☀ ATX ☀

From London to Austin Illustration

Howdy, Y’all!

It’s crazy to think I have just had my first week in Austin, TX – here is a summary of what I have been up to, and why I am here.

I have been involved with Bundle for 18 months. Back in 2014, I was still in university and coming close to the end of my studies. I jumped at the chance to get involved in a very early stage startup. We were bootstrapping at first, it was difficult. I certainly doubted myself – it was problematic designing a product without the technical support.

That’s when Bernardo and Milos came along.

Bernardo is our iOS Developer and Milos is our Software Engineer. It blows my mind to see what they have achieved in 6 months. They are the smartest guys, and I am proud to work alongside them.

After running a successful campaign on Seedrs, I was given the opportunity to leave agency life. Right now, I am giving my all to a startup life.


WEEK ONE HIGHLIGHTS

Sat 17 Oct – Touch down! I flew via Toronto, and only had to wait a couple hours for a connecting flight. I’ll be stopping over for the night on my way back. I can’t fly via Canada without saying hello.

Crossy Road
I knew I had come to the right place when I spotted Crossy Road on a massive screen in the airport.

We are staying on 6th East Side, in a lovely new condo. It’s the perfect size and location.

East side condo East Side Condo

The kitchen is to die for.

Sun 18 Oct – I went for my first run, and nearly died. Turns out running in the heat is not my thing. 

First Run
The Colorado River is stunning, apparently it’s popular for paddle boarding and kayaking. Added those to the list!

The team took a trip to the famous Juan in a Million, and wow. I don’t know what Juan is more famous for, his incredible food or his epic handshakes – it’s an excellent combination. I had the Don Juan and it was 10/10 brunch.

handshakeDon Juan

Mon 19 Oct – I popped around to the store just around the corner from our apartment. They have an incredible selection of craft ales. I was drawn to the gorgeous labels, obviously.

Artisan Ales

Tues 20 Oct – Kelvin and I attended the Hacks Hackers meet up. Held in an amazing office space, just behind City of Austin Power Plant – Which has a rather fantastic sign.

City of Austin Power PlantHacks Hackers

It was the 5th birthday of the international event – and so we were joined by founder of Hacks Hackers and Storify, Burt Herman and Trei Brundrett, from Vox Media. It was an excellent evening, and I look forward to Hacks Hackers Connects in London in the new year.

Wed 21 Oct – We spent the morning working from CuvĂ©e Coffee.

Cuvee Coffee

I have a feeling they will be seeing a lot of me.

Thur 22 Oct – We started to feel the effects of Hurricane Patricia. We were lucky not to feel its full force. My thoughts went out to those in Mexico.

Hurricane Patricia

Fri 23 Oct – Kelvin and I made our way to Tech Ranch for their “Camp Fire” networking event. I really enjoy the ‘pay it forward’ attitude that a lot of people seem to have around here, everyone is so willing to help out and are eager to share knowledge and experience. I know I will be taking a lot of good advice home with me, and make loads of friends on the way.

We headed up the road to Whistlers to celebrate our first week.

Whistlers

The artwork dotted around Austin is mind blowing, so much talent. It’s definitely an inspiring city.

Creative Slave

This one really spoke to me 😏

Sat 24 Oct – I cooked for the team. Empty plates all round.

Curry

It’s embarrassing how much time I spent deciding on what type of rice to buy at Whole Foods.

Sun 25 Oct – Caught up with The Walking Dead and American Horror Story. I also listened to a podcast by Funsize, while sketching out some ideas and playing around with hand lettering. I will be heading to the Dribbble meetup in November, hosted by Funsize. I look forward to meeting them all.

London Lettering
From London To Austin
We found an amazing food truck in the Stay Gold beer garden.

Toaster
It’s only been the first week and Austin has exceeded my expectations. We’ve made some excellent progression with the app, and I look forward to what next week has to offer.

Digital Hampshire comes to Winchester

Part of my role at theMediaFlow involved the planning of Digital Hampshire.

Our first event in April, was in Southampton with around 30 attendees. We were provided with an excellent talk from Kelvin Newman, founder of Brighton SEO, and made plenty of new digital friends.

