See how we make S P A C E, the zine. A live performance of just 40 minutes. Typing. Designing. And fielding your questions. All in real time
About this Event
What is S P A C E?
An online writing-and-design-and-generally-creative circle for community. Ambient community that is. International and asynchronous. More than 120 issues of our zine have been created through ongoing conversations with our guests and collaborators.
Writing. Sharing. Making. New stories. Together. In S P A C E.
Watch how we do it.
A live presentation without audio, just the screenshare, over zoom. Of InDesign and how we make S P A C E. In 40 minutes.
Wow. Thank you both so, so much for the conversations this week. I really appreciate it. I had forgotten how nice it is to sit and talk, at length, without interruption, in English, to highly creative and talented peoplewho know and value me and my work. These are a lot of buttons that got pressed in a beautiful moment, in which, I think, I remembered something.
Namely: a composed feeling.
A feeling of comfort. Of safety. Of connexion.
In short, harmony.
To go where we go isn’t to ‘discover,’ for me, now. I think that chapter of S P A C E is finally finished. After wandering the world popping into 27 countries and staying in some for six years at a time, gosh, that’s crazy, and finding out the things, I realize that the time to ‘keep looking for things’ has necessarily come to a punctuation mark that looks more like
So yeah! I’m done traveling, lads! Not just because I can’t ’cause of the pandemic and stuff. I’m just… I’m done! I forgot to tell you. I got on another call this week, too. Which was far less exciting, but probably only because the value of seeking (philosophers appreciate this, and so do CEOs who care about what I find out when I go on these jaunts to agendalessly and free-formedly look, listen, and discover). Many people, too, have shown support for this effort by taking me up on one or another offer posted at our ever-changing #spacethezine crowdfunding campaign. Why? Because I do what I say I will. And* I don’t quit in the middle. Which is why I am very, very choosy about what I say ‘yes’ to. ‘No’ is more important to learn how to say, I feel, because more ‘no’ responses to non-interesting propositions leads to more focus and awareness of what to say ‘yes’ to. For me, I always say ‘yes’ to S P A C E. I’ve always wanted to have a magazine of my own since I was 12.
I was telling V. about it, how I wanted a staff and an office in like London or something. I have a virtual zine now, and I print what I want when I want on photocopiers. Why? It’s so simple. And the digital archives are good enough. Fine. No need for an office in London or a staff. I can do this. Because… I just can. DK is DK and does what it does and how it does it. Why make S P A C E? Mostly, because I feel like it. I go where I go because it feels rightest. Enter The Book of Five Rings. Exit The Book of Five Rings. HT SHR. And now, I’ve just returned from both an overnight trip as well as something else. A clarification journey. This week has been the week of going through the notes that I have written by hand, here in Vietnam, this last year and some months that got tacked onto that ‘calendar year’ thing that is always such a big deal for those of us who like to ‘reflect.’ I mean, gosh. I have all these giant lists of things that I have designed for, and optimized for, in my life-to-date. Well, I’m pretty intentional about what I do, and what I don’t do, and that’s what makes me me, aka, ‘DK,’ ‘Design Kompany.’ That is nice that that name is still working out for us, isn’t it AM? Lucky that.
Thanks to the new learnings from Vietnam and my collaborations here with a few (and my dead-ended collaborations [deleted]…together.) Ergo. The new thing. Harmony. Soon. Or when I finish it. I’ll tell you. I made a new mailing list, by the way. Link at the end. I’m not going to spam you guys now, sorry about all that.
Staying still now. It’s a good time to go through the digital archives. And put together writings that spell out useful bits and pieces that are original, and based on my own personal reporting from 20 years in the field and 4 in journalism. Doing this now. The goal is to package information in ways that are useful to the people who are curious about how to do things in new ways, try things without being too scared of outcomes, and get past the inevitable hurdles when you fail. After numerous attempts to ‘give it a go’ here in Vietnam to make projects happen (giving up, eventually, because it’s tooooo hard), I am doing something different now with DK and our weekly e-mag. Now, when people ask me, ‘Why do you make S P A C E?’ I will say: because of ‘boreout’.
