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Hot Studio founder Maria Giudice and her exceptional multi-disciplinary design team "make the complex beautifully clear" for web clients like eBay, Gap, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Maria focuses the studio’s work on people-centered design to create amazing user experiences on the web and in print. See how they apply "collective intelligence" through the phases of discovery, strategy, design, and building. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers inside one of the coolest design firms around.
Henrik Olsen: So once we have brought together sort of this strategy about where they want to go and a common understanding and sort of got their visual biases and then we feel like we have the creative brief that we need to design against. Renee Anderson: We really get into the details of how the site is going to look, act, behave, what the content is, how somebody might move through it. Maria Giudice: Either you can come up with beautiful comps and build them or you can be designing and building at the same time.
Henrik Olsen: You really begin with two to three key pages of the design that's sort of their exemplar of what the visual vocabulary should be and then you extend it out to say, the other up to twenty different screen types or something. Michael Polivka: We want design to start big, we want people to have big, great ideas and then slowly working together to bring it in back to alignment with the client's budget and schedule. Katrina Alcorn: Interactive design is everything we do, really. I mean when we are doing research, we are doing it in service of designing a website or an application. When we are working on a big strategy presentation, it's about coming up with the big concept, the big idea for our interactive design ideas.
When we are working on details, schematics and site maps, it's all in service of creating a good user experience. It's figuring out what people need to do, what they need to know, what the companies that have hired us need people to do, figuring out where that sweet spot is. And then sometimes we talk about it as designing an experience and then all these people in interactive designs say, "you can't design experiences, everyone has their own experience," but basically we are trying to create an environment online for people to have the right experience, the experience they need to have.
Henrik Olsen: When we're in the early part of design, we do a lot of things, just pencil and paper and on sketchbooks, coming up with ideas, thinking very, very quickly. You always want to have your drawing skills be really good because you can think so much faster with just a pencil and paper and coming up with ideas and so, then bring in color paper and so forth and get the big ideas down on paper just for your own memory. You never have to show them to anybody. And then we get together as a group and we will share our brainstorming and we will sort of riff off each other, just drawing on the whiteboards in our individual conference rooms, where we will sketch together, storyboard things out.
Some designers are better illustrators than others and it's okay. We just go very loose with just hand drawing, bringing in magazine clippings or artworks that we found inspiring or just anything that you found kind of neat, any kind of object. For example, our work with Dwell. We are in the process right now of designing a whole variety of directions and typically, we will show our best three or four to the client, but in order to get to our best three or four, we look at a lot of different options. So we are in that phase right now where we are seeing ten different design directions that are being done and some of them are really just exploratory. Just if we have an idea we want to pursue it.
We go to our little corners and we work and then we get together, we share ideas and critic each other, then we go back to our corners and re-rev. So we do that a lot. We meet almost probably daily to look at what each other is doing and inspire each other for other ideas. Working in visual design is just a really exciting thing because it's a chance to bring in both the left-brain and the right brain thinking. There is a lot of logic and rational thought that gets brought in to creating an interface, but then there is the artistic side of it and there is just that expression of working with color and form and imagery and bringing it all together and creating this experience that other people are going to engage with and with all these Web 2.0 functionalities and the web becoming this more and more of a two-way conversation and immersive experience, it's a really exciting time just to be able to create and be part of that in creating that whole experience.
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