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.