Plan to be Surprised

But if we’re really honest with ourselves, our plans usually don’t work out as we had hoped. So instead of asking our young people “What are you plans? What do you plan to do with your life?” maybe we should tell them this: Plan to be surprised.

Dan in Real Life (via graceandvictory)



In literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

C.S. Lewis


1. Battle cry of the Lost Boys in the movie Hook.
2. Jamaican slang defined as a hubbub, uproar, disorder, or disturbance.
3. General exclamation meant to signify approval or amazement.

West Wind

A west wind blows, diving through the canyon, whistling by the trees. My heart beats in time with the dipping of the crowns. My freedom is a knowing, an understanding, which cannot be spoken, but hummed in a tune matching the turning of the moon.


Getting to the Letter G

Finished WorkAfter getting some basic strokes down, iterate the G until I'm happy with itTake the one I'm happy with and further refine it, (this time in Illustrator)final revision, messing with the tail and thicknessFinished workStep one, learn lettering (draw hundreds of characters and strokes over and over)

My new logo. Just a “G”. Simple and clean. I’ve been having a hard time for a while coming up with a logo for myself that felt authentic. The hardest part about it is that I’m a craftsman, not a product, so my branding message is vague. Basically: “I’m Garrett, I like to make cool stuff.” That’s tricky to brand to.

After over-designing dozens of times with various illustrations and graphics, I finally realized that, for me, it just needs to be unobtrusive and understated.  That way it doesn’t take attention away from my work and process. Similar to the idea of a photographer or restaurant server wearing black so that they fade in to the background, not distracting from the experience.

That idea is what led me to a simple monogram. It’s funny how often during a creative process a person can spend a whole lot of time learning that it was the simple early solution that was best. It’s that process that helps us mature as designers and learn one of the most valuable traits: restraint.

Check it out on Dribbble as well.


Humble Inspiration

Inspiration often comes from the humble and often overlooked elements in our environment. In this case I swiped a color palette and an interesting shape from a manhole cover (AKA a sewer grate, AKA Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Hideout Entrance) and turned it into a simple logo.

The color palette comes from the earth tones of the concrete and asphalt, the shadows of the metal manhole cover, and the red spray paint. The shape is a small circle surrounded by a triangle, surrounded by another circle found in the upper right of the relief in the manhole cover.

Using Adobe Illustrator I pulled the color palette with the eyedropper tool, then created the compound shape of circles and a rounded triangle using the shape and pen tools. Next I divided the shape with the pathfinder tool using a similar 3 axis split that is used in the design of the entire manhole cover seen in the photo. After that I experimented with a few color combinations using various tints and shades of the color palette I had put together, applying the different colors to the different sections of the shape. Finally, I found a combination I liked and created a simple geometric patterned background with low opacity rectangles.

The end result is pretty cool, and the original shape before I started messing with it is great too. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with simple, memorable shapes in any kind of design. Luckily those simple shapes are pretty easy to find if you keep an eye out.

This piece on Dribbble


Don’t Forget to Look Around

Don’t forget to look around.

People often ask artists and designers where they get their ideas. The honest ones admit that they just pay attention to the world around them and rebuild it in interesting ways. Even on a morning walk to work you can catch any number of interesting inspirations for pieces of work, in this case really cool geometric patterns on grates and manhole covers. In these I see potential for logos and data visualizations, but others might see something entirely different, or nothing at all.


Designing for Immersive Experiences – Interviewees Pt. 3

Neurogaming what?!? More great interviewees for my talk on immersive UI at SXSW are on board! 

Zack Lynch, NeuroGaming Conference Founder, Futurist, Author of The Neuro Revolution, Founder Neurotechnology Industry Organization, NeuroInsights and HealthRally founder.

Lat Ware, creator of Throw Trucks with Your Mind, a Kickstarter funded video game that uses an EEG headset to read the brain allowing a player to use telekinetic super powers to throw objects to battle an opponent.

I’ll be asking Zack and Lat for their insight into the field of immersive UI design, the kind we’ll be exploring as virtual reality and neurogaming becomes more mainstream.

If you like the idea please give my talk a vote on the SXSWi Panel Picker Website, thanks!


Designing for Immersive Experiences – Interviewees Pt. 2

More Amazing News!

Joshua Nimoy – The brilliant Silicon Valley unicorn behind much of the beautiful generative computational aesthetics and amazing fictional UI work in Disney’s Tron Legacy has also agreed to interview with me for my SXSW talk To Virtual and Beyond: Designing Immersive UI.

We’re going to talk about what it would be like to design user interfaces in a fully immersive virtual world, the kind the characters Sam, Flynn, and Quorra experience on their adventures in Tron Legacy. If the user was Sam, or Flynn, or Quorra (rather than simply watching a movie), what would user interface and user experience design for that look like? What an exciting challenge!

Give me a vote if you like the idea!


Designing for Immersive Experiences – Interviewees Pt. 1

Great News!

Dino Ignacio – An absolutely amazing artist and UX director at EA games, recently working on the groundbreaking immersive UI of the Dead Space franchise has agreed to an interview for my SXSWi talk To Virtual and Beyond: Designing for Immersive UI.

We’ll be chatting about what kinds of challenges, design processes, ideas, and innovations there would be in designing a user interface for a truly immersive virtual world, like the one the main character of Dead Space, Isaac Clark,e uses on his missions aboard the interstellar mining ship, the USG Ishimura. What if you were Isaac Clarke, instead of playing with a game controller from your couch? What would design for that experience involve?

I’m super stoked! Give it a vote so we can have a chance to share this awesomeness at SXSW!


Virtual and Beyond! Designing Immersive UI

For designers of complex user interfaces, the prospect of designing experiences for virtual reality is a challenge we’ve been longing for. But where do we start and when should we be ready?

Recently, companies like Oculus and Zeiss have built the next revolution of consumer priced virtual reality headsets. These devices provide high definition first person views of an immersive virtual world, plugging directly in to computers and gaming consoles. Mainstream virtual experiences are here.

The implications are impressive: movies, gaming, immersive learning, CAD visualization, and first person views of remote controlled equipment. All of these areas will need beautiful and usable design.

How can we prepare to design for these new immersive experiences? What design strategies could we lean on? How would the process differ from the one we apply to today’s UI, UX, and usability challenges? – See more at:

Questions Answered

When should we be ready to design for virtual reality?

How can we prepare to design for immersive virtual experiences?

What kinds of virtual experiences can we expect?

Where can we find inspiration for UI design in immersive experiences?

What design and research methods can we take advantage of for virtual reality UI?

To make this happen I need your vote! Please go and give me yours if you like this idea :) Thanks!


Street Typography – 30 Building Numbers

Inspiration can often come from things that are the easiest to miss. When you do catch those little details and take a moment to think about them in depth, they’re pretty amazing. I know they make me smile. Someone designed each and every number in these photos. Someone else figured out what kind of material to use and how to attach it. Someone else still thought of what container shape and size might look best in each situation. And that’s just the street numbers, I haven’t even gone into the architecture on to which they’re mounted and adhered. The depth of artistic intent in the world around us is astounding, and most days we just walk by it without a thought. These photos of building and apartment numbers were taken along my walk to work down Clay Street from Nob Hill through Chinatown, ending in the Financial District in San Francisco. I especially enjoyed the variations in typography and how they made use of, or augmented, the contextual space. I chose to make the photos black and white to emphasize the shapes, value, and texture. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.