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Field Study

An Unedited view of design and thought process:

work, experimental and otherwise by Keenan Cummings

days-app:

Days Tutorial Series Episode 2.0 (make sure your phone’s audio is ON):

How to take a great selfie

Lara, a selfie pro, gives you 3 tips on how to take a great selfie with the Days App:

1. Get the right angle, get the right look, and get your arm out of the shot! It’s totally avoidable

2. Pick an expression — a selfie is like a visual status update, so use the GIF feature and subtle facial movements to convey how you’re feeling

3. Get your friends involved!! The photo booth is in your hands, there’s fun for you and a friend to be had

So open that front-facing camera and put a selfie in your day!

From the archives: super powers!
I’m going to continue to share new work here on the blog, but I also wanted to dig back into the past 3 years of blogging and pull some of my favorites that y’all may have missed. More to come!

From the archives: super powers!

I’m going to continue to share new work here on the blog, but I also wanted to dig back into the past 3 years of blogging and pull some of my favorites that y’all may have missed. More to come!

"life is just a million open browser tabs"

"life is just a million open browser tabs"

Intro or Extro?

Earlier today, Fred Wilson got a conversation going on his blog about personality types. The Meyers-Briggs personality test has long been a favorite of many people, probably because of its great balance of simplicity (reducing the complexities of human personality to four basic spectra)  and depth (but not reducing the entire make up of your identity to a single color, for example). 

I’ve taken a few informal online tests to determine my Meyers-Briggs profile and have landed on INTP. I won’t go into the specifics of each letter here (read up on the test and figure out where you fall). But it is that first letter that places me on the more introverted side of the Introvert-Extrovert spectrum.

For those that have met me (and please tell me if I am delusional here), I don’t think I am terribly awkward. I can carry a conversation just fine. I really enjoy meeting up with new people. I like being in most social situations (although I still find myself embarrassingly star-struck and tongue-tied around people I admire). I’m not the guy at the party ripping his shirt off and crowd surfing (is this something people even do at parties?), but I’m not exactly a wallflower.

But there is a simple test that helped me figure out just how intro or extro I was. (I think I read or heard about something like this somewhere but I can’t recall where). 

When you are in social situations (the type that we think of as a typical extrovert’s playground: small talk, introductions, group conversations) do you leave feeling energized or drained? 

It’s not about what you enjoy. It’s about the subtleties of how you respond psychologically and physiologically. You can be the kind of the party but somehow, for the introvert, there seems to be this expenditure of energy that comes as a cognitive and emotional cost. 

I love going to conferences and attending events, but for me, it is a form of work. It is work that I enjoy, that I get great satisfaction from, but it is work. I can get lost in a conversation with a colleague or friend and lose track of time. But floating around a crowded room, “mingling” and schmoozing” — I never get to that state of unconscious flow.  I would guess that the extroverted side of the personality spectrum is full of people that gain energy from these situations, but maybe are drained by too much time alone in their own head. 

So accepting all the stigmas that come with it, but feeling very much like I don’t fit the stereotype, I have accepted myself as an introvert. You can leave a comment here if you wanna talk your personality type or head over to Fred’s post on AVC and join the conversation >

We have done so much, with so little, for so long that we can now do anything with nothing.

—via Bryce

Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.

Leo Burnett

(via stoweboyd)

(Source: axelletess, via stoweboyd)


