casual design – design is casual

interactive design for web, video games, and apps.

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where are you?

UPDATE: The white iphone is finally available!

Which phone is the most stylish, now that the droid x, droid 2, htc desire, galaxy s, etc are all out? i think the white iphone is doing a good job of arriving fashionably late, or maybe missing the party completely. perhaps?

old digital

Our experience and its power to move us forward, hold us back, and drive our decisions, has personally affected me in dealing with computers. I would like to share a few things that I am surprised to find in the garage, or see on my screen after all these years. I have some antique computer parts, software, and gadgets around. most everything has been replaced with its descendant, but I still use some of this stuff:

alienware black case (2000) – I’ve long since sold the original guts, and even built a new system that was supposed to be a media server, but it was too noisy. Then I ended up selling those parts, and now it’s back down to the case! trying to think what to do with it.

hp flatbed scanner (2001) – it still scans!

bins full of old parts – I have old video cards, heat sinks, old hds, cables, wires, keyboards, hubs, power supplies… mostly stuff that has failed. the video card fans have gone out. I’ve been through about five video cards and five failed harddrives. im starting to see a pattern in fans being noisy and going out… if it werent for faulty fans, I probably would have stuck with this stuff even longer.

powerbook g4 ti (bought used in 2006) – I broke one of the hinges, by opening it, and from there things went down hill. the used damaged replacement screen is miserable to look at. this once cool futuristic marvel doesnt hold a candle to the macbook pro, which will soon also become a relic.

software (pc)
windows xp – installed a few longhorn rcs, but never actually upgraded to vista – now I have win 7, but still boot into xp most of the time because I dont have everything in win 7 yet.

office xp (2002) – looking at email and spreadsheets the old school way!

winrar (2001) – I am still using the free version.

veritime pro – a time tracking software that I have liked, made by one guy, and it’s not very user friendly, but i know it, and have not found one i like better.

ie6 – I still test certain websites in this old browser. evil.

rca 27 inch (2000) – has not been used in quite some time.

consoles and handhelds
nintendo 64 – bought used at a pawn shop.
playstation – was given to me.
emulate nes, snes, gba – mostly to play classic rpgs and homebrew gba dev. I used to own a nes and snes as a kid.
two ds – to play the remakes of classic rpgs, and tetris, where I have over 10000 tetris points.

cell phone
i have a white chocolate (2007) – it is not cool. probably the first phone in the us to do photos, video, music, games, web browsing. i bought tetris and lost (a fun little game based on the tv show) for it.

digital camera
old olympus point and shoot (2002).

I think it’s great, because these things are really not even that old, and yet they feel ancient. people older than me will think, pfff, thats nothin when youve got the 8mm camera, polaroid, 8 track, and a record player.

well, lets hear it. the reason I posted this was because I feel as though these things, while old, have been able to go way beyond their lifespan. I could argue that some of this stuff, although slow, less convenient, clunky, and frustrating, is good enough, and makes new stuff seem too expensive, or too temporary.

it helps to keep things in perspective. it doesnt take much in software – a more pleasant effect here, a more tonal color scheme there – to make stuff appear new, when really they are relatively small refinements.

for the new os, content creation software, and video games, even the minimum system requirements are pushing anything before 2008 out of commission. rightly so, as you will save time, and the stress goes down as things become more user friendly, and the price to enter now is less than it was back then.

i would say it’s fun to hold off, if only because there is no reason to upgrade until it offers a genius solution to a problem, except that most things require a certain level of support until the product can reach that potential. I mean we still have not made use of what has been available since the 80s and 90s, but I figure there is now enough adoption and support, that things in the digital space will begin moving rather quickly again.

it is amazing how we could never go back, especially if we consider how many advancements have been made. im not a fan of phones and carriers, so an ipod touch with wifi and a few apps handle about everything, from facebook, twitter, locations, email, youtube, blogging, make lightning come out of my fingers. no camera though, might have to carry the olympus around, hopefully there are a few weird cylinders in that old pile that have juice left!

aaand furthermore, it’s only a matter of time before whats available to us now will feel, well, obsolete.

if i meet zach

A short skit I wrote, working with the idea that an unknown person might be funny, even to someone who is actually funny. What would happen if I were to rub elbows in a bar with Zach Galifianakis? Please enjoy it.


if i met zach jassjakisi

in a bar – from bartender shot – zach is enjoying a beer in peace.

brooks sits down next to zach, calmly, doesn’t recognize him at first.

brooks: hey whats goin on, do you like comedy?

zach: not really.

brooks: (recognizes that it is zach, and says in a downtrodden manner) good because this is not very funny material. its just more observational… nobody really thinks im funny, i think sometimes maybe sometimes i could be funny. you know, like, in my head.

zach: (deciding if he cares or should not be bothered, then takes a chance) share it with me. points.

cuts to on stage –

brooks – to audience: so people work hard, really hard, and then they don’t feel successful. that is really strange to me. nobody would work that hard if they weren’t feeling success from it. i mean even the littlest taste of success will keep us going… for a while. and i have worked hard, i am not successful. i meet successful people and they work a lot less hard than i do, like some of them have never worked hard, or maybe they have and its just out of my comprehension! like the person who thought roasting beans, grinding them up, and running water over them was a good idea! then i start to think maybe my work can translate into theirs, then i start pestering them and finding if i can maybe add to their success all my hard work!! Yeah, bothering them and taking over their success…

cuts back to bar –

zach (laughing really hard belly laugh): Wooah now you just made that up? Just now, based on our situation? *a joke about no pancake mix, somewhere?*

brooks: yeah, i mean its funny because the tragedy of the, not to mention the paradox…(starts to explain)

zach interrupts: yeah yeah, i know (pats brooks on back, finishes drink, puts on coat, going to leave).

brooks (in dramatic voice): im just getting started!

zach: its not funny.

brooks: i know not this time.

