DUMBO has been treated as a movie set for many years and we got quite the treat the other day as we witnessed the movie production of Spiderman outside of our window. Jason captured one of the most dramatic scenes from the weekend of shooting via a Vine video. Looking forward to finding this scene once the movie is out. Enjoy!
A few days ago we attended the book launch party for Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity by Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn at the New York Times Building. The authors have been championing simplicity for businesses and organizations around the world for decades. The book discusses three principles of simplicity: Empathize, Distill, and Clarify, and a host of examples of companies streamlining their processes. Many examples are also brought up where simplicity is badly needed (medical field, user agreements, tax code, etc.). Our average everyday experiences are inundated with overly complex things and confusion. We’ve been conditioned to expect complexity and many people are too afraid to ask questions when presented with muddled language or technical jargon. The consequences of this are far reaching and affect every facet of life. The book aims to inspire the reader to stand up for simplicity.
From our perspective the book is an affirmation to an honest design process. For us the simplification principles are part of the intuitive process of designing. We go through a process of simplifying client’s information each time we design an interface. At the level of design we bring the three principles of Empathize, Distill and Clarify into one: Organizing Information (User Experience). Critical to our process when designing an interface is putting ourselves in the shoes of the user.
As a side note, one of the biggest complements anyone can pay a designer is by saying a piece of design is simple, clean and easy to use. Even more so when this comes from someone who is not a designer. They usually don’t even realize they are paying us a compliment. It’s usually a gut reaction they are having to whatever we are showing them and it tells us we did well.
Did some explorations recently in breaking up shapes and offsetting each half. Also combined a few similar shapes in this exercise. Results can produce some unique combinations. Perhaps not surprisingly this exercise not work that well with any shape.
3-D printing has been appearing in the news more frequently in recent months. This amazing technology will allow for printing very complex forms in variety of materials. I came across this article recently about an architect who plans to ‘print’ a house. The form of the house would consist of a endless Mobius strip. Here is a link to the original article: building-3-d-printer
Definition of Mobius from britannica.com:
Möbius strip, a one-sided surface that can be constructed by affixing the ends of a rectangular strip after first having given one of the ends a one-half twist. This space exhibits interesting properties, such as having only one side and remaining in one piece when split down the middle.
I always found the Mobius to be a very interesting shape in 2-D graphics. It lends itself to very fluid logo forms and great illusion of three dimensionality. It can be executed in a variety of shapes. Below are a few possible rendering of a Mobius strip.
(Here are couple of other recent leaps in 3-D printing world:
A 3-D scanner was just introduced by MakerBot at SXSW article link. This device will allow you to scan any object smaller than 8 inches and then print it with a 3-D printer. It circumvents some obstacles in 3-D printing being utilized by many people — basic knowledge of mechanical engineering and experience using AutoCAD. Another is this 3Doodler by WobbleWorks which is the world’s first 3D printing pen article link. This pen will allow you to ‘draw’ 3-D forms.)
Earlier today I came across an article about H&M’s recycling program which allows you to trade in any of your old clothing for a store discount! It’s a great idea which has a potential to alleviate the environmental burden of millions of pounds of old clothing that end up in landfills each year. It’s also very encouraging to see a large company such as H&M get involved in sustainability efforts. Here is a link to the article: http://www.refinery29.com/hm-icollect
Finding about this program compelled me to post a project of mine from several years ago. While I was still in school I came up with an idea of a recyclable textile and created an identity for it. Below is my original description and some images of the brand:
Aeon proposes a solution to the problem of recycling used clothing. It’s a zero-waste recycling system. The project assumes a fully recyclable synthetic fiber is invented and used by a fashion label. Once the apparel created out of Aeon fibers is worn out, or out of style, it’s to be returned to the label for a small rebate towards the purchase of new items. The used clothing is then fully recycled into new textiles.
The logomark encapsulates an ‘infinite’ circular movement. The brand name ‘Aeon’ alludes to the infinite lifespan of this fiber. Textural fiber imagery is explored in the branding components. The brand colors are blue for clear sky and brown for soil symbolizing the widespread positive impact this product would have on the environment.
We recently helped create a site to promote a fundraiser for The Jersey Shore Relief Project. All monetary proceeds from this fundraiser will be donated to the New Jersey Red Cross to help support the families who lost their homes and the efforts to rebuild the Jersey Shore. To learn details go to the site: jerseyshorereliefproject.org
This is another round of explorations with type. We focused on the abstract nature of the letter form from creating patterns to simple letter combinations that take on almost object-like quality. This full display font is called Accent and can be found at http://www.behance.net/gallery/Accenta-Free-Display-Typeface/2624657
Recently we found this very attractive and unique font called Typometry which lends itself to experimentation. Exploring some of its characters we focused on the abstract nature of the letter forms and created a number of graphic pieces. The full font can be found here: http://www.tendollarfonts.com/product/typometry-typeface
We recently spent some time in Iceland and drove the entire Ring Road around the country. Iceland has one of the most unique landscapes, distinct cuisine and very simple but elegant stylistic touch in architecture and decor.
My years as a designer and developer have led me to the conclusion that everyone really must learn HTML formatting. I had the initial thought on this matter several months ago which was, more specifically, “teach HTML in schools.” Before putting text to editor I did a quick Google search and sure enough a very thoughtful post on precisely that subject presented itself written by blogger/developer Leon Paternoster. His post is titled “Web writers should know HTML so teach it in school” and you should read it. Surprisingly nothing else showed up on the topic. I’d like to make the same exact case that Mr. Paternoster has made, but in my own words.
First of all, it’s likely too late for most in the work force who should know HTML to pine for a lost (necessary) education in formatting. That’s actually ok. Basic HTML formatting probably only takes a day to learn (I’m probably being generous). Every professional who is required to write things should take that day and spend the time learning how to format the things they write. HTML, for good reason, is synonymous with how websites are built. What must also be appreciated is that HTML, when used correctly, is the basis for how content is written and formatted on the web. The text I’m writing now is in a paragraph. How does this website know that it’s in a paragraph? Because it’s formatted with paragraph tags – <p> paragraph text here </p>.
Why do so many people format text badly? I’m going to say it’s not your fault if you don’t know HTML and your text content is formatted poorly. I’m going to lay the blame squarely with Microsoft Word for not enforcing good formatting habits. Have you ever tried to post your MSWord text directly into a web editor (such as the WordPress visual editor)? Quite a disaster. To be fair Word preceded HTML by nearly a decade. Yet I see no reason why it couldn’t make a better effort to help writers understand that they should be formatting text in a standard way. Instead, in Word’s modern guise, it allows for all manner of text styling which often carries over into websites wrapped in numerous, redundant style-only <span> tags.
I think part of the problem is that HTML has been trivialized and relegated to the realm of developers. HTML is for everyone! I come back to Mr. Paternoster’s point, that HTML formatting is a crucial part of web writing. It should be taught as such. If I was teaching an elementary English class I’d be looking for good semantic formatting in student papers. It wouldn’t hurt to have students submit reports in pure hypertext to bring home the point. Good formatting is certainly not hard, but it is extremely important. If you’re not doing it yet, start now!
- <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6>