All posts tagged “Taste”

Penguins love eating fish but probably can’t taste them

You’d think that penguins would love the meaty taste of fish, but it turns out that they may not be able to taste their food much at all. A new genetic study out of the University of Michigan finds that penguins appear to have long ago lost the ability to taste sweet and bitter flavors, as well as the savory, meaty flavor known as umami. Together, sweet, bitter, and umami make up three of the five basic tastes. The other two, sour and salty, may still be present in penguins. The findings are being published today in Current Biology.

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The Verge – All Posts

Top Shelf: Taste test

In previous episodes of Top Shelf, we’ve introduced you to the sleekest, most spectacular, and most futuristic technology. Electronic gadgets, gizmos, and vehicles that beg to be seen, from high-class cruise ships to electric skateboards. This episode is a little different. It’s about a technology that is best appreciated if you never need to consider it exists: food tech.

Expensive machines that resemble tools from a chemistry lab have become increasingly important parts of professional kitchens. Many of these gastronomical oddities make flashy appearances on reality television, helping would-be chefs create goat cheese foams and salmon egg popsicles. But the tech serves the food, not the other way around. When you visit their eatery,…

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The Verge – All Posts

40 Inspiring Book and Magazine Layout Ideas that will Tease your Creative Taste Buds

magazine-design-3Over the years of writing for Inspiration Hut I have found that you can never have enough magazine layout ideas to inspire you, whether you require inspiration for your own magazine design or simply a business card. It can all be found within projects like the ones below. It is an area of design that is […]
Inspiration Hut – Everything Art and Design

Caicifang: A New Life for Ancient Porcelain: Salvaging precious shards of history to bring a taste of tradition to contemporary design

Caicifang: A New Life for Ancient Porcelain

Since the beginning of last century, when the Qing dynasty was in its final years, China had a tradition of recovering old fragments of precious ceramic. In 1902, in the bustling commercial area south of Beijing’s Forbidden City, several workshops were already…

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Cool Hunting

Skype 5.0 brings a taste of Windows Phone to iOS

Microsoft announced a big refresh to its Skype for iPhone app earlier this week, and it’s now starting to roll out to handsets. While there’s a new focus on group chats within the app, the most notable changes are visible as soon as you start using Skype 5.0 as it all looks a lot like Windows Phone. Previous versions of Skype for iPhone have kept largely inline with the look and feel of iOS apps, but Skype 5.0 is identical to its Windows Phone equivalent. There’s panning to reach people, recent, and favorites sections, and the chat and phone icons replace the old section buttons at the bottom of the app.

The most surprising addition is the use of the three dots menu that Microsoft includes in its Metro-style applications to note there…

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The Verge – All Posts

Developing Good Taste In Design

The famous radio monologue by Ira Glass on the New York City public radio show This American Life encourages young creatives to push through their initial discrepancies between their own work and the work they perceive to be “good.” Glass reminds creatives that we all get into creative work because we “have good taste.”

I agree with this idea. However, some designers, I would argue, also need to work on their taste. Because, let’s face it, not all designers have excellent taste. But how do you know when a design is truly good or bad? Is it as subjective as many people say it is? Let’s explore this further.

It Takes Years

Most people have a pretty good idea of what they like, but actually creating work that’s consistently praised by those in and outside the design community takes many years of practice. You can think your work is good immediately after you create it, then come back to it six months or a year later and cringe with horror at your previous lack of skill.

That’s just the way it works. You build up a level of experience – just as if you were playing a game or sport – and when you revisit old, conquered territory you find that you’re much more equipped to handle the challenge than you were before. You can then go on to “kick your own ass,” so to speak, and create new work that completely overshadows the old.

The important thing to remember here is that all designers, not just you, are doing the exact same thing with their own work. So that designer you admire a great deal may be going through his own hard drive and shaking his head in shame at that design you once found to be amazing.

