Two flowers in a field of grasses. The focus is on the grasses.
Two flowers in a field of grasses. The focus is on the grasses.

I have been introducing my design students to meditation in class over the past few years. When we were in person, in the classroom, I would begin by presenting a short series of slides and videos to address why paying closer attention to the particular moment is important and why the deliberate practice of meditation can be beneficial. During this last fall semester, this did not feel simply important. It felt critical.

The pandemic has taken a toll on so many: the elderly in particular, as well as those from our most vulnerable populations, including the poor, those from Indigenous…


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Two flowers in a field of grasses. The focus is on the grasses.

I have been introducing my design students to meditation in class over the past few years. When we were in person, in the classroom, I would begin by presenting a short series of slides and videos to address why paying closer attention to the particular moment is important and why the deliberate practice of meditation can be beneficial. During this last fall semester, this did not feel simply important. It felt critical.

The pandemic has taken a toll on so many: the elderly in particular, as well…


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An angel at the 66th Street-Lincoln Center station.

I worked in lower Manhattan during 9/11. I was one of those thousands of office workers who saw the disaster unfold in real time — there was very little digital communications back then and no such animal as Facebook, yet. We had phones. They didn’t work. That day and the aftermath were a nightmare that I won’t relive with you right now. The world changed on a dime.

About a month after the collapse of the twin towers, on October 31, 2001, I started a blog called Deckchairs on the Titanic, which I kept up regularly almost ten years to…


Elevator down and up
Elevator down and up
Down, down, down we go. London Underground, 2016.

The London Underground, the oldest and one of the most thoughtfully designed metro systems in the world, features an audible warning to customers leaving and entering its metro cars: “Mind the Gap”. These three tiny words, first unveiled in 1968, emanate from speakers on the train and on the platform, conveying the primacy and the urgency of paying attention to where one is stepping prior to that next stage of the journey.

The “Mind the Gap” warning, despite its mix of brevity, British formality, and commandment, is only unconsciously minded by the traveler. It is an exercise in modern English…


framed picture and flowers
framed picture and flowers
A pretty illusion: the gap between photograph and photographer, object and subject.

What is the gap? Yes, it is a jeans retailer started in San Francisco in 1969, the short name a reference to the large social chasm between boomers and that greatest generation. How can we ever forget that! But for designers and for those seeking to critically engage with the world, the gap is also something else, an epiphenomenon and a socially contracted moment that needs both examination and contemplation.

The gap is everywhere all at once. It is the crack in the armour, the glitch in the matrix, the dim flicker in the stars noticeable during a hike beyond…


Destroyed screenshot of the top of Facebook profile.
Destroyed screenshot of the top of Facebook profile.
Looking good on Facebook.

I rarely look at Facebook. It’s not a good place for me. Someday, I will probably delete the account. For now, I am keeping it and using it minimally because my clients occasionally need Facebook help. This is a truly unfulfilling compromise.

In the meantime, I compiled a short list of reasons why I will rarely visit, log in, or post to Facebook:


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In the late 19th century, Paul Cézanne showed us that the world was not composed of a unified vantage point with a single and particular perspective of physical space and time. Instead, the world is replete with an endless set of places and times and our own sensibilities and perception are altered by the objects appearing before us. The shimmering light reflecting off the hills in a painting like La Montagne Sainte-Victoire (detail above) is not only a pictorial description of how those hills may have looked at the time that Cézanne saw them. The painting is also a means…


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Last year, I had an opportunity to teach design history to first year students (or freshmen as they might say in the U.S.). It was a dream come true for me.

After reviewing how the course was taught over the past few years, I fully revamped the curriculum to ensure that students were exposed to a much broader set of visual media and historical and aesthetic concepts. My objective was to help students discover visual and written systems of meaning that would connect with them personally and be valuable in their beginning design practice. …


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I grew up with Mr. Rogers. Nearly every morning, I would turn the dial (literally) to PBS and there he was, welcoming me into his neighbourhood. Nearly all of the characters, human and puppet, resonated with me. But I remember being fascinated with two characters in particular: Elaine, the scary aunt that had too much blush on her face (or was permanently flushed), and Kitty, the genderless personification of Fred Rogers himself.

I loved the simplicity of the sets, the message that I could be anyone that I wanted to be, and the calm, quiet demeanour of all of the…


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Wayne Barrett and me, Brooklyn, 2012.

I first met Wayne Barrett outside New York City Hall in 1996. The first thing that struck me was his height — Wayne was a tall, conspicuous and relatively un-manicured man. In combination with his scraggly grey-brown hair, he cut an imposing and formidable figure that was impossible to ignore. Living under Wayne’s roof for a decade, I learned that Wayne was not only the fearless investigator and journalist many knew from his words on the page — he was also a man of personal resolve and thunderous kindness.

My objective on that warm day in March was to get…

Andrew Boardman

Designer, writer, worker. Founder of design studio at manoverboard.com. Design instructor. Best dad. Big dork. Runner type. Nerd music.

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