Tonight I’ll be sharing a bit about my hybrid background, current/past/upcoming projects, and creative process, focusing in on my past year working as an independent/freelance experience designer.
If you’re in Burlington, VT tonight, check it out at:
This Saturday I’m participating in The Prouty again in NH to raise money for cancer research.
Last year, Justin Kuzma and I planned on the 50 miler, raised over $500, and ended up biking the 77. Our goal is $1000 this year, and we’re already 42% of the way there. Not bad for being a little late to the ball with fundraising!
That said, if we raise our goal within the 3 DAYS left, I’ll personally bike the 100 miler.
I wore a yellow ribbon for my Uncle Tim last year, and this time I’ll wear a yellow ribbon again in his memory.
This marks the longest installation we’ve done to date, and instead of hanging shoes from fishing line, Justin Kuzma and I fabricated custom supports for the shoes, housed within the tessellated structure I designed and produced with the help of our intern, Zack.
It’s been a humbling project to mark 1 year since leaving my job at a big design studio to work as an independent designer, and I’ve been reflecting lately on how far I’ve come, with excitement looking forward, planning what’s coming next.
As children our imaginations run free, in awe of the world around us. Magic is rampant because, hell, we don’t know anything. As we grow up and learn more about the world, the magic around us tends to wear off.
A large part of what inspired me to pursue experience design is the ability to create these magic interactions through blending physical and digital mediums. What I’m finding is people respond in various ways.
The curious majority will try to figure out how it works, to “fool the magician,” while others will feel isolated by technology they don’t understand. It goes right over their heads, and instead of feeling awe as intended, they’re left out of the loop.
So, how do you engage the group that’s left out of the loop, without revealing how the ‘magic’ works? After all, a true magician never reveals his trick, right?
This compelling balance between hiding the technology or revealing the seams was a theme that spanned a compelling spectrum expressed by speakers at INST-INT.
Eric Brockmeyer of Disney Research explained how Disney hides their seams with incredible precision, and embrace the magic, grounded in story. On the other end, Michael Szivos of SOFTlab embraces seams in his work, proudly exposing simple clips that hold together complex structures, and Elliot Woods of Kimchi & Chips shares his progress open source as he creates entirely new projection systems and methods.
Stuart Wood of rAndom International said their Rain Room was assumed by some to be some sort of complex projection or hologram. Nope. It was simply a load of actual water falling in a torrential downpour.
Personally, I fall on the side of magic; strive for seamless, shadowless, the technology disappears, and you’re clear to enjoy an experience without barriers.
Simplify an experience down to its most basic mechanics, and make people feel empowered by knowing exactly how something works.
INST-INT opened my eyes to the beauty of blatantly showing the cogs in the machine, which influenced how I approached my next project at the time, ZX Concept. Our primary focus was exploring color in a 3D space, augmented with a complimentary soundscape.
Magic v. seams aside, it all comes down to simplicity through a clear focus on one single goal.
Take a moment to assess whatever you’re currently working toward, whether it’s a project, product, business, career, anything… identify the single aspect you’re trying to strive for and execute that one focus super well.
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In case you missed it:
I’m really looking forward to INST-INT 2014.
Very excited to announce tonight the new illumifeet comes to life at BucketFeet NYC at 108 Wooster St in the heart of SoHo!
We’ll be filming the event tonight so expect some video up in a few days to follow…
If you’re in NYC at some point this summer, stroll on by & check out the display; it’ll be up through July 31!
Zack Sittler was a student in the course I taught at Champlain College this Spring, a Graphic Design major entering his senior year. Through his previous work as a woodworker & furniture builder in NYC, he has gained an appreciation for craft and attention to detail which has carried over in his work and aspirations as a designer.
I’ve brought Zack on board to work with Justin Kuzma and I in our studio to work on a multitude of different projects this summer.
"Through interning with Craig, I’m excited to blend physical and digital mediums, learn new platforms to work with, and get great experience in a professional environment."
We’ve already hit the ground running, working together on pre-construction for the new illumifeet project installed in NYC last week, as well as branding for an upcoming food truck / roadside restaurant in California.
It’s going to be a fun & busy summer. Welcome aboard, Zack.
I’ve long been a fan of Coldplay’s ability to create incredible performances, each tour era growing and evolving through adding unique elements.
During the last song of their SXSW show, they teased an interactive turntable interface & laser bass, and since then I’ve been super intrigued by what they have in the works…
In a very honest four-part interview about Coldplay’s upcoming album, Ghost Stories, Chris Martin talks about a 360-degree live experience involving a round stage with lit dome they wanted to tour with, but it wasn’t financially realistic at $4 million a show.
Instead, they’ve produced it as a TV special to enable it to be shared with a larger group of people.
The content of this record is deeply personal. Chris explains: "It starts off seeming like a heartbreak record, it’s actually not– it’s a joyful realization that you can’t escape what life is going to throw at you. So just enjoy it."
I’ve been fortunate to see Coldplay live 9 times now, a majority of which supported with fond memories while volunteering with Oxfam America.
Tonight, I’m seeing them perform at the Beacon Theatre to push that number into double digits. I can’t wait to take part in this new, personal, positive experience they’ve been working on.
"Life is beautiful, in all its colours, even the darker ones – they’re here for a reason. Let’s celebrate the good moments while they’re happening and be grateful for everything."
–Chris Martin on themes behind upcoming record Ghost Stories.
It’s been an insane week pulling this project together, here’s a few shots from the construction process…
Install begins first thing next week in SoHo!
illumifeet will be on display near Wooster & Spring St in NYC this summer May through July!
This time last year, amidst the success of the illuminimal project, artist-driven footwear startup BucketFeet approached me about expanding the concept into a storefront display, which became an interactive installation called illumifeet.
Bucketfeet recently announced a summer pop-up store in the heart of Soho, where I’ll be reimagining illumifeet for a new location, with all new designs, for three whole months.
I’m very excited.
Here’s a first look for what’s in the works this time around…
In other news, I’m officially a BucketFeet Artist! Stayed tuned for the latest, but word is these should hit shelves this fall…
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For a while now I’ve been collecting songs, gathering them into playlists, and I think it’s time I start sharing.
A year or two ago, Designers.mx was an incredible source of music inspiration that I listened to heavily but never had the chance to contribute to. Their curated, design-focused mixtapes had 10 tracks and custom artwork. After a year hiatus, they’re finally rebooting, and I’m excited.
In true Designers.mx style, this first mixtape of mine is 10 tracks with custom album art, titled “Positive Brooding.” A collective of songs I’ve been into lately, this playlist embodies productivity through darkness. The feeling of disappearing into the night while everyone else is asleep and coming out with an amazing piece of work.
Mixtape No.1 – Positive Brooding
'The Wheel' – SOHN
'Fall In Love' – Phantogram
'Strangling You With the Cord' – Lapalux
'Hat Trick' – Empress Of
'Arabella' – Arctic Monkeys
'Doses & Mimosas' – Cherub
'About You' – xxyyxx
'Waiting Game' – Banks
'The Mother We Share' – CHVRCHES
'Miasma Sky' – Baths