typography

10,000 Mobile Apps and What We Learned

Image by Link Texting
Image by Link Texting

Image by Link Texting

TL;DR:We downloaded 10,000 mobile apps this year and we’re sharing insights on how we found them, examined them, lessons we learned about building apps, and a heuristic checklist for how not to screw up your own mobile app dev.

—Thanks to Mike Townson

‘Minority Report’-esque Office Chair Makes Computers Body-Controlled

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Creatures with creations and their segregation of joy‘ is the title of a design research on how to embed movement related to expression and emotional release in a daily life. Due to multi functionality of computers and their expansion most people spend their working hours while siting behind a computer. By making an office chair based on the dynamics of the body and linking these body movements to the control of the interface, work can become dynamic and expressive again. An attempt on integrating joy.

Govert Flint designed the Dynamic Chair to facilitate movement in all directions, then worked with programmer Sami Sabik to translate the motions made by the sitter into actions on-screen. “I started to think about how we make chairs that are disconnected from their activity. Working in the office is an activity we sit for. From then on I tried to design a chair based on body movements.”

Although the technology currently only allows for the operation of a cursor, the designer hopes to extend the idea so it works with the full computer interface.

The prototyping of the chair was done in collaboration with Sami Sabik.

—Thanks to Oscar Tellez

Apple on the “Hamburger Menu”

Image by Mike Stern
Image by Mike Stern

Image by Mike Stern

Apple details to developers (and designers) how they feel about the stacked menu and why it’s lazy—no cupboard stays free of clutter. Thinking about content strategy and information architecture will be of much better benefit than a catch-all menu in the corner that people wish not to interact with.

—Thanks to William Yarbrough

Google’s New Mail App

Image by Gigaom
Image by Gigaom

Image by Gigaom

Google is finally taking a stab at reducing Gmail clutter with its brand-new app, Inbox. The app uses context and its considerable smarts to automatically group and tag similar items, serve up location-sensitive reminders, and snooze messages to be answered later. It’s more or less the Google Now of mail.

—Thanks to Chip Wilson and Alan Koda

Aesop’s Fables with Google Fonts

Image by 25x52
Image by 25x52

Image by 25×52

Using hand-picked fonts from the Google Font project with text from Aesop’s fables showcases beautiful type design (that’s free) with great wisdom (that’s public domain). Go Webtype!

—Thanks to William Yarbrough

Yes, We’re Finally Getting Hoverboards

Photo by Hendo
Photo by Hendo

Photo by Hendo

It seems like it might finally be the future—hoverboards are real. Hendo has created a Kickstarter for both their hoverboard and their more stripped-down developer kits, and are well past their initial goal of $250,000. Set to go to market on October 21, 2015—just in time.

—Thanks to Alan Koda

How To Design for Thumbs In the Era of Huge Screens

Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez via Quartz
Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez via Quartz

Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez via Quartz

Now that Apple’s finally jumped into the larger screen camp, how does ergonomic design for human hands change? As this article explores, properly positioning elements for thumbs is becoming even more critical.

—Thanks to Mike Townson and Daniel Barbour

Universal Icons

Netherlands-based design group Lava, for Beijing design week, designed iconography for the Hutong neighborhoods around Beijing which are rapidly becoming very diverse. By using traditional Chinese pictograms as a base, Lava created a system they feel could seriously cut down on large, ugly signage around neighborhoods (currently everything is repeated in Traditional Chinese, English, and pinyin—Mandarin written in Romanized characters)

—Thanks to William Yarbrough

What Every App Dev Should Know About Android

Really great infographics on recent trends in the Android space that everyone should be aware of!

—Thanks to William Yarbrough

The Missing Scarf

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Narrated by George Takei, this whimsical story takes a dark, dark turn.

Want more on nihilism and despair? Hear this fantastic Radiolab story about this book.

—Thanks to Kijana Knight-Torres

The Top Color Trends of 2014

Shutterstock’s cool infographic illustrates the color trends of the past year, slicing the data by world region.

—Thanks to Stori Walker

Analyzing the New Apple Watch Typeface

Image by FastCo.Design
Image by FastCo.Design

Image by FastCo.Design

With the unveiling of the Apple Watch, Apples also introduces its first system font designed in over twenty years. We don’t even know for sure the typeface’s name. But why create a custom typeface for the Apple Watch at all? Why not just use Helvetica Neue? Legibility.

—Thanks to Oscar Tellez

Buy My Volvo

I grew up in a family with 4 Volvos, so this is very close to my heart. (The Swedish version is here.)

