Monday, November 24, 2014

The Importance of (Work/Life) Balance

While the economy is indeed pointing up since 2008, the job market is still quite cut-throat for those looking for an opportunity to obtain some kind of career stability. With this highly competitive aroma in the air, we might feel the pressure to do whatever it takes to climb the corporate ladder in an attempt to ensure our own success regardless of what that may mean for others. This kind of poison can, and will, dissolve teams, decrease productivity, and produce a hostile work environment.

Pressure like this can bring us to justify crazy options just to meet deadlines and stay ahead of others. Crazy things like, habitually working 6 days a week, constantly on your phone or computer "just answer some emails" while at home, and working 80 hours each week regularly.

"The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done.”

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Google Usability: A Time For User Feedback

A wise person once told me, "Be the change you want to see in usability."

Actually, no one said that, but the message is still quite true. The best way to ensure your needs are met as a user is to make them heard by submitting user feedback and by participating in UX surveys, studies, and research.

Google has opened up their arms giving users the warm embrace of a UX survey in hopes to collect more information about the experiences that their applications offer. I, for one, would like to take that survey, and so should you.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

"Make It Pop" and Other Illustrated Designer Horrors

I came across a collection of posters designed to illustrate a few of the key things that we tend to hear in the industry, and was elated to not only enjoy an inspiring visual project, but to know that I'm not alone.

Created by Mark and Paddy of, this brightly colored, and inspiring collection of designs add visuals to the hilarious requests that some less-than-informed clients tend to ask. In an earlier post, I raved about the truth and genius of the comic How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell by the Oatmeal. In said comic, the point is clearly made that sometimes the client is not always right, and essentially needs a little direction in order to help you give them exactly what they need (and want).

My very favorite phrase to hear from a client while in a working session, or after presenting them a visual draft of their original request is the infamous, "Make It Pop." This is by far, one of the most frequent requests that most of my clients have at one point said to me, and each one meant something very different in the end.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Stories in Typography: continued

It's one thing to use typography as a medium to express a narrative or concept in design, but one group decided to publish the stories and background that was involved in creating their fonts and reveal the stories for each type.

Fontsmith - 10 years in type
Fontsmith - 10 Years in Type

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Making of Disney's "Paperman"

If you haven't been made aware of Paperman, the latest Disney animated short, I would classify it as a requirement for anyone seeking a shimmer of hope in an increasingly bleak time of the overpowering CG animation style entertainment.

Without actually diving too deep into the message, or the story that the animated short tells so well, the style of animation is absurdly unique for these changing times, and deserves some recognition. As an art form, frame-by-frame animation has become more and more of a dying medium, and there have been some ripples as to this meaning that the quality animation being sacrificed for a more economical, and convenient method. I tend to agree to a point, but cannot argue that such CG animated movies like Toy Story and Up are emotional gold.

In Paperman, they use a very creative combination of CG technology with a hand drawn finishing effect to create the illusion of a 100% hand drawn animation. I recently read a blog article on the making of Paperman, that opened my eyes to just how ridiculously dedicated animators can be.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Design Resource: Free Textures for Web

In order to create a truly memorable website design, one thing I try to focus on is including small, subtle design elements that indirectly contribute to a larger user experience. These style refinements, and graphic enhancements usually appear as the inclusion of drop shadows to create the illusion of depth and layers, or gradients to add a more robust color scheme and perspective, or the shiny reflective button glare effect that was so prevalent in 2006.

One particularly understated, yet sometimes over abused, styling element is the background texture. In cases where these graphics are abused with harsh contrasts, heavy saturation, patterns too complex to have legible text, and poor placement, this ultimately creates the sense of a 2003 myspace page instead of the intended professional web presence. Behold your solution,