Google on the importance of motion design

Design is continually evolving. Users are getting more sophisticated. The design landscape is more sophisticated. In particular, motion has become incredibly important over the last few years.

We [at Google] wanted something that was taking the very best of graphic design clarity and the innovations in motion graphics and motion communication but that still tapped into those elements of tangibility, of physicality that industrial designers themselves use.

Matias Duarte, VP of Design at Google, Google I/O 2014 - Material design principles

The end of Mad Men

While fans of the television show Mad Men are familiar with how the ad industry once created consumer desire during Madison Avenue’s golden era, those days are long gone. A multiscreen world of ad-wary consumers has rendered Don Draper’s big-budget brainwashing useless to all but the biggest brands.

The need for curation

For the last several years, much of the web has focused on creating and sharing content. Now we’re drowning in the stuff. Social networking provided an ad hoc way to filter content by privileging stuff our friends like. But then all the likes (and favorites and retweets) became so innumerable that they lost their value.

Rather than cutting through through the noise, social media has amplified it.

We need some help making sense of it all. We need a life raft to keep our heads above water. What we need, in a word, is curation. Not social media masquerading as curation, but real, human-powered curation.

Header image CC by mnorman

On hipsters

Consider the trivial but revealing hallmarks of urban hipsterdom: faux vintage photography, the handlebar mustache, and vinyl record players all hark back to an earlier time when people were still optimistic about the future. If everything worth doing has already been done, you may as well feign an allergy to achievement and become a barista.

In defense of devices

There’s a rising backlash against the preponderance of mobile devices in our lives. The argument goes something like this:

We’re all glued to our devices, oblivious to the exciting swirl of humanity around us. We’re focused on tiny glowing screens instead of each other’s faces.

Even smartphone manufacturers — the people fueling the adoption of mobile devices — got in on the game:

There’s an undercurrent of nostalgia for a time before all this technology.

A time when we walked down the street and smiled at each other, waving hello. At bars, we chatted with our barstool neighbors. Our children always had our undivided attention. Our dog’s ears were always scratched.

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Write like Papa with Hemingway Editor

When I was an undergraduate student, a new listing popped up in course catalogs across the country: Writing for the Web. At the dawn of the internet age, these classes appealed to forward-looking marketers and tech-savvy English majors (like me) who understood that the way we communicate was about to change.

Today, these classes have all but disappeared. Writing for the web has become, simply, writing.

What does it mean to write for the web?

It means writing for perpetually shrinking attention spans. It means writing in a way that it is visually appealing as well as verbally appealing. It means writing what you mean to say in 140 characters or less — which is much harder than merely writing what’s on your mind in 140 characters or less.

It means writing clearly, concisely and compellingly. (It also means avoiding adverbs.)

Pre-internet Papa

One master of this writing style died before the web was even a glimmer on the horizon. His keyboard of choice was a sturdy Remington typewriter, and when his hands weren’t wrapped around it, they were likely wrapped around a bottle, a woman or a gun.

Or so the legend goes.

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First person POV + Time lapse + Stabilization = Hyperlapse

Microsoft Research shares news of the new video stabilization technology, Hyperlapse:

We present a method for converting first-person videos, for example, captured with a helmet camera during activities such as rock climbing or bicycling, into hyper-lapse videos, i.e., time-lapse videos with a smoothly moving camera.

The results are impressive. This is what it must feel like to be Superman on his way home from picking up milk at the corner store.

So when will it be available?

We are working hard on making our Hyperlapse algorithm available as a Windows app. Stay tuned!


Cross-posted on Motionographer.

4 tips for working with Trello

What is Trello?

Think of Trello as an endless bulletin board where tasks, ideas and notes can be organized in columns.

Okay, I’ll admit: not so sexy. But Trello has the power to change the way you think about your projects. Promise.

I’ve been using Trello for about a year to manage a variety of projects: websites, events, new business ideas and — fittingly enough — blog posts. I’ve picked up a few tips along the way to help you get more from this amazing tool.

(Oh, and it’s free.)

To share or not to share

Trello can be used collaboratively or alone, privately or publicly. It’s up to you, and there are no cheesy pricing schemes attached to your choice.

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