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Wanna Play A Game?
Is graphic design boring now?
Anybody else bored of graphic design?
As you’ve witnessed me lament and keen and boohoo lately, whether in this very newsletter or my broadcast channel or my Instagram stories (wow, I lament and keen and boohoo all over the place), graphic design hasn’t quite been scratching that amusement itch for me. I used to go on Instagram and ooh and ahh at my design friends’ latest and greatest, or even look at my own feed and take a scroll down memory lane and smile at an old design I forgot I created. Now I log into it and I have to do everything in my power not to be Abby Lee Miller in this video:
Does this mean by design friends suddenly suck at design? Not in the emeffin’ least. Those are my girls and my girls are:
So how is it that nothing on my feed stops me in my tracks anymore? Is it that my standards have gotten higher? (Can’t be—my standards were high to start with.)
My working theory is that keeping ourselves amused is, de facto, a skill, one that requires a delicate balance between spontaneity and intentionality, encompassing not only finding joy in the present moment, but also cultivating a sense of curiosity that fuels continuous exploration and learning. As a Gen Alpha, we haven’t had to think of ways to keep ourselves amused in a long time, not since probably sixth grade, when we all started picking up iPhones and social media grew to what it is today: an endless source of recreation, where with a scroll on our phone alone, we are allowed amusement, frustration, cheer, suspense—the same feelings we would be getting if we were to amuse ourselves the old-fashioned way, like, say, a round of badminton, or a Lakers game (heavy on the frustration here), or a sip-and-paint at home with friends.
Think about it—when was the last time you did any of these things just to do them, and not because it’s for some special occasion? When did we last walk through a park without a predetermined destination, finding amusement in the sights, sounds, and the serendipity of the moment? These simple yet profound activities have the power to reignite the spark of wonder that’s been dulled by the constant allure of quick fixes. When we want to casually and lightweight amuse ourselves, we go on our phone and scroll, not ring a friend and ask them if they want to play. We haven’t worked that muscle in so long that when our brains do get tired or bored of what’s been amusing us for years, we feel weird and listless. At least I do.
It’s not that technology or digital platforms are inherently bad; they can certainly offer inspiration and connection. But they’ve also become convenient crutches, keeping us tethered to surface-level amusement while our deeper wells of imagination and spontaneity remain underutilized. The concept of “amusement” has become entangled with productivity, the pressure to be constantly stimulated and entertained. It’s as if we’ve forgotten that true amusement can stem from the seemingly mundane, from the joy of connection, from the unstructured exploration of our interests.
I don’t know what ultimately made me get bored of going on my phone and using my design feed as an outlet for amusement. It’s worked for years and I see nothing dangerously wrong with it, but it seems my subconscious does; it’s telling me that I’ve gamified graphic design Instagram, and at one point or another every game gets boring until your brain finds it amusing again. I guess this is one of those points.
📔 A RECENT NOTE ON MY PHONE WITHOUT CONTEXT
I zig and zag through design styles so much my feed looks like a design repost account
Dated August 6, 2023 at 13:26
🗂️ A RECENT SCREENSHOT ON MY PHONE WITHOUT CONTEXT
Dated August 18, 2023 at 08:01
🎰 JAMES JUNK JUKEBOX
it could’ve been u - Addison Rae
Who gave her access to the drug they put in songs that make gays go feral? Because this song, and the rest of her EP AR, belongs on a James Junk vibe-and-imbibe eight-track.
bad idea right? - Olivia Rodrigo
I can’t get this song out of my head and I am not complaining.
SHOT O’CLOCK - Saweetie
Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega and DNA but make it thottie? This song was made for me.
Torn - Natalie Imbruglia
Play this on your next road trip.
World Service - Gilligan Moss + Betsy
A recent find, and a brilliant one at that!
Manila - Hotdog
I was reintroduced to this gem I used to hear all the time growing up. Give this song a listen; it’s a piece of my heart.
🥯 LIFE UPDATE IN 300 WORDS OR LESS
Slay air, and the serve on your door, I never needed anything mooOOOOoore. (With the month over, just 336 more days to go before we can all sing this song again.)
As a Leo, I am contractually obligated to have a good time in the month of August, and barring some graphic design boredom, a good time I have had! August started off frenetic AF with work, but thankfully it slowed down as the days went on, opening up my schedule for a brief respite in Palm Springs for my birthday.
The drive to the desert was quicker than I remember, and it helped me get reacquainted with the dead part of me that enjoyed driving: the scenery—a story of beauty, resilience, intimacy. My room at Casa Cody was gorgeous, exactly the type of digs I require. The air was hot and so was I. The bartender flirted with me and I flirted back. An A+ birthday breather.
Is this where I reflect on the past year of my life now? Very well. The past year has been transformative, crazy and boring and maddening and happy and unpredictable and fun all at the same time. Looking back now, it was a hard one. I don’t like describing anything in my life as anything remotely negative, because I genuinely focus on the positive and am a pay-it-on-mind kinda dude, but yeah, shit was hard.
But hey, year’s over now, isn’t it? All I can do now is make sure this next one outperforms the last, and I have a good feeling it will.
Mexcellent 3D by Typodermic Fonts, Crystal Radio Kit by Typodermic Fonts, Spastic Nerfbag by Dave Lovelace
Hot Box by Flo Milli - Everything Flo Milli touches turns to gold. The first time I watched and listened to this, I replayed it 50 more times after. Flo Milli, if you’re reading this, please put this song on Spotify. Thank you love you.
wavey vinyl house mix by Chris Luno - I played this in my Palm Springs rental while I unpacked my things and danced
FLYERWRK Freebies - A great freesource (is this a word yet? If not, consider it coined.) of mockups that are very me, and potentially very you. I happen to be partial to the LCD Screen mockup.
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