This is the current icon set for NYT— a vast improvement from the set I designed nearly 10 years for the iPhone. Whoever designed them should feel good about them. Don't get offended but I'm going to offer a few suggestions that will (maybe) improve the aesthetic. The tennis ball thats also a basketball? Who did that one? That balls gettin' bounced yo. Apologies in advance!
I'm in limbo on another icon set for the Times and, since my subscription lapsed years ago, I decided to buy the app and re up on the old grey lady. Bits and pieces of my old design still remain (essentially they've been paired down) but I thought, damn, these are good, BUT some details- very minor details bug me. Like the rounded corners that are perhaps more suited to Ariel rounded, not this face. Indulge me as I nerd out here...
This is my tweaked version, very minor but noticable. The circuits are centered and the square's corner are married to the type. 
A few strategic notes, rules seem to apply:
One image per category
No gradients (aside from T Mag)
Simple, readable (in all laguages)
Equitable distribution of distiguished shapes (Square to circles to triangles)
Fast reads
Essentially, you don't notice them. Thats the hope. With no color, your brain drinks them in with little confusion. The images are already in your lexicon- but it's always evolving. It's fascinating to me, still, that we can't use replace a few of these with something different.
For instance, this- for the last 15 years, means "picture" on your camera. I always liked this image aesthetically, but am torn as to why it represents "death" or "obituaries" in its category. I mean, I get it— gravestones and skulls are morbid. People reading up on their dead Uncle Harry don't want to be reminded. So the flower eulogizes it. Still, it mixes messages.
All of these are slightly different. I took them method already in place and just tweaked them slightly. In some cases I replaced the image with something that strengthened the others- like the triple stack of books that match the business icon. The beaker is flat- but I struggled with that decision (we used a beaker in 2006). The distances between the spaces are redesigned with these rules:
Only use 45 degree angles if you can (this is an old trick people are finally catching onto)
Pare the ingredients down to their bare essentials.
No gradients- go flat.
Notice the 45 degree angle on the bookmark and mountians in the picture box. New York State and USA shapes are modernized. The artists palette is tweaked a little (I love this one- its weird). Anyway, some of these don't work.
I decided to go back the the hangar and science triangles- those tow can partner up well with the marital circles. I also went back to business and riffed real estate into that thinking. It's dumbed down but it reads- and is kinda fun. I put Europe back on the globe for balance.
OK thats it. Back to the paying gigs. Here are my sketches that led me here or there. It would've been cool to imagine the water tower for NYC real estate, but that wouldn't fly. Do you ever bug out on icons/ their meaning/ content? LMK in the comments.
Facebook UX
Bare with me as I nerd out on the latest icon updates from our friends at Facebook. Many of us don't realize the amount of work that goes into these little pixeled images we touch all day. They've come along way, but maybe you haven't noticed. I did, or do. My connection to Facebook goes back to 2009 working with Ben Barry in the Analog Lab. He did an amazing amount of work while there. The latest UX/ icons that have been coming out of FB are quite good too- with only a few flubs. Ben went so far as to say "Facebook doesn't care about design" in recent a blog post that no longer exists. Hilarious. Of course they do! 
I'm always fascinated by the latest images that are bought and sold to us by FB, Apple and Google. They have huge influence on everything; how we understand words to images, making jumps along the way. While I'm working on stuff (right now I'm redesigning some icons for the New York Times but I'm in limbo) I like to create images in the sidebar and use them on ancillary projects. 
I found an image a few weeks ago. I drew this stuff about, I dunno, 7 or 8 years ago for design firm that told me I couldn't show it to anyone because they had to tell the client they did it. "Your work for the New York Times is way better. Show that stuff." I never showed the work. It's not that great, I'll admit it. But I like to think I can show the work that I do, eventually.
remember the old stuff? Apple's Skeumorphic is now flat, Thanks to Microsoft finally stepping up. My favorite recent Icon from Apple was the "purchase download" icon that, oddly, now seems gone. I couldn't find it to show. Basically it's a P and arrow. It's weighted perfectly and means exaclty what you think it does- it stays completely out of the way- which is what good icons do.
Here are some "in progress" doodles I'm tweaking for something- I don't know what yet. Some of these are terrible & don't work. I get it!
The rules of the game are to make everything behave as a family— like a font. I'd like to eventually develop them into a system, if not emojis, or something where they can be utilized— micro and macro
Some of these images have been buried in my arsenal for close to 20 years. Its fucking scary. I'm as tired of looking at them as you are but occasionally I can take an old image and make it better, new again, by reducing it's detail and pairing with something else.
Woops. I see the coyote twice. The coyote and some of these were drawn for the National Wildlife Refuge in California. They died but may live another life somewhere else.
