29 Mar 2007


one of the things that i like the most about Internet is that many times random surfing gets you to read or watch something, which is either an illustration or a development of some thought that crossed your mind at a certain time and that you completely forgot about.
i came across this video which explores the relationship between street art and corporate advertising in public space. and i remembered how much i thought about this myself, starting from a discussion in the Czech Center focused on the difference between artistic billboards and commercial billboards. LorcanFinnegan explains: "A man, trapped in the confines of a corporate poster, tries to escape and become part of the street art on the opposite wall. Although the street art is free, it is condemned and usually destroyed to make way for advertising, a risk he is willing to take to be with the stencilled girl on the other side"

APG Romania

i know that Bogdana already wrote about our intention to start an APG Romania, but i must admit that i am so excited about this, that i couldn't help myself writing some lines as well. Hopefully, next week on Wednesday, we're going to have a planners meeting in an extended version and talk a bit more about action plan, details, updates, individual intentions and so on. In the mean time, it appears that Razvan was kind enough to offer us the domain apgromania.ro, while Razvan (who's not even a planner) also expressed his willingness to help us with all sorts of things. And in case anybody reading this has been involved one way or another in a similar project, and is willing to share a bit of his/her experience, we'd be more than grateful to hear all about it [diana.ceausu at gmail dot com].

Since i'm sure that there are at least some skeptics among us, i thought i'd post here a starting mail i got from Malcolm White, current Chair of APG London - cause his message seemed really encouraging to me (i hope posting this is ok, Malcolm):

"There is absolutely no magic formula the most important thing is just to do it and get it going (rather than to spend loads of time talking about it which is definitely a diesease of planning in the uk and probably the rest of the world) and no money is needed to get started if you start off really modestly and just think of your apg as an informal social club -which is what I would recommend that you do in the first instance...and was in fact how the APG in the uk started out in 1978. The only thing that I would do in a formal manner is meet regularly (maybe once am month)

I would start of really modestly because you will find-of course- that the busy day jobs of you and your fellow planners will intrude.

To make your meetings more interesting I would follow the principles of a book group and discuss an interesting planning/business or general text at each meeting

If you find that this way of working works, then you should gradually think of formalising things even more-and that's when money is needed, therefore probably membership fees, therefore probably a paid for secretary like our esteemed Steve Martin.

If you find that you want to organise evening events, talks, even in time an awards like our biennial APG Planning Awards, then my advice would be to focus on one thing a year and not to overstretch nor overreach yourselves. It is disheartening and demoralising when big planns come to nothing.

In the short term we can of course help by carrying details of your APG on our website (please get in touch with Steve Martin on steve@apg.org.uk), and in other ways which you should define as you feel your way towards what it is that you want to do.

Any way best of luck and best wishes...and remember, just do it!!!"
pic from here.

26 Mar 2007

great minds think alike, and that's the problem

These days i've realised once again that decisions are really hard to make. But in the end (and these are things i've read in some places, i just don't remember where, as soon as i remember, i'll update with the links), i think it's about being surrounded by more than glass walls and common areas, it's about being surrounded by ideas and intellectual stimuli. It's about not being afraid that things might not work out, but being however happy with the experience, good or bad. I think it's about great challenges, and about generally kicking ass, rather than just trying to be the best. I think it's about taking wrong turns, curious to see where they are taking you. I think it's about teaming up with people you admire, not just teaming up with people you care a great deal about. I think it's about trying to fly higher and faster. I think it's about interestingness. And, most important, about never conforming with mediocrity. It's about collecting stories.

And it's also about believing in my own choices. Cause i know that whatever i do, i'll do it with the huge amount of passion that i always invest in the things i love.

22 Mar 2007

personal trivia

i'm not sure this belongs here, but it's from a long series of funny coincidences. or is it a sign, when even the mail server has given up hope :))? i mailed claudiu today to ask a brief question, and the mail returned with the following server message:
"Hi. This is the qmail-send program at mail.allianztiriac.ro.
I'm afraid I
wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a
permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out."
pic from here.

part of the conspiracy for three days

Ok, so i was sort of waiting for the podcast to come out in order to write this post, but in the end, i couldn't help it. As i was saying some time ago, Filter Design Competition was a perfect pretext to have some great designers come here and talk to our young designers. Happily, Ben Terrett was kind enough to accept our invitation, and, more than that, his colleague, Kingsley Gratrick (an adorable guy, whose name we kept on misspelling), also expressed his interest in coming here and helping us out.

Ben and Kingsley proved to me once again, in case this was necessary, that if you actually want to do something, one first step would be to simply try and ask. Just as they reminded me that failure is to be embraced, and that you have to be persistant if you really want to achieve something. Radu was talking the other days about the students who keep on complaining that agencies don't want them and about the people who always seem to think that luck is somewhat against them; well, Ben admitted that he applied for a job loads of times until actually getting one. Just like he admitted that they sometimes lose pitches because they didn't explain properly the reasoning behind their work.

The days spent with them were amazingly refreshing and inspiring - pretty much like Oricum, The Design Conspiracy started as the dream of some college friends to do cool stuff. To "create intrigue and provoke reaction", which is an aim anybody working in our industry should have, in my opinion. Brilliant, modest, funny, Kingsley and Ben didn't mind spending a lot of time with a bunch of kids, listening to us and trying to provide solutions or at least pieces of advice, coming from their experience. They were extremely open and helpful, and, apart from feedback for Filter finalists, as well as their conference which was filled with case studies and insights, they also agreed to record a very constructive podcast with us. As soon as we finish uploading it, you can hear them talking about The Design Conspiracy, their policies and projects, how it feels like to be a designer, how design is the new management consultancy. And we've also talked about hiring and firing people, how to manage the tension between being friends and colleagues, measuring efectiveness in design, sustainable design. And many other things, including Kingsley's musical career, planners, fonts, websites, the relationship between strategy and design.
All in all, we can hardly wait for them to come back here, and, as Cosmin said in some comment: "we miss them already". Thank you very much, guys !

