The floppy disc and the save icon

Someone’s kid found an old floppy disk and said how clever it was to make a storage device that looks like the save icon.

Digital photo of a piece of physical art depicting a digital Save icon which is based on the look of an actual 3.5 inch floppy drive that saved digital data to a physical disc.

Who is Roger MacGuffen?

BTW, in case you are wondering, this object was really floppy to touch, but the magnetic material inside of it was. But there was a time when the whole thing was sort of floppy and much larger, That is, larger on the outside and smaller on he inside if you know what i mean, the opposite of Dr. Who’s Tardis. Might this thing actually be a Roger MacGuffen?


It's in the cloud. What does that mean?

Where is the cloud?

The cloud is a metaphor used to describe the nebulous ambiguity of data stored elsewhere. The fact is the data could realistically be almost anywhere and it doesn’t really matter where. It is likely in some data center somewhere, a server farm. It could be almost anywhere in the world, though there are emerging a few physical locations which are becoming server farm meccas.

When you say “the cloud”, you might mean Quincy

For example Quincy Washington. Quincy is a small farming town east of the Cascades in near the Columbia River in Central Washington. Land i relatively inexpensive and so is electricity from the nearby hydroelectric dams. The nearby fruit tree industry means the skills needed are present to build large concrete warehouses with AC / refrigeration.

I have friends who grew up as farmers growing corn and fruit orchards in the area, Now their neighbors are name brand IT companies.


Real or metaphor?

It is the nature of a metaphor to challenge the audience’s notion of reality. That’s how it works. That’s what makes metaphor different from simile or other forms of analogy where the audience is notified that an analogy is present. Metaphor is a pure statement of what is and it is up to the audience to detect that someone is pulling their leg or yanking their chain to make a point. If you’re inspecting your leg and looking for your chain, you might be missing my point.


Digital image of an analog clock pretending to be a digital icon pretending to be an analog clock

Lock-Security-icon-belveal-art JPG

What’s a symbol of security?


What’s a metaphor for?

Metaphor draws from the familiar to package something new or unfamiliar. It enable the audience to grasp a new idea using an existing grip.

It’s no secret that great writings including the Bible are filled with metaphors, allegories, and other analogies, Spiritual concepts are conveyed in familiar terms using stories and props familiar to the listeners. Iconography based on such stories fills the walls of cathedrals to this day. Language itself from ancient hieroglyphics to on-phonetic modern asian characters are based on pictures, mini metaphors representing ideas in pictures.

new becomes the familiar

It is the natural progression of language to introduce new or abstract ideas wrapped in the familiar. Eventually those new ideas to become things themselves, the familiar. The metaphor falls away like scaffolding and the ideas stand on their own. Or sometimes, the metaphorical packaging remains a permanent part of the thing ,




One day, my fellow designer Greg Bosque called me metaphorman. I was taken aback, then eventually decided it was a compliment. He was right of course. It’s true that I tend to express my ideas using metaphors, usually created spontaneously in a moment of need. Doing the work of design is frequently filled with such moments because our task is often all about putting a recognizable face on abstract things, usually new, often complex. and intrinsically difficult to understand and sometimes even harder to explain.



What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a new idea. The name itself is a metaphor. I created art that plays and builds on this metaphor directly. It was already part of my visual vernacular to depict chains and links as icons. Like gears, chain links are pretty frequently used in many icons. A literal depiction of a figurative name, Blockchain, which represents a technology that is technically an abstract concept.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a neural thing. The name itself provides an effective metaphor useful in explaining it, It’s more like an organic mind than typical computer data and processing. yet there is still a human need to give it a tangible form, a substance. Really, it is more of an emotional need than an intellectual Blockchain is a constant thing. It is an extendable pattern of linked information. It is a continuous validation of information.

There is no assumption that stored information is correct information as there is with traditional computing. To do what it does requires that it remain active.

The idea is a simple one. It is a mixture of simple and complex.


skeuomorphism inverted?

Skeuomorphism is a word that was used to describe the early Iphone user interface as it used imagery that was highly pictorial in nature. When Apple introduced the Iphone, they drew heavily upon familiar images and concepts from real life to explain the features in the phone. It as a great idea but may have had a lifespan. It was a short term strategy that paid off. Yest it was predictable that eventually,, the concepts in the phone would become familiar enough that such metaphorical representation is not necessary. In fact, it can become burdensome. Eventually that was considered the case. Iconography is now simpler.