The cock was sold to Carl at Marie's Chicken Joint,
This is the current family at play on FB. I'm a big fan of the new marketplace icon. I like how it doesn't have a door. It doesn't NEED one. The new requests icon has also changes significantly. Notice the woman is now in front? Thats a "lean in" thing Sheryl Sandberg started.
Just goofing around with the content. I probably looked at 10 different things before saying "you know what, that marketplace icon is just right" They could've used a lot of things for that; hands shaking, dollar signs, shopping carts. The awning works- it's friendly. Now you're asking "what's going on"? Or "why?" Well, I'm just testing it out here. Theres a tactility to the information that's different- but I don't think its better. It's softer on the eyes though.
OK, back to the paying gigs. Sorry Ellen! You've recieved another Warholian minute:) 
LMK your thoughts, F
related- the FB mural from last year and an older FB Log in page/ table design using a few spare parts seen here.
Verizon's new bah-ho-hum-bug
I saw this bug in my FB feed a few days ago and was fascinated. Sucked in. I had to fix this bug before it bit me. So here goes nuthin. Bare with me.
the idea for verizon's hum product: "hum by Verizon lets you add new car technology to almost any car. It helps you prevent breakdowns, save money and get faster roadside and emergency assistance. Plus, the hum app puts all this in the palm of your hand."
This is how I think it should look and feel. I'll get into the how and why next- but basically I felt it just needed to be read at the approprate size. Beefed up. Redrawn. Corrected.
This is the first thing you'll see on an FB feed. What do you think? My first thought: cool! Second thought: Oh man that's terrible! Why! Noooo!
this is my fixed adaptation. Thoughts? LMK in the comments
Here are my sketches drawn on a napkin in Chicago's O'Hare (delayed, shocker). O'Hare has the worst on time flight record of anyone. Second? You guessed it: Newark (where I was headed). Anyway, thats a wrap. I didn't spend much time on this but I just felt I needed to fix it- for no real reason other than it needs to be. Side notes: The type I've useed here is a custom face I designed for some yeas back. Notice the m. Its not a typical m but it feels right to me- unlike the m up top. Also, I went back to Verizon last month. It nearly killed me.
Tuscan School
This is some work I'm donating to the Tuscan PTA. It's been an ongoing itch I've been scratching (and rescratching) for 6 years. Here goes. First, let's take a look at the current logo; The Paw T.
In my new version, we see a tiger with a hidden (OK, it's obvious) letterform
The design is based on the history of the building- which, architecturally, is fantastic. It's an old building. Too hot in winter months most of the time, but it's a great school. The PTA, teachers and principals do a wonderful job and it's been an honor to have my kids attend Tuscan. So here, we're going to celebrate history and teach the love of letterforms to those who pass through it's doors. These Scotch Roman letters are unique to Tuscan. There is a face similar to this (Fritz Quadrata) but there is no "font" or "face" like Tuscan's. So I've retraced it best I can to preserve the heritage. This was not easy btw!
Some of the other type designs you'll be seeing are likewise "Hand drawn" to convey the warmth and integrity of the school.
Before we go all the way to teh final designs I'd like to ask whoever lost their Penguin at drop off, we still have him!
After posting this my message box was innundated with junior high kids messaging telling me they were raping your penguin and doing nasty things. It's not true! We have penguin. He misses you whoever you are.
OK, let's move on. Here is the jist of what I'm going after:: Harry Potter prep school meets Highlights puzzle meets tattoo parlor. We're just trying to sell a few things for the PTA here folks. It's not rocket science.
an old look at the house I used as reference to draw the building. I got every window pane!
note: this is the old "sad face" School typography. I've redrawn it as per above.
Some bumper magnet designs
trying a few things with how the type wraps. Both words are equal numbers- a designers dream
Marco likes this one. I'm trusting Marco (aside from his purple cords, he has taste)
Here is the current ID, which in no way feels like the T paw design used on other materials. How does that Tiger float like that? Is he the Vegas Tiger that bite Siegfried? Thats magic right there.
I'm showing some aggredious pics from my art crew class a few years ago, and few Claire took from the Fair last weekend (I face painted, then face planted after three hours!)
Will's got skills.
our art crew mark
we had some fun didnt we?
silkscreening lessons
an old idea (bad!)
still bad
message to Mr Dean (art), Makasakit and Lamkin; for the past 5 years I've taught a storybook class in each of the kids classes. It's late in the year but can we keep that going? I'd love to come in again. Thx. This is photo from Sinclair's kindergarten 2010. I still have that Chelsea jersey. 
Thanks Roberta! It's nice to be appreciated
Leave your thoughts, good or bad in the comments area. Happy to make tweaks if the make sense
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