Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Mild High Club, The Thankless Job & Happy Lists

Weekly Update 2018-49: All things happiness. Mild High Club provides soothing tones as I contemplate the feeling of contentment that design provides me and creating a Happy List for these dark times.

Happiness by Meroo Seth on Dribbble.

Music: Mild High Club
Talk about some feel-good music, you'll find it in Mild High Club. This easy, grooving, synthy yet also acoustic psych pop from Los Angeles is the work of Chicago-native Alexander Brettin. The music has such an effortless laidback appeal though of course much attention is truly paid to detail. If this music were a tactile sensation, it would be a hand gently caressing your cheek. Both of the band's LPs have been featured in a handful of television shows over the past while, so you may recognize some tunes. Give them a listen:

What a week! I went from band practice to band practice, to my final class of this BrainStation semester. It's been awesome to see the projects develop over ten weeks, so much so that it was a joy to mark their final projects. I hope to enjoy it as much when I do it all again in January.

This weekend marked my first 72 hours taking care of Theo the puppy. Almost as much as hanging out with an awesome dog, I also thoroughly enjoyed house sitting for Eric and Laura. The change of scenery (and routine) gave me an excuse to focus on some projects. I also got it pretty close to perfect planning on my first run: ordering a meal kit box delivery straight to their address and providing myself adequate snackage (only two leftover granola bars). Theo and I cuddled, I got a lot of work done, and it was fun living in someone else's home (especially as nice a place as Eric and Laura's apartment), kind of like a vacation.

This week I hope to visit the home of Dani - a woman I met on Bunz who needs her home sat (read: 100 plants watered and a 21yo cat and three fish fed) for ten days at the end of the month. You can't make this stuff up. I feel up to the challenge, and definitely learned that you need at least two people and a yard to care properly for a dog (while being able to have a life), I don't think the bar is as high for a cat. So I'm considering getting one. Maybe.

More drumming is on the menu of course, as our Holiday party is next week. Now that my Thursdays are no longer consumed by BrainStation, I can start to devote them to drumming.

I'm also making a mad dash to get all my holiday shopping done this week before the craziness sets in for the last-minute shoppers.

Random Thought: The Thankless Job Of Design
It's always been a rule of thumb in my design education that good design should not be noticed at all, it should allow users to complete their tasks with so little effort that they don't even think about the "design" of the experience; it should feel so natural that they don't even think about the design.

For non-designers, this is truly the way of life. You may never notice how easy it is to open a door until a badly-designed handle reminds you that some doors are much more difficult than others. The same goes for a toothbrush or an alarm clock.

I can accept this behaviour to some extent, reminding myself that ease of use is pretty much my life's goal - but there's no question that this results in some thankless work. That is to say, if I design something to such an extent that no user ever encounters an issue while using it, they'll surely never think about the fact that it was designed in the first place, and therein never realize that someone was behind its creation. If you're thinking of going into the field of design for the sweet taste of gratitude, you may want to rethink some life choices.

Inspiration: Happy Lists
It's no surprise to anyone that we're currently living in the darkest timeline. Most of the news events are quite sadness-inducing, and the world needs something to combat that. Everyone has a list of things that make them happy, but few people ever take that list to pen and paper. I think this is such a shame, since the things that truly make us happy don't come up in daily life as often as we'd like. So why not start recording and taking a look at the list when you really need it?

All credit for this wonderful idea goes to Kaylin, whose ongoing iPhone note of her favouritest things is lovingly screenshotted below:

The list is much longer than this screenshot shows, but I'll leave the rest to mystery.

Favourite smells, words, places, sounds, activities, the list can go on as long as you'd like it to. While it's definitely a great thing to have a personalized list of things to put a smile on your face, there's actually an added bonus of creating and updating this sort of list by challenging yourself to think about the things that make you happy and why they make you happy. Each person's list will be unique and telling about the way they live their life, which can be a good continual exercise in understanding more about oneself.

So go make your own happy list! Feel free to share yours in the comments to spread your happiness!

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