Blog Posts By Author

Blog posts by Author

  • Gray Goo

    Tags: jay, social, gifs

    When creating content that must be simultaneously optimized for posting to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Youtube, Medium, Snapchat and of course your own site, there's a risk of it all turning into a homogenous gray goo. A What? Gray goo is a concept that emerged out of futurism as a hypothetical consequence of technology and was later embraced by science fiction writers... read more

    Dimensions of Dialog, Jan Svankmajer, 1982

  • Makin' Copies

    Tags: jay, design, studio, UX

    We're in the design phase for a new national brand that uses chalkboard writing as the foundation of the packaging, and while there are a few decent options for chalk-based fonts, there's something anachronistic and tacky about licensing someone else's handwriting. So, our Designer Andi Woodward is making four of our own. In a larger context, though, we fight for these opportunities to create... read more

    Andi Woodward, Designer

  • 90 Second Poker - A Game for Grownups?

    Tags: games, app, jay, quarry, mobile

    Video games and I grew up together. Pong came out the year I was born; the Atari 2600, five years later. By 1982, when Pac Man was released to play at home, I'd become obsessed.  Doom was the rage in college. As an Apple kid, I had to wait a couple years for Marathon, the first FPS game for Macs. After countless nights beating it, I started digging around the game's files and eventually... read more

    90 Second Poker

  • Early adopter, a few minutes late

    Tags: apple, mobile, jay, design

    Not only do I not wear a watch, but I actively resist ever knowing what time it is (my phone is 25 minutes fast and I set it to go off an hour before I have to wake up just so I can ignore it). All my devices have their notifications turned off and certainly nothing to do with me resembles ‘fitness' or ‘health.' I'm literally the last person who should buy an Apple Watch, which makes... read more

    Yes, Jay's arm really is this toned.

  • Wanted: UXD/IA

    Tags: hiring, UX, jay, design

    UPDATE 9/26/14: We are excited to announce that this position has been filled! Thank you for the overwhelming interest and stay tuned to meet our newest team member soon...So we're looking for a Senior User Experience Designer slash Information Architect, and I promise we aren’t using those terms interchangeably. Our team is small and we work on all kinds of projects for diverse clients.... read more

  • Spruced Up

    Tags: design, announcements

    When a company who makes websites makes a website for themselves, the process is fraught with an absurd array of obstacles. Imagine the challenges facing a plastic surgeon who wanted to give themselves glute implants. We are the worst clients. (Ask the production company who helped us shoot our video). We can't set deadlines for ourselves because we have the authority to constantly move... read more

  • Beauty is Embarrassing

    Tags: jay, design, UX

    To be honest I don't love the word 'usability.' It's a useful word (derp), but I have a totally unfair and cynical thought that it was invented by some designer as a spin for clients, to both raise the importance of design while simultaneously lowering the expectations for it. It promises both more and less than it can deliver. For a long time, designers had to struggle to be taken seriously... read more

  • Hard Out Here for a Designer (Not Really)

    Tags: jay, design

    Now that we have a pretty fat year of work to show in a portfolio, we've begun working on a new version of the Northern Ground website, which will go live hopefully by January. I always have formal and aesthetic ideas I want to try, and naturally see our own website to be the perfect place to indulge that stuff. If we can't/don't innovate with our own site, when would we? Anyway, I presented... read more

  • In Vine, Veritas

    Tags: apps, jay, design, startups, UX, video, mobile, vine, twitter, brands

    When Twitter exploded, startups everywhere set out to dupe its success by trying a different take on the same premise. Even back at our old place, we developed a product that we pitched, with hubris, as "the Twitter of images." The leadership at the company ultimately didn't support bringing it to market, so it's not a great story, but it's a handy example of the ubiquity of the pursuit. A... read more

  • Insta-Accomplishment

    Tags: jay, design, mobile

    There's going to be a time when we'll look back at all the photos we took with Instagram and be embarrassed. Not for the thousand identical shots of our dogs sleeping or blurry plates of food that we will never, ever care to look at again, but because of the "retro" image filters that we lathered on them. Literally any minute now they are going to start looking very, very cheesy. Sutro is the... read more

  • Fade In: Milwaukee Film Fest!

    Tags: jay, film, milwuakee

    When I first moved to town, my main complaint was the lack of screenings and resources for cinephiles. It wasn't until I started dating the Education Director of the Milwaukee Film Fest that I found out we actually have one of the bigger annual film festivals in the country, right down the street. It opened yesterday with a huge party at Discovery world, and runs through October 11th. They... read more

  • A Tech Called Hope

    Tags: jay, web, tech

    iOS 6 Maps notwithstanding, things in the digital world always get better. For those of us who are sensitive to the frustrating stall of political progress or the crusty state of art, music or movies, technology offers a source of optimism. That might be the main reason I'm in this industry. The possibility of being able to actually count on things getting better is kind of amazing, if you... read more

  • Good Design Makes Things Cheaper

    Tags: design, jay

    Graphic design used to annoy me because I associated it with style and decoration; essentially it was vanity. I'm going to make my boxes and letters look different and pretty so you'll notice me and my work. I wasn't interested in that. My goal was just to create stuff - jokes, arguments, metaphors, ideas. I worked on ways of presenting things so that the way they looked didn't interfere with... read more

  • Infinite Navigation for iPad

    Tags: design, UX, mobile, ipad, app, projects, b2b, jay

    Last week we completed a project to design an iPad app for a $5B global manufacturer. They need to supply customers with thousands of documents: manuals, parts lists, how-to videos, sell sheets, and an iPad is the perfect platform. The challenge was to be able to put any documents they wanted into the app and not be limited in how they were organized. The navigation had to scale to accommodate... read more

  • On Black & White

    Tags: design, branding, about, photography, jay

    There is a reason we are using black & white photography for our site, but it's not a good one... I just like it, and the guys do too. As a designer I have to hope and insist that branding involves more strategic criteria than preference, but when building up design materials to support the branding for Northern Ground, I had the bratty epiphany that... wait, since it's my company I can do... read more