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Advertising Creative Design Pop Culture Technology

Toyota’s Intellegent Typography Experiment

This is a few years old but still pretty cool. Back in 2009 Toyota teamed up with Please Let Me Design to create this IQ Font (above) as a way to promote their new micro-car.

The idea is simple enough but the execution is really nicely done. The designers (Pierre and Damien) worked with Stef van Campenhoudt (driver) and Zachary Lieberman (software developer, using OpenFrameworks) to track the car’s path as a way to draw each letter. The resulting font is clean, quirky with lots of character and classic details. Even the “making of” (below) is fun to watch.

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Creative Design Thoughts

Metro: Guidelines to the Next Generation of Mobile UX

With Surface, Zune HD, Bing…and now Windows 7 Mobile it seems that Microsoft has finally embraced the design/experience side of technology. While most people will never encounter a Surface device, at least not at it’s current state, this was a huge leap for Microsoft and human/computer interactions in general. For the most part it’s a living experiment of what the future may hold. The Zune HD and Windows 7 Mobile, on the other hand, are designed to be used by the masses, in the present and take their respective markets to a new level.

Inspired by the simplicity and universality of transportation graphics Microsoft calls there new design guidelines Metro. Beyond the name is the focus on creating a modern, stripped down, easy to navigate user interface based on common elements and typography.  The use of typography as a key design element in the digital world is almost unheard of ; I would think design geeks should be overjoyed with this though I’ve barely seen any references to this from the general design world.

Along with typography here are a few of the highlights of Metro:

  • Based on transportation signage: simple, universal, easy to skim
  • General feel: Clean, light, open and fast
  • Experience: should lead the design
  • Consistent: common design treatments and transitions
  • Flexible: Inviting developers to personalize their use of the guidelines to allow them to make their apps unique yet consistent
  • User focused/Task focused: one primary action at a time
  • Panoramic: apps not locked to a single screen
  • Typography: as an element of beauty as well as to demonstrate hierarchy
  • Transitions: are as important as the static page. Guidlines request to keep them simple and related, noting “the more you use it (transitions) the less special it becomes”
  • Simplify, Simplify, Simplify: fierce reduction in unnecessary UI elements (chrome, non-related actions…)

Here is a link to a long but worthwhile video
http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/CL14
(Silverlight required for inline, but you can also download non-Silverlight version)

Here’s the official Window’s phone site:
http://developer.windowsphone.com/

Overall, I’m excited to see smart-phones continue their evolution and Metro looks to be a great step forward.  It’s also nice to see Microsoft (or anyone) not play catch up by porting over the status quo, but rather innovating beyond it.

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Creative Design

BBC shares their design logic

Good design is transparent. Same is true with technology; the end user doesn’t care how it works just that it does.  Unless you’re a designer or a techie you don’t pay attention to how a site works or it’s design beyond it’s basic aesthetics.  Being both I love how the BBC is offering a behind the scenes peek at how they developed their new Global Visual Language 2.0.  There is some really good thinking in there that could benefit many, many sites.