Monday, November 27, 2017

Cuphead, Anthropology & Mar Cerdà

Weekly Update 2017-48: Music from the Cuphead soundtrack, how designers relate to anthropologists, and the amazing miniature cut paper worlds of Mar Cerdà.

Music: Cuphead (Original Soundtrack)
Once in a while, I come across a game soundtrack that is so good, it could stand on its own without playing the game. And though I have yet to play this wonderful 1930's inspired run and gun action game, I am already enamoured with its soundtrack.

Recorded at Canterbury Music Company right here in Toronto, each of these amazing songs was composed by Kristofer Maddigan (a percussionist and composer also from Toronto). I love how the songs contain a lot of classical instruments and sounds mixed in with some weirdness that shows they don't take themselves too seriously. Floral Fury is a good example of this, using brass band sounds mixed with what sounds like a rubber straw being pushed in and out of a plastic cup. Check it out below:

This week I compiled a brief of sorts for the next phase of the FriendCanoe project - emails! There will be a number of communications that we will need to include in the experience, from Reset Your Password to It's time to hang out with your friend. Check out the brief here.

Now that the content of the emails has been solidified to some extent, I'll be designing the emails this week. I really need to make a big shoutout to Mailchimp, considering I know firsthand the headache of creating HTML email templates that work seamlessly across all the different platforms and devices (I'm looking at you, Outlook). So instead of all that mess, I'll be using Mailchimp templates and testing tools so as not to reinvent the email wheel. Who would ever want to do that?

Random Thought: Designer as Anthropologist
Reflecting on the past while in my role as a UX designer, I have been thinking about the parts of the job that relate best to my interests and personality. I have noticed lately that I really enjoy learning about cultures and the nature behind why people do the things they do. Understanding motivations allows designers the power to reshape experiences that are catered to those motivations, so that users can achieve their goals more easily.

In the coming months, I'd like to focus on my design practice as seen through a sort of anthropological lens, to try to tap into that obsession and make it into something useful. And this doesn't only apply to the way users use products that I might be redesigning, but also to daily processes within and without my workplace. Our design processes at ecentricarts are somewhat established but could certainly use a focused look to see if we are solving problems in the most efficient way.

Inspiration: Mar Cerdà
In continuation from last week's inspirational movie prop designer Annie Atkins (specializing in Wes Anderson movies), I now present to you an artist who has mastered the world of cut paper and watercolour miniature scenes (many of which also for Wes Anderson movies). Mar Cerdà is an illustrator based in Barcelona, Spain, using watercolor painting and paper as the base materials of her work. She uses both in watercolor prints and in little dioramas made of cut papers.

From The Grand Budapest Hotel.

From Moonrise Kingdom.

From The Royal Tenenbaums.

What's really interesting is her background in cinema and audiovisual, which have emphasized her fascination with scenography and the treatment of space. She firmly believes that a character can be defined by a space, even if the character is not present at all.

I have always been enamoured by dioramas and miniature scenes; playing with scale just tickles me in the right way. Check out more on Mar's website and Instagram.

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