Get Off The Internet

Seriously. Go outside and look around. Take photos. Read real books in an actual library. There are so many sources of inspiration beyond what your peers are doing on Behance or Dribbble. Go find them. When you go forth and take in more of the world around you, your ideas of what’s good and bad will inevitably change and improve.

How does that work? You will gain a broadened perspective of what’s out there and what’s been done before, and by whom. Reading, travel, talking to different people from all walks of life, taking a class to learn something different and non-design related – all of these things can help you get that valuable perspective and will improve your taste in design, almost by default.

Remember, design is about how things work. So the more things you analyze, the more you can figure out what’s working about them and what isn’t.

Mind The Gap

Ira Glass speaks of a “gap” between what you see as good work, and what you are actually capable of producing at this point in time. Always be working to close that gap. This means constantly working to improve your craft. Practice your design skills, even when you’re on your own time.

Also, don’t forget to do personal projects. The more personal work you can do, the better off you’ll be, as it’s usually through personal work that your personal taste develops the most. If you get stuck in a rut with client work – maybe your clients have all been demanding the same style and you fear your work is beginning to look the same – a fun personal project may be just the thing to invigorate you and get you excited about design again.

There’s Always Something Better

I thought I knew what good design was, until I saw something that blew my previous notions out of the water. Always be on the lookout for even better designs, and push yourself to achieve greater heights than you ever thought you could.

Your opinions will change the more knowledge you have under your belt, and you may even look back on the things you used to love with a bit of pity. It’s a bit like being a kid and thinking some movie or TV show made for children is the best thing ever. Then, when you become an adult, you realize that it wasn’t so great after all.

The same thing happens to your design taste. The more you take in and grow as a person, the more discerning you will be about what actually constitutes “good design.”

All of the tactics we’ve outlined above can help you get there, but do remember to be patient. Developing good taste is one thing that won’t happen overnight. In fact, it can take a lifetime to truly have a handle on what the best design solution is for any given situation.

What Do You Think?

How do you create work that exceeds your own standards of what you think is good?

ART:I:CURATE: The new social online platform invites you to curate artwork from emerging contemporary artists and develop your taste


Art—thanks to the internet—is becoming more democratic and accessible than ever before. There are already numerous online platforms, like Artsy, which use the web to full advantage and encourage users to discover and experience art. Things…

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Cool Hunting

A Taste of Confab 2013

“Content is king.” It’s been the prevailing trend the past few years, but at Confab – a conference of Content Strategists – attendees seek more than just trends; they seek stories. UX Booth editor and resident content strategist Marli Mesibov reached out to some of the strategists speaking at this year’s Minneapolis-based event to learn more about what’s driving their current narratives.

When I first walked into Confab in 2012, I felt as though I had finally found home. During their workshops and talks, speakers discussed the “hows” and “whys” of writing, rather than merely the benefits of having content. They talked about writing from the perspective of thinkers – journalists, creative, researchers, and readers – instead of merely dwelling on its marketing value. It was a whole new world, connecting writing to design, turning copy into content.

It’s no wonder, then, that I’ve been looking forward to Confab 2013 since the day I left the event. And now that it’s only two weeks away, I can barely contain my excitement! In the weeks leading up to the event, I’ve begun conversations with this year’s speakers in order to learn more about areas of content strategy we don’t often hear about. Jonathan Kahn and Melanie Moran share their stories.

Digital Governance Fails Because We’re Afraid of Cultural Change

Let’s begin with Jonathan Kahn. He’s a busy man. Jonathan organizes events (Dare Conference, Confab London, London Content Strategy Meetup), presents worldwide (Webdagene Oslo, CS Forum Paris/Cape Town, IxDA Dublin), and writes extensively (A List Apart, Contents, lucid plot) about the revolutionary changes facing organizations, and why it’s so hard to overcome them.

With a background in web development, he’s also worked as an information architect, user experience consultant, and content strategy advocate. Jonathan is the Principal of Together London. He shared the story leading to his presentation, Digital Governance Fails Because We’re Afraid of Cultural Change.

