4.4 Creating & Crafting
The student shows awareness of aesthetic trends, technical and design conventions.

4.4 Creating & Crafting

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I believe that keeping up to date with the latest trends, technological advancements and newest design tools is a must for any Digital Designer. I have made it second nature to check for new innovations and news within the design world, frequently scouring design sites such as "CreativeBloq", "It's Nice That" or "The-Dots". However, I do not wish to limit my interests or knowledge to one specific field. Podcasts such as "The Infinite Monkey Cage", "99% Invisible" and, my personal favourite, "No Such Thing as a Fish" inspire and feel like food for my ever hungry mind. I fundamentally believe that keeping up to date and informed helps me become a better designer and a well-versed person. By knowing and understanding the latest aesthetic and technological inventions I become more aware of the possibilities and I can expand my design and imagination.

In dealing with trends, the first example that comes to mind is the execution and creation of the Living Roadmap app. As you may have well noticed, flat, minimal design has become the standard in today's UI and UX design. However, things appear to be slowly shifting once again towards a term called Skeuomorphism, where real-world effects and textures are mimicked, as seen in Microsoft's fluent design system and (very) slowly changing Googles own material design language.

As the app needed to feel like an extension of the Municipality of Amsterdam, we decided to keep the style fairly flat, relying heavily on the use of white space and the bold red as an accent that Amsterdam is known for. By using soft textures and subtle 3D effects, such as the design of the map and the thoughtful use of shadows within the layered pages, the Living Roadmap app appreciated its aesthetic roots whilst looking towards the future.

Instead of having the user experience the app as a series of individual parts, I wanted the experience to feel as though you were navigating a separate plane with the device acting as a lens to view the content. This gave the feeling that the app was not limited to the smartphone but lived beyond the devices physical body. By having transitions based upon this concept, following various animation guidelines that I discussed with the guest lecturer and animator Andy Hunsucker, the app gained a sense of life and fluidity. This also follows a design trend of animation that I had seen on beautiful, aesthetically pleasing apps such as Shopify, the T-Mobile, and Pinterest. For the creation of the prototype and its transitions, I turned to InVision studio. Although currently in Beta and fairly buggy at times, it was a joy to use once I figured out how the artboard animator worked and was the perfect tool to quickly prototype and animate. As the project came to an end, I built and organised the style guides, assets and kept everything up to date as much as possible and improved upon old and new ideas.

Another example of my awareness of aesthetic trends and technical design conventions is my work on the Options Development branding and website. My client required a site with a modern, minimal and clean style which could stand up against other large development companies. I needed to make sure that every section and element was designed to the highest of standards, took responsiveness into consideration, and recognised the latest trends of web design without mimicking them entirely. By focusing on the sites skeleton and the overall navigation, I could include interactions and animate portions of the website to create a seamless flow throughout which feels natural and organic. A sizeable portion of the project went on building the home pages hero section which has a multi-layered scroll design, a trend currently being used by some of the most well known and best-designed websites, such as on the Apple Watch page.

Throughout every project, I make sure to do my best to be knowledgeable of the latest tools and stay informed of the latest trends and conventions and use them to strengthen my work.