casual design – design is casual

interactive design for web, video games, and apps.

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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!

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.


Creating digital and traditional art. For the past five years I have mainly been focused on digital projects – web design and interactive concepts with media teams, ad/design agencies, and universities. This is the core of design is casual.

Now, after a five year break from creating traditional art, I am making some new works in painting, printmaking, and drawing. These new works may be heavily influenced by digital concepts, but not like you would think. In adding traditional back into the repertoire, I am looking forward to not only having my digital pieces benefit, but also further my traditional skills and knowledge. Making things even more interesting, I will be producing drawings and illustrations on a tablet as well.  I am hoping some exciting prints come out of that. My influences for these types of drawings come from concept illustration and manga/comics, two of what I consider to be the most technical types of illustration and blur the lines between art and design, as well as having substantial by-hand histories. We will see if there is anything I can add to this discussion.

For the traditional pieces, I am hoping to achieve a nice aesthetic on stretched canvases and papers. I may be radical with this traditional format – rectangular flat objects. In case you are wondering, I am not nostalgic, just working with traditional media.

These pieces will be the first attempts at validating my work in the art market(s) here in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

My intention is to keep working as an artist, while incorporating some of what I was feeling was getting a little neglected.

Look for updates, I am keeping a daily log of progress on my projects through twitter as casualbrooks, and updating this website monthly. That is the plan anyway, see how it goes.

New Mexico for Year Two

After the first year of operation in Bozeman, MT, design is casual has made a big move to Albuquerque, NM. Although super attached to Bozeman and the friends I have there, I have always wanted to expand into bigger markets and believe I have found one that I like. Close to downtown, between New Mexico State University and Nob Hill is where I will be based, working on projects with my existing clientele and also trying to pick up new clients that support creative methods that are good for business these days.


New Mexico is going to be a great city for my wife and I, we can already tell. There’s lots to do outside, Santa Fe and Taos are within a couple hours, there are many cool coffee shops, green chiles, the COOP, a lot like Bozeman’s COOP, film studios are here, plenty of art, there is at least one rooftop pizzeria, there are some cool lofts… the list goes on.


Looking back after the first year, there were many new experiences that I will remember with my clients that were mostly started in the pursuit towards innovating on the web. Here are some notable updates:

UVI ended up with a pretty cool minisite for n:fil, the architectural component of UVI. They completed a project in Douglas, WY, called Spine House. This house has more cool features and materials than anything I have seen.

There were some maintenance level and finishing projects with 45 Degrees North, the design/advertising agency that I worked for the previous two years. Some of these won advertising awards.

With RSPCT (then anonymousUNITED) we were able to get a decent not-as-temp portfolio site going, now Ron just needs to keep it updated!

I picked up a pretty cool contract with LiveJournal, working on some of their house branding. Toward the end of the project the design team was laid off, which sucked for me because I was transferred to the financial department to finish out the design.

With another fairly large community site, 4 Color Rebellion, I am awaiting the relaunch of their fourth version, which includes my work on the markup and styles.

We are in the process of updating the Cucoloris website, a talented filming group. I am always interested to hear about their latest projects, for example, documenting the Telluride protest to break a 50 year contract with their energy company, allowing alternative energy to become more prevalent there.

I started up a website for my mom, who owns a unique furniture store, Bella Patina, in Rapid City, SD. For this website I experimented a little with the flickr API to allow the store to manage their photos and descriptions through flickr.
p ix e l a t e d light staged and shot the featured season photos and most of the items in the store, and it was great to work together on the website. I am trying to find out if connecting the website to flickr creates some social interaction between local customers and the flickr community.

With Classic Ink, I have been working with the designers to get more of their web work out and have been experimenting a little with customizing WordPress and javascript image galleries that are used a lot by their clients.

Another aspect I have been getting more involved in is consulting. There are a few universities that I am being contracted by, for my web expertise and acting as a liaison between departments in assessing future needs, improving communication, and reducing the complexity of websites within websites.

In amongst these projects, I have continued helping family and friends get started in customizing their blogs or apps or services to use for a particular purpose, or just talking about facebook and how the world is changing. I have been learning more actionscript 3 and mxml, experimenting with Papervision, Union, and in Apple world a little Cocoa Touch. I really want to make fun games for iPhone with my friends eventually, by that time it will be called iPhone LS.

Every project I finish, I feel like I am getting a little bit closer to my dream of one day making my own project that will be the awesomest game/app/social-experience-to-remember-ever-beyond-history. To keep it casual, I would just really like to create something that is fun for me and then others might think it is fun too.

In my second year, I am on the path to that dream. Thank you to all of my clients, and here is to year two!


April Quick Post


As usual, the month is almost over, so here is the quick post. I think I have some of the most social friends, they all beat me to the Facebook scene. I didn’t know what I was missing I guess.

