User Experience

An utterly depressing, but ultimately enlightening example of what not to do when designing an online experience

Often when you encounter an experience that is truly awful, so achingly depressing, it sucks the life force from you. You end up dead eyed and quite unresponsive to loved ones’ concerns. Badly designed products can do this, especially when it gets in the way of an essential task, and turns into a Kafkaesque nightmare.  It was with some amazement that…

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User Experience

My highlights from Inside Intercom Dublin

After their extensive “World Tour”, the Intercom team came back home to Dublin, to talk about the success and failures of building products. Intercom is a ‘Customer Communication Platform’, with a suite of products for live, feedback, and support on websites. It’s an invaluable product I use every day, so I might be a bit biased. These were the highlights for me during…

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Music

The art of visualising music

Design and music intersect in many ways; fashion, album art, set and instrument design. One side that is relatively unknown outside the sometimes rarified world of orchestral and experimental music is graphic notation. Composers have always grappled with ways to express themselves and in the twentieth-century, a number of them began using this radical graphical approach to writing scores. It…

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Design

The essential designer’s manual: The Vignelli Canon

“I don’t believe that when you write dog, the type should bark!” Massimo Vignelli could be dogmatic, but then he was a utilitarian, a modernist and a vocal critic of bad design. He could be too dogmatic at times and held views that could be surprisingly reactionary, and I’ll touch on this later. There are many opinions in…

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Design

Anatomy of a redesign

Zartis had been running dependably for approximately three years and seven months. It was a reliable system that rarely complained. If it was left for a few hundred years, it would possibly become sentient. But something was troubling us.  When we had originally developed Zartis, we were at the forefront of the new wave of niche recruiting software. Recruiting…

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Design

Notable album covers of 2015

Album art is not dying. Not this year anyway. Digital is not consigning the notion of album art to some nostalgic bargain bin. If anything, I see a resurgence in well crafted album design, especially in the last two years. Here are my favourite album covers from the last year.

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Music

Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver – the world of Jed Kurzel

Jed Kurzel likes to view musicians as actors, letting them be a part of the creative process. “Treat them with respect and they will be with you all the way. They’ll also give you something different.” It’s wonderful advice for anyone in the creative profession, a profession where let’s be honest, there are too many divas around.…

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Design

A Design Classic: The Barry Lyndon Film Poster

I’ve always been aware of the Barry Lyndon poster by the french poster designer Jouineau Bourduge with its Saul Bass inspired illustration.

It seems ubiquitous — up there with Pacino’s Scarface poster so beloved of students — yet I think it has a timeless and mythical quality, very much like the best of Kubrick’s creations.

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Music

On the spot thoughts about Electric Picnic 2015

The Irish music festival Electric Picnic has grown spectacularly quickly since 2004. EP is the festival’s festival. Everything is available and gastronomically it’s amazingly eclectic. Art direction is top notch from the Trailer Park to the Salty Dog stage in the woods. The feeling that I get as I stand in the middle of the…

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Design

HAL Wallpaper

I saw the remastered version of 2001: A Space Odyssey recently and was struck by how beautifully designed HAL’s displays were. The type is set in Eurostyle Extended and gives the display console a bold visual presence, a perfect contrast to the ship’s interiors that are largely made up of white surfaces. This logical, highly…

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