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May 30 2013


UX Designer Interview: Arun Pattnaik

Creative. Colorful. Experienced. Skilled. Knowledgable. Fun. Interesting. Passionate. These are all words that aptly describe UX designer, Arun Pattnaik. Visit his website,, and you can read his personal story of becoming a UX design superhero. In his own words, he shows “the world remarkable things never seen before.”

Overstretched? Not really. His vision is to make an impact on the world through his entrepreneurial efforts. This passion for helping others is what truly makes him a “superhero.”

The portfolio section of Arun’s website.

Hailing from New Dehli, India, Arun has worked with InstaPress, SlideShare, PicTiger and some more startups. He also worked with the world’s youngest CEO, Suhas Gopinath, who founded Globals Inc. In the past he has co-founded Oravel & Bidray (which is now owned by DealDash). Arun currently advices startups on user experience & design apart from doing freelance UX design projects, which means that his time is very limited at the moment – another superhero move, as he somehow still found time to thoroughly answer each of the questions below.

Skills section of Arun’s website which includes an interactive pie chart.

Arun’s skills seem well-developed. Of course, his largest area of expertise is in UI and UX but his XHTML and CSS skills are also highly refined. Add to this list his knowledge of PHP and a bit of HTML5. What really caught my attention, however, in my search for a UX designer (besides the fact that I wanted to find someone not so well-known but just as talented as the big names), was Arun’s heart and passion. In scrolling through his cleverly interactive website, I was captivated by his creative story-telling and fantastic design skills. In visiting the websites listed in his portfolio, I was greatly impressed not just at his ability to create very usable websites but also at his ability to help build a startup from the ground up. His personal blog showed me just how much heart he puts into every single one of his projects, and also how much pure passion he has for helping startups grow into successful companies. This man was one that certainly deserved an interview. Hopefully his answers below will help those of you who are searching for success in your own UX designer careers.

How did you get started?

Arun: Like most other UX engineers, I come from a design background. I started off as a graphic designer in a small company when I was young. Although I had a formal degree, that never really helped. I quickly realized that you’ll learn more about design by sketching on paper than reading a dozen books on design. After 2 years of working with print and graphics, I was introduced to web design by Suhas Gopinath, usually referred to as the world’s youngest CEO, my short time former employer, and now a very good friend. I was fascinated by the way Internet worked, and was amused by the impact of design on making decisions online.

And that was the time when I started taking an interest in UX design. While working with SlideShare, which is among the 250 most visited websites in the world & the world’s largest presentation sharing community, I learned how little details impact user behavior. The metrics give you quick feedback on what’s working and what’s not, whether the users like a red button or a green button, where to have ‘ok’ & ‘cancel’ buttons and where to have ‘yes’ & ‘no’ buttons. In fact that’s the basic idea behind UX, you learn how actions are affected by the smallest of details. You connect to users emotionally.

Slideshare pricing plans page.

What’s your education background?

Arun: I was never a good student. So my answer is not really encouraging for youngsters. Although I have a formal degree (with specialization in Animation & SFX), what I do currently is completely different from what I was taught. I was trained for 3D animation & visual effects in movies but that’s not something I believe I would have enjoyed to work on. I took a different career path and here I am making a lot of stuff easier to use.

I believe my instincts have been right so far. I love what I do and I’m not doing a bad job at it either.

Hiring page for Zeebo, Inc.

Zeebo gaming console: registration page.

How do you differentiate between UI design & UX design?

Arun: User interface is a part of user experience. Although UX in it’s best form is curated, it still needs to be designed.

UI design is entirely visual. It’s mostly about aesthetics and deals with what the different parts/sections of a product look like. The design of a UI will be heavily informed by the UX design.

On the other hand, UX design is a broader term. In addition to the visual appearance, UX deals with what a product feels like, how difficult is it to obtain, how easy is it to use, and whether it adds value to the end user. For some products, not necessarily web products, UX could encompass sales and support as well.

The UI can be a component of UX, but many user experiences don’t have UIs. Some have invisible UIs. For instance, I have once worked on the UX of a telephonic customer support product and it didn’t have a visual UI. A phone caller won’t get to see anything but he still expects and deserves a good user experience.

A very casual way of explaining the relationship between UI & UX would be -

“In the ultimate analysis, the goal of UI is to deliver sex, while the goal of UX is to deliver orgasms.”

Can crappy design still provide excellent UX?

Arun: Of course! Design merely acts as an enabler of UX, good or bad. My favorite web examples are Craigslist and Facebook. From purely a visual design point of view, the sites are very basic, if not crappy, but they still manage to provide great user experiences which can be explained by the popularity of the platforms.

Among physical objects, something as mundane as a wooden chair or a spoon could be an example of crappy designs with excellent user experiences.

Screenshots of the Zeebo Inc. website.

What resources do you reach every day when approaching a UX gig?

Arun: Most of my work comes from personal contacts, past clients, referrals & Dribbble. Although I have gotten a couple of projects from visitors of my website (, the quality of those leads have been terribly low, due to the fact that the industry is yet to understand the importance of UX design.

Apart from Dribbble, some of my peers score UX gigs from the following websites:

What does the future of UX look like in your head?

Arun: I believe UX, as an industry, is going to be one of the largest in the near future. Companies, both big and small, are starting to invest heavily in creating amazing user experiences by innovating in their respective fields. The product companies have learned to put customers first. As recently as five years ago it was hard to find a user experience designer in a company. Ironically it was handled together by the CEO/Founder and the visual designer of the product. And now it’s common to see teams of user experience designers in companies, either as a separate department or working together with the product managers. Users are now part of the product’s building process. Internet startups are considering UX as their most powerful tool. So I’d say the future of UX is very bright.

Graphic of Dribbble invites Arun made almost completely of free PSDs found on Dribbble.