For most of my career I told myself I was a firefighter, rushing in at the last minute to fix screwed up web projects. Recently, though, I discovered why I told myself that story: I was avoiding the scary part of my work, the difficult questions.

Today, things are different. My interactions with the content strategy community have helped me craft a new story, and it goes something like this:

  1. The internet puts new demands on our content. Customers expect useful, usable content across channels and devices, all the time.
  2. Organizations (usually) aren’t setup to deal with this reality. People avoid talking about content because it’s messy, political, and hard to do well.
  3. So our content is a mess, and nobody takes responsibility for fixing it. This creates problems for both the business and the customer. It also drives us crazy.
  4. Content is important, damnit! It’s a business asset. Content strategy provides a way for us to fix these problems, helping us spread the word about the value of content throughout the organization and around the world.

The content strategy story is all about asking hard questions: What content do we have? Is it any good? Why do we need it? What’s our messaging architecture, our voice, our tone? Which other departments do we need to work with? How can we create a sustainable plan for commissioning, editing, publishing, and maintaining content over time?

This story is a framework for making content strategists vulnerable. Brave. Able to put more of ourselves into our work. At the same time, there are ways in which this story can be limiting. To understand why, it’s important to discuss a challenge that almost all content strategists face: governance.


Governance includes the standards, policies, and procedures made to allow an organization to care for its digital operations over time. In theory, a governance plan ensures our content strategies stick, but it rarely works. Writers don’t follow our voice guidelines, marketers ignore our message architectures, and developers create apps without considering the complexities of content.

We’re doing good work, but it isn’t sticking, which feels like a terrible waste of time. Why won’t people follow our guidelines? Recall the first point I made in the content strategy story above: “the internet puts new demands on our content.” While that’s true, we’re scared to ask the obvious follow-on questions:

  • Why does the internet put new demands on our content?
  • Why is the business environment changing so quickly?
  • What does that mean for our business models? our siloed organizational structures? our “waterfall” development process? the software we buy? the agencies we hire?

These questions terrify us because we’re afraid to face the truth: content strategy is just one piece of the challenge of digital transformation. Our governance attempts fail because we’re working backwards: governance can only sustain culture, it can’t create it.

So what does governance look like when backed by the notion of digital transformation? To make our organizations sustainable, we need to change culture in a way that’s broader than content strategy, incorporating practices we know little about: service design, agile development, and cross-functional teams. Once we understand this, we can start changing our organizations’ culture, today.

Readers can learn more about how to affect a cultural change within their organization by attending Jonathan’s talk. It’s happening at 2:50pm on day two of Confab Minneapolis.

Content Strategy in Higher Education: Uniting Print and Web

Next we hear from Melanie Moran. Melanie is the Director of Integrated Communications at Vanderbilt University. Her presentation this year, “Content Strategy in Higher Education: Uniting Print and Web,” highlights her team’s year-long, ongoing journey towards cohesive, cross-platform storytelling.

She’s looking forward to learning from content experts from many different sectors and bringing home a passel of great ideas. In the meantime, she shared the thought-process leading to her presentation.

I’ll always remember when the light bulb went on for me – when I learned the importance of content strategy. I was sitting in a meeting of campus communicators at Vanderbilt University. I had just returned from conducting an hour-long interview with a faculty member, a professor whose research explored neuroscience and education. I needed his thoughts to inform a story I was writing for the web.

Just then, across the room, a colleague from another office reported that she, too, was writing a profile of a faculty member – for one of our print magazines. And wouldn’t you know it, it was the same guy. She had conducted the same research and was writing the same article.

This is crazy, I thought. Why was web not involved in planning for digital content to support print stories? From that moment forward, my colleagues and I began seeking ways to shake content out of its container – be that container print, web, video or even a press release. It eventually paid off in more innovative storytelling, expanded social media impact and a more strategic use of print.