(pause) brooks shouts after zach desparately: i can write!

credits –

then –

after, or during credits –

phone voice over
zach calls brooks: hey, its zach.

brooks: oh, hi zach.

zach: hey, you said you could write?

brooks: yeah!

zach: well i have some writing i’d like to have you do.

brooks: i don’t write.

zach: oh.

(pause) zach: want to go get a beer again sometime?

Year Three

Albuquerque this past year has been pretty eventful. I will say, it is an enjoyable place to live and work. Here are some highlights from last year.

Leveraging more of what I have to offer –
Balancing digital concepts and studio arts in my work. This has helped me to become more critical about the work I take on, and giving the pieces personal care. I realize this is something I need to keep intact, and comes through in the work. I said that I would start using twitter to log my progress. I have decided against multiple cryptic tweets a day about progress, in favor or continuing on my drawings, paintings, and work using the tablet, only updating via twitter when significant progress is made, with links to photos and videos of completed or near completed works.

Portfolio –
The biggest addition to my portfolio was the 4 color rebellion website, which demonstrates my abilities in quite a large capacity. Starting with the markup and css, and then moving into some performance techniques, seo, and even helped cover e3 2010 with the staff, and loved it. This year I will be optimizing and adding more ajax, for a more exciting presentation and elegant ways of working with the data on 4cr to enhance the experience.

I also worked quite a bit to help my friends and family tidy up some websites, identities, that sort of thing. One of my friends started working on an eco friendly line of soaps. We created an identity and some packaging ideas for him. Another friend started a kite company in Livingston, MT, which is a cool concept, and I helped him set up a small website. I worked with RSPCT to outfit our favorite coffee shop with a new website. Then we teamed up and created a child theme for GVSA, and helped with a fundraiser auction that goes toward the development of what will be the largest skatepark in Montana.

I also teamed up with faculty and staff at the University of Wyoming and Montana State University to guide and consult on projects. For MSU, working with the Extensions Office, I helped update some content, reworked some admin functionality, and am in the process of updating some forms to be more user friendly. For UW, I worked with their marketing and PR to help them with various aspects in updating a very large website, and worked to communicate University-wide strategy, and how the website would best play a part in that strategy.

In the Studio –
Although my main work machine is a decked out macbook pro running snow leopard, I upgraded my “pc” to be able to test all the way up to 64bit browsers on windows 7 pro 64bit.

I’ve started making my own theme for wordpress 3, so I will update about that from time to time. Naturally, the theme is called casual.

ios dev/experiments are coming along still, and I just downloaded the new sdk.

android dev, I still have not started, but will hopefully get involved with that down the road, now that android 2.2 is out and new phones are hitting the market, I feel like I am getting more excited about android, but am still focused learning how to make stuff on ios.

I have been fortunate to meet some great people in Albuquerque so far in the worlds of web, film, and art.
thanks again, all my clients!

design is casual is where it’s at when digital creative strategies are heating up!

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.

Experience in Detasign

Becoming a team player, and getting used to working under different circumstances, I have learned how to value design at the full business level. I don’t subscribe to top down, or bottom up. If each person involved is not being heard, then the experience suffers.

In business, how often does everyone work together to make their work careers the most enjoyable for themselves?

In business, how often does everyone work together to make their workplace the most enjoyable place for everyone?

In business, how often does everyone work together on their careers to create the most memorable lives for each other?

You see what I did there? How do we layer our actions to create the best experience, and where is the balance? Every case is different, and deserves unique treatment.

Why are these words sounding so outdated: strategy, branding, messaging, communication, integrated marketing, programming? I think it is because these are the advertising words that have just begun to work as a language, and since they are not perfect, people keep evolving them, leaving the failed version behind, only to be reborn or mashed up later as another buzzword.

The word I made up, detasign combines details, data, sign, and design. I don’t know what it means, but it captures a few things that might evolve into a stratunication.

This year I have mostly been customizing WordPress. With so much theme customizing over the past few years, it is certainly a little bit more difficult to get projects where I am creating the design from scratch. I am hoping to get ahead a bit, and actually create some themes from design is casual. Count on the themes from design is casual to incorporate some of the latest technology and create new, uninterrupted experiences. Experiences to hang out with the other experiences not comfortable being left behind, settling for generic.

Some business do not budget for advertising. This is unfortunate, because that is where some of the website dollars come from. Innovative research, pushing the limits, all good Samaritan things to do for free, but would benefit anyone who invests.

The web breaks down into what I consider to be three main areas, which relate to other areas within the bigger strategy – relating to experience.

First, the web is many people and computers, and a site is your online presence, a nice looking and functioning site for your organized information.

Second, the web ranks your site amongst many others.

Third, the web likes to change to accommodate more business, building and visiting each others sites more often to the point where the flow of data is automated and invisible.

The experiences that satisfy these three things together really require constant investment. There must be a way to measure satisfaction by breaking free of the web norms. You will notice I did not say a website needs to have a navigation bar, or a site map, or any other generic element in it’s design, this is where we can break free, reinvent, and begin to fulfill the prerequisites toward a website.

In no particular order of importance: the award winning, the bragging, the profit making, the competing at the highest level, the disciplining, the saving of the environment, the nailing it. There is an endless supply of enjoyment, and too many people these days are finding too little of it. design is casual is here to help all of us find more of it.

communication is great, now here is a word to put toward a generation of ideas. comgendea.

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.