Sean Juárez Design

15 March 2011

Crylics Logo

I recently did the logotype for The Crylics debut album, Ghost Surf. I was quite proud of it because the letters were all custom-made. When I couldn't find a font that felt right, I decided to try my hand at making the type myself. It turned out to be a fun process, but much more tedious than I realized.

I wanted something like Avant Garde, but the C was a more open than I wanted. I also had a problem with the break in the R and the skinny S. (I never understood why the letter S of geometric typefaces like Avant Garde and
Century Gothic had to be so tall and skinny compared to the wide characters in the rest of the font.) I came across a nice font called Code on Font Squirrel that had a C like I was looking for, but again, the other characters didn't quite cut it.

I gave the R the clean, capital-R look of Gotham that I'm so fond of. (I'm actually quite fond of the entire look of Gotham, but I couldn't bring myself to use the entire font. (I have this feeling that Gotham will become our generation's Helvetica—eventually it will be so overused that it will become too cliché to use. :(   )

I'm not really sure where the Y came from. I guess it just seemed like a nice letter to be the "unique" one.

The L and the I were straight-forward enough.

The S was a pain. I quickly learned why the S of Avant Garde and Century Gothic were so skinny. Being geometric typefaces, the curves of the letterforms are mostly circular, (as opposed to elliptical.) It made sense that the letter S would be constructed around
two circles stacked on top of each other. I started off using that same circle method thinking I could widen it afterward.  Unfortunately, widening the letter made it lose its circle-like geometric-ness and it instead looked  out-of-place with the other letters. After an hour of fiddling with the curves I scrapped the letter all together and opened Font Book to find an example of what I wanted. I happened upon Museo Sans (also free through Font Squirrel,) that had a good S. It fit my needs perfectly, and after carefully tracing the curves, I tweaked and modified it until it looked right. Another hour later, I was done. It took twice as long as the the rest of the letters combined, but it was worth the extra time to get an S I really liked.

So there's that. I have to say, I gained a great deal of respect for all type designers. They put way more time, effort into each letter than we realize. It's not easy designing a typeface, let alone making it look good. Kudos to them.

22 January 2011

Dashboard Light Experiment

I work for College of Life Sciences at Brigham Young University. I'm part of the web design/graphics team along with my fellow design nerds Hannah Hillam and Kristin Gulledge. We're responsible for making the Life Sciences website look pretty. :)

Recently we started using a site our web team created called SciNet for computer support and employee management. Given my experience with code and design, I was tasked to create the skin for the site. I was thrilled about it since it was my first chance to really try my hand at interface design, (which is one of my design obsessions.) I started off taking all kinds of liberties and when I first showed my coworkers they were blown away. My boss even commented on it looking LCARS-esque, (which was not quite what I was going for, but flattering nonetheless.) Unfortunately I soon learned there would be a public-end to the site, so the skin would need look clean, professional and normal for the faculty and staff who would be using it, too. So I reworked and finished the skin modeling it after Kristin's design for the main Life Sciences site. I haven't been able to work on the old skin since. :(

Despite the change of design focus, the creative explosion that happened inside my head was so thrilling that I haven't stopped thinking about it. While making tweaks to the skin, I haven't been able to help thinking "oh! on the other skin I can design it like this!" I almost compulsively want to design things in the style of the other interface so that they'll be more easy to "read" and look cooler while they're at it.

Recently I was changing the style of a text field that displays a ticket's priority. I originally picked some bright colors for the design, but after finishing the new skin it was obvious that wouldn't work. Rather reluctantly I found some pastel colors I could live with. As I did so I kept thinking about how cool they would be if they had the glowing look of a light on a car dashboard. I was thinking about it the whole day.The next chance I got I mocked-up an example of what I was thinking of for the heck of it. It turned out better than I thought and I loved it so much I wanted to post it. So there you go.

30 December 2010

New iPod

A month or so ago there was an unfortunate incident. While reaching over the bathtub to turn the water on, my beloved iPod Touch slid out of my breast pocket and into the water below. I immediately rescued it and dried it off hoping that I had acted quickly enough to spare its little electronic parts from being flooded. In my exasperation I clicked the home button (certainly sooner than I should have) to see if there was any life left. To my relief, the iPod lit up immediately and I assumed my little friend had once again been spared the damaging effects of my carelessness. Satisfied, I returned the iPod to my pocket and carried on.

