This was a live design conference held by IKEA just a day ago in Sweden. Give it a listen there are some gems. Plus if you're a van of Virgil Abloh (Off-White) you'll dig this. 

 Democratic design is coined by Frank Lloyd Wright, he thought it design should be available to everyone, not an elitist thing. Learn more about democratic design through IKEA. Really good listen. 


Firstly we'd like to say. It's a blessing and a curse to drive trends and create things for a living. As creators It's our jobs to be conscious about the things we make. Especially in this day and age, where coffee machines come in hundreds of options, and each doing the same damn thing. Listened to The Minimalists episode "Creating." I especially love @ 16 min 20 sec. They compare the creative process to the tourettic person along the subway line. The person is yelling to themselves or at a wall. We've all seen this person. Yes, this person is creating a ton of content. Yes, this person is gaining a ton of attention, but is that content worthwhile? Is the content fruitful? Is he/she creating something meaningful, and for the better good of the world, or is he/she creating the same damn noise everyone else is? #foodforthought  

Marie Forleo X Seth Godin

If not now then when? In 5 to ten years. What will you regret?

" Bigger isn't the point. More isn't the point. Are there bad ideas out there? Yes, there are a tons of bad ideas. Not all ideas are equality good. Finding a thing that works is sufficient.? That's the challenge. Entrepreneurs for example. too many entrepreneurs think that there is a prize for originality.  There is no prize for originality. At ALL. You should steal another persons idea. You should bring something that works in Detroit and bring it to Cleveland. Because you don't have to worry about apologizing... There are so many places that we need more of something...No one is asking you to be that person who invent something that never exist before... We are asking you to do, is choose to matter, and align with who you want to be. "


Gordon Murray The Mclaren F1 Designer

For this month's tech-talk we invite designer Gordan Murray to come talk cars, design, and career atPlayground. Gordan designs formula one cars for a living. He's a true mechanical thinker. I'd say he's more engineer minded than industrial design, but he does an amazing job at mixing science with art in creating innovative solutions. Gordon is famous for the iconic McLaren F1. A car that revolutionized many standards in modern cars today. The F1 introduced new techs such as: carbon fiber construction, automated rear spoiler, and ground control. Innovative for its time, but are things we take for-granted today. Currently Gordon continues to design. He's developed a lighter, more stronger chassis technology called iStream. Check it out here.

To me It's fascinating to hear other designers share their process. A common philosophy I hear often is: Fail. Fail a lot. Fail often. But learn from your failures and adjust as you move forward. I've taken a photo of my notebook as Gordon spoke. I'm honored to meet him and happy he signed and complimented my poor sketches. 

Doodle of Gordon and some of his quotes during the tech talk.
Gordan Laughing at the Doodle in Hoang M Nguyen Sketch book.
Hoang sharing the quotes he liked from the tech talk. 
Gordan signs Hoang M Nguyen sketch book. 

from good to great

I've been reading the book From Good to Great by Jim Collins. Like most popular informative books. The content often feel obvious. Yet it strikes me that we often overlook or under practice the values and work ethics given in these books. In one of the chapters I read this line:

"Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out is largely a matter of conscious choices." --Jim Collins

I'm reminded of Malcom Gladwell's ten thousand hours of practice. Its true. Greatness is evidence of making proper decisions, and long hours of obsession and practice.  Eventually you'll go from one whom appreciates to one who's a connoisseur. Are you good or great?


"Stop thinking it as a curse to have been given an enemy in life. It can be a blessing, too. A wise man gets more from his enemy than a fool from his friends."

Enemies or rivals call em' whatever you want. One thing I'd like to do, is thank you for the motivation you've given me. I promise every milestone thus far, in some way you've contributed your share to my growth and success. Frenemies you've become a friend to me.

On a recent trip with my buddy Paul Vu to Maui, we watched the movie "Rush" on the plane. A film based on the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda's 76th season in F1 racing. I felt angry the whole film at the poisonous relationship between the two world champions. James to me is one of those people in our lives that just have everything cut out for them. They seem to do the bare minimum and always WIN. I'm sure you can list a few of these people in your life. Niki is the opposite, we also can list these types in our lives. Constantly working and focused on their craft, but still WINNING though.

Ending the film, one racer said to the other "Stop thinking it as a curse to have been given an enemy in life. It can be a blessing, too. A wise man gets more from his enemy than a fool from his friends." My bitterness immediately lifted. I thought about the people who push us in life, the ones who challenge us, compete with us and make us better. If not a frenemy then who's to gauge ourselves against?

We all need a James or Niki to constantly chase our tails. My thoughts shifted to Creative Session. In a sense I've been spoiled for 25 plus years. Creative Session's momentum in a way has been a constant battle between my brother and I. On top of the awesome collaborations of course. He is the James and Niki in disguise. We've literally competed all our lives, whether toys, games, now designs. We've inspired, challenged and taught one another to compete at a higher level. Who is your James Hunt or Niki Lauda?

Lets all not scatter and find the closest hater friend and hug them just yet. I'm suggesting look at the situation in a new light. Happy National Siblings day YO!



