What I’ve Been Reading

Lots of news lately surrounding social media platforms (both new and old). Here are some of the articles that I’ve been reading lately. Some you might have seen already and others might be completely new. I’ll try to throw some fun things in there as well!

Amazing iOS6 Maps. It’s no secret that when Apple launched their new operating system that got rid of Google Maps, people were annoyed. It’s the number one reason i have not yet switched over. As someone who uses the transportation button on there frequently, I’m quite annoyed that they would do such a thing. There is quite the amusing tumblr going on that shows all of the “amazing” new features – such as missing bridges, a “roller coaster” Hoover Dam and others.

What You Can Say to Siri. Okay, okay, everyone is hating on iOS6 maps, but they did manage to throw a few good upgrades in there. Including an improved Siri! Here are some of the things that you can now ask.

Myspace. Everyone has to remember Myspace from forever ago. Crazy flashing backgrounds, weird message boards and, of course, Tom. Myspace appears to have a new upgrade coming soon (in November) and I’m definitely interested to see what they’re going to offer. Worth a look!

Facebook publishing private messages. Remember those supposedly “private messages” you sent on Facebook, they might be public now. Apparently some Facebook messages from 2008 and earlier have been mistakenly posted publicly to your timeline – might want to go check your privacy settings.

XKCD map. For a little fun, how about a giant scrolling comic from xkcd. Kept me entertained for a good bit.

USA Today redesign. USA Today launched a redesign (done by F-I). Amazing! Definitely worth looking into. Their interface made me so happy as a UX designer.

What have you been reading lately?

Containerization & API

Interesting video on containerization and how it can explain what an API is. I loved the graphic approach to describing it and it’s definitely a helpful analogy to break down what is really happening when companies share APIs.

Containerization from MAYAnMAYA on Vimeo.

What I’ve Been Reading

There are an enormous number of blogs, newspapers, journal articles, post-it notes, etc out there. At times it becomes hard to sift through and keep up with everything.

Here are a few that have stood out recently:

Artistic Distance

An article by A List Apart about the need to step away from your work every once in a while and look at it from a new perspective. It reminds me of a drawing class that I took freshman year at RIT (where we got our charcoal drawings erased after 4+ hours of working on them). We learned quickly to step away and become unattached from our work. That is not to say that a designer or artist should not be fully invested in their work, but they need to recognize when there are mistakes or when they need to rework parts.

Information is Beautiful – Designing the Cover

Information is Beautiful. If you haven’t heard of this book before, you should definitely go check it out. It’s an entire book of interesting information graphics. This article goes into detail about how the cover was chosen and shows all of the various iterations along the way. In total, there were over 90 covers that were considered at one point or another. As someone who picks almost all books by their cover, it’s interesting to think about what it could have been.

And last but not least, Real Chat Over Socialed

It’s an interesting read that bring up the question of whether or not we’re too connected. When was the last time you had a real conversation face to face without the distraction of tweeting/texting/checking in? There are definitely situations where we need to be reminded to focus on the present and not have distractions coming in from all sides.

Of course, these three articles far from cover what is out there right now but they’re just ones that have stood out.

What have you been reading lately? 

Admissions & Social Media

Right after my love for design, comes the one for social media & marketing.

As a graphic design major, all of my classes focus on the visual aesthetic of something but rarely dive into metrics or how design could be used directly for marketing. I frequently find myself swaying back and forth trying to figure out which one “fits” better. Only to realize that they can be used together. I’ve found through taking Business courses (I’m a Digital Business minor), I’ve been able to more clearly see how marketing and design work together and how I don’t really have to “give up” one when looking for jobs.

But let’s start from the beginning..

