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July 22, 2014 - Comments Off on Useful apps in Brazil — Talkback Tuesday

Useful apps in Brazil — Talkback Tuesday

"Talk Back Tuesdays" is an original weekly installment where a team member of The Mechanism is asked one question pertaining to digital design, inspiration, and experience. The Q&A will be featured here on The Mechanism Blog as well as on The Mechanism's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, every Tuesday. Feel free to offer up your 2¢ in the comments.

George Brassey, The Mechanism's lead developer, recently returned from a 2 week trip to Brazil for the World Cup. His trip as a whole sounds like it was quite an unreal experience, but we wanted to know a little bit more about his #DigitalExperience while visiting an unfamiliar country.

Q: What iphone/android app did you use most this past week, and why?

With regard to my digital experience in Brazil, I wanted to talk about a few apps that I found useful.

1: Splitwise

Going on a trip with friends means there are going to be loads of shared expenses and it can be a headache keeping track of all these, especially when dealing with a foreign currency. Luckily for us, we had an app called Splitwise, whose purpose is to solve this exact problem. You register a group of those travelling with you and from there it is easy to add individual expenses, choose who is contributing and how much they are contributing. At the end of your trip you can settle up and Splitwise will do all the math for you so there are as few transactions as necessary. It also has support for multiple currencies, as well as an option for shared living expenses (e.g. roommates).

2: Google Photospheres

In a picturesque country like Brazil, there are many views that are impossible to capture in a photo. When you are surrounded by stunning scenery, Google Android has a great addition to their photos app that lets you capture a full 360° image. It takes a little patience as you stitch together multiple images, however it is easy to do and once complete you get an image that can be explored by tilting and twisting your phone to see every angle. You can even upload these efforts to be approved and added to Google maps.

3: Whatsapp

The sensational news of Whatsapp being bought by Facebook for $19 billion surprised many and while we in America often stick to regular SMS text messages, relegating Whatsapp to communication with friends who are abroad, in Brazil, as in many countries, people use Whatsapp as their primary messaging tool. By avoiding the cost of SMS messaging, Whatsapp, which is available on every phone smart enough to load an app (which isn't very smart), has incredible potential to become the world’s most popular messaging platform powered by a mobile line you can get after you hire mobile phone plans.

For those travelling with their camper trailer, this means one seamless experience for communication with friends all over the world.

George is a dauntless developer with a keen eye for user experience. The conceptualization of his work is informed by an insightful empathy for the end user. Check out his bio here.

Stay tuned for next week's "Talk Back Tuesday" when we ask Dhruv Mehrotra, a highly skilled developer of The Mechanism, about his own #DigitalExperiences.

Published by: georgebrassey in Government, The Internal Mechanism
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July 15, 2014 - Comments Off on Future of Digital Design – Talk Back Tuesday

Future of Digital Design – Talk Back Tuesday

“Talk Back Tuesdays” is an original weekly installment where a team member of The Mechanism is asked one question pertaining to digital design, inspiration, and experience. The Q&A will be featured here on The Mechanism Blog as well as on The Mechanism's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, every Tuesday. Feel free to offer up your ¢2 cents in the comments.

Joe Constantino from The Mechanism's Client Services team has stepped up to the plate to knock out the first “Talk Back Tuesday”.

Q: What is the “future” of digital design?

A: In my opinion, the aesthetic of a digital world should be a reflection of the current state of applied science. As technology progresses, and the devices that web pages are viewed on improve, so should the content. With that concept in mind, I predict that the future of digital design will continue to head in the direction of three-dimensional interface architecture through the use of the z-axis, incorporating a layer effect into an environment that has traditionally been considered an infinite, flat surface. Also, the presence of video as a main focal point of websites is becoming an increasingly popular method of making a strong impact, and I foresee that the web will continue on this trajectory. This could be a result of the surge of video-driven apps such as Vine and Snapchat, and video on Instagram. In addition, single-page websites are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, as a way to avoid page loading, promote concise digital experiences, and keep the number of clicks required of a user to a minimum. Ultimately, the stimulus for the web moving in this direction is to bridge the gap between everyday on-screen experiences and life experiences – between the real & digital worlds. At this year's I/O Conference, Google introduced us to their new cross-platform design language "Material Design". “We imagined… what if pixels didn’t just have color, but also depth?", said Matias Durate, Director of Android operating system User Experience at Google. As one of the leading tastemakers in today's digital market, this is a good clue as to the direction we are headed.