Several hours later I pulled my iPod out of my pocket to check on something when to my dismay, my iPod did not turn on. Hoping it was just a dead battery, I plugged it in but there was no response. Fearing the worst, I did what I should have done in the very beginning. I found our container of rice and buried him in it. Having witnessed similar disasters with electronics and water, I knew that a nice, dry place was my best bet for restoring my iPod to it's functional state. It was not to be however, and 24 hours later there was still no pulse. Heartbroken I laid him to rest on my desk, where he would remain for the next few weeks.

With the semester coming to a close and finals just weeks away, it was NOT a good time to be without my iPod. I knew I relied on him to perform certain functions, but I didn't realize it was that much. I was quite dysfunctional; it was almost like I'd lost my right hand. EVERYTHING was on that iPod, and getting to the information I needed through other means was a pain. My lovely sister, Josie, was kind enough to let me use her laptop during those few weeks and put up with quite a bit as I hauled it to and fro, fumbling to keep my life in order. Since my birthday and Christmas were coming up soon, I made sure to drop a LOT of hints about how nice it would be to get a replacement iPod. I'm sure everyone around me was quite fed up with my whining about it, but I was serious: I needed that thing.

On the morning of my birthday I received a series of texts from my girlfriend, Hannah, wishing me a happy birthday and telling me to hurry in to work. When I finally walked in i found her beautiful, beaming face almost giddy with excitement about the present she'd got me. We promptly went to lunch and as were sitting down she handed me a card and a small package. As soon as I held it I knew what it was. Amidst my heartfelt protests to her spending so much on me she sweetly insisted that I open it immediately. And there, smiling back at me was the shiny, pristine face of a brand new iPod Touch 4G. retina display, front and back facing camera, A4 processor, bluetooth, microphone, external speakers! (Needless to say it was a MAJOR upgrade from my old 1st-generation iPod Touch.)

So now, to my utmost delight, (and with many thanks to my wonderful girlfriend,) I'll try my hand at theming iOS 4 and the retina display on my new iPod. :)

23 October 2010


Almost a year ago I jailbroke my iPod Touch. I did so mostly because I was sick of how grossly multicolored the home screen became as one acquired more and more apps. I wanted one unified look; I wanted to be able to quickly and cleanly navigate my iPod to find what I wanted. Having had some experience making icons for my Mac using CandyBar, I assumed the icon-making process for the iPod would be similar: simple and satisfying.

After a bit of googling I found WinterBoard. WinterBoard is an app available through Cydia, (the jailbroken app store,) that is used to apply themes to your iPod. While figuring out how the whole jailbreak/themeing process worked I stumbled upon a beautiful WinterBoard theme called Bluebird designed by David Lanham. I became a big fan of Lanham's work a few years ago when found a set of Mac icons he'd done. I was looking for those Mac icons, in fact, when I discovered his iPhone theme.

That Bluebird Theme started it all. Included with the download was a PSD file that was meant to be a template for making more Bluebird-style icons. Of course, having it all layed out for me right there in a neat, photoshop package was irresistible. I learned much about Photoshop, layer styles, and icon-making in general from studying that PSD and making some icons of my own.

One day I found myself quite fascinated with the concept of a Heads-Up Display, (or HUD,) and its potential application in the world. (I think it was some time spent playing Halo 3 that got my mind on the subject.) I spent a while staring at some images and YouTube videos when I decided I wanted to try and make a heads-up-display-looking theme for my iPod.

The result was this: My "HeadsUp" iPhone/iPod touch theme. Which brings me to the original purpose of my post—to display some icons that were recently added to the repertoire: Twitterrific, BubbleFREE Air Sharing, Spore, Labyrinth 3D, Doodle Jump, and Plants vs. Zombies.The overall look has been tweaked and updated as I've gone along, creating some discrepancies in the details. Some are not even finished, (well, one I guess,) in the case of the reMovem icon. Nevertheless, I'm quite proud to finally show these to the world. I hope to soon release the entire theme after I get a few more UI Images and apps themed. (Hopefully a retina display version will be in the works as well. :D) Until then I'll be posting frequently on it's status as it progresses. Let me know what you think!