I was very keen to have the next event in Winchester, after living there for 3 years and studying Digital Media Design at the University – I had plenty experience with any digital related events in the area (of which were few). We decided Winchester is a good central point for Hampshire, and with so many tech related agencies in town, we definitely had an audience!

We sold out the venue, with 200 tickets claimed.

The evening was a success! We had an excellent turn out, and I have been provided with some brilliantly positive feedback.

A huge thank you to our speakers – Malcolm Coles, from The Telegraph. Carl Cahill and Bard Hovde from CDD and Ann Hauser from the Winchester Incubator (coming soon!)

Malcom Coles at Digital Hampshire
It was a lovely contrast to learn and chat about digital, surrounded by the beautiful 19th century architecture and paintings of Winchester Guildhall. It made for the perfect setting.

I am looking forward to the next one in February – To keep up to date with tickets, and speakers follow Digital Hampshire on Twitter.

It was a pleasure to see my design buddys, colleagues, and lecturers all in one space. It was a perfect way to spend my final evening at theMediaFlow before flying out to the states with Bundle.

 

The Final Frontier

I saw ‘The Martian’ this weekend at Genesis Cinema in their amazing Studio 5.

I’ve had space on my mind ever since.

Then I came across this flickr blog post.

The Project Apollo Archive has just uploaded more than 8,400 astonishing, high-resolution images to Flickr from the NASA moon missions and from training operations on Earth. The collection includes original scans from the Hasselblad cameras the astronauts used to document their missions, including some of the most iconic space photos in history.

The photos are stunning AND public domain.

Here is my cute little astronaut with some experimental type.

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Attention Economy: Are we constantly distracted?

Technology distraction illustration

“They failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” – Aldous Huxley, Brave New World.

In Britain, according to research by Ofcom, UK adults spend over 50% of their average waking day, using media and communicating online.
We spend 8 hours and 41 minutes using tech to text, talk, type, game, listen or watch. Amounting to 20 minutes more than an average nights sleep, recorded as eight hours and 21 minutes.

Is this really our time well spent?

At the end of January, theMediaFlow team attended UX Oxford, a monthly event focused on User Experience. UX Oxford gives the opportunity to digital professionals to talk about their experiences in their design projects. Januarys talk was lead by Tristan Harris: Product Philosopher at Google, and James Williams: Special Projects Lead at Google. They presented their concepts on “The Design Ethics of Distraction”.

“What if technology could distract us less, and respect our time & attention more? What would that world look like – and how could it be built? This question has been the focus of the design ethics work and thinking in our personal and professional lives over the past two years.” – Tristan Harris and James Williams, The Design Ethics of Distraction.

We have reached a pinnacle in online communication.  The sharing of information is fluid, and thoughtless, allowing users to be in the know, every second of the day.

Previous design goals of major tech organisations include fulfilling the active consumer needs, by developing mobile tech that allows us to be connected on the go. Their aim was to increase our personal productivity and enable communication to be ‘instant’.

“Win by being good at getting people to spend time exploiting biases in the brain” – Tristan Harris and James Williams, The Design Ethics of Distraction

However, the constant mindless, and sometimes-accidental indirect interruptions, distract us when there may not be personal or professional value. This disturbs workflow, and could ultimately decrease productivity. Tristan and James state that we need to work towards a ‘Human Design Goal’ and produce High-Quality communication and relationships that allow ‘conscious interruptions’ based on values and priority.

In the time spent reading this, you have probably paused to check your emails, maybe replied to a tweet, and read a new message.  As a UX professional Tristan claims, “even knowing about intermittent variable rewards, it doesn’t help”. We are all tech users, and we are all allowing ourselves to be distracted.

Email Refresh Time Well Spent

Cross platform capabilities allow distractions from multiple devices; the simplest solution would be to just switch off or ignore notifications. Yet, the flow of information is so fast and unfiltered to the individual’s desires, that as a user, we have a fear of missing out. To prevent this constant distraction, Tristan and James believe that we need to implement a system that presents middle ground, and gives the user choice. 

