50 best websites of 2010

I found this article today that provides you an extensive and useful list of the 50 best websites of the year 2010.

I haven’t heard of some of the websites but I sure will check them out. They all look very interesting.

This list might be useful for you. Check it out here:

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/0,28757,2012721,00.html?hpt=Mid

Design + function

I found these two articles on design that functions as well as they look:

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/6ZbFMa/designtaxi.com/news/32840/Urban-Forest-Umbrellas-for-the-City/

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/85ceJZ/designtaxi.com/news/32841/Shop-Display-or-Art-Installation-Tokyo-Shop-Combines-the-2/

The first picture is in Spain. Those umbrellas don’t only brighten up the city with their colors but they also give you shades under which you can hide from the sun.

The second picture is from Japan. The shop is like an art gallery as well as a clothing store.

Diesel event

Here’s an extension of Diesel campaign “Be Stupid”.

The campaign itself has gained a lot of criticism everywhere. But this social event is at least one thing they are doing right.

Personally, I can see the point they are trying to make with the “Be Stupid” campaign. Some of the adverts are actually pretty encouraging and make me want to get daring enough to do what I want to do. I mean, we don’t really have to follow it word for word, like flashing to a security camera for example.

I also like the humor and the art direction is great as well. It features a lot of great photographers, like Melodie McDaniel and Kristin Vicari.

Smile, London!

Some people are putting an extra effort into making others happier. Or just to make their city look a little less gloomy.

I actually have been to London so I have the right to say this: London is the most boring city I have never been to. There is no excitement. And there is no life. It’s just a city to visit when you have some business to get done there. The only places people go to are the tourist attractions. Which look exactly the same as all the photos you can find on Google.

So this project is probably a good idea.

I would totally make me smile.

Visit here to see other images: http://designtaxi.com/news/32733/Putting-a-Smile-on-London-s-Face/

I hope they’ll do the same in Newcastle. That’d be so awesome.

US Dollar redesigned

This is a part of The Dollar ReDe$ign Project by design studio Dowling Duncan.

Please follow this link to see all the images up close: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1SPyLu/designtaxi.com/news/32749/Design-Studio-Rebrands-US-Dollar-for-Contest//r:t

These designs look pretty cool to me. Plus, it has these facts to educate people about the United States.

And by the way, I kind of agree that we handle our money vertically. I just never really noticed it. And I wonder why it was made horizontally in the first place.

Awesome programs I’ve just learned

And I’m still on my internship at SCG.

Here, I’ve been assigned to this one major project: to edit the Corporate Identity Manual.

This manual has been worked on for over 4 years now; it’s been passed on from one person to another, to another, to another, and now to me.

Before, we hired this company to edit it for us. Then once they were done, they sent us the files, then we proofread, then got back to them on the mistakes that they missed. So all I did in the beginning was to proofread. But it seemed like they missed a lot of mistakes. Then the contract with them ran out.

So now it’s in my (tiny and unworthy) hands.

The files they gave us are in PDF format and can only be edited in Adobe Illustrator.

Meaning: I have to start learning how to use the program.

So I self-taught. Which wasn’t such a good idea, as this manual is a “real” job (meaning it’s not just a college project). But it was the only choice I had, since the company internet doesn’t allow access to youtube.com (where I could have found a tutorial).

So yes, I self-taught and now I’m a pro at editing this manual. (I still haven’t tried creating something yet. Apart from texts and tables, and maybe some extra lines for the existing images.)

I also had to use creativity to solve problems regarding this manual as well: combining the use of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator together to edit some print ads to put in this one section, for example. I know it now sounds more trivial than it was (or felt) at the time. (I’m pretty good at Photoshop already so that came in handy.)

I also had to translate certain texts they wanted to add to the manual from Thai to English. I mean, I speak English fine and I’ve written tons of essay for my IB English class in high school and tons more of stories and poems. But writing something this formal in a corporate manual is something I have never done before. So learning how to write in the voice of a respectful, trustworthy, and not too commanding adult was a challenge. I managed though, I think.

So my overall experience with Adobe Illustrator has been nice so far. I’m looking forward to learning more about the program. I wanna try creating something. Like Iron Man, for example. (Okay, that was not totally random. A guy I met here is into graphic design and he is a pro at Illustrator and Photoshop, and he showed me this work where he created Iron Man that looks exactly like Iron Man, just for fun. And that was awesome.)

Oh, and I also learned how to use Microsoft Excel.

Once we know, we can’t unknow

One of the things I’ve ever read on Dave Trott’s blog that sticks to my mind the most is that once we’ve learned something, we can’t unlearn it.

Meaning, at the point where we learn something – maybe by seeing it, hearing it, or understanding it – we can’t go back to not knowing it anymore. Meaning, after that point on, we cannot understand those who don’t know what we do anymore.

I’m reminded of this a lot in my life.

When I’m trying to explain a simple physics theory, or an easy math problem to a friend, I sometimes get frustrated at why they just can’t understand. Sometimes I forget how much effort I have to put in in order to understand something.

This goes the same way with advertising.

Dave Trott always gives one suggestion: Write down all you know about the product or service before you do research on it.

Because once you’ve started doing the research, you’re moving away from a customer’s point of view to the client’s point of view.

You start off knowing as much everyone else does about the product or service. But once you’ve done a thorough research, you know as much as the client does about his own product or service.

Now that you know what the client knows, you start to think like them, too.

The client wouldn’t really want to hire someone to think like them, do they?

So it’s important to make that list before you do research.

Because once you’ve crossed the line, you can’t go back.

Fear

What’s your biggest fear?

Everybody has something.

Until recently, I used to think that I didn’t. But well, I do:

Talking on the phone with strangers.

That’s it. And I’m not joking.

I get this intense fear every time I have to call up someone I don’t know.

A couple of days ago, I had to call the gas company to set up my registration for gas and electricity for the new apartment and I wept. I did. Big time. Like a baby.

I am fine talking face-to-face with strangers. I am great at public speaking. I know how to hold an audience. How to shut them up and make them listen.

But I’m crap on the phone.

I either don’t understand them, or they don’t understand me, or both.

And it doesn’t matter what language the conversation is in. English or Thai. Doesn’t help.

How I realized this was when I had to call this biggest oil company in Thailand to arrange a meeting with one of the executives of my company. And also when I had to phone 12 resorts around Thailand to ask and arrange a seminar trip for 30 staff.

I took at least five minutes to breathe and come to terms with the fact that I really had to do it, before I actually picked up the phone.

It’s traumatizing and it doesn’t get better.

What I realized helps is to write the whole script down before I call them. Write exactly what I have to say, word for word. Then read.

But the problem of not understanding them persists.

I’ve learned about phobias in psychology class in high school. They described it as intense irrational fear. Does this mean I have phoneophobia or something?

I have to do a research, maybe there’s an actual term for that.

Update: My friend said that people on the other side of the phone could and probably would not harm me. That they couldn’t possibly reach over to bite me. And if they really wanted to hurt me, it would cost them too much to plot this CIA-like plan that might include CCTV cameras, well-trained spies, secret codes, professional detectives, and highly classified weapons. And they probably wouldn’t care enough to spend a fortune on that just to get me. With which I agree completely. And this only supports the existence of the word ‘irrational’ in the description of this fear of mine, which classifies it as a phobia. So my hunch was probably correct.