Aug 26 Today's Mood

I discovered Pokémon over 15 years ago, on the Friday of a long Easter weekend. Knowing the kids would all be off school, YTV (a Canadian kids TV channel) was having a Pokémon marathon. I got hooked after seeing the first couple episodes, and it’ still one of my favourite videogame based franchises to date.

It’s funny how Pokémon is probably the once instance where a videogame was translated into a such a hit show. I’m also guessing it’s the rare occurrence that a TV show converted a significant number of people to trying out the videogame. For me, it was like watching National Geographic adventures meets battling magical animals. What set it apart from many of the other anime imports of the era was that despite being episodic in nature (most episodes could stand alone pretty well) it didn’t rely on the rinse-and-repeat narratives you saw in other imports like Power Rangers or Sailor Moon. Continue…

Aug 9 Today's Mood

Following Apple’s recent iOS overhaul, “flat” design seems to be all the rage. To help clarify what this term means and how it can relate to both visual and interactive design, I’ve done a quick experiment of redesigning the calculator app.

I for one was happy to see Apple’s recent move from their realistic, glossy design aesthetic to a much simpler one. While this isn’t anything new (many websites have been shedding their Web 2.0 trimmings for a while now), the fact that such a big player in the industry has made the switch has given the movement much more clout. It’s a lot easier to sell a lens-flare demanding client on a simpler and cleaner design when you can simply point to Apple and say ‘See, they’re doing it!’.

To clarify, there are 2 terms we should separate in this discussion. The term “flat design” really only applies to the idea of using solid colours without visual noise like bevels, gradations, drop-shadows, etc. There’s also a much greater emphasis on typography and designing to a grid. Again, this is nothing new: For some flat design inspiration make sure to check out what Swiss/International designers were doing back in the 1920s. The other term we should be talking about is skeuomorphic design, which means designing something to resemble its real life counterpart. The way Apple’s notebook, calendar and calculator apps resemble their real life counterparts in look and feel are perfect examples of this.

Continue…

Jul 8 Today's Mood

I am so ready to see a shit-ton of sharks get snatched out the ocean and thrown around the city. And while I’m still a little disappointed Helen Hunt turned down the script, Sharknado is going to be THE movie of the summer

So yeah, it should go without saying that I’m pretty excited about Sharknado which is coming out this week. While the current movie poster/straight-to-DVD cover definitely illustrates the movie’s core concept (sharks in tornadoes), I felt like doing something a little more minimalist and I guess…vintage or retro?

Hopefully I’ll follow this with a more in-depth infographic (Emergency steps in case of a Sharknado?), but that will be after a few viewings. Anways, here it is: Continue…

Jun 8 Today's Mood

A common argument made in the videogame industry is that good gameplay should always come before good graphics. I’m starting to wonder if this shouldn’t be the same case for interactive design.

As interactive designer, I’ll spend hours in Photoshop designing my layouts. Setting up proper grids and spacing, finding the perfect typography, tweaking layer effects…It’s easy to get lost in the time-warp of pixel pushing. And while this may be appropriate for jobs like a basic marketing site, when it comes to designing complex web software, this process feels a bit backwards. If I’m supposed to be designing an interactive experience, then why is so much of my time being dedicated to the purely visual and stationary aspects of the design?

Going beyond, ‘How should the menu work?’

Now when I talk about interaction design, I should make it clear that I’m not just talking about what type of expanding menu to use, or what the rollover state Object A should have. With the technology and tools available to us now, we should be talking about transitions between pages, draggable object states, text input focus effects, or feedback on triggered events–just to name a few. And I don’t think we should just throw this job over to our Information Architects, since many of these decisions are tied to the visual presentation of the experience. Interactive designers should be spending just as much time figuring out how this interactive experience will ‘feel’ as they spend scouring type libraries for that perfect font, or adjusting 1px bevels on a button. Actually, we should probably be spending more time on it. Continue…

Oct 4 Today's Mood

At long last, something new.

