Words & Pictures

While documenting the Chorus design system, I’ve been spending a lot more time working with words than I typically do. The past few weeks have definitely been more spreadsheets and writing documents than my typical modes of visual designing, and I’ve been out of practice!

So, along with others on my team, I picked up Writing for Designers, which has provided some great frameworks for us to think about, and approach effective writing. In many ways this mirrors what thoughtful design teams are already familiar practicing - transparency, clarity, and iteration.

That in turn, reminded me to revisit another favorite non-design design book, Several Short Sentences About Writing, and to make an effort to write more in general (hello blog).

Assembling them in just the right way takes practice.

I’ve also been down a rabbit hole of enjoying Chris Ware’s comics again, I’ve always enjoyed his strong graphic approach to his stories, interesting layouts, and Chicago influence.

📖Reading this beautiful weekly comic that follows the lives of 6 individuals in a small Michigan town,

📺Watching this fantastic NPR collaboration with Ira Glass and a story about Chicago buildings,

🔊Listening to this chat with Debbie Milliman where she tries to convince him he’s any good at what he does.

It’s inspired me to play with some different Instagram story formats, and I’ve tried keeping a visual diary this week (inspired by Ware’s comic diary and Austin Kleon as well.)

This current focus on design writing and Ware’s fantastic work has been a fun lens of thinking about clarity, pacing, patterns, relationships, storytelling, UX, and design in general.

Jared Fanning