How did we do this? Here are some of the key elements that informed our content strategy:

  • Story first

    Forget the deadlines; forget the Facebook and Twitter beasts that need to be fed. Forget about that for just a minute and ask, why is this a great story? You can have the most interactive website or jaw-dropping magazine around and no one will read it if the stories are lame. Story first, always.

  • Exploit the platforms

    Now that you’ve got your story, think about the many ways to tell it across different platforms. What is told with a photo or graphic on Facebook can then push to a feature on your website; can be explored in detail in your print publication; can be told via a video on YouTube. You get the idea. This will likely mean writing different headlines, using different images and even showcasing different parts of the story for different media – but that’s okay. Let go of the need to show everyone everything on every platform and disaggregate the story for maximum portability.

  • Strategy, not reflex

    We all know the perils of the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset. And I know it’s 2013 and many of us have already mourned and moved on from print, but for many people it remains a relevant, effective way to reach their audience.

    Vanderbilt’s alumni magazine, for example, lives in the homes and offices of alumni around the country and world. Its physical presence connects them directly with Vanderbilt through dynamic storytelling and gorgeous photography and illustrations. We support this connection heavily with digital, of course, but print remains an important and compelling component of our strategy.

  • Analytics, analytics, analytics.

    It was beautiful, it was epic. You laughed, you cried. …but did anyone read it? How was the social media engagement? Did it drive traffic back to your website? Picked up by media? Put yourself on a pretty strict plan of analytics tracking and use it to refine your content strategy. Then share what you find with decision makers, as data drives most organizations. Being able to provide it in relation to communications will elevate others’ understanding your work and the impact it has on your brand’s strength and reputation.

Readers interested in learning about cross-channel storytelling should join Melanie Moran at Confab Minneapolis. Her session begins at 9:40am on day two of the event.

See you there?

So, there you have it. Confab Minneapolis begins on Monday, June 3 and – in addition to Jonathan and Melanie’s – the workshops and talks range from content measurement and modeling to creating content in a zombie apocalypse.

As always, Confab features a mix of well known and up-and-coming content strategists. I’m particularly looking forward to Catherine Toole’s “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and Sara Wachter-Boettcher’s “Write Like a Human, Think Like a Robot.”

Who are you looking forward to seeing?

The post A Taste of Confab 2013 appeared first on UX Booth.

The UX Booth

Waking Up Your Clients’ Taste Buds

One of the hallmarks of a top chef is his or her ability to do interesting takes on food combinations that, at first glance, seem like they wouldn’t go together at all. The first person, for example, to pair peas and wasabi together was a culinary genius. Think about it. Someone had to test flavors repeatedly – combining and recombining in just the right increments – to arrive at that particular fusion, which I’m told is quite tasty.

To me, it sounds absolutely horrific, but that’s okay. There are plenty of people out there who love it and who will pay good money to get their hands on a food product with that flavor. If you can connect with your clients and wake up their “taste buds,” so to speak, with new, seemingly opposing forces and combinations, you’ll be able to carve a valuable niche for yourself that will last for your entire career.

Surprise your clients with bold new combinations

One of the most important things you can do when selecting clients to work with is to consider how they respond to your unique offerings. The bolder you are about juxtaposing unexpected elements in your designs, the more interest you will begin to generate from the types of clients you really want to attract. Of course, this also means that you might drive away a lot of potential people who aren’t the right fit for you, and that’s perfectly okay. There’s just no way you can please every single potential client you come into contact with, and it’s not a good idea to attempt it.

Image Source: Abstract Retro Poster via Shutterstock

Freelancers tend to have quite a bit of anxiety over letting some clients go – they need to eat, after all, and a paycheck is a paycheck, right? Well, wrong. As it turns out, everyone’s money is not exactly the same. There is some money you want to stay far, far away from. Better to let those assignments go where they will be most appreciated.