Joe is a strategic, multi-disciplinary artist and all around techie with an eye for innovation and a thirst for pixel perfection. Check out his bio.

Stay tuned for next week's “Talk Back Tuesday” when we ask George Brassey, Lead Developer at The Mechanism, about his digital experiences in Brazil during the World Cup.

Published by: antonioortiz in The Internal Mechanism

May 28, 2014 - Comments Off on DANCING TO YOUR BRAND – How the Pet Shop Boys got me thinking about responsive design.

DANCING TO YOUR BRAND – How the Pet Shop Boys got me thinking about responsive design.

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A few weeks ago, I took a trip back to the 90's by heading down to Terminal 5 for the Pet Shop Boys concert. The British electro-pop duo actually hit it big in the mid-1980's and have never stopped working, but I remember dancing all-out to their club sounds in the early 1990's.

This show was the last stop of their world tour and I had asked several friends to go with me… months in advance. Mood- pretty darn excited by my choice.

As the concert date drew closer, I wondered - will the Pet Shop Boys still feel relevant? Sure I think their music is great, but then I worried, will this be a memorable "experience" for all? or will it feel dated, quirky, and somewhat nostalgic.

Either way I thought this will reflect on me. I know we all worry when we are throwing down big bucks for a concert and coercing friends to go. YOU become the host and you are somehow responsible for everyone enjoying the event. Your mouth is saying "come on... it will be great!", while your brain is whispering - "it had better be since you bought 8-pricey tickets to this shin-dig"!.

Well I have to say the show was amazing. Neil Tennant, and Chris Lowe are still a perfect blend of electro-pop craftsmanship and really interesting performance art. A funky spacious club in New York City was the perfect venue to share the experience. And we really did "share" the experience. All around me people were holding up their Smartphones (which was not broken like mine) - taking pics, recording video (see photo above - I took that one at the show) - and thank goodness, since half the time I couldn't see the stage - I could however see it on the phone of the tall person in front of me - revelers were Tweeting, Tumbling, Pinning and sharing the experience in real time.

Which got me to thinking ...

Not that long ago people went to concerts and went nutty. We danced, sang, and sweated and told our friends about it the next day. "You should have seen Blink-182 last night man, it was insane!" (I went mid-2000's here to illustrate my point...remember the first release of the iPhone was June 2007 - and all of the realtime sharing came in the following years).

So my thought. Technology moves faster than a one-hit-wonder drops in the charts.

Right now, We are a culture in motion.

Everyone participates in the moment equally in realtime. Snaps and videos of your experience are up online before you leave the parking lot.

My question to friends, clients, and potential clients is this.... are people dancing to your brand? Or is your website a Wallflower? (Yes I know another great band from the past).

Internet browsing from smartphones and tablets grew 35% from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013. Simply put - Almost a third of global Internet traffic to North American web sites—31.3%—in the fourth quarter of 2013, came from smartphones and tablets, according to marketing and public relations firm Walker Sands Communications’.

According to Mill and Brown Research, per day Americans spend -147 minutes on mobile phones, 113 minutes viewing television, and only 108 minutes on their PC. easy to see who is winning the race here. We use a lot of mobile apps all the time. This can be a great tool to develop your business. Learn more at and get the most from your mobile app.

Now ask yourself - How does your company's website hold up when you hold your phone up? How are people accessing your website? Is it a satisfying user experience?

In the same way I thought about my friends judging me based on a concert experience… I wonder, how are your clients judging your brand based on the mobile experience your website provides? Does your site feel relevant? Is it satisfying and engaging? Is your mobile web experience worth sharing and talking about? Or does it feel dated, quirky, and somewhat nostalgic?

