Design Demons: The Critic Demon

An earlier post gave an overview of the design demons: Creative, Critic and Pragmatist. This post takes a closer look at the Critic Demon. A designer should also seek to develop ability in each of the each of their demons so that the overall team is stronger.

The Critic Demon is more strongly related with the left side of the brain. It is the analytic thinker that evaluates and judges the ideas flowing from the Creative demon. The Critic demon can be overly picky and will have impossibly high standards. When the Critic demon is rejecting all ideas then perhaps trade-offs should be made in the design. The Critic demon is most suited to the development and refinement stages of the design process. The Critic demon will cripple the Creative demon if the Critic demon has influence during the Concepting phases. The Critic demon's favourite word is: Perfection.

The problem with perfection is that there is never a single solution and design is often a trade off between many competing factors.

The underdeveloped Critic demon will be unable to properly evaluate the ideas of the Creative demon. The underdeveloped Critic will allow poorly resolved and aesthetically unpolished work to progress. A person with a weak critic demon and good execution skills will make a high volume of rough work. They might be successful through volume alone.

The strength of the Critic demon can be improved through education, reflection and critique (see the critique section). Critical analysis and logical thought is the life-force of this demon. Any study into understanding of design theory, history and case studies will permanently strengthen this demon. The act of reviewing and thinking about design work - especially honest criticism confirmed by trusted peers - is the Critic demon's gym workout.

The noisy Critic will distract the Creative demon and may war with the Pragmatist demon during the later stages of the project. The Critic will discourage the Creative demon by saying how each idea of stupid and this will stop the Creative demon from leaping from idea to idea. The pragmatist will want to finish a project but the Critic demon will insist that it is completed properly before it can be released - even if this means expending more resources than allowed for the project. This can delay the delivery of a project.

A noisy Critic demon can be taught to speak only in turn. Use good conceptualizing procedures where the Creative is free to talk for a set period of time before the Critic can judge the ideas. Standard brainstorming technique is to simply record all ideas without judgment or editing for a set period of time and only then allow for the Critic to speak. Focusing on the resources allowed for a project (esp. the deadline) gives the Pragmatist demon enough power to overcome the Critic. A beginner design can delegate the critic function to a trusted and more experienced peer. This should eventually train the critic to influence at the most useful times.

A strong Critic demon is important for a designer to produce professionally polished works that are executed well. Working to improve the Critic demon will give long term benefit to the designer.


Design Demons: The Creative Demon

An earlier post gave an overview of the design demons: Creative, Critic and Pragmatist. This post takes a closer look at the Creative Demon.

Each of the demons has their own levels of ability and influence. Ability is the strength of the demon in their specialisation. Influence is how likely the designer is to listen to demon. Each demon‘s talents are better suited for different parts of the design process therefore a designer should train themselves to minimise the influence of each demon and instead judge when their advice is most appropriate. A designer should also seek to develop strength in each of the each of their demons so that the overall team is stronger.

The Creative Demon is strongly related with the right side of the brain. It is the lateral thinker that comes up with the original ideas. Many of the Creative demons ideas are impractical, but one should not discourage the Creative demon from making them. When somebody has Designer's Block then their Creative demon is tired and out of ideas (see the Creativity section for help). The Creative Demon gets enthusiasm and rewards from coming up with many cool ideas. This makes the Creative demon very useful during the concept stage of the design process but a distracting influence during the development and production stages. However, the Creative demon can be useful during problem solving that can happen during production. The Creative demon's favourite word is Freedom.

The underdeveloped creative demon can come up with only derivative ideas occupying a limited range. A person with a underdeveloped creative demon but with strong execution skills will be very good within a small number of visual styles. This person will follow tutorials on the internet on how to produce some effect in popular software.

The strength of the Creative demon can be improved through stimulation and exposure to many different ideas. Inspiration is the life-force of this demon and it must be constantly replenished. Viewing the design works of others, visual art, music, culture and new experiences all provide inspirational fuel. Increasing the visual knowlege of the designer makes their creative demon permanently stronger. Also the act of creation in itself - especially when creating with others - is the equivalent of sending the Creative demon to the gym.

The noisy creative demon will continue to distract the designer way past the time concepting is completed. A noisy creative demon will always interupt with a completely different approach while the designer is trying to develop and produce an already selected idea. This can pull the designer off track and if they are seduced by their Creative demon's voice then they will always come with something new instead of finishing what they have started. This can delay the execution and delivery of a project.

A noisy creative demon can be taught to speak only in turn. Until the Creative demon knows to only speak in turn or when something is very important, the designer should move deliberately through each stage of the design process. At the end of each stage the designer should force themselves to make a decision that is not reversible without a second opinion from a more experienced colleague/friend. This should eventually train the Creative dragon to be noisy and quiet at the right times.

A strong creative demon is important for a designer to produce works that go beyond the mundane and ordinary. Working to improve the Creative demon will give long term benefit to the designer.


PokerStars on an iPad (including HUD)

Some people are curious as to how I play PokerStars on the iPad - complete with Holdem Manager HUD and TableNinja. The answer is easy: remote desktop. I use this setup to play from around my home, any place with wifi, and even over 3G (tethered to my cheapo Android phone). Sure there's the brilliant PokerStars app, but that doesn't have ZOOM, HUD or TableNinja.

Specifically: I use the LogMeIn Ignition product. Install the free LogMeIn client on the desktop computer, grab the LogMeIn Ignition app from the app store, set up an account and you're good to go. And it only costs a few dollars total to do. You can probably use other free/cheap remote desktop products (e.g. VNC, RDP) but I like LogMeIn Ignition because I don't have to worry about firewalls and other complications because it just works.

This technique should work for any Poker site.

TIP: On the iPad, once you're running Igntion, use the settings to force the connection to use 1024x768 screen resolution. That's the iPad1/iPad2's native resolutions so you'll have less problems with things being too small. Ignition will reset the desktop computer to it's original resolution when it ends the remote desktop session.

TIP: TableNinja works brilliantly in this setup. No keyboard? fine it still does default bet-sizing for you.

TIP: TableNinja and a wireless keyboard is where it's at. Connect the iPad to the big TV (or a projector), sit back on the couch with a beer and it's game on!

Multitabling does work - but due to the low screen-res you'll want to do this in stacked mode.

Result: ZOOM poker - anytime anywhere. Oh yes we can :)

If you like this article then perhaps you'll also like WorkOut Poker where I use a Kinect to play poker by waving my arms around.