Information – Entropy

August 5, 2014

Will information technology affect our minds the same way the environment was affected by our analogue technology? Designers hold a key position in dealing with ever increasing data pollution. We are mostly focussed on speeding things up, on making sharing easier, faster, more accessible. But speed, usability, accessibility are not the main issue anymore. More

Putting Thought Into Things

July 22, 2014

To get a good perspective on our clients and their users, we start our projects with research. We go mobile first because it naturally gives prioritization, and we want all the content first so we can design in the browser. The process is so clear in conference speeches and weblog posts that it is already More

iA Writer Pro

December 20, 2013

After four years and over 1 Million downloads of iA Writer, we’ve introduced something new. iA Writer Pro is a writing suite that boldly goes where no other writing app has gone before. The reception has been phenomenal. iA Writer Pro is dominating the App Store Rankings around the globe. In order to cope with More

Logo, Bullshit & Co., Inc.

September 5, 2013

Everybody likes logos. Everybody wants their own logo. Everybody wants to make their own logo. Everybody has a computer and some fonts. Anybody can make a logo. What makes designers think they are so special? Anybody can make a logo. No doubt. It’s not complicated. Just try a couple of fonts and colors, choose the More

Learning to See

March 19, 2013

Learning to design is learning to see, an adventure that gets more and more captivating the further you go. A love letter to my profession… Our mind is not a camera. Seeing is not a passive act. We see what we expect to see, or, as Anaïs Nin put it so beautifully: “We don’t see More

Mountain Lion’s New File System

July 25, 2012

Apple has been working on its file system and with iOS it had almost killed the concept of folders — before reintroducing them with a peculiar restriction: only one level! With Mountain Lion it brings its one folder level logic to OSX. What could be the reason for such a restrictive measure? Classic folder systems More

iA Writer Update: Mac, iPhone & iPad

July 23, 2012

We have just updated iA Writer for Mac, iPhone and iPad. We have been working hard to make them compatible with the upcoming Mountain Lion and iCloud features. What’s new? More


June 14, 2012

How do you deal with erroneous tweets? Not any erroneous tweets, your erroneous tweets. The tweets that you misspelled or, worse, that you sent out spiked with false information or late night knee jerking randomness. What do you do when the retweets start and then people correct you, and then people react to the reactions even though you deleted it right away? More

NZZ Relaunch: An iA Checkup

June 8, 2012

The Swiss newspaper NZZ just launched its much anticipated redesign. The design was made by the German agency Meiré and Meiré that has also done the print design. Commenting on work from people in your own field is a delicate matter. Usually, we don’t publicly comment on work by other agencies in our field. But More

Responsive Typography: The Basics

June 1, 2012

When we built websites we usually started by defining the body text. The body text definition dictates how wide your main column is, the rest used to follow almost by itself. Used to. Until recently, screen resolution was more or less homogenous. Today we deal with a variation of screen sizes and resolutions. This makes things much more complicated. More

Follow-up to “Sweep the Sleaze”

May 31, 2012

Our call to question the common practice of blindly adding social media buttons to every page got a lot of attention and found a lot of friends across the board. That’s great. But let’s look at some of the more critical reactions… More

Sweep the Sleaze

May 29, 2012

Promising to make you look wired and magically promote your content in social networks, the Like, Retweet, and +1 buttons occupy a good spot on pretty much every page of the World Wide Web. Because of this, almost every major site and world brand is providing free advertising for Twitter and Facebook. But do these buttons work? It’s hard to say. What we know for sure is that these sleazy buttons promote their own brands — and that they tend to make you look a little desperate. Not too desperate, just a little bit. More

New Site with Responsive Typography

May 15, 2012

With the chaos of different screen sizes and a new Generation of Web browsers, the design paradigms of layout and typography have shifted away from static layouts and system fonts to dynamic layouts and custom Web fonts. But screens have not just changed in size but also in pixel density. In other words: We do not just need responsive layouts, we also need responsive typefaces. To test that assumption, iA has created its new Website with responsive typography and a custom built responsive typeface. More

Improving the Digital Reading Experience

April 3, 2012

There is a difference between checking Google Maps on your iPhone and asking a stranger for directions. It matters whether you listened to Beethoven’s 9th in a concert hall or in your living room, whether it plays from a vinyl LP or from your iPod. King Lear is not one and the same experience when seen at the theatre, studied on paper, or scanned on your Kindle. More


July 5, 2011

The idea: Look at the history, shape and sound pattern of each letter, sum it up in 140 characters, and collect a beautiful specimen for each letter. More

iA Writer: On Prices and Features

June 16, 2011

It’s been two weeks since the launch of Writer for Mac and it went off like a rocket. We sold almost 5,000 copies in two weeks. Of course, version 1.0 had some birth defects (1.01 is out now), but the feedback was overwhelmingly positive — with the exception of a few complaints, mostly about the More

iA Writer for Mac

May 28, 2011

A better tool doesn’t make a better craftsman, but a good tool makes working a pleasure. iA Writer for Mac is a digital writing tool that makes sure that all your concentration goes into the text instead of the program. iA Writer has no preferences. It is how it is. It works like it works. More

Business Class: Freemium for News?