So let’s not beat around the bush. The movie Dinoshark was pretty lacklustre. Barely passable CG and not nearly enough camp, it was a bit of a chore to get through, despite the relatively high body count. (Mostly contributed to when it crashes a local waterpolo match). What I did enjoy however, was how Dinoshark was released into the wild by the simple act of an iceberg cracking apart. That set a Dinoshark egg free, which hatched, matured in 2 minutes, and went on to kill tons of people and wreck general havoc.

This got me thinking. Those icebergs up in the North Pole seem to be holding in a lot of scary shit. I mean, they were responsible for also keeping Mega Shark and Giant Octopus in check before being busted open. And that’s not to even touch on all of Godzilla’s friends and foes that seem to get trapped up there. Now THAT’S a real scary consequence of global warming and melting polar ice caps. Continue…

May 15 Today's Mood

It’s been a long time coming. Seriously. I started this infographic about 2 months ago, but then work got in the the way and well…refer to my previous post for thoughts on that. This week, I kicked my butt into gear and finally got it done.

Now Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus definitely does not surpass its predecessor Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus because well, in my opinion, Crocosaurus was pretty lame. While Mega Shark was out there chowing down on an entire navy fleet, Crocosaurus was mostly just stressing about her eggs. Thus I wanted to put most of the focus for this on Mega Shark.

A key moment during the film is when Mega Shark eats a nuclear sub, which gives way to one of the better quotes in the movie: “The shark just went nuclear”. For a while I planned for this to be the climax event of the graphic, but after some research, I discovered that when it comes to pure destructive force, it is actually the volcanic eruption at the end that trumps any sort of nuclear threat. Continue…

Dec 10 Today's Mood

So you’ll note I haven’t called this an infographic, because well…it isn’t really, it’s more of an educational style ‘what not to do’ poster. But in any case, this has been long overdue, and I finally got a chance this week to finish it off.

A couple posts ago I put up a quickie design exercise about the movie Sharktopus, a title which really should require no explanation. A shark/octopus hybrid that was initially designed as a weapon (don’t question it, just go with it) goes out of control and starts on a totally expected killing spree. The movie itself was pretty good, with all the right amounts of gore, camp and bikini girls, but I’m not sure if it quite lived up to my expectations. Not sure exactly what my expectations were going into the movie, but it didn’t have the same magic that other creature feature movies seem to have. Continue…

Dec 5 Today's Mood

It’s been a while since any sort of update, and while I’ll hopefully have one last infographic done before the year is out, I do have a fun little holiday card to share. This all actually started at my company’s United Way auction, where my services were put up for sale to design the bidder’s holiday card. Lucky for me it was Ashley from account services, who already having seen some of my previous infographic work wanted to something similarly fun and quirky. After a brainstorm session, we came up with some ideas around how having an Abominable Snowman around for the holidays would be amazing. Continue…

Aug 15 Today's Mood

It goes without saying I’m pretty excited about the upcoming feature Sharktopus. While I’m sure I’ll need to do some information visualization after it comes out, I thought it would be good to get another design quickie out my system and make a movie poster for it. Recently I’ve been checking out old japanese movie posters, and wanted to do something along those lines, just keeping everything minimalist. I think it sets a nice tone for how epic Sharktopus is going to be! Continue…

Jul 7 Today's Mood

So yes, it’s been a while.

But rather than listening to me serve up excuses, let’s get down to what really matters, that namely being: Mega Piranha. Yet another gem from the guys over at The Asylum, this was essentially the sister movie to Mega Shark vs Giant octopus, starring Debbie Gibson’s arch rival, Tiffany. The concept itself was pretty interesting. Scientists in South America genetically engineered piranha that would rapidly grow, thus providing food for impoverished nations. Now why these scientists decided to go with piranha, and not something more traditional like salmon or tuna isn’t quite clear, but as a graphic designer who am I to argue with geneticists? Continue…

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