Thursday, April 21, 2016

Madeon, Wake Up Calls & IconSpeak

Weekly Update 2016-16: Getting ready for the festival season this year, waking up blearily to wake up calls in China, and communicating through the global language of icons (exactly what Mandarin/Cantonese letterforms are based upon).

Music: Madeon
I am getting VERY ramped up for this summer festival season. Specifically, I can't wait to experience Bestival for myself this year. Since I'll only be attending on the Saturday, I want to make the most of it and get some of the music under my belt. Madeon, aka Hugo Pierre Leclercq is a French electronic music producer and will soon be gracing Toronto with his presence. He has a Classixx feel, with some delightfully airy tunes and bright, happy beats. Take a listen below:

I'm back from China! I really thought I would be able to write a blog post last week, and how foolish I was. Jetlagged and seeing around 6-7 sights per day, every day, the trip was completely nonstop. And on top of all that, the great Chinese firewall certainly didn't help my case. Overall, I had a wonderful trip, and took over 2000 pictures on my DSLR camera. I am very happy I brought it with me.

To my delight, my standing desk finally arrived at work and I'll be using it to further improve my posture. My goal is to use it all day, but I can already see that the hour after lunch begs for a nice sit-down. Hey, seven hours out of eight isn't bad!

I am trying to take it as easily as I can, but the jetlag is leaving me pretty sleepless late into the night back at home in Canada, so I've taken up running again. Not that I didn't need to start that up again, anyway. It's been five months and I'd like to get back into shape now! I've also bought an unhealthy amount of green vegetables and will be declining all of the sweet pastries that always seem to be hanging around at work.

I'd like to play some drums this week to get back into the swing of things. I've missed two Brazilian drumming classes and definitely need to practice for this Sunday.

I also played in the inaugural game of my company's new dodgeball team. Hey, I also designed the logo!

And finally, I'll be cleaning out and organizing my China photos on the weekend. Lord knows if I don't do it now, I'll never do it!

Random Thought:
Because my China trip was in a tour group, we were subject to wake-up calls every morning to get us out of bed. I started out setting my own alarm but since they were waking me up anyway, I eventually gave in and started listening to how each call was different from hotel to hotel. One thing that occurred to me was, especially at the beginning of the trip when I was waking up in an intensely disoriented state, was that the wake-up calls were terribly designed. The first thing I want to know when I am being woken up, no matter the situation, is the time of day. Is it time to wake up? Do I have more time to sleep? Did I sleep in? And yet, none of the wake-up calls at any of the hotels provided the time. And what's more, none of the hotels had alarm clocks! So I was forced to reach blearily for my phone for the time. Which was plugged into the North American socket on the other side of the hotel room. You see my point.

Inspiration: The IconSpeak Traveler Shirt
Especially after having traveled to a remote part of the world where not only does no one speak English, but the hand gestures were also extremely different (more on that in a later post), this shirt would have been an excellent thing to have.

No matter what need you may have as a traveler, you're covered with a comprehensive set of icons to which you can simply point, and have some local person take pity on you to help you find your way. This would have been really helpful for me in China.

Although, it would be really interesting to take this one step further, and create a specific version for specific countries. For example, most tourists in China want to experience common attractions, such as the Shanghai Pearl Tower or the Beijing Olympic park. Or even just a good noodle or dumpling shop! Those would transfer well into icon format, and would leave little ambiguity to be interpreted in terms of communication.

But still, any form of design that assists the traveler in easing their way around this big world of ours, is a win in my books.

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