Tag Archives: graphic design

A Recommendation: Atomix

I came across this awesome free online subscription while I was browsing my iPad newsstand. It’s name: Atomix magazine. What do I love about it?

1) Awesome interactive layout.
2) Great displays.
3) Some valid and thoughtful insights into some of the games we know and love.

As a designer and gamer, I highly suggest using this beautiful and helpful resource.

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Family Safe Online Games…That Don’t Suck.

Screenshot taken from Kabam.com

Screenshot taken from Kabam.com

One of my goals this semester was to survive my senior project: Complete success! Hopefully I will have more time to post things from now on (and I say hopefully very lightly).

My senior exit project was to create a design campaign that encouraged parents to become more actively involved in their children’s online lives and offering them all the quality free resources a parent ought to be able to get their hands on all in one website. However, since the project is only a prototype and I do not have the funds to keep the project running, I figured I would take all of my knowledge and offer it to you, my faithful readers (again I use the word faithful lightly).

One of the challenges I faced with this project was finding online family friendly gaming that…well…wasn’t a complete waste of time. Some games are neat, but overly violent, and other games were…well…they really sucked and were poorly designed…it was a nightmare.

One of the unique things about this generation is that we have an increase in parents who are gamers. Sure we all love Halo and Catherine just as much as the next guy, but are those games really appropriate for children to play 9or even be present while playing)? Then we run into the problem of how to choose what kinds of games kids like before we go out and find games to buy them? What do they even like out of a game?

I offer you a solution of various safe online games to help get parents in the right direction and help them give their gaming children a taste of variety.

Safe-game.com: Okay, so the site it’s self is pretty lame looking, but it’s got gold…trust me. You’ve got you classic games many of us grew up with like Donkey Kong, Tetris, and Pac Man. In addition to that you’ve got a variety of gaming genres to get the kids started on and help them figure out what games they’re good at and what interests them. Great for ages 8+…and possibly a few parents looking for a taste of the old arcade.

Gamehouse.com: An awesome mixture of classic and contemporary games with varying game styles. You can also purchase games for both Mac and PC here and they also offer reviews and top picks. Better for older kids…I’d say for  ages 10+ maybe 13+ depending on the game. Parent discretion advised.

Bigfishgames.com: Not entirely family friendly. These games are catered to a much older audience and parents are cautioned to review games thoroughly before game-play begins (or are encouraged to  test run the game to see if they think their child can handle some of the content). However, there are some pretty cool graphics in a bunch of the games and most of them are pretty mild. I’d say for ages 13 and older (some of them I’d play myself ).

Kabam.com: I play on here all the time. Great free online strategy games with awesome graphics. They have a freaking Hobbit (yes as in LOTR) game on here. What’s not to love? Some mild violence (let’s be honest… it’s war strategy games). Best for ages 13 to 15+ …and mom and dad. It’s a bit more mature.


“The Internet is Destroying Your Life”

 

A thoughtful mockumentary. What will we be thinking 50 years from now? Enjoy.


So This is….Pretty Cool Actually.

So there is this site I kinnda like going on called Awwwards, which is an innovative web design site, and it’s really very neat…you should probably take a few hours and have a look….because you’ll need a few hours.

Anyway, there is this site I found on there called tweetflight, which is an interactive twitter powered film clip that actually take words from twitter posts and makes a live streaming music video. Don’t believe me? Go to the site yourself and take  a look, or watch this YouTube Video.


The Problem of Looking Too Real

Screenshot from fastcodesign.com

Screenshot from fastcodesign.com

Skeuomorphism. It’s a term you’ve probably haven’t heard much, or even at all, but you can see it almost everywhere. You open your bookshelf on your ipad and what do you see? A book shelf… designed to look like what you would see in the real world. That’s skeuomorphism. At least that’s how designers have been using the term, which is inaccurate. It’s actually the mimicking of elements in a former or older device that were functionally necessary. Not necessarily the design looking like a real world object entirely…but I digress.

As many of you Apple product fans might already know, Scott Forstall, one of Apples designers, was fired over using Skeuomorphism.

“After Jobs’ death, Forstall become the company’s biggest proponent of skeuomorphism, much to the chagrin of the firm’s designers. “It’s visual masturbation,” one former Apple user-interface designer told Fast Company’s Carr. “It’s like the designers are flexing their muscles to show you how good of a visual rendering they can do of a physical object. Who cares?”

– Should a Calendar App Look Like a Calendar? By 

Who cares indeed? Is it really that big of a deal to make objects on a screen look like their physical world counterparts? Personally, I don’t think it matters all that much. Real world objects are things users would be familiar with, and though on occasion it’s corny, I honestly feel like they make the apps and interface much more user friendly and quicker to read. People can tell what an app is for when they see a book shelf or a date book calendar, rather than some obscure screen with buttons and gizmos that have little to no indication of their use or function.

Yes, some of Apple’s software has become a bit corny. (I’m looking at your cheap-casino green felt, Game Center!) But those who advocate throwing out real-world textures and visual metaphors are missing something important. As designer Tobias Bjerrome Ahlin points out, when it’s used appropriately, skeuomorphic design can give users a quick sense of what an app does. – Should a Calendar App Look Like a Calendar? By 

Does it matter either way? Is it bad to make screen objects to look like their real world counterparts? The way I see it, if we’re using it daily in reality…why not make it look like it’s reality? Is it’s daily use not real enough for designers to want to make them look real? Because it’s certainly real enough for me. After all, it makes the virtual object more approachable for my generation, which happened to grow up from the transition between pen and paper to desktop. I’m used to using both, but perhaps in more recent generations, it may not matter as much to have any nostalgic allusion to the real world counterpart.

However obvious Apple’s skeuomorphic approach to UI might be, it’s an approach that is hard to argue with. The company is still considered highly innovative, and the success of its products is unprecedented–most would successfully argue that it’s by far the best we have. But aside from aesthetic reaons, it is hard to see how these designs will ever evolve beyond derivative representations. Will they just change color and increase their visual fidelity?  –Can We Please Move Past Apple’s Silly, Faux-Real UIs?  by 

My question is, does it ever have to evolve? If it’s so classic do we need it to “get better” or even change? Perhaps the reason it’s so hard to argue with is because it’s so sustainable? I certainly feel like this is so. The way you can tell if something is designed well is if it can stand the test of time. Bookshelves still have the same structure as they have always had, and though we can change their color or paint them how we like in our homes, we certainly don’t change the structure of them much do we? So why would it be any different on screen. If it’s working well, why strive to change it. I think what we need to figure out is how to identify what is more valuable: sustainable or innovative?

We certainly live in a culture where everyone is striving to be “the next thing.” We automatically think that because we can have something new, we don’t want to hang onto what is sustainable. I’ve had my second generation iPod touch for a fairly long time in comparison to many of my peers. Why? Because what I have works for what I use it for…and it isn’t broken. But are we able to apply this same kind of logic to design? If it’s working, and remains relevant, is it okay to hold onto? Do we really need the next big thing in order to remain relevant, or are we confusing relevant with trendy?

Feel free to let me know what you think. For further reading visit these two articles.

Can We Please Move Past Apple’s Silly, Faux-Real UIs?

Should a Calendar App Look Like a Calendar? – 


To all those designers/ artists who need something to relate to…

A great blog post on the ever hilarious McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. I find it extremely relatable since I began my 20 credit hours of death in college and an extra design internship (because using a gun to off myself would just be too easy). The title of this blog post is: The Tortured Artists Grant. I hope you at least feel understood…if not laugh to yourself nervously about how clearly you wish you could get a grant for being this kind of person because it’s your reality. I know I do.