Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Last week, I bought a sketch book for my T2 design and planning work. I wanted something nice enough that I would carry and use it often. I found a great sketch book at Elliot Bay Book Company in downtown Seattle.
Having beautiful and simple tools like a favorite notebook and a quality pen help me to be creative and enjoy the process of designing products. Hopefully the software I create will, in turn, be that kind of simple and beautiful tool for someone else.
The notebook I bought is both hand made and individually hand signed. It got me thinking about software and how I could bring this kind of personal touch to Timeline...
I've started by sending out hand written thank you notes to all the people in the United States who recently bought Timeline. I'm not sure how scalable that's going to be, but I thought I could take a small chunk of time everyday to read through all the names of my new customers, visit their web sites, and send them a note of appreciation.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Here is a new draft of the application icon that I received from Kenichi today. Note that he has shifted the orientation so that the binding is at the top and used one pencil instead of the box in order to make the icon more visible at small sizes. The clock face represents a clock sitting on the page.
Instead of the clock, I asked Kenichi to try adding an eraser to the design. I've always like the soft erasers that come in a cardboard sleave like the one shown below. He brought up a good question about whether erasers work with colored pencils. I believe the soft kind do, but I'm not sure...
If you have experience with colored pencils and various types of erasers please share in the comments!
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Here is the latest T2 icon draft from Kenichi. It is a more detailed version of the last version. At my request, Kenichi is going to try a horizontal page layout and more similarly colored pencils in the next iteration.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Here is the first 3D mockup of the T2 icon. Kenichi created with it with Cinema 4D.
I'm happy with how the icon is coming together but I asked Kenichi to concider a few changes... I asked to have the notebook rotated into a landscape position as this is the most common orientation for timeline charts. Also, I asked that the colored pencils be more similar in color (all cool colors or all warm colors).
Of course, Kenichi will also need to add a timeline chart to the sketch pad.
He is now working on a final design and I can't wait to see it! I'll be sure to share it here as soon as it is ready.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Here are the second round of sketches provided by Kenichi in response to my feedback on the first round of designs.
Kenichi describes them as:
- Sketch pad with a wooden pencil box
- Sketch pad with a feather pen
- Chalk board with chalk
I like the colored pencil metaphor the best (#1) as it is the most representational of how a timeline chart would be created without software. I asked Kenichi to continue his design process based on this concept.
In the next entry, I'll show the first 3D rendering of this icon design.
We're still very much in the design process, so please feel free to use the commenting feature to let us know what you think!
Monday, November 13, 2006
Here is the first concept drawing that Kenichi Yoshida provided for the T2 application icon:
The design is a timeline chart with a presentation controller.
I told Kenichi that I liked the way he rendered the timeline. The thick bars represent a timeline well, and should be visible at small icon sizes.
The presentation controller, however is not a metaphor that I am comfortable with for Timeline. The software is strongly focused on creating charts for printing (reports, books, trail exhibits, wall charts, etc...), and not on powerpoint style presentation. Also, there aren't live presentation controls built into T2, so I thought this design concept may be misleading to new customers.
I asked Kenichi to try some concepts focussed around none-digital charting methods. For example, a chalkboard, easel, notebook, taped wall chart, pointing stick. In the next post, I'll show you what he came up with.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
This was a good exercise for me. I am used to describing Bee Docs' Timeline with many words ("Timeline makes it easy and quick to create beautiful timeline charts worthy of..."). However, using single words was a challenge. I think the ones I ended up with get to the heart and soul of the application:
I'm glad I have begun to pursue the icon design early in the development process. As an icon is a symbol that quickly conveys the utility of an application, I can use this design process as an opportunity to think through all the issues that will guide the design of the application itself.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
As many of you know, I've begun work on the next major release of Bee Docs' Timeline. I call it "T2". It is still several months away from beta, so patience will be required if you are waiting for it, but I'm ready to start blogging about it.
This time around, I have a little more money to spend on the project, and a lot less time. This means that instead of doing everything myself like I did for the first version, I can bring on some collaborators to help out with certain aspects.
One aspect that I think can be improved from the original version is the icon design. I designed the "watch" icon that is currently the application icon. I think it looks pretty good, but it doesn't accurately represent the use of the software, and it doesn't stand out at smaller sizes.
I've been hunting for a world class Mac OS X icon designer for several months. I wanted someone who specialized in Mac icons as Mac icons tend to have a specific look and feel. I also wanted someone who understands the value of simplicity, but who also has a strong eye for detail.
I recently came across Kenichi Yoshida, a young icon designer from Japan, who has some beautiful examples of his work on his website. I'm excited that Kenichi has agreed to design the application icon for T2 and we have already sent a flurry of e-mails back and forth brainstorming and refining the design.
I'm also excited that Kenichi has given me permission to blog the work in progress. So in the next few blog entries, I'll discuss the design process and show you some of the sketches and drafts as the work comes together. Stay tuned!