215 posts tagged design

Self-Contained Experiences

I hadn’t thought of the digital book experience in terms of containment before, but as a designer it is a powerful attribute to recognize. Holding a physical book in your hand, with no other apps and nothing to tap on, makes it a contained experience. By contrast, an electronic book on, say, an iPad is not as contained. I can easily switch to another app or get distracted by a notification. A “webified” book on such a device is even less contained. Hyperlinks, video, notes from other readers: all can add some value to the experience over a physical book, but they come at the cost of focus.

Isn’t there value in designing self-contained experiences, even if the constraints that make it up are self-imposed?

So, something to ponder: just because we can almost infinitely expand a physical experience when we move it into a digital realm, should we? Isn’t there value in designing self-contained experiences, even if the constraints that make it up are self-imposed? In visual design, constraints are one of my favorite tools and I don’t believe that should be any different when designing experiences, digital or otherwise.

It is in this manner that I believe the internet—and most digital technology—is still very much in its infancy. I’m generalizing a bit, but on the whole we—those of us that build the web and software—are spending most of our time trying to add things as we take pre-digital experiences and bring them online. This isn’t bad, but I can’t say it’s unequivocally good, either. We’ll all figure this out over time, but it never hurts to try to lead the charge now.


I’ve been slowly watching this change over the last few years. As a designer, creative, product guy, etc., I think there’s a huge opportunity in this shift. Not everyone has the right priorities yet (or ever will), but for those of us that do, let’s keep our heads down and keep making good shit.

If there was ever a time for design to wield its influence in many, many different industries and capacities, it’s now.

Steve Jobs Didn’t

He was human.

I’ve refrained from linking to or quoting a lot of the tributes to Steve Jobs simply because I assume we’re all consuming most of them together. But I wanted to point out this one by Horace Dediu of asymco. It perfectly captures what I admired about Steve Jobs and why his story will continue to inspire me.

It’s short, give it a read.

Visit the Link

X3 Offices

by Ezzo

I’m in love with this office in Timisoara, Romania. I’d love to find a building in downtown Boulder to do something similar with. They made great use of what could have been some very awkward spaces.

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How Much Design Is Too Much Design?

Khoi has made some great observations in this article, but I disagree with the overall premise. One thing we don’t talk enough about as designers is the difference between design, holistically, and visual treatment. A gorgeous button and “managed” pixels are part of the visual treatment. But that doesn’t actually make the page or app well-designed. We don’t like admitting this to ourselves because it means that we have to admit that things like Gmail, are, on some importantly-functional level, very well (or at least, adequately) designed.

The ability to make something pretty is not the same as the ability to design it well unless the only goal is to make the thing pretty.

Zara Picken

I’ve been meaning to post a link to Zara Galpin’s site for quite some time. The Bristol, England based illustrator has a gorgeous body of work and an impressive client list to match. She describes her style as, “retro-tinted with textured blocks of colour,” which fits—I’d add whimsical character development and beautiful patterns to the list.

Take a few moments and peruse her site.

(via @tylergalpin)

Visit the Link

Pave Culture Cycliste

This bike shop in Barcelona is more of a gallery—or, maybe it’s the Apple Store of bike shops. It’s gorgeous as an interior space and gives the bikes, helmets, shoes, and clothes artwork-like prominence.

One of the things I love most about it are the wide, open floors. I don’t think I’ve ever walked into a bike shop who’s floor wasn’t filled with bikes. The pave stones at the entrance and in the sunken lounge are also a nice touch.

Be sure to click through to their gallery with a bunch of large, detailed photos.

(via @cypher13 | @BenStot)

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How did a British polytechnic graduate become the design genius behind £200billion Apple?

Ive doesn’t speak in public much, but I would love to meet him someday.