America On Guns Launched

America OnWhether it’s comments on articles or social media exchanges among strangers, our conversations with each other online rarely live up to our better natures. That’s why we’ve been on a mission to change dialogues on the Web for the better for more than 16 years. The next step in our experiments debuted this week: America On is a permanent platform for small group dialogues about the most vexing topics in society. We’ve launched with a dialogue project on gun violence that seeks to allow participants to get past the normal rhetoric, even with people who have different beliefs than they do about this complex issue. We’d love to have you participate!


Sundance and the Lessons of Small Data

The allure of Big Data is guiding more people to statistical analysis for strategic insights, but there’s ample evidence that many don’t know how to put their arms around even the Small Data at their disposal. As the Sundance Film Festival starts today, two Small Data stories have been buzzing around the film community. They represent both the good and bad of how you find insights in data: one argues that indies make too many films that aren’t good enough, and the other argues that Hollywood has hired too few women.


Sundance 2014: 30 Years of Surviving Trends

I have started diving into the Sundance 2014 lineup that was just announced, and I’m reminded that after 30 years, the festival is proof that a thriving community can survive all kinds of trends. The ritual of dissecting who got in and who didn’t, and what kinds of films might be hot this year, is an interesting exercise for sure. But when looking at the past 30 years as a whole, one important thing remains constant: the community.


They’re Not Synonyms, But Why Should You Care?

I wrote an article this week for our friends over at Contently about the language of content strategy. People use content marketing, brand journalism and native advertising as if they were synonyms, but they aren’t really. Not unless advertising, marketing and public relations are also synonyms. Here are three reasons why you should care about the issue behind the buzzwords and why this is only the beginning of a larger conversation about the role of media and marketing:


Strangers in a Strange Room

As experience designers, we work with a broad variety of industries and art forms, each with their own unique vocabulary for talking about their work … that each professional then uses in a different way, suffused with personal context. Since our role frequently involves bridging this language across the silos of teams working towards integrated goals, we’re far more interested in understanding the nuance of what people are trying to communicate rather than the specific words they’re using to convey them. Over the years, we’ve developed a framework for doing that effectively in just a few hours in a workshop setting, even in strange new rooms as the odd ducks out. Here’s one of the processes we frequently use:


We’ve Been Through A Few Designs

In the last 18 years, GMD Studios has been through quite a few web designs.

Fortunately, the Wayback Machine is here to embarrass us with more than a few of them. I can remember at least one more sporting the color scheme of the Mystery Mobile, but it appears lost to time. Whew.


Selling Radiation

A few months ago, we received another spam asking if we wanted to sell one of our domain names. We get a couple of those spam each week, but this time it made me curious. The domain,, was registered in 1995 as a brand for our software division that we then shut down in 2000, so for over a dozen years that name went unused. A casual search of domain valuations suggested it might worth $155,000. Could that possibly right? After weeding through the obvious shills, I decided it was time for us to explore the world of “high value domain name auctions.”



We’re GMD Studios, one of the pioneers of experience design in the digital age. Since 1995, we’ve been helping clients innovate while also developing our own brands based on this audience and customer-centered approach.

We believe experiences are worth designing to be more meaningful, because this unlocks our best storytelling instincts. We tell each other stories about our experiences and bond with one another through those shared narratives.

We also try to practice what we preach. The last two decades have taught us that the more we let people inside our lab, the more we make interesting friends who often end up becoming collaborators. Our journal of experiments, insights and ongoing debates is meant to do just that – let you inside to glimpse how experience design can shape the way you approach business and storytelling challenges.

We especially hope it starts interesting conversations.

PS: We hang out with friends & colleagues on: