Thursday, February 28, 2013

spatial: project 1 final

Our wayfinding system focuses on KCAI’s “energetic”, “active” and “artistic” spirit through dynamically shaped signage, based on a triangular-shaped grid system. This system gives each sign an interesting, organized structure, but allows for each sign to be individual and unique from the rest. The signs have an overlapping, oragami-like structure that alludes to the unique students evolving and transforming through their school years here. Integrated into the signs are random, transparent pieces that are made up of many small triangles. This suggests at them being a work in progress, as both the students and their art are always growing.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

degree project: week 5

with a couple projects in other classes being due this week, i didn't get quite as far by now as i would've liked to. i'm still in the sketching wireframe stage, but i'm hoping to work my way into the digital realm before the end of the week. i think i've got a good idea of what each screen in my scenario will have within it, so now i'm just experimenting with the different ways it can look.


here's a breakdown of what's on each screen:

scenario 1

account info:
  • connect with facebook/twitter options
  • username, password, email
  • join as: musician/fan
connect to:
  • music networks (spotify, pandora, etc.)
  • (shows sign up progress - sees there's only 3 steps)
profile set up:
  • upload photo
  • edit pulled content from music networks:
    • select bands liked
    • select bands with similar sounds
  • about
  • instruments
  • genres of music
  • preference to play covers/new songs
suggested musicians:
  • shows compatibility
  • general info
  • ability to view profile/message/follow

scenario 2

  • messages/requests
  • new message
  • link to band page
band page:
  • planning area
    • calendar
    • dates/to do's
    • member chat
  • view current members 
    • ability to add new
    • ability to assign instruments/tasks
  • song info
    • lyrics
    • preview (from practice session or uploaded)
    • music for different parts of song
    • edit
  • practice button
  • record button
  • realtime video practice
  • buttons: chat, invite, record, hang up
  • individually
  • shows music parts
  • record, stop, edit buttons
  • ability to plug in or record low-fi
  • preview part
  • adjust sound levels
  • sync to other parts
  • save or publish]
  • song info
  • song thumbnail (upload or use user pics)
  • private or public
  • ability to download/share
  • once published, shows straight in music stream
browse music:
  • recommended music
  • search or random button
  • ability to play within screen
  • can favorite, download, view full song details, or comment
  • views full song details
  • new comment appears 
branding exploration

brand name exploration is always a long journey for me, so i've tried to start a little early. here's a little exploration for some key words that may inspire a name. 

i've also come up with this idea of distinguishing different types of musicians (like their main instruments and genre) in their thumbnail. exploring this has lead me to a neat idea of these small elements working together to make a shape when the band is formed, or when all the thumbnails are put together. i'm finding this could also inspire a brandmark of some sort. i just need to play with the possibility that there may be more or less than 4 in a band. 

goals for next week:
  • be working in digital wireframes
  • start exploring design methods
  • further branding exploration
  • prepare midterm presentation

Thursday, February 21, 2013

personal identity style guide

i've decided to do make a little style guide for myself so i can stop tweaking and changing this identity i'm trying to establish. i still have some changes to make to my book regarding these small style changes, but i'll be able to post that soon. now i can begin focusing on my favorite part, my own website... woot woot!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

degree project: week 4

helloooo. this week has been pretty successful in terms of working my way to the visual design process. i wanted to hurry up and get to a place where i could focus on messing around with the wireframes, design explorations and branding because i often find my self getting hung up in these areas due to "over-experimenting". i think this week of work has got me to point where i can safely start sketching and experimenting.... so pumped!

i put together my site map and went a little more into depth about the uses of each space. this ended up helping a TON in finally being able to see my app as a more organized structure, which in turn made the scenarios easier to envision and plan out. as you'll see in the image, the highlighted links on my site map correlate to the which screens will fit into each scenario. 
once my scenarios were established, i decided it'd be helpful to come up with a couple personas that could take us through them. plus when explaining this project to others, i often get some confusion about the specific audience. so i'm hoping this will help give a better idea of the type of people that would use such an app.

immediately after mapping out the scenarios and personas, i dove right into design/structure exploration. i pulled my most loved inspiration from my dropmark and created a new mood board with some things i like. i've also started sketching a lot, but nothing worth trying to make sense of just yet. :) rather than driving straight into the wireframes, i'm kind of playing with individual parts of the app first and how they could look (ie. the navigation bar, the profiles, search results, etc.). i'm also thinking about interesting ways the app could function and branding possibilities. 

my plan for next week is to continue this dive into the design exploration process and really start getting more in-depth wireframes done, that way i can start moving into design explorations on screen and have time to experiment, experiment, experiment!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

spatial: week 3

This week we did a lot of refining within our signs and placements. We started to think about where the signs would be located, what the sides look like, the dimensions, what they might look like at night, etc.

