How rivalry stimulates our creativity and makes our work better.

I’m writing this on a flight from Tokyo back to New York. A 12-hour flight is long enough to think and reflect about what I experienced in the amazing last five days of talks, creativity and fantastic ramen.

I came to Japan for the Awwwards Conference, to give a talk about Designing Like a Supervillain. It’s about Superheroes and their nemeses, order and chaos, the necessary tension between them, and how this can be extrapolated to the creative world. I hope people liked those stories and had a good time. I definitely enjoyed sharing them.

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A moment during my talk at Awwwards Conference in Tokyo on January 23, 2020

Speaking at an event like the Awwwards Conference is always a pretty fulfilling and eye-opening experience. Seeing all those speakers sharing their stories and fantastic work is very inspiring, but I particularly enjoy the moments in between the actual keynotes, sharing conversations with attendees and other folks in the industry. …


Dear Ueno is an advice column for people who for some weird reason think we know what we’re doing. Read more about all this, or check out our old advice.

Fabio Santos in London asks via Twitter:

Which metrics do you use at Ueno to distinguish a lead designer from a senior designer?

David Navarro, Executive Creative Director at Ueno NY, answers:

Hey Fabio,

Before I answer your question about how we define roles at Ueno, I’d like to put things in context and tell you a little bit about what I personally think about this titles thing.

Bear with me. …


Dear Ueno is an advice column for people who for some weird reason think we know what we’re doing. Read more about it.

From Keith Kerr:

“We often get clients that want websites that are government-related or seemingly pretty boring. How can we make content that seems boring more engaging? My agency has a process where we work with a client to decide on the content of the site, then go through a design phase where the customer agrees on a look and feel and then we build. I feel like we are missing something and was wondering if you could share your thoughts. …


This bi-weekly edition of The Brain Dance (again…) comes more design oriented than usual but with the classic bits of technology. Well, everything is mixed, right?

The Brain Dance: Week 10–11

March 6–19, 2017

Recommended book of the week

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“One + One = Three. A Masterclass in Creative Thinking”.

by Dave Trott .
2016. Pan Macmillan. 256 Pages

Rating: 5/5

I’ve discovered Dave Trott articles recently and after reading a few I confess I was trapped by his telegraphic style. His short stories, so easy to digest are hiding always an interesting creative gem that makes you think. It’s full of real stories with a twist and a translation to something related to our lives as creatives.

I got a copy of “One+One=Three” and read it in a blink of an eye. I won’t say it changed my life, only a few books deserve that recognition, but it did make me think and inspired me through the stories of those creative heroes that always went against the norm. …


Another bi-weekly article list (it’s becoming pretty much a norm lately) with the usual suspects, AI, VR, Design, UX and some miscellaneous reads. And also going back to book reviews, this time with a blockbuster.

The Brain Dance: Week 8–9

February 20 — March 5, 2017

Recommended book of the week

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Sapiens. A Brief History of Humankind”.

by Yuval Noah Harari .
2015. Deckle Edge. 15h18min

Rating: 5/5

The first time I heard about this book was in one of those pretty common articles with a list of recommended books. I’m interested in knowing more about the origin of things but have to admit the past is not something that excites me like the future does. But it was so many people recommending this one that I decided to give a try and knowing Yoval Noah Harari new book, Homo Deus, which explains his vision about the future of humankind, was going to be released on Audible… audiobook I’m listening to right now. …


This will be a long list of articles I’d like to mention, it’s been three weeks since the last Brain Dance list and it’s time to catch up with some interesting reads.

The Brain Dance: Week 5–7

January 30 — February 19, 2017

Artificial Intelligence

Tech Leaders Are Just Now Getting Serious About the Threats of AI

In the previous Brain Dance list I’ve mentioned the important role of ethics when defining our future with AI. It’s interesting to see these top players taking things seriously.

…..

10 Principles For Design In The Age Of AI

These are 10 design principles for AI that in a way, are trying to cover the same ethic problems. …


Another bi-weekly list… and quite a few articles that I picked on Design, User Experience and Technology I hope you like.

Next week I promise to go back to weekly Brain Dance lists, yeah… I do :)

The Brain Dance: Week 3–4

January 16–29, 2017

Recommended book of the week

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Technology Vs Humanity: The coming clash between man and machine”.

by Gerd Leonhard .
2016. FutureScapes. 184 Pages.

Rating: 5/5

In a moment where we’re being bombed with dozens and dozens of articles about the rise of Artificial Intelligence, this book is a fresh approach to the topic. Instead of focusing on just a dystopian view of the future to come or focus only on the power and possibilities of what technology will bring, this book it’s written with the objective of making us aware of what’s our role now that technology is unstoppable. …


This is, again, another biweekly Brain Dance list. That’s what happens when you have a long Xmas break and you spend proper quality time not connected to the online universe and I hope I can keep the pace of the weekly list. But well, back to the action now and ready to face this —hopefully— amazing year that’s ahead of us.

Last year started hard with the AR/VR revolution that became a bit hidden in the second half of 2016 with the AI emergence. This year continues the same way last year ended, with plenty of news around artificial intelligence and quite a few of them focused on autonomous vehicles… will this be the topic of the year? Seeing how fast everything goes I would be surprised if this is it. …


With the Christmas holidays around I decided to combine a two-week article list instead of the weekly one. It’s a momento to properly look back but focus on what’s coming next. This year in my opinion has been the year of the beginning of the redefinition of the industry. A moment where we’ve seen the consolidation of VR/AR as a true player, although we’re quite far to call it a reality. A moment, especially these last months of 2016 where AI and bots are becoming more visible and will continue its expansion during 2017. …


We’re getting closer to the end of the year and it’s time to look back to what happened in 2016, a year that will be remembered as one of the most cruel years in terms of culture icons that passed away, but as well a year were technology became really prominent and made us look more into the near future than only focus on the present. And it’s time for all those articles full of predictions or the classic “year in review”. We have a few in this edition of The Brain Dance, don’t worry…

I hope you like this week’s list. From now on I’m going to organize the links by topics so it feels a bit more tidy instead of having all of them spread in randomness. …

About

David Navarro

Designer & Full Time Supervillain / Executive Creative Director at ueno.

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