casual design – design is casual

interactive design for web, video games, and apps.

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new web august

Along with many people, I had been sensing a lack of “seize the moment, disruptive, take over” type advertising lately. It is not a bad thing, I was writing it off to the usual reasons of companies not spending as much, or it’s too silly in a time when companies should be understanding what their customers want.

Behold, now there is a beacon to which we can look to satisfy this void. And for that, the glory goes to Old Spice.

Old Spice went ahead to infiltrate the many available channels, all at once, in order to really dominate in front of large crowds – Old Spice, an unlikely company with not much to lose and overdue for some freshness – ahem.

I would like to express some thoughts about this recent work from w+k. I think people in advertising are impressed by the amount of skits, because it verifies that, with how fast things can be produced and distributed when you have at least a few fundamental resources in place, this type of work is possible. And they might also think it uses just the right amount of gimmicks, or brand of humor currently popular online, short attention span required, to appeal to a mass audience, and what more do we need? I like it because it is silly.

Also, many don’t expect big companies like Old Spice to take a risk on putting their product in front of an audience by using the same means of producing, uploading, commenting, posting, communicating, to reach the very same people who use these same means every day. The antiperspirants maker did take over the Internet pretty well, so that part of the strategy worked, if that’s what they were going for.

We will be seeing more like this, but it’s not really the type of creativity I get super excited about from w+k. I think Tokyo Lab creative ideas/experiments, mainly for Nike, end up coming out the best.

I have to hand it to everyone involved in this campaign for realizing the concept, and I’m sure they have learned a lot, and Old Spice will surely benefit from all the activity, since I’m sure many people will be flattered by all that went into the advertising.

I, myself, am not certain these viral boosts are very helpful beyond an instant. Perhaps, for a long running company, it can provide a short pulse of life into their business, and can afford to have a little bit of fun every now and then.

To really have a lasting effect, its more important how honestly the company puts effort into creating a great product, interacts with their customers, and how those relationships improve our lives. So thank you for the laughs, old spice, and w+k, I will continue to wear a deodorant that doesn’t have quite so many chemicals.

new art august

After the first viewing of SITE Santa Fe’s biennale exhibition: The Dissolve, I am happy to report that I enjoyed experiencing the videos and the space.

There are a couple things worth mentioning. One is that, while the term dissolve in film is usually a transitional effect, where one image dissolves away, into the next one, this show itself does not transition from paintings to photographs, and then to animation and videos. Instead the show starts by presenting all videos. This could mean that I, the viewer, will dissolve my preconceived notions of placing video into a box! So into the box I went!

Enough of the pieces could be considered rather painterly, or depicting dissolving medium, like sand, charcoal, smoke, mist, or ephemeral marks of water brushed onto a stone surface. And there are a few stop frame, or still, one shot pieces, or screen tests, using techniques dealing with frame, focus, and light, to recall the photographic process.

The museum/gallery space was divided into two main sections, one with more installation designated spaces, and one more open, with two semi-transparent thin curving interior walls, containing more consistently sized video screens.

In the first space (I went through counter clockwise) there were examples of how I am used to experiencing videos in a museum/gallery, each piece trying to be isolated as its own installation. There was a piece with articulating little cameras, hovering above a little rotating model world with shocking events, like the aftermath of someone being hit by a car, and projected into a format that resembled a television. This artwork looked interactive, but was not interactive, the gallery attendant informed me.

Also in this section, there was a video game inspired work, and I felt like I maybe understood it, but I found little to engage with, it wasn’t clear to me if it was commentary on how all games incorporate a degree of art, or if brightly colored pixels glimmering from far away in decorative little frames draw you in, and then the game is about the parts of society involving drugs, murder, and crime? My quest for the perfect video game/art continues on.

The second space seemed more like a shared space, built around somewhat uniform video screens. I did consider this space more thought out in regards to path, not being able to get a clear sense of direction, and hiding the way to the next space promoted lingering, pausing, and viewing! This communal/community space, strengthened the desire to slow down, with the opportunity to watch more than one screen at a time, through semitransparent divisions, and allowing us to see each other in the dimly lit, mostly by video screens, museum.

Allow me to digress here: In our cities, or towns, we have this big machine happening, societies and premiers and cultures mixing, and for some, the pleasure of going to the commercial, large multiplex, where people get crowded together in stadium seating, gazing at a large wide format screen, big sound, and 3d glasses gives the larger studio films a way to convince the viewer they are watching something that excites, titillates, and informs. This works both ways, and depending on who you consider “they” to be in the last sentence, reveals your understanding of the sensational methods, and the fuel that cycles the large studios to entertain. Okay, it’s not a total digression, because I am thinking about how one could show something really fresh if they did not rely purely on these methods. Deviation may be one of the fastest ways to enter a new box, so please, keep going all the way out of the boxes.