We began taking context shots and decided to lead the viewer from the street outside of KCAI (beginning with the street signs) and working their way into the building. Each photo hints at the photo/sign that follows.

At night, we imagine the text being lit up as well as the transparent triangles, making he signs still easily viewable from a distance in the dark. In the side view, you'll see that the front and back planes exist as separate pieces when coming from the base, but are connected with a thin piece of metal when higher up (as if it were floating).

We've also began laying out the final book and sequencing how it will be read through. The aesthetic of the book alludes to the angles/triangles in our way finding experience and has a clean, somewhat abstracted architectural feel.

New Street Sign Design:

Height Comparison/Sign Dimensions/Side Views: 

Updated Map Design:

Night View:

Example Placement:

Book Spreads:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

degree project: week 3

project objective
my objective is to create an ipad app that will connect like-minded musicians and inspire them to collaborate and make music together. the two main objectives of this app will be to connect the musicians through music tastes and preference and to get them to start making music together, all through an easy, fun process through a clean and facilitative app. 
feature planning/look & feel
this week i began looking at some ipad app inspiration and messing with actual apps on an ipad to get the look and feel for how they work. since this is one of my first times creating an ipad app, and i don't actually own an ipad, i wanted to get a better idea for how they function and what the most successful apps were doing. 
a trend that i've really found myself digging lately is the minimalistic, vector-like approach. since one of my main objectives with this is to simplify the experience, i think this clean, minimal look would really help me to avoid the clutter a lot of similar apps seem to have. some other features that really caught my eye that i'd like to consider applying include:
  • side navigation bar that can show notifications - ability to hide/minimize?
  • thin circular/line elements that reveal as content is loading/music is playing/etc.
  • unique loading symbols that reinforce the brand elements somehow
  • graphics that reveal, unfold after app has loaded? (similar to
  • color coding? - different genres, types of artists, instruments they play, sections of app?
  • easy methods of cropping, tweaking music once uploaded
one more thing that i'd like to consider, if i have the time (ha!), is creating a mock-up landing page for the app. i've found some really great, inspiring landing pages and would love the chance to make one myself. especially since web/mobile is what i'm looking at after school, it'd be nice to have one additional little web piece that goes hand in hand with the app. we'll see if i can squeeze this in or not during the design process. 

feedback to consider
  • scenarios - one with all steps (join, find, connect, collaborate, feedback) or one focusing on one of these steps? - break down connect/collaboration - specific 
  • check out presentation
  • positives of analog/lo-fi recording - option to do either? 
  • real time collaboration? - last chance to dream big
  • collin - recreating physical space, help them to visualize that they'rei n a room together
  • google hangout, realtime video - seeing each other

summary presentation

revised schedule

Sunday, February 10, 2013

spatial: kcai wayfinding, week 2

This week, Eli and I sort of redeveloped our concept from last week. We're still focusing on KCAI's "energetic", "active" and "artistic" spirit through the dynamically shaped signs, but the signs shapes have based on a new, triangular-shaped grid system. This system gives the sign more of an organized structure, but allows us to still keep each sign unique from the rest. We've also added more depth to the signs by giving them this an overlapping, oragami-like structure, and sometimes even playing with placing the type on the two separate layers, lining up only when someone's looking at the sign with right angle. We didn't want to mess with this feature too much though, since way finding signage should be read easily. The white triangles (made up of many small triangles) within each sign are meant to be transparent glass, alluding to the idea of it being incomplete, or a work in progress. These changes focus on the students evolving and transforming through their school years here, as well as the never-ending process of making art itself.

As you see below, we've developed a few different color systems for this way finding concept. We're still working on our final map, but we're thinking about having the outside signage one color, that way KCAI easily recognizable by outsiders, and then alternating to the other colors indoors, which could allude to it being more of a creative space. 

grid system


main sign - glass/no glass

other signage

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

degree project: week 2

So this has been pretty successful in terms of research and narrowing my project. The more I start to establish the project, the more pumped I get about it, so I think I've been in a hurry to get it all figured out. This week I sent out some surveys, tested some existing tools, researched algorithms and ipad recording, and narrowed my audience and how the app would work a bit. I'll break down each into a little more detail.