“We need to restore choice, we want to have a relationship with technology that gives us back choice with how we spend time with it. We are going to need help from designers” – Tristan Harris and James Williams, The Design Ethics of Distraction

Whether we are sending an important email, or sharing a cat video to a colleague, they are notified the second we press send, before we consider if it is of value.  After a distraction, it takes us 23 minutes to refocus our attention. The average smartphone user deals with a large volume of notifications, mostly from messengers and email each day. According to a study by Telefonica Research, we receive 63.5 mobile notifications on average per day.
23 Minutes Time Well Spent

If it takes 23 minutes to refocus after a distraction, this amounts to 24.3 hours of refocusing time. Tristan states that technology makes us at ease with “bulldozing each others attention”.  We are constantly distracted, and even when we do decide to switch off these interruptions, we have conditioned ourselves to “self-interrupt every 3.5 minutes”.

The current Internet Economy is measured in ‘time spent’, whether this is meaningful content or serendipitous and mindless browsing. Tristan and James’ objective is to create a new system to make sure it is our time is spent efficiently when we are online.  Tristan presented a User Experience, which would allow the user to be more to be considerable to the recipients’ current availability.

Nancy Time Well Spent

The Gmail UI example offers the user a choice, counteracting the mindless messaging, and constructing a behavioural change.  Tristan declares that change is “not going to come from willpower, its time for a new system”. By considering Nancy’s priorities and state of mind, the user sharing the information can also decide whether they believe it to be something of value to Nancy. 

“It is likely that mobile users will check their phones more frequently to make sure that no ‘important’ or ‘urgent’ message has been missed. This should be considered when designing systems to reduce the number of interruptions from notifications.” – Telefonica Research, An In-Situ Study of Mobile Phone Notifications

As daily tech users, and professionals in a digital industry, we need to reconsider how we juggle our necessity to be connected, and manage our online presence, but also to switch off and be productive.  Before we can implement a new system, we need to correct our behaviour first and quantify our time.

Tristan Harris and James Williams are developing a framework at Google to help product designers facilitate conscious choices for users, give his TEDx talk a watch: “Distracted? Let’s make technology that helps us spend our time well”


– This article was originally posted on theMediaFlow blog –

Share your views on innovation, join the conversation at @theMediaFlow

Mid Year Summary

It is probably about time for me to have look back on the past 6 months.

I’ve been awfully quiet, because I’ve been busy with so many exciting things. So, here is a quick top 6 work & personal things, that have happened to me in 2015 (in date order)


January –
I became a full time Designer at theMediaFlow, an Organic Marketing Agency. I am the one and only visual content creator, so the pressure is on! I’ve been working with some great clients, and taking design lead on a few projects.

It’s my first time at an SEO agency and my knowledge is growing by the day, and to prove it I made a handy cheat sheet: “A Guide to Rel Attributes”. If you asked me about Rel Attributes last year I probably would have laughed nervously at you, it feels good to learn as I go.

Here is some of the team looking awesome on our This is some of the team looking awesome on our “Onesie Day”

In January I also attended my first UX Oxford. Whether you are a dev, designer or just have an interest in tech, you need to get yourself to one of their monthly talks.

This talk was lead by Tristan Harris: Product Philosopher at Google, and James Williams: Special Projects Lead at Google. They presented their concepts on “The Design Ethics of Distraction”.

Since that talk, I have begun to seriously consider how I used my laptop and phone everyday, to prevent myself getting overwhelmed by distractions. I now use RescueTime on my laptop to monitor my productivity, and Moment on my phone to stop me ‘self distracting’.

If you have in iPhone I suggest switching off most of your push notifications, I don’t miss them! The theme of distraction inspired me to write ‘Attention Economy: Are we constantly distracted?’. This is on my mind daily, and I am curious to see how this pertinent topic will with be challenged within Tech in the next few years.

February –Â đŸŽ¶ Nobody likes you when you’re 23 đŸŽ¶

Of course George was adamant that I celebrate my birthday in style. We had dinner Clos Maggoire and it was divine. Highly recommend.

