by David DeSandro

Company Insta

The Metafizzy Instagram follows other companies and designers. I feel like we’re all going after the same slice of pie, sharing in-progress works, behind-the-scenes looks. It’s not so special any more. The spectacle of a sketch photo with the pen in the shot faded long ago.

Made in 2016

See previous made in 2015

Masonry v4 and imagesLoaded v4

Web audio synth

Packery v2

Web audio arpeggiator (now buggy)

Netflix Atlas logo

Netflix Atlas logo

Run run cycle

Isotope v3

Metafizzy weekly review videos

Mega Man 24 frame run cycle

Mega Man 24 frame run cycle

Cub n pup puzzle game

Flickity v2

Fetchy logo

Fetchy shiba logo

Staggering animations article

Staggering animations article

Logo Pizza

Logo Pizza


A couple legit Bumpers

RGB Schemes logo

RGB Schemes logo

Shepherd logo

Shepherd logo

Several other client logos, to be revealed in 2017.

And Caleb!

Improve Facebook or leave it

Friends that work at Facebook: I hope you are either fighting to improve your company from the inside, or preparing to leave it.

Because Facebook has multiple figures in leadership positions that supported Trump. Thiel vocally, Luckey surreptitiously.

Because Zuckerberg believes the fake news his platform elevates played no part in the election.

Because Facebook’s core product promotes the distribution of false information.

Because Facebook shipped a racist feature in its core advertising product.

Your employer does not represent who you are. But you represent your company. You can stay and try to change it, or leave to signal change.

If Facebook is looking to recruit you: bring up these issues. Say no because of these issues.

Bob Wages' Atlanta Flames and Hawks logo

Some long gone NHL team had lovely modern logos.

NHL modern logos

The Atlanta Flames logo lives on as the Alternate Captain letter on the Calgary Flames jersey.

Calgary Flames Alternate Captain letter

The Flames logo along with the Atlanta Hawks logo (another beauty) were designed by Bob Wages for McDonald & Little in 1972. Wages was 24.

Bob Wages Hawks logo

McDonald & Little 1972 Hawks Flames logo

Fetchy Shiba logo comin' to get ya

Fetchy logos

Fetchy takes YouTube videos and converts them to downloadable videos and audio files. Thank heavens. Pulling out videos to make clips and gifs has been difficult for too long. Fetchy is a great service that I consistently need. I was pumped to be tasked with designing its logo.

I kicked off the concepts with dogs, lots of dogs. Why over think it? I sketched out a variety of breeds, actions, and styles. I tried using the most meme-able breeds: corgis and pugs. To mix things up, I sketched a couple “f bird” concepts and more straight-forward monogram letters.

Fetchy logo concepts round 1

Look at that winged puppy. Too bad he didn’t get used. Fly high, little guy.

Liam at Fetchy confirmed that the dogs were the way to go. He suggested trying out foxes, which lead me to the fox-like, and even more meme-able Shiba Inu.

Fetchy logo concepts round 2

Liam selected concepts A and G. I brought these concepts in to Illustrator to produce the final vector logos.

Fetchy logo concepts round 3

Rather than select only one concept, I proposed using both for different contexts. Both head and runner logos were designed with the same style, so they could be used together. The head logo would be the main logo. It had simpler forms and less detail, which made it easier to shrink to small sizes. The head logo could be used on the site and elsewhere. The runner logo could be used as an illustration, suitable for specialized uses, like in emails, or on a t-shirt.

Its easy to over-use your logo. It could be the one piece of unique art you have. But it can lose its importance when it gets put everywhere as the default imagery, for placeholder avatars, loading screens, and list item bullets. Having an alternate logo or illustration relieves this pressure and keeps the main logo feeling special.

Interested in a logo for your work? I’m available to hire! Email to get started.

David DeSandro logos

Bootstrap logo, or not

A while back Bootstrap author Mark Otto put out a call for a logo. As Bootstrap is the shining star of the open-source front-end cosmos, I was eager to throw my hat in the ring.

I followed up via email with additional iterations on that first concept.

Bootstrap laces logo iterations

Mark was open to collaborating. He wasn’t keen on this concept, so I went back and started the process proper, sketching lots of concepts. I liked using a boot. “Boot” is in Bootstrap’s name. It’s simple imagery. I did a lot of boots.

Bootstrap logo concept sketches

From these sketches, I liked this last concept best: a boot stepping off. It’s a boot in action. It’s analogous to the initial steps that Bootstrap can provide. I cranked out some vectors.

