We’re Hiring: Product Designer

by notorioususb on August 6, 2014

Collective Ray is searching for a versatile designer with the experience and proven track record to help lead and manage projects for a busy creative team. The ideal candidate has first-rate organizational and design skills and wants to contribute to a fast-growing, dynamic business. The candidate should also have an entrepreneurial mindset and a desire to work in a fast-paced environment. We are a group of talented, fun-loving people, with a high expectation for quality.


Responsibilities

  • Work on projects from initial concept through final delivery.
  • Present deliverables to clients and walk them through design decisions.
  • Help shape and maintain the company’s external image by engaging with the design community
  • Manage an array of projects including web, mobile, and other digital executions from initial concept through final delivery.
  • Allocate resources and track schedules for individual projects.
  • Contribute to overall strategic effectiveness of the creative team.


Qualifications

  • Mastery of Photoshop and Illustrator from the current Adobe Creative Suite. (Knowledge of Sketch, AE, InDesign, C4D is a plus.)
  • Experience managing the creative process from kick-off through delivery.
  • Experience with relevant project management software (Pivotal, Asana, JIRA, etc.)
  • Self-starter who is ambitious to pursue projects and new skills without needing the help of others.
  • Excellent communication skills and a healthy balance of taking individual initiative and wanting to learn/collaborate with peers. 
  • 3-5 years relevant experience at a creative agency or in-house creative team with a strong focus on digital product and production processes.
  • Knowledge of HTML/CSS and other web technologies is a plus.
  • Knowledge of print production processes from pre-flight through final delivery is a plus.

If you’re excited about this opportunity and think you’ve got what it takes, drop us a line at jobs@collectiveray.com.

Post Flat Design

by wellsriley on April 8, 2014

There’s been growing unrest about the future of interaction design trends. In the past week alone, I’ve read three separate discussions about the so-called “end of flat design.” This kind of talk is awesome because some of the best aesthetic and interaction design work is done at the dawn of a brand new trend. It gets designers thinking and inspires that special kind of creativity that our industry thrives on.

The pendulum swings

In the beginning, CSS only allowed for basic control over HTML documents. As web design technology grew up, the skeuomorphic aesthetic took hold, pushing the boundaries of what was possible on the Web. But as the style matured, some interfaces became difficult to use, confusing, or downright ugly. We abused the textures, shadows, and fine details that helped us define our industry. Designers wanted something fresh and simple to replace it.

The flat movement was born out of a need to get as far away from skeuomorphism as possible. Shadows and metallic sheen were replaced with solid hues and typography-driven design. It was a harken back to the Swiss ‘international style’ of design where strong typography and blocks of color reigned supreme in print.

image

But perhaps the pendulum swung too far in the flat direction. In the transition to flat we lost some of the helpful affordances – especially on buttons and forms – that more traditional aesthetics used to make our products easy to use. When everything became flat, creating a clear visual hierarchy became a constant challenge.

imageCan you tell which Shift key is enabled?

Flat has been the predominant visual style for over a year, and some brilliant work has come out of it. But it’s clear that now it’s time to let the pendulum swing back – if even only a little bit.

Post Flat

I propose post flat design – not just as a new way of thinking about design aesthetic – but also creating sensible visual hierarchy and more understandable interfaces for our users. Some qualities of a post flat interface may include:

  • Hierarchy defined using size, and composition along with color.
  • Affordant buttons, forms, and interactive elements
  • Skeuomorphs to represent 1:1 analogs to real-life objects (the curl of an e-book page, for example) in the name of user delight or affordance
  • Strong emphasis on content, not ornamentation
  • Beautiful, readable typography

Both skeuomorphic and flat extremes have uniquely beautiful and useful qualities, but merging the two styles allows us to leverage the strengths of both. For example, a mobile app might have dimensional buttons instead of colored text to represent primary actions within the interface.

imageFlaer by Brian Benitez


Without strict visual requirements associated with flat design, post flat offers designers tons of variety to explore new aesthetics – informed by the best qualities of skeuomorphic and flat design. Designers won’t have to sacrifice usability to “fit in” with the latest trend.

imageLight and Switch by Sebastien Gabriel

imageAnimated Safari Icon by Ray

Let’s try this out. Dust off your drop shadows and gradients, and introduce them to your flat color buttons and icons. Do your absolute best work without feeling restricted to a single aesthetic. Bring variety, creativity, and delight back to your interfaces. We’re trying some exciting things here at Collective Ray in the spirit of post flat design – it’s a refreshing and exciting challenge.

Meet Our New Lead Designer, Wells Riley

by notorioususb on March 12, 2014

Collective Ray was founded back in 2011 by Josh Guffey and myself. We set out to build a product studio that aimed to push the envelope. We were tired of working for agencies where budgets were primary and innovation was secondary. We just wanted to build awesome tools that would continue to make the future connected, convenient, and efficient.

As we started to scale, we realized that in order to achieve these goals, we’d need to assemble a word-class design team. Today, we’re very proud to announce that Wells Riley has joined us as our Lead Designer. He joins us after his time as a product designer at Kicksend, and founding his own Boston-based agency, Bionic Hippo, where he served as Creative Director and CEO.

image

Many of you are likely familiar with Wells’ work—he’s had some very noteworthy projects, such as starting HackDesign, creating Startups, This is How Design Works (which has—at the time of this writing—been seen by over 2 million people), and Retina Mac Apps.

We’re very excited about continuing to grow our team, and helping our clients build innovative products that continue to push the envelope of possibility. 2014 is going to be a big year—not just for us, but for our clients and users.

Announcing Whistle

by jguffey on November 20, 2013

Monitor your dog’s movement and exercise.

Collective Ray had the honor of helping Whistle bring their groundbreaking pet-tech product to market. Our mobile design team collaborated to map user interactions, establish mobile design concepts, produce, and help test a prototype of the mobile application, at the core of their product’s experience.

Users can purchase the device from Whistle.com, and download the companion app to monitor their dog’s daily activity. In addition to providing owners with a never-before-available level of insight into their canine’s health, the device also provides raw data for vets that can be used to help diagnose and treat pups that may be experiencing changes in their daily activity.

Whistle approached us with clear, articulate goals and explained the data that the device collects. We then developed interaction concepts – mapping user flow from on-boarding to sharing reports with friends. The flows were used to develop wireframes and an on-device prototype. We explored ways of exposing complex data to users in a user-friendly way and defined a style guide to help keep the app on brand. We worked with Whistle’s co-founder and product lead, Steven Eidelman – to develop the activity dial, a quick way to digest your dogs current activity compared to a recommended goal. In addition, we produced, illustrated, and animated an on-boarding sequence to help new users set up their new Whistle. Finally, we assisted Whistle in user testing, and used those findings to inform changes in copy and designs.

Check out some of the great reviews on Whistle’s press website.