10 October. The week before last we were wearing shorts. This week we're having to contemplate wearing gloves. Winter is on the way, I guess. (Postmen, of course, will carry on wearing shorts regardless, even when it's snowing. Why do they do that?)
I expect you've noticed that it went a little quiet around here prior to last Friday. It's a sign of one of the small changes that happened to me in 2011: the failed discipline of making myself (or a guest blogger) post at least every working day of the week. But in a way it neatly summarises my relationship with 2011: it was a year of small changes and nothing very much happening. I went into it thinking that it was going to be a year of enormous change. Which it was for millions of people around the globe. A year of momentous changes, and very few of them for the better. And here am I contemplating that nothing very much happened. Maybe after all that's an achievement by itself.
And I stopped talking about design very much, as well. Did you notice that? But after all, what was there to talk about. It was hardly a vintage year for design, was it? Can you remember anything you saw and immediately thought "I wish I'd done that"? No, I can't either. It was more likely an inward sigh and a thought of "well, at least the money must be good". Lucky for those who can sniff it out.
But 2011 had to be about something, didn't it? And I'll tell you what it was for me: the year of being surveyed.
I couldn't move without being asked to fill out an online survey about the 'brand experience' I'd just enjoyed. Brand experience, my ass.
You know what? I caught a coach. From one city to another (and back again). Not something that I do very often. But enough to catch the attention of the National Express brand police. Could I complete a short online survey to help them to improve the 'brand experience'?. Sure, no problem. Question: 'did you use the on-board toilet?' (or words to that effect). Answer: 'No'. Next question: 'did you find the toilet to be in a clean condition?' (or words to that effect), 'yes' or 'no'. And so it went on, five more questions about the toilet, each to be answered yes or no. And I can't move on to the next page of the survey until I've answered all these toilet questions. Oh, OK, I'll just make them up then. Anything to keep you happy. But I'll make sure not to use the toilet next time I catch one of your coaches.
And what about the BBC? They're no better either when it comes to nonsensical survey questions. 'How often do you visit the BBC site for local news?'. Easy: once or twice a day (I like to keep abreast of what's going on around me). 'What do I like or dislike about the site?'. Oh, it's getting harder. Now I've got to have opinions about it. Can't I just have a look, catch up with the news and get out again (preferably as quickly as possible)? No, I thought not. 'How easy is to find sports news?'. Look, buddy, you're talking to a man who's dedicated his whole life to the avoidance of sports news. Can I get out of this survey now, please?
And so it went on. Completely disgruntled on a scale of one to ten.
And what's 2012 got lined up for us? Oh yes, I forgot. That.
Now I really do try not to be negative on this blog (it's one of my unwritten rules). But sometimes I think it's best just to face up to the facts: that there are some things that graphic designers didn't ought to be allowed anywhere near. Top of the list being wedding invitations, especially if they're for themselves.
Forgive me if you think I'm being a killjoy here, but I don't know these people, I'm never going to meet them, the wedding's already happened anyway - so I don't need to see the invitation, thank you very much. Not that I don't wish them all every happiness, mind.
I'd just rather not see their invitations cluttering up the interweb.