Like Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in this Portlandia video, Twitter often tries to have conversations with you that you’re not ready to have. And because there is no ‘lets talk about something we’ve all seen’ filter, Scott Luptowski created Spoil.rs: the first web app for sharing secrets on twitter.
When developing the concept, Scott asked for some UX and visual design guidance. He was set on green and an umbrella icon, but the rest was up to me. To easily live on all devices, Spoil.rs needed a responsive, flat UI that could be quickly generated with CSS. Through wireframes and photoshop explorations we settled on a friendly, minimalist design instantly turning any first time vistor into an expert user.
Spoil.rs is no Nicolas Cage Roulette (Scott’s most popular project) but has been publicly well received earning write up’s from Forbesand TIME. This has been a fun little project to work on. Spoil.rs has room for growth, but in the mean time am thrilled to have been included and am excited to see people use it!
In February Leo Burnett sent me to Stash Media’s Styleframes Conference. Two days, one stage, 40 speakers and sold out audience of artists, advertisers, reps and producers made for a high intensity creative weekend.
Styleframes was just the inspirational mid-winter pick me up I (and most in attendance) needed. The conference was casual. Speakers presented in an impressively honest ‘peer to peer’ tone, sharing work, process, victories, and (believe it or not) failures. Before attending I was hesitant to believe that competitive design professionals would *actually* expose their “coveted pitch secrets,” embarrassing exploratory work, or painful client feedback– but they all did. The truth is the Arts community as a whole is constantly defending its value, and at the end of the day we are all in this together. Style frames asked speakers to come the stage not as designers, not as professionals, but as humans. On stage, People shared their experiences in hopes of arming the audience with inspiration and insight. ( Lucia Grillo from Psyop nicely captures the vibe of the conference in this teaser video) I could write more than anyone visiting a tumblr blog would ever read about each speaker, so instead will stick to a few of the conferences collective themes.
The best idea never wins.
Reality is– most of the time the best idea doesn’t win. Relationships, company politics and budgets dictate a pitches outcome. In the interest of time, money, and quality of the creative product, shops are striving to form agency partnerships to create respectful “single bid” situations.
“If a client is triple bidding, they are usually asking for a reinvention, their rooting for surprise. But when clients ask for reinvention, then don’t have the guts to do it. The next time a client calls, assume they already know who they want to work with, so stop wasting time, negotiate for a single pitch or walk away.” -panel discussion: ‘In Broadcast, life’s a pitch’
Spec Work is harmful
In the event of a pitch, shops need to be compensated for their time and creative product.
“Free works for commodity products (ex: test drive a car). Free does not apply to professional services.” – no-spec.com
Pitching starves the creative process.
“HUSH clients are involved and work with us to create a vision. We can’t just pretty something up. We need brand support and knowledge to actually come up with an idea … We Believe in process, research leads to minimum possible answers.” – HUSH
Comfortable with being Uncomfortable
"We’re comfortable with being uncomfortable. Its okay to say ‘We don’t know’ every design is different… so cut the bullshit. We never say ‘we know how’ but we promise we’ll figure it out.” – HUSH
My eyes are up here
"Our Job is to educate clients so they can talk to us about the work on the same eye level.” – Sehsucht
Failing makes you ugly
"If we lose? Then it least we made something new.” – B Reel
• Pitches have r&d and innovation value, Re-skin and recycle pitches, Build a toolbox of resources, A chance for team bonding.
“Even though you lose, your not a looser” – Psyop
Ideas are the premium. Concept is king.
Lead with Strategy. Keep visual design out of the initial pitch to focus on the quality of the idea.
“We rarely do designs for pitches. We stick to reference images to create a mood.” – B Reel
“The democratization of tech makes tools less important, and your thought and content most important.” – Sehsucht
Two weeks ago Brian, Jill, Michael and myself ventured to SCAD for a Creative Technology talent search. SCAD had asked us (Leo Burnett) to give a presentation for film and digital media students as a way of giving back to the university that had given me and the company so much. Resistant to presenting and still jaded from my not so graceful transition into the “real world,” I accepted the challenge and followed the advice to “talk about what you know” …or in Leo speak, “the real human truth.”
Truth is, your early 20’s is the most awkward time in your life– and no one talks about it.
My solution– a back handed, non inspirational, unwanted pep talk in the form of a medical diagnosis, offering my personal experiences as a case study for PTSD– Post traumatic SCAD disorder. PTSD is a serious disorder effecting SCAD grad’s across all majors. Above are a handful of slides that introduce this passion sucking, emotionally draining and potentially finically traumatizing (but totally curable) “disease.”
The remaining slides (not shown here) guide students and graduates suffering or at risk for PTSD through the healing process. By identifying symptoms early, PTSD sufferers can become successful survivors by kicking ass, and not getting their asses kicked upon graduation.