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AND I finally was taken to see my favourite musical, Les MisĂ©rables, on stage. I only cried three times. But enough about that, I’m not one to brag 😏

March – March was an extremely busy time at work, I passed my 3 month probation which I accredit to these random motivational phrases I came across.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 15.59.13Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 15.58.58

For my passing probation celebration, the team attended a pottery class. The pressure was on, I needed to prove my  A* in GCSE ceramics would actually come in use one day. Today was the day.

I spun that pottery wheel like there was no tomorrow, it was like Ghost but less gross.

IMG_1704FullSizeRender

April – Our Seedrs campaign for Bundle is live.

Very proud to see it up there after a year of hard work to get it to this point. We welcomed Bernardo and Milos to the team, and they have been amazing all through the campaign. We wouldn’t be where we are right now without them. It is important to have a strong team, and I am glad to be part of this one.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 16.31.58

We are currently raising ÂŁ60,000 on Seedrs, the first few weeks have been extremely encouraging as we have already raided ÂŁ29,400.

Right now, are on the look out for a suitable acceleration bootcamp, to help us develop this product to the best of its capabilities.

May – It seemed only fair to give George a fantastic birthday too, so I only went and took him to Bruges.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 16.47.07

We took the Eurostar to Brussels, spent a day there and then stayed in Bruges for 2 nightsin a lovely AirBnB apartment. It was beautiful, I couldn’t fault that place.

Our room was perfect, I doubt I’ll ever stay in a hotel again now I have discovered the joys of Airbnb.

I also visited Cornwall for the first time, which meant multiple pasties, clotted cream, beaches, AND SURFING.

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June – So now I am all caught up on my best bits of 2015 (so far!)

Not forgetting that time I dressed up as Bellatrix Lestrange and it was rad.

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It’s been an incredibly exciting few months, but it has come with its ups and downs.

I have been learning to drive, attempting to balance my social and work life, and trying to desperately understand tax and of course, failing.

I read ‘Reset Your Brain’s Operating System’ by James Greig and he mentioned the struggles of being a designer, and it rang true to me.

Something about the design profession is prone to shredding people’s insides.

It might be the eyes-on-pixels stare into a computer screen. It might be the unwavering obsession with making things just so, combined with the client who doesn’t (ever) quite get it. It be the incessant deadlines and long hours.

I don’t know.

I do know that lots of designers are suffering or have been suffering from depression, and no-one is talking about it (openly).

It hasn’t been easy, juggling so many things at once. I am learning when I need to stop, which is something I never did before.

2015 has been a definite improvement from previous years, thanks to the great people I surround myself with. I’m finally coming to understand the importance of a work – life balance allowing me to produce my best possible work to date.

Reasons to be Creative: The Aftermath

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It has been a whole month since I attended Reasons To Be Creative, as it somewhat adjusted the way I was approaching not only my career, but also my life.

I have just finished University, and I really thought I had reached my limit of creativity. Oh wow, how I was wrong. My work I was doing wasn’t flowing, and I struggled to become motivated.

Getting away from the daily grind for three days, to a exciting town (Brighton), and head to a design conference couldn’t have been better timed.

Firstly I have to say how amazing the Reasons to be Creative Opening Titles 2014 were, created by From Form.

What a way to kick off the inspiration!

I could write a book about how incredible each speaker was in their own individual way, but I will talk about my personal highlights over the three days.

James Victore @JamesVictore

James’ attitude towards design is brilliant. “Who gives a shit what shade of blue that logo is” is a phrase that will stick with me as I am flicking between light blue… and slightly lighter blue.

His work was raw, with absolutely no censoring, and his best work seemed to come after the phrase “…you know what would be really funny?”. This makes him such a likeable, relatable man… Who WOULDN’T want to work with someone like that?

Something James said during his talk that hit me straight between the eyes.

“So you don’t like your shitty job? QUIT. There are plenty of other people waiting to sit at that shitty desk, on that chair, that they don’t even own.”

I have been working as a Waitress for 3 years while studying at Uni. Now I am about to graduate, I can’t use the ‘oh it’s just to help me get through uni’ excuse anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with Waitressing, I mean, I made serious bank. Turns out if you are nice to people… And give them food… THEY GIVE YOU MONEY?

