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Category Archive for ‘Design’ rss

A Logo for Product Layer

Two of my friends and me have been working on an idea for a startup in our spare time. The idea for this came to me when I started to experiment with applications using barcode scanning and when I found that there is really no good API on the web that would allow me to get some basic product details for a scanned bar code.

Granted there are several data silos around and the 500 pound Amazonian gorilla, but the general problem remains. Generally those services only want you to use their product infos for helping to sell more products. My idea was that there should be a neutral service that lets you get product names and images for any kind of product and you should be free to do whatever you like with this data.

I was using the name PAPI (Product API) internally until Jonathan Libov suggested to me to paraphrase Mr. Foursquare himself, “the product layer for the internet”. This name immediately caught on with all people I told about it, it stuck. So I went with it and also reserved the name on Twitter as well as .com and .net domains.

The next step was to have some sort of cool logo. A project name is step one to make it “more real”, step 2 must be to have a logo that inspires us. This is the story of how I got a logo designed on 99 Designs.

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iOS 7 Icon Squircle

Apple is not only revamping the look of iOS 7 apps to be kind of flat, also most app icons will have to get a redesign.

Over the recent years we could see a trend that some app designers felt that they had to add a border to their icons to make them “pop more”. So they they enabled the “Icon already includes gloss effects” setting to avoid the application of the trademark shine and used a photoshop template for make the border fit.

We followed this trend with the icon design for our most recent app Urban Airship Commander which also has a chrome border. Because frankly, without this border, we feared that a phosphorous  radar screen might look too boring…

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Sir Ive Puts His Foot Down

Apple’s “new” Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Sir Jonathan Ive took on the additional role of also being of in charge of the iOS Alu.. Alumino.. Chrome when Scott Forstall moved into an advisory position.

In the latest update to the I believe we are seeing the first hint of the fresh breeze that Jony is bringing to Apple’s app design.

The unword that definitely plagued Apple in 2012 was Skeuomophism. It means to make something look like it has different physical properties than it really would have. Like the Gamecenter app showing green felt when touching it really feels like touching glass to me.

Other examples include leather-bound digital calendars, the style of the Find my Friends app and a few more attempts to make iOS look more valuable by including expensive materials or craftsmanship.

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Cocoanetics Design Update

The theme I’m using on has gone to version 1.6.6 which is to say that over the past 2 years our designer has done an awesome job to polish the look. I think it is about time that I give a shout-out to Jeremiah Tolbert from Clockpunk Studios who is in charge of this all.

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72.009 DPI

When creating image files via CGImageDestination if found something weird. I’m setting the DPIHeight and DPIWidth fields in the meta info to 72. When outputting as PNG format there are some programs that will show the image resolution as 72.009 DPI, whereas TIFF and JPEG for example would display as 72.

Turns out that this is neither a problem of CGImageDestination, libpng nor any specific viewer app. The problem is in the PNG specification.

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“Steal Good Stuff” – iOS Design Pattern Collections

Rule Number 1 if you’re going to “borrow” from other great people is to only steal things that are worth stealing. You know, good artists borrow, great artists steal.

We are dealing more and more with people in large corporations suddenly finding themselves tasked like “hey you, design this iPad app!” The problem with that is that these people often don’t yet own an iPad that they use all the time. They are used to thinking in concepts that make sense on Windows machines or in web browsers, but not on a large multitouch panel.

Fortunately for us several people have started collecting examples of great UI designs for us to peruse. My Twitter followers came up with quite a selection.

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Design by a Friend

Apple tells us that apps are 60% design and only 30% code. So you want to have an experienced designer at your side that has some experience in designing iPhone UI and UX. But at the same time professionals can easily charge $100 per hour or more. A typical iOS app icon would cost you $500. All these price tags make professional looking apps seem out of reach …

Meet Christian Pfandler!

Christian, or CP how we call him, is doing his designing mostly out of passion, but contrary to established designers he has retained the flexibility of a one-man shop. Flexibility that reduces your cost as he is willing to scale his efforts for you from an eye-catching app icon all the way to fully designing an app.

It’s great to call Christian Pfandler a friend of mine worth thousands of dollars normally needed when you hire a designer. So all of our recent design work was done by Christian Pfandler who is frankly a total graphics geek and artisan. He will also start his own UI & UX design related blog soon at

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