sproutonline.com is like the apple.com of kids show websites

Somehow all of the patterns, illustrations and images are held together nicely in this design. The custom typography is a nice touch. That combined with careful use of color and animation make sproutonline.com usable and entertaining. Even the boring parts of the site look good which is important to recognize because large network’s web presence can easily become visually frankenstein’d as you move from page to page.

Take notes Disney and Nickelodeon.

 

sproutonline.com

Spiffy theme update to Pasthue.com

When it comes to WordPress themes for photography I’ve been restless trying to find something that presents my photos and and their titles effectively. Luckily I spotted Magnus.

The elegant use of CSS animation and the edge to edge layout are nice. The main image on the home page will update as I add new photos which should keep the page fresh upon revisiting. The large type on top of the image invites a click, hopefully. One major problem, the photos are cropped depending on the orientation so I adjusted the CSS to reduce how much is cropped without making portrait sizes too large. More browser testing needed, don’t let me down Hugo Baeta!

Let’s stop trivializing design work

This week, Instagram updated their logo, and right on cue, the Internet exploded about it. This is not a post about that. Rather, this is a post about how we all critique design in public.

For example, this tweet got a lot of traction, especially from designy people:

And rightfully so…it’s a funny GIF. Anything with that thumbs up kid is gold!

There’s just one problem. Jokes like this spread the misconception that design is an easy and shallow aesthetic exercise. This seems to happen every time a major brand redesigns.


In case you’ve never made an app icon, here’s what it takes. (I just did this recently for my app Hello Weather.)

You need to:

  1. Distill the overall concept and purpose of your app—and possibly your whole company—into a single visual symbol.
  2. Design something that fits well with the platform’s guidelines about proportions and color use. This is harder when you support multiple platforms that have different guidelines.
  3. Attempt to stand out a little, while not standing out too much, lest you come off as obnoxious relative to other app icons.
  4. Find a color scheme that has good contrast and works in a bunch of different scenarios (on a black background, on a white background, on top of a bad photo of somebody’s weird poodle, etc.)

Preferably it should also be flexible enough to reduce to a simple black and white glyph as needed.

Did I mention it needs to scale up and down and be semi-legible from 16×16 to 512×512? An app icon is not just one icon. It’s all of these icons:

Icon size variations required for an iOS app

Oh by the way, you have just one tiny square in which to cram all those requirements.


So making an icon is trickier than it appears, and there are a lot of constraints to consider. A company as smart and design-minded as Instagram didn’t just crack open Illustrator and hack together an icon in 20 minutes — they probably designed and tested dozens of variations for weeks or months before choosing the final one.

Choosing is tough too. Let’s say you end up with 2 or 3 versions you like. There’s no way to know which one is right, but no matter what you pick, loads of people will tell you it’s wrong. An alarming number of people have the free time to tell you that they “don’t care for red” or any number of other equally inane comments.

It takes bravery and some pretty thick skin to launch stuff like this. Maybe it’s best to hide in a bunker for the week.

Here are some designers preparing for Internet feedback before launching a rebranding.

Overall, making an app icon is still a heck of a lot easier than landing a rocket on a boat in the ocean or the millions of things in life that are really truly difficult. But it’s not child’s play, either.

That’s why everyone has an app idea but only a small handful of people actually make apps: it’s hard to do, and even harder to do well. As designers who intend to be taken seriously (and paid well) for their efforts, we should acknowledge that and talk about it more often.

A good start is to change how you react to new design work in public. When people make big changes or launch new stuff, applaud them, support them, share positive comments or thoughtful critiques. Lead by example. That’s what you’d want them to do for you.

Reblogged from Medium.com

My favorite Wikipedia Article – Skeuomorph

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 12.45.48 PM
Simulated woodgrain on a woodie-style station wagon
This has come up a lot in conversation. By the way, thank goodness for Wikiwand.
 —
A skeuomorph (/ˈskjuːəˌmɔːrf, ˈskjuːoʊ-/[1][2]) is a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues from structures that were necessary in the original. Examples include pottery embellished with imitation rivets reminiscent of similar pots made of metal and a software calendar that imitates the appearance of binding on a paper desk calendar.

Arguments in favour of skeuomorphism include that it makes devices easier to use for people familiar with the older devices that are imitated. Arguments against include that it takes up more screen space on digital devices, and may be more complex and more difficult to learn than a straightforward interface without it.

More recently there has been a move away from skeuomorphism, including at Apple Inc, whose operating system under the leadership of Steve Jobs formerly championed the approach.

http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Skeuomorph