Excited to announce that I will be attending the User Experience Week in San Francisco again this year, marking the third time I have attended this amazingly educational workshop based event hosted by Adaptive Path. Read more to see what I learned last year! It was a great experience.
I recently accepted the delivery of a brand new Peloton bike and I must say, absolutely flawless experience! You're probably asking, "what does this have to do with design" (as this blog is mostly design) and ... "where can I get one of these?"
Fitness used to play a big role in my life. It was calming and it was educating. It gave me the patience to see through a lot of mental cloud that naturally hovered in my artistic brain and it burned through that extra energy that came with undiagnosed ADHD. Without fitness I found myself less creative. I judged my own self accomplishment on how creative I was... it went hand in hand.
I welcome this new addition to my life, and with that, the experience is truly what sets the entire product apart from any other fitness "device" out there. From the very beginning, when viewing an advertisement ... through the ordering process, the delivery, the installation and quick setup and to the flawless execution of software meets hardware. I also welcome to possibilities that will become more apparent as my mind reconfigures to incorporating fitness back into my being.
I saw this bike either in an ad on youtube or someplace on tv. The first thing I noticed was that it was a fitness bike with a humongous display attached to the handlebars. Nearly 22 inches of user interface wrapped inside a touchscreen immerses you into a socially linked world of cycle enthusiasts, interactive 1-on-1 couching (subscription required!), on-demand LIVE cycling classes piped in through video chat, outdoor trails run by steady cam crew, and of course... your metrics! The ads were rich and compelling, using words such as "an evolution in exercise," and it got me to visit the website almost immediately.
The website ain't too shabby. Video backgrounds everywhere, easy to use navigation, beautiful product (and people) photography, features and specs laid out like an Apple product website... the works. I love the high contrast photography against white and black.. excellent design. That combined with a product and accessories that are all color coordinated and a logo that just makes sense, the total package is on point. Black, orange, white. Bold, sophisticated, ________ . You simply can't ignore the fact that this bike is a thing of beauty - a moving sculpture!
The bike arrived in a large box, alongside a very friendly guy who assembled the unit and talked me through the setup process. Setting up took a few minutes and after plugging into the wall, the screen lights up with a P for Peloton. The bike runs on Android 4 with a custom system UI that is absolutely gorgeous! Full 1080p resolution at nearly 22 inches at the end of your handlebars essentially logs you into an online database of hundreds of cycling courses with music and fitness instructors. If you are awake early in the day or work from home you can actually tune directly into live cycling classes hosted in NY along with hundreds (or thousands) of other users. Each user shows up based on their total output in a list based on their individual metrics, so you begin to see where some friendly competition cues in. If you enable the camera you can even speak directly to instructors through the tablets built in camera and microphone! Video chat to the extreme! Metrics are logged into your personal profile which allows you to see immediate fitness improvement through some beautiful graphs and progress badges so you're constantly challenging yourself (and others).
If mobile apps are your thing, you're in luck! Peloton Interactive created an iOS app which pipes in the interactive content seen above so that if want to start with a taste before jumping into the entire (expensive) endeavor of ordering a bike of your own, you can!
Overall this has got to be the best cycle bike I have ever come in contact with. Whether it's the fabulous marketing, the easy buying process, the engineering and artistic statement of the physical bike once setup in it's full glory... it's one complete package! I look forward to many, many rides in the near future which will help me clear my mind.
I take a look at the choices made by the designers in the recent McDonalds rebrand. Exploring text blocking, logo positioning, simplicity, materials and colors.
Sans-Serif... Tiny Check Marks... Verdana... UI Kits - Victim of Over Simplifcation
The expression 'the ... end of the stick' comes in many forms. The majority of these refer to getting the worse or, rarely, the better part of a bargain.
In this post I'll explore how I believe that Designers get the short end of the stick in 5 quick examples.
The last to see anything before a deadline. "DONT FUCK UP!"
Ever work at an agency where you are expected to stay late to mount design pitch ideas to blackboards or create several ad spec sizes of a single ad before it launches? Designers often are the very last people to touch these things before the deadline, laboring away late into the night on crappy pizza and many many paper cuts. Adding to the torment, there are often times "last minute edits" slapped into the copy or into the imagery which the designer would then after to implement into each of those ad sizes or blackboards...
The first to be blamed for typos, even though we USUALLY copy and paste the writings of others. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU STUDIED ART? YOU CANT SPELL???"
I've been in this position several times where I am expected to proof a writer's work after they have sent me countless revisions to brochure copy minutes before print deadlines and where I have made the mistake of simply copying and pasting copy from a word doc straight into InDesign or Quark. I've warned the writers or the account executives, who often times are paid far more than me, to proof their copy because I either am a bad speller or because I am literally COMMAND + C, COMMAND + V. They pretend to understand, but ultimately I'm the last person in the chicken coop to touch the golden egg.
"Just let me make a few quick edits to your work and it should be all good" translates to "oh, with my limited design knowledge I'll redesign your work by slapping changes all over the place and it should be all good to go." *facepalm*
absolutely love it when I spend billable time with my DESIGN education and many years of experience to then have all of my work fucked up by someone on the team who at one point in their life used pastel chalk in art class in elementary school and got a gold ribbon. There's this funny idea that anyone with Photoshop or a similar application could whip up the exact same design a trained and talented artist created ... IF only they had those apps. Hey, earth to product and account people! You are what you are because you are supposed to be good at what you do! Let me do my job, as I often let you do your own job because I believe you must be good at it. STAY IN YOUR LANE.