But that was the problem. I design because I love it, I waitress because I have to pay the bills. I stopped being a creative because I am constantly exhausted from explaining to idiots the difference between Penne and Fusilli pasta. I don’t love being a Waitress.

So what did I do the second I came back from Brighton? I QUIT.

I am currently putting my time into working with Tech Startup’s because… I love it. Yeah, I am living on bare minimum for the moment, But that’s better than being a Robot Waitress and draining my energy just to ‘get by’.

Thanks James! You gave me the metaphorical slap in the face I needed.

Check out his “Burning Questions” videos, he will change your life. No, really.


Mr Bingo @Mr_Bingo

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. (I love you)

That is all.

Here he is rapping about Duncan Bannatyne:

James White AKA @ Signalnoise

James, James, James. Where do I start?

I have been following him on Instagram for quite a while now, his work is just INSANE. I admire his style, and he is just SO cool. Can we just take a second to appreciate his awesome title slide?

signal noise

His talk titled “The journey, not the destination” showed his progression of work throughout the years and it really made me appreciate that if I feel I haven’t found my style yet, that is okay, because it is constantly changing, adapting and developing.

He started his presentation talking about what he loved as a kid, and ended it pointing out how his work had gone full circle and he is back to doing what he loves. Thank you for the inspiration James!

Gavin Strange AKA @JamFactory

Gavin’s honesty is entirely admirable. He bared his passions and fears right in front of us, and it really brought home what is achievable when you have that amount of love for what you do. It felt so great to share a room with someone who has so much excitement towards the creative industries. Gavin’s work clearly means the world to him, and it was so incredible to see how much emotion he puts into everything he does. He certainly made me tear up.

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Bradley G Munkowitz AKA @Gmunk

Gmunks work blew my mind so intensely, that I actually don’t have the words to describe how AWESOME his talk was. His motion graphics are insane. He was the perfect person to end the conference, he left me the feeling that even the biggest ideas are achievable.

He was hilarious, and inspirational. Which pretty much sums up what Reasons To Be Creative was all about.

Check out “Box Demo”


Final Words :
I wish I could give every speaker the credit they deserve, they were each special in their own way. Each talker inspired me in different ways and those three days will stay with me forever.

So I quit my job, moved location, and set up a new desk.

I am working as part of a tech startup and freelancing until I figure out where I want to move next.
I am loving every minute of it.
I have never been happier.

Thank you Reasons, see you next year!

Reasons to be Creative

In 5 days I will be heading to Brighton for the Reasons to be Creative conference.

Reasons to be Creative

I have been to design events before and absolutely loved them,  but this time it is a bit different as I will be heading there alone and staying in Brighton… Alone.

I am incredibly excited, I am looking forward to learning so much from all the inspiring creatives that will be speaking there, and it will be a new experience. But as a Junior Designer, with no one to hide behind, the thought of representing myself is extremely daunting. My aim is to learn a whole bunch of skills, and to also network and see how others interact within the design industry.

I feel I still have much to learn, but also so much to offer and hopefully Reasons to can help me discover new opportunities! Oh, and I get to stay in a hotel right near the sea 😀

By next week I am sure I will have some stories & lots of photos.

Scared and excited! If anyone fancies meeting next week, tweet me and we will sort it out. More friends the merrier 🙂

Wireframe Developments

More blurry secret designs!

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Starting to bring together all the information, and work out the strategy for layout. I am prioritising the content using shades of turquoise, why turquoise you ask? Because it is my favourite colour, thats why. Simple.

Looking forward to finishing off the wireframes, then can move on to the visuals and the prototype.

Heading off to a meeting now, and to go over the business plan.

Exciting times.

I did it!

I finished my Dissertation! (…2 weeks ago)

I submitted all my final year work, and then took off to Greece for 5 days. Because why not?!

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Update on my design work life: I was found via twitter by another passionate young person who is looking to bring together a team of like minded people for a digital start-up. I am jumping right into the project, which is an iOS app. Other projects and opportunities are also opening up, due to the connections I have made.

I am extremely excited to be involved in this project, right now is the perfect time to dive straight into a challenging task and I can’t wait to get this all kicked off.

I am sure I will have exciting news coming up soon, watch this space!