— Google (@Google) April 19, 2017
It’s Sunday evening and I’m a bit all over the place. My wife and I took a Virgin Atlantic flight on Thursday night from New York and landed at Heathrow on Friday morning. It was a one-way trip.
After nearly three and half amazing years in New York, I’m back in London. I’m excited to say I’m starting a great new job and will be joining a fantastic team as Head of Production at Google.
Writing that it I can’t help but think I’m about to get found out in the biggest way possible. We’ll see…..
I’m going to miss the team in New York and the city. I don’t have the superlatives to explain how fucking awesome it was (yes, I said awesome… I’m allowed). During my time there I worked on 60+ projects; some big, some small, some successful, some failures. I never thought I’d be given the opportunity to create a new brand for [one of] the biggest companies in the world. But I was. And we did. Along with a bunch of other amazing stuff.
“It also felt like a good moment to tidy up and hit reset on a bunch of stuff. Especially digital things like email, tags, folders and social. I ran FullContact on iCloud, Google, and LinkedIn to merge and de-dupe the data – and hit delete on the old shit. After that I killed Angel List, G+, Instagram, Product Hunt, Snapchat, Squarespace, Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo, Vine, Youtube and more. From today @hellokinsella is dead. A new and shiny @kinsellaxyz is alive.”
But this isn’t about the work I did. It’s about the work I’m going to do. I’m super excited to be joining a team that is already knocking it out of the park. Here’s a snapshot:
In September 2015, the team worked on a project called Assembly of Youth, which used feature phones and SMS to bring the voices of children around the world directly to their representatives at the United Nations General Congress. It presented them to some of the world’s most influential people in a powerful display in the atrium of the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
In response to the Syrian refugee crisis, the team worked alongside the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps to launch the Refugee Info Hub. Built and launched in just 36 hours, the portal brings valuable information to the thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria and making their way to Europe. Within four months of the Hub’s launch the platform had been used in 18 locations across Europe by more than 30 NGOs, and helped more than 100,000 refugees.
More recently Project Jacquard, which “makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms”, won the Cannes Product Design Grand Prix.
And this week they launch Project Bloks, “a research project aiming to create an open hardware platform to help developers, designers, and researchers build the next generation of tangible programming experiences for kids”.
I start tomorrow. Wish me luck.
Most of the stuff I work on is confidential so I don’t get to share it publicly—but my last project could hardly be more visible. I’m not going to write lots about it as there’s already plenty of coverage out there. All I wanted to say is that it’s the meatiest (and most rewarding) thing I’ve ever tackled. We kicked the project off in January 2015 with ten people in a room sketching ideas. By the end of August we had over 200+ engineers, designers, writers, product managers, and marketeers preparing to flip the switches on over 30+ product updates. As well as the product updates and a ton of guidelines and toolkits – we also made this Google, Evolved video, a Google Doodle for the occasion, and shared the thinking on the Official Google Blog.
Everything went live on September 1st 2015.
Bonus: we also broke down the process + thinking in much more detail over on the Google Design Blog post If you’re into how things get made you should definitely take time to read it. You’ll get a better understanding of how the process worked, why the system & framework were designed to hold together, and what we wanted to reflect in the brand by making Google more accessible and useful to our users—wherever they may encounter it.
Here’s a little teaser.
Early this year, designers from all across the company, including Creative Lab and the Material Design team, convened in New York for an intense, week-long design sprint. We drafted a brief that identified four challenges we wanted to address:
- A scalable mark that could convey the feeling of the full logotype in constrained spaces.
- The incorporation of dynamic, intelligent motion that responded to users at all stages of an interaction.
- A systematic approach to branding in our products to provide consistency in people’s daily encounters with Google.
- A refinement of what makes us Googley, combining the best of the brand our users know and love with thoughtful consideration for how their needs are changing.
It was a huge team effort. Hope you like the work!
TweetFuel is an Arduino-controlled experiment that uses the Nike+ FuelBand to measure the health of our Twitter account.
This is something I meant to write about a long time ago. I also wanted to write a detailed and smart post about how and why the project came about, what it’s meant to say about Stinkdigital, how we had to get Nike onboard because we do a lot of work for them, maybe share some details about how and why we simplified the site design to make it feel less like a ‘product’ launch, how we used HTML5/JS, Arduino, Python, and the coverage we got in FWA, FastCo Create, FastCo Design, and lots of other magazines and blogs.
But time has passed, it’s was launched almost 3 months ago now…. so all you really need to know is that we got it from concept to working prototype in 5 days.
Whenever someone follows, RTs or mentions @stinkdigital, our custom made motorized kit spins a mounted Nike+ FuelBand.
So far the video has had 24,100 plays — and I’m still super happy with it as a piece of work.
Retweets count. (So do mentions.)
Vitro conceived this video wall as part of its campaign for the New York City Marathon.
It shows long distance runner Ryan Hall running at marathon speed across a tunnel in NYC’s Columbus Circle subway station – and challenges the public to keep up.
Lets just say the pace is pretty quick….