Greetings my people! Now that Quote Codes is up forPre-Order, I finally get a breather. And I’ve been just looking back at the whole process of making Quote Codes and what a journey it has been. Beginning today, we played to have a series of blogs mapping out Pixel Drop’s entire journey with Quote Codes.
Primitive Font Origins
Let’s start at the very beginning. Quote Codes actually began with the Primitive Font. It wasn’t the typical we have this concept, let’s make a prototype and then finish off with graphics. It was a long and organic journey you might say.
This was way back in 2013, and I was obsessed with simple geometric shapes being used as the basis for all illustrations. I was validated in 2015 when google redid their logo to make it completely based on geometric shapes in order to reduce data consumption. (You can check that out HERE)
I never intended to have this as an app. It was just an experiment with various principles in my head. A search for clarity. Plus a need to make something with these principles.
Geometry and order are inherent characteristics in design – it requires a certain degree of discipline to impose constraints on yourself and find solutions within that framework. It’s also a recipe for innovation. It forces you to analyse everything closely.
Primitive Font involved the use of four basic shapes. Circle. A Line. A Triangle. A Rectangle. Everything else is a union or intersection of these four shapes. And couple this with contrasting colors to bring about the conflict between the shapes.
All this within a simple grid incorporating the shapes. That’s pretty much it to be honest. And of course getting featured in Typography Served. It was the first time that a Pixel Drop product got recognized anywhere. So this one’s special to us.
Next time, I’ll dive in detail about Primitive Font with examples.
Don’t forget to Pre-order Quote Codes on the Appstore here, it comes out on Jan 18, 2018. Pre ordering ensures that the app automatically downloads onto your device on Jan 18.
I can honestly say it’s the cliché of clichés when I say we see the late Steve Jobs as a source of inspiration in our lives. He truly lived what one might call a ‘full’ life. So I was particularly struck by a photo of his during one of his last keynotes. It was him holding his hands in a ‘namaste’ thanking the audience in his traditional black turtle neck tee. And I don’t know what got into me but I decided to make a Steve Jobs illustration.
Illustrating Steve Jobs
What followed that was a gruesome 18 straight hours in front of the computer. Blood shot eyes and multiple coffee cups later this is what we had to show.
This essentially had me drawing individual patches of colours on illustrator up close.
The subtle variations of the colour patches together formed the final picture. Sorta of how pixels work to form a picture, only this time, it has more of an oil painting feel to it.
It involved a lot of overlapping of the patches . You can see the individual patches in the working drawings of it. Those are really a lot of patches.
And of course his immortal words are a part of it. You can check out the project on our Behance HERE.
As Jobs said “Here’s to the crazy ones”.
Well, the Jobs illustration turned out to be a really fun and eye straining venture. So I decided to make it into a series of Tech Legends. I’ve set out on a course to make illustrations of all the top tech titans of this era. After Jobs, we’ve got Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Zuckerberg in the works.
Here are some of the works in progress.
I’ll have to be honest. This has been in limbo for quite some years. I’m hoping that writing blog on it will kind of force me into going ahead with this and work on completing the series
oh and if you would like a print copy of the Steve Jobs illustration, feel free to drop a mail
So this is turning back the pages of time when we had just started out. The Thermo Clock Android App was probably our very first venture into app development. We wanted to test the waters as they say.
The idea of the app came while looking at the various methods to depict time besides the standard format (analog and digital). We basically had to show a quantity variation and decided to use the stardard thermometer as our guide.
Thermo Clock Android App
Taking the standard mercury thermometer, we assigned every hour as the number and added divisions within the hour. Four divisions of 15 mins or Twelve divisions every five minutes, that was left for the user to choose.
Initially its a greyed out number, then gradually the ‘mercury’ inside it rises which shows the passage of time. Half the number filled meant it is half an hour past, a quarter filled means 15 minutes had passed and so on.
The concept was to find a rather relaxing method to track time. (inspired by the Pomodoro technique). Just a simple timer – Set the time and you get an alarm at the end of it, that’s it. A timer that keeps you away from distractions.
The Thermo Clock was primarily aimed as an Android timer. We were going through our old work and thought to check if the idea resonated with anyone out there. Do let us know if you guys think it’s worth pursuing.
Damn, all this just takes us back to the start…(ala coldplay)
It feels very strange to actually put that down in writing. I feel kinda ‘old’. But it’s been so long agothat we (Pratik and I) sat down and started this way back in college. It didn’t have a name. We weren’t a‘design studio’ it was the two of us. Doing random things, anything we could get our hands on, freelance(usually a lot of pro bono work) you know the drill.
This was us. This was Pixel DropWe spent the first year working on a project that was too big, beyond our purview. A lesson learnt the hardway. The next two years we spent onThe Game Quantum. It was the most frustrating butsatisfying period of our life. That a real learning curve.
A few months back, we decided that it was time to change. Get our focus back. We were lacking in that singleoriented, tunnel vision that kept us awake at night. Complacency was setting in. The edges were gettingrounded off. We stopped caring about the proverbial ‘one pixel offset’. In short, we stopped being anal aboutdesign.
Pixel Drop Studios Reboot
It was time for Pixel Drop 2.0. We vowed to get our core principles right again – make every pixel matter. Aone pixel offset is a one pixel offset. It has to be made right. Because it matters to us. We have set out to redo our first app The Game Quantum to make it what we had the originally envisioned it to be. Simple yet smart. And of course science. Because… Science B(#ch!
And this is what we are now. This is us. Pixel Drop Studios v2.0.
Our primary colors – the two shades of blue, contrasted by pure white. And a tertiary grey for supportingelements.
The logo is made entirely of geometric shapes.And if you look closely enough. It’s got our initials in it. P & J. Pratik and Joseph. And look even more closely to the guys out there who are anal about design. There’s a one pixel offset in the ‘x’. That’s to remind ourselves every time we look at it that it matters. It alwaysdoes. It’s when it stops mattering, that we stop caring and nothing that is inspiring to us will ever comeout of it.
So it’s time to begin anew. Pixel Drop v2.0. Clean and simple. Time to get that tunnel vision back.
It’s time to put some keystrokes on the hyperlinked document again. So I and Pratik have been going through what you might call an ‘awakening call’ after launching our very first app The Game Quantum on the App Store. It’s been a journey of initial highs and then abysmal lows.
And we realized how utterly narrow minded we had become along our design process, thinking we were being focused. We just overlooked basic user problems and assumptions. But I think it’s getting better this time around. We’re striving at it, working at it from ‘first principles’. Look out for the lean mean version 2.0 of The Game Quantum coming soon before year end.
This one is much simpler, more straight forward and most importantly – just easy to understand. I’ve come to accept the bitter sweet meaning of ‘less is more’ while going through this thought process. Turns out it is really hard to cut down on your work. Really assess which is essential and which is just glitter. ‘Is something important? Is this necessary? Does this enhance the app experience? Will the user actually use this?’ We’ve been questioning ourselves on everything that we’ve done. It’s a big deal to swallow your own ego and accept you were just plain wrong the first time around. And then some to rethink your own design principles. I hope we would have fixed it this time around.
We want the user to just start with the game and enjoy it. The game is too complicated, we included too many parameters and assumed too much of the user. We started from the wrong place and no wonder we ended up at the wrong destination.
And then we decided to actually apply all this to ourselves as well. Not just the app, but our whole studio. The branding, the website, just who we are. So this is when we’re beginning, this is it. And wanted to put it into writing because somehow it make us more accountable – having your manifesto in front of you. Reminding you what you have to become. So here is to beginning anew. Get the basics right once again, (as we say it here) one pixel at a time.