Creatively Absurd

Don’t Be Afraid to Cut Corners

If you click About in the navigation, you’ll see the quote that inspired this blog’s name. I’m the sort of person who visualizes a solution in place while trying to figure something out. I was faced with the design challenge of planning out my bedroom, formerly a bathroom. Oh I forgot to mention, the room is an octagon… with a sink on one side.

My designs are riddled with clean lines, geometry and ratios like phi and thirds, but above all, my biggest design tool is symmetry. With a need for nightstands and visually squaring off my octagon canvas of a room, I opened my mind and let creativity take over.

In a podcast on creativity (that I can’t find the source for), an important concept on working without constraints was mentioned. It went something like –

"If you restrict your mindset to constraints, you’ll never innovate outside of them. Focus initially not on feasibility but about the best possible solution. Once identified, you can worry about implementation, but don’t let it affect the solution."

And then it clicked — Why not just cut a table in half and put the hypotenuse flush against the wall!?

Most people lost me at “cut the table in half”, but anyone who regularly thinks outside the box is familiar with this feedback. In fact, this negative feedback is what I use to validate many ideas. If I get the Okay from too many people, I know the idea is not original or disruptive enough.


  • Have faith in your ideas and enjoy the moment you prove others wrong.
  • Initially think about the best possible answer, then worry about feasibility.
  • Get creative and don’t be afraid to ‘cut corners’.
  • I’ll leave you with a quote from Sir Ken Robinson’s amazing TED Schools Kill Creativity presentation:
If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.
– Sir Ken Robinson

Bamboo, Calfskin & Steel

iPhone Cases of the Eccentric

The smartphone case your choose becomes an important part of the image you project — whether you took the extra time to differentiate, or just settled for one of the gel cases inside AT&T.

I do though, knowledge the uneven playing field that exists for Android users. As of December 2011, Wikipedia lists 133 different mobile phones that use Android and designing for each of these is illogical. One of the main reason I switched from the Samsung Galaxy S (Captivate) was boring case options. Not only conducive for developers, but the iPhone’s single form-factor every two years allows for specialized peripherals.

With a bit of shame but complete honesty, I can say I’ve looked at over 90% of all iPhone cases currently in production. Here I present three unique styles (all from the Pacific Northwest!) in an attempt to convince you to ditch that standard gel case your share with millions of smartphone users around the world.

Personalized Bamboo



Tune in to next week’s episode of Intervention because I’ve got an obsession with bamboo. My aesthetic could be described as Contemporary Luxury and bamboo says it all. Minimalistic with modern and clean lines, bamboo’s natural texture offers a sense of luxury reinforced by its natural feel. Though I present three cases here, this is easily my default choice. With the ability to upload custom vector designs, each case hand finished by the Grove team in Portland Oregon, offers a truly personalized option for the eccentric iPhone users like myself. I chose the 2 Birds design by Seattle artist Mike Klay because of its intricate but clean design. Along with its faint smell of bamboo comes the appreciation knowing that this case was at one point a living breathing form of life, as opposed to a silicon injected mold from China. With a 6 week turnaround and price point starting at $69, these cases might be reserved for those big mobile & design nerds, though I’ve never once doubted my investment.

Streamlined Luxury

Landmarks & Lions


An obsession with streamlined design had left me hopeless in the search for a phone case & wallet combo until I found this diamond in the rough from the 2010 founded shop Landmarks & Lions. Completely off the grid (a key for differentiation) L&L uses quality materials like this black lambskin leather and turquoise wool felt to create luxurious and functional accessories. Since I can get by with only my driver’s license and debit card, this is my go-to case when going super-streamlined.

The Hipster Hardcover

Luxe Plates


If I wasn’t so darn clumsy, there would be no need for a case. Because honestly, there is nothing sexier than the feeling of a naked… iPhone 4S in your hands. Even with Gorilla Glass on the front screen, this phone might not survive your lifestyle (and it’s definitely not college-proof!). But there are still options to customize your phone in the form of these stainless steel-etched back plates offered by Seattle based Luxe Plates. Applied using a removable adhesive, these plates sport a textured and rebellious look while preserving the original form factor.

Have you found a well designed and unique case? (and I’m not talking about attaching a bottle opener…) Snap a pic and share your smartphone cases for others to see.