The Beautiful Ugly Thoughts Project, Week 6

By Anthony / On / In Uncategorized

The idea behind this project is to take an unpleasant thought that we all have and turn it around, dress it up in something fun, whimsical, or beautiful — thereby taking the power away from it.

but-bad-person

I had a hard time with this one—making it look like I wanted. It’s still not quite right, but sometimes you gotta just let things go. Like the idea that you’re a bad person because you take joy in the simple things.

The Beautiful Ugly Thoughts Project, Week 5

By Anthony / On / In Uncategorized

The idea behind this project is to take an unpleasant thought that we all have and turn it around, dress it up in something fun, whimsical, or beautiful — thereby taking the power away from it.

The Beautiful Ugly Thoughts Project, Week 5

Mornings can be difficult. There are times, when we think about the day looming before us, that we’re filled with a deep sense of dread. By letting go of fear, we can try to see the challenges of the coming day as an adventure and an opportunity to grow and to live up to our dreams and potential.

The Beautiful Ugly Thoughts Project, Week 4

By Anthony / On / In Uncategorized

The idea behind this project is to take an unpleasant thought that we all have and turn it around, dress it up in something fun, whimsical, or beautiful — thereby taking the power away from it.

The Beautiful Ugly Thoughts Project, Week 4

Funny how often we’re absolutely certain that our fear will crash over us like a tidal wave and drown us, but then it turns out that wave wasn’t even ankle deep and that the ocean’s actually a really cool place to play.

The Beautiful Ugly Thoughts Project, Week 3

By Anthony / On / In Uncategorized

The idea behind this project is to take an unpleasant thought that we all have and turn it around, dress it up in something fun, whimsical, or beautiful — thereby taking the power away from it.

Beautiful Ugly Thoughts, Week 3

Whenever we begin something new (a move, a career change, starting your own business, a creative project, learning something) and it’s difficult and not an instant success, we can often feel like we’ve wasted our time. But everything is cyclical, with ups and downs. As long as we’re open to learning from our experiences, all movement is upward movement.

The Beautiful Ugly Thoughts, Week 2

By Anthony / On / In Uncategorized

The idea behind this project is to take an unpleasant thought that we all have and turn it around, dress it up in something fun, whimsical, or beautiful — thereby taking the power away from it.

Beautiful Ugly Thoughts Week 2

Most of us feel, from time to time, that asking for help makes us incompetent or weak, even if we don’t actively feel that way—especially in our modern “bootstrap”, hyper-masculine society. But, here we are, little children, successfully floating in space, because we help each other.

Minimalism in the Age of Mobile

By Anthony / On / In Uncategorized

The more stuff in it, the busier the work of art, the worse it is. More is less. Less is more.
— Ad Reinhardt, fine artist (1913 – 1967)

As the number of mobile users continues to boom, many brands are finding increased success with a more minimalistic design approach. Because such layouts are easier for the eye to scan, load quicker, and render with more fluidity on a wide range of displays — and within a limited amount of visual space — minimalism is becoming the latest trend in many online designs.

 

sample of a minimalist eNewsletter design

 

Minimalism is a long-established technique used by graphic designers, fine artists, architects, and industrial designers. The core philosophy behind minimalism is that by reducing a subject down to its core — stripping it down to its most necessary elements — we maximize point of view and create more visual and emotional clarity. And although it’s not a new idea, of late there’s been a major resurgence of its use, especially online. Major brands, such as Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Google — long recognized for setting the standards for brand design — have been steadily paring their visuals down to the barest of bones. And they’re not alone, more and more brands are turning toward minimalism in their overall marketing — especially in regards to their online presence. We’re seeing the decline of heavy-handed, visually weighty layouts, laid thick with the skeuomorphism (illusionary texture and lighting effects) that was fashionable a few years ago. Layouts now features a cleaner, more metropolitan look that makes use of subtle gradients, judicious use of color, sharp edges, crisp font faces, and bold use of white space.

Because a minimalist design removes any extraneous clutter that can potentially distract or confuse a user, they can be moved to act with just a glance. And mobile users, in particular, can do so without having to wrestle with a non-responsive or slowly loading page. Users are less likely to abandon a page if they don’t have to sift through overwhelming and distracting visual input or do a lot of scrolling to find what they need. And they are more likely to act because call-to-action renders quickly and in plain view, on their mobile device.

 

sample of a minimalist donation page

 

There are other benefits to using a minimalist design, besides displaying well in both the mobile and desktop environments:

Minimalism helps to keep a brand consistent. In order for a brand to be taken seriously and recognized, it must remain uniform. When a user goes from an email to a landing page to a donation or checkout page, having thoroughly consistent design branding helps a user feel confident and makes a brand look more professional and, thus, taken more seriously.

Removing clutter lets core design elements shine. By stripping an online brand of anything that might be disorienting or extraneous, brand styling stays steady and stable in a perpetually fluid digital environment.

Unfortunately, many people think that minimalism must mean boring or shallow. This can certain be the case, but, if approached correctly, minimalism often creates some of the most beautiful, eloquent, and functional results. Think of minimalist design as a sort of Zen rock garden; peaceful and elegant, a harmonious place to reflect and relax the senses. And, in our increasingly busy and distracting lives, how could tranquility NOT be a beautiful thing, and powerful in its own right?

As mobile web use becomes more common, we are definitely going to see the trend toward minimalism grow and evolve. The growing need for web pages to be fully responsive to a wide variety of screen sizes, to cut through the clutter of the increasingly complex digital paradigm, and to inspire with potentially limited visual space will only continue encourage simpler, more tranquil, and more elegant designs.

Less is definitely more and less is definitely better in the current mobile-ready environment.

The Beautiful Ugly Thoughts Project, Week 1

By Anthony / On / In Uncategorized

Ugly thoughts. Painful feelings. Negative inner monologues. We all have them. We all avoid them. Especially these days, when distractions are readily available, almost anytime.

Beautiful Ugly Thoughts 1

Initially, the concept behind this project was an attempt to spend some time with my dark side and negative thoughts, rather than avoid them or distract myself from them. My first inclination was to actually draw those thoughts and feelings exactly as they were: ugly and distasteful. But then, it occurred to me that I should try to push myself creatively, to represent the dark things in my brain with joy and charm instead.

I found that not only did the challenge inspire me, but several surprising things happened:

It was easier to sit with these uncomfortable things in my mind. By transforming them into fun designs and drawings, it was easier to accept them as a part of me.

Their strength and painfulness was greatly diminished. By turning them on their heads, I was able to remove some of their power.

It made it easier to want to share them. We all have thoughts like these, if not exactly like them, then similar to them. Dressed up in psychic drag, these ideas that made me uncomfortable became something weird and charming.

I’ll be posting about one of these a week from here on out. Feel free to share (with credit, naturally).