Author Archives: David Sherwin

About David Sherwin

David Sherwin is a designer, writer, and researcher who works at frog design. His first book is Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills from HOW Design Press.

This Week's Challenge: Realpolitik

Every designer needs to have a clear ethical stance toward the client projects that they’ll take on. Many designers would rather not help sell industrial-grade weaponry or promote industries that may not contribute a net-positive benefit for society. However, designers often don’t know their own boundaries with clarity until they’re offered what seems to be...

This Week's Challenge: Bauhaus, Baby!

When learning to play the snare drum, you start by memorizing the rudiments. Once you’ve internalized single- and double-stroke rolls, paradiddles, and flams, you can being to weave those ingredients together into pleasing rhythms. A similar underlying logic applies to how we improve at constructing design layouts. We have a controlled vocabulary bequeathed to...

This Week's Challenge: Lost in Translation

Your ad reads: “Lorem ispsum consequat dolor ix vox populii.” Either your audience is fluent in designer’s Latin, or you need to roll up your sleeves and start writing some real headlines. Crafting copy for a design project can be fun if you have a strong command of your native tongue—though if writing is...

This Week's Challenge: Do the Undo

Click, click, click. Undo, undo, undo. What’s more habitual for a designer than the impulse to backtrack after realizing, while making layout adjustments at breakneck speed, that they’ve unintentionally made their design ideas worse? If the ability to fix these missteps were to magically vanish from our design programs, then hundreds of thousands of...

This Week's Challenge: Tour de Home

Within a mile of my house, there are a number of high-profile landmarks that I can’t help but share with visitors to Seattle. The Fremont troll sculpture under the Aurora Bridge with a real Volkswagen Beetle clutched in one of his giant hands. The Woodland Park Zoo, with its crowd-pleasing penguins and flamingos. And...

This Week's Challenge: Trompe L'Oh Wow

I think every child is obsessed with magic. From the large-scale illusions of David Copperfield all the way down to the local magic-shop owner palming coins before a crowd of two adoring twelve-year-olds, the practice of magic is a wide-eyed delight for millions—and an exclusive club for those who choose to explore its secrets....

This Week's Challenge: Robot Army Mail-Order Kit

In the back of a comic book, tiny black-and-white ads beckon to you with their mysterious treasures. Will you send away for a model rocket that you can launch in your backyard? Perhaps you could use a decoder ring to help you trade messages with your best friend in math class. Or would you...

This Week's Challenge: Never Tear Us Apart

There is a specific style that accompanies music poster design: sleek Illustrator art touched up with a bit of grit, merged with hand-drawn type that precisely fits into well-defined shapes. Then, when the posters are screen-printed, the designer gets inventive regarding what order the inks hit the paper to create unique interactions between colors....

This Week's Challenge: Biodegradable Backyard

Lying in the backyard, reading a book and relaxing in the sun one day, I was suddenly struck by how practically every product within eyesight was designed to outlast me. Green plastic deck chairs, rippled to simulate wood grain. A plastic bird feeder—a popular speakeasy for the starlings and robins. In the garden, a...

This Week's Challenge: I'm Drawing a Blank

White space … the final frontier. These are the voyages of the graphic designer. Our mission: to bring balance and grace to an otherwise overloaded layout. To seek out opportunities to pare away excess and focus on what’s necessary. To boldly convey the appropriate conceptual idea to our audience. Our quest for bold use...