How will approaching design change?

Arun: Designs are now being done by putting the user first. Engineers are putting more focus on what the user expects to happen instead of what’s cool. Designers are putting an effort in what works best instead of what looks shiny. So the approach to design has taken a different turn. It’s a two-way process now. We learn by the user’s needs & behavior and then design our products according to it. Then we observe the user again. If we find the design didn’t work, we iterate. Repeat. User Experience should be seen as a continuous thread that runs through an entire organization, from one project into the next always pushing to make a person’s entire experience better.

Login section on the left panel of a website for a cabs booking company called Meru Cabs.

What technologies will be standard in future?

Arun: have always believed that technology merely acts as an enabler of what you actually want to do. So I would frame this question as “What methods will be standard in future?” Talking to the users is always the best method of improving your product. The success story of Dunhill is my favorite example of keeping the customer involved in the product’s development process. More and more corporates are taking this approach to design their products, and I am very sure that this will become pretty much the standard for product design. So a typical product release cycle would look like:

1. Find the problem.

2. Ask the user if it’s a problem.

3. Ask the user how has he tried to solve the problem in the past.

4. Solve the problem.

5. Ask the user if his problem is solved. Confirm that with metrics.

6. If not, go back to step 4.

If yes, ask him what did he find annoying and how can you improve.

7. Improvise. Repeat.

How does mobile fit into the future of UX?

Arun: Mobile has an important part to play in UX in the future. It already has, especially with the latest innovations in touch and geolocation technologies in place. Most of the successful businesses, both offline and online, have mobile apps which help them extend their service to users. Mobile is no longer just a communication device. It has now become an important part of our daily lives.

Mobile brings an always-available feel to technologies, which is partly true. But unfortunately we have gotten into the habit of presuming that mobile means on-the-go, desktop denotes a desk, and tablet is on the toilet. But we fail to see the blurring lines on where devices are being used and how they’re being used in unison. And that adds to the user experience regardless of the nature of your business. With mobile technologies, you no longer have to call up and ask friends about directions, journalists don’t have to carry equipment all the time to capture news, twitter has changed the way we communicate and receive news, we no longer have to wait for an important email because we are traveling. These are small but revolutionary changes. We’re saving time and money to do things which are more important. And all this has been made possible by mobile [devices].

Screenshots of the Stealth Android App.

Landing screen of the Stealth Android App.

Superhero UX Designer

Many would agree that a superhero is anyone with superhuman skills and a passion for helping and protecting the weaker members of society. Maybe this is why Arun Pattnaik likes to refer to himself as a superhero of sorts on his website. So, maybe his skills aren’t exactly superhuman, but they are definitely at an expertise level. Maybe he doesn’t fly around the world in spandex and a cape, but he does like to help other entrepreneurial businesses succeed. In my opinion, these descriptions are close enough for me to call him a superhero UX designer that deserves a moment in the spotlight.

He writes about design here. You should get in touch with him on Twitter at @arunpattnaik where he is always willing to answer UX & design related questions.

Author: Tara Hornor

Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She is a freelance senior editor at DesignCrowd – a marketplace that helps businesses outsource or ‘crowdsource’ custom design from over 100,000 designers worldwide. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.

November 20 2012


Tribute to Yuri Galitsyn

The Kiev based Ukrainian illustrator and graphic designer Yuri Galitsyn passed away unexpectedly earlier this month.

According to Galitsyn’s LinkedIn profile, he studied book drawing in the early 1980s at the Higher Polygraphic Institute in Kiev (known as the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute) during the twilight years of Soviet ruled Ukraine.

Galitsyn’s body of work was extensive  with a distinct style that incorporated line drawing and animal motifs giving his work a contemporary ’neo-gothic’ feel with the effective use of line weight and shadow to create depth and feeling to his designs.

He was an active member of the online design community. Galitsyn’s Dribble profile displays  more than 2,000 followers and 20,000 ‘likes’ for his designs. His work can be viewed on and LogoMoose (see links at end of post).

As a well-liked and respected member of this community, designers from around the world have publicly shared their feelings about Galitsyn’s death.

“I heard about this tragedy. Really liked his unique style. Glad that you guys didn’t forget him. I think that his style should be called by his name, because I don’t know any other designer who designs logos like that, ” said Lithuanian designer Paulius Kairevičius.

We commissioned Felix Diaconu to curate a roundup of Galitsyn’s most recent designs which we’re publishing today. The Romanian designer says, “The following collection of 25 brilliant logo designs belongs to a great man and designer, Yuri Galitsyn.  Our sincere condolences to Yuri’s family and relatives. R.I.P. Gal! Your work will always be remembered in our hearts!”

Bull Restaurant

Lion Football

Shop Honey

Shaman Letterpess


Oldtimer gallery

Cat logo letterpress

Iron elephant



Happy Lama







Union Express logo






Dodo Pizza

Logo of Theater Institute

You can view more examples of his work here:

Do you know more? If you knew Yuri personally or just admired this prodigiously talented designer from afar, share a link to your favorite designs of his in the comments below.

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November 01 2012


An Interview with Designer and Developer Benjamin De Cock

Benjamin de Cock is a freelance designer who works out of his home office in Belgium. His focuses are interface and icon design, and he’s 28 years old. Benjamin spends most of his time designing Stripe and Kickoff. We caught up with Ben to talk to him about his design practices and approach.

What software/hardware do you use daily?

I exclusively use Adobe Fireworks CS6 as my design tool. I look more and more at Sketch 2 which is very promising but still a bit young to make the complete switch in my humble opinion. When I design for iOS, I also use quite a lot of LiveView and — surprisingly — iPhoto to quickly import screenshots to the Mac through Photo Stream.


