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Saul Bass Explains The Price Of Excellence January 27, 2010

Posted by Ivan Pols in advertising, design.
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Another sage once told me that if you just concentrate on the work, the money will follow. Which, to be frank, has worked for me just fine.
(Okay, back to work.)


Take Time Off October 9, 2009

Posted by Ivan Pols in culture, design.
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Stefan Sagmeister is an interesting, independent thinker. In this TEDtalk he explains his 1 sabbatical year in every 7 working years theory. When he breaks out the math, it all makes so much sense you just want to follow him. It’s something that I’ve thought about for a long time and may now be old enough to appreciate. I’ll have to figure out the logistics and make it happen but which other life am I going to do it in? Especially when he makes it sound so calmly possible.

Google Wave Is Better For The Environment June 16, 2009

Posted by Ivan Pols in design, interactive, technology.
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Google Wave is the future of networked communication. Well, maybe. If a lot of people embrace the technology and make it common place. There are lots of barriers though, fear of a new interface, businesses where most people use e-mail like software are slow to change and sheer laziness because e-mail is “good enough”. There’s lots of talk about the potential of Google Wave Apps and work flow but I had an interesting thought about a very practical side-effect of Google Wave and a great reason to adopt this software. It’s good for the environment.

I will be upfront and admit that my math is awful and I’m taking a few liberties with my knowledge of complex systems. Please forgive any mistakes.


E-mail is an old system. It involves sending packets of information from one server to another. From one hard drive to another hard drive. Each person keeps a copy of their mail and the response. If multiple people are copied on an e-mail, like all business correspondence, then each person has a copy of every response on their hard drive. So if 8 people have a 30 mail conversation about an internal project, there are 240 copies of pieces of the conversation on 8 machines or inboxes. In my office, we all “reply with history” so people can keep track of where we were in the conversation. Even one word answers. At 1MB average per mail (history adds up), that’s 240MB of replicated data sitting on hard drives. If your company is like mine, 20 exchanges about a project over several months is not unheard of. That’s 4.68GB of replicated data on one company’s servers. A medium size company might have 100 projects a year like this. That’s 468.75GB a year. That’s not including video files, images, PPT documents and the other goodies that need sharing. Which is why Google decided to re-look e-mail I suppose.


Google Wave is different to e-mail. At it’s simplest there is only one copy of the conversation on the company server. The 8 users would access the mail but it would be a common document. There is no replication of the history of the conversation. There is a history time line function, but that’s simply a memory of what came when. So if the same 30 part conversation as the e-mail example had to happen and 1MB of history was accumulated, there would only be 1MB stored on the server instead of 240MB. With 20 conversations about a project over several months there would be 20MB of data stored versus 4.68GB. At 100 projects a year, the company would have to find space for 2GB of Wave storage versus the 468.75GB of e-mail. That’s 0.426% of the data storage needs of e-mail.

E-mail vs Google Wave

Even with 20 times more Wave data, it would still only be 40GB (8.5%). Let’s assume Google Wave only manages to cut 90% of the replication data of e-mail, that’s still 90% fewer servers and 90% less energy consumption (simplistically). I think it’ll be much better than that. Fewer hard drives means less toxic landfill and fewer raw materials used. Fewer servers means less stress on the power grid. The software makes a smaller carbon footprint that anything before it.

I have no idea if Google planned this, but by reconsidering e-mail they have saved themselves some cash and become better world citizens. Google runs giant server farms around the world and as they expand their services I assume they need to increase their cloud storage ability, basically lots of servers. By changing to their own Wave software they could bring their own voracious resource needs under control. Its good business for Google, and the rest of us, to spend less on technical infrastructure.

I work for a large multinational advertising company. We share hundreds of thousands of video files, documents, images and text every day. We could cut our e-mail carbon footprint by up to 99% by simply changing to e-mail software that is Open Source. That’s incredible. I wish it were that simple at a global corporate level, the system hates change, but there’s a better way to work on its way and its time to plan for an upgrade.

I would encourage everybody who cares about the environment and good software to bring this to the attention of their companies (it’s Open Source, they can customise for their own needs) and use it at home. Perhaps my math is vastly incorrect, but I doubt it’s 99.5% wrong.

Download the PDF chart

UPDATE: It has subsequently occurred to me that I failed to factor in the Google Wave time line functionality (what that does is capture each state of the Wave so that you can go back in time to see how it unfolded, grew, edited etc.) I suppose each state would require a total save of the e-mail, so it wouldn’t be a 95% saving of space, it would be something like:

1 Wave (1MB) x 30 Updates x 8 Recipients (1 copy) = 30MB per Wave

1 E-mail (1MB) x 30 Updates x 8 Recipients = 240MB per exchange

Which shows Google Wave would use about 12.5% of the hard drive storage of E-mail (not 0.43%).

Visionaire 55 Is Pop Up Stupendous! April 1, 2009

Posted by Ivan Pols in art, book, design, illustration.
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This is the new Visionaire magazine. It’s a pop-up book in all regards, from the magnetic latch cover to the individual folios by Sophie Calle, Nicola Formichetti with Gareth Pugh, Cai Guo-Quiang, Andreas Gursky, Steven Klein, Yayoi Kusama, Alasdair McLellan, Steven Meisel, Guido Mocafico, Solve Sundsbo and Mario Testino. It’s a remarkable design. I am inspired today and it’s yours for $250. Not bad for a limited edition art book.

