These Guys Kick APPS: Q&A (Part 2)

These Guys Kick APPS: Q&A (Part 2) The creative forces behind PROJECTTRVLAbove & Beyond: George SteinmetzThe Final Hours of Portal 2 and more come together for one night in NYC to the SPD SpeakEasy--to inspire and inform, and give you the inspiration to kick some apps, too. 

Leading up to our Tuesday, July 26, 2011 SpeakEasy at the Helen Mills Theatre, we've asked our four presenters a few questions on the State of Apps. Next on our list of questions, we want to know
What advice do you have for print designers trying to move into app design?

Michel Elings
(left) and 
Jochem Wijnands
Founders of TRVL, an a la carte travel magazine for iPad based in Bussum, The Netherlands. Working out of a spare bedroom, they have published 25 issues of TRVL. (Above: TRVL's India White Widows issue, photographer: Jochem Wijnands)

Let go of all standards, take a look at the new interface, but check if the usual stuff still works. 
For instance, we think that going from left to right is a nice way to go through a magazine. 
Especially when you look at the new users of iPad: children and the elderly.   

Best advice is to ship it ASAP! Because then you will learn how your market reacts to your app and business model.

Hip_Zeff.jpgJoe Zeff
President of Joe Zeff Design, a multidisciplinary studio that helps companies fuse content, technology and business opportunities on the iPad. Joe and his team have created apps such as "The Final Hours of Portal 2" and "Above & Beyond: George Steinmetz."  

Understand the tenets of effective tablet design, and marry them with your strengths as a print designer. Recognize that passive content, regardless of how beautifully presented, will pale by comparison to active content in which users can participate. Marry strong typography, photography and illustration with interactive objects, layered information and multimedia experiences. Consider that design serves two fundamental roles here: branding and functionality. It is your job to create or sustain an identity that goes beyond the content itself, and to guide the user through that content with maximum confidence and minimal ambiguity. While you may find yourself tempted to implement new features as they become available -- think back to the early days of Photoshop when every headline had a drop shadow -- the best approaches are often the simplest ones. Just as in print. 

Unlike print, tablet designers now find themselves at the intersection of content, technology and opportunity. It is imperative to achieve a basic understanding of all three areas in order to maximize the potential gains. Technology is what brings content to life, and opportunity is why we bother in the first place. Agile organizations put designers and programmers and salespeople on the same team; larger companies put them on different floors or even different buildings. The new world requires collaboration like never before, and a focus on what appeals to consumers today and tomorrow rather than what made sense yesterday. Just as important: the connections between content producers and the audiences they serve, as there is no better source of inspiration and information for designers than those who actually consume their work

Port_Mike Burgess.JPG
Mike Burgess
Head of Digital at Seven, a multimedia publisher in London that translates Sir Richard Branson's vision into Project

We're in the early days of app design. We know that websites on iPad's won't cut it but straight up print design, though often really creative, might not work either. I'd say partner up with a really strong digital UX (user experience) designer and fight your corner hard when they complain about the usability of your designs. Between the two of you, you'll create something great..

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THESE GUYS KICK APPS: An indie-apps appreciation night.
You know their apps. Now meet their creators, and learn how it's done.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Helen Mills Theatre
139 West 26th Street (between 6th & 7th Aves), NYC

Doors open for seating at 6:30 PM
Presentation begins at 7:00 PM
Cocktails after begin about 8:30 PM

Get on the waitlist for this SOLD OUT event here.

  • Joe Zeff

    You also might want to experiment with HTML5, which is a user-friendly way to add bells and whistles to iPad apps, friendlier yet when programmed using a $30 application called Hype. More info here:

  • TRVL

    Dear JJ,

    Yes that's possible. You can use the iPhone Simulator. It has an iPad simulator in it as well. As you may have seen we all make use of the WoodWing App and it's connection with InDesign.

    Best, Michel - TRVL

  • JJ

    Great tips!

    Is it possible to work as a app designer if access to a tablet isn't available? I'm interested in studying and teaching myself about app design + print to become more marketable.

  • Grant Glas

    Michel and Jochem: Best advice is to ship it ASAP! - The truth

    Joe: The best approaches are often the simplest ones. Consider that design serves two fundamental roles here: branding and functionality. - The truth

    Thanks for this post Josh. I'm a firm believer any talented print designer can evolve into an even better app designer.

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