I’m not doing a lot of front-end development anymore but when I do, I still use the dying TextMate. I gave Coda 2 a quick try but I felt it wasn’t the right tool for me as I’m usually looking for extremely light text editors. I’ve heard great things about Sublime Text and Chocolat but since I lost some interest in coding, I must admit I haven’t found the motivation to properly try those apps yet.

As for the hardware part, I work on a MacBook Air 11″ (always closed) connected to a Thunderbolt Display 27″. I should probably mention my iPad too as I work quite a lot on it. For example, I do most of the email stuff there and I truly enjoy the experience. Many people find it difficult to type on the iPad but it’s not the case for me. Editing text still feels complicated to me (I hope Apple’s working on improving the loupe or an alternative to it) but typing works just fine with me. I wouldn’t say I’m as fast as I’m on a real keyboard but I’m honestly close to it and I love the feeling of my fingers on the glass. :)

Where do you get your inspiration from?

It may sound cliché but I look at everything Apple makes, from their website (the iPad’s feature page is still amazing) to their device boxes. I honestly still haven’t found another company where the attention to every detail feels so important. I guess I should also mention Dribbble. While I have mixed feelings about it (showing some graphics out of context rarely makes sense), it’s still a great resource if you want to get inspiration on execution.


What triggered your passion of design and development?

Showing things to people and see those people actually using your creations has always been fascinating to me. Designing something exclusively for me wouldn’t be motivating at all. With the web, I have this amazing opportunity to easily share my work with so many people around the world so it was a no-brainer.

As for the development part of the process, I must clarify I’m not a developer at all. I’m very comfortable with HTML and CSS (which is definitely not what I call “development”) and I also do some JavaScript but that’s everything I know. I always wanted to understand how things technically work but I’m not really interested in implementation details. It also feels important to me to be able to prototype some of my UI ideas to see if they can actually work. I think every software designer should have at least some notion of the technical side of the apps they’re designing.

What’s a typical day look like for you?

I usually start the day around 9am by answering the important emails on my iPad and checking some RSS feeds and tweets before moving to my office. I try to then focus exclusively on designing things, hiding all kinds of notifications that could disturb me. I repeat the same scenario after lunch and I usually leave my office around 6pm to take care of my son.


What would you recommend to anyone wanting to get started in the world of design?

I’m a huge believer in practice. Trying to replicate existing graphics is a good way to start learning your design software and to see how the original designer made all the details. Learning to make many iterations of the same mockup is very important too. We, as designers, are often too connected with the graphics we create. Trial and error is a frustrating but essential workflow to reach something really good. Experience is king.

Thanks a lot for your time – keep up the great work!

Thanks for having me Daniel!

February 21 2012


Designer Interview: Peter Jaworowski of Ars Thanea

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Fuel Your Creativity recently spoke to Peter Jaworowski, a designer from Poland who is the Executive Creative Director and Partner at Ars Thanea (check out their blog) to get a feel for his influences and practices as a designer. Ars Thanea works with a raft of really cool clients, including Disney and game publisher Ubisoft. You can follow Peter and Ars Thanea on Twitter and Behance.

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

We are working on a few very cool projects at once. One of them is a campaign for Discovery Channel Poland where we (Ars Thanea) are responsible for creative and production. We are aiming for very rich visual experience using mixed media and those kind of projects are always fun.

What designer has influenced you the most?

Robert Lindstrom, the founder of Designchapel and co-founder of North Kingdom.

A visual created by Ars Thanea and Nomadic Agency as part of an interactive board game.

A visual created by Ars Thanea and Nomadic Agency as part of an interactive board game.

Where are you based?

Warsaw, Poland.

What books are you reading now?

Eduardo Porter’s The Price of Everything and Mario Puzo’s Omerta.

Do you prefer print or ebooks?


What kind of phone do you use?

An iPhone and a Nokia E6.

Poster created by Ars Thanea to promote FITC Amsterdam 2012.

Poster created by Ars Thanea to promote FITC Amsterdam 2012.

Mac or PC?


What are your favorite design books?

Alex Torchut’s More is More and Stefan Sagmeister’s Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far.

What are your favorite design blogs?

Co.Design, The Fox Is Black, It’s Nice That, FormFiftyFive and Fubiz.

20 seminal Internet events from the year illustrated by Ars Thanea and Syzygy UK.

20 seminal Internet events from the year illustrated by Ars Thanea and Syzygy UK.

What keeps you focused when you’re designing?

I couldn’t live without a pair of good headphones and music that plays around the clock. Of course, in an ideal world, it would be amazing to turn off the phone — unfortunately it can’t happen in most cases.

What apps do you most?

On my iPhone, iMDB and Awesome Note. On my Mac, Photoshop, Keynote and Numbers.

What’s in your office setup?


Our office is a full, huge three-floor house building in the center of a beautiful and green area of Warsaw. The working space is more of a standard one, but the surroundings of our office and neighborhood makes all the difference. Quiet and peaceful, especially in the summer with excellent work conditions in the garden. Perfect for brainstorming. Additionally, we have a sauna and gym which helps to blow off some steam!

December 29 2011


Interview with Zach Klein, Designer of

Zach Klein is a designer and entrepreneur living in New York, NY. He is the brains behind the beautiful design of Vimeo and one of the brains behind CollegeHumor. Zach was kind enough to answer just a few questions about his work at Vimeo. Be sure to check him out!

How did you get involved with a huge idea like Vimeo?

My business partner Jakob Lodwick is a longtime video enthusiast. In 2004, while I immersed myself in NYC’s photoblogging scene, which was being spurred by the sudden popularity of Flickr and tagging, Jakob tinkered around with a concept of tagging video clips in order to later assemble a movie from a string of keywords. Soon after, we began to pursue the idea together, making it an unofficial project at night after we wrapped up our CollegeHumor work every day. I was responsible for the interface, which in its first iteration was largely inspired by Flickr and the community they built on top of photos.

