So far, I have been talking exclusively about topics that do not belong to my specific field of expertise, architecture and designI have been talking about this stuff for 30 years of teaching and research, and I greatly enjoy the opportunity of finally being able to talk about other things that interest me. But this doesn't mean I lost interest in design issues.
This thread was motivated by a brief discussion I had, via e-mail, about the design of graphical avatars and by the longer discussion we had some days ago on an xword blog about the state quarter program of the US Mint. Different as quarters and avatars may seem, they have one important feature in common: Both are small objects, and their design is more or less successful depending on how the designer took that feature into account. I'll elaborate on this in my first comment