The Mechanism has been a pioneer of Responsive Design from its earliest days.

Check out our own site right now on your smartphone or tablet.

Functional design and a pleasing user interface, these are the things that excite me as a designer, creator and a user.

Note how our site reconfigures gracefully to maintain large action buttons, and behold - text that remains readable. Fluid grids and flexible images are the cornerstone to a satisfying user experience. Other benefits include interactive calls to action such as one-tap to dial a phone number within your site, one-tap to email or interact with your site.

Just imagine... all you Non-Profit organizations out there, this could mean the difference between an immediate digital donation or a delayed action that is never acted upon.

The opportunity for your clients to take immediate action is in the palm of their hands.

I could go on however, I would rather invite you to join in a conversation.

The Mechanism's first of this seasons in-house conversations on best practices for your digital brand experience will kick off on Friday, June 13th, at 8:30 am at our place.

We will be featuring an intimate chat with our Founder and Executive Director Dave Fletcher about True Responsive Design and your brand experience.

We have limited seating and coffee. If you would like to join us please register by clicking here!

Can't attend? Just contact me directly to chat - 212-221-3444 x-102




May 8, 2014 - Comments Off on An Event Apart • Boston • 2014

An Event Apart • Boston • 2014

Here are some thoughts on talks at the recent An Event Apart, in Boston.

Understanding Web Design - Jeffrey Zeldman

  • Web Design is held to the expectations of other media. Often ignoring the intrinsic strengths of web
  • Like typography, web design's primary focus is communicating content
  • Technology is often a hangup for people, when the user and their needs should be the primary focus of designers. "Design for people, not browsers!"
  • Design is about detail
  • A great website will subtly guide the user to their desired destination

Designing Using Data - Sarah Parmenter

  • Design is no longer a differentiator. Making things look nice is common. The differentiator today is designing with purpose — answer the question 'why?'
  • When the right metrics are studied, data offers objective and actionable feedback
  • Data should allow a team to unite behind an objective goal — such as: Increase clicks etc.
  • Customer facing advertising is most effective when honest and transparent
  • Iterative design allows you to be flexible and try new things

Responsive Design is Still Hard/Easy! Be Afraid/Don't Worry! - Dan Mall

  • Frameworks rather than processes, mean you define a set of constraints within which a project exists, and within this you find out what you can do that's unexpected
  • Be active within your framework and volunteer/get involved with stages of production outside of your discipline
  • Each member of a team will have divergent perspectives at the start of each project cycle, they should become convergent by the end. These are focal points
  • Rinse and repeat the cycle, getting smaller each time to increase team involvement
  • Extensive preparation should make the assembly part of the process the shortest

Screen Time - Luke Wroblewski

  • Mobile is the dominant web browser worldwide
  • Responsive design includes additional considerations than just screen size (multiple input types, variable ambient lighting etc)
  • Screen size is a poor proxy for many of these considerations (screen size does not reveal input type)
  • A user's posture or distance from device will also affect it's design, independent of screen size or number of pixels
  • Design for human proportions, not pixels.

Content/Communication - Kristina Halvorson

5 key points for working with a client:

  • Principles: these are internal motivators based on our better intentions. They can unify a team
  • Strategy: pinpoint your goals and provide helpful constraints with which to execute
  • Process: the process is not God, it should change and grow as needs change. Regular post mortems are encouraged
  • Roles: RACI key for each agent on the client end. Responsible. Accountable. Consulted. Informed
  • Perceptions: Translate to facilitate communication between different disciplines

UX Strategy Means Business - Jared Spool

  • Design is the rendering of intent. Both user and provider
  • Content delivery is as important as the content itself and vice versa. Great UX cannot exist without great content
  • Advertising is unhelpful for all parties involved
  • Strategic priorities in business can inform design considerations (increase revenue, reduce cost etc)
  • There are a variety of models for monetizing the web

