I was browsing Vimeo the other day when I came across this video created by the Japanese animator Tetsuka Niiyama. The short film is a great ambient piece that is just beautiful to look at. Niiyama describes it as such:
This is a CG movie that depicts saltation and growth of life in the sea using jewelry as the motif for illustrating the theme “Jewels of Sea.” It creates mystifying and attractive scenery by the ores resembling creatures of sea and its transforming refraction and reflection of light that are affected by the organic moves.
I love the mix of the organic and the mineral and the film just sucks you right in. Niiyama has a handful of other similarly beautiful videos which you can check out here.
On my way home last night I was thinking about the current idea of user experience and the way I design. When I design I fall into the less is more category. A good example is the video player I designed for the new Disney.com earlier this year. I took an audit of the big video players out there – Vimeo, YouTube, Hulu – and started disecting from there. I weighed the pros and cons of each. Pixel by pixel I figured out the design decisions that were made, the what and the why. And then I took all of that knowledge and made something of my own.
I wanted to keep the options lean, so there are very few objects to interact with. You’ve got a play/pause button, a mute button, a full screen function, and a scrubber with the current and total times. The play button is large and set to the left, as most of the imagery in video previews tend to be placed in the center. This way we won’t cover Dory’s adorable fish face. There’s only a mute button, no volume controls. Most people control their volume with the keyboard anyhow. Full screen and a scrubber are pretty obvious. When you hover away from the scrubber you get a tiny, thin strip of play progress and that’s it. No more, no less.
The way I see it, interfaces are going to disappear. Look at a video game like Skyrim where almost 95% of the UI simply disappears. Look at an app like Clear which uses nothing but gestures to allow you to make lists. Even blue sky thinking like Google Glass has the right idea. The thought that we’re going to be trapped on a two dimensional screen is extremely short sighted. In the near future we’ll have the ability to control objects, environments and devices with our voice, our gestures and even our very presence. I imagine that our children will think it’s funny that we used to click on analog keyboards to express ourselves.
So while I continue to analyze my own design style, I try to keep an eye toward the future. I consciously keep my information well organized. I keep my type clean and easy to read. I think of both the young and the old. And I try to embrace changes when they come. Hopefully this will keep me on my toes for what the future holds.
The idea of camouflage can be traced back to the notes of Charles Darwin who recognized the patterns of animals and insects served as a survival mechanism.
When we see leaf-eating insects green, and bark-feeders mottled-grey; the alpine ptarmigan white in winter, the red-grouse the colour of heather, and the black-grouse that of peaty earth, we must believe that these tints are of service to these birds and insects in preserving them from danger.
My first passionate encounter came in the form of a pair of camo trainers that were made by XLarge. I think I purchased them in 2002 in a strip mall in Downtown Sacramento. They still sit in a box underneath my bed and they’re one of my prized possessions. But before that I had no affinity to camo. If anything I had grown an aversion thanks to years of high school classmates in baggy camo cargo pants. Over time though I’ve certainly grown quite an affection for camo, which was certainly fueled by Hardy Blechman’s immense compendium DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material. In it he covers not only the history and variety of camouflage patterns but also their occurrences in pop culture. It’s the holy grail of camo.
So I thought I’d put together a collection of camo objects that I’ve been gathering over the last few weeks. Hopefully you find some that you like. Just remember to dress sparingly with your camo. Too much camo and you might end up looking like a crazy war vet.
I love the work of Esme Winter. The British designer produces wonderful stationery and great paper products. Started in 2011, her collection now includes wrapping paper, note cards and notebooks – there’s even plans for a textile range in the near future!
I really like her simple understated designs. The patterns and colors are just perfect and it’s great that the wrapping-paper and cards can really be used to celebrate any occasion. You can see more of her work online here.
In the UK, Darren Williams isn’t just a producer, a music student, or just a scruffy Mancunian. Also known as Star Slinger, his brand of UK bass/house/future garage has set the model for dance music this year. Toss in the Jet Jam party scene (an audio/visual expansion of this club party) with his fresh exciting remixes and you get some of the best party music for today’s youth.
Take This Up was the precursor for the Jet Jam parties that popped up during his current U.S. tour. I went to the one at the Echo and it was a gully-as-hell trap party with these 2-step vibes. Take This Up is no different, as the sample gets squashed to hell, restarted at an almost manic pace and chopped to pieces into a speedy, seizure-dancing beat. Not as bass-heavy as most other tracks, it’s a hip hop dance floor banger for 2013.