During the design process, what were your biggest breakthroughs (”Aha!” moments)? How many different ideas did you present and filter through before you arrived at what is on the site currently?

I think the biggest breakthroughs came when I realized the ways that videos are different from photos, which made me confident to steer away from some of Flickr’s layout precedents. Specifically, it was important for me to understand that the flash player is a portable device, and our early data demonstrated that most video plays would take place off-site encouraging me to move functionality from the video page to the player itself. I think the player is still in the early stages of where it could go, as I expect most of our users’ experience should take place inside the player itself allowing us to renovate the video page into a showroom compelling users to take the video home with them, so to speak, to take it to their other habitats like Tumblr, Twitter, etc.

What’s with the somewhat ethereal, earthy illustrations, anyway? (We love them!)

I sometimes fantasize that if I ever could afford it I would buy a substantial number of billboards and replace the typical advertisements with simple, beautiful images. I was thinking about this when I was laying out the Vimeo login page — typically the more boring page on any site — and then emailed my friend Chad Pugh, an extraordinary illustrator whom I’d love to work with in greater capacity some day, and commissioned him to envision the Vimeo world to serve as the background for the page. Since then, the characters and objects in that illustration have become mascots.

As far as the user experience goes, how much of a part did you have in the development side of things?

I only went as deep as CSS, however in 2007 we grew our team from 4 to 16 people comprising a small front-end team to work with me. Justin Ouellette (who’d later go on to found Muxtape) assumed the CSS work, as well as most interaction programming.

What sets Vimeo apart from other video hosting services around the web?

Dedication to quality, community, and originality — without exception.

What’s your favorite thing about Vimeo?

The best part of Vimeo is the back office, the 20 or so people who continue to run Vimeo. They’re incredibly talented and creative, and I’m very thankful for the time I had to work with them. A good idea is worthless without impeccable execution and a commitment to iterate, and this team played a majority’s role in helping Jakob and I hit this one out of the park.

What are you doing these days?

I’ve raised a small pool of money from other entrepreneurs I admire, and I’m working with Patrick Moberg, who also worked at Vimeo, on a startup called Spurd. We’re based in Brooklyn.

Thanks so much again, Zach, for taking some time to answer a few questions.
Make sure you check out Zach’s personal website, and follow him on twitter!

(interview originally posted on Fuel Your Interface)

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Made By Tinder

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Fuel Brand Network 2010 cc (creative commons license)

Interview with Zach Klein, Designer of

April 18 2011


Mojo Themes Redesign – Interview with the designer Brian Hoff

headshotBrian Hoff runs a full time independent studio in Brooklyn, publishes The Design Cubicle, speaks at design conferences and has been featured in several industry publications. It’s fair to say that we at FUEL are big fans. Brian has been busy with Mojo Themes and their recent stellar re-design. I had a chance to pick Brian’s brain about the process:

CE: What was the overall goal of the re-design and how did you aim to make Mojo Themes stand out?

BH: There were three major tasks at hand when redesigning and rethinking the Mojo experience: Improved usability, simplified navigation / browsing experience /marketplace, and creating a better and more enjoyable experience that was lacking.
At first, we found ourselves moving far away from the brand that Mojo-Themes had already established. It took us a few weeks of swimming in the wrong direction in order to see where we needed to head to take the effort a touch further. With a fresh, lively coat of paint, beautified typography using webfonts (Proxima Nova), more engaging headlines and copy, dynamic and unique experiences from page to page, improved marketplace browsing, and rich interactions, including the Mojo Monster.

960_grid_12_col copy_2

CE: Did you start the process with wireframes, moodboards, and loads background research or after the initial talks did you have a pretty clear cut idea in your head on where you wanted to take the design?

BH: Yes. A good portion of any project effort I take on starts off with extremely rough wireframes on paper and progressing into a more detailed mockup of the layout which focuses on tone, hierarchy, typography and flow of the page – so basically no color or texture comes into play in the early stages.

The tones early on consisted of blacks, various shades of grey, and white, which allowed me to map out importance through tone and contrast. The hierarchy and “flow” through emerged through typographic means – size, style (italics, bolds), all-caps. Beyond being a lovely, lovely typeface, Proxima Nova also has a very large family of fonts which helped us further extend the typographic hierarchy a bit more than your average family.

The project started off great, but took a bit of a sideways turn for about 3 weeks until I finally was able to see the direction it needed to head in. I remember calling the Mojo fellas (Brady Nord and JR Farr) explaining to them that I was sorry I wasted 3 extra weeks of their time, but I knew the new vision was something they would equally be excited and proud of. That’s the funny thing about design: it often takes going in the wrong direction for weeks on end to finally find the right path.


CE: What was the biggest challenge or hardest thing you had to work through in the design?

BH: The biggest challenge by far was not moving too far away from the “Mojo brand.” This was one of the main reasons we got lost for a few weeks. Although everyone was happy with the visual direction of the site, something didn’t feel quite “Mojo” about it.

There were periods of both myself and the guys over at Mojo saying, “well let’s change this to see if that works,” or “how about we change this color to see if that works better.” I typically find, especially if I’m saying things like this to myself, that it needs to go into an entirely new direction. Luckily, the guys behind the scenes at Mojo Themes were more than understanding and valued the process and much as the end result and were happy to extend the initial timeframe we set out for. Overall I find that great or even better ideas tend to transcend and evolve over rigorous thinking and re-thinking the original thoughts. This is why I tend to stay away from unrealistic deadlines.

CE: The details are what separate the men from the boys. The design has outstanding little details as well as beautiful typography. How much emphasis did you make sure you kept on these attributes?

BH: Thank you. Typography is certainly the backbone of great design and as a bit of a type nerd (and by bit, I mean that’s a bit of an understatement), I tend to focus on the typography from the very early stages of the design. When I have a mood in mind I tend to look for a typeface to match it first in addition to also making sure it fits the medium and function well.