May 4, 2011

I had a perspective changing talk on the subject of pay walls with the chief executive of a big publishing company (no, I can’t tell you who). He asked me what I think about pay walls. I told him what I always say: The main currency of news sites is attention and not dollars and that I believe that it is his job, as a publisher, to turn that attention into money to keep the attention machine running. He nodded and made the following, astonishing statement. More

A Web Designer on Fukushima

April 26, 2011

I’m not a nuclear expert. I am a 40-year-old Swiss Web designer, with a degree in philosophy, living in Tokyo. And I’m a father of a two-year-old boy. I was kind of nonchalant about nuclear energy so far, but not anymore. For obvious reasons. I’ve read a lot recently; it’s hard to understand the discussion. I’m not talking about technicalities. One can learn the basics pretty quickly. I’m more confused about the overall logic of the debate about our future. What I’d like to know: Is more technology really the right solution? Don’t we have enough technology? What is it that we are really lacking? More

Writer for iPad: FAQ

January 13, 2011

Here are the frequently asked questions about iA Writer for iPad. First things first — a walkthrough/tutorial for Writer for iPad. Best viewed on iPad in portrait mode in full-screen… More

iPad App Sales Numbers: WIRED vs. Writer

December 3, 2010

We’re tracking the performance of iA Writer with a wonderful app called AppViz from ideaswarm. AppViz not only allows you to track your own sales — you can also use it to evaluate how much other apps make, if you have comparable sales numbers. My first question was: How much does WIRED make? Here is More

Open Letter to my Friend Zeldman

November 22, 2010

After an anecdotal back and forth with Zeldman about the .Net awards where he was co-organiser sponsor, judge, and recipient of three medals, someone asked me later whether I was against prizes in general or just the “circle jerk” prizes, I answered that “All awards should go from old uncles (like me or @zeldman or More

News on iPad, the Obvious Way

November 18, 2010

Today our first news project for iPad went online, and we are proud like kids. Technically, it’s “just” an HTML5 optimization, but it has been a demanding design process to get to the simplicity it has right now. Unlike most news launches on iPad, the response so far from its readers has been overwhelmingly positive. More

Form and Information

October 27, 2010

Here is the lecture I gave last week at Keio University on creativity, information, and innovation. I’d like to share it with everybody so Keio students can see what other people think about the presentation. More

Stephen Fry on Writer

October 22, 2010

“Stephen Fry, what are your four iPad apps you can’t live without?” Guess what: IMDB, Instapaper, Soundhound, and Writer. Fry: “Astonishingly simple. Everything goes away except for the writing experience.” More

iPad: Scroll or Card?

October 21, 2010

How do you navigate content on the iPad? Scroll or flip? In 1987, the biggest neck beards in tech held a conference on the Future of Hypertext and there were two camps, “Card Sharks” and “Holy Scrollers”. They had an epic battle over the following question: Should you scroll or flip pages on the screen? More

The Pleasure of the Text

October 19, 2010

I wasn’t expecting this. In three weeks, we’ve sold over 13,000 apps and every day we seem to climb up another rung in the App Store. While selling apps makes the product feel real and secures future development, the biggest personal satisfaction comes from the feedback our app gets from professional writers. More

Gap: Controlled Brand Demolition? No.

October 13, 2010

There has been speculation about whether the Gap redesign was a super dynamic marketing stunt or whether it was just mere tomfoolery. If you know how slowly big corporations operate, the answer to that seems pretty clear. However, in the light of the recent brand redesign hullaballoo (London2012, Tropicana, IKEA, Aol, iTunes10, Gap, MySpace) the question becomes whether scandalous redesigns help brand awareness or do they hurt brand image is worth looking at. More

Work @ iA

October 7, 2010

We are are looking for an experienced Cocoa developer and a junior web developer in Tokyo. Internship positions in Zurich and Tokyo are also available. More

Writer for iPad: Sales and Reactions

September 24, 2010

We launched the iA Writer on September 22nd. The feedback was nothing short of sensational. We sold over 2,000 apps the first day, which got us a #11 in the iTunes Charts for overall paid apps and #6 for paid apps in the productivity category. And the app keeps on selling. Here are some reactions and a little FAQ. More

Can Information be Architected?

My speech “iA on IA,” held at EuroIA, for those who could not attend the conference. Download as a PDF (5.8MB) In case you haven’t heard already: Our Writer for iPad/iPhone is available at the Apple Store. More info here. More

Writer for iPad

September 22, 2010

The key to good writing is not that magical glass of Bordeaux, the right kind of tobacco or that groovy background music. The key is focus. What you need to write well is a spartan setting that allows you to fully concentrate on your text and nothing but your text. Many professional writers use SimpleText or Textedit because these are the only writing programs that are totally distraction free. But text editors are not perfect. That’s why we made Writer. More

Can Experience be Designed?