I sent out this survey to a variety of musicians - some from around here, some from smaller towns back home, and some from in between towns/smaller cities. I got a lot of great feedback. Everybody seemed to really agree that this would be a useful tool because playing music alone and playing music with others are two totally different experiences.  A lot of them mentioned that magic behind finding that "musical soulmate" that you can just connect and jam with, and that networking is really important as a musician. Some mentioned that I should have a feature where people can find people in the same town/city as them to actually go jam with. I may consider this, or have some sort of "nearest" feature on the app. It was great to see such good response all around from different musicians, and having people verify that this would be a much appreciated tool.

I took a variety of similar existing tools such as ipad apps, music collaboration websites, and collaborative iphone apps, and studied the pros and cons of each. The results were interesting, and I found a lot of common mistakes amongst them all. One website,, that I thought would serve as the most inspiring actually ended up to be more disappointing. It was really messy and had no simple way for users to connect with others, aside from just browsing through all the videos. This was a problem in most of the tools I tried. The best approach I saw at connecting similar musicians was through genre. I won't go too into detail about the pros and cons of all of these, but since I really want to focus on connecting musicians I decided to start looking into algorithms of dating sites instead, where people are actually matched up.

Algorithms: I decided not to actually join dating sites, but instead study what people were saying about the algorithms. It was interesting to find that the ways of the dating algorithms are actually changing. It used to be users just filling out little "about me" forms with what they like, what they do, blah blah blah. Now, while they still do this somewhat, they're taking more into consideration what the users do subconsciously. Hence why everything is connected to our facebook or twitter accounts. Dating sites are now paying more attention to the profiles that the user is interested in and recommends similar profiles, etc. So with my app, rather than just providing the user with a music-related questionnaire, I'd like to instead connect to the user's music progams, such as Spotify, Pandora, etc. Then their tastes are gathered for them, saving them the trouble of trying to over think what to fill out in the app, and they're free to add and delete the information they want used to find others.

Ipad Audio Recording: I was happy to find that recording with the Ipad is not a rare thing. It's actually becoming super popular because it's easier to carry around than a macbook, and has good recording sound quality. I found tonsss of devices that can be attached to the Ipad to connect a microphone, a guitar, a piano, or another instrument to get even better sound. And there's tons of popular apps people are using to edit, crop, refine the music on their Ipads as well.

I struggled a bit deciding how limited I wanted the audience to be. I've decided to focus on a younger age group, because I figure it'll be easier to find like-minded musicians and that younger musicians are the ones having more trouble finding people to collaborate. While I don't want to limit the tool too much, I'd like to keep it from expanding to the point where it's messy and all over the place, like a lot of the other websites I've found. So rather than making this a place for indie artists, country artists, rap artists, etc. I've decided to limit it to "independent artists". Wikipedia defines this as "music produced independently from major commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, a process that may include an autonomous, Do-It-Yourself approach to recording and publishing. The term indie is sometimes also used to describe a genre (such as indie rock or indie pop); as a genre term, "indie" may include music that is not independently produced, and most independent music artists do not fall into a single, defined musical style or genre and usually create music that can be categorized into other genres."

After talking to Marty, I see that this still can be confusing as to who specifically this is for, so I need to break apart the word "independent musician" a little better and list out some attributes to better distinct what type of audience it is.

I'm still working on the feature planning of the app, but I've started considering what the main purpose of the app should be. At first I was torn to whether it should be a giant social network where musicians can follow each other and discover other music, but I've decided that I'd like the main focus to be more finding and connecting with similar artists, and getting straight into making music. Browsing other music will still be an option, but I don't want it to be the main function of it. Marty helped me to make more sense of it by putting it into a series of steps, "join > find > connect > collaborate > feedback (optional)". Thinking of it this way, I can break down scenarios from each step. The users will still have profiles, but they won't be required to make their music public. It can be private or only listened to by the group or "band" and that composed it. I still have a lot of little features to work out, and how things will work and such, but this week of research was extremely helpful.

- refine audience - distinction between independent and indie
- summary presentation
- feature planning
- study look and feel of apps
- start thinking about scenarios?