Bootstrap logo iterations

And finally

Bootstrap logo, rejected

Alas, it was not to be. Mark passed on proceeding with this concept. And I get why. Even though this project started on a whim, I should have treated it like any proper creative project. The creative process works best when you collaborate with clients, building and refining ideas together. I made the error of jumping in with my own assumptions. I would have been better off getting Mark’s input about what he was looking for: Bootstrap’s values, character, vision, voice. The logo should have been born out of the authors.

It’s a good logo. I’ll add it to the portfolio. But I’m bummed I missed this opportunity.

Netflix Atlas logo

Netflix Atlas

Netflix Atlas colors

From the Netflix Atlas team:

When Netflix doesn’t work, teams go to their Atlas Dashboards to find out why. Atlas supports a robust alerting system, which allows Netflix to notice problems around the world before our users do.

The logo design process started by identifying its key qualities. For Atlas, we landed on reliable, scalable, and powerful.

I took a look at other “Atlas” logo concepts on Dribbble to see how other designers approached this idea.

Dribbble Atlas logos

It was time to start sketching. 100 concepts to need to die in order for one to live :P

Netflix Atlas logo initial sketches

From all those sketches, I put together four concepts to decide which were worth pursuing.

Atlas myth logo concept

The Atlas of Greek myth directly speaks to the core qualities: reliable, powerful, and considering he has the world in his hands, scalable. Using a human figure personifies the brand, and makes it more relatable.

Rockefeller Center Atlas statue

But it’s a hard to concept to pull off. It look like a shrug ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, or it could look like Christ the Redeemer. Other Atlas logo concepts on Dribbble had similar issues.

Atlas circle A concept

Just an A in a circle. But the forms can also be viewed as a figure with his/her hands upward. Like this:

So it’s one of those clever logos. The A is clear, but it has another image. I admit, it was a bit of a stretch, but I think once you see it, it’s easy to spot.

Atlas triangle starburst logo concept

Moving away from figures, this logo is the most abstract. The triangle (trapezoid, actually) represents an “A”, the starburst represents Atlas’s power and capability, as well as appearing like a cardinal coordinate legend on a map — alluding the atlases of maps and way-finding.

Atlas 3D logo A concept

Finally, something more technical and detailed. Netflix Atlas is software after all. This treatment shows Atlas a multifaceted conduit.

We settled on pursuing the myth and Circle-A concepts. I went back to the pencil and paper to iterate and pump out more sketches with these ideas.

Netflix Atlas logo sketches

The figure’s body position is tricky. It has to appear that it’s lifting up a big object, but shouldn’t look overwhelmed. The globe is large, but the figure should be more prominent.

I tried variations of realistic figures versus geometric shapes. Realistic figures may be easier to see at a glance, but geometric shapes feel stronger and more iconic.

I selected a two ideas and brought them into Illustrator.

Netflix Atlas logo process

I produced these two concepts. The figure shapes are simplified, so they feel solid. The globes are large, but they don’t overpower the figure. I mocked-up these logos on t-shirts and in websites to better see them in context.

Netflix Atlas logo mock-ups

The Netflix team decided on the globe-on-shoulders treatment. With that, I finalized the logo in Illustrator. Look at these beautiful vectors. Not a stray node to spare.

Netflix Atlas logo vector

Web Animation using JavaScript: Foreword

I wrote this foreword for Web Animation using JavaScript by Julian Shapiro, released 1 year ago.

It’s a special time when a developer first discovers jQuery’s .animate(). I remember trying to animate any part of the page that wasn’t bolted to the main content. I created accordions, fly-out menus, hover effects, scroll transitions, magical reveals, and parallax sliders. Turning my websites from cold, static documents into moving, visual experiences felt like I was reaching another level as a web designer. But it was just bells and whistles. I realize now that for all the animation I added, I hadn’t actually improved the user experience of my websites.

All the same, it was thrilling. So what makes animation so exciting?

My apartment looks over downtown Brooklyn. I see people walk down the street. Plumes from smokestacks billow up. Pigeons flutter to perch on a ledge. A construction crane raises a section of a building. A single, heart-shaped balloon floats up into the Brooklyn sky (corny, I know, but I literally saw this happen twice). Cars drive over the Williamsburg Bridge. Clouds pass overhead.

The world is in motion.

This is how you expect the universe to work. Things move. Like the movements outside my window, each one is a one-sentence story. Together they tell the larger story of what is happening.

Yet this isn’t how digital interfaces work. Those little stories are missing. When things change, you have to fill in the story for yourself. When you press the Next button at an ATM, the screen suddenly changes. Did it move forward successfully? Was there an error? You have to read the screen again to interpret the results of your action. Utilizing motion removes this leap of understanding between interactions. Motion inherently communicates what has changed. It’s like writing tiny stories between states.

