Category Archives: Trends

Interview: Andrew Apostola, Creative Director at Portable

We interviewed Portable’s Creative Director Andrew Apostola about Brisbane’s creativity, product design and challenges in design in the coming year.

What excites you most about Brisbane’s current design / creative industries?

We’ve been following the progress of the Edge over the past few years and have been really impressed by the space and the opportunities being made for creative professional to come together and engage. The first step to creativity is making a space available in your life for creativity to happen: Brisbane is definitely doing that.

What are the biggest challenges that face product designers in the coming 12 months?

At Portable we’ve been intrigued by the amount of data that is being aggregated around the world. An hour of video footage is uploaded to YouTube every second. That’s incredible. The same applies to the iTunes App Store and to web platforms in general. There is SO MUCH. How often do you try to find something interesting before giving up with nothing? So the challenge for product designers is going to be getting your product noticed. All the tools are there. Resources have never been more easy to attain.

What are the biggest road blocks you see that prevent us from achieving great design and delivering relevant products to consumers?

I’m a fan of Steve Blank who talks about the need for product designers to spend more time undergoing a customer discovery process than a design process. I think that understanding the core needs of users and customers is the biggest road block to most designers and design process. And when I say core, I mean keeping design to one or two key use-cases or stories that relate to your user and forgetting the rest.

What do you see as Brisbane’s biggest challenges to becoming a truly ‘creative city’?

Brisbane, you already are a creative city—stop beating yourself up so much! Go out there and find other creatives and talk about your ideas. That’s how incredible ideas and companies get founded, by encouraging people to mix. Maybe spend 2012 practicing saying to people, “I love your thinking, what can we work on?” and see what comes of it Brisbane.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter here

Portable will host Portable Presents Product Design 2012 next Tuesday. You can buy tickets here 

When in doubt, link


Hi February, where did you come from?!

This week has turned into a little whirlwind and rather than write a long-read or similar I thought I would share with you all the links I’ve been squirreling into my Instapaper (if you don’t have an account I highly recommend signing up. Takes all the stress of FOMO by saving articles to read later) to read over the weekend when the manic speed of this week drops a few notches.

I hope you find something of interest. Enjoy!



Recent findings from a number of large scale studies of consumers and their habits suggest that less choice equals more sales.

Interestingly, secondary conclusions for this hypothesis suggest that less choice converted to quicker decision processing and therefore greater sale conversion.

Could these findings be due to the time poor nature of consumer habits or that branding and advertising has reached saturation point for consumers and there is now a need for desaturating by keeping it simple.

Take a look at the following link: Sheena Iyengar: How to make choosing easier.

Yours by choice,
Amber van Sloten

Gentlemint – Pinterest for Men only

I’ve been using Pinterest now for only a few weeks and it has become yet another procrastination tool that I have become addicted to! If you haven’t seen Pinterest, check it out at or better still you can follow my boards @

BUT now I have found a second version of Pinterest called Gentlemint ( No the things that appeals to me about this one is that it’s a MEN ONLY version! That’s not to mean that it full of semi-naked women or fast cars or anything else you would like to stereotype men with! From what I have seen so far it is full of interesting posts of really interesting things, to a man at least! And that’s the appeal of Gentlemint for me. It’s not full of pretty dresses, high heels, latest gift-wrapping techniques or any other stereotypical terms used for what women like!

Just like Pinterest you can only create an account by being invited or application. I haven’t been approved as yet, but am looking forward to it! It is not limited to men only, there is no gender check on applying, but the content obviously must be ‘manly’!

And remember… Chuck Norris doesn’t read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

Yours in manliness,


One of the recent posts on Gentlemint…

Dear Future Me…

What would you say to your future self if you had the opportunity? Work harder, work less? Tell someone you loved them? Choose a different offer and see what could have been? As Steve Jobs said in his 2005 Stanford Comencement Speech: “We cannot connect the dots looking forward, we can only connect them looking backwards.”