Visionaire 55 (via PSFK)

The Killers MTV Stage Design December 24, 2008

Posted by Ivan Pols in design, film, illustration.
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I’m not a fan of the song but their stage show design at the European MTV Awards was fairly spectacular. Looks like fun.

Moritz Waldemeyer Will Light You Up December 18, 2008

Posted by Ivan Pols in animation, art, design, games, technology.
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Moritz Waldemeyer is a technical designer from East Germany with a penchant for LEDs, Crystals and Lasers. He’s built custom gadgetry for Swarovski, Chalayan, Arad & Troika. Moritz has created tables with built in LED games like Ping Pong and Roulette that look and act beautifully.


I’ve done some research into projected image interactive pieces which always look clunky but these built in LEDs are awesome. Mr Waldemeyer is already famous but I think his influence on mass communications is about to become gigantic. This man has managed to hack solutions to designer dreams and execute them with style. He also has a sense of humour. It’s a pity so much of his work is almost impossible to photograph well, however, this little reading list should educate you quite quickly on the state of the art.

This is a sampler of his work.

Click here to see his excellent “Readings” dresses that he did for H Chalayan.
Ping Pong Table
Roulette Table
Go OK Stage Costumes
Operation Game

Official Waldemeyer Website

Jon McNaught Squishes Paper Beautifully December 2, 2008

Posted by Ivan Pols in art, design, illustration, images, portfolio.
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I bumped into Mr McNaught from Bristol, England quite happily today. Well, his portfolio & blog to be more precise. I’m very, very far away from Bristol so that would have been quite the bump. I digress. This print maker and illustrator is excellent. His simple, lyrical and wonderful images are hand-made and are quite fantastical. And I don’t hand that out at the drop of a hat. Or giant monster foot as in Mr McNaught’s case.



(via Drawn!)

I.O.U. A Plastic Island – Welcome to Tomorrow November 5, 2008

Posted by Ivan Pols in design, film.
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Last night Barack Obama became the poster child of optimists the world over. It was a remarkable piece of history and he was not wrong when he stated that his election was not the Change that needed to be made. The Change still needs to be done.

Here are two Changes that need to be dealt with. They effect everyone. One is a problem of the USA, the other is a problem that is the World’s.

I’m not posting these pieces just for their educational value, that’s not what I’m about really. They are excellent, startling and scary presentations of BIG problems in graphic and compelling ways. I.O.U.S.A is a 30 minute free version of their film released as a public service. Obviously you can buy the rest of the content to get the real detail, but the precis is more than enough to start with. The VBS.tv documentary is distributed through their own digital channel that is ad supported (I’m not sure where the link is with Rockband (the game) and environmental meltdown, other than their ridculous packaging).

The content delivered for both is remarkable. Worth learning from and learning about.


I.O.U.S.A, the documentary explaining the United States 8.7 Trillion Dollar debt and it’s implications has released a 30 minute cutdown on Vimeo. This is perhaps the scariest film since An Inconvenient Truth and you should spend the time to educate yourself on what it’s about and what it means to your future. Words cannot explain the magnitude of the crisis, so they use pictures to help us understand.


VBS.tv have created a 12 part documentary of their journey to the island of plastic that sits in the Pacific Ocean. It is not a myth. It is not going away. This will change the way you think about plastic.

ps. Remember to Invest in Yourself.

Kanye West’s Visual Feast October 19, 2008

Posted by Ivan Pols in art, design, music.
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Kanye West is a strange and interesting creator. I bumped into his blog and was a little surprised at what I found. Packaging design, store design, stills from his video productions, concept designs for giant toys and the occassional beautiful girl with running joke attached. Lots of design. I knew he had some cool CD covers and a few critically lauded videos, but I didn’t have a real appreciation for his remarkable visual sense.

His new video, Love Lockdown, is a pretty good example. It starts like an R&B video, Kanye wearing white, in a white kitchen, singing about love. Which is standard stuff. It quickly digresses into a tribal war dance, mixed with a few sexy women who are obviously provoking the men into a fervour, then there’s a spaceship… and then giant Tron women… really, neon Tron.

His genre skipping ranges from Takashi Murakami to Helmut Newton and Muppets. It’s fascinating to watch him create his reality. His interest in the world around him is reflected in the themes of the videos and music: the Olympics, the remake of Tron, super heroes and kawaii. Oh yes, and his blog of all places. I suggest you have a look. He’s having fun.

Kanye West


What To Do With All That Extra Time On Your Hands August 19, 2008

Posted by Ivan Pols in culture, design, images.
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I think this is interesting. A Camera, AfterEffects and Time equals one home made Fleet Week film. Just another example of the ridiculous production abilities that are now democratic. (Obama is a 3D animated puppet by the way, you can tell if you look closely at the hair rendering.)

See the hirez copy over at current.tv