Plans to Make Plans

“I’d get stuff done if I were more friggin organized…I need to make a to-do list.”  Does this sound like anyone you know?  Have no fear, making to-do list just got a little bit sexier.  This past weekend I came across my new fav app, Clear. Don’t waste your time on all of the other ‘Productivity’ apps out there, even the native Reminders app doesn’t get to the heart of the matter-  for a to-do list to be truly effective you have to be able to edit, prioritize and delete tasks with ease.

The genius of Clear is in the UI – you won’t find static navigational or menu icons here; you add, delete and move tasks using the array of gestures even human babies have come to master- flick, swipe and pinch.  Clear has just the right amount of customization (yes, you too can be a pretty pretty princess) to make it your own and the themed quotes and sound effects support the lighthearted character of this simple app.

So you have made yourself a list – the first step in preparing to get things done.  Second step  is putting priority to the tasks in any way you see fit (by date of completion, level of effort, etc.)  I would also recommend keeping your lists thematic – for example I keep running to-do lists for: home life, shopping/errands, specific projects, and work.

Third step (this is important) is spending calories doing the tasks. To-do lists work for me, but that’s because I make action and get shi*t done. If you still find yourself struggling to get your IKEA bookshelf put together you may benefit more from the TaskRabbit app, but it’s going to cost you.

POSTED BY:
colsen at 3:28 PM
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Design, People, Technology
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A Girl, a Boy and an Alpaca

Have you ever found yourself day dreaming about up and leaving your job to raise alpacas on the top of a mountain in upstate New York? That’s exactly what husband and wife team Cameron and Katherine Sands did last spring. They then approached TRO to help them name and develop an identity system for their new farm.

TRO recognized the opportunity to create something really special in an industry that’s pretty bleak design-wise. Following initial meetings and research we presented brand boards, each communicating a high level concept, look and feel.

Katherine and Cam selected the board that explored a more illustrative direction and focused on telling their story—a young couple running their farm and raising alpacas in their own unique way. They’re self-admittedly a bit goofy, and liked the idea of embracing humanity, quirkiness and perhaps a bit of the unexpected in their new identity.

Our first logo presentation was met with a great deal of excitement. There was a clear front runner when we got off the phone. However, after much contemplation and discussion, Katherine and Cam requested we use a new name and explore the theme from the second brand board instead. They were concerned that the DIY approach they had initially selected might portray them as inexperienced rather than hands-on entrepreneurs.

So from there it was back to the drawing board. TRO’s second board was über sophisticated and elegant, promising an elite, white-glove brand experience to its clients. In approaching the next round of logos, we wanted to maintain some of the whimsy they liked from our first exploration while still capturing the refinement of the second board.

After one more round of design, we finally reached a solution. Here are some of our favorites. Can you guess which one they picked?

Check back to find out which name and mark Katherine and Cam selected, and see how TRO builds out their identity system.

POSTED BY:
astrauss at 5:42 PM
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Design, People, Projects, Uncategorized

My Kind of Town

I come from a place they call ‘The Mistake on the Lake’, though some less affectionately call it Cleveland. In my six-plus years as a Chicagoan, I’ve noticed people are never surprised to learn where I’m from. I believe this is part due to the mass pilgrimage of urban-hungry folk from all over the midwest to Chicago. I also believe that everyone who lives here thinks it’s the greatest city ever, so it only seems obvious that I’d leave my depressing life watching barges of steel and coal pass by my window in pursuit of better things.

Recently, RO was chosen to redesign the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau website. The enthusiasm the CCTB team has for this city, and the excitement they have for the potential of their new website is infectious. Chicago is my home now, and I’d sell it to anyone in a heartbeat. But now the challenge is even greater—sell Chicago to the world. In a team meeting someone mentioned many people outside of the U.S. have the impression that Chicago is like ‘a Cleveland’ (gasp—sacrilege!) While I’m not ashamed to say where I come from, I am very proud to say where I live. And why not? Chicago is an amazing city, boasting an unmatched food scene, iconic architecture, culture, sports, shopping, comedy, an incredible beach…the list goes on. There is a palpable energy, happiness and vibrance here. Even in the winter. When it’s cold. And grey. And freezing. We still choose to live here because we love it. And that’s the message we need to communicate. We’re in the business of creating and selling experiences. And I can’t think of anything better to sell than experiencing Chicago.