Email me to inquire more on PTSD. No one deserves to suffer alone! ..And as the first, and only self diagnosed sufferer, I may be your only resource.
By taking a risk to speak about my not so pleasant post SCAD realities, I deprived students of a fairy-job-mother spiel, but instead gained an unexpected connection with the audience, and my coworkers. This was a nerve racking task, but well worth it based on the positive feedback from professors and developing impact on students. I hope graduates continue to share their Post Traumatic SCAD Disorder stories, and that my off-beat message ultimately inspired people to work for their passions, see opportunity in challenges and fight fear, the root of all evil.
The Central American sub-tropic oasis, Belize– was hands down one of my favorite destinations. Affordable, friendly, english speaking, and loaded with activities (…and cute boys with accents) Amy and I never hit a dull moment. The perfect antidote to the winter blues and feeling burnt out at work.
Visiting the land of 2012, in 2012 was an adventure. Central America is rich in ancient history, has brilliant skies with vivid stars, life changing coffee, and beautiful natural terrane. I hope to see the world through this lens again. Here is a glimpse at our trip, I will publish extensive pictures on Flickr soon.
Some quick trip details…. The first half of the trip was spent in main land Belize at Midas reasortin San Ignacio. Commuting from our blue cabin, we traveled with Pacs Tours hiking, cave tubing, impromptu rock climbing, swimming and observing archaeological finds through out Belize andTikal Guatemala. After surviving “the jungle,” we headed to the coast for a blue water beach vacation. Amy and I stayed at Sea Dreams hotelon Caye Caulker, a small car-free island reliant on bikes and golf carts as primary transit. In Caye Caulker we went snorkeling, got spa treatments on the beach, ate fresh seafood, worked on our base tan, tested local Tequilas, gained a new appreciation for Rum and successfully went to the only bar open until 4am every night.
For my SCAD IGTM “intro to flash” course we were asked to create a multi level adventure style game. Considering the video games I play(ed) date back to N64 Mario Kart and GameBoy Tetris– and my favorite film does not contain 'Star' in the title… this assignment was actually extremely difficult for me to approach conceptually. (and literally because I’m horrible at coding anything thats not a pantone change… half kidding.)
Opposed to fufilling my preconceived idea of an “adventure” game– instead created an interactive exploration of the creative process. Expanding on the belief that creativity is not a ‘eureka moment.’
Users navigate their way through six levels collecting written and illustrated clues to complete quotes representing universal steps in any thinking process–idea, strategy, execution, and delivery. (the game is not live– but general interface and look shots posted above.)
My 1st exercise from an interactive class last quarter– “Create a linear animation of a looping day to night sequence in flash.”
The concept is strong. Transition is simple. Illustration adorable, and animation not horrific for a first time flash user. Fun small home work assignment.
The newest episode of NBC’s 30 Rock (Season 5 Episode 13, Feb. 2011) included screen graphics eerily similar to the design I created for SCAD(Spring 2010.) The fonts are slightly different- but type placement, diamonds and movement are identical. Coincidence? Highly unlikely. I guess NBC was equally as offended by Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s existing show package. They do say imitation is the highest form of flattery…
I recently discovered (and have become obsessed with…) the all American, ultimate monster pie-cake, the Cherpumple. After watching Charles Phoenix’s charming video, I needed to find a way to incorporate this quirky dessert into my work immediately.
Using Flash and Illustrator I give users the opportunity to explore and learn about the infamous, triple layered wonder, the Cherpumple. This project for SCAD began as a simple homework exercise and is now growing into a more elaborate Flash project. The goal is to create an interactive application to move through “rooms” using a fixed navigation and “keys” to gain access to sections of the design.
The user gains access to the “rooms” by “blowing out” a birthday candle allowing you to bite right in! The “rooms” are a series of graphic illustrations and typography that visually guide you threw the dense icing, cake, and pie layers. Nom Nom Nom. I hope to have this touched up and published post finals– keep a look out! …till then I encourage everyone to take on the Cherpumple challenge and actually bake the thing.
Here are a few work in progress frames from SCAD.
I shot Sydney with a wide zoom lens and a fixed 50 using natural light. I'm in the middle of adding story details into the images. At the moment I'm really into the juxtaposition of live action and flat vectors.
This poster was fun to create. The Paddles are part of the existing “brand” but my design goal was to create something easy to read, eye catching and “ping pong official.” This was composed quickly to get the word out– so there is no process really, just a few other alternative layouts.
70-year-old Ruth Flowers is a living example that age shouldn’t get in the way of things you’re passionate about. Ruth does extraordinary things, for her age. Known as “Mammy Rock“, around the European club scene, Ruth Flowers is probably the oldest professional DJ in the world.