Rhythmically Challenged—
It’s 5:15 a.m. and my alarm goes off. This is the start of a new rhythm for me, a rhythm that starts with the vibration of my phone against the hard surface of a bedside dresser.
Over the next several hours the rest of New York will begin a drowsy procession as diligent runners and morning dog-walkers hit the park; early-shifters at neighborhood coffee shops retract corrugated steel doors to reveal vacant storefronts; and hordes of commuters emerge from high-rises and brownstones to disappear down subway station steps and head to work.
Everyday, everyone and everything moves with elegant, unspoken coordination. It’s a routine I watch with curiosity, awe and a bit of envy.
As a breathing, beating, slouching bit of biomass, I am terribly deficient of one thing: this song-like rhythm.
Walking, for me, is natural. Beyond that, running is a clumsy chore, coordinated athletics are ambitious, and dancing is just out of the question. The order of operations for my day is in constant flux. I suspect even my heart beats in frighteningly irregular spurts. My life as sheet music would be generously described as “avant-garde”.
But it reliably begins, everyday, at 5:15 a.m.
This meandering lifestyle is driven by a set a personal priorities and philosophies (variety over predictability, growth through discomfort, time with people I care about, etc.). It’s driven by creative energy and excitement (an idea or a solution that needs to be recorded, built, shared, etc.). It’s driven by needs, usually on an as-they-come basis (pay that bill, see a doctor, etc.). It’s driven by a genetic predisposition to chaos (read here for my thoughts on ADD as a learning style rather than a disability). I’ve attempted to establish routines, I’ve tried that dance, but it has always ended up feeling forced and awkward.
But I get up, every day, at 5:15 a.m.
Jack Cheng wrote a wonderful post about something he calls "habit fields". The idea is that objects and spaces can be triggers for behaviors. The recline of a chair, the arrangement of objects on a desk, the quality of the light in a room — all of these things act as triggers to our behaviors, and “the sum of these stored behaviors is an object’s habit field”.
5:15 a.m. is the first habit field of my day. But rather than designing a space around behaviors, I have built a block of time. I wake up early not to start a routine, but to create a field, a sacred space, that all of my philosophies, priorities, energies and ideas can exist within. It is a precise and intentional initiation, a turn of a key and single spark into a combustion chamber that then drives the rest of my day. At 5:15am, before that the rest of my world begins, I have a few undisturbed hours to answer to no other time table, no other rhythm but my own. It is by far the most productive time of my day.
The work itself is not a routine. There is very little repetition in my design process. Instead, habits have become a way to create protected spaces for me to work within. Morning is a special space for me. It is my studio. It is a place for focus and flow. It is my favorite space to work in.
It’s not my only space. I have spaces for working and spaces for thinking and spaces for not thinking.
When weather permits, I commute by bike (I’m determined to bike 90% of work days this year and got some gear to make that possible). Biking is thinking space, but not a quiet one. It’s loud with the sounds of traffic and chains and exertion. It’s a unique kind of meditation that I have come to rely on.
I’ve also found an unexpected quiet space on the roof of our building. I try to get up there every evening. I have lived in New York for almost 5 years and have never found a place as quiet as our roof. There is still plenty of ambient city noise that reaches our rooftop. It’s another kind of quiet. It’s empty and alone. It is above everything going on below. It is like surfacing for a few still moments before diving again into the sea of everyday concerns.
What I do in these spaces is still just as clumsy and non-routine as it always was. These spaces are big enough to allow for a lot of movement, and that is what I need. But I am diligent about making and being in these spaces. It’s a small amount of routine that even I can manage. It’s a rhythm in service of open, rhythmless, creative space.
After a good ride, and a few quiet minutes on the roof, I get to bed pretty early. And the next morning, without fail, but also without fanfare (except that of a few excited birds), I get up at my time, my sacred space, 5:15 a.m.

Rhythmically Challenged

It’s 5:15 a.m. and my alarm goes off. This is the start of a new rhythm for me, a rhythm that starts with the vibration of my phone against the hard surface of a bedside dresser.

Over the next several hours the rest of New York will begin a drowsy procession as diligent runners and morning dog-walkers hit the park; early-shifters at neighborhood coffee shops retract corrugated steel doors to reveal vacant storefronts; and hordes of commuters emerge from high-rises and brownstones to disappear down subway station steps and head to work.

Everyday, everyone and everything moves with elegant, unspoken coordination. It’s a routine I watch with curiosity, awe and a bit of envy.

As a breathing, beating, slouching bit of biomass, I am terribly deficient of one thing: this song-like rhythm.

Walking, for me, is natural. Beyond that, running is a clumsy chore, coordinated athletics are ambitious, and dancing is just out of the question. The order of operations for my day is in constant flux. I suspect even my heart beats in frighteningly irregular spurts. My life as sheet music would be generously described as “avant-garde”.

But it reliably begins, everyday, at 5:15 a.m.

This meandering lifestyle is driven by a set a personal priorities and philosophies (variety over predictability, growth through discomfort, time with people I care about, etc.). It’s driven by creative energy and excitement (an idea or a solution that needs to be recorded, built, shared, etc.). It’s driven by needs, usually on an as-they-come basis (pay that bill, see a doctor, etc.). It’s driven by a genetic predisposition to chaos (read here for my thoughts on ADD as a learning style rather than a disability). I’ve attempted to establish routines, I’ve tried that dance, but it has always ended up feeling forced and awkward.

But I get up, every day, at 5:15 a.m.

Jack Cheng wrote a wonderful post about something he calls "habit fields". The idea is that objects and spaces can be triggers for behaviors. The recline of a chair, the arrangement of objects on a desk, the quality of the light in a room — all of these things act as triggers to our behaviors, and “the sum of these stored behaviors is an object’s habit field”.

5:15 a.m. is the first habit field of my day. But rather than designing a space around behaviors, I have built a block of time. I wake up early not to start a routine, but to create a field, a sacred space, that all of my philosophies, priorities, energies and ideas can exist within. It is a precise and intentional initiation, a turn of a key and single spark into a combustion chamber that then drives the rest of my day. At 5:15am, before that the rest of my world begins, I have a few undisturbed hours to answer to no other time table, no other rhythm but my own. It is by far the most productive time of my day.