The same goes for the tiny details. They tend to make the work unforgettable and experience more wonderful. Although it’s important to note that one shouldn’t go overboard with detail as well. Figuring out where to deploy the fine details and when to leave the unnecessary behind is key. Another important note in detail is on the development side (something I tend to worry about if I hand off files to other developers), but the people over at Mojo did an impeccable job. The PSD and the fully developed site overlay each other beautifully. Pixel perfection and precision.

CE: This design/implementation of this site comes at a time where there is a huge drive for being standards compliant & using responsible web-design practices. How conscious were you of making sure that this would be able to be carried out throughout the project?

BH: Knowing your medium and understanding the audience a bit plays a huge role in the responsibility of any web designer. All of my work focuses around simple, beautiful things that “work” for their intended use, while also pushing boundaries where possible. Just because something is “standard” or “responsible” doesn’t mean they can’t be approached from a different angle while still remaining “responsible.” The Mojo Themes website was designed around these same principles and processes.

CE: What are the highlights of the new design?

Here’s (pretty much) the full list of what we changed, added and improved upon:

  • Landing page: More emphasis on the themes and seller interaction
  • Dynamic page layouts: Each page has a unique layout to match the content
  • More compelling headlines and copyrighting improvements
  • More Monster: We gave the Mojo Monster (hover over him on the home page) more personality as a friendly guide and companion.
  • Strong Typography: More focus on readability, hierarchy and personality
  • A footer with charm and action. Useful links and a new way to sign up for newsletters.
  • Simplified, restructured and much deserved Forum spring cleansing.
  • More engaging and customizable blog to highlight the various authors that write for the blog
  • More comprehensive Check Out process
  • Fully redesigned Marketplace experience through re-thought category browsing and filtering
  • Powerful and engaging interactive elements
  • More streamlined sign in and sign up experience
  • Achieved an overall mood that kept the to Mojo’s playfulness, yet raised a new standard and polish for all Marketplace companies online to rise to the (nav)bar – this is where the home page’s headline came from. Overall we found that you can be both playful and sophisticated at the same time.

Screen shot 2011-04-17 at 10.38.41 PM

MOJO Themes aims to create an open marketplace for top rated designers/developers to shine in a world where design is going down hill quicker then we know and where someone can find, rate and buy quality themes & templates all in one trusted place.

Sponsored by

Made By Tinder

Advertise on Fuel Brand Network.
Fuel Brand Network 2010 cc (creative commons license)

Mojo Themes Redesign – Interview with the designer Brian Hoff

April 13 2011


Creatives Across the Nation

It never ceases to amaze me how many wonderful pockets of creative people there are. Whether it’s interior design, advertising, architecture, graphic design, web design, motionography, illustration, fine art or photography (or anything else) there is an vast amount of talented creatives who do awesome work everyday. The problem is, there are so many, it’s hard to locate where these awesome people live and work!


Here is where you come in:

Tell us your favorite creatives, firms or companies in the comments, via e-mail or twitter and their location. There is an abundance of talent that is both inspiring and captivating and yet it’s hard to wrap your mind around who is where doing what… Plus, you might learn about someone new who is in your neck of the woods.

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Made By Tinder

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Creatives Across the Nation

September 23 2010


Kickass places for Custom Designed Gear

Everyone loves creative gear right? Well, what about stuff that not everyone has? Even better. Below are a few places that offer some really creative and kickass shwag. These are great people, doing great work and selling it to you and me. Need a shirt? Got it. Need an iPhone case? Got that too. Now go buy some gear! I’m sure there are other great places for



As the market continues to become saturated with overly complex, cluttered designs, Ugmonk’s mission is to provide high-quality products with simple, fresh graphics.

About the Designer

Jeff Sheldon makes his home in Downingtown, PA with his wife and no pets. He graduated with a B.S. in graphic design in 2008 and has a passion for all things design. When he’s not designing, Jeff enjoys snowboarding, soccer, biking, photography, and sleeping.




Inksie is a brand, online community, and shop based on well-designed products and the culture that embodies them. The hub of our organization consists of new designers and veterans alike, excited to create, distribute, and vote on works of art around the world.

Nonconformist Mens Lifestyleampersand06Print Production Detail



In this age of digital communication, smart phones, and touch computing, there is still a yearning for the simple. Despite the blood curdling pace at which technology inexorably advances, many people prefer to capture ideas and thoughts on an age old device — paper.

The purpose of this site is to provide a friendly, easy to use experience for finding and purchasing high quality notebooks, notepads, sketchbooks, and whatever othercreativity-inspiring products strike our fancy. We aim to enable creative people to find all the resources they need to work on their projects, capture their thoughts, and wireframe their lives in a format that fits them.

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At Veer, you’ll enjoy an uncomplicated shopping experience that lets you stay focused on what’s really important: your creative work. You’ll also find things to do, accessories for creatives at home and on the go, plus endless opportunities to save.


House Industries


Known throughout the world as a prolific type foundry, House Industries has made a considerable impact on the world of design. House Industries fonts scream from billboards, wish happy whatever from tens of thousands of greeting cards, serve as the basis for consumer product logos and add elements of style to a wide range of mainstream media. In their illustrious career, House artists have mastered a large cross-section of design disciplines. Their typography deftly melds cultural, musical and graphic elements. From early forays into distressed digital alphabets to sophisticated type and lettering systems, House Industries’ work transcends graphic conventions and reaches out to a broad audience. What ultimately shines in the House Industries oeuvre is what always conquers mediocrity: a genuine love for their subject matter. Be it hot rods, classically relevant lettering or Swiss Modernism, House continues to provide typographic optimism in this age of the lowest aesthetic common denominator.





