The HOW Design Forum is one of my favorite online communities. I've been a participant for several incarnations of the cyber forum to date. Those who participate in the daily design networking activities are commonly known as "HOWies." If the name conjurs up a sense of some off-the-wall cult members, it's not far from the truth - the forum is kind of a design cult that sucks you in and will not let you be free to take care of your necessary daily work tasks.
Over the years the online community activity has occasionally strayed into the "real" world. HOWies have congregated at the annual HOW Design Conference (with special custom HOWie attendee I.D. badges), and in more casual gatherings around the country, to form real friendships. In a step beyond the normal forum avatar identitifications, The HOW Forum Member Picture Show A-Rama gave real faces to many of the regular visitors. There's even a HOWie group on Facebook, and a gaggle of HOWies can be found of Flickr and elsewhere on Internet social networking and design-related sites.
The forum participants have also moved beyond socializing to collaborating on design projects. In recent years there have been a series of HOWiezine projects, each with a different theme. Participants are responsible for designing, producing and submitting their zine pages, which are then compiled and distributed in complete magazine form by hard-working little HOWie elves. I'm usually too involved in writing or design projects to play with the other kids. However, I did participate in a HOWie cookbook project a couple years ago.
Late last year the HOWie poster project idea hit the pages of the forum. Through months of forum posts a theme was selected, forum visitors were able to sign up to participate, rough concepts were presented and all aspects of the project could be followed by all participants. HOWie poster diva (and that is meant in the best possible context) Jas Wabbington (Screen name: WabbingtonDesign) led the troops through the process and deserves a huge "thank you" for her efforts in herding 37 designers on one project. She also art directed and illustrated the poster in which HOWie participants show "Our True Colors" as color chips growing on a beautiful tree. HOWie poster project manager "jroz" deserves a tip of the HOWie hat, too. As does HOWie "mathias' for coming up with the initial concept. Ryan at Direct Edge Media deserves a "toot!" for the great printing job.
My HOWie poster arrived in the mail yesterday. The end result of the fun collaborative effort will find a special place on my studio wall - when the organizing of 30 years of design files/books is completed and I can actually find a wall.
© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives