Once again working with Click 3X on our arts programming, we’ve reinvented the PBS Arts brand into an elegant and Broadway showcase. A new logo & packaging help set this year’s design apart from year’s past and sets the stage for a different experience.
~ Associate Creative Director / Writer / Producer - Jeffrey Hughes
Several months ago our Interactive team approached us with a new PBS app for the upcoming ROKU 3 launch and asked if we could produce a video promoting PBS on ROKU. Producer/Writer Carol Paik came up with a great script & music and we approached our friends at T&F to help create a fun & simple way to showcase all the great content PBS now provides ROKU users.
Q:even though you didn't answer the last one, ill ask again. Will flat design invade the TV industry the way it has taken over the web and app landscape this winter? Could we say goodbye to the lens flair?
Alright, alright…All design is cyclical so I think there’s a good chance it could. I remember the 90’s when grunge and then techno were all the rage. Then it became fashionable to look completely opposite - simple. Sadly, I think lens flares will always be around. There will always be a need for some sort of “realism” & lens flares communicate that so quickly and easily. And, as long as JJ Abrams is making Star Trek & Star Wars movies, you can bet lens flares will stick around.
Set Your Imagination Free
When I was a young designer just starting out, getting every design out of my head was a learning experience. I was honing my Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects skills all at once and there were a lot of late nights.
But as I got better and better, I got faster and faster. Eventually, I forego storyboards all together and started animating my ideas in After Effects. Why not? I was super fast at it and I could immediately judge if an idea worked or not.
Now let me tell you why I think this doesn’t work.
*One day I was animating a promo for some TBS show we were promoting; my Art Director came along and sat down beside me. We started talking about workflows, he listened politely, and then he said, “If you ever wanna be a good designer, stop designing in After Effects.”What?!
This was his point: When you design using a production tool (After Effects, Flash, etc.), you design for the tool set you know. Wether you realize it or not, you’re limiting your imagination to whatever plug-ins, processes, etc. are in that application. And he was right. One of my first thoughts when starting a new project was which cool, new plug-in could I use? And as I went about getting the idea into a rough moving form, I was constantly organizing files, layers, and thinking about how this compositing method might be faster than that one. I would sometimes throw ideas away simply because it would involve 3D or some skill set I wasn’t proficient in yet. I was limiting every design.
Now, when I’m concepting, I work in sketches, Photoshop, or any other app that allows me to freely express my idea without the added complication of trying to figure out how I’m going to do it. And by getting rid of that burden, I’m free to let my imagination run wild again.
*Not the way it really happened, but it makes for a good story.
Originally posted for: Medium
In my job I’m paid mostly to be “creative”. “Creativity” is a messy process that can double back on itself many times over but it’s a skill we work on day in and day out to master. One skill that often gets overlooked in a “Creative” is good organization.
If the creative side is chaos, there has always been the opposite side which loves organization. And I love to solve problems - the bigger the better. Big, complex system type problems. It’s probably why I got my degree in Industrial Design and why I love network rebrands so much. But the organization side of me loves the process.It scratches the itch in a different way.
That’s why, as boring as it sounds, I’ve developed a very rigid file organization structure. I know it’s not a sexy topic but there might be some young designers/animators (or even some experienced ones) that might benefit from someone else’s trial & error over 15 yrs.
The process I’ll impart is one I developed while directing the PBS rebrand in 2009. I had been a part of rebrands in the past with TBS & TNT, but because of the way PBS is structured, this time there were going to be many more items to deliver. I’m a stickler for details so I revised this method to the point where I think I drove several Producers a bit crazy.
In any TV Rebrand there’s going to be a huge number of elements to think about and eventually deliver. But in going through our design phase we had settled on 3 different animation styles of the PBS logo which we would make available in 4 different color palettes. Crazy? Right? That meant any new element automatically got 12 new items added to the final deliverables list. And by the time we finished, between print, on-air, & online, the design firm had delivered close to 700 elements.
Here’s the method that derived from that process and the one I still use today. It follows a simple template structure for every element.
Or the date can be amended to the end in some cases.
With this simple recipe you can keep any large database of files for a project organized.
In animating the main logo for use in promos we had many different logo lockups we wanted to show. Well, with 3 animation styles and 4 colors, it takes a system like this to keep it all straight. Here’s how it looked when finished.
“EP” stands for endpage, “Promo”is the *kind* of endpage, “BeMore” stands for the logo lockup, “Bub” is the animation style (in this case, Bubbles), and “Blu” stands for blue (orange, magenta & green). We didn’t include a Project name per say because all the elements are part of a redesign so they’ll be used in many projects for years to come. Looking back, I might have included the year though because I’ve since revised the elements and so it’d be nice to know which ones were from the original design and which ones have been tweaked.
Here’s an example from a recent project for a stunt which included programming and promotional elements.
In this case, “AN” stands for the project name, After Newtown. And if you’ve read this entire post, you get the drift of what the other abbreviations might stand for.
I hope this helps someone who might be struggling with how to organize a large system of files. I know each person has “their way” of doing things but this was a method that worked well for me and the many others I’ve convinced to use it.
Q:When is the appropriate time to use Brush Script or papyrus ?
Only when Comic Sans isn’t available.
Easily the most interesting thing I’ve found all day today.
For $25/month, their basic plan, you can make 5 requests of their team per month.
Here’s a random sample of requests from their site:
- Can you call the post office and find my package? Here’s the tracking number. When I look it up online, it says there’s a delivery problem. Please see if you can have it located and re-delivered.
- Can you find 3 awesome cover bands who would be able to play at our wedding on June 2? We like late nineties hits. Need the prices for booking as well, and can we go hear them play anywhere, or do they have videos they can send us?
- My co-worker is in the hospital after a bad car accident. Can you call the gift shop there and ask them if they sell fun things to do to pass the time that they could send in a gift basket type of thing to him? Crossword puzzles, trashy magazines, stuff like that. I’d like to spend about $50. If they don’t do that sort of thing, please find a place that can.
I’m dying to try this out.
Twitter Updates iPhone App
Twitter just released an update to it’s iOS & Android apps that changes the navigation and “provides a single stream of content in each tab, so you can better find what’s most important to you when you’re on the go.”
The first thing you’ll notice after updating is the new persistant Search icon in the top right. All top row navigation icons now rely on the icon artwork and forego the traditional button motif.
A big request (according to all the mentions in my timeline) was the addition of clickable links inside the main timeline. Previously users would need to click on a tweet, the tweet would expand, then the user would need to click the link. I’m not one who much cares for the clickable nature of the links but I do value the color difference that breaks up the massive text blocks that twitter can turn into.
The Tweet page isn’t much different aside from the top row navigation’s new Back icon. Twitter has again ditched the traditional Back Button and gone with a simple left facing arrow.
It’s an elegant solution. Although the one detail that stands out to me is that both new icons (the arrow & the magnifying glass) aren’t the same line thickness as the compose icon - a fact confirmed by Mark Otto.
In previous versions of the Connect tab, Interactions were a separate button from Mentions but they were combined by default (I think) in a single column view.
Now, the buttons have been replaced with the title of the page and the search field is removed in favor of the new navigation icons.
The new Discover layout is the strangest one of all. The new design, quite frankly, has me a bit baffled as to it’s reasoning. The old design was at least clean, if not a bit confusing with it’s mix of Activity, Trends, Tweets, etc. but at least it was laid out in a nicely organized column view.
This new layout with Activity and Trends being contained, in what looks to me like a take on Microsoft’s tiles feature, makes things more confusing. Now Trends, which virtually always has a promoted hashtag as it’s first listing is now front & center on my screen; whereas before a user had to scroll way down to the Trends section to see this. And while I understand the purpose of the black gradients allowing the text to read over an unknown number of icons and other text, it feels out of place in such a clean app with such strong blue & white design patterns.
The Home screen shows the twitter icon in the top nav and the Tweet detail page shows the title. But on all other pages, Twitter included the title in the top nav. I think this is the correct way to go and in future iterations I’d forego any labels in the bottom navigation because it’s redundant. Each page is labeled very clearly in the top navigation. That frees up the bottom nav for simple icons which echoes the new simple icons in the top navigation.
Also, it’s got to be one of their other most requested features, but I’d love to see a dark theme - preferably one as dark & beautiful as Twitteriffic 5.
In fact, by my count only 3/26 of the hashtags were accompanied by a Twitter logo. That means the other 88% (23/26) could just as easily be credited to Instagram, Google+ or, most appropriately, all three major hashtag-supporting platforms.
— This is quite interesting. At PBS we’ve been using hashtags more & more recently on-air and I’ve had this exact conversation with PBS’ Director of digital marketing & communications - whether or not to use the twitter icon next to our hashtags. We keep coming back to the conclusion that people understand what a hashtag is and don’t need an explanation.
Okay, let’s hit pause. I thought I had eloquently explained the difference between Facebook’s Timeline, Newsfeed, Groups, and Friends Lists for the past hour. I had, evidently, failed.
Patrick Henry is her high school. She graduated ±40 years ago. She doesn’t understand why clicking one “Patrick Henry High School” shows random status messages from her fellow Henrians, but the other “Patrick Henry High School” only shows posts about dead people from the high school (answer: the first is a Friends Group the second is the school’s official page).
Here’s the problem. She thinks she “has” a Facebook page as she would “have” a physical bulletin board, so if something appears on Facebook.com, someone deliberately posted on “her” page. The concept that Facebook curates a selection of activities from across their site, let alone the internet, is baffling.
Great article and I can easily sympathize. I felt the same way when I watched my father 2 years ago work through his computer issues.
I’m talking about trying to explain to a layperson the difference between webmail in iCloud, the Mail.app program, and the Mail app on his iPad. Why he can do some things on one device but can’t on others. Why he can’t put his iCloud address book as an icon in the dock of his desktop. Or why he purchased Numbers on his iPad but it’s not on his desktop - “I thought with iOS 5 that when you purchase an app on your iPad it’s supposed to show up on your computer!”.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the latest update or new gadget because we’re building upon a set of knowledge that has been building since we were kids. But to an older person, the “concepts” of clouds, social media, & virtually “connecting” are very difficult to understand.
Edmund Lee & Adam Satariano for Bloomberg:
Apple is in negotiations to start carrying Time Warner HBO Go application on Apple TV by mid-2013, according to two people familiar with the plans.
Great, unsurprising news. But:
HBO Go is only available to customers who subscribe to the network through their cable or satellite service, and would be the first app on Apple TV that requires pay-TV authentication. There are currently HBO Go apps for the iPad and iPhone.
Same old, same old. Imagine how powerful it would be if you could buy an HBO subscription without needing the cable subscription as well? How many millions of Apple TVs would Apple sell as a result? I would bet on many millions. Which is exactly why big cable won’t allow it.
- Millions. Exactly. Which is far less than the *billions* it receives in subscriptions and cable contracts. THAT’S why “big cable won’t allow it.”
If you want to only see 1 layer, you can ⌥ click the eye icon and it’ll hide all other layers. To reverse just ⌥ click again.
Be careful however, if you unhide a different layer after you do this, you may not be able to easily go back to the previous document state without unhiding every single…
- I’ve often wanted a feature like AE’s “solo layer” in PSD, this may be it.
- Both a simple and ballsey redesign.