The car was sold. According to the small text on the start of this video, “Microsoft purchased this car and provided compensation for this video.”

Brilliant.

—Thanks to Kijana Knight-Torres

A23D: A 3D-Printed Letterpress Font

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This video starts out with a nicely filmed and narrated overview on the history and process of letterpress printing. Then we see the development of a custom letterpress font from initial design concepts to 3D printing and then ultimately being a working font in regular use on their presses.

—Thanks to Derek Rosenstrauch

How We Created Color Scales

Image by datavisualization.ch
Image by datavisualization.ch

Image by datavisualization.ch

An in-depth look behind the process of determining color schemes for datavisualization.ch’s charts and graphs, addressing issues such as color blindness and semantic meaning of colors.

—Thanks to Jerehmie Cannon

What to Steal From Destiny’s UI

Who says designers can’t learn from games? Lots of great little tidbits for UI designers to pick up from the massively hyped next-gen game Destiny.

—Thanks to Chris Williams

5 Timeless Marketing Lessons for Today’s Brands From Visionary Designer Paul Rand

Paul Rand’s approach to brand design, founded on simplicity and attention to form, remains profoundly influential today. With the reprint of his book Thoughts on Design, Michael Beirut lists five design principles that today’s brands can strive to follow.

—Thanks to Chip Wilson

How To Kern Type Perfectly

Image by Rob Sutton
Image by Rob Sutton

Image by Rob Sutton

A simple trick to bring a more discerning eye to your type kerning.

—Thanks to Alan Koda

13 Ways Designers Screw Up Client Presentations

Image by Havoc
Image by Havoc

Image by Havoc

The first time I presented design to a client I absolutely choked. I put the work in front of them and stood there like an idiot. It was humiliating. The next time was a little easier. And the time after that, well, you get the idea. I have done every one of the things on this list. I’m sharing them with you in the hopes that they’ll spare you a humiliating experience or two. It’ll take time.

—Thanks to Jared Christensen

The Boring Designer

BoringOR
BoringOR

Whenever I’m looking at a product designer’s work, I find myself continuously asking the same question: which solution is the boring one? Maybe it’s born out of seeing apps choose flash over function, or trying to understand just one too many indecipherable icons-as-buttons. Whatever the case, here’s an ode to the boring designers among us. The designers who choose obvious over clever every time.

—Thanks to Jared Christensen

A Dieter Rams Radio, in an App

Image by motionpixels.co
Image by motionpixels.co

Image by motionpixels.co

Inspired by Dieter Rams’ iconic T3 radio from the 60s, this app is made to appeal to design lovers. Creator of the T3 app Eder Rengifodid not envision it as a substitute for your built-in iPhone player, but rather as a handsome and streamlined addition to it. The simplicity of the controls and just a few essentials beautifully put together.

—Thanks to Oscar Tellez

Viewport Sized Typography

Image by Chris Coyler
Image by Chris Coyler

Image by Chris Coyler

The latest CSS specification includes three new viewport-based selectors for coupling element sizes like fonts to the size of the browser window. Chris Coyler explains some of the uses of these new tags, as well as bugs and workarounds to expect.

—Thanks to Andy Riley

Infographics of a Year in the Life of Nicholas Felton

For nearly a decade, designer Nicholas Felton has tracked his interests, locations, and the myriad beginnings and ends that make up a life in a series of sumptuously designed “annual reports.” The upcoming edition, looking back at 2013, uses 94,824 data points: 44,041 texts, 31,769 emails, 12,464 interpersonal conversations, 4,511 Facebook status updates, 1,719 articles of snail mail, and assorted notes to tell the tale of a year that started with his departure from Facebook and ended with the release of his app, called Reporter.

—Thanks to Stephanie Walker

Applying Architecture to Product Design, Lesson 1—Circulation

Part one of a series that finds the common ground between architecture and product design, this article focuses on the concept of circulation—the architectural systems that allow people to navigate within structures. Percolate’s Melissa Mandelbaum examines the navigational needs of both physical structures and software, and suggests applying strategies from one domain to another.

—Thanks to Chris Williams

Hyperlapse, Instagram’s New Image-Stabilizing App

Instagram’s new standalone video app puts a small Steadicam system in your iPhone . The app uses information from the phone’s gyroscope to reverse-engineer and strip away any movement and shakiness in a video, resulting in film-like tracking shots. Hyperlapse packages its powerful functionality in a slim, focused UI design.

