In high school my grades were lousy but I became a virtuoso doodler.
In the early 90’s I designed a rogue exhibition management database that curators were still using when I returned more than a decade later.
Starting in the early 00’s I worked for information design guru Edward R. Tufte, seen here in a photo that I took. My main motivation was to learn how he made his three beautiful books, which I did by seeing every stage of production. I helped him research a fourth book, and I continue to work for him as a copy-editor. The essence of ET’s whatever-it-takes design approach is serving the content through the layering and integrating of words, images and data.
In my 2003 doctoral dissertation I embedded image captions in footnotes. I’m not sure that this has been done before or since.
In my six years as curator at the National Gallery of Canada I worked closely with designers and technicians in reinstalling the entire European & American collection, totalling some 20 rooms of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts from medieval through modern times. Some of the changes involved major reshaping of the spaces through the removing and building of walls, and the whole experience taught me everything I needed to know about paint colour, lighting, sightlines, labels, cases, bases and frames. I also worked on temporary exhibitions including my exhibition of Richard Hamilton prints, which toured Canada.
In January 2013 I led a seminar/studio of talented architects in the production of twenty multimodal projects that can be seen on my Design Incubator website, where I describe my own role as that of a design producer.
Feeling uncomfortable teaching things I hadn’t tried, I re-taught myself web design for the first time since 2001, and I launched the sites you can see on the home page. Those are personal projects for which I served as web designer, author, photographer and audiocast host/producer.
My Slow Ottawa Pinterest board has thousands of examples of great urban design.
I’ve done some product design at Small Museums Canada. You can purchase the products here.
Learning how to print weatherproof vinyl labels paid off when it came to making bumper, bike and bin stickers stickers to promote Vision Zero Canada and Love 30 Canada.
In addition to the stickers I regularly make digital agitprop for Vision Zero Canada.
This design I even make into a poster. Printing and shipping is expensive, but if you want one let’s talk!