The Long Web - Jeremy Keith

  • HTML allows for fantastic accessibility, deprecation and backward compatibility
  • New HTML specifications can be adopted early as they will be skipped over when unsupported
  • Progressive enhancement means you start with the lowest common denominator and then enhance as much as you like
  • Progressive enhancement protects the experience from unaccountable errors such as unrelated javascript errors
  • Text formats will last longer than binaries. Binaries are forever changing and becoming outdated

Responsive Design Performance Budget - Paul Irish

  • Mobile users expect their content to load faster than the desktop
  • Web growing is latency limited. The nature of requesting many small files means that a user's experience is improved by reducing the number requests
  • UX can be greatly enhanced by prioritizing critical data and rendering early on
  • Separate the critical CSS from non-critical. Load non-critical at the end of the page. Aim for main content to load in 1 sec (< 14kb)
  • The number of higher latency users is increasing

The Chroma Zone: Engineering Color on the Web - Lea Verou

  • Colors in web browsers have many nuances and limitations
  • Hex and RGB are poor representations for human reading
  • HSL and HSLa are better although they are not perceptually uniform (we perceive 50% yellow as much lighter than 50% blue)
  • New color properties in CSS level 4 will make color coding more human readable (HWB = Hue Whiteness Blackness)
  • There is room for much more improvement in web colors

Mind the Gap: Designing in the Space Between Devices - Josh Clark

  • Designing for the space between screens. Not content but tasks. Verbs not nouns
  • The technology is available today, we just haven't imagined the possibilities yet
  • Interfacing with machine is likely not going to change much (touch and mouse are great interfaces)
  • Physical things are beginning to have digital representations (avatars)
  • How about affecting how we interface with physical world and communicating that to our devices.
  • Software makes hardware scale, The endless possibilities

Web+: Can the Web Win the War Against Native Without Losing its Soul? - Bruce Lawson

  • Web technology has inherent strengths, despite the popularity of native apps
  • Web tech should not try to replicate — though it can learn from native. Build to the strengths of web
  • Progressive enhancement and interoperability make web accessible and global. Always accessible by everyone
  • Widgets failed as they were a poor imitation of native apps. They existed as a snapshot without the ability to update
  • W3C is built for accessibility and interoperability. This means that it is designed for low level functions. Can be complicated but powerful

How to Champion Ideas Back at Work - Scott Berkun

  • Great things are achieved in difficult circumstances
  • Success and acclaim only arrive once a project is complete
  • Charm and convincing people of your ideas is important!
  • A network increases your potential. Reach out and get advice to harness that potential
  • To enact change, start small with something you can excel at and expand from there

April 29, 2013 - Comments Off on Menu Metropolitain

Menu Metropolitain

I hope you are enjoying the fairer weather that has suddenly arrived...finally and thankfully. I was glad to simply have a home weekend and spent most of it asleep. It was well needed. One of our wonderful clients, the James Beard Foundation, has their big award season coming up. It means lots of work for them and for us, but it's all well and good thanks to this jolly old guy below.

A fantastic foundation for an outstanding man

I've been living in NYC for quite awhile now and though I still hesitate to call myself a New Yorker (Brooklyn for life!), I've definitely grown familiar with the ins and outs of the city. The James Beard Foundation is just one of the many wonders the city possesses amongst its many restaurants, theaters, museums, and more. And it's all underpinned by the city's constantly expanding subway. Check out these marvelous photos of what's going on beneath our feet care of the MTA!

East Side Access East Side Access

And like any great metropolitan center, we have our amazing selection of splendid museums. The famous Metropolitan Museum of Art on the East Side has a sparkly new website with great modern look and adaptive layout. Be sure to look through the upcoming exhibits and visit if you can. The site aims to add a fresh layer of visual stimulation to their more traditional homepage.

For all its beauty, one spends so much time head tucked down or in the previously mentioned tunnels it's easy to forget the beauty all around this metropolis. This groovy mirrored video montage of the city by Sebastien Desmedt is a fantastic reminder of the city's many marvels. I especially love the way the easy-to-abuse reflection effect plays off the repetition and pattern naturally found in a city, giving the entire thing a sense of normalcy despite the persistent manipulation.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in Non-Profits, The Internal Mechanism
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April 22, 2013 - Comments Off on Mother Moss

Mother Moss

There’s more than one way to eat a healthy diet

Our Senior Research Interpretation Officer, Daphne Katsikioti, says studying what people eat is important but challenging to measure. Visit for more information about healthy supplements.

