filter-applied images in to your own pieces of art for the whole family. Printed on canvas and framed, a personalised gift for your loved ones is just a few clicks away!

Craig Brien, Art Director

iLuv Professional iPad case with bluetooth keyboard, $63.60USD


Michael Taylor, Design Account Manager

A day at the Thai Foot Spa

This spa located in New Farm is the first of its kind in Australia and is a blissful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Who wouldn’t love to be given a relaxing day at the spa on Christmas morning? Rejuvenate the creative juices with a selection of treatments that promote inner peace, well-being and good health. Treatments range from 30 mins to an indulgent half day! It’s the festive season – so why not have a champas and order from the mouthwatering menu…

Dawn Wilson, Senior Designer

Typodarium 2012 Calendar, $16.80EURO (approx $22.16AUD)

This is an awesome typography calendar for all lovers of design and type. There’s a tear away for everyday of the year showcasing a different typeface, giving you a daily dose of inspiration and beauty.

Tanya, Senior Designer

Frankie Magazine Subscription, $57

Angie, Office Manager

Henri Matisse Les Velours Framed Serigraph, $325USD

Although at the higher end of the budget, this beautiful Matisse piece would be a great gift for any true fan of his work.


Anya, Senior Designer


Yellow Bird Project Indie Rock Colouring Book, $10
The Indie Rock Coloring Book, designed by Andy J Miller, is an interactive and creative present for any music lover, it doesn’t matter how old they are. It includes 25 hand illustrated designs and games that reference the likes of Devendra Banhart, Bloc Party, The National and heaps of other indie rockers. And best of all, it’s for charity!

 

Justine, Digital Strategist / Digital Account Manager

Aardvarkonsea Manifesto, $40USD

Brio Talks: Beautiful Pages + Giveaway (Updated)

 

 

Beautiful Pages is the newly launched venture of Tiana Vasiljev who, as someone working in the creative industries, always had a self-confessed “out-of-control obsession with books.” When I saw the site I instantly set about making a “wishlist” of books and wanted to know more about how the online store came to be. Tiana was only too happy to answer my questions!
BrioDaily (BD)What was the idea behind Beautiful Pages?

Tiana Vasiljev (TV): Like many creatives, I have always had an out of control obsession with books. A substantial amount of my annual salary over the years was dedicated to purchasing new books and magazines. Beautiful Pages was initially a selection of 75 design books that had inspired me as a graphic designer over the years. They all had a positive and inspiring impact on my work, attitudes and design knowledge. They were books I felt every designer could benefit from having in their design library.

Through Beautiful Pages we wanted to create an online graphic design store where Australian designers (and designers all over the world) could go to be inspired. A creative online space that both students and professionals could visit any time of the day and easily purchase products that would fuel their imagination. We hope Beautiful Pages serves as a reminder to designers about the beauty of real ink on paper, the importance of the printed page and the pleasures and benefits of owning these beautiful books, magazines and printed pieces.

BD: What have been the biggest challenges launching the site?

TV: The biggest challenges with the site were setting up accounts with all our distributors and managing the finances and cash flow. My education is in graphic design so it was a little hard in the beginning juggling other aspects of the business. But I’ve been lucky enough to have some wonderful help along the way and all the orders and emails that keep coming through from designers all over Australia have been amazing and very motivating.

BD: Where do you gather your inspiration? (books, websites, shops, people)?

TV: Just visiting my own design library! Most of the books that are now sold on the website I first became familiar with over my first few years of being a graphic designer – and I have managed to build up quite the collection. There are many publications that I used to read years ago while studying at Enmore TAFE, books and magazines that my previous colleagues introduced me to and publications I have seen and purchased along the way.

I have travelled a great deal over the last few years and also lived in London for a year. I was always visiting galleries, museums, exhibitions and bookstores. I compiled a wish-list (I have over 50 pages now) of all the products I came across during my travels that I found to be either beautiful, beneficial or both. Beautiful Pages is a small (but growing) collection of the products that have turned out to be both.

