Simple story for a complex world

A creative team working with National Geographic took  a complex idea and distilled it into a simple script:

7 billion is a big number
By the end of 2011 you will be 1 of 7 billion people living on earth
It would take 200 years just to count to 7 billion out loud
7 billion steps would take you around the globe 133 times
In 1800 the world’s population was 1 billion
130 years later 2 billion (1930)
1960 3 billion
1974 4 billion … script continues below

Before you watch the clip, imagine this script as bullet points flying into a bad PowerPoint presentation.

The difference is design.

1987 5 billion
1999 6 billion
2011 7 billion
8 billion
In 2045 it could be 9 billion
About every second 5 people are born
2 people die
In the time you’ve watched this video
Our population has increased by 163 people, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170
And nearly everywhere we’re living longer
In 2010 the average person lived 69 yrs
In 1960 the average person lived 53 yrs
In 2008 for the first time ever more of us lived in cities than rural areas
Megacity = population > 10 million
In 1975 there were 3 megacities: Mexico City, Tokyo, New York
Right now there are 21 megacities
By 2050 70% of us will be living in urban areas
But we don’t take up as much space as you’d think
Standing shoulder to shoulder all 7 billion of us would fill the city of Los Angeles
So it’s not space we need, its balance
5% of us consume 23% of the world’s energy
13% of us don’t have clean drinking water
38% of us lack adequate sanitation
7 billion people speaking more than 7,000 languages, living in 194 countries
7 billion reasons to think about 7 billion
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Out of Office

September, October and November 2010 I am living my alternate life. When I am not a graphic designer living in Seattle concerned with press dates and web updates, I am riding my bicycle somewhere on the planet with my husband. Exploring the world one pedal stroke at a time is way to slow down, immerse in a culture, delight in simple pleasures, see something with new appreciation, absorb color, texture, tastes, smells in all kinds of stimuli. It is exhilarating, challenging, mind-opening and enriching.

We return to Seattle in early December, and fingers crossed, you will contact me about your design project.

You are welcome to come along for the ride at our blog,

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A break in monotony

Steeped in the grayness of a Seattle winter, it’s easy to think the world is flat. Sameness invades. Gray sky, gray pavement. A muted, wet, misty, woolen blanket of gray covers the world. I walk most days to take a break, breath some air, clear my head, run some errands, and I am numbed by the monotony of grayness.

In all that drab, it’s a delight for color to leap to attention, grabbing my eye, pulling me towards it. And really, isn’t that what color does in design? Pulls our attention where we want people to follow.


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To be a kid again

In these serious times it’s a relief to come to a project just for the fun of it. And maybe the small upside of the down-turn is that many of us have more time to spend just on our own creative projects once again. So when asked by a loyal client and excellent coffee date if I would consider designing the poster for a party — a kid’s party, I actually jumped at the chance. Some how in the course of design I rarely get to illustrate my inner child—to let a bit of whimsy dictate what is on the page. So I grabbed the pen tool in InDesign and started drawing. Simple shapes to be sure, but I knewI wanted little boots on my cupcakes walking across the stage, and I felt pleased when my carnival tent took on depth. I was back in elementary school drawing once again, just like when my second grade teacher Mrs. Bryant gave me an A for drawing her shoes with perspective and attempting knee caps.

My parents kept a few of those early childhood drawings, and they don’t look a whole lot different than this. So much the better, since what I most wanted for this poster is for kids to feel like this party is for them.


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Why a blog?

Why would a designer make a portfolio site using blogging software?

First, I decided to rebuild my web site using WordPress to see if it was possible. Could I easily make a site that looked good, showed the breadth of my work, had flexibility and good navigation so potential clients could find what they are looking for?

Second, like many of my clients, my time is limited and keeping my web content up-to-date is a necessary for good business, but it doesn’t generate income. That makes it all the more important that updates are fast and easy to do.

Third, this also gives me a way to feature current work—some that doesn’t fit neatly into design categories—information, tips, cool finds, or whimsical creations.

Then I figured if I could do this for me, perhaps I can do this for you. Set it up the structure and design, that is… the blogging is all you! Contact me if you too are looking for an inexpensive, professional way to keep your web presence up-to-date.

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