September 17, 2010

Do experience designers shape how users feel, or do they shape with respect to how users feel? A small but important nuance. Did you catch it? No? Then let me ask you this way: Do architects design houses or do they design “inhabitant experiences?” The bullshit answer is “They design inhabitant experiences”. The pragmatic answer More

WIRED on iPad: Just like a Paper Tiger…

May 28, 2010

First, the paper magazine was crammed into the little iPad frame. To compensate for the lack of interactive logic, this pretty package was provided with a fruity navigation. In the end it was spiced with in-app links, plucked with a couple of movies and salted with audio files (“interactive”). Then it was off to marketing. And sold 24,000 apps. Dammit. It’s the Nineties all over again. More

Cosmic 140—Art for Geeks

May 22, 2010

Here it is, our next Web Trend Map. No Metro lines, no URLS. This time, it’s the 140 most influential people on twitter, sorted by #name #handle #category #influence #activity. Plus: When they started tweeting and what they first said. More

Designing for iPad: Reality Check

April 12, 2010

Over the last two months we have been working on several iPad projects. Two news apps, a social network thing and a word processor—without having the actual device to test. The question “Are we designing apps, web sites or something entirely new?” has been torturing us until that magical package from New York finally crossed our door sill. Here is a quick write up of design insights before and after the appearance of the iPad at our office. More

iA’s 2006 Facebook Designs, Redesigned

March 8, 2010

From December 2006 to February 2007 we were in touch with the product manager of facebook. The prospective: Redesigning facebook. Eventually. Since the contract was never signed, we kept our designs in the drawer. Until now… More

Meet C140, Our Next Trend Map

March 4, 2010

It’s one year since our last Web Trend Map. A lot has happened, but there are not enough changes in the landscape of domains in the last 12 months. The big changes happened one level higher, on the social layer, that is: On Twitter and facebook. Since twitter is likely to become the next web protocol and—together with facebook—close and closer to replacing the domain/search paradigm, we decided to make an infographic that shows how and through whom it developed. More

API for News? Reuters, NYT & iA Inc.

February 23, 2010

Last week at Media2010, Marc Frons (Chief Technology Officer, Digital Operations, New York Times), Nic Fulton (Chief Scientist, Thomson Reuters) and me were asked to answer the following questions about digital news: 1. When and how should news organizations release copyright-free material? 2. What are the key points of design that increase readership of news websites and other news platforms? More

The TPUTH, Part II

February 11, 2010

Projects that will probably make some money one day are more probably running out of money very soon. So what is our revenue plan for TPUTH? How are we going to monetize satirical over sized headlines? More

The TPUTH, Part I

February 10, 2010

TPUTH brings four major iA strings together: 1. designing news, 2. monitoring web trends, 3. monetizing content, and 4. being straight forward. In the first post, we’d like to explain some things about the Design and the Technology… More

iPad Stencil for Omnigraffle

February 5, 2010

This is the first version of an OmniGraffle template for folks designing iPad apps. It’s not complete; we plan to update it as we’re working on our own designs. More

The iPad and the Publishing Industry

January 27, 2010

The iPad will save the publishing industry as much as the iPod has saved the music industry. Meaning: There are a couple of things in publishing and user interface design that it will change. What things? What’s going to happen to the news industry? The book industry? Will it allow us to sell content? What impact does it have on user interface design? More

What’s Next in Web Design?

January 5, 2010

Thinking about what’s next online is fun because everything you wish to come true will come true. While commercial products obey to the laws of the market, which in part are influenced by the resources needed to produce these products, the web is defined by the user. If the user wants something he will either get it or create it himself. To see beyond today’s limits of the web all we need to do is see what is needed. More

Web Trend Map Video Interview

December 10, 2009

I sat down with the video team of for a short interview about the Web Trend Map. As you will learn in the interview we are planning to publish a book (a Web Trend Map Atlas) next year. More

Can Experience be Designed?

December 2, 2009

First, think about a number between one and ten. Then take a step back and look at the words “User Experience Design” as if you had never seen them. Look at them closely until you hear them with the voice of Christopher Walken: USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN. What do you think? More

Dynamic Pricing for Digital Goods

November 18, 2009

We decided to sell the WordPress template of our own site. The problem we had to solve was not “why?” but “how much”? After a long back and forth we just couldn’t figure it out, so we decided to try something new: Dynamic pricing. More

Kenya Hara On Japanese Aesthetics

October 29, 2009

Why does it seem like Japan is more attuned to the appreciation of beauty? Do the Japanese value the aesthetic component and experience more than other places (for example, America)? Are things in general better designed in Japan? More

Internazionale: Look and Feel

October 16, 2009

Here are a few design explorations we did for Internazionale. We’d like to post them without comment as they’re curious to hear what you think. More

Google, Yahoo, Bing: Beyond the Hype

October 15, 2009

The story is quite clear: Yahoo is going down. Google is going up, Bing is insignificant. It’s becoming quite clear who the real winner of the Yahoo!-Microsoft deal is. More

Tell me again: Who Relaunched

October 13, 2009

I got an email the other day from a young entrepreneur that asked whether we send out press releases. The answer is twisted: So far I have refrained from sending out press releases. Because press releases suck. But that might change… More

From Black to White: iA redesigns

October 5, 2009

After covering a high percentage of newspaper sites in Switzerland and redoing DIE ZEIT, the most prestigious newspaper in the German speaking market, iA moved to the other very challenging side of the online news spectrum: With we redesigned one of the big players the red-top press industry. More