Here's a little Monday morning inspiration. Now spend this week being wrong. What a perfect combo with Mark Manson's "The Hidden Cost of Happiness"

This part of the TED TALK is so powerful to me. "The dumb kid, the trouble Maker, the one who doesn't do his homework. So by the time you're 9 years old, you've already learned people who gets stuff wrong are lazy, irresponsible, dimwits. Second of all to succeed in life is to never make any mistakes. We learn these really bad LESSON really well. A lot of us deal with this by being perfectionist. A students...... We then freak out at the possibility of getting something wrong.. and getting something wrong means there is something wrong with us...."

Fuck You, Pay Me

Our latest pick up is this print "Fuck You Pay Me" by Joseph Martinez. He started working on this in 2012 using mixed mediums of gouache and currency. Joseph says "The way our economy is going, and still is for that matter, even Mickey Mouse is collecting his dues." You can check out Joseph's interview with 1xRun here. Jose-Martinez-fuck-you-pay-me-detail-02

For me what's captivating about this piece is the play with money.  We've all seen Mickey in this particular pose before. It is one of the most iconic images from Disney. What's interesting is Mickey's raised right hand has never  meant anything other than a welcoming gesture to me. It's crazy, simply replacing the white gloves with money, this grand gesture immediately looks more like begging hands. Now I'm not sure if that was the intent the artist had, but it's @#!&ing effective on so many levels. Especially when it's titled "Fuck You, Pay Me" Anyway. I'm that guy who believes there are undertones of Illuminati activity in everything. Conspiracy theories all over (paranoid right). Thus you see why I might be reading into this way too much, or its just the critical artist in me.

What I'd really like to point out is my initial reaction. The value here is knowing we're all worth a pretty penny and often we sell our selves short. Do not take your skills for-granted. At its simplest, this print is a visual reminder that time is money and how much is your time worth?

Reminds me of this quote I ran across weeks ago.

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. " --Red Adair


Good Listening: Nick Hakim "Pour Another"

Lets slow things down a bit this share. I dont know much about who Nick Hakim is except he's MAD talented and from the East Coast. I swear I've replayed this song like 100000000 times and Im not over it yet. This tune might not be for everybody but sonically it's so easy to work to. ENJOY


As most of you know, CS is our little passion experiment. Hoang and I both have daytime design gigs so it doesn’t take much to get us bitchin and moaning about how freaking busy we are! Anyways,  with the crazy amount of projects we’re handling I feel like I haven’t done my part on the blog, so I owe you guys a little bit of content. Here’s a little sneak peek into what’s cooking! Please stay tune’d and thank you so much for your patience. Super rough and under major progress, I promise nothing but sweetness coming your way! #RARE creativesession designlife designcreativesession designlife designcreativesession design creativesession designlife design

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We've been working with Keith Magruder on all kinds of projects since CCA days and have been following "Baker's Son" and his success. Keith has been travelling nonstop between LA and the Bay Area as of late for his shows and now working for Tom's (shoe) as a private artist. Between our busy schedules, we both made time to catch up last weekend and knocked out a process video of him painting. He's currently working on a collection called "Sweet Memories" using mainly watercolor as a medium.

Here is the video:

Keith also produces music. This track used in this video was an original by him. Check out his Baker's Son Soundcloud.

In his own words:

"Growing up, I remember helping my mom and grandmother in the kitchen as they baked cakes and pies. No matter what the occasion, even if it were a funeral, their work brought joy to people. I wanted to bring that experience into this setting. Our world is filled with so much destruction and chaos that sometimes we forget the simple sweet memories from our everyday lives."

And sneak peeks of the other paintings in the collection.






A friend of mine shared Mark Manson's website to me today. Essentially the site is about the psychology of personal growth and culture all told through the crazy lens of Manson's experiences. If you have some time on your hand I recommend checking out his Archives . This quote was taken from an inspiring article titled "The Most Important Question of Your Life."  I really appreciate how Manson suggests that our dreams and desires are not driven by perceived happiness but rather by the amount of pain you're willing to go through.

"At the core of all human behavior, the good feelings we all want are more or less the same. Therefore what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing to sustain." -- Mark Manson


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I stumbled upon this image while browsing a week or so ago and have found myself coming back to it habitually, so here I am posting it on our blog.

At the beginning of the year I made a promise to myself that 2013 will be different, it'll be a year of risk taking and pure execution. I was content about staring into the face of fear, doing whatever scared me, and ignoring things that serve little to no purpose to the growth of CreativeSession and myself.

This image is powerful because it questions my state of satisfaction. It serves as a reality check for the crew and myself. It forces me to try things I normally wouldn't, and exposes me to a reality I would not have experienced if I were to play it safe. What was there to lose? So far, I have met some of the greatest people and picked up some of the most exciting projects!

Life is a gamble. The more times you apply yourself, the more chances of winning! So quit losing!!!!


The quote above reminded me of a JayZ response from A Charlie Rose interview that has stuck with me through the years. "If my artist succeeds it's because of them, if they fail, it's because of me."

As an OG CS gang member I've always took it upon myself to help pave the path and do whatever's within my power to keep the crew alive and well. Most of the time it includes grunt work, but never will I have anyone perform a task I would NOT do myself. Lead by example, own up to our mistakes, and remember not to be the team member you wouldn't want to deal with. There's no I in team! Enjoy :)