People do not eat foods in isolation but in combination to form an overall diet. This is complex, and dietary pattern research aims to understand how different components of the diet interact with one another. Dietary guidance in many countries is focused on eating patterns, and research is rapidly expanding to establish what the best diet for our health is.

Eating is a complex behaviour, and it varies over different stages of life. Advances in the methodology for studying dietary patterns strengthen our confidence on diet and lifestyle recommendations across the life span, and across different populations. This is an exciting area of research and there is much to learn about how dietary habits, timing of eating and different patterns can impact population health and influence the presence of disease.

Different ways to eat a healthy diet

The concept of healthy dietary patterns has been adopted in global health guidelines and a growing body of research has emerged on their health benefits. For instance, our Cancer Prevention Recommendations can be considered a healthy diet and lifestyle pattern. The Recommendations are strongly grounded in evidence: being physically active protects against weight gain, and greater body fatness is a risk factor for many cancers.

At the recent International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods (ICDAM), held online, Dr Angela Liese said there is not only one way to eat a healthy diet. Different combinations of foods with different intakes of protein, dairy, fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and fibre can form a high-quality diet. The evidence suggests that overall, healthy diet patterns can have a positive effect on health when compared with diets of poor quality such as those high in saturated fat, salt and sugar. Learn more about ikaria lean belly juice.

Different factors influence an individual’s dietary pattern, including socio-economic status, geographical region and ethnicity. There are many different ways of eating healthily, and dietary guidelines need to encompass these so that they are relevant across different populations.

Time to think about when you eat

Accumulating evidence suggests that it is not only “what” but also “when” and “how” we eat that may play a role in maintaining health. Research is increasingly trying to incorporate timing into how we conceptualise eating. It is possible that the time someone eats influences energy intake and consequently body fatness.

At the conference, Dr Yikyung Park said new tools combining nutrition and systems science can help identify healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns based on the timing of eating, to further advance dietary pattern research. These tools can then group people together based on their eating timings during the day and help identify the quality of their diet. This can improve dietary recommendations by adding messages on when, and how often, to eat during a day.

Local information, global guidelines

As people naturally eat a combination of foods, dietary patterns are difficult to define and this makes them difficult to study.

Dietary guidelines do not arise from individual study results, but from pooling the totality of the evidence. Even though the literature in dietary patterns is growing, the methods used to define the different dietary patterns are not standardised and need improvement. Dr Franziska Jannasch highlighted methodological approaches that can strengthen the analytical approach in nutrition research in order to draw stronger conclusions on dietary patterns and chronic disease prevention. These are the Best diet pills.

The future of nutrition science is looking bright – advances in dietary patterns research are focusing on building innovation and are helping inform and strengthen population health guidelines.

ICDAM is a conference in nutrition where high-quality and novel research is presented, aiming to improve how population diet is assessed. It was hosted by the University of Wageningen in February 2021.

Published by: benchirlin in The Internal Mechanism
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February 11, 2013 - Comments Off on Mitochondrial Match-up

Mitochondrial Match-up

I can barely move a muscle. My body is stiff from head to toe. I had a long weekend tournament and I'm happy to say my team of strangers won! See it was a "hat" tournament where teams are semi-randomly drawn from a proverbial hat. But there's nothing quite like the fires of competition to forge the bonds of friendship with new acquaintances. After a tiring six hours of games, what started as awkward handshakes and introductions ended with hugs and cheers of triumph. Competition taps into our lizard brain. It focuses us, whether for good or ill, on a singular goal. Not only does it help bring us closer a good match off vies for our inspirational brain cells like nothing else.


When all else fails, humanity's ultimate competition is played out by soldiers on the battlefield. This week I colored an old sketch of a soldier.