BD: How do you select what goes onto Beautiful Pages?

TV: Beautiful Pages offers a very carefully curated collection of design books and products, selected by graphic designers – for graphic designers. The store carries a collection of both classic and new publications. Every product on the site needs to be beautiful – but most importantly – must be well written, inspirational and carry an important message.

Typography is a crucial topic in most of the featured publications and we do tend to place special emphasis on (but not limited to) modernist graphic design. Swiss graphic design and typography plays an important part in the collection, as does the work of many influential graphic designers including Alan Fletcher, Otl Aicher, Wim Crouwel, Armin Hofmann, Jan Tschichold, Herbert Spencer, Wolfgang Weingart, Emil Ruder, Josef Muller-Brockmann and Milton Glaser to name just a few.

BD: How important is it to you to promote Australian design and how can we foster a greater design industry?

TV: Our most important long-term goal is to help promote and support Australian design. We have started investing funds into purchasing a range of books and magazines created by Australian designers. These currently include the work of Thursday Design, Michael Hall, The Initiative, David Pidgeon and Half Court Press. We look forward to seeing this collection grow over the coming months and encourage designers to submit their recommendations or published work.

We can all help foster a greater design industry by building ties with like-minded creatives, collaborating on projects and promoting each other. We need to start advertising and exporting Australian work to overseas markets and with the boom in online sales there’s no better time to be doing it than now.

Beautiful Pages is 100% Australian owned and operated. When designers purchase products from our website they are also helping to support the Australian economy.

BD: Lastly, future plans for Beautiful Pages?

TV: We have lots of plans for the future. Our wish list is very long, our product range is expanding every week and we’re aiming to have the full collection up by mid 2012. We are also looking at the possibility of opening a small shop space in late 2012, but this is still at very early stages.

If designers have any requests, suggestions or would like Beautiful Pages to stock their merchandise, please email us: info@beautifulpages.com.au

We look forward to getting to know you over the coming months and hope that through the site we can spark a bit of inspiration and creativity in all of you.

Beautiful Pages: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Giveaway

As a special treat for Brio Daily readers Beautiful Pages are giving away two books by Paul Arden, ‘It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be’ and ‘Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite’

Winners will be chosen at random. To enter, email your name and postal address to lani@briogroup.com.au 

Entries close COB on Tuesday Oct 18, 2011 and open to Australian residents only.

UPDATED

Thank you to everyone who entered our very first competition. I’m delighted to say that two winners have been drawn, at random. We used random.org to randomly generate the winners. Congratulations to Mathew H and Deanna H. We’ll be in touch very shortly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yours in design inspiration,

Justine.

Driven to distraction

Distraction – Damon Young

6:40am. The alarm goes off. The alarm on my iPhone. I’ve not had an ‘old-school’ alarm clock since my early teens. I reach to turn off the alarm and still half asleep open email, scan and delete in a frighteningly drone-like manner. Check Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for overnight updates. Get out of bed. Continue to get ready for work checking my iPhone for the time. Check public transport app for next bus.

Arrive at the bus stop and observe my fellow commuters entranced by their [insert device of choice here].The majority of us fashioning various styles of earphones in our ears. Our own personal soundtracks keeping us company as we travel to our destination.

iPhone, Android, iPad or E-reader we’ve stopped looking up, talking to the person beside us and being ‘ok’ with our own company, idleness or silence. With a constant demand on our attention we are seeing the emergence of anxieties as a result of data surplus and information overload.

A new generation, one that grew up with a data surplus, is coming along. To this cohort, it’s no big deal to miss a tweet or ten, to delete a blog from your reader or to not return a text or even a voice mail. The new standard for a vacation email is, ‘When I get back, I’m going to delete all the email in my box, so if it’s important, please re-send it next week.’ This is what always happens when something goes from scarce to surplus. First we bathe in it, then we waste it. – Seth Godin, The Shower of Data

When did we cease to disconnect in favour for a distracted and digital existence?