Links in Print: Story of a Beautiful Failure

September 30, 2009

In January 2009 we were invited to take part in a paid pitch for the print redesign for the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. All in all five agencies took part in the pitch. We were the only UX oriented agency. The story of a beautiful failure. More

Concept Internazionale

September 11, 2009

What is the sweet spot in interactivity of a site with a very dedicated readership, how do we make the site deeply interactive but keep in check the dangers associated with such an approach? More

Zeit Online, Freshly Squeezed

September 5, 2009

iA has redesigned ZEIT ONLINE, the Internet edition of the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT. We have been working on the project since August 2008. With over 10 million visits and 60million page views per month, ZEIT ONLINE is one of the biggest media portals in Germany. More

The Value of Information

August 31, 2009

When confronted with the necessity of offering news for free, editors are quick at pointing at the cost involved in news production. Which of course is besides the point. Information on the Internet is as common as snow in the arctic. You can’t expect Eskimos to buy snow. But, hey, wait, this is not just another rant with the usual talking points. After producing news site after news site for a wide range of customers, we actually have something to contribute… More

The Spectrum of User Experience (1)

June 30, 2009

As we all perfectly know, designers are narcissists; programmers are nerds, and whoever wears a tie must be a clueless jerk. Designers, programmers and business people love to hate each other. That’s why we keep them separated. More

Web Trend Map 4: Coolest Gift For Geeks

June 2, 2009

It has been featured all across the web from Reddit and Digg to TechCrunch, BoingBoing, and Gawker. Now the latest version of our popular Web Trend Map is up for grabs. The Web Trend Map plots the Internet’s leading names and domains onto the Tokyo Metro map. Domains and personalities are carefully selected through dialogue with map enthusiasts, and every domain is evaluated based on traffic, revenue, and character. More

Kill Blog Comments?

April 23, 2009

Blog comments have an innate communication problem: You can’t discuss and moderate the discussion at the same time. More

Web Trend Map 4

April 3, 2009

Here it is, posted in a panic: Web Trend Map 4. We’ll give you a week for final feedback before we send it to the printer. More

Social Media Marketing? Kaboom, Baby!

March 22, 2009

Last week on twitter, writing the draft for this article, I claimed that social media marketer is just another word for spammer. If that upset you, don’t read the following text. More

Designing Firefox 3.2

March 16, 2009

In January 2000, T-Online asked us what we’d do if we could design a browser from scratch. Our answer was “Tabs”. Eight years later Aza Raskin, head of user experience at Mozilla, asked me what I think a new tab should look like. The answer after days of mailing back and forth: “Forget tabs!” More

Web Trend Map 4: Preview

January 4, 2009

While the first map was hacked together in an afternoon, the second took a week, and the third devoured a month of concentrated work, the fourth Web Trend Map (due in February) has already taken more time in preparation than all previous versions combined. More

Redesign of Doodle

November 28, 2008

Doodle is a simple Web app that allows people to “find a date and time for a group event.” It’s free and requires neither registration nor installation. With over 2 million users a month, it’s one of the most successful Web apps outside Silicon Valley. More

Calacanis on the Future of Start Ups

November 11, 2008

This is my rundown of the excellent presentation, “The Future of Startup Companies” by Jason Calacanis, whom I had the pleasure of meeting. Below is the video (starts at 9:10). More

Webapp Death Match: Google vs. Apple

November 10, 2008

With websites turning more and more into web applications, functionally as well as aesthetically, it’d be interesting to look at what makes a Web app work in terms of skinning. We start off by comparing two different approaches: HTML-skin vs. desktop-application-skin. In other words, Google versus Apple. More

The Age of Digital Baroque

Because so many of you have asked: yes, I still write. And I’m still working on the book. It’s killing me. I also write blog posts, but I don’t publish them anymore. Writing to kill dead trees has made me terribly insecure about my writing. Lately, before I click the “Publish” button, I start hearing that tune, and it goes somewhat like this: You’re so vain~ You probably think this Internet is about you~, and then I want have a smoke rather than attract another thousand page views. Now, maybe it’s not my fault. After all, blogging is over anyways, isn’t it? More

Japanese iPhone Line-up

July 10, 2008

“T.S.” came here the day before yesterday; Butch yesterday morning. Muzatani Yuki, Kurita Yuki, Nagaoka Juichi, and Ishita Takahiro came here six hours ago. All of them are waiting for SoftBank’s doors to open. By noon tomorrow they will be proud owners of the Japanese iPhone. More

Elvis and the Opposite

July 5, 2008

A 14-year old video blogger called Fred somehow managed to get a fan base of almost 45 Million users. Now instead of asking how that’s possible, Seth Godin and Robert Scoble trivialize this success. Did they forget what Elvis said? More


June 26, 2008

Perhaps Switzerland’s most ambitious news project to date, “Newsnetz” joins the forces of major Swiss newspapers and a series of local Swiss papers to become the country’s leading news domain in terms of reach, traffic, editorial size, and production. More

iA Opens Second Office in Switzerland

We had to be unusually secretive about the following developments. But now, we can finally lift the curtain. First, the big news project is finished. Second, we have opened a second office in Zürich, Switzerland. More

Data Gourmet

June 5, 2008

The IT-Revolution promised to free and enrich us. To free us from propaganda, to free us from mindless TV, to free us from advertisement torture, and to enrich us by letting machines do all the boring work so we’d have more free time. So, how did it go? More

Surfing the Avalanche!