For the past four years I’ve worked for the RIT Undergraduate Admissions office. When I started,  I worked in the mailroom and blogged but since then I’ve kind of ended up in a social media position which has evolved drastically over the past few years. It’s a slightly long story but you can hear about some of it here on AdmissionsLive:

It’s been nice because we’ve had the same target market for four years: prospective & accepted students. Then we had to figure out how to leverage what was out there to help them. We cover everything from traditional social media such as Facebook and Twitter to blogging, video blogging (new this year), weekly webisodes, live streaming (in beta) and launching something super cool in March (stay tuned). Of course, Facebook has changed its layout throughout this process more times than we even wish to count which brings me to the next point.

I love the fact that the job relies so heavily on staying on top of what is out there for social media. A job that requires me to research more about Facebook and Twitter? Yes please. Not only that, but it often means that we’re working with new updates almost the exact same time they are being released which means there is no precedent for how you’re supposed to use it. We’re still in the midst of figuring out how to best leverage the new Admissions Facebook page.

I have future posts planned to go a little more in depth into our process in the office including Brainstorming, How We’re Using Facebook, Blogging + Problems We’ve Run Into. In the meantime, you can check out the 5 RIT Students YouTube page! Or watch our “Meet the Season 2 Cast” episode!

How to Survive – iPhone App

As I talked about earlier, I’ve been working on an editorial spread for a while now. The topic I decided on early this quarter was “How to Survive 16 Hours in the car” as that is the length of our typical road trip to Wisconsin each year for Thanksgiving.

For Interactive Design we were required to animate an app in After Effects. Being unfamiliar with the software, I wanted to choose something I already had assets for rather than worrying about both the design AND the new software. Turn out I completely changed my mind on the overall design of the piece in the process so I ended up redoing everything anyway – but it was worth a try!

The app features various games that can be played on the car ride. Ideally it would be a more in depth app but this was a pretty quick deadline. I featured the “Are We There Yet?” part of it where a user can insert their intended destination and then anytime the “Are We There Yet” button is pushed the app updates you with a “Nope, not yet. Still have ____ miles to go” or some other similar saying. There is also a “States & Plates” part that acts as a digital checklist for finding license plates.

Unfortunately the final movie clip is a little large to embed on here right now. After Effects is definitely going to take longer than the 2 weeks I spent on it to get used to! I’m pretty happy with the progress that I made on it so far and definitely a lot happier with this direction compared to where I was going with it earlier in the quarter. Everything always seems to smooth itself out in the end!

Chipotle Advertising

This has probably been posted all over the internet millions of times today after being seen on the Grammy’s last night – but Chipotle’s commercial, Back to the Start, featuring a song by Coldplay as sung by Willie Nelson was clearly a huge hit.

Definitely in love with what they did for it – even if it is 2 minutes long! It’s weird because it doesn’t feel like it’s that long since it’s so well done but it’s over 50% longer than the average commercial. Very touching music and storyline along with well done graphics that tell their story in a simple way.

Great advertising & I would not be surprised if their sales went up this week!

I wonder if this will change how people go about advertising. Will things move to a longer more music video like approach or will everything remain at 30 seconds or less. Clearly cost plays into the factors a lot! It’ll be interesting to see where advertising goes in the future.

Only point of complaint – they should have played this during the Superbowl!

What are your thoughts on the ad? Did it grab your attention if you were watching the Grammy’s last night? 

Go Vedgy

One of the projects I’ve been working on this quarter is “Vedgy” which basically looks to brand vegetarian as something other than simply for hippies. I’ve gone through tons of different color variations, logo designs, names, etc to end up where I am right now.

Example 1: Where I started out 8 or so weeks ago…

Example 2: Where I’ve ended up now with the Vedgy app…


There are a lot of different components that are included in this screenshot (not shown) including more pages & functions in the app, a website that functions similarly but not entirely like the app, a cookbook (both digital and print) and social media components (Facebook & Twitter). Funny story about the twitter page was that I actually set it up simply to take a screenshot of it for my portfolio… except then people I didn’t know started adding it and talking to me (well, to @GO_Vedgy)! So I’ve kept it up and have continued tweeting some. I might see what I can do more to it next quarter, might be fun.