The fight for life is a constant struggle. This is the very basis of evolution after all. Yet in the end, the oldest warriors in this fight remain some of the most effective: bacterium and viruses. Artist Luke Jerram turns these miniscule maladies into large works of glimmering glass, their splendid abstract forms hiding the lethality they are meant represent.

 E. Coli HIV

While we're all constantly involved in the biological battle, some showdowns have much much higher barriers to entry. One such exclusive club is that of the super rich. This fantastic interactive info-graphic from Bloomberg shows the top 100 Billionaires of the world stretching back almost a year. This is a prime example of the internet's fantastic ability to showcase information in a dynamic, interesting fashion. The site gives you the ability to refine the data to an incredible level of detail with multiple formats and a variety of filters. What strikes me most however is my complete lack of knowledge on most of these presumably influential people. Good thing there are short bios in  there for all of them!

Bloomberg Billionaires

Many fantasize about a time before competition but it's hard to imagine how such a place could be. It would be a veritable Garden of Eden, a place where the lion could lay down with the lamb. But as the tale goes, we long lost our access to such a paradise. The price of our knowledge was reality. Adam and Dog, an Oscar nominated short this year, gives a unique view on this Biblical classic relying heavily on scale to give Eden an appropriate sense of majesty. Catch it below and be ready for this year's awards.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in The Internal Mechanism

February 4, 2013 - Comments Off on Machismo Manifest

Machismo Manifest

Sunday Sunday Sunday! Hope you all enjoyed the Superbowl. Even for someone so wholeheartedly disinterested in spectator sports as I, there is a certain charm to this most holy of American television events. I neither follow nor root for any team but I still had a couple of friends over for ribs, pigs in a blanket, potato wedges, and pints beyond count. We shouted and jeered during the match only to fall silent during the witty ads which vied for our attention. Long blackout aside it was a great game to watch with some ludicrous displays. Such a strong cultural tradition but kick off some inspiration.

This week I played around with a new set of grayscale markers I got. They bled a bit but I'm really liking them. Here the triumphant Raven sits atop the 49ers pickax.

This week I played around with a new set of grayscale markers I got. They bled a bit but I'm really liking them. Here the triumphant Raven sits atop the 49ers pickax.

The true beauty of football, or truly any sport, is in the skill and finesse of the players. Much like a dancer, it is an athlete's job to perfect their every movement. Last night, Jacoby Jones moved like water down the field, running through San Francisco's defensive line and returning a kickoff a remarkable 108 yards! It was a thing of beauty. Shinichi Maruyama celebrates such beauty of the body in motion in this series Nude. Made by compositing a series of photos, and not via a long exposure as one might expect, we peak into the stunning fourth dimension where movement has physical form.



Let us not forget that this is also the season for skiing. I keep telling myself this year will be the year I finally get back on the slopes but I still have no plans on the horizon. At least I can look at this marvelous website for Snowbird, a fantastic looking ski resort in Utah. The site is a wonderful showcase of clever interaction design with marvelous hover states largely based around the resort's V-shaped logo. Each page seamlessly transitions into the next with such fluidity it's like watching a master carve up the moguls on a double black diamond.


But where does the future of sport lie. Our pastimes have remained largely unchanged for the past few decades. Yet some think athletes are now approaching the upper limits of the human body as world records grow narrower and narrower. More than ever it has become apparent that large investments of time and money are required to forge champions. And from the inspiring story of Oscar Pistorious to the betrayal of Lance Armstrong, sportsmanship is clearly undergoing a turbulent time. Who knows what's around the corner but I like to think this fantasy-retro music video might be a sign of things to come, robots and all.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in The Internal Mechanism
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January 21, 2013 - Comments Off on MLK’s ‘Merica

MLK’s ‘Merica

Happy Martin Luther King day. Today we honor the memory of a man who stood up for what he believed in spite of the colossal obstacles in his path. The timing of this holiday couldn't be better as we choose again to swear in the first African American President in our history, proof of the progress made. Yet the many issues now facing the President, and our government at large, remain a huge challenge. Yet all of us, from famous civil rights leaders to the everyday Joe, are given a chance with each new challenge to either flourish or fail. Such challenges are inspiring.