From an artistic end, are there video artists who want to participate in that same format? It seems more artists are likely to express themselves through lower fi productions on youtube, as it is more accessible and is free to distribute to a wide audience. I suppose there are some artists who have gone into the film industry who probably don’t end up coming around to creating art, while addressing methods used in the industry. I recently downloaded Tetro on iTunes, and watched it on my 15″ led display at home. A discrace I am, but this is what happens, and I think Tetro is a good example of a film made up of people who are sensitive and respect art in real life, who have made it a career, but then also put their talent to good use, with their own visions, as often as possible. David Lynch is another artist/filmmaker who comes to mind.

Perhaps artists reject the traditional methods, rolling into current methods of digital creation. If that were the case, I could agree in that the model has proven a failure, mainly by only furthering the dominant culture and not providing enough variety. As an aside to this, I will recount my first memory of being in a multiplex.

My first movie experience in a theater, that I can remember, was a re-release of Disney’s Pinocchio. I was very young, I cried in the middle and the movie freaked me out. We didn’t stay for the rest. I have not watched the movie since.

I tell this story, because people forget how difficult it actually is to watch a movie. It requires years of adjustment to “correctly” sit still and understand all the characters, plot lines, behind the scenes…

So when I hear about something dissolving, I think that the old will fall away to something new, outside of the language we already know. The show represented some very talented artists and their work. Some of the work recalls the roots of animation, and this inspires me to go back, and find inherent qualities of the medium and reinvent video so that I can enter the movie, interact with the characters, and help save Pinocchio from curses, cages, and being held up by strings, and put my childhood trauma to rest.

new web april

It’s here! The first time I have featured a website that I worked on – 4 Color Rebellion. I would have featured them anyway, so I am delighted to have had a hand in their latest redesign.

Designed by what amounts to the entire staff of creative, critical, journalistic, and mostly video game and comic book fanatics, ourselves, along with the 4CR community. I came in during the rough cut, going through a few iterations of how to best cater to this community of discerning video gamers and bande dessinée appreciators. Over three years in the making, I helped in strategy, web design, css, html, WordPress theming, plugin customizing, and a few other things.

We really went all out, including some ajax, jquery ui, and social treats like open id and forum integration to satisfy the need for a clean simple, fun place to get a fix. Catch the latest news and releases. Purchase new games through the website’s own Amazon store, read and view videos of honest reviews and opinions, inside jokes, all while interacting with other members, voting on your favorite articles and increasing your own status to win prizes by uploading news stories and contributing comments. This website has it all and it has been fun to get into this community and I will be contributing and continue working with them on the next phase.

Below is a screenshot of the previous version. It was loved, I’m glad the redesign will accommodate the next exciting generation of 4 Color Rebellion.

new art april

Been checking out this image, Citadel, on CG Society, pretty cool. I like the fantasy mixed with realism. I especially like it as a still image, like I can just hang out here by the inn and wonder what all the people in the castle are doing.

new web january

Just am thinking about the Flash Platform Game Technology Center. I hope it takes off and doesn’t linger around. I had fun playing bunnibunni. It is simple and has a lot of nice little touches that you get used to and makes the game worth playing for a little while, a nice casual game with easy saving and resuming.

The world of web is as exciting as ever. Looks like adobe and apple are close to the fairly easy creation of an app on any platform and viewable on any device. An example would be creating with the flash platform for the flash player or air, iphone app, android app. This will be a fairly significant achievement, and will speed up the digital world a bit as these apps are easier to build and more and more people will be using them as india and china gets on the internet through their devices.

If anyone would like to experiment with this, let me know.

In the process of finishing work on a video game review website that incorporates a fair amount of community features. Lots of skinning and customizing themes and plugins.

new art january

The drawing is in progress. The ideas was to bounce ideas back and forth between hand and measurement, while working toward a surface that comes from repetition. Should be finished this month and I will get a better image of it courtesy of Tara.

Update: It is finished, here is an overall image and a few details. Thank you for checking it out! Please leave comments, I am a harsh critic myself so any criticism positive or negative is welcome. This is just the beginning.

Just a preview of one of two big canvases. My old cell phone doesn’t take the best photos, but I liked the way the shadows fell while I was preparing this canvas.

new web july


The Food Nerd is pretty cool, using web video to present family recipes.
I particularly enjoy this one for Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas:

new art july


I found this Egyptian 3d artist to be pretty cool. Nice stories Mohamed Abuyhia. View His portfolio with some other nice work, including a kitchen design idea, and middle eastern style interiors.

new web march/april/may


Time to catch up on some old literature. There are some pieces that are more recent on alt-x, but for those who have not checked on this in a while, a lot of information is relevant now.

One of my favorites –