‘Boredom boreout syndrome is a psychological disorder that causes physical illness, mainly caused by mental underload at the workplace due to lack of either adequate quantitative or qualitative workload. One reason for bore-out could be that the initial job description does not match the actual work. This theory was first expounded in 2007 in Diagnose Boreout, a book by two Swiss business consultants.
‘Symptoms of the bore-out syndrome are described by the Frankfurt psychotherapist Wolfgang Merkle as similar to the burnout syndrome. These include depression, drive and insomnia, but also tinnitus, susceptibility to infection, stomach upset, headache and dizziness. The consequences of boreout for employees are numerous both psychologically and physically and more or less serious. On the psychological level, boredom, dissatisfaction, and permanent frustration gradually lead the victim of a boreout into a vicious circle. They gradually lose the will to act at the professional level and at the personal level. To the loss of self-esteem is added the constant anxiety of being discovered. The boreout victim lives with the constant fear that their supervisor, colleagues, or friends will discover their inactivity and duplicity. The confrontation with and enduring the unsatisfactory situation leads to further stress that paralyzes and strains.
‘Being constantly confronted with the emptiness of their professional life and their uselessness in society, the employee is in great pain.
‘The suffering all the more accentuated because it cannot be shared and if it is, is not understood… This can lead to serious mental disorders such as personality destruction or even depression or suicide. Boreout is also a trigger for physical diseases such as certain types of epilepsy caused by stress or exhaustion, severe sleep disorders, hand and voice tremors, shingles, and ulcers. On the physical side, according to the British “Bored to death” study, employees who are bored at work are two to three times more likely to be victims of cardiovascular events than those whose employment is stimulating. The permanent anxiety in which the employee lives exhausts him physically. Fatigue is constant despite physical inactivity. Boreout can lead to eating disorders such as untimely nibbling or loss of appetite. Some people may use alcohol or drugs to overcome their discomfort and thus develop a harmful addiction.
‘In 2018, the internation company Interparfums was ordered to pay the sum of 50,000 euros to Frederic DESNARD (France) to the labor court for “no dismissal” resulting from “the existence of moral harassment” with a “practice of sidelining”.
‘According to Peter Werder and Philippe Rothlin, the absence of meaningful tasks, rather than the presence of stress, is many workers’ chief problem. Boreout consists of three elements: boredom, lack of challenge, and lack of interest. These authors disagree with the common perceptions that a demotivated employee is lazy; instead, they claim that the employee has lost interest in work tasks. Those suffering from boreout are “dissatisfied with their professional situation” in that they are frustrated at being prevented, by institutional mechanisms or obstacles as opposed to by their own lack of aptitude, from fulfilling their potential (as by using their skills, knowledge, and abilities to contribute to their company’s development) and/or from receiving official recognition for their efforts.’
How’s this for a ‘value proposition?’… Avoid burnout and boreout. Be a part of something that actually engages you, intellectually and creatively. Welcome to Design Kompany…. The new journeys begin… here.
*Unless it becomes ridiculous in the middle because of, say: toxic relationships, boring people and lack of creative vision, power struggles, intimidation, racism, misogyny, the usual gamut of dumb stuff that is the whole set of reasons why anyone leaves anything when they wake up to the fact that they can change stuff if they feel like it. ‘If you don’t like something, change it. You are not a tree.’ Who said that, I wonder. I always liked it.
What is the point of S P A C E? Design and discovery. Putting together the highlights of what we uncover, by simply inserting ourselves into the world, asking questions, and not giving up on the idea that you learn more when you learn more together. Here’s us, doing the jam, still. Discovering, and co-creating, as we go. Together, in S P A C E. Even when it’s a pandemic. Even when we’re not sure who’s around. Who’s interested. Who’s not blocking themselves from becoming better. Who’s okay with looking at something in a new way. In a country that doesn’t like to do that, it’s been one hell of a trick. Still, we keep doing our work, we keep making S P A C E. Boring or depressed foreigners aside, we’re looking for the people who are looking for the new. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. It always was, I just didn’t know it.
For the very curious
More about this project is at our newly updated crowdfunding page.