Poolga is about art and design on hand-held devices and discovering talented illustrators and designers. We think that the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad are great devices for carrying around, displaying and sharing art. We mostly focus on illustration, graphic design and typography.


Johnny Cupcakes


Customers like and appreciate the story and work ethic behind my brand. I started this as a joke from the trunk of my beat up ‘89 Toyota Camry. A college drop out with a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle, I never wasted my time going out and partying but instead focused only on brainstorming and sketching up my wacky ideas. I turned down investors and took countless risks like keeping my shirts out of chain stores.


Other Places

What did we miss? There are thousands of unique places to buy some good gear. Give us your input in the comments!

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Kickass places for Custom Designed Gear

September 10 2010


Amazing Photo Manipulations of Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson has a nack for photography but more-so he has a nack for photo manipulations and editing. He is a 25 year old freelance photographer that lives in Sweden. He works mostly on personal projects and commercial work. He says “I see myself as a photographer as much as a retoucher, a combination that is only limited by imagination.” Imagination he has! In the following photos you’ll notice he can make anything look real. The kind of hours this guy logs in photoshop must be astounding!

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Connect with Erik

Erik is on various social networks so you can follow his folio updates or just his everyday tweetings. We’re expecting to see much more of his work in the future!




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Made By Tinder

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Fuel Brand Network 2010 cc (creative commons license)

Amazing Photo Manipulations of Erik Johansson

August 12 2010


Simplistic Stylings of Nisims “It’ll come back” campaign

Just because designs are simple or minimal doesn’t mean they aren’t clever. A new campaign created by Marshall Fenn Communications uses these very principles. Marshall Fenn takes on project large and small and their happy to help clients in anyway possible. There based out of Toronto and Las Vegas and have some other creative work that is worth taking a glance at.

To achieve a simple, minimal advertisement you have to reduce everything down to the key elements of the message you’re trying to get across. No bells and whistles just copy and execution. This campaign boils the market down (hair care) into four different “styles”: Black, Brunette, Red & Blonde. Then, using older hair styles that some of us haven’t seen the likes of for years to reference “coming back”. To keepwith the “it’s coming back” theme there is also a boomerang that is woven into each of the vector designs. To top it all off the Nisim, helps stimulate hair growth which makes the campaign a nice, clean, minimal, successful campaign. The backgrounds are simple.





Advertising Agency: Marshall Fenn, Toronto, Canada
Art Directors: Jonathan Guy, Steven Kim
Copywriter: Jonathan Guy
Photographer: Andy Ferreira
Illustrator: Jonathan Guy

Advertising Agency: Marshall Fenn, Toronto, Canada

Art Directors: Jonathan Guy, Steven Kim

Copywriter: Jonathan Guy

Photographer: Andy Ferreira

Illustrator: Jonathan Guy

Sponsored by

Made By Tinder

Advertise on Fuel Brand Network.
Fuel Brand Network 2010 cc (creative commons license)

Simplistic Stylings of Nisims “It’ll come back” campaign

July 19 2010


Inspiration from sports: Burton Snowboards

Burton. The word that’s almost synonymous with snowboarding. Wether you like the snow, the boards, the clothes, the culture or just have a love for creativity Burton dishes it all out. Burton’s claim to fame started In 1985 when the first Burton snowboards were shipped to Austria, Germany, France, Norway and Switzerland. 150 boards had already been sold, an hxd the only employee was a pro snowboarder. Burton has fueled the growth of snowboarding worldwide through its groundbreaking product lines, its grassroots efforts to get the sport accepted at resorts and its team of top snowboarders. Burton dominates the snowboard industry worldwide with global headquarters in Burlington, Vermont and international offices in Innsbruck, Austria and Tokyo, Japan. If you’d like some more Burton history info there is an amazing PDF with all the ins & outs of stuff you never though you’d like to know over on the sites History page. Check it out.


Site Branding


Sweet Gear

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The Good Book


If you haven’t seen the Good Book: Burton’s 2010 catalog. This thing is packed full of amazing design, creativity and photography. The amount of finely crafted detail and attention given to each nook and crannie is amazing. Although they are gone and out fo print. (see below)

Printed copies of the Good Book are history, but if you check your local dealer bribe some kid with one, visit a Burton Flagship Store or continue flipping coins into wells, you might just find one.

Need some more Burton in your life?






Burton Snowboards North America
80 Industrial Parkway
Burlington, VT 05401

Rider Services / W-48
Tel: (800) 881-3138
Fax: (802) 660-3250

Sponsored by

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Inspiration from sports: Burton Snowboards

July 13 2010


Southern Hospitality of Dufford Young Architects


With select projects in the U.S. and Canada, Dufford Young Architects is a Charleston, SC-based architecture firm with a comprehensive body of work spanning more than a dozen years. What they are known for is clean solutions for residential and commercial architecture, including new construction, renovation and historic restoration. Their design process is driven by open, thorough and timely communication with their clients. Their goal with each project is to tap the soul of building through richness of materials, well-proportioned spaces, integrated site design and suitable furnishings. This comprehensive approach, extends to even the smallest detail which has become the Dufford Young signature.

Selected Works:

Spring Island, South Carolina

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Wappoo Creek, South Carolina

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Philip Houck Dufford

Philip is a fourth-generation native of SC and a graduate from Clemson University’s Master of Architecture program including a semester of intensive studies of European architecture and urban design at The Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genoa, Italy. In 1990, Philip’s passion to live and work within historic urban fabric led him to Charleston. He joined John in 1995 to form the practice of Dufford Young Architects.

John Lucas Young

John is native of coastal South Carolina. He received his Bachelor and Master of Architecture from Clemson University including a semester at The Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genoa, Italy. In 1990, John returned to a post-Hurricane Hugo Charleston to be part of the massive restoration, renovation and rebuilding efforts. He worked with various firms before starting a private practice in 1994. John has 20 years of experience in restoration, renovation and new construction of both commercial and residential projects.


