Agency Visit: Mozilla Labs

(guest post by Jordan Barber)

What do you think of when you hear “Mozilla?” Let me guess, Firefox. I think that is comes to mind for most people, myself included.

When we got the chance to visit Mozilla Labs for our Industry IQ class, three-inch shag carpet on the ceiling was the last thing I expected to find.

Having come from a corporate background full of cubicles and white walls I had imagined that Mozilla would be the same, another cookie-cutter workplace of the business world. After all, they are a company that works on a global scale with Firefox alone bringing in over 450 million users.

When we arrived at Mozilla Labs David Ascher, VP of Product for the Mozilla Foundation, invited us into their conference room. With large windows, couches, stuffed animals (including a fox and red pandas), an oversized bean bag chair and of course the shag carpet on the ceiling accompanying the conference table it could be described as more of a lounge.  Here we sat down to talk with David and learn exactly why Mozilla is so different.

Instead of conforming to the corporate business model Mozilla has turned it on its head. Unlike most companies that work on an international level, Mozilla is a non-profit. Founded from the ashes of Netscape, Mozilla focuses on keeping the web transparent, accessible, open and free. This creates an environment where the user is the primary stakeholder and user experience is the top priority.

To achieve this at such a large level Mozilla relies heavily on innovation, exploration and experimentation. They pull in the community by encouraging participation with volunteer positions and user research kits. How does that work within their business model?

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OFFF Mexico 2014 Main Titles

Digital Design alumnus and current graduate project mentor Vinny Morales recently created the Main Titles for OFFF Mexico 2014. OFFF is a global post-digital culture festival that has been hosted in Barcelona, New York, Lisbon and Paris. Many contemporary designers and artists have participated such as Joshua Davis, Stefan Sagmeister, John Maeda, Neville Brody, Kyle Cooper, The Mill, Digital Kitchen, Ben Fry & Casey Reas, Golan Levin, Chris Milk, Rob Chiu, Julien Vallée, Paula Scher, Rick Poynor, Erik Spiekermann, Dvein, Erik Natzke, Vincent Moon, Daito Manabe, Jessica Walsh, Ze Frank, and Alex Trochut. OFFF has an extensive international network to share work that fuses design, art and technology, and to provide a forum for inspiration through lectures and workshops.

Vinny explored the idea of the umwelt which is the German word that “defines the perceptual world in which an organism exists and acts as a subject.” It defines how we experience our world by perceiving data as signs.

Offf Mexico 2014 Main titles from Kultnation on Vimeo.

Vinny presented his work in front of a packed crowd in Mexico City, and he shared his thoughts with us:

“OFFF Mexico 2014 was great and full of creative artists and designers. I had the opportunity to not only talk about the titles but as well introduce and talk about  “Design-in(g) Space”; the creative process and thinking behind my work. The response from the audience was phenomenal!”

The creative process for this motion design piece can be found on Vinny’s Behance page, and this project has also been featured on iDnworld.com.

Great work, Vinny!

 

Digital Design – wearables and the prototyping phase – OOMPH!

Our DD29′s have been busy in the workshop coming up with new and innovative tools and uses using various technology and household items. In this class we got into rough and tumble prototyping of our ideas. Students have been researching various sensors and technologies to help them realize their solutions to their briefs but this lesson was more about form factor and what it means to make a truly successful ‘wearable’ product.

Here we see Henry self-sewing his prototype basketball sleeve. Henry is designing a sleeve that will help bballers with their shot.
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Agency visit: Habanero

(guest post by Kelsey Hemphill)

Employee portals. Customer portals. Extranet. Intranet. Science fiction, or Interactive Design?

After visiting Habanero‘s Vancouver offices, I can tell you that the aspiring Interactive designers of DD30 are as excited about the kind of work done at Habanero as people get about science fiction.

Bradley Smith, Habanero’s senior interaction designer (and a DD alumnus from the first cohort of Digital Design students ever!) greeted us at the door, taking us past the bright red entryway into a large meeting room, where we met Steven Fitzgerald, the former mechanical engineer and self-professed “type nerd” who founded Habanero in 1996.

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A tour of Giant Ant

(guest post by Kirstin Smith)

As part of our Industry IQ class in our third term here at VFS, Digital Design students get the opportunity to visit several different interactive and motion studios in Vancouver. DD30 students were lucky enough to kick off these visits by heading to Chinatown to take a tour of Giant Ant. Yes, I said Giant Ant. Now I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath. You good? Okay.

If you don’t know their work, do yourself a solid and check it out. Giant Ant is a small team of visual storytellers. They design, illustrate and animate. They direct, shoot and edit. Not to mention, they compose music and sound for their work in house.

It’s no secret that I am a really (really, really) big fan of their work. I may or may not have let out what can only be described as a squeal when I heard we were going to visit their studio. The excitement was shared by my fellow classmates. In the days leading up to the visit, we all felt the anticipation build; we were looking forward to seeing the workplace of individuals we admired.

Upon entering Giant Ant we were greeted by the company’s co-creator Jay Grandin. After greeting us, he joked that our tour was nearly finished, as the entire studio was visible from where we were gathered in the front entrance. The space is small but beautiful. All wood and concrete, the studio embodies the same homemade aesthetic and feel present in much of Giant Ant’s work.

Jay led us to a meeting room where we met another member of the Giant Ant team, Matt James. The two gave us insight into their creative process, showing detailed storyboards and style frames from past work.

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