What have we been up to?

October 25, 2016

Time flies, and it’s been around two years since we last updated our webpage and showed off new projects online. While we have undoubtedly been hiding in the shadows for some time we’re actually very much alive. More so than ever in fact!

One of the disadvantages of being a studio of only two people is that at busy times, working on maintaining your own brand and portfolio get’s pushed way down to the bottom of your priorities. And boy, have we had a busy two years. So what have we been up to? Let’s do a quick summary.


— 8 Web Launches including Coffee Stain’s new site and brand.

— 6 Application UI’s including Favro, Exit Live, and some still secret things for Volvo.

— 8 Game UI’s including Snow, as well as UX and UI work on multiple other titles for gaming giants such as Electronic Arts and Paradox.

— 20+ Brand Identities for games, apps, startups and tech companies both in Sweden and worldwide, including Quixel, Hazelight and LootLocker.


Some of it is available for you to have a look at right now, some will be added over the coming months, and some will sadly (due to canceled projects and NDA’s) never see they light of the day. It’s been a ride for sure, and for every month it feels like 1910 is closing in on the goal we set up when we started this venture a little over five years ago.

Design

For the design of new website we had a list of things we wanted to improve from the old one. We wanted to make it a bigger and bolder canvas on which to display our work and thoughts, we wanted more article-like project pages that allowed for more variation in terms of layout, and we wanted to move our blog (that used to be a separate tumblr-page) onto our main site. On top of that we also wanted better responsiveness, retina-support, and a more integrated embedding of video content.

After a few iterations on the design we felt that we had something that ticked our boxes and looked a whole lot more up to date than what we had before. For the development of the site we brought in much talented developer / designer Anton Andersson to help us realise our vision, all the while we started working with content for the site. A few intense weeks of presenting, photographing and writing later, we now (finally) have a site that suits our needs better, and hopefully will serve us for a few years to come.

Presentation

Even though we're mainly focused on digital work, we still love making stuff for the real world whenever we can. One of the things that always take a lot of time when updating portfolios is all the work based around photography and presenting physical items. Since we don't really like using mockups to present our work we tend to take pictures of our own devices in a customised setting, matching the art direction of the project.

Obviously this is not very time efficient, but in the end we believe it's more fun to create our own content rather than using others. The cover image for Favro was especially fun to make. Using ping pong balls (some of which were taped to tripods) we managed to add some depth to the image while connecting the theme of the shoot to the dot from the logo.

Development

In realising the design, we put a lot of effort into subtle effects. Tweaking fade in times and hover states to the point where user interaction is as consistent and smooth as the typography used, or the imagery presented.

In this spirit, to present the site as a single combined entity (and if you want, give a regular WordPress site a SPA feel), we added a lot of front end javascript functionality. Such as triggering fade in on scrolling, dynamic image sizes (to keep us from loading huge images on small devices), and loading images only when actually viewed.

On top of this we added a page loading and cache layer, in order to take control over page transitions as well as keeping perceived loading time to a minimum. This is achieved by catching all internal link clicks, loading content in an ajax function and saving all the data in session storage (or in a javascript variable when session storage isn't available). This results in the data only being loaded once, and also keeps the http requests to a minimum by serving the data directly from browser memory instead of the server.

Just as 'less is more' can be applicable in Design, 'more is less' is just as applicable in Development - more coding, less loading.

Summary

They say that designing for yourself is ten times harder than designing for the most demanding clients. They are right. The time spent on designing and presenting for ourselves cannot really be justified in terms of money. In the end we feel it’s worth it anyway, not only because it’s our primary marketing channel to gain new work, but also because it gives us a sense of pride of what we’ve accomplished.

So cheers for the last five years! It’s been fun. Now on to the next five!




Jonas Salvador, Art Director & Partner
Stellan Johansson, Art Director & Partner
Anton Andersson, Developer