PS Reflecting on the 2020 year of change and stuff, I realize it’s time to say a thank-you. Special thanks to those who have supported S P A C E since the start. A lot of you donated anonymously to the campaign so I won’t call you out here. But you know who you are. I appreciate it. The best is yet to come, and I feel amazingly lucky to have the support from so many talented, smart and creative people in my sphere both near, and far. We are making it happen. Sharing the journey, one designful moment at a time. But you already knew I could deliver on that, and I appreciate it that you kept showing up for me, even when the showing up (for you, for me) was not easy. Thanking you. I read on a website somewhere that courage isn’t having the strength to go on. Courage is going on, even when you don’t have the strength…S P A C E was born in the waning hours of 2018. Today, it’s starting to start… naturally, a baby takes time to learn how to find its footing. #readyset #outofthecave2021
[deleted]… and why do they do that? Seriously, why? I’ve thought about this. In the era of hijacked reality by the fakers, it’s easier to pretend to be someone *amazing* than it is to… actually *be* amazing. Which means, be who you really are.
Always listening, questioning..
New angles, new perspectives, new thinking could be found in the places where normally you don’t read about, or go. Like Latvia, or something like that, you know Northern Finland. Or Vietnam, where I am writing from. The next issue of S P A C E (pictured above) will tell you what I found out on my personal journeys in 2018, 2019, and 2020 in those countries talking my way around the world. And I’ll interweave them, in a short dialogue about… conversations with neighbors.
Yeah. Because, well. I talk to everyone. Ysually it’s really boring and I get sleepy. But sometimes… something happens, and you hear a magic quote.
Listening out for this is my gig.
Sure, it’s taken years to find out how to do that. Four years in newspapers, for example, and bunches of listening to many people I meet. This kind of striking-up of conversations takes practice of its own kind. I’m not always into the idea, but sometimes I do it. I met two people like that today (HT A. and T.. have fun on that trip!) And… caring about that effort that goes into you know, what we used to do, writers, field reporting. You go there. You look. You listen. Then you start to write down what you read, feel, hear, and see. Photos, and writings, and more. Seeing seeing. With time. Going slowly. Next stop for me? Dunno. Maybe Hanoi, again. Maybe somewhere new.
Around the turn of 2019 into 2020, I was in Malaysia. I was debating where to go next. Then I moved back to Cambodia. Lots happened and I’m in Vietnam now. I’ve had some time. Time to call up from the old archives some mind maps and other things about ‘what is S P A C E.’ Mostly it’s about doing what feels like the right thing to be doing; wherever I am, at that moment.
Sometimes it’s Soundcloud: I made this thing, ‘Hi2’, at that time, while parked for a moment in Kuala Lumpur. In that city’s borrowed apartment, one of just a dozen or more in the years I’ve been in southeast Asia, I closed my door and typed, real fast. And thought about what I wanted to do, with S P A C E. Who did I want to meet?
Here it is. Our do-it-yourself short-course. It’s 100% virtual, by email.
WHAT YOU’LL GET. DK’s is a classic approach to how to create a stellar brand identity design. We will give you the best tools we’ve found in our 20 years’ experience in designing brand identity for discerning, process-oriented clients. Mostly in architecture, software, and parallel fields of design.
Classic. Stylish. Timeless. Enduring.
COURSE CONTENT. Find out how to make an impact with your visual messaging, in 2021. Spend five minutes a day on these prompts and you might just be very well on your way to answering that ultimate question, ‘Why does the work I do matter?’ Knowing how to answer this is a giant step in the brand design process.
COST. The course is USD 65..
START DATE. 8 March.
WHO IT IS FOR. ‘Short Course in Brand Identity Design’ is best for people who are just starting out or who are looking to redirect their brand strategy for 2021. You can add your name to our list for the next start-date announcement.
Georgina Quach writes: ’[Filmmaker] Hong Khaou’s thoughtful drama Monsoon speaks to those of us who have lost our political origins and geographic home, but are now finding homes of our own creation… [It reveals] how home is found in all kinds of spaces; in food, love, place, memory, song and family. Returning to the site of your childhood can release a complex barrage of emotions…’
In recent days we have been asked to share more and more about our past work in branding, and brand identity design. Concept design is our specialty, but it is an abstract thing to talk about: ‘concepting.’
‘What work do you do, DK?’
