Monday, September 24, 2012

DSDN 112: Aesthetic Design

So, in class today I decided I definitely needed to take steps towards completing my frames for my interactive flash project. The most critical point at the moment is the actual design aesthetic of the holographic system on the arm.

Another decision I've decided to make is reduce the complexity of the future vision project and ditch the glasses. The project is now a holographic display that projects from micro-projectors situated along the arm. When the system is in private mode, it is only visible to you, because, well, magic fairy dust. 

But yes, aesthetic. I did a few sketches and came up with some different designs. One option that I could possibly integrate is an element of theme customisation, but I think I'll choose one aesthetic and say deal with it to the users.

The first aesthetic that I came up with was a circuitboard-based system. Interestingly, this one has elements of futurism and elements of industrialism to it. It feels a little grungy while still maintaining an electronic, futuristic connection.

I've used this aesthetic for a project in the past, and while it was a totally different thing, the aesthetic worked quite well on the whole. My tutor at the time did refer to the circles (derived from actual circuitboards) as space-grapes, so I guess it maybe wasn't the best idea. But it could possibly work quite well for this project. We shall see.

Deviating from a more "traditional" technology association, I tried to experiment with something that is very organic and draws from sinuous, natural forms rather than the harder lines of technology. This incorporation of elements of bio-morphism could work in my favour as this style is having a bit of a comeback, and futuristic design is incorporating forms from nature on a much more regular basis.

One thing I was thinking of was the possibility of having the connections between the different "pods" of data as status bars. When something is active in that area, the connection could light up or be a different colour, letting the user discreetly know what's happening.

Another idea I experimented with is the concept of an overlay of a mechanical-style robot arm. This could be a really cool aesthetic, but it also feels very heavy (despite the holograms weighing nothing) and contrived. This really isn't ideal. I want the user to feel connected with their technology, not feeling like it's just trying to be gimmicky. The human form is very fluid, while traditional robot forms are anything but.

The idea of connecting via joints could be quite cool, however.

Gravitating away from future aesthetic and back to large clunk pixels, despite what's actually happening here may actually be a step in the right direction. Games like Minecraft are really starting to bring back the pixellated aesthetic, and this could be an ultra-simple design style that might be quite successful. Using soft pastel colours in combination with strategic use of stroke weights could make this aesthetic very appealing.

Sometimes the future isn't completely clear!

This is a final aesthetic that I thought of. Yes, I know, the thumb looks really weird and is totally in the wrong spot. But that's okay. Playing on the simple aesthetic I created this idea, which I decided to name the "Lightning Connection" which uses stylised lightning to join the "pods" of the system. This shape is less fluid and sinuous than the organic aesthetic, but are still more natural than the other forms. It could be successful, but I really think that for this project I need to make sure that my aesthetic is powerful and can run the show.

I think I'll mock up the three best in Photoshop and see which one works best.

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