WordPress 5.0

In celebration of the new WordPress 5.0 release, I’m giving my site a new look! It’s using the latest and greatest Gutenberg-ready theme — Twenty Nineteen, designed by my talented Automattic co-workers and friends, Allan Cole and Kjell Reigstad.

Pretty sleek!

I am loving the flexibility of the block editor, and just how intuitive it is to see exactly what your post will look like. I’m still tweaking and playing with things, so more to come.

Another thing that I’m really excited about this WordPress 5.0 release is the release video! I had the pleasure to co-lead the creative direction on this video with my talented co-workers, Matias Ventura and Josepha Haden. We worked with the fine folks over at ThinkMojo to produce this video for us.

The result is an energetic, jazzy piece of animation that showcases the possibilities of our new block editor. Enjoy.

WordPress 5.0 “Bebo” release video

The video was even featured at the end of the State of the Word by Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp US 2018. 🙂

Computer, do my design work.

This is a piece I first wrote for Automattic’s Design Voice blog about the future of design and marketing:

Imagine you step into your car for your morning commute, then the car starts driving itself. You realize you need to make a stop at the cell phone store, so you tell your car. You walk into the store where you’re greeted by a shiny humanoid who offers you the latest model of its product. This is NOT the future, it’s the present.

We live in the age of self-driving cars, humanoid robots that replace human sales associates in Japan, websites that design themselves, and even an AI creative director that makes come up with sticky commercial ideas. This is what the “future” supposed to be like, so…what is the future of this future?

As a marketing designer at Automattic, I think about the future quite a bit. It’s part of my job to think about how we can adapt to the ever-changing needs of our customers while communicating to them the value of our brand and products. Culture and trends evolve at the speed of light and we need to keep up.

We are challenged by our Head of Computational Design and Inclusion, John Maeda, to solve this problem with computational design thinking. In order to create an expansive amount of fresh creative work in a timely manner, we need the help of computation. Automattic is a company that is known for its engineering, how can we leverage this engineering thinking and culture in our design discipline? Here are a few ways I think we can:

Think like engineers

One way we can do it is by treating design more like engineering. Prototype our work with fast rough ideas, then iterate on it with real world user testing and continual refinements of the design. We can use tools like Abstract for Sketch to allow for an agile versioning and reviewing process. Love an idea you see? Fork it and make it your own. There’s no such thing as a perfect design anymore in this time of Snapchat and new media. People want things that are personal and new. We need to learn from our engineering counterparts to combat this.

Software as tools for creation

Another way is to literally rely on our machines to create our designs. We have access to an immense amount of data internally and externally. User trends, product usage, trending hashtags, etc. Let’s use that data to create software that lets us scale our designs. With generative programming languages like Processing, OpenFrameworks, and even JavaScript, we can create numerous designs that are new and fresh based on different inputs and variables.

Software as tools for efficiency

We create software to help us be more efficient. Instead of doing the same arduous task multiple times, we can automate these tasks with our computers. We are building systems that helps us compute and automate repetitive tasks like resizing a design in multiple sizes and mediums for advertising, or localizing copywriting in various languages for our global customers. The next level is to analyze our data inputs, while making creative autonomously for our various customers with different interests, geographies, and needs. My philosophy is always to work smarter, not harder. Using computational power frees us time to focus on things that machines can’t do — like marketing and brand strategies.

I 💙 the future

I look forward to a future when we can talk to our computer and say, “Create my next comprehensive multi-channel marketing campaign for next spring.” But before that, I am enjoying this near future which we can learn from our engineering counterparts and leverage the power of computational thinking to help us create work that keeps up with the market trends.

Featured image by Automattic’s Mark Uraine, generated using Processing.

Lessons from Hong Kong

A piece I wrote based on my experience living in my hometown, Hong Kong, for a month after being away in America for years.

AUTOMATTIC DESIGN (VOICE RIP)

I grew up in Hong Kong and have since moved to America during my last year of high school. After spending half of my life in America, I’ve realized it has made me very US-centric when it comes to designing for our customers.

But after spending a month in Hong Kong, where I grew up, it has reminded me to always think about our customers at a global level especially when our product serves customers from many countries other than the U.S..

Below are a few main lessons and insights that I learned from my recent trip:

Websites are not a standard

When I search for businesses in Hong Kong, I find that most places don’t have a website. They rely heavily on local listing sites like OpenRice (Yelp equivalent) and Google Map listings. They also don’t have the most updated or correct information. I see this as a HUGE…

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Playing in C4D

Playing in C4D

Experimenting in C4D and multipass compositing. Got some cool results with lofting some weird bezier curves and cloning them. Finished it off by rendering multiple passes off to Photoshop. Got some depth blurs and color correction in there.

Next Gen TV Viewing

I was reading about the new boxee tv box on the Verge and it really got me thinking. I think the boxee is a cool idea with the “Free TV” antenna and cloud DVR features. However, with the emergence of broadband, there is still yet a technological breakthrough in the TV viewing experience:

Sure, there are newer “smart TV’s” that are Internet connected with apps like Pandora and Netflix. There are second-screen experiences like IntoNow which uses your tablet or smartphones to check-in and connect with others. There’s the Apple tv which serves as an Apple ecosystem hub for your iTunes and iOS content. There’s Google TV and Roku that streams content with apps and connect the tv to the Internet. But doesn’t it all feel so clunky and not integrated?

I am a Time Warner Cable subscriber and certainly feel that things could be much improved. The DVR software that comes with it makes me feel like I’m still in the 90’s. The controls are clunky and irresponsive. The guide is nonintuitive and the typefaces are horrid. It looks like there are more updated software for TWC but it has yet to be available in my area.

I feel stuck because there are better options out there like the Tivo and DirecTv but then it’ll cost some additional premium.

With all that said, I think we’re still living in a world where the TV viewing experience is still in a old school era and that things could be much easier.

I understand that there are many complications involved in the hardware/software/cable companies/media content providers equation. But at the end, wouldn’t a better product and experience equal to more customers equal to more profits?

I dream that one day watching TV would be as easy as telling Siri “show me the latest episode of Parks and Rec”, or when I see a funny clip on YouTube, or got a good recommendation from a friend, I could watch the whole episode on whatever device I have with my existing cable subscription.

Sorry for the little rant… 😉 I just had that urge from using the TWC DVR…

p.s. I’ve been trying to rethink the TV guide experience and design, maybe sometime I will share some of them in the blog.

The Sycamore Kitchen Cards!

So excited to see the Sycamore Kitchen business card I designed printed! It’s awesome to see the logo on the signage and packaging throughout the restaurant as well.

I worked with Karen Hatfield to develop a new brand identity and business cards for her latest restaurant concept – The Sycamore Kitchen. It’s a casual restaurant with an emphasis on the bakery. Please, if you’re in Los Angeles, go check out their butter cup and berry & cream cookie. They’re to die for!

143 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

My main man, LA times food critic, Jonathan Gold recently did a review on it: Counter Intelligence: Casual crazy vibe at Sycamore Kitchen