Getting to Know Us: The Team

23 July 2013

We Are Thought Fox team call

Here’s a snapshot of our first official We Are Thought Fox meeting of 2013. You can tell it’s all serious business. Thanks for the props Google+ Hangouts.

Design Files: Barjeel Art Foundation painted stencil logo

23 July 2013

Barjeel Art Foundation spray design

I’ve been digging through my archives and I stumbled upon a particularly fun moment from our Barjeel Art Foundation redesign. One ambitious tangent we explored was a spray paint logo which would be part of a viral, youth-oriented campaign. Messy and fun!

Design Files: WATF Cards

23 July 2013

ICC website make mantra graph

Our new business cards have arrived!

Want some? Get in touch, we’re giving these babies out for free.

Getting to know us: Una

23 July 2013

Designs for iPad for Maclean’s

Great design is central to We Are Thought Fox and our process respects the time required to achieve it. Each of us started off working in ‘traditional’ media and in many ways that helped teach us the fundamentals in a way that perhaps learning digitally wouldn’t have.

My design life started about 8 years ago when I graduated from Toronto’s weirdest landmark—Ontario College of Art & Design. Since then I’ve had the chance to design, art direct and illustrate for some of Canada’s most exciting publications and collaborate with some inspiring people.

Here are a few of the wild and wonderful projects I’ve been lucky enough to participate in:

Maclean’s: Canada’s weekly news magazine

I spent many late nights designing and making digital collages in a fast-paced news environment. After paying my dues, I was rewarded with digging through the magazine’s 100+ year history in order to inspire a magazine re-design and launch their revitalized online presence.

Canadian Business: the country’s oldest business publication

I contributed to a complete rebrand of the magazine with the intent to make it vibrant, contemporary and not-just-for-old-white-guys anymore! One particularly funny photo shoot had us corralling dogs in glasses & ties around a boardroom table.

Rogers iPad initiative: breaking new ground

As a design lead on a small team I worked on the strategy for Rogers communications iPad initiative. At the time we were pioneers in the land of tablet magazines so the challenges and rewards were equally great.

Toronto Life, Special Issues

I worked on the launch of this vibrant city magazine’s extended family of publications: Stylebook, Cookbook, Real Estate, City Home, Weddings… This a was a labour of love that almost turned me into a snob, since I was constantly after the best new it-model/taco/cafe. Hectic yet rewarding, photo shoots had me running after an actress through a greenhouse, constructing a wedding cake out of cheese and riding a rickety bike up and down a busy street while a photographer snapped photos for a cover.

Select Illustrations

A range of digital and hand-made collages for Maclean’s, Coach House books, Report on Business and Sex, etc., on topics from literary wars to sex ed.

What’s next?

I’m currently inventing a brand new travel publication for an airport, but I can’t disclose the details. It’s a total dream project for me, since I’ve been enamoured with travel ever since I was a child. My parents even used to take me to the airport just to watch the planes take off.

Companion-centred design

21 July 2013

The CMeebie project establishes a new relationship between the BBC and a child: a companion.

During a great talk by BERG’s Jack Schulze, he summed up how lots of software and connected things are starting to go beyond straightforward responses to interactions with the phrase: “there’s no more U in UI”. Then he showed this video of a quadrocopter juggling a ball:

That video sums up how software and connected things are starting to display qualities such as behaviour, motive and even agency.

That’s what we were exploring in this BBC prototype. But the relationship between the child and the CMeebie needs to be established at the correct level. Taking cues from existing discussions around companion-centred design, we decided the companion needed to be as “smart as a puppy” – far from being too smart to fail, the CMeebie needed to make endearing mistakes in its attempts to learn and improve. This approach reduces the chances of the so-called “uncanny valley” effect whereby users feel uncomfortable with an entity which behaves almost but not exactly like a human being.

Endearing failure is particularly important around the suggestions. The CMeebie is effectively the friendly face of a suggestion engine, gathering information about the child and using this information to serve relevant content to the child. It’s important that the CMeebie can get it wrong and then tries to use that information to improve in the future.

There’s no doubt companion-centred design is becoming a big thing. This experience building a digital companion for children was illuminating and satisfying and we’d love to explore this area further.

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