A lot. Of things. But, at the center, the one thing I do well is help people discover, through conversations, who it is that they really are.
That is what I do.
I say this and then people might ask further questions. Most of the time, most of the people will ask the kinds of boring questions like:
When I see these questions coming out of people’s mouths, I basically just end the conversations and go back to typing my blogs.
More broad-minded people might put it like this:
‘What is your specialty?’
Fair enough. And I will be direct. I don’t have to be wishy-washy about it. I know what I do. So I say it. I say, ‘Concepting.’ I really really don’t have to ‘sell’ this. It’s kind of like, if you don’t see the value, right away, then you’re probably not a fit, anyway, because… [deleted]… but honestly, I don’t think you will.
What’s interesting is inside you: go find that. Find it out for yourself. (HT Jiddu Krishnamurthi). In short, if someone is smart and has been in business more than five years, then they will know the value of working with someone who knows what they are doing instead of investing money and time into the relationship only to wind up with something underwhelming, at the end.
My mentor, JM, taught me this. (Thank you for hiring DK more than once, J. I appreciate that. As, I know and understand, you do, too. We have a good awareness of the qualities of each other. Cool.) Speaking of mentors, there was another one who had also been a client, too. He helped me see that you don’t want to promise something cool and then turn out crappy results. You want to deliver. He said: I like to underpromise, and overdeliver. (HT DE. I still remember when you told me that.)
So yeah. The first filter for me in assessing if I want to share more about DK is, ‘Is this person serious about their work?’ If they are keen, and curious, genuine, and probably number one for me is if they are sincere, then sure. I’ll share the link. I always used to send it to prospective customers, because, even if they don’t want to work with me or I don’t want to work with them, perhaps they will learn something on their own.
The link is this one, a Slideshare called ‘The Brand Gap.’ I have referred more than 100 people to this link because I think they might find out something. Sometimes helping people figure things out for themselves is the best way to be of use in doing what I said I do, at the start of this post. Namely, I help people figure out who it is they really are.
A big gig.
Confused about your brand story? This might help..
Disclosure: No one is paying me to share this link.
DK | The Charette is a new series of conversation-starting for online connexion. New and different others can find meaningful discovery and co-discovery opportunities, in ‘The Charette.’ It’s asynchronous, international, small in scale, highly curated, and open-ended. We are exploring. Together, in S P A C E.
The signup information will be shared in September with those who register here to indicate interest. Learn more when you register; we’ll share where to find out the who, what, where, and why. Note: there is a fee to participate.
Hosted by DK’s creative directors, Akira Morita and Dipika Kohli. DK is a studio that focuses on design, design thinking, and innovation since moving to Phnom Penh in 2014. Prior to this, DK specialized in concepting and brand identity design. The studio was started by the directors in Seattle in 2006.
Pre-requisite: DK | Short course in Brand Identity Design*
About this Course
Learn our top 6 go-to resources for you to discover how to build your brand, from scratch. Talk about these ideas in a webinar, directly with A. Spaice and the team at Design Kompany in this webinar.
More than 80 small businesses, organizations, and NGOs in Seattle, Durham NC and Phnom Penh have hired DK to design brand identities, as well as consider fresh ideas. In other words, or expertise is finding ways to… think in new ways. Experience it. More about DK is at: designkompany.com
Agenda to follow, when you register to confirm.
*If you haven’t already taken DK | Short course in Brand Idnetity Design, you can do that by adding your name to this signup page to get more info: start here.
S P A C E | Đà Lạt • ‘Tìm Mình Trong Thế Giới’ is the next in our weekly e-zine series. It is set to release on Tuesday.
DK Director Dipika Kohli made the drawing on the cover this week. The drawing’s title is: Chúc Ngủ Ngon & Chào Buổi Sáng / Good Night & Good Morning.
A line artist for many years, Kohli has rekindled her old style of drawing by putting pencil to page again. This [cover] drawing is part of a series of more than fifty new pencil and colored pencil works. These were created in quiet moments, on the spot, in several cafes and brightly lit atelier spaces she discovered while in ‘The Great Lockdown’ (so far) in Đà Lạt, Việt Nam. Kohli had plenty of time alone to write, draw, and reflect, whilst also working on a new book, End of the Rainbow (Kismuth Books / forthcoming 2020).
