Collage of hands drawing a musical score with shapes and symbols
Collage of hands drawing a musical score with shapes and symbols

Design and music intersect in many areas; fashion, art, filmmaking and set design, yet one relatively obscure but staggeringly creative area is in the design of graphic notation used by composers. Graphic notation is one side that is relatively unknown outside the sometimes rarefied world of orchestral and experimental music.

Composers have always grappled with ways to express themselves, and in the twentieth century, several began using this radical graphical approach to writing scores. It was a two-fingered salute to the prevailing musical establishment.

Graphic notation functions the same way as traditional musical notation but uses abstract symbols, images, and…


Quirky illsutation of a man wearing headphones receiving podcasts by radar
Quirky illsutation of a man wearing headphones receiving podcasts by radar

Are you perennially challenged to get any reading done? Are you the type that wakes up each morning with a book stuck to your face after only one page?

Podcasts might be the answer. Although they don’t have the tactile feel of paper, they can have the nail biting tension of a good book and a powerful dose of brain enhancing information in a short format. What’s best, you can play them at double speed if you’re in a hurry.

If you enjoy being entertained and informed about such things as design, art, creativity and using human behaviour to design…


Collage of Steve Jobs scanning an iPad
Collage of Steve Jobs scanning an iPad

Yes, it’s another Steve Jobs tribute, but this is good, trust me. Steve Jobs believed in stripping away non-essential choices when making products easier to use and learn over time. Sounds obvious now, and it has become the opening chat up line for any discerning product designer and manager. Yet it’s how Jobs framed this thinking that makes it interesting.

In designing our products, we build up many choices, alternative routes and flows, ideas on how our product should behave and work.

Ken Kocienda, principal engineer at Apple during the development of the first iPad virtual keyboard, recounts how the…


I joined Twitter 10 years ago and today, I wilfully pressed the deactivate button.

Poof! @_davidhall was dead as a dodo. #GoodBye was the cold parting tweet it presented me with. It had promptly flipped me the bird.

Twitter was part of my daily ritual. Wake, shower, Twitter. Drive, park, Twitter. Cook, eat, Twitter. Then a quick tweet in the bathroom. You get the picture.

I had already freed myself from the shackles of Facebook’s insidious behaviour engineering and the full annoyance of fluffy Instagram influencers. …


How many books about Usability and UX that you’ve read were uninspiring reads? Dull even? Duller than a book on accounting or gerbil maintenance?

This question came to me after cleaning out my library of design related books to make space for my wife and kids. The majority of titles hadn’t been touched since purchase. Their spines cracked as I leafed through them. Many of them held useful and well researched information. Many were expensive. Expensive enough to make you feel you must at least finish them to get any value.

It didn’t take long to decide that out of…

David Hall

Product designer http://davidhall.io

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