All posts for “design”


What Explanation and Design Have in Common

Posted by: leelefever on May 23, 2013- 10:17am

Topic: Art of Explanation

Categories: design, empathy, Explanation, IDEO


We hear a lot about design these days.  Apple products are probably the most popular examples.  The idea is that Apple became one of the most valuable companies in the world, in part, because they focus on the design of their products.   But what does that mean, really? What do organizations who focus on design do differently?   Recently the TV show 60 Minutes featured the design company IDEO, which was founded by David Kelley. At multiple points in the interview, Kelley mentions an idea that... Continue Reading

The Story of Building the New Common Craft

Posted by: leelefever on December 12, 2011- 10:24am

Topic: New Common Craft

Categories: design, development, history, story, website


A few months ago, we released a completely new and different Common Craft. This is the story of the big ideas that drove the change and getting the website designed and built. App or Not?   In 2010, we wanted a Common Craft app that would put our video library in your pocket, any time you need it.  We had a version built, but something didn’t feel right.  We dropped it.  Soon after, I talked to a few people I respect in the mobile world, like Brian Fling at Pinch/Zoom and Brian Leroux at Nitobi... Continue Reading

5 Ways the New Will Be Different

Posted by: leelefever on April 21, 2009- 5:00pm


Categories: business, design, language, thissite


We've re-thought our website from the ground up and soon you'll see the all the changes we're making.  For now though, I want to highlight a few things that make a big difference. 1. A Focus on the Business. This may be the best way to explain how the focus has changed: The current Common Craft site says "WE HAVE A BLOG - and we sell videos" The *new* Common Craft  site says "WE SELL VIDEOS - and we have a blog" It's true - the new site is more closely aligned with the goal of finding, viewing... Continue Reading

What's Missing From This Sign at Airport Security?

Posted by: leelefever on December 7, 2008- 4:00pm


Categories: communication, design, offtopic, signs, travel


Me (to the friendly TSA ID checker):  Do I have to remove my laptop computer? TSA Employee: Yes, you do. Me: It's not listed on the sign TSA Employee: Well, it's the most important thing to remove. Me: But not important enough to be on the sign? TSA: It's supposed to be on there, the people that printed it messed up (rolls eyes). The TSA folks have hard jobs and I appreciate what they do. However, it doesn't exactly give me a safe feeling when the instructions for moving through... Continue Reading

Designing Common Craft T-Shirts on

Posted by: leelefever on August 20, 2008- 5:00pm


Categories: community, design, merch, store


As you may have seen, the Common Craft Store has a section for merchandise that is looking pretty minimal at the moment.  At the same time, we often get requests for t-shirts.  Hopefully, we're about to solve this problem. We've created a new "assignment" on a website called Pixish. Using Pixish, we can describe an image we need and have a community of creative people submit their ideas.  The creator of the winning images win "rewards" - often money, links, etc.   We're hoping to identify... Continue Reading

My Personal Life Stream on Tumblr

Posted by: leelefever on August 21, 2007- 5:00pm


Categories: blog, design, personal, simplicity


For a while now I've been fascinated by the idea of creating a single place (other than Facebook) that brings together all the things I do on the Web. That is why I created the zeitgeist page here on Common Craft - to have that single place to bring it together. At the same time, I've had a blog at that has become a pain to keep updated - I needed a replacement. Recently I discovered Tumblr, which is a super-simple and lightweight way to have a blog with a minimum of... Continue Reading

The New Common Craft

Posted by: leelefever on April 12, 2007- 5:00pm


Categories: design, feedback, thissite


After 3+ years, Common Craft has a new design and a new platform (Drupal) - Yay! We hope you like it, we sure do. Please kick the tires and give it a test drive while it's still got that showroom sheen. I'm sure there are some kinks to work out of the system and we'd really appreciate it if you'd let us know so we can fix 'em. Just leave a comment below. Any feedback is welcome. Over the next little while we'll be tweaking things and posting some content that will represent where Common... Continue Reading

Blue Flavor is Open for Business

Posted by: leelefever on September 26, 2005- 5:00pm


Categories: business, design, friends, seattle


Congrats to my friends and fellow Seattle guys Blue Flavor for getting their new company off the ground. From their site: We're four guys with a zeal for simple, clear and effective communication and creating lasting interactive experiences. We’re big picture thinkers, Web and mobile architects, user advocates, writers, speakers and well-respected experts. We're also fairly regular folks who think technology should work for people, not the other way around.   Blue Flavor is: Brian Fling, D... Continue Reading

Building a Project Vision by Understanding Users

Posted by: leelefever on March 9, 2004- 4:00pm


Categories: design, userresearch


Boxes and Arrows: Building a Vision of Design Success Since I started to learn a little more about Contextual Inquiry/Ethonography, it seems like it is coming up every where. Though this article does not mention the terms above, it describes the techniques as a viable way to build and promote a vision for a project. I find it useful to use Peter Senge’s Five Why’s. This is a very simple technique in which you ask why, and when you get a response, you ask why again. It helps you move from... Continue Reading

Good Interview with Peter Coughlan, IDEO

Posted by: leelefever on September 14, 2003- 5:00pm


Categories: business, design


This interview with Peter Coughlan, by Mark Hurst of, provides a good look at the "broken" state of hospitals and how his company IDEO works with hospitals to improve. Having a Masters in Health Administration, I hold this stuff close to heart. I think there are incredible opportunities to help hospitals improve and I like the way Peter describes their process. Ordinarily the hospital spends a year or two in committee, create what they think is the perfect team process, and... Continue Reading