Inside Penguin’s Publishing Offices

Guy Kawasaki over at Holy Kaw! posts about the various team members and office spaces at his publisher, Portfolio, which is an imprint of Penguin.  He’s put up a bunch of photos he took inside the Manhattan office building where all the book work goes on.

It’s all more or less just fine… until we get to the photo of the art department (although I don’t trust smiling publishers).  The poor art people are given those brutally unprivate low-walled cubicles to work in.  All management teams use the exact same excuses for these open work areas:  fosters team spirit, allows easy direct communication over cubicle walls, lets the window light spread throughout the work area.

The real reason management installs low-rise cubicles is for observation and control.  It puts all employees, even the most dedicated and creative ones, in the position of monitoring each others’ work habits and arrival/departure times.  Low-rise cubicles are an insult to employees and do not foster team attitudes.  Professionals build teams by sharing their skills, not by watching each other.

Here’s Kawasaki’s book at Amazon.  And the cover really just truly sucks.  It’s about how to convince people to do the things you would like for them to do in business.  It probably helped convince the art designers to work in this cubicle hell.  His next book should be about how to smash furniture.

Marvel Makes a Create Your Own Comic Tool


Marvel Comics has a Create Your Own Comic tool that lets you put together either a simple 3-panel strip or an entire 22-page comic book.  You don’t actually draw anything, but you choose layouts, backgrounds, characters and objects.  You can re-size everything and layer objects on top of each other.  It’s great for trying one’s hand at designing a layout that tells a story effectively.  So write your comic book and start designing!

Machinarium Game Designer Sketchbooks and Trailer

03_machinarium_concept_art-thumb-960x704-26671Boing Boing has posted a set of fascinating sketches by Jakub Dvorský and Adolf Lachman, the designers of the upcoming point and click adventure game, Machinarium.

This game looks marvelous. It’s made by an independent game producer who also made a popular game called SamarostMachinarium is about a little robot who’s been thrown out to the scrap yard behind the city must return and confront the Black Cap Brotherhood and save his robot-girl friend.  I think I’ll give it a try.  Although I usually find it much easier to build a puzzle game than to actually play one.  They always leave me feeling stumped and dumb and I just end up quitting.  But this one looks so beautiful that I’d try really hard just to see the next picture.