Remember how I said I thought the idea of wasabi flavored peas was horrific? I may never desire to place one of those monstrosities in my own mouth, and I’d never think of taking on a client who (for some weird reason) wanted me to endorse such a product. But it doesn’t really matter what I think. Why? Because I’m clearly not the intended market for wasabi peas. Let’s stop and consider something for a moment. For everything you hate or find weird, nauseating, or an outright abomination against humanity, there is someone out there who loves it and who will fork over large wads of cash in order to have it. This applies to everything from food to fashion to, of course, design. Connecting with your clients – the particular group of people who are absolutely crazy about your work – means embracing the quirks that make them, and you, unique.

Varying Your Flavors & Textures

In the professional pastry world, dessert making is an art that has some unique fundamental rules. You can’t just whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and serve them to fine diners at a fancy restaurant. True gourmands will laugh you out of business if you try it. One of the things a pastry chef needs to include in a fine dessert is a variety of textures and flavors. Something fruity, something chocolaty, something creamy, and something crunchy – all at the same time.

Preferably even in the same bite. Desserts that don’t have a harmonious balance of different elements are usually ignored by serious foodies. That’s because top diners – people who pay lots of money for the best meals out there – are looking for dishes that excite them and get them to think about food in new and interesting ways. Top design clients are the same way. If you produce the same old stale, conventional designs that everyone else is producing, there’s no way you can attract the attention of the people you really want to work with.

Image Source: Colorized Drawing via Shutterstock

A great way to bring some “flavor” variety into your portfolio is by doing as many personal side projects as you have time for. Personal work, as you may have heard me talk about before, is the life and soul of a creative professional’s portfolio, and it can help steer your design career to new heights you never thought possible. For an example of this in action, check out designer Irvin Lin’s tremendously popular side project,, a food blog that combines Lin’s passions for food, design, and photography. You don’t have to literally add “flavor” to your personal work by starting a food blog, but the general idea is that you want to build a foundation for your freelancing career that propels you in the direction you most want to go.

Letting Inspiration Fuel Your Creativity

Interesting new things can happen when you let inspiration fuel creativity. A distressing number of designers I know don’t make use of the best ideas they get from their inspiration research. They believe there’s no “practical” use for something that’s too out there. But putting a relevant spin on seemingly irrelevant ideas is what design is all about. When I was in culinary school, we would get yelled at by our chef instructors when they felt we weren’t being creative enough with our flavor combinations – loudly, and usually in a French accent. I actually think more designers should consider taking a cooking class or two. If nothing else, it will help you appreciate the next belligerent client you come across, because take it from me: there is nothing more terrifying than a French chef throwing a full-on temper tantrum. Remember that guy in Ratatouille? Yep, he exists.

Image Source: Vector Clippings via Shutterstock

Nowadays, there are websites devoted to helping home cooks generate ideal food pairings to give their meals a bit more sophistication, but most cooks I know had this concept beaten into their heads the old-fashioned way. We tasted everything, altered the flavor somehow, and tasted it again, rinsing and repeating until we could run off three dozen different cheeses, vegetables, and wines that went well with an aged boudin sausage. In my opinion, this is still the best way to go about becoming a food-pairing master. In the same way, you need to “taste” all of the things that inspire you as a designer. You can only find out the limits of what’s possible if you test every different solution you can think of. Maybe you’re not sure whether a hand-illustrated typeface is the best way to go for your new responsive interface. Or maybe you’re not sure which one you should use. These are the types of things that can only be discovered by doing them many, many times.

What Do You Think?

Are you good at coming up with new combinations of elements that are exciting? What are some ways you delight your clients like a top chef?

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You could read more posts from Addison Duvall, or you could browse our Freelance or Design categories.

Speckyboy Design Magazine

15 Fresh & Free Photoshop Brush Sets of Vintage-Retro Taste

We ended another search and came up with next addition of fresh & free Photoshop brushes. All mentioned Photoshop brushes are of vintage and retro taste, so get ready to …

You can visit the website for the full article and other interesting articles.

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