Future Postbox allows you to write a letter to your Future Self or to the Future Self of someone else and have it delivered in 12 months time.

Creator Lee Crockford said: “The simple question behind Future Postbox is: ‘What would you say to the future version of yourself or someone else?’. It is a way for people to write a letter to themselves or to someone else that ‘time capsules’ their thoughts and feelings.”

“We’re seeing people using the site in many different ways,” Crockford said. “Some use it as a diary and post daily, others use it to send love letter to the future.”

“Especially given the time of year a large number of people are writing new years’ resolutions, too.”

Even if you aren’t brave enough to post your own letter,  there is a charm in reading the letters of those who have already posted a note to their Future Self.

Letters can be shared and viewed publicly on the site or kept secret. “It’s a shame that only a tiny percentage of people share their letters. There is some beautiful, hilarious, tragic and poetic writing out there!”


To my Future Self: Did you and your beau buy the house you’d been saving for? Did you begin planning your overseas adventure together? Did you play hard, love completely and live every day with passion and purpose? Did you finally give up gluten and how are you feeling? Did you finally accept that you’re worth it? Did you make sure to take time for you (no digital distractions, just time for you)? What did you read in the past year? What did you learn and what challenges are you excited for in the future?

So what would you say to your Future Self?

I guess when we have the opportunity to look back and ask ourselves these things we can start to feel accountable for achieving them so our Future Self has something to look forward to!

Yours in looking to the future,


Trust Me and I’ll Trust You

I was first introduced to Amanda Mooney through her blog, We Are the Digital Kids. In the time that I have followed her, Amanda has gone from working with Edelman Chicago (including co-founding  Edelman’s global millennial agency 8095) to now working in Shanghai, China managing Eldeman’s digital team. Her insight, understanding and natural submersion in digital life is inspiring and I have no doubt she is a face to watch.

The following video is from her talk at the 2011 PICNIC Festival where she talked about how brands mobilise and engage, and how the evolving dynamics of trust influences strategy. Amanda steps through how to evolve a brand to be a catalyst instead of a traditional marketer.

You can check out other videos from PICNIC here.

Yours in brand strategy,


Christmas Stress Relief

It’s called the silly season for a reason, right?

How many times have you been pushed out of the way at the shops this year for some other greedy person to get to the bargains (which you didn’t even want anyway!)?

Is all the stress of thinking about the family getting together on Christmas day causing you to bite your nails back to your knuckles?

If so, here is a nice little site that can bring some relief to you this silly season and make you smile again this Christmas!

Check out some of the ugly holiday sweaters and be glad you don’t have one!

Preview the best holiday movies for people who don’t like holiday movies!

And check out the best predictions for 2012!

It’s all in good fun… enjoy!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas,


Google in the future

How often do you ask someone a question they don’t know the answer to, and their response is “Google it”?

I came across this video about the evolution of the Google search and it made me realise how much has changed since we started using Google. Little things like Quick Answers (where the answer to your question is listed before your search results) and Instant (where your results come up before you’ve finished typing your sentence) are part of Google’s ever-evolving quest for ultimate user satisfaction. They are working towards being able to provide the answers for questions like “What is the best time for me to sew seeds in India, given that there was a monsoon earlier this year?”
And once they’ve achieved this, they’ll start providing answers to even more complex questions!

Yours in search results,


Ultimate Christmas Gift for a Designer…

OK, I think this would have to be up there with the top gifts for a designer this year!

They are Pantone® Christmas Baubles! Very cool!

Don’t forget that you can also get Pantone Chairs, Pantone Boxes, Pantone Coffee Mugs and Pantone Wall Stores!

You can get them individually (10 colours to choose from) or a set of 5. There not the cheapest Christmas ornaments around at US$62 for the set of 5, but they are not your average ornaments!

So maybe instead of the same old shiny red and gold baubles on the tree this year these Pantone Baubles may be a good option or check out this Mashable post to see some other really cool ideas!