April 11, 2008

The supposed recession is the best thing that could happen to us—to us readers, to us consumers, to us new media makers. More

Web Trend Map 3

It was featured by The Guardian, WIRED, Le Monde, Corriere, kottke, Boingboing, Techcrunch, Mashable, Valleywag and literally thousands of blogs. We are happy to announce that the coolest gift for geeks, the A0 poster of the 2008 Web Trend Map, is now up for grabs. More

From Yahoo to Yafoo?

February 20, 2008

In addition to Microsoft and Newscorp, there are rumors of a third bidder for Yahoo: Yahoo Japan. What? More

E.T. and his iPhone

February 15, 2008

Edward Tufte is big when it comes to information graphics in books—but a quick glimpse at his site will reveal that he is not the man to trust when it comes to interaction design.—Don’t beat an old man even if he’s throwing dirt they say, but when we saw him correcting Apple’s iPhone as if it was the white paper of one of his first year college students the iA alarm bells went off. More

With or Without Yahoo! Part II

February 5, 2008

This morning I tried to read the tea leaves. I’ve been studying the stocks of Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google to see whether Wall Street knows more than Silicon Valley. More

With or Without Yahoo! Part I

February 4, 2008

Steve Clayton from Microsoft is not so amused with their placement on the Webtrendmap. In the light of the hostile Yahoo! takeover Blitzkrieg we had this very revealing little exchange. More

Because It Matters

February 3, 2008

Like most Italians that lived through the war my Italian grandmother was a big fan of the United States: “They brought peace to Europe. You can’t beat that.” She told me to visit New York before 1999. “In 1999 the city is going to drown into the sea,” she said, “go there for me—before it’s too late.” And so I did in 1997, and it made her very happy. I ended up staying in New York for quite some time. Since then I have been addicted to New York and to American politics. More

Seth Godin & The Force

February 1, 2008

Is it all his fault? Yes and no. Being cheap with technology and going with a trashy server company is all our fault. Yet, when it comes to funky strategies and loads of attention, it’s all his fault. Without Seth there would be no trend map. Without the trend map there would be no attention. Without the attention there would be no server problems. Ironically, it was Seth that gave our server—the only and last trashy thing at iA—the death blow. More

iA Revamped

January 29, 2008

This redesign was in the making for a long time. It’s still a bit buggy, but we went for it now as the Web Trend Map forced us to change servers. More

Web Trend Map 2008 Beta

January 25, 2008

We present you with the 2008 Web Trend Map, in all its beautiful beta glory. This time we’ve taken almost 300 of the most influential and successful websites and pinned them down to the greater Tokyo-area train map. By popular demand, we enlarged the poster size from A3 to A0. We guarantee it will make a great addition to your home or office. More

Web Trend Map 2008: New Layers

January 15, 2008

Today we will present our Web Trend Map v3.0 at the Tokyo 2.0 event. This is the last sneak peek (more here) before the full map is posted for input prior to finalization. More

Trend Map 2008: What’s New?

January 11, 2008

As you can tell, we’ve redesigned the Web Trend Map from scratch. It’s now presented as an isometric landscape. More

Predictions for 2008

January 9, 2008

If the following predictions are as accurate as last year’s, we should make this a paid service. This year we have seven predictions. More

Looking Back on 2007

January 8, 2008

Here’s what we said was going to happen in 2007 one year ago, compared to what really happened… More

No Jacket Required

November 5, 2007

It’s been a hell of a year. Since our post, “Interface of a Cheeseburger” one year ago no stone has been left unturned, and next year is shaping up to be even crazier. At this point we need your help to move along… More

This is madness! No, This is Radiohead

October 22, 2007

The release of music for free online is certainly no new thing, with many bands finding success through file-sharing. That fill-sharing kills the record industry is also nothing new, however Radiohead recently made it official by showing that it’s possible the make and reach millions without either. More

Branding Crimes: 4. The Start-Button

September 13, 2007

We have hated this thing for over 12 Years now – the button that launches a pull-up menu. Only the twisted minds over at Redmond could come up with this. Yeah, I know it’s not a real “Start” button anymore, with Vista it’s become more of a clickable logo like the Macintosh one. But, after all this time, it is still a push-up menu. And that is another major branding crime. Why? More

A New Perspective

September 4, 2007

The Belgian weekly magazine with the funny name “Knack” ran a four page article on us. And of course we are very proud and happy about that. Yet, as it’s written in Dutch, we couldn’t comment on it. Until, flipping through the magazine, we discovered the flattest laptop. More

Branding Crimes: 2. Stealing Interfaces

September 2, 2007

A wonderful example of what not to do. Let us say it again: Brand = Interface. Copying interfaces defines you as a lamo second choice company. Their excuse is a milestone of ignorance in contemporary branding. Nokia’s Executive VP & General Manager of Multimedia. More

