David Sherwin

This Week's Challenge: Chatty Baby Bib

While wandering through the Gap, you notice a hat that can broadcast your latest Facebook status. Or a scarf that displays @replies to your Twitter account, writ large in sparkling letters. Or a belt buckle that warns you when traffic becomes busy on your usual route home. Mobile phones and tablets are only the...

This Week's Challenge: GoingNuts.org

The humble peanut is a staple of the American larder, present in everything from lunchbox sandwiches to granola bars to ice cream to addictive peanut butter-filled pretzels. Whether we’re aware of it or not, peanuts find their way into pet foods, cosmetics, and a host of other household products that line our grocery store...

This Week's Challenge: Shared Space

Designers band together in many ways: through their tribal appreciation of typefaces, their considered purchases of well-crafted products, their affinity for social media chatter, and so forth. Designers also share their studio spaces, seeking camaraderie through long days spent sketching out ideas, kerning headlines, finding that perfect photo for the otherwise pristine web page layout. All work and no fun over...

This Week's Challenge: Perfume Is Overrated

Needles floating down from a Douglas fir. Popcorn in a big ceramic bowl, fresh from the kettle. Salt wafting high on the morning sea breeze. Whole industries have been built from laboratories synthesizing perfect simulacra of things that exist naturally in the world around us—then selling those scents to us, whether through highly seductive advertising or the “bonus”...

This Week's Challenge: Concept, Redacted

When providing documents under the Freedom of Information Act, our security agencies sometimes see fit to strike through confidential information with bold black bars. When those documents are printed online or in magazines, we often spend more time trying to decipher exactly what’s missing rather than using what is provided for context. Use this...

This Week's Challenge: Through the Magnifying Glass

Mail = A6 envelope. Chat = speech balloon. Search = magnifying glass. When creating icon systems, designers exploit our familiarity with commonplace physical and lingual metaphors. They are universal, pervasive within our culture. However, by tying ourselves so closely to such analogies—both when considering individual icons and icons that may represent a corporate brand...

This Week's Challenge: Please Sign Here

I worked with an excellent proofreader whose cubicle you would never approach until she had flipped a little sign from “No Coffee” to “Had Coffee.” At that same job, one of the designers kept a mini-whiteboard up to date with her ongoing projects, what’s on her plate, and when she was planning to take...

This Week's Challenge: My Design Graph

Don’t believe it when other designers tell you, “You’re only as good as your last project.” It’s the trajectory of our career that tells the story of our growth as designers. Some designers just keep creating the same project over and over again—which may lead to some solid design work, but it does little...

This Week's Challenge: 30 Days in 30 Minutes

Looking for a way to rev up your creative team’s collaboration skills? Try the following with one of the challenges I’ve shared over the past three months, such as “Biodegradeable Backyard” or “Tour de Home.” (Or better yet, with one from Creative Workshop.) Bring together teams of three to four people, and provide them...

This Week's Challenge: Rifftastic

Finding steady employment has been hard for many of today’s designers. A few years ago, when our economy slowed down, many agencies and companies ended up cutting back on marketing, advertising, and other core activities that require designers. In the aftermath, the market was flooded with thousands of highly talented design professionals. In conversations...