The work itself is not a routine. There is very little repetition in my design process. Instead, habits have become a way to create protected spaces for me to work within. Morning is a special space for me. It is my studio. It is a place for focus and flow. It is my favorite space to work in.

It’s not my only space. I have spaces for working and spaces for thinking and spaces for not thinking.

When weather permits, I commute by bike (I’m determined to bike 90% of work days this year and got some gear to make that possible). Biking is thinking space, but not a quiet one. It’s loud with the sounds of traffic and chains and exertion. It’s a unique kind of meditation that I have come to rely on.

I’ve also found an unexpected quiet space on the roof of our building. I try to get up there every evening. I have lived in New York for almost 5 years and have never found a place as quiet as our roof. There is still plenty of ambient city noise that reaches our rooftop. It’s another kind of quiet. It’s empty and alone. It is above everything going on below. It is like surfacing for a few still moments before diving again into the sea of everyday concerns.

What I do in these spaces is still just as clumsy and non-routine as it always was. These spaces are big enough to allow for a lot of movement, and that is what I need. But I am diligent about making and being in these spaces. It’s a small amount of routine that even I can manage. It’s a rhythm in service of open, rhythmless, creative space.

After a good ride, and a few quiet minutes on the roof, I get to bed pretty early. And the next morning, without fail, but also without fanfare (except that of a few excited birds), I get up at my time, my sacred space, 5:15 a.m.

To everyone that has generously offered me a bit of your time and attention; to anyone that has found use or meaning in this jumbled collection of thoughts, scraps, notes and ideas; and to someone that has endured many late nights while I pull things things together to share with all of you…
T-H-A-N-K  Y-O-U  !!!
Keep following, keep sharing, and I’ll keep trying to make things worth your time and attention.  
Tumblr friends 4 life! 

To everyone that has generously offered me a bit of your time and attention; to anyone that has found use or meaning in this jumbled collection of thoughts, scraps, notes and ideas; and to someone that has endured many late nights while I pull things things together to share with all of you…

T-H-A-N-K  Y-O-U  !!!

Keep following, keep sharing, and I’ll keep trying to make things worth your time and attention.  

Tumblr friends 4 life! 

Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.

This little bit of wisdom was written in Dokkōdō (The Path of Aloneness), a book of 21 maxims on how to live life, written by the 17th century japanese samurai Miyamoto Musashi a week before he died. 

I also like “do not depend on a partial feelings” and “do not hold on to possessions you no longer need”.

(via stoweboyd)

(Source: heartbloodspirit, via stoweboyd)

Look deep into his hollow, wise eyes! I made this to put on the shelf of my digital reference library, where I collect articles, books, quotes, and videos.
This is the stuff I consider cream of the crop, top shelf, share-worthy; the stuff I want to return to, reread, and relearn from. Check out and follow Field Study Library here →

Look deep into his hollow, wise eyes! I made this to put on the shelf of my digital reference library, where I collect articles, books, quotes, and videos.

This is the stuff I consider cream of the crop, top shelf, share-worthy; the stuff I want to return to, reread, and relearn from. Check out and follow Field Study Library here →

This is pretty much how I’m feeling right now about Days. We have built a pretty rad app, have amazing users, and I am lucky enough to be on the team creating for those users. Here is wishing you all amazing SaturDAYS. Get the app and record your weekend →

This is pretty much how I’m feeling right now about Days. We have built a pretty rad app, have amazing users, and I am lucky enough to be on the team creating for those users. Here is wishing you all amazing SaturDAYS. Get the app and record your weekend →

just breath and pay attention.

I turned this illustration into an iPhone wallpaper and thought I’d share. Crossing my fingers that iOS7 will allow anyone to create animated wallpapers. For now, grab the static version through the links below.  (also thinking of creating different color options down the road. Stay tuned on that.)
Download iPhone 5 wallpaper
Download iPhone 4 wallpaper

I turned this illustration into an iPhone wallpaper and thought I’d share. Crossing my fingers that iOS7 will allow anyone to create animated wallpapers. For now, grab the static version through the links below.  (also thinking of creating different color options down the road. Stay tuned on that.)

Download iPhone 5 wallpaper

Download iPhone 4 wallpaper

Days posts now look 17000x better on Tumblr. So check that out (here) or JUST TRY IT

Days posts now look 17000x better on Tumblr. So check that out (here) or JUST TRY IT

(Source: days-app)

Odd as it may seem, I am my remembering self. The experiencing self, who does my living, is like a stranger to me.

Daniel Kahneman (via Jeremy Fisher, Photo Sharing and The Tyranny of the Remembering Self)