Shawn Borsky

Digital Designer / Creative Director : I’ve founded companies and worked for many world class brands large to small. I am currently the Creative Director @ Upsight

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We Design Memories

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This is an essay original written and published by Stemmings.

It’s surprising how bad people are in the memory department, at least in the details. It’s even more surprising given how we think we are awesome at remembering experiences, life, products, friends, etc. The brain is an elegant machine designed for a purpose, specifically to recall important lessons and experiences. Even so, there is so much to remember and such an unfathomable number of details to take in; the brain must have a system of shortcuts to do it. How could it not? Part of the shortcut methodology is aimed at distilling all of the sensory input and experiences into useful data. In other words, memory is trying to summarize rather than record verbatim.

Recently, there has been an explosion in popularity of user experience (UX) as a subject and even a separate discipline. In product and software development, you

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A Million Different Worlds

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This is an essay original written and published by Stemmings.

It’s easy for designers and engineers to discuss new trends, technologies and the minutiae of our professions. It’s a common occasion that, as an industry, we reference ourselves into a functional “us” and “everyone else.” It manifests as referring to the nebulous entity of our “users” as if they are a different set of people with different problems and can’t effectively use our technology. The truth of these assumptions is usually anecdotal and often incorrect, but of course that doesn’t stop us.

Recently, I came across an article in Forbes about egg regulations. The broad story is that the USA and UK’s standards for preparing and selling eggs are effectively opposite. It was fascinating, but it made me realize: I don’t know shit about eggs. Sure, I buy eggs at the grocery store and I know I cook them, but there is an

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No excuses

What makes a good designer? Is design work valued by beauty? What about utility or revenue? Its a tough question.

Its not easy to concoct a recipe for a great designer. I think its such a variable job that there are numerous correct answers. However, there does seems to be a common variable among highly effective designers : they make no excuses.

Excuses. Ya know, reasons that you can’t do your job.

“This logo isn’t in vector”
“We need a full list of requirements first”
“I didn’t get a layout for that”
“We need the final content first”

Design problems never seems to be wrapped up in a nice neat little package. I think the world just didn’t get the memo. Design is about solving problems and a problem by definition is messy. It makes sense that often times problem-solving is called “getting your hands dirty.”

The best designers just don’t let anything stop them. They build with

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Why I’m a KickStarter Addict

There is nothing quite so humbling and wonderful as having someone believe in you. Passion is contagious. Imagine if dozens , hundreds or even thousands of people believe in you and are willing to put something tangible and valuable down to back it up. That’s the stuff that real drive and creativity are made of. That is why KickStarter is awesome.

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The experience on KickStarter is raw, honest and elating. To date, I have backed 39 projects and every single one has left me with a better feeling than the last. The structure and format makes it impossible to not see to the core of a team behind a project. The most powerful element that powers KickStarter is the connection.

KickStarter provides a visceral two-way connection. The relationship is symbiotic and clear. Backing is not simply emotional cheering but grounded support that nets physical rewards. Telling a story is interesting but

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Stop talking about unicorns

In the digital design industry, a “unicorn” is a designer that can create outstanding identity, websites, web or application UI, user experience flows and studies as well as implement their work. Basically, a talented design generalist.

The moniker of the “unicorn” came into popular usage due to the apparent rarity of this type of designer. Although, in common usage its a bit different. The implication is that only an awesome one stop shop designer can fill a role and considering a specialist is treated as a concession.

Just like many professions there are many people that are good at it. They are good in different ways. Some are specialists, some are explorers, others are generalists and so on. The prevailing opinion seems to be challenging the conventional notion of a generalist. Essentially, the ” jack of all trades : master of none” mantra.

For me, food always offers clarity:

The

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Inertia

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This is an essay originally written and published by Stemmings.

In physics, there’s a concept of inertia. It’s the idea that an object at rest stays at rest until acted upon by a force. The thing is, it’s not just limited to physical objects; we encounter inertia even in our minds.

For most of my life I hated running. I really hated it. So I didn’t do it. The inertia one must overcome to go from a couch to 5K is staggering. If you don’t regularly run, then it’s surprising how difficult it is to run even a single mile.

Five kilometers, more commonly referred to as 5K (3.1 miles), is essentially the minimum distance for most semi-experienced runners. As a new runner, I started a couch-to-5K program that required me to make slow increases from 30 seconds of interval walking to eventually running for 20 minutes straight. It took 8 weeks and there were no shortcuts. In the end, I overcame

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