AIGA, the professional association for design, recognized Google as an exemplary company modeling design’s potential to delight users, inspire visionary products and services, fuel innovation, and improve our world. Google received the AIGA Award at the AIGA Awards Gala on April 20, 2018 in New York City.
We made a video to say thank you. It has a bunch of work by me, my friends at Creative Lab, and across Google.
Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” And we believe design plays a big part in making things accessible and useful for everyone. Find out more at https://g.co/design. And check out the description below the video for a list of projects featured.
Sideways Dictionary is a collection of fun, easy-to-understand analogies that help explain complicated technology terms. Use it to look up tech terms of all kinds, vote for the definitions you like best, and even add your own.
Creative Lab helped our friends at Google Jigsaw bring this project to life by writing, art directing, and producing two short animations. One to introduce the project, and a second to help people get in the right mindset to write and contribute analogies of their own.
There’s a bunch of amazing experiments on the site; but this one below is the one I spend the most time with during its early development phase.
Honestly; I never felt more out of my depth on a project than at the beginning of this one. Sat in the kickoffs with Alex, Kyle and Yotam who were deep in the weeds talking about t-SNE, dimensionality reduction, hi-dimensional space, convolutional neural networks, and supervised vs un-supervised learning. Was a full-on nose-bleed, crash course, in ML. But so worth it. Do not fear this stuff. It’s a different world to start; but after a few weeks it starts to take. So please enjoy….
Sounds are complex and vary widely. This experiment uses machine learning to organize thousands of everyday sounds. The computer wasn’t given any descriptions or tags – only the audio. Using a technique called t-SNE, the computer placed similar sounds closer together. You can use the map to explore neighborhoods of similar sounds and even make beats using the drum sequencer.
Here’s the explainer video:
For an extra sneak peak into the development process; here’s a video showing an earlier prototype. This one has around ~40k short samples from Freesound! For the final version we licensed ~17k.
This is one of the last projects I started working on in New York, so it’s great to see it out in the real world. Mad props to Alex, Catherine, Manny, Yotam, Eric, Jonas, Kyle, Gene and bunch of other very smart people.
One made beats and played them with Ableton Live and a MIDI keyboard. The other jammed live with a chromatic harmonica & pedal FX. It was like deep space Vangelis. Perfect for the setting. Perfect for the vibe.
Needed the break after putting a shift in at work (see last few posts) but feeling recharged and inspired. Don’t spend your money on stuff. Spend it on experiences and memories.
In 2014 a few of us had been talking about future surfaces and interfaces. There’d been some conversations about text as interface and other stuff. We’d played with the idea of using the keyboard as a space to try a little hack. But nothing had bitten, so we put it away in the top drawer.
In 2015 another project we’d been working on inspired a few people to take a fresh look. They made a Spark Card (a one-page slide that summarizes an idea) for a Google powered keyboard and called it Gboard. We sketched design concepts. Made mocks and thew together a quick prototype. People were into it. So we made a shiny deck and site, put a bow on it, and gave the idea to Google.
We then paused everything to focus on creating a new brand system for Google. You can read more about that here – but it meant we were heads down and went dark for months.
During that time a team in Mountain View starting looking at making a keyboard for iOS. Google had a great keyboard for Android and wanted to make something for iPhone users. We started talking and soon a small team from Creative Lab were out on the West Coast for a design sprint.
In a few months we had builds ready for Teamfood, Fishfood, Dogfood and shortly afterwards a production build ready to ship. We got our final Apple approvals and on Thursday May 12th we flipped the switch…. Gboard was live in the AppStore.
– #1 in App Store
– 4.5★ rating from 3,500+ reviews
– 350k downloads on day 1 in US
I’m happy with this one. A new product from beginning to end, and supporting launch comms. A small team with a wide skill set came together to make something great. Love that. It would’ve been impossible to get it done without an amazing team. You know who you are. Thanks for the big effort. And to everyone who’s still reading… download, install, enjoy, we hope you like it.
Get it now in the App Store in English in the U.S., with more languages to come.
This was the first time I’d used the camera, but wow, what an amazing piece of kit. There’s a lovely quote from Ken Hansen to Craig Cutler which I’ve pulled from the Leica Camera blog to share:
“These are the best lenses in the world, choose your f/stop, set your shutter speed, start shooting, and throw away the owner’s manual. It’s that simple.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Like a lot of people I totally fell in love with this camera. It’s next level no-compromise product design. But more importantly I had fun shooting with it–and am looking forward to throwing it my bag, taking more photos, and maybe even becoming a better photographer in 2016.
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!