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Category Archives: Design

Learning from an Institution

Under - Design, My Musings, Usability

After my graduation from NCA in 1998 in Graphic Design, I decided to build my career around interactive media rather than following the mainstream. Having decided that, I found it quite difficult to find inspirational and motivational work within ‘New Media’ locally and/or regionally. At that time things within digital media space were taking shape and the industry itself was without a clear identity. I had done my very first website design project a year earlier in 1997 for a Lahore based IT firm called Techlogix, this was my entry point into interactive media design. My relationship with computer graphics actually started in 1992 with Harvard Graphics, Corel Draw (that I still prefer to use over Illustrator), layer-less Photoshop (that I initially didn’t like) and when we used to run Windows 3.1 from DOS to be able to run all those graphic applications!

Back then in Pakistan the IT industry itself was very small and scattered, and was mostly around hard-core software development than anything else. Pursuing my interest abroad wasn’t an option back then so what I left with was – Internet.

Oregon TimeWeb  by Second Story, © Second Story

Oregon TimeWeb - Second Story

Things changed around the time when dot com bubble burst but, by that time, I was on solid grounds within digital media and that’s where I owe a ‘thank you’ note to two design studios – ‘Second Story’ and ‘Terra Incognita’. Their work inspired me to keep going within interactive media when I felt creatively trapped. Both studios specialise in online storytelling and building engaging user experience within a carefully chosen segment of digital marketplace, where I hardly find any mainstream digital agency’s presence. That might be because you need to have a kind of technical and design intellectual edge over others to be able to churn out the kind of projects these studios specialise in. I indeed learnt from their online projects, half a world away, that what a ‘user experience’ is actually like – when most of the design studios at that time were busy building fancy Flash intros.

Music Genres Table - Second Story

Music Genres Table - Second Story

Gettysburg Address - Second Story

Gettysburg Address - Second Story

Their contribution to interactive media design is deeper than skin – away from commercial glitter, design nonsense and digital media clichés. They are those who took user interaction design to another level and pioneered online storytelling. It has been over 10 years since I first visited their websites and portfolios, but I still have the same level of respect to their work which even grows when every time I visit their new projects. These two studios formed an inspirational institution for me at a time when I was in a real need to look at something. They are like Bauhaus to me.

Brad Johnson (Second Story) and Bart Marable (Terra Incognita), thank you very much for the wonderful and inspiring work!

Churchill and the Great Republic

Churchill and the Great Republic - Terra Incognita

23 July 2
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The best movie and TV show title sequences

Under - Design, Media, Motion Graphics

Creative Review blog lists the best film titles ever. Interesting to see how intro titles evolved over the time. Smashing Magazine also featured some inspiring movie and TV show title sequences few months ago.

Yet another ugliest car!

Under - Design, Industrial Design

SsangYong Actyon

I haven’t been fully recovered from Fiat Multipla yet that I saw SsangYong Actyon on the road the other day. I was in complete denial and shock that this could be a car at all! Look at this Sino-Korean monster and you would truly believe that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder as SsangYong Actyon has nothing to do with it.

I’m not amazed to learn that nobody wants this car even on its own turf.

Grid Designer

Under - Design, Resources

Grid Designer2

Recently came across this excellent handy tool by Rasmus Schultz to setup grid and generate CSS for web page layouts. I like the fact that you can see the grid taking shape in front of you and its flexibility to maximize web page ‘real estate’ use. I haven’t tried it in any of my projects yet but using a grid screenshot as Photoshop overlay in one of my existing web design projects and finding it quite helpful!

16 May 1
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Good taste and common sense!

Under - Design, Usability

Good taste and common sense

I was interviewing a candidate yesterday for a senior designer role and during the conversation I found out how easy it is to be a good designer or to find one. The candidate himself might have not noticed what he told me but I believe I’ve got the recipe.

28 April 4
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Meet the Kluge letterpress

Under - Art, Design, Media, Technology

Letterpress is a specialised and over five centuries old form of printing. It is also one of the inspirational elements behind this blog design. Fiction produced a small interesting video on this.

Meet Nick Sambrato. He runs a print shop in Orlando, Florida called Mama’s Sauce. A 2,000 pound, cast iron, electric powered monstrosity of vacillating rods, giant spinning wheels and pneumatic hoses.

Let Nick take you on a trip back in time as he runs through the process of turning an ordinary piece of paper stock into work of art.

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