Go design me this magical thing and if you get it right I'll know it when I see it... *double facepalm backflip*
I've heard this phrase a million times before. Essentially it's someone in power (who holds the monayyy) that has no idea what they are looking for but believes they have the gift of picking the right option. Often times this leads to MANY revisions but hopefully you are lucky enough to work for someone who trusts in your abilities to do your job well enough that they know whatever you make is... well, right.
Why do we need a designer when we have a UX/Product guy? I mean, we could save a whole lot of doh and just use jquery libraries and design kits.............................. >___>
There seems to be a trend in the design world where out-of-the-box solutions like flat-ui/bootstrap end up producing literally out-of-the-box internet sites without ever seeing the helpful hand of a designer. This trend has led us to faster launch schedules because we skip over the entire design step but it has lead to a very startling fact that many of our applications today look identical to each other or that they are missing ANY AND ALL DESIGN whatsoever. Gone are the days of skewmorphism but now we are all stuck with apps that have icons as buttons... the same icons used everywhere else on the web... no visual indication of what the application is used for... essentially a wireframe that made it to primetime! Although I can't convince the entire world that this is a bad thing, I will continue to express my dissatisfaction with raw, boring, ugly looking apps and sites that are putting "graphic designers" out of a job at the cost of originality and definite purpose.
BONUS: Trendsetter vs. Trend Follower
It's impossible to become a trendsetting business without an artist involved. It's simple not possible. Business people follow business rules and rules that were created by business people who follow other business rules. It's a systematic. It's repetitive. The coined phrases "BEST PRACTICES" are coined by FOLLOWERS. Yes, there are right ways of doing things, but in many ways, the wrong way will get the most notable attention. I encourage many of you to debate me on this topic but I believe it takes an innate UNLEARNED ability to do the exact opposite of the crowd and to do it right enough for the crowd to follow you. An artist is gutsy enough to be themselves and to go against the status-quo. An artist will typically break the norm and go with the odd and they will do it well.
Moral of this story... If you are an employer or a coworker of a designer, be nice to them... they can only make your work BETTER if you allow them to do what they were hired to do. If you stand over their shoulder and make senseless edits just to make edits, well, although they are moving the mouse... they aren't doing their job, you are.
Infographics are a powerful, creative way to get a concept or message across without looking too corporate. It's known that people eat more with their eyes when you have imagery! So rather than focusing on whether or not you have the right boilerplate on your very best full page essay, break it apart into sections with some form of theme... and bam! people might actually read it. Here are some recent examples of infographics that I had a part in creating:
My work at Colony Logic won 4 HERMES DESIGN AWARDS in this year's competition! Two Gold and two Platinum awards for integrated design work, platform UI/UX design, an explainer video and lastly ColonyLogic's corporate website. What a great honor!
There were over 6,000 entries from all over the world in 195 categories! This year they awarded the top 15% of these entries the platinum award and only 22% the gold award.
Next up... MARCOM AWARDS AUGUST 1...
I added more artwork and portfolio content on my site today. Squarespace has some really great functionality if you are looking for a quick and easy way to get your content online without having to worry about messy code or managing assets like blog posts or image content. This is important for us lazy designers!
I've had my michael-frazier.com domain name for a while now and I was getting pestered to update the billing information on Godaddy... and for some reason I found myself scrolling through the new domain names that one can purchase and came across some really crazy ones like "guru" and "rocks" ... so of course, I went ahead and bought a whole bunch of them in bulk! Something about fulfilling my American dream of world domination. Besides, buying things in bulk... just feels sooooooo right.
Anyway... I have something like 13 domain names now registered to this site. Talk about internet presence.
michael-frazier.rocks - LOL
michael-frazier.com - DUH
And for some non-hyphenish names...
If only the woman who owns michaelfrazier.com would give this domain up, that would be great! She's had that .com parked for about 10 years now for her son, who at the time of registration, was too young to even know how to use the web... I emailed this woman back in 2007 to see if she would be willing to sell me the name and she explained to me that it was important that her son OWN the email domain of firstname.lastname@example.org. Very thoughtful mom! Back when I was a kid...
HEY AT LEAST I HAVE THE .BIZ ADDRESS! You never know when you'll never need that bad boy..........
I've recently become obsessed with these posts depicting conversations between designers and clients or coworkers requesting "quick" design favors... usually, you know, things like logo design (I mean, really? It should be fast...) or photo retouching... The best one I think I've seen recently was this one about a coworker and her lost cat...
The request calls for a poster to help find this woman's cat. With each edit she asks for, the posters becomes more and more ridiculous. For some reason I can't help but laugh along with the conversation. After all, it shouldn't take more than a few seconds...
I just completed a new video for the SWARM CPQ product at ColonyLogic!
Rather than going out-of-house on this project, we decided to stay in-house... which meant I had to relearn how to use Adobe Premier and After Effects on the fly! I integrated parts of the previous ColonyLogic video that described what the company did, primarily the animation bits about deals and products... as well as new renderings/animations I created in After Effects!
The company really likes this video, as it does a great job at describing the SWARM product and it's newest release: SWARM CPQ 2.0!
Take a look!
Recently began a collection of Doberman and X5 compositing as a part of celebrating my newest addition to my family, my Doberman "Jupiter."
Utilizing Photoshop and countless images, I created composites illustrating an apocalyptic world enveloped in bright color and surreal landscapes. Enjoy!
Excited to have finally launched this brand new site!
Many of you would know that I haven't had a website in years primarily because I have been so incredibly busy with work and life. Recently I have been bombarded with requests to post portfolio samples online and a resume so I figured... HECK let's do this.
I'll be posting more and more work samples over the next few weeks so tune in for these new and super old collections. If you happen to find an error or two, please forgive but don't forget! Reach out and tell me where you have found these errors and I'll try to get them resolved.