Branding Crimes: 1. Missing Logo

August 31, 2007

Yes, the Interface is the brand, and we all appreciate that Toyota (no, it’s not Reuters or Havoline) now uses legible font sizes—but few interfaces qualify to leave out the main orientating element… And this one certainly doesn’t. So where is the logo? And how could this happen? More

Face Off: The Essentials of Online Rebranding

August 14, 2007

A company may choose to rebrand itself because of a merger, a bankrupting scandal, or because they simply have outgrown their name. These are solid reasons; however, on the web, rebranding should be considered with the caution of a face transplant. More

Rupert and Me

July 2, 2007

…are like night and day. While he is rich and important, I am fighting my little Lego battles with my little business, while he’s known as a right wing five star tycoon, the evil media emperor, people call me a dirty blogger, and last but not least he’s old and ugly. And that is where the two of us start getting similar. More

Web Trend Map 2007 Version 2.0

June 26, 2007

We have done it before: the 200 most successful websites pinned down on the Tokyo Metro Map, ordered by category, proximity, success, popularity and perspective. Now we have done it again — and better. Back by popular demand: here is iA’s next Web Trend Map. More

A Word on Design Value

June 5, 2007

The other day we got a telephone call from a guy that wanted to “exponentially increase” his Internet performance. He had an existing, custom built CMS and he wanted a complete re-design and re-build. We met with him, and he explained that he would like us to “design everything, ready to program”. He would then send our “detailed plans” to India and let a cheap team program the whole site. More

The Ideal Website Goes Open Source

June 1, 2007

We first announced our plans for a web toolbox back in February, with the intention of launching our inaugural product a few weeks later. Soon after, however, we had to shift all of our energy to the wiki project. With that safely launched, we now have a little breathing space and have found the time to polish off our first product: The Ideal Website. After some hesitation, we decided to give it out for free. More

iA’s First Wiki: Das Magazin

May 14, 2007

After three months of hard work, changing office, shipping around the cliffs of a provider that tells us 10 hours before the launch that we won’t have a working server, restricted server access, database space oddities—we made it! More

Newspaper Wiki: Schematics

April 5, 2007

The last couple of days we have received some excellent feedback. First of all thank you to everyone who took the time to study our problem and form an opinion. To be able to receive input from the best people in the field is extremely rare and rewarding. So what we’ve got is: Lots of applause, some questions and some reservations. Let’s take a look at some of these now. More

Washington Post Redesign as a Wiki

April 3, 2007

After our last posts on the future of news we have been asked again and again to illustrate: What does a newspaper as a wiki look like? How can newspapers bring their online and offline identity together? What is appropriate advertisement? What is an easy to read newspaper website? More

The Future of News: How to Survive the New Media Shift

March 27, 2007

News organizations cannot continue to ignore the global shift from institutionally controlled media to user controlled media. They have to redefine their processes and face the obvious question: Do we still need old media for news? More

10 Newspaper Myths Deconstructed

March 26, 2007

The San Francisco Chronicle is in financial trouble. InfoWorld stops printing. Time Magazine redesigns its print edition and fires 50 people. Old media is in trouble: More

Understanding New Media

March 16, 2007

You often hear people saying that other people understand or don’t understand the media. Funny enough that the appreciative “he/she understands the media” is applied to success in old media, while “he/she does not understand the media” is applied to old media people fumbling with the Internet. More

Internet Advertising on the Rise

March 9, 2007

Paul Kedrosky posted an interesting article on the first decade of Internet advertising that verifies iA’s prognosis that we are heading straight into an era of highly profitable Internet advertising. More

USA Today: Mission Accomplished

March 6, 2007

When I read this morning that USA Today “refashions itself as a social network”, I got a little shock as I was worried that they are going to eat our client’s lunch. Fear nothing, client. Among information designers the USA Today redesign is a laughing stock. More

Pushers and Spammers Should Pay

March 4, 2007

The amount of spam and flooding blogs and mailboxes is getting worse and worse and worse. This is Akismet’s graph of ham and spam since they have started. “Ham” is what they call a non-spam message. More

Wanted: Office in Tokyo

February 28, 2007

The bad news is that we are going to leave a wonderful work environment with the inspiring Anatole, the fantastic Bodhi and the incredible Dadako, and move on to a new bigger office. More

How to Compete With Free

February 23, 2007

I read Mike’s latest article three times. Not because it’s hard to understand, but because it’s amazing stuff. I read it again and again and then I went through a whole series of his articles. More

Tirekickers & Co. Ltd.

