All Posts Filed in ‘Art and Design


On Three Design Topics

On Mint.
I’ve criticized Mint when it first came out about two years ago. (Me being a long time Yodlee user) Since then, Mint added Investments section which I remember wasn’t too impressed either.

Things have changed in the last 8 months or so. Mint is now my “go-to” online personal financial app due to the visual cleanliness, speedy ajax interaction, keyboard (accessibility) access, and clever use of Flex.

The most impressive part for me (as a UI Designer) is the innovative use of “drop down panel” in the transactions table. Everything is just right.

Compare with Yodlee (which is getting pretty ghetto on the UI these days), and Thrive (aka, Mint is still miles ahead.

Don’t take my word for it, try all 3 and see who’s UI (and product) is better.

On iPhone as a platform to redeem your Brand
iPhone could be the Jesus Phone after all. Not trying to be mean or anything, but who still use AOL products and Portal (beside AIM)? Yet, under the iPhone’s ‘halo effect’, AOL released the “Daily Finance” iPhone App which is really really well put together.

Redeem your (product) Sin on the iPhone. It’s the Jesus phone after all.

On Objectified (the film)
The film is not about the gadgets. Surprise!

The film is about industrial design, the designers, and the *things* that’s around us. It didn’t shy away from the topic of consumerism, and how we should actually appreciate the things we’ve already purchased. Now that’s an interesting idea.


Comme des Garçons + H&M


Check out the official Comme des Garçon + H&M cross over site. This ain’t your poser / ironic street fashion. This is high fashion by Rei Kawakubo at an affordable price. I just saved you a trip to Aoyama, Tokyo.


The User Experience of “See you soon.”

Today I drove to the city next to where I live to get some cheap gas. After filling up the tank, I took the usual freeway on ramp and head home.

I noticed the special details this neighboring city put into the landscaping next to freeway on ramp. It wasn’t there in the past.

That reminds me of the various airport departing lounge. The ones that really made me want to stay are the ones in Hong Kong, Osaka, and Frankfurt. Services, real shops, real places to eat had made me want to stay at those places longer (or return). Heatherow is getting much better too.

I wonder if we can bring the same “warm fuzzy” into Web and Mobile product design? Each time you leave the app, you get such a nice feeling that you simply can’t wait to come back for more.


Some bags are OK. Some are not.

Heard this on the radio actually. To help streamline airport laptop screening, TSA has been working with manufacturers on “X-ray ready” laptop cases that do not require the passenger to take the laptop out of the bag…. I wonder if Incase is working on something nice…


San Francisco Home Grown Hipster Brands

After I mentioned Tad Gear, I just realize there are at least two more San Francisco Home Grown Hipster brand name one should take note:

Chrome – famous for their airline seat buckle bike messenger bags. Maybe they are not so hip anymore ever since the stock brokers and lawyers at the financial district are rocking their bags too…

Gama-Go – Japanese 60’s / 70s’ monsters inspired apparel.

Tad Gear – of course, the place to check out before your next mission.

Can you name more San Francisco Home Grown Hipster brand I should add to the list?


TAD gear

I love design, but I am not big on de$igner fashion. When the cool kids on the street are rocking Bathing Ape, Ice Cream, and Lucky Brand (Jeans), I rather go with something a bit more affordable / functional like Levis or North Face – that is until I discovered TAD Gear.

TAD Gear, technically is not a “fashion brand”, but the design and the quality of their urban and outdoor gears are so above and beyond that one should consider it as a designer brand. Did I mention the price tags are “designer pricey” too? Anyway, TAD Gear is definitely a “designer brand” in the tactical arena….

Wait. You said tactical as in SWAT, Special Force, PMC? Yes, but you are not going to look like John Rambo with TAD Gear’s Stealth Jacket. Their design is more in line with The North Face, Patagonia, Arc’Teryx type outdoor clothing but with serious military / tactical spin.

The attention to details and general high quality of their products has caused a lot of people in the “macho business” (Private Military Contractors, Law Enforcement, and the Military) to take note and start buying. In fact, if you go to their Web site, the first thing you see on the site are customers’ pictures wearing TAD gears that are usually heavily armed. 🙂

Their current Web site is pretty Web 1.0, but I think eventually they will get it right. If you are in the Bay Area, you should check out their retail store too. To me, the place is like a designer boutique with amazing jackets, backpacks, pouches, and all the stuff you want to look tactical and macho – everyday.

Now I finally understand why women love their Gucci, and Louis Vuitton….