David Galbraith

Architect: buildings once, now web applications. http://davidgalbraith.org


Standard Model Standard Infographic


At the CERN Webfest I made this infographic with Carsten Burgard, which tries to show all of our current understanding of physics in one diagram…


The Swiss watch industry originated in Geneva where jewelry was forbidden by Calvinists but functional decorative objects were not.

Illusion of functionality:

Today, for male watch buyers at least, a watch is the one universally acceptable piece of jewelry, largely because it creates the illusion of functionality.


Minimal and Maximal Viable Civilizations

The physical constraints on the design of civilizations.


Minimum & Maximum Viable Civilizations

The physical constraints on the design of civilizations and how this relates to the Fermi Paradox.

One of the features of any civilization is information transfer. In fact, this is the…


Money and Entropy

Nobody knows what money is.


I was on a ‘fintech’ panel at the FT’s Camp Alphaville recently where someone brought up the idea that energy cost is the only objective measure a currency can ultimately be tied to. This lead to a discussion about entropy and thermodynamics, and the link between logical entropy (information) and thermodynamic entropy

Publications edited by David Galbraith

The design of everything, from websites to cities.

Essays on design in the real world, from websites to cities.


Design vs Marketing

Apple’s history of design vs marketing from Pepsi to Beats


Apple was the company that proved the business value of design, a very important precedent in Silicon Valley since as technology matures it is not sold based on features (how much RAM or storage) but on quality (design elegance and ergonomics).


The UX of Banking

Why Retail Banking Services are Necessarily Badly Designed and Why Changing that May be a Key Component of the Next Wave of the Internet.


The Long Tail is Wrong


The graph at the top represents what has become known as the Long Tail, the idea that the orange bit (all the little guys) has a larger area that the red one (the hits).


Why I Don’t Like CSS

It killed ‘view source’.


HTML is a compromise between functionality and openness. In the old days when ad agencies were pitching Flash websites that looked really good becuase they were built using a language that made that easy, HTML was scoffed at by many designers.

But HTML won because websites built in HTML had appropriate…


There is no Such Thing as Invention

Ideas are Discovered not Created


Calculus was invented twice, Natural Selection discovered twice and the telephone was patented twice.

There’s a pattern of simultaneous invention throughout history that’s either an unbelievable co-incidence or evidence that something different from what we usually think of as…


Content Personalization Makes People Lonely


People crave shared experiences, this is why we go to concerts and movies or sit around a table and eat together. It’s why we still go to shows…


The Economics of Sustainability Don’t Work


In ‘Enough is Enough, Building a Sustainable Economy in a world of Finite Resources’, Dan O’Neill and Rob Dietz argue “that it's time to abandon the pursuit of growth in wealthy nations and consider a new strategy — an economy of enough. Suppose that instead of chasing after more stuff, more jobs, more consumption, and more income, we aimed for…