February 8, 2007

Yes, we still get requests from people that want us to work for free or deliver comps and sketches “just to see”. And we did some work for tire kickers in the past and once got really screwed by a couple of con-men. So actually we do have some advice for young creative companies and students that work in our field. More

Web Trend Map: Reactions

February 1, 2007

What started as a fun new years card made quite some waves. Google search now reveals almost 50,000 search results for our Web Trend Map 2007, which means that it generated around 50,000 blog entries. More

Introducing iPhone Nano & Shuffle

January 11, 2007

And once again, Apple proves that nowadays the interface is the brand. It goes without saying that I’ll be getting that little miracle as soon as I can (here in Japan, we will have to wait until next year), yet my Uncle Fritz isn’t so keen on buying any of those fancy iPhone accessories beforehand. He is still desperately waiting for the other Apple promise to be fulfilled: simplicity. More

Web Trend Map 2007

December 30, 2006

As a Christmas and new year’s present to our clients and readers we have created three fun Internet overviews. More

Technorati: Big Business with Bogus Data

December 13, 2006

Since the PR giant Edelman and Technorati are working together they are both trying to become an industry reference for statistics on the blogosphere. Of course this is free publicity for both and in plus they can sell the data for good money to their customers. The question is how reliable is Technorati’s data? How serious is that business? Have a look. More

Democracy or Profit? Ask Buckmaster

December 12, 2006

Imagine a guy that gets hundred of millions of page views and has no interest in monetizing. Imagine a guy that could sell his website for two billion dollars and is “just not interested”. That guy doesn’t exist? Meet Jim Buckmaster (yes, that’s his real name), CEO of Craigslist. More

Web 2.0 Unchains the Free Market

December 10, 2006

On the Internet democracy has established itself as the main engine of commercial success: Successful website are and have always been democratic: YouTube, Myspace, eBay, Amazon, Facebook… More

Big Question for the Business Samurai

December 3, 2006

You actually need to go to the toilet, but you’re a little late because you had to finish up that contract. You’re late for that second entrepreneur event, an exclusive CEO lunch, so you pack your cell phone and run out the office: Taxi! To the Canadian embassy please… More

Hang out with Tokyo’s finest CEOs

Imagine that you have been introduced to that exclusive CEO entrepreneur club by one your friends in slightly higher places. He told you that “with your rare and high value offer all you need to do is network. Those guys will jump on you.” More

Partner in Astroturfing: Boycott Technorati?

November 30, 2006

We all had a baaad feeling about this right from the start. Why is the blog watch-and-search engine Technorati bonding with the the No.1 PR giant Edelman? Can we trust the hub for independent bloggers after they hook up with the biggest corporate opinion maker? Why a 260 Million Dollar PR agency is actively engaging at the core of the free media is quite clear, but why Technorati continues its relationship with Edelman after their latest Wal-Mart caprioles raises questions. More

Web 3.0: You Say You’re on an Revolution?

November 27, 2006

Web 1.0 started as a streaming publish-to-read medium; web 2.0 has established itself as a publishing platform for everyone. Now web 3.0 is said to be a technologically advanced Internet, where the user executes and the machines do the thinking. More

Good Books Want to be Re-read

November 24, 2006

There are no books that you have to read. Good books are the exception to the rule. The rule is: Books are dead boring. If you ever find a really good book (quality sign: if you hold your breath, laugh or cry while reading) try to read it over and over and over again. It’s very rewarding. Here are the seven best reasons why you should try to read your favorite books seven times or more. More

Lovin’ IT? McDonald’s Marketing Clowneries

November 21, 2006

Seriously. This is not a joke: “New Brunswick’s education minister has banned fast-food mascot Ronald McDonald from all public school classrooms. The corporate mascot for the fast food giant McDonald’s will no longer be allowed to visit public schools to talk to students about healthy living.” More

Build a Plane and Fly to Sicily

November 20, 2006

Every time I’m low on hopes and energy with my company or my book, I think about that guy that builds planes for his wife and bang! I’m back on track. More

The Electronic Gentleman

November 19, 2006

If you have a website that is not user friendly, you have an unfriendly website which basically means that you lack manners. The specialists use that word (“user friendly”) so often that they forget that “friendly” actually is an ethical term. More

The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard

November 17, 2006

Most websites are crammed with small text that is a pain to read. Why? There is no reason for squeezing so much information onto the screen. It’s just a stupid collective mistake that dates back to a time when screens were really, really small. More

Read Different: Apple Ads in Japan

November 13, 2006

Last Sunday they started airing the “Hello, I’m a Mac… and I am a PC” ads here in Japan. And big surprise: They are different. The Mac guy is not that cool and the PC guy is kind of a real “sararyman”. The ads are not as obvious as the western originals. In Japan subtlety sells: More

New Athens

November 11, 2006

When people ask me about my background, they’re confused. I studied philosophy. How come I do web design? In short: The old Greeks brought me here. What can Internet workers learn from the old greeks? More

Don’t Ask E.T.

November 10, 2006

Professor Edward Tufte, an information design heavy weight world champion veteran from the early eighties, just hacked my website and my second most popular article into pieces… More

Reactions to 95% Typography

November 4, 2006

An avalanche of comments, hundreds of applauding blog entries, honoring honorably mentions from cooler and more sublime and hotter and higher places, forum discussions, translations in Chinese and partially in Italian and even blunt plagiarism was incited by one of my recent notes. In order to not answer to each commentator individually, I decided to write a summary that answers most of the raised concerns, accusations, questions. As a result I think that managed to make things a little clearer. More

Jakob Nielsen, Time Machine?

