An Opine about Design

2016.10.09 links

I followed the advice of this article this morning — 5 Refreshing Things You Should Do Every Sunday Morning (No Matter What). The first thing I did was sat on the back patio and watched the sun come up. Good advice indeed.

My old friends at R+M have some more good advice to share: The Dreaded Meeting

10 Books Every Creator Needs To Read I struggle with the idea of designers spending their time reading versus using that time actually making stuff. But I have rad more than half the list and can vouch for the list as a worthwhile way to spend your time.

Having a daughter who wants to be an architect and a son who wants to be an animator, I found both of these articles intriguing: Architecture Schools Are Failing. This Designer Is Calling For A Revolution and Lecture in Progress takes a look behind the scenes at animation and production company Goldenwolf.

interview with ronan bouroullec in paris from designboom further reminds me that I wish I had studied industrial design.

Finally, my favorite article from last week was 9 Tricks to Appear Smart in Brainstorming Meetings. Brilliant! I’m a sucker for Trick #2.

The Essential Look at Everything Library

Although Sister Corita Kent was the impetus for starting the now defunct Look at Everything blog, there have been many other influences that have led me down this path as well. Teachers from my college days, but also a number of books I’ve come across over the years, too. Here is the Essential list:

The Art of Looking Sideways, Allan Fletcher
Of all the books I have on my shelves at home, this one never collects any dust. It is a constant source of inspiration. From the careful design of each spread to the content on each page, The Art of Looking Sideways rejuvenates my soul every time I open it. I suggest keeping it handy and not reading it cover to cover. Rather, pick it up on occasion, turn to any random page and start there. Repeat this process any time you are stuck looking for ideas, need a break, can’t sleep at night or want to take an adventure but have no money.

I recently stumbled onto this site which is very nice.

How to See, George Nelson
Nelson is one of my heroes, not just because he was an amazing designer who helped shape the USA post-World War Two, but because he was a deep thinker. I don’t know that he was the greatest designer ever, but he had the right people around him and knew everything there was to know about Good Design. How to See is exactly what the title says it is … a how-to manual that every artist should commit to memory.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards
My 11th grade art teacher recommended reading this book and I scoffed at her. After thumbing through its pages at the bookstore one day, I thought to myself “Why read about drawing when the best way to learn about drawing was to just do it?”. I’m not sure if that was wisdom or that I did not want to read the book. Either way, it was a foolish mistake. This book is filled with more than the how-to’s, it is filled with a lot of why’s.

Ways of Seeing, John Berger
You can find the original TV broadcasts of Ways of Seeing on YouTube. They are extraordinarily dated and downright hilarious at times, but the information Berger presents is second to none. Reading the book instead of watching the program will scrub away any of the 1970’s sheen, and leave you with nothing but a wonderful treatise on art, life and seeing the world.

On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, Alexandra Horowitz
All of the other books in the Essential catalog focus on art or design, but On Looking, a rather new addition, focuses on the rest of the world. Although it is a little long at times, it is a delightful read from which you will learn about art, science, exploring and a number of other fascinating subjects.

What library would not be complete without a few magazines.
On a monthly basis, both Travel & Leisure and the National Geographic both provide an endless source of exploration around the world. I love T&L because it is so aspirational (namely being that I have neither money for travel nor time for leisure), showing how life can be led. And the Geographic goes without saying as one of the most important lens from which the world can and should be viewed. lately they’ve become a little preachy at times, but every single issue has something to learn.

And finally, out library needs an audio section. After much listening and deliberation, it has been determined that a visual blog needs to have a theme song. The Grateful Dead’s Eyes of the World has been selected to be the official song of Look at Everything.

2016.09.30 links


Who was Ladislao José Biro, how did he invent the ballpoint pen and how did it help in World War II?

Contrarian Leadership Advice From ‘The Father of Advertising” When the well runs dry, David Ogilvy always has something to replenish the reserves. It amazes me how advice given 60 years ago is still so relevant today.

5 Clever and Inspiring TED Talks That Will Make You a Better Writer One Day I will become a writer.

What’s Your Ideal Running Speed to Conserve Energy? My son and I run almost every morning. I’m up that early, but pretty impressive for a 12 year old. I’ll have to sit down and do the math on this one over the weekend.

Leading for Creativity: October 5 – November 2 I wish I could attend. Right up my alley.

And to help satiate the design in me:

Design de vivre: Paris as told by graphic designers

Design Freak, Meet Tech Geek

By Design

Failure should never be an option.

Ratcliff Etcetera

Wikipedia says:
et cetera (in English; /ɛtˈsɛtərə/; Latin pronunciation: [ɛt ˈkeːtɛra]) (rare: etceteros) (abbreviation: etc. or &c. (US English) or etc. or &c (UK English)) is a Latin expression that means “and other things”, or “and so forth”. It is taken directly from the Latin expression, which literally means “and the rest (of such things)” and is a calque of the Greek “καιὶτα τέρα” (kai ta tera: “and the other things”; the more usual Greek form is “και τα λοιπά” kai ta loipa: “and the remainder”). Et means “and”; cētera means “the rest”.

I’m Ratcliff. An old pal I used to work with always called me “Rat”. Some might find that derogatory, but I have grown to embrace my Ratness. Etcetera is everything else this site is about. Rat Etc for short. I’m the Creative Director of Schlumberger and this site is a little bit about me, some of what I do, but a lot more about things I think about and find interesting. Creative thinking that solves business, design, innovative ideas, and other such matters.

A few years ago I had a blog called “Look at Everything” and kept it going off and on for a while, but finally opted to not renew its domain and move on with life. The concept was that I wanted to use it as a platform to discuss things I looked at as well as show my portfolio. It was a good idea and I’ll recycle a few good posts, but it was not working for me on a number of levels. Thematically, I site did not work for me any longer, as I want to pursue other things that do not circle around the art and design world.

I hope you find this site interesting and intriguing. I’ll leave the comments open on some of the posts, see if anyone bites.



Ratcliff Creative is an independent design consultancy specializing in big ideas to connect people with brands.

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