Monthly Archives: October 2007

About Flush

(Hide/Show omitted text.)

“Number One”/Quick Overview

Flush is a dumping ground for notes, thoughts, and ideas related to design. The point is to get everything worth consideration pondering about out of the head and down onto the literal and metaphorical paper. Put in perspective, these ideas can either marinate and brew to deliciousness or shrivel up and die ironically in the recycling bin. This way, the mind is always fresh and never stale, and creativity can stream out without hesitation. Ivan W. Lam writes this design blog as a way for him to think, explore, and learn about everything design without feeling like he has to constantly be correct and perfect about his design decisions. In other words, this blog prevents Ivan from going crazy ca-ca.

Origin of Concept

While it was not the spark that motivated the birth of this blog, The original idea of unloading the mind of static data was conceived arrived a year before the birth of Flush this blog, in Fall 2006. Ivan had probably heard or read something from some well-known designer’s lecture online, that ideas are not good staying in the head, because 1) ideas in the head only are useless without execution, and 2) they may be perceived as the “greatest” or “perfect” “the most awesome” solution, when in fact, they may be are darn right straight up crappy, usually realized when those ideas they materialize into actions the world of real people where that follows laws of practicality are followed. This concept quickly became the subtitle of Ivan’s previous design blog, IWIL Blog on Design: Get Those Crappy Ideas Out of Your Head (with “IWIL” being Ivan’s full name initials).

Fast forward to Summer of 2007, when Ivan had heard a SXSW 2007 podcast (more about this in a later entry) where a panelist mentioned the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. In a desperate need for life organization at the time, Ivan actually spent money on a book, a medium where their which the appearance extremely fascinated him while the content usually did not. However, this book was the opposite. A concept that Allen mentioned in the book was very similar to the advice Ivan had heard the previous fall. Allen further explained that the mind can only hold so many thoughts at once, and we’re bound to forget something sooner or later, leaving us that “Something’s missing” feeling. So in an attempt to capture all worthwhile thoughts, Ivan has begun to implement the “GTD” method and applied it to this blog Flush.

The Motivation

Then, in early October 2007, Ivan had come across an entry on the design blog SpeakUp by Armin Vit (More about this entry in a later post). As this incident will be extrapolated in a later post, Ivan had become inspired by Armin’s story anecdote about his current place in his life and his career right before his announcement of starting a design service through his now-company UnderConsideration LLC. Seeing it as a sign, Ivan felt that he needed to carpe diem and do something to start his career, in hopes that he could at least be as accomplished as Armin someday. Besides completing the portfolio on which he was three months late on completing, he decides that he needs to get out there and be heard. What more appropriate way to express for personality and stability project demonstrate determination on an ongoing project than a blog?

A Little Warning

As mentioned above, Flush is basically stuff (both good and crappy) that comes out of Ivan’s head. So most of what he says on here are opinions. Do not eat them up as facts, because 1) they’re opinions, and 2) he doesn’t know everything and he may be wrong. In which case, corrections to any of the few factual statements, as well as all grammar, typos, and punctuation mistakes, put on here this blog are always encouraged.

Shortage of Fiber

While Ivan may not be swamped by a sh*tload endless amount of design work or have a family to support, he may take a while to crap pump out these posts. Even though he had already admitted it was already mentioned that this blog will have a lot of opinions, and crap, and opinionated crap, Ivan is still striving to put together well-composed, thoughtful entries that may be of use for the readers. And for a non-professional writer, that takes time. As you can probably tell, he’s not that good at writing, but he’s trying to improve that, by constantly practicing, because he also believes that designers still need to know how to writeverbally communicate well. And to make something good will require more editing than the typical writer. So please excuse him if he doesn’t get out posts as quickly as other design blogs. The best way to know when he has a new post is to subscribe to this blog.

Why “Flush”?

  • Flush it down.
  • Flush it out.
  • Flush left.
  • Flushed.
  • Because it’s sanitary.

Pick your favorite reason(s).

About Ivan

A newbie graphic designer (if you let him call himself that a graphic designer), Ivan W. Lam had studied graphic design at UC Davis in California. He is/will be a graduate of UCD and is considering a grad program in graphic design or design with a business curriculum in a few years. Currently in his early twenties, he has been an AIGA member, SF Chapter since June 2006 and currently lives in the Bay Area, and enjoys naps. His favorite design blogs at the moment (October 2007) are swissmiss and Balla Dóra Typo-Graphika, followed by the classics SpeakUp and Design Observer.

Last edited 31 October 2007.


100 Pieces and a Star

50 Books/50 Covers Program

Last night was probably the first time where I went to an AIGA event without any of my design friends. I went to the 50 Books/50 Covers Opening Reception at Chronicle Books in SF. I went with my friends from home because I don’t think I’m confident enough yet to go by myself to an event which I don’t know anyone. And besides, it’s always nice to just go to an event with someone you know.

The reception was nice; there weren’t any exceptionally great pieces on display. But there was this one children’s book called Art by Patrick McDonnell (who does the comic Mutts) that I really like. It was about a boy named Art and he does many different kinds of art. It was sweet and rhyme-y and I think it’s a good introduction into the arts for kids. And that made me realize that it’s really simple ideas like this that just gets the message across and touches people’s hearts. It’s nice sometimes, I think, to bring out the inner child of the designer and the audience when appropriate.

The reception last night made me realize that 1) there’s so much out there in the design community that I don’t know about and 2) I need to get out there and start learning about it and find out what being a designer means, socially. And the event gave me that chance to get a feel of what it’s like to be in the “design community.”

And I definitely felt that when I saw Eric Heiman from Volume Inc. at the reception. I learned/heard about Eric a year ago in Davis when he came to talk about his work and design in general. His suggestion for design students to work on non-class projects together sparked the formation of The Collab, started by my friend Milan, and a bunch of us Davis kids put together a week-long design/art show last May. So Eric’s probably the first “design stars” whom I’ve seen in person. (More about my wish to see/meet “design stars” in a later entry.) And while he may not be as well known as Michael Bierut or Paula Scher, he is special on my list as one of the people that was there as an influence from the beginning of my design career.


This is a Soft Opening. Pun Optionally Intended.

Finally. After a week of thinking and planning, followed by three days of constant code-select all-copy-paste-preview coding, I’ve arrived to a design that I am more or less satisfied with. I’m really excited about this project and I really want it to go somewhere, although I think part of my excitement came from the fact that I found out that Blogger lets you blog with their service but use your domain name as the address, for free! And it lets you take out that annoying Navigation bar at the top of the page. I’m still crediting Blogger on the site, so it’s not like I’m totally ignoring them.


Anywho, in the next few posts, I will have a series of introductory entries talking about the blog and my background. But just real quick, I want to say that this blog is basically a dumping ground for any design-related ideas or thoughts that pop up in my head. I’m “dumping” them here so I won’t have the assumption that that “really good idea” in my head is going to come out just as good. Sometimes I might have something that actually is good, and in which case, I can look at it from a distance (away from my head) and see what I can do with it. I will try to have mostly thoughtful entries and hopefully start a conversation going. In the mean time, enjoy the sidebar, and subscribe to the blog!