November 1, 2006

In 2001, usability guru Jakob Nielsen—according to USA Today “the next best thing to a true time machine”—was convinced that by 2007 books would be gone and “fully replaced with online information.” Was he being serious? More

Coca-Cola and The Matrix

October 31, 2006

Brands make us associate positive values and positive experiences with the products they mark. Brand values are defined by the senior management in the “Brand Matrix.” Coca-Cola recently changed their brand matrix. Are we soon going to associate other things with Coca-Cola? More

The Interface of a Cheeseburger

October 29, 2006

All things have an interface. Shaping interfaces is shaping the character of things. The brand is what transports the character of things. When looking at McDonalds, iPod, Nintendo DS it becomes quite obvious that the interface is the brand. More

Web Design is 95% Typography

October 19, 2006

95% of the information on the web is written language. It is only logical to say that a web designer should get good training in the main discipline of shaping written information, in other words: Typography. More

Design is How it Works

October 18, 2006

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” More


October 17, 2006

Corporate design manuals, CSS, information architecture and object oriented programming follow the same principle. They are modular. More

Why is Simple so Difficult?

October 3, 2006

Simple websites are easy to use, easy to understand, nice to look at. In practice, websites are either unusable or ugly and in general filled with too many complicated words. Why do designers have such a hard time to keep it simple? More

The Secret of YouTube’s Success

October 1, 2006

The New York Times, Cuban, Doug Morris and Calacanis are discussing weather YouTube is nothing by a pirate bay or not, weather it should be shut down or or not weather it’s success is earned or not, they all forget one important thing… More

6 Years of Usability and Branding

June 1, 2006

iA was founded under the name of Sarx (System Architects), exactly 6 years ago, June, 2nd. What has happened since then? Time to look back. More

Internet Consulting?

May 24, 2006

The Internet business took a hard hit around 2000 after the tech bubble crashed. To call yourself an “Internet agency” or even an “Internet startup” was considered nothing less than masochistic. That is when most Internet companies started to get into “consulting” and “branding” and “marketing”, while they just wanted to get rid of the negative connotations of “Internet” and “agency”. How do you find out if an Internet consultancy is really a consultancy and not just a web design company ashamed of itself? More

Usability News: The F-Pattern

Since I’ve started developing websites I’ve been looking for the ideal layout. Today I got another hint on the direction to take. Jacob Nielsen calls it the “F-Pattern.” More

Internet Users Visit Only 6 Websites

May 22, 2006

We now have over 75 million websites we can go to, but still we only visit six of them regularly, as we just learned from a study recently made public by Directgov. Their findings make us think of a new phase of the Internet. More

Usability and Branding

April 5, 2006

As corporate websites are often the initial and most frequented brand touch points, solid online branding has become a cornerstone of any successful business. Yet on the web design and usability often conflict. How does iA solve that problem? More

Usable Interface Design

March 7, 2006

As an information designer the interfaces we currently work on – no matter whether Apple or Windows – bother me. Yes, OS X looks a lot better than its predecessors, and Windows’ upcoming rip off of OS X looks better than the previous rip off. But however pretty, glossy and lickable those Interfaces may look, no matter how many twist and turn effects they build in – the problem they have is not one of special effects. More

The Right-Side Column: Just Noise?

February 27, 2006

If it is your side column on your website you want it. But does your user see or even read it? You might argue that the side column is a common standard. So we do need it. Do we? More

Do We Really Need a Site Navigation?

February 23, 2006

For some reason designers are hypnotized by the idea that it is the navigation that defines the basic grid of a website. This is totally wrong. Navigation only comes into play, when a user feels lost. It is more a parachute than a joystick. Designers should focus more on text body and the text grid. More

How Important is Design on the Web?

February 12, 2006

Internet users can give websites a thumbs up or thumbs down in less than the blink of an eye, according to recently published study report. and Wired recently reported on the fact that we pass judgement on a website in less than second. This sounds like good news for web designers. Is it? More

Going Out? Asoboo 2.0!

February 10, 2006

Ever wondered who else visits your favorite bar? Ever wondered what other alike places there are around? Ever get tired of the same old cafe you hang out every time? Then you have to check out our latest project. More

Web 2.0 – Nothing New?

“Web 2.0″ defines a second phase of development of websites, its architecture and its functionality. When people talk about web 2.0 they often refer to different things… More

Startup in Japan (2): Find an Accountant

December 12, 2005

I needed an accountant for my new company and so I checked out a couple of websites and made a couple of appointments. And if you think accountants are boring, you are so very wrong. Accountants can be comical, scary, amusingly threatening and sometimes also really smart. More

Startup in Japan (1): The Basics

November 12, 2005

Of course, speaking, reading and writing Japanese is key, when doing business in Japan. But, unless your Japanese is perfect, don’t even think about doing business with Japanese. Hire Japanese staff, if you want to go that way. Until you are ready to do so, stick with the gaijin market. It’s small but very welcoming, if you have something to offer. More

What is an Idea, and How Much is it Worth?

October 19, 2005

Lately Apple, or more precisely their ad agency TBWA. was accused of plagiarism. Apple supposedly used Lugz’ idea for a commercial. Now Lugz wants money. What is an idea, and how much is it worth? More


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