This week I sketched a quick portrait of today's hero, one of the best American's or our age.

This week I sketched a quick portrait of today's hero, one of the best American's or our age.

We recognize people who overcome great challenges with fame and celebrity. Their likenesses become representations for all that they have achieved. Who can forget the quintessential image of Obama by Shepard Fairey of "Obey" fame? That image alone represents Hope. Artist Charis Tsevis has taken on many famous personalities including President Obama in his pointillist-like works. They are part collage, part pixel art. He forms his images from abstract shapes or objects related to his subject. Though they may seem sparse in principle, Tsevis achieves amazing depth in his modern digital works.

We've Got His Back

Dancing with Circles

There are some characters who are admired for their ability to overcome any challenge: superheroes. This interesting animation experiment, the Good Man, explores the ideas of good and bad we think as a child. All done using modern web technologies, the style is minimalist and beautiful. Watch in Chrome for best results. While stunning, the hiccups in performance I experienced are representational of the current limitations of such technologies.

The Good Man

Life is a constant struggle, a whole series of challenges. This outstanding short, HEART, is a wonderful inspection of life through visual metaphor and symbolism. Though I'm still unsure what to take away from this animation, I can say it is undeniably a fantastic piece of work.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in Government, The Internal Mechanism
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January 16, 2013 - Comments Off on The Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt


Nearly 20 years ago in Monterey, I met David Carson at a HOW design conference. At conferences that followed, I found that he was always up for a conversation over a beer, providing that I picked up the tab. While that seems like a very elitist behavior to leave a young designer with the burden of paying for his beverages, I didn't mind. I was impressionable, and enjoyed the fact that I could have a yearly chat with someone I considered a design hero.

Now, one of the things I learned from Carson was a list of the two items that every designer should carry at all times. I have eagerly shared this advice with designers whom I've had the honor of speaking with over the past 10 or so years as a lecturer at conferences and events. These items are: a camera and a sketchbook. You can add your own elements (a pencil, marker, pen or brush is obviously important and food helps) to the “toolbox”, but the importance of what I learned from that simple and now obvious and likely unintentional “advice” was that as a designer, part of our job is to DOCUMENT. Whether by collecting printed doodads and trinkets from our travels or simply to photograph or sketch the things that we haven't seen before, we are squirrels collecting nuts of creative nutrition to bury in our books and save them for later, when we're hungry for inspiration.

...we are squirrels collecting nuts of creative nutrition to bury in our books and save them for later, when we're hungry for inspiration

Fast forward to 2013. In thinking about those years past, I realized this morning that my recollection of conversations with Carson may be foggy. Sometimes we only remember what we want to remember - the good stuff, the takeaways of past experiences. Regardless, we now live in a world where digital devices allow us to capture - in increasing quality and seemingly unlimited quantity - our surroundings. Maybe it's easier to only have to carry around one device to photograph, write and capture life's experiences - or maybe the omnipresence of these devices, lessens the actual experience itself. Rather than simply experiencing life as it happens, perhaps we are now constantly on the wild hunt for stuff. We miss details while searching for things to happen.

Possibly the best experiences happen when we're not looking for them. In 1996, David Carson was sitting at the bar in Monterey, California, at a design conference holding court with some young impressionables like me. I joined the conversation and stayed until everyone else was too tired or drunk to continue. I never took a picture, sketched a sketch or saved an item to boost my memory of that evening. Maybe he told me to carry a camera and a sketchbook with me, or maybe he told me to get some AR-10 upper's next time we went hunting. I was too drunk to understand properly. The point is that it doesn't matter. The tool in the designer's pack that David didn't mention was the brain -- to contain, process and recall what is important of our precious memories at a later date.

The tool in the designer’s pack that David didn’t mention was the brain — to contain, process and recall what is important of our precious memories at a later date

And if I ever see David at another conference, I'll once again listen more than speak, casually mention my point about the brain, and in the end, maybe let him buy me a beer.