Lanny McNie

As the dev mgr, Lanny oversees the technical day-to-day details of production and makes sure things get out the door.

@astrostyle

Great Pumpkin Showdown 2016

It has been a few years since we did it, but this year we decided to spend an afternoon carving some pumpkins.

Last week, our newest team members Chris and Matthew found some time in their very busy schedules to build a voting app. You can check out the app at pumpkin.gskinner.com/2016/.

Please jump in and vote for best pumpkin! Instead of the usual “select your favorite”, this app uses a face-off model. If you don’t like where you end up, start again. We will cut off voting on Friday at 5pm.

Continue reading →

Job Posting: Visual Designer

We are currently seeking to fill a job opening for a full-time visual designer in Edmonton.

The Role

Are you passionate about designing amazing digital experiences? Interested in creating engaging, usable UI on emerging platforms for incredible clients like Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Adobe, NASCAR, Atari, and EA? Want to build best-of-breed apps, games, and experiences that run on everything from desktop, tablets, and phones, to smart TVs, VR, and robots?

It can be a challenging role, but you’ll be part of one of the best interactive teams on the planet, ensuring you have the training to excel, and the support to do it without too much stress or OT.

Requirements

Strong visual / aesthetic UI design skills. A passion for designing interfaces that are genuinely usable, engaging, and beautiful on a variety of platforms and screen formats. A working knowledge of typography and how to leverage it appropriately.

Any experience level is welcome (passionate junior to proven senior), but some industry experience is valued.

Bonus Points

Experience with any of the following get you bonus points, but aren’t a necessity: motion design, HTML / CSS experience, illustration, formal UX / interaction design experience, sketching (paper & pen), writing skills, prototype / walkthrough presentations.

Compensation

We offer competitive wages based on experience and proven ability. We strongly believe in a work / life balance and offer regular hours, benefits, and performance bonuses.

Applying

You can apply by sending an email to jobs@gskinner.com. Please share a few examples of interesting or innovative visual designs that you think best reflect your skills and interests.

The Lab: Experiments From the gskinner Team

Sharing code and visual experiments has always been a huge part of my professional life. Experimentation in Flash launched my career, and remained an important theme in my presentations for years. I exhorted audiences to make time for play, but ultimately forgot to follow my own advice.

As the company grew, and life got busier, I lost the habit of building things for fun. I’d dabble now and then, but there was no real concerted effort to create something worth sharing.

This seems to have affected much of the industry. The lab section used to be an integral part of every agency’s site, now they are rare, and when they do exist, tend to be really sparse.

Come visit the gskinner lab.

Hex grid experiment.

It’s time for that to change, at least for us. We’re launching our lab section today. It has a decent smattering of experiments already, and we’ll add to it as time goes on.
Continue reading →

Game Design and Life

I spend a lot of time thinking about video games, from concept to completion and then some. Whether making, playing or being involved with the community, there are a few things I have noticed that I’d like to share.

Game design is equal parts organic and structure, but the more time I spend with both the process and the end product, the more I realize that there are hidden, underlying core values in game design that closely resemble the six human needs. The more of these values/needs the game hits, the subjectively “better” the game is.

Continue reading →

Thoughts on Responsive “Art Direction”

In the creative community, there are discrepancies in how people use design-related lexicon. Terms like “Creative Direction”, “Asset Production”, and “Design” are often used interchangeably and inaccurately. It can be confusing.

“Art direction” in particular, means different things to different people, and there’s a recent trend in using this term to describe specific processes surrounding the production of scalable assets in responsive systems.

For example, according to the Google Developer’s documentation on responsive images:

“[c]hanging images based on device characteristics, also known as art direction can be accomplished using the picture element. The picture element defines a declarative solution for providing multiple versions of an image based on different characteristics, like device size, device resolution, orientation, and more”. – Google Developer Documentation.
Continue reading →

Better Typography for Any Web Project

Using the SCSS Baseline Type Utility

Typographers and type enthusiasts will attest that aligning a typeface to its baseline grid is an essential part of any text-heavy design. Maintaining a consistent vertical rhythm is an important part in the creation of beautiful typography and layouts. This is accomplished easily in programs such as Adobe InDesign. However until now, I have yet to find a tool that easily accomplishes this with web type, while remaining flexible to the individual needs of a project.

Continue reading →

Sketch It Out

In the course of every project or endeavour, there is an inevitable need for open discussion and the effective capture of ideas, goals, and requirements. Whether you’re taking notes, doing UI/UX planning, or are deep into design, taking a step back to leverage sketching can prove to be a key part of a productive creative process.

Sketching allows you to freely and more quickly explore concepts and solutions without involving a more rigid digital design tool like Photoshop or Sketch. There are no rules or constraints, just the freeform expression of ideas. Continue reading →

A Mental Model for Media Queries

Handling layout changes across a broad landscape of devices and browsers typically involves the use of media queries, which enable layouts to bend and flex based on their viewing environment.

Most queries I see are built around the concept of width:

@media screen and (max-width: 640px) {
    body { background-color: blue; }
}

I love the simplicity of this methodology. It’s straightforward, easy to implement, and it works with content that comprises most websites. But what about web-based apps, the website’s younger cousin? Is this model the most effective media query strategy that can help us with the unique challenges of designing web applications? Continue reading →