21 Mar 2007


isn't it wonderful to spot such things ?

20 Mar 2007

not tired of sleeping

i've been doing so many things lately, that i go to sleep really tired, i wake up really tired, and actually last night i was so tired, i couldn't even sleep. Which is why all day today i've had this song in my head. Which is anyway slightly better then when i wake up mumbling songs such as "Blue Velvet" or "The man who sold the world". But the good part is that i don't feel exhausted or something, it's a sort of a really exciting and energetic tiredness, if that makes any sense.

In the mean time however, i am trying to finish the huge post about Ben and Kingsley's wonderful visit.

13 Mar 2007

you're getting a little cuckoo, viskovitz

I have recently read a book called "You are an animal, Viskovitz", which i loved for a number of reasons.

It may sound funny, but the first thing that attracted me was the writer's biography, which i'll try to translate from the book's cover. Cause his story is really interesting in quite a literary character sense. Alessandro Boffa was born in Moscow and worked for two years as a biologist in an animal genetics lab. He further dedicated himself to the study of the human brain. During the financial crisis in 1986, he won a considerable amount of money on the stock and left to California and Eastern Asia, where he remained for eleven years. Then, he got a degree in gemology in Bangkok, and started doing business with gems, after which he spent five years on a small island in Thailand. He wrote "You are an animal, Viskovitz" in 1998, and had great success with it.

Then, the second reason i liked it is the fact that i think it's a great book for planners - cause the reader is offered so many different perspectives on the world, each subjected to different rules, different "cultures", different social constraints. This happens cause the reader is invited to step into Viskovitz's shoes, who "reincarnates" into 20 different creatures, each of them featured in a different short story. And of course, the hilarious fables are actually insights into the human nature.
Switching to the third reason, i must say i totally love the books that don't really end with the last page, but inspire you to look for something else as well. And that's what happened with this one - its language is very biology-playful, combining scientifical terms with very common terms in quite a funny way (Boffa is a biologist among others, and that's kinda obvious in the book). Which made me go straight away to a book shop and buy some biology scientific book. It's really nice when some joke helps you start learning something a bit more serious.
And, last thing which comes in my mind right now - it reminded me about a book i read and adored when i was in the second grade. The book's called "Instantanee din viata animalelor" (i guess it would be something like "Snapshots from animal life") and it was written by Ionel Pop in 1963.

6 Mar 2007

why i have fun online

Gavin, who doesn't just have one of the most inspiring blogs, but who has also gathered an equally lovely community around him, tagged me to post 5 reasons why i blog. And i think he couldn't have found a better time to make me think about this :). So here i go:

1. Community - when i first started blogging, i was a very lonely junior invited by the creative director to switch from copywriting to planning. I had no idea what planning was all about, no idea whom i could ask what planning was all about and so on. Then i discovered Russell's blog and a great deal of things derived from this. I slowly drifted in the lovely planning community. At the beginning i was crazy about reading more and more communication and brands-related posts, i felt like i was getting so many bits of knowledge from so many different great people. Now, it's far more than that - i feel like i have great friends all over the world, friends whose posts inspire me, give me food for thought and brighten my day. Brilliant people who are willing to answer my questions, give me advice and feedback, because they don't mind sharing. It's like in some very nice school. What could be greater than that ? Besides, one way or another, the blog actually helped me meet other Romanian planners.

2. Learning - i see all sorts of things, i read all sorts of things, i make all sorts of connections, and get all sorts of ideas and often forget about them. However, when i write about them, they all add up like in a sketch book - some of them are really stupid, some others are an incoherent pile of inspiration. And that's lovely.

3. Sharing - sometimes i come across stuff i am simply dying to share. I daily come across so much unexpected stuff, that a blog might easily pass for a sort of "travel diary". Even though i have become really really lazy when it comes to posting lately.

4. Playing and experimenting - ok, so i am not a tech girl, but i simply love to play with all sorts of internet toys - and i wouldn't know how to make the most of them, if i didn't use them somehow. The blog is an excellent place to test the many possibilities of adding things to the little sketch book - pictures, videos, recordings, stuff that i'm sure i'd otherwise lose among loads of files and bookmarks.

5. Portrait - the blog shows a glimpse of myself - and that made it easier for people interested in the way i see things to contact me, and it also made it easier for me to introduce myself to people i contacted. Which i think is great, cause that's how i ended up being involved in some wonderful projects or mere conversations.

All in all, i realise that the blog brings so many good things, that i simply have to re-gather all energy and start posting and posting, cause it sure is worth the time :). Thank you, Gavin !

For further motivations, i summon Bogdana, Stefan, Andreea, Ben and Cosmin.

1 Mar 2007

the truth is out there...

just when i got back all my blogging enthusiasm, Blogger's spam-prevention robots locked my blog. So until some human checks it out and decides i am a human as well and all that, i will only be able to save drafts. Blimey !
ps: now i know how Gavin must have felt when he was experiencing commenting issues.
pps: and yes, this did give me an X-files sort of feeling :)) - actually, maybe not exactly the feeling, but it did make me whistle its theme song.
ppps: now that i think about it, is this evidence that maybe i should have paid a little more attention to "The Secret" experiment Sharon kept on posting about ?