Dufford Yound Architects
20 Elizabeth Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29403

Sponsored by

Made By Tinder

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Fuel Brand Network 2010 cc (creative commons license)

Southern Hospitality of Dufford Young Architects

July 06 2010


Putting the Creative in the Discovery Channel


The Discovery Channel has some epic HD specials and shows: LifePlanet EarthDeadliest CatchMythbusters are just a few that showcase the earth in its awe inspiring beauty. But, who makes the Discovery Channel beautiful? Discovery Creative. Discovery Creative is the internal agency that “didn’t get the memo” that in-house agencies can’t compete. Because they’re too busy whipping up stellar work and web solutions for their clients. Discovery Creative doesn’t just have a few capabilities in their arsenal, their rockin’ the full spectrum. Equipped with:Motion DesignBroadcast ProductionArt Direction & CopywritingWeb ServicesAccount ManagementPhoto Services and Production Services they are the steam that keeps the Discovery Network pumping out amazing shows with hard hitting creativity. We’ve showcased some of their works, their site content & most of all just their general knack for creativity.

Site Branding


Sample Works


Sure Jamie and Adam were hesitant when we proposed decapitation. But once the legal waivers were signed and the hacksaws came out, they were all in. Soon their floating faces were all over gatefold print ads, massive billboards and even online units that let viewers bust myths of their own. Re-attachment was tricky. But the campaign rose to the top.



Discovery Rebranding – Where It Gets Interesting

Imagine having to rebrand the Discovery Channel in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. That’s Europe, and the Middle East and the whole of Africa, folks! Obviously, a region so vast would need a very big idea to cover it. And with 102 countries and 13 languages, it would also have to be extremely simple. A big, simple idea. Hmmm, this is where it gets interesting.

Discovery Branding Campaign for EMEA-1Discovery Branding Campaign for EMEADiscovery Branding Campaign for EMEA-5Discovery Branding Campaign for EMEA-6Discovery Branding Campaign for EMEA-7

Dirty Jobs – Ad Campaign

After trying 200 of the most putrid professions on the planet, Mike was going back to work. So we stirred up print and online ads that offered viewers a fun and filthy history lesson in the kinds of jobs Mike has already done with a promise of more fun to come. Plus, a sweepstakes for viewers to ‘Meet Mike’. His excitement, and a lot more, is written all over his face.

Dirty Jobs

Dirty Jobs-1
(click for larger image)

Deadliest Catch – Photo Exhibit

Welcome to a world where you have no control, the rules don’t apply and everything is out to get you. For the men who fish for crab on Deadliest Catch, there’s no guarantee they’ll survive and no place they’d rather be. Discovery Channel and Original Productions proudly present highlights of the photography shot on location in Alaska since the series began in 2005. Featured photographers are Corey Arnold, Cameron Glendenning, Zac McFarlane, Todd Stanley, Donald Bland, Dave Farkas and John Moody. To order prints, contact Discovery Creative at 240.662.4656.

Image 1 of Deadliest CatchImage 3 of Deadliest Catch
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Image 2 of Deadliest Catch

About / Random Facts


For most of us, Discovery Creative isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve worked at places like the Martin Agency, HBO, AOL and even the White House. We have different skills, interests and tastes but we share the same dogged determination, day in and day out, to hit that sweet spot between having a blast and working our friggin’ tails off. And while our group has collected more than a few industry awards, it’s the longstanding and highly productive relationships we have with the departments, people and networks throughout Discovery that we value most…


Need More Discovery Creative?




Contact: Discovery World HQ, One Discovery Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Sponsored by

Made By Tinder

Advertise on Fuel Brand Network.
Fuel Brand Network 2010 cc (creative commons license)

Putting the Creative in the Discovery Channel

November 23 2009


Interview with Rogie King from Komodomedia

We recently had the opportunity to ask some questions of Komodomedia’s Rogie King. Rogie is a web interface designer and developer who works ‘outta his home’ in picturesque Helena Montana. This playful D/D’er describes what he does in the following way, ‘In laymen’s terms, I obsess over pushing around pretty pixels and then use CSS/HTML and JavaScript to make it work.’. For more from this talented creative, check out the interview below.


Please tell us more about your art and design background and what made you become an artist and designer?

Quite honestly, my art and design background is uber non-impressive. I don’t have any formal education in design and I’m not proud of it – I’d totally love to goto design school, but, time doesn’t warrant that right now. I received a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science from Carroll College in Helena, Montana. My goal was to be a video game programmer. (go Street Fighter!)

Really, design started as as a love of mine when I was young. I love the art of Disney. On any given day, you would find me pausing Disney movies from “The Lion King” to a recording of “Darkwing Duck” and sketching the characters. It was this love thats driven me back into design. As much as I love the programming I learned in college, I love design even more and it is this innate love that drove me to be an artist (if you can call me one) and a designer.

What are you currently working on (that you can tell us about)?

I designed the UI and developed the UX for – an instance of my employer SpectrumDNA’s [] social “nicheworking” software PlanetTagger. However, at the current moment, I am also working on a mobile web application for iPhone/iPod devices of MEMETagger.

For Komodo Media, I am working on my version 5 redesign and a brand new icon set that will hopefully be for sale early 2010.

How much has the design landscape changed since you first began in the field? What are the biggest improvements and pitfalls to come from these changes?


I came into design at the tail end of HTML Table based layouts, an overuse of inappropriate Flash use and the beginning of the push toward web standards. CSS galleries were just starting and were needed to raise awareness. The power and relevancy of CSS based layouts needed to be shown to help people transition from the table’s they loved. Foundational libraries like Prototype were in their infancy and as a result coding JavaScript was a huge pain.