I have been getting more involved in social apps – Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, and Flickr just to name a few. design is casual incorporates these services into online strategy, all the rage these days.

It is only a matter of time before anyone can utilize all of these services together for a global takeover or at least provide a media overload.

New at design is casual, along with customizing the themes and templates behind these online identities, and teaching others how to get on board, well, I have been taking online classes on iTunes U. Free education, I figure once you pay how to learn, you realize that you can learn for free. I have been learning about iPhone development, the next frontier of always connected social experiences (are you with me?).

There are some pretty cool websites and consulting gigs in the works, very excited to be working with some of these folks and will update the portfolio before too long.

Before Facebook, I had time between work to do productive things like update the portfolio and cook meals. After Facebook, along with the Facebook iPhone app, where has the time gone? But at least my friends and clients know what I am doing, like when I get caught up in a snowstorm, which happens all the time in Bozeman.

Isn’t it amazing that people stream their thoughts while filling out tax forms, traveling, eating, wrecking in a plane, monitoring the economy, or what have you?

I can not remember life before social networks.

January Quick Post

It is a new year and the first month is over. So far this year I have been headed into interactive space more and more. I made a little headway back into Flash and 3D, using ActionScript 3 and Papervision. I also want to take a minute to check out Loworks website. I liked reading the thinking by Haruki Higashi in the winter issue of Computer Arts Projects. It is a good year for change and continuation.

requires flash player

The animation above is from the basic example to test Papervision. The example on Google Code did not work, so here is the code I used (rocketclowns pointed me in the right direction).

package {
	import flash.display.Sprite;
	import org.papervision3d.objects.primitives.Plane;
	import org.papervision3d.materials.ColorMaterial;
	import org.papervision3d.view.BasicView;

	public class ExampleTransformationRotate extends BasicView {
		private var plane:Plane;
		public function ExampleTransformationRotate() {
			var material:ColorMaterial = new ColorMaterial();
			material.doubleSided = true;
			material.fillColor = 0xFF0000;
			material.fillAlpha = 1.0;
			plane = new Plane(material, 300, 300, 1, 1);
			stage.addEventListener(Event.ENTER_FRAME, render);
		private function render(event:Event):void {
			plane.rotationX += 4.35;
			plane.rotationY += 6.55;
			plane.rotationZ += 0.55;

Let me know if this helps anybody.

Mobile Development

New at design is casual is a new macbook pro loaded with cs4 and an ipod touch, the makings of a great mobile studio. Before, I was tied to my desk for major development (And I still will be for many things).

Now I have the ability to visit clients and show on screen demos, work from coffee shops, and even work from other cities! I think this is a good development as it comes with the added bonus of creating iphone/ipod touch apps.

I have been approved by Apple to develop for iphone/ipod touch and am ramping up for this next wave of users doing just about everything with these devices.

With all of the new stuff, I would like to balance it out with some old stuff. My copy of StarCraft: Brood War, purchased in 1998 recently exploded inside my CDRW drive while playing. It made a loud bang inside my computer and I actually thought it was a fan blade that broke off somehow and hit the inside of the case. At the speed that the CD spins, I am surprised there was not more damage.

In case you wonder why players leave the game…

web Ready

The time has come to unveil my new identity. I am not talking about an elaborate Halloween costume, I am referring to the new design is casual identity. Thanks to Ronald and the non-lethal guns at anonymousUNITED for creating a fine usage/arrangement of elements, and solidifying the first official logo for design is casual. A poster will accompany the package later this month. This news comes with perfect timing, in parallel with the recent unveiling of Adobe CS4, and in a few days, the next generation of Apple notebooks.

“This logo signifies the design is casual effort to be leading in innovative experiences, while at the same time remembering it is about enjoying life and relationships. With this logo behind the work, I will be able to create and promote this message and create projects that enhance the interactive perceptions of both digital and meatspace life,” Bruce said.

August Quick Post

The month went by fast and with a couple days left, this edition includes some textual updates and examples.

First – Travel

I went with my wife to visit our hometowns in the Black Hills with some friends. I took a business trip to Denver/Boulder to visit some associates (friends). We did some real research and went to The Dark Knight on the IMAX screen. Huuuge. Did you see the pattern on Fox’s outfit? The tie is brilliant! I also had a DAM good time. If you are near the DAM, go to NOVO and try their single source coffee made with a Clover.

Second – Projects

Projects I have been working on this month range in scale from small to medium and cover multiple industries in the digital foray. I finished the book Blink and am caught up on magazines, I guess this relates to time in the airport.

Third – New Stuff

I am waiting for the new MacBook Pros to come out. It sounds like October now. The PowerBook will have another month on the coffee shop circuit. I even priced out some PCs. The Alienware I priced out was cool but I think I will wait until Apple refreshes the line.

In the next few weeks I will add a Portfolio and a Contact Page to this blog.

These have been textual updates and examples of place, vision, taste, and anticipation.