When a slide transition takes you to the next screen, animation helps you better understand what just happened. Wielding this power is what makes animation so thrilling. Like layout, color, and typography, animation helps you shape and direct the user experience. Animation is more than just making things move. It’s designing more effectively, and doing it thoughtfully.

Unfortunately, in the history of web animation, thoughtfulness hasn’t always been the highest priority. As developers, we’ve used Flash, animated GIFs, Java applets, marquee tags, and, more recently, CSS, JavaScript, and SVG to create animation that’s been, at best, a level of polish or, at worst, a gimmick. The idea of creating animation that’s both high-performance and user-friendly is relatively new.

So it’s a good thing you have this book in front of you. Julian Shapiro is one of the principal experts on animation on the web. In creating and supporting Velocity.js, he has developed an intimate knowledge of all the quirks and advantages of using motion on websites. Web Animation using JavaScript will give you not only the technical know-how required to implement animation in your websites, but, more importantly, the insights you’ll need to use animation effectively and craft compelling user experiences.

Animation libraries and technologies have made motion design more accessible than ever. But not every developer abides by best practices. The past couple of years have seen several trendy anti-patterns come and go. Scroll behavior has been hijacked. Mobile navigation has been pushed into menus accessible only via gestures. While adding animation is within the grasp of anyone who stumbles across .animate(), utilizing it to improve the user experience is one of the hallmarks of a dedicated developer. This book will help you become one of them.

David DeSandro

February 2015

Brooklyn, New York

Made in 2015

From Brazil

Last year, I produced a series of halftone portraits for Electric Objects. I used Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr. I treat these photos as the raw medium, like paint on a palette. But they’re of people. It’s their face, front and center.

David DeSandro Electric Objects portraits

In one of their first public demos, the Electric Objects team displayed one of my portraits in a side room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It was just for an afternoon.

The woman from the portrait walks into that room.

Electric Objects Met demo

She’s from Brazil. I hadn’t reached out to her or the photographer. She knows the original photo exists, but not my derivative artwork. Imagine traveling across the globe, peaking into a museum room, and seeing your own face.

Hugo mixed2 Breathing halftone portrait

It’s a lovely coincidence. But I’m embarrassed. The internet doesn’t have to be full of strangers. Good neighbors introduce themselves.


In progress

Things are going well, but too many things going. I need to complete a couple.

Contracting with CodePen.

Metafizzy rebrand.

Metafizzy bear iterations

Metafizzy logotype iterations overhaul

imagesLoaded supporting background images. (I wasn’t planning on working on imagesLoaded, but then this dude responded with a snooty remark)

Masonry killer

To top it off, I’d like to overhaul Masonry, Isotope, Packery and Flickity in 2016, removing IE8 & 9 support, using good JavaScript. Then I have this idea for a new drag-and-drop product.

James Murphy's Subway Symphony

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem has been working on a system of sounds (appropriately) for the NYC Subway.

I love the subway system of my city–one of the most egalitarian, kind and high-functioning miracles in a city known around the world for it’s nearly unforgiving toughness. I also love sound, and music. Unfortunately, the sound of the subway is kind of a drag. Every time you swipe your MetroCard, the turnstile emits a flat, unpleasant “beep”. Each turnstile emits its own beep, all of which are slightly out of tune with one another, creating a dissonant rubbing-styrofoam-on-glass squeak in stations all around New York City. It’s kind of horrible.

What i propose to do is to create a series of 3 to 5 note sequences, all unique, one for each station in the subway system. These sequences will be part of an intersecting larger piece of music, which would run from station to station, and cross one another as, say, the 4, 5, 6 line (one musical piece) intersects with the L, N, R, Q and W (another musical piece) at Union Square. At each turnstile in Union Square, as you tap your new tap and ride card, a pleasant bell tone will sound, in one of a set of possible notes, all related to that station’s note sequence. The effect would be that at the busiest times, like rush hour, what was once cacophony would now be music.

I believe that music makes people happy, and makes them reflective. I think people who are willing to do what it takes to live here and work here–the commutes and the crowds, deserve a small sonic gift on their way home, or to deliver something, or getting to their school in another neighborhood. And i think that in the years to come, if this system is implemented, people who grew up with these sounds will hear a piece of music at an opera, or on an ad, or in the background of a film and feel a nostalgia for their first apartment, or their basketball practices, as they think “this song reminds me of Borough Hall” or “This song reminds me of my school be East Broadway”.

This would be my favorite thing ever.