5 Essential Japanese Design Principles

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Traditional Japanese residential architecture

As a designer I’ve been influenced by many people and places. British designers Peter Saville and Vaughan Oliver immediately come to mind. As well, countries like Germany and Italy have affected me. Bauhaus, Futurism, Bruno Munari, the Memphis Group, and other forms of modernism and post-modernism have widened my vision and deepened my understanding. However, the country and culture that has influenced me most is Japan. I’ve always related to its customs, design, and philosophy, which are often diametrically opposed to Western ideals. After traveling there extensively over the past 15 years I consider myself somewhat of a Japanophile and want to share 5 essential Japanese design principles that have influenced me.

Prototyping with Interface Builder

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With the acquisition of Next in 1997, a new tool was initiated into the Apple family. Originally known as an enhancement of OpenStep, called NextStep, it caught the attention of the developer community under the name of Interface Builder, as part of the XCode suite. Now about to celebrate its 20th birthday, Interface Builder represents the most powerful IDE to design user interfaces in a development suite. It doesn’t matter if you are writing an app for iOS, Cocoa, tvOS or watchOS; when carefully used, it will save you hundreds of lines of code. For this and other innumerable reasons, many developers, like myself, love this tool.

Prototyping with P5

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When I wanted to create a proof of a concept project for one of the game ideas I had, I found many tools and gaming frameworks. However, most of them had a steep learning curve which required a significant time investment before the game could be played. Then I discovered P5, a Javascript library inspired by the Processing language, which made it very easy to get started.

UX Sketches: When to Share and When to Keep Them to Yourself

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Why Sketch?

One of the great things about Grio is that designers and developers often work together on projects. We have lunch together and tell each other jokes while collaborating to solve challenging problems brought to us by our clients. Some projects come with constraints that force the team to be savvy in the way we produce deliverables. As a result, sketches and sketched wireframes are often a suggested deliverable.

The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide

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I’ve recently made it one of my goals to learn more about UX and design.  To that end, I read a book that was highly recommended by our Grio designers, The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide, by Lean Buley. The book is written for people who are or want to be UX professionals, with a focus on those who either the only person in their company working on UX or who are in some way UX evangelists in their organizations.  Although the intended audience of the book is UX professionals, there were also number of tips and ideas that a company like Grio can find useful.  On many projects, especially when budgets and time are tight, Grio takes on the role of UX evangelist for our clients.

Building Better Products with UserTesting

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Grio Design is showing some blog love this week! We’ve been busy making clients happy by solving wicked design problems and producing beautiful interfaces, but I wanted to take some time to talk about user experience design (UX), usability, and how UserTesting can help everyone reap the benefits of usability testing.

Design Begins With Concept

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Design Begins With Concept

Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The task of creating something out of nothing is perhaps the most challenging aspect of a designer’s job. Beginning a new project can elicit apprehension about how to proceed and feel intimidating. It is comparable to a writer sitting at their desk, staring at a blank page, waiting for that inspirational first word or sentence to come forth.