I’d say there are two huge improvements. For one, JavaScript libraries such as jQuery and YUI have made our lives all easier. As developers, we now have a single way to use Ajax,find DOM object widths and coordinates, etc. In the same way, the push to standards-compliance has led way to more standard implementations of CSS rules in modern browsers. As a result, our lives are so much easier and the time taken to pull off a brilliant UI is much decreased.

I think pitfalls lie in the areas where technologies are new to us. For instance, with the introduction of better JavaScript libraries, we have faster, more mindless access to animation, but at a cost. Now we are making all of the same animation mistakes that beginning Flash users were doing. Mature Flash developers have now nailed subtle, appropriate animations while us native webbies are in gaudy, inappropriate animation land. We’ll grow up. It’s ok.

What do you feel are the most important skills for a designer to have/develop?

Attention to detail, persistence and commitment to learning and quality. Oh yeah, and the key one: humility.

On your site, Komodo Media, you mention you get giddy over using CSS, what gets you the most excited about CSS3?


I love that once you nail CSS, the possibilities are endless. It becomes so easy to pull off interfaces. I love the set of features being currently added to CSS3 like text-shadow, rgba colors, border-images, attribute selectors and embedded fonts. And yes, yes I do love webkit transitions. I believe subtle animations and transitions do have a place in CSS as a style.

Do you have any favorite websites for interacting with others in the design community? (flickr, twitter etc)

Twitter (@rogieking) is my number one. I use Flickr on a somewhat regular basic, but it never took ahold of me like Twitter. Honestly, I’m a bit oldskool and I really love using Skype. I am known to call designers without notice, asking for critique of my design and sometimes, if they are lucky, serenade them with Little Mermaid’s “Part of your World”.

What is the one design lesson that you learned the hard way that you wish someone had told you about when you got started?

I’d say the hardest lesson has been repeated twice. Many designers have had to deal with this. The lesson is to NOT abandon the discovery phase where you find what the client wants. You may be tempted to start on the design immediately. Perhaps you can see design in your head and have inspiration to start. The simple fact is that the client wants what the client wants. As designers we must use every means necessary to gather their vision and only when we know that vision clearly is when we should start design.

What does your typical day look like?

7:00 – Help get my wife and two sons going. This means feeding little Jackson oatmeal, apples or whatever and tossing him a few Baby Mum Mums. Get Jameson dressed and ready for his day and give him mega-loves.

7:30 – Get some strong coffee going. Not a whole pot, just a bit of strong strong coffee. One day I’ll get an espresso machine I think to myself. Oh, well, for now I’ll keep this old pot going.

I settle into my chair, still in my PJs, knowing I should take a shower (I read that it’s better to take a shower and get dressed up once on a blog), but I don’t. I fire up Twitter and manically press “Get Mail” in Apple Mail – for the record, I don’t know if I’ve ever hit inbox zero.

At this point, nerd senses are tingling and I’m reading up on blogs or carrying away with whatever fancies my interest on the internet.

8:00 – Coffee’s done. I’ll take it black and in my custom Ryan Labar pottery mug or my wife’s Disney Goofy mug. Time for more reading and general internet merriment. Time flies.

8:30 – 9:00 – I’m working full time right now, so I check in on any tasks I might need to do and get going on work.

9-Noon – My general habits at this point are to put on my Logitech G35’s and crank up iTunes…LOUD, drink my coffee and focus on tasks. Twitter always gets in the way, so some times I’ll go in “stealth” mode, which means turn off Adium, Skype, Twitter and — basically keep away from anything that will remove focus.

Noon – Lunch time. I pop out of the cave and help make lunch for my babies and wife. We chat a bit about her day and what’s going on with me and work. That’s about it and back to work.

Noon-1 – This SHOULD be the time I go work out. Should. Typically afternoons can get a bit distracted for me. I tend to solve distractions by either having a bit of chocolate or totally following the distraction. Nine times out of ten that distraction is Skyping someone and talking to a very real person. I’m a social bug and this part about working from home grates on me a bit.

1-4 – I tend to get back in the groove and go into “stealth” mode at this time. The same combination of electronic music and drink keep me strong. I switch to water though.

4-5 – I lose my focus toward the end of the day and once again get a bit distracted. My 3 year old is tugging at me and wanting me to play. My wife is trying to pass the 7 month old off for some much needed rest. I love my family so I give in at times.

I gotta wrap up, so I commit any changes done in Subversion and email any last minute status reports needed. Peace out!


Who would you consider to be the biggest influences on your design career?

Jesus Christ, Walt Disney, Apple Interfaces, the designers for the IconFactory and Douglas Bowman.

What are the tools you couldn’t live without? (softwares, invoicing tools, time/task-management apps, pen/paper, online etc…)

I use Adobe Fireworks CS4 for all of my mockups, icon design, etc, Adobe Illustrator comes in handy when I need to edit illustrator files or convert files to use in Fireworks. Panic Coda is my main text editor/ftp client of choice – I happen to use the websites feature, but not the terminal, preview, CSS or books feature. MacRabbit CSSEdit is my main CSS editor of choice due to its grouping/folder organization and autocomplete for CSS properties. I test my websites and apps on Sun VirtualBox with Debian Server and Windows XP images with IE6, 7 and 8. Sequel Pro is used for connection to MySQL databases and running SQL statements. I dig CloudApp for communicating concepts and mockups to co-workers and clients. FIrebug is my chief JavaScript testing and debugging tool. FirePHP is a killer plugin as well that enables PHP debugging with Firebug.

Other applications I can’t live without are Tunnelblick for OpenVPN connections, CoverSutra , LittleSnapper, Tweetie, Dropbox, Skype, iTunes, Google mail, contacts and documents. I use Blinksale for invoicing and paper and pen for tasks.

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Interview with Rogie King from Komodomedia

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