Helvetica New

If you are reading this, you know Helvetica. You probably know it too well. You might have loved it at one point, hated it at another, and pretended you didn’t care about it when trying to prove yourself as a designer. No matter what, it’s useful. And it’s classic.

I’ve lived with Helvetica Neue for long enough that I have developed more than a few intimate opinions about it. Although I’m completely unqualified as a type designer I decided to rework it for some of my personal annoyances.

As a product designer I’ve been working in Roboto and San Francisco and I wanted to bring some of the features of those fonts that make them easier to read on digital screens back into Helvetica Neue.

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Some of the issues I wanted to address:

  • The leg of the R is distracting
  • The spur of the a is unnecessarily ornamental
  • Foot of the G could feel stronger
  • Separation to the dot of the i and j could be increased
  • Descender of the y could be reduced
  • Terminal of the t could be reduced
  • Tail of the Q could feel stronger
  • The number 7 could be more structured

I ended up making small tweaks throughout much of the character set such as more open letterforms and kerning adjustments. The real goal was not to make a new font, but instead to make Helvetica Neue feel more contemporary and readable.

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I did this work in an application called Glyphs. I had been meaning to play with it for a long time and it lived up to the hype. It’s a robust font editor with a phenomenal workflow. I highly recommend it.

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This was a neat project and I ended up learning a lot and getting to know Helvetica better than ever before. I feel less afraid of working with type, but there is so much more to learn.

Reworking MOON for OS X

MOON for OS X

I had been planning to do this for a while, but I recently took the time to write MOON for OS X. The goal was to basically port the app over from iOS, but it was not that simple and I thought I’d document some of the things I learned along the way.

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Rethinking the Destiny Companion App

destinyApp

Bungie created one of my favorite companion apps to a video game with Destiny Companion. Since I love it so much, I decided to give it a rethink based off the way I personally use it. Here are the three most common ways I use the app.

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How Not to Make Your Engineer’s Life Completely Terrible

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I’m a designer. I like engineers. Maybe I like them a little too much. When I joined the Groups team at Facebook I remember foaming at the mouth the first time I talked to an iOS engineer who had been on the team for quite a while. I started spouting out stories of things I’ve written in Objective-C. I felt like I was a freshman in high school trying to prove to an upper classman that I was cool enough to hang around.

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Flying FPV with Fat Shark Goggles

Fat Shark Dominator V2 Setup

Today was the first time I flew my QAV250 with my Fat Shark Dominator V2 googles. I had been using a 7″ Black Pearl FPV monitor attached to my transmitter since I got the QAV250. This was a good setup for learning to fly, but I have been very interested in the immersive experience of actual goggles.

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QAV250

QAV250

My interest in multicopters started last year. I read forums for months, learning everything I could. I wanted an autonomous flying robot. The first multicopter I got was a big one, a 3D Robotics X8 (which I wrote about here). Although it’s a great vehicle, I found myself interested in multicopters for a different reason than I thought. Aerial photography isn’t as personally engaging as I had hoped. Lugging around a computer and the required equipment for a big multicopter feels more like work than fun sometimes. I still really enjoy the X8, it’s just not an ‘everyday quad.’

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3D Robotics X8 Multicopter

3D Robotics X8

Over the past six months, I’ve gotten to know my 3D Robotics X8 multicopter very well. I thought I’d share some of my experiences and observations with the unique multicopter.

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Turnigy Micro-X Quadcopter from Hobby King

Turnigy Micro-X Hobby King

I haven’t wrote about this yet, but I’ve spent the past half year or so learning about and getting involved in multicopters. I have a full size UAV (a 3D Robotics X8) which I have been building into an airborne videography machine, but I wanted to practice my flying more often and the big quad requires a lot of preparation and outdoor space.

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My First App

This weekend, I started building my first iOS app. This was such a monumental moment for me because the past few years have been a challenging voyage to make this experience possible.

I wasn’t a developer 3 years ago, I was a photographer. I always preferred the post-production side of photography and most of my work was actually retouching. I had a full-time job where I was retouching, which I was blessed with because it is actually kind of rare in the industry. The monotony of retouching all day long allowed me to realize I couldn’t do it for the rest of my life. I needed something to sink my teeth into. I needed something that challenged me on a daily basis.

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