After seeing Damon Young talk at ‘What makes creative minds tick’, one in the Surrealism series of GoMA Talks, I was intrigued to read his book Distraction. Damon’s book is one that you consume in a single sitting. As the image below shows: I was earmarking like a crazy lady.

 

I spoke with Damon and asked him a few questions about distraction.

Brio (B): What are the biggest distractions in the workplace and what do businesses need to do to overcome them? Can they be overcome?

Damon Young (DY): Email is often a focus-killer.  Studies suggest that we reply quickly, sometimes within six seconds.  Then it takes a minute or so to recover our train of thought.  Then another email arrives.  You get the idea. Used clumsily, Twitter, Facebook, internet browsing can also be distractions.

There’s nothing wrong with email, or other online technologies.  They’re just tools.  The trick is to make sure we’re not enslaved by our own habituation, laziness or hunger for novelty.  Set realistic limits.  Check email or Facebook at regular intervals, rather than just responding to beeps.  Speaking of which, turn off notifications, like bouncing icons and dings.   This helps to reinforce the rhythms of work, rather than disrupting them.

Other diversions include gossip and status anxiety – getting sucked into petty office or industry politics.  This is perhaps a harder habit to kick, but talking to folks outside our own profession helps.  It offers a little perspective – the forest instead of the professional trees.

B: Does it have to be as plain as ‘one or the other’? There’s a trend for people to take ‘digital sabbaticals’ to remedy digital overload or go cold turkey. Do we need to go to such extremes in order to balance these devices and technologies in our lives?

DY: Extremes can seem easier than moderation.  This is partly because we rightly don’t trust ourselves – we know if we have a taste of Facebook, we may want more and more, until we’re nervously fingering our smartphone over dinner.  So we hurl ourselves into cold turkey.  This works for some.  But for many, we feel either horrid or suddenly sublime, and then throw ourselves back into e-junky benders because of desperation or over-confidence.

A better way is managed moderation.  Realistic limits to technology use, for example – checking emails at certain hours, for so many minutes, and no more.  This not only diminishes use, it cultivates authority: I’m in charge here, not the inbox.

We can also play our talents off against our weaknesses.  For example, if we’re reliable with money, we promise to save a certain amount, each time we successfully keep to our limits.  Saving, which we’re good at, then becomes a reward for undistracted work, which we’re not so good at.  At the end, we can give ourselves a gift.  Other examples might be exercise, dinners out, treats for a spouse.  We leverage virtues against vices.

B: Why are we so easily distracted and why are we so quick to forgo long-term satisfaction for the quick hit of social media?

DY: We’re distracted because: we get easily addicted, we’re curious animals, and life is frightening.

Addiction doesn’t always involve drugs.  It can be stimulation or certain rhythms – the ‘hit’ of a new email, for example.  Like Pavlov’s dogs, we’re habituated to the stimulus.

Curiosity is a good thing.  Researcher Jaan Panksepp talks about ‘seeking’ behaviour: sniffing, foraging, digging, and stalking.  It’s a primal state, which is more about anticipation instead of reward.  We get off on ‘looking-for’.  Google, Facebook, internet browsing turn on this state, and keep it on.  The result is we just keep seeking and seeking, without ever finding.  Nothing wrong with the state – the point into guide it into more rewarding pursuits.

Grown-up life is scary.  Work, friendships, and intimacy – they can all be intimidating, embarrassing or just painful.  It’s easier to flee into distraction than to confront life’s ambiguity, ambivalence or fragility.  “Haste is universal,” wrote the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche over a century ago, “because everyone is in flight from himself.”  But as Nietzsche himself counselled, life is more rewarding when it’s lived fully, rather than in flight – whether this ‘flight’ is online browsing or too many beers.

What do you think? Have we forgotten to disconnect? Are we driven to distraction? What are your remedies for staying focused?

Distraction by Damon Young is available to purchase from Melbourne University Press | Readings | Book Depository | Fishpond

Yours distractedly,

Justine.