POSTED BY:
astrauss at 1:39 PM
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Design, People

Honeycomb Project

The ridiculously long winter in Chicago this year has forced my wife and I to seek outdoor activities to get our two small children out of the house and interacting with other human beings whenever possible — for the physical and mental health of us all. Recently, a friend of ours started an organization that taps into this need and directs it toward doing some good in the community. It’s called the Honeycomb Project, and their mission is to create meaningful volunteer experiences for parents to easily enjoy with their children. The events educate and engage children of all ages and demonstrate the value of volunteering by example. They inspire curiosity and empower families to work together to build stronger connections with each other and a variety of local organizations. This weekend for instance, we joined a group of about 15 families and volunteers in cleaning up Gomper’s Park on Chicago’s north side. We picked up trash and layed down mulch on the footpaths, and although the adults did most of the actual ‘work,’ the kids had a lot of fun and are now aware of how they can help take care of and beautify their own community. (That’s my daughter Ivy in the picture getting a lift back to the mulch pile.) Now if we can just get them to clean their rooms…

Check out The Honeycomb Project on Facebook to learn more and see what activities are coming up next.

POSTED BY:
hogan at 10:44 AM
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Community, People
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Lack of Athleticism Leads Girl to Self-Discovery

I’m highly uncoordinated,  and I find running around in front of people extremely embarrassing. I was hit in the mouth with a softball in 6th grade (sad), and was cut from the 8th grade girls basketball team for my inability to do a lay-up (it’s hard). Recognizing my lack of athletic prowess early on, I switched my focus to school organizations to grow my high school resume. But after a brief stint in Spanish club, my extracurricular involvement dwindled down to nothing. Time passed and intervention occurred by way of a parental mandate, and I had no choice but to find new opportunities to differentiate myself from other college applicants.

Enter Menorah Park nursing home. I spent a good three years of my life calling bingo numbers and serving chicken schnitzel and cottage cheese to people who claimed to hate me for serving it to them. Man, volunteering sure felt good.

I must not have been entirely scarred by my early volunteer experiences, because when I was introduced to AIGA as a student in 2003, I jumped right in. I held various roles with the organization—student representative, programming planner and volunteer coordinator, event attendee—yet couldn’t help but feel like a bit of an outsider. It’s intimidating as a young designer to break into the cliques of more established professionals who have known and worked with each other well before you even knew what design was. Still, I continued my engagement and preached the power of volunteering.

Read More …

POSTED BY:
astrauss at 4:45 PM
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Community, Design, People

Twitter for Hire?

It’s no surprise that with the economy being the way that it is, more people than ever are looking for jobs. Many are familiar with the stresses that come along with this new-found career (yep, looking for a job IS a full-time job). With so many people out of work, the competition is greater than one can imagine! People are paying companies to spruce up their resumes just so that they can get more than just a glance when submitted to companies.

Well, Campbell Mithun, an advertising agency located in Minneapolis, Minn, decided that the job-seeking process wasn’t interesting enough. They recently announced that they would be hiring for their Summer 2011 Lucky 13 Internship program via Twitter and Twitter alone. You heard correctly. Interested applicants are being asked to submit their application via Twitter in a total of 13 different tweets of 140 words of less. Drop your plans for developing that 60-second elevator speech you were working on and start summarizing who you are, what you’ve done, and how you can benefit the company, in the most creative way you can think of in 140 words or less! GO!

It’s inevitable that others will grab on to this idea sooner or later, so you’d might as well get started. Happy tweeting to you!

USEFUL TOOLS

Twitter Guide Book

Newbie’s guide to Twitter

POSTED BY:
Royal_CJ at 4:39 PM
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People
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TRO on Facebook

Login to your Facebook profile and search Pages for “The Royal Order of Experience Design.” Here you’ll be able to chat with everyone at TRO, share findings, and poke us.

POSTED BY:
Joe Clay at 1:38 PM
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Design, Exploits, People, Technology

TRO on Twitter

http://twitter.com/theroyalorder

The Royal Order has officially joined the thousands of people addicted to Twitter. So follow our page, and in less than 140 characters you’ll learn about the latest RO news.

POSTED BY:
Joe Clay at 1:35 PM
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Design, Exploits, People, Technology

New Intern

As of yesterday RO has put me in charge of this blog. Here’s some information about myself: I graduated in May from Arizona State University with a degree in Visual Communication Design. 7 friends and I are putting up sketch comedy shows in Pilsen every tuesday(I don’t know the name of the bar yet), and I’m probably going to freeze to death in December.

It’s my task to finish the T / MC website. All of the groundwork has been laid out thanks to Jake; I just have to design within the system.

POSTED BY:
Joe Clay at 1:25 PM
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People

The Intern Part Two

With only fifty five minutes left as an employee of the Royal Order, I feel it appropriate to leave some parting thoughts.

I’ve not posted here in some time — the Tutor/Mentor Connection Project took over my workdays with increasing determination, right up until the end. Although the site development is still up in the air, I’m quite proud of how the project has turned out. The site looks great, if I say so myself, and is certainly the most stylish, navigable, and unambiguous nonprofit site I’ve seen throughout this process. What an upgrade from the current version of tutormentorconnection.org! It’s fantastic that (eventually) my work will actually be used by real people to satisfy their needs. That the site aims to improve the lives of impoverished children only adds another level of reward to this project.
Read More …

POSTED BY:
Mendelsohn at 4:51 PM
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People, Projects