Thiseffort has come out of the slowing down, a natural outcomeresulting from the first and second waves of covid19-related measures to maintain social distancing, and self-isolating, in the era of this, the Great Lockdown, so far. Kohli has been in the Central Highlands since April—and continues to discover and make. In bursts, that is. And only when inspired by the chance encounter and surprisingly enriching dialogues with the people in the places where she goes. S P A C E is a weekly zine. It is created by Design Kompany, which was started in 2004 in Seattle and today is based in Phnom Penh. DK are intrigued about how to design the space for an aesthetic moment to happen, on the spot, for unexpected and random connexion, with the people, objects, and places where they go, in S P A C E.
Last night, I was reading a bunch of extraordinarily boring articles online, which made me very tired, and also, reminded me all over again that the internet contains a lot of junk, written by clickbait-seeking who-knows-who, and their poorly paid ‘gig economy’ freelancers who are ‘finding my creative outlet on the side.’ This is sad. And this, too, the feeling that you couldn’t find anything really good to read without being bombarded by popup ads (2000s) or advertorials masquerading as ‘This is my honest opinion’ affiliate-link people, made me feel like starting my own mini-magazine. Which has no endorsements, ads, or BS.
Such a dearth of real-world, real-time information that I could discover, on the spot, also made me feel like hosting parties to get people together and seeing what we could find out, in the real world dimension, too. So that’s part of why I began to convene people in very small circles, in my conversation parties. It used to be really large-scale, but I found out I prefer simplicity. Depth, substance, and progressions over time. With just a few. This is why I make a membership-based thing called S P A C E. It’s so that we—we as in me, and the people who, like me, want what I want, ie quality–could get to the work of talking about thingsin ways that don’t waste people’s time.
Curating as I go, I’m putting together an August series for Papers, which is going to be about innovation, not in the business-speak sense, but in the live-it-and-talk-from-experience-of-actually-trying-things kind.
It will be published in S P A C E. It’s a special edition of S P A C E. It’s members-only. Memberhip costs. You can find out more about how to become a member of S P A C E at this crowdfunding page, under ‘perks,’ see ‘Basic Membership.’
A set of 6 modules for anyone to work out their ‘brand’
About this Event
Learn our top 6 go-to resources for you to discover how to build your brand, from scratch.
In a short course that will begin on Tuesday, we will share our top 6 modules that have worked well for more than 80 small businesses and organizations whom we have worked for in Seattle, Durham NC, and Phnom Penh. DK has created brand identity designs for small and medium-sized businesses since 2006.
You’ll be able to learn, and apply right away, the lessons from our past experiences by working with these exact six tools to figure out your core story, and how you can best tell it to the world.
For people who welcome, and value, that kind of thinking, as they look for new ways to approach old blockages, in an exploratory quest for: fresh approaches, unexpected perspectives, and dialogue through ‘discovery’ to precipitate ideas. Not everyone resonates. But about one in a hundred really do.
Creating space for remarkable and meaningful connexion is what we love, and why we do it is because it’s really fun to engage with people who truly enjoy the soft, social space that exists within three-d and even virtual bounded boxes of time. In which new and different other can connect, and interconnect, for an unexpected moment of deeply relating. We have done this a hundred times, in small and large settings, formally, informally, at home and for work. It’s just who we are. And it’s the sort of jam we love to be in, and so, we design to make it happen—to optimize and host for that. In short, the aesthetic moment.
DK is Design Kompany.
It was founded in Seattle by Dipika Kohli and Akira Morita in 2004.. Currently DK operates as a boutique, and is based in Phnom Penh and Saigon.
Today, the same core team are independent consultants in: innovation, design thinking, and experiential learning program design.
They assemble when it’s time to make something new.
A. Spaice is our research and development director.
Jas Plac handles all outreach and communications.
Make stuff with DK..
Current projects and membership opportunities allow people we have discovered to connect, and interconnect. In the cloud. See next opportunities and how to be part of this, at our crowdfunding page.
After about seven years of not doing any graphic design work-for-hire, something changed.
Someone asked me to make a thing.