—Thanks to Mike Townson

Audio Is Expanding the Internet

Photo by Danielle Reid
Photo by Danielle Reid

Video, images, and animation—the tech world often focuses on the visual side of things. This article looks past the visual and delves into the ways audio has been quietly advancing in UX spaces, from providing hands-free control systems to adding personality to user interfaces.

—Thanks to Alan Koda

Windowless Travel in the Private Jet of the Future

Image by Spike Aerospace

Rethinking the inner space of jet planes, Boston engineering firm Spike Aerospace has built a concept that replaces the typical miniscule oval windows with a full 360-degree wraparound view of the outside of the plane. By lining the interior walls with displays, they not only provide a breathtaking view of the environment but also reduce the weight and complexity of the plane’s fuselage. The firm’s design is powered by exterior solar panels, reducing its carbon footprint.

—Thanks to Dennis Van Huffel

Get Ready for Generation Z

Photo by Chad Hipolito

Generation Z—the post-Millennials generation—may be shaping up to be smarter, more ambitious, and better connected than those who came before them.

—Thanks to Jeff Steinberg

Startup Marketing and How Emotion Drives Customer Action

“It is easier to build marketing around the [what], but storytelling originates in the [why]. The why enables startups to tap into its product/brand’s intrinsic emotional advantages – like excitement, happiness, or contentment.” Rather than relying on metrics, Kobie Fuller argues that startups should be creating an emotionally resonant story to bring to market.

—Thanks to Chip Wilson

Scribble’s Color-Matching Pen

Photo by Scribble

This pen uses an integrated scanner and CMYK paint mixer to create ink that is true to scanned color. It also comes with a stylus to match that color against the sample and create the color on mobile and tablet. Kickstarter coming this week.

—Thanks to William Yarbrough

Patatap: Visual Music-Making in Your Browser

Make musical bloops and bleeps, accompanied by beautiful algorithmically-generated visuals, from the comfort of your keyboard and browser.

—Thanks to Alan Koda

X to Close

Image by Lauren Archer

Ever wonder where the basic visual language of our Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) originated? This very thorough and entertaining essay by Lauren Archer traces the origins of the [x] symbol that is now a standard in UI design. Prepare yourself for a journey into the GUIs of the past.

—Thanks to Amber Lindholm

How Giant Websites Design for You (and a Billion Others, too)

Photo by TED

In this TED talk, Margaret Gould Stewart, Facebook’s director of product design, discusses the challenges of designing at a massive scale—where small details cascade into huge consumer ripple effects.

—Thanks to Jessica Dolson

Calculate Your Typographic System with Gridlover

Image from Gridlover

Gridlover helps designers create a typographic system and quickly see how different variations look. You can play around with vertical rhythm, scale for body and heading text, preview different fonts in the content area, and view the content with or without a grid. Once you’re done, you can get the output for CSS/Sass/Less in pixels, ems or rems. It makes doing the math for a typographic system much easier—which you’ll love if you aren’t a mathlete.

—Thanks to Lindsey Norman

A Designer’s Guide to DPI

Image by Sebastien Gabriel

Taking dozens of devices, screen sizes, and resolutions into account can be a difficult ordeal. Sebastien Gabriel lays down a short and sweet refresher on how to take consideration of screen resolutions in your designs, covering the basics on DPI, PPI, HD, 4K, PT, Hz, and any other acronyms I’ve left out. A great guide for thinking about mobile resolutions on a variety of devices.

—Thanks to Dennis van Huffel

Designing Rehabilitation into the Prison System

Responding to the ethical dilemma posed by designing spaces to purposely isolate and punish inhabitants, some prison-design architects look toward participatory design methodology to discover how the prison experience can encourage rehabilitation over punishment. Following the movement started by Scandinavian architects, Deanna VanBuren designs “restorative environments” for prisoners. In a workshop conducted with California inmates, 18 participants shared their thoughts on designing prisons in a way to lead toward rehabilitation and decrease likelihood of re-offending.

—Thanks to Rae Gibbs

Want the Best User Experience? Make it Harder to Add Features

Photo by UX Magazine via Shutterstock

Building software with scalability in mind seems like a logical choice for most companies. I would argue however, that software should be built for its current purpose, without scalability in mind. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s the right thing to do. It means that adding features down the line will need to be a careful process of consideration rather than just something that’s tacked on.

—Thanks to Jared Christensen

The Importance of Prototyping Your Designs

As a designer it’s imperative that, before you simply dive into a project and start creating, you must start from the beginning of the process and test your ideas to ensure they’re the most effective way of accomplishing what you’re working towards. Prototyping offers a way to test what looks great and is fit for purpose, whether it’s for a website or a piece of software.

—Thanks to Jared Christensen