I started it, and as I went, I realized, it’s time to bring this service back and offer it again, to those who might run across this site and say, ‘I like that! I want to hire these people. Who are these people, anyway? And what is S P A C E?’
Glad you asked.
We are a team of people who collaborate in the cloud: Dipika Kohli is the creative director. Akira Morita is a cofounder working on design thinking and innovation consulting. Jas Plac does our outreach and communications. And A. Spaice does research & development. These days we make a weekly e-mag, called S P A C E. it’s about design and discovery.
The people we meet in the places where we go (mostly Southeast Asia and Northern Europe, since 2014), share stories, sometimes, and when they get to a place where they feel like they’re becoming something substantial, we shape these into ‘zines.’
They’re 16 pages, each, designed to be read in a single sitting, say over coffee. At times, we make black & white issues so they’re easy on printers, so you can download, print, fold and assemble your own, by adding your own creative flair.
Got into a bit of a discussion about this with someone yesterday who is 24.
This person was highlighting to me his past work, in something that I didn’t find too terribly intriguing but he really wanted to impress me, I guess, so we watched some clips of things that he had produced. I suppose he is an event producer, but not trained or anything, just self-designed. That’s fine, of course. I’m self-designed in design, having studied civil engineering and worked in architecture and journalism. But design is something people just ask me to do.
For example, a friend from that era, VH had asked me to make a senior t-shirt, when we were in high school, because she liked my drawings and comics, and no one else was putting forward an idea, and I was the Vice President of the Student Government at that time, so we put out a call, I think? And I don’t think anyone entered. So I made it. I don’t even know what it looks like now, thinking back, but V. had liked it and was happy. I had done t-shirts for Governor’s School East for my hall, too, and before that a lot of things like program covers and posters through elementary and middle school that had won prizes and stuff, so. I guess. That it was… destiny, haha. Or just… a knack for it. And lots of attentiveness to continuing to do it, not get sidetracked by other things, just doing the drawings when I felt like it. Helped that this was in an era where we didn’t have internet. Nice thinking about the senior t-shirt design, again. That was fun. I was 17.
Depth. I was talking about yesterday’s conversation and somehow got distracted thinking about being 17. It’s kind of related, though, right? I mean, you get good when you practice, but you have to have some kind of latent talent to start getting good, too. And encouragement. Fact. In my case yesterday, I think skipping over ‘talent’ and ‘practice’ and ‘encouragement’ was taken for granted by this young person who saw $$$ ‘I got paid for this’ $$$ as an indication of its having had value.
Not to me.
The thing I saw was just… well. Lacking in substance.
Happens. And more and more these days, when we have substitutes for real life in the form of video streams and chatboxes. What happened? Well, that’s out of scope, here.
My thing is, let’s bring some of the good stuff. Let’s open the doors here at DK again, and show people how they can arrive at… quality. I know how to do this. Why not share. Selectively, of course. Not for everyone.
I have a particular way of deciding if I will care about a project, which has everything to do with the attitude of the person asking me to work with him or her or them. Truth is, if I don’t see much thought in something, I have no interest whatsoever.
Most people I meet on the road I will know for less than three hours. I meet a hell of a lot of people, on the road. Yesterday, I just listened politely, but then, something happened.
Weirdly, it just did…
Sometimes this does this. I went into speechmaking mode.
Perhaps because we had a third guest, join us in the middle. Who. Was. Really. Attentive, and who had gone through my samples of drawings, and poetry and other stuff that I felt like sharing, with great admiration and accolades. Okay, it was flattering, but yeah, he really was curious about me, my work… my thinking. What I’ve been up to here in Vietnam. I have some stuff now that has Vietnamese language translations, too. So you can tell, if you’re the kind of person who can tell, that is.
Maybe there’s not one particular type; but there are a few people… one out of a hundred?, who resonate with DK’s style.
D: The other day, someone asked, What’s your TEDx talk about? I said ‘Death.’ Then he said, ‘Ooh!… Edgy.’ But it was 8 years ago
A: You are. DK is edgy
D: Well, once someone in Seattle said I was popular
A: You are not popular. You are edgy
D: How is this ‘edgy’! I don’t even a phone and I type on zoom chat to you and use email