Another year down

So, 2014, how were you?

Videos! Gifs! Animation! Websites are getting movement, and it’s not just parallax scrolling anymore. OK, so it’s a bandwidth killer for some of us, but it adds another curious element to a page. Do we have the attention span to take note of video background, or are they a more acceptable form of the autoplaying music? Tumblr is effectively spilling out onto the rest of the internet. The good: it’s different and another layer of interest. The bad: slow internet speeds are actually a problem for the majority of users without “super-fast” broadband (or even broadband in some areas), rendering some sites as painfully slow as 2005 MySpace covered with animated Flash banners urging you to hit the mosquito.
We’re also still big on the Metro squares and flat design (colours seem to be going to the extremes of either very pale or very bold to the point of clashing) only with more elements. Full screen landing pages with big text and a button is quite a big thing, but there’s more to it than that. Hand lettering, flat illustration, “real” photography over obviously staged stock images, images creatively cut out… It’s all natural progression from what started to appear last year. There’s nothing amazingly new here, but it’s evolving.

K-pop (Oh you knew it was coming)

Not bad at all. Not the best year, but some nice packaging and decent music to go with it. I present my award for The Most K-pop Video of 2014: Red Light by f(x). Dancing in a laser-filled box-room set, check. Pretty people wearing slightly odd clothing, check. Strange potentially symbolic imagery that has no meaning, check. A strange, disjointed song that on first listen is bizarre but will grow on you even when you still think it’s not quite your thing, check. You get the picture. I never thought I would like f(x), but after listening to the rest of the album on Spotify (yes, K-pop on Spotify happened this year) I was won over. Track 3, Nabi (Butterfly) sounds essentially like a pop song based on the Jill of the Jungle soundtrack, so consider me a fan. It’s also got quite nice packaging

Packaging-wise, special mentions for TVXQ’s two releases Spellbound and Tense, Super Junior’s Mamacita (another good album, also on Spotify) and Boyfriend’s WITCH. I’m sure there are plenty of others, but these come to mind (and as I’ve said before, I’m a little bit biased towards SMEnt artists).

And me
Turns out 2014 was not wonderful. On a personal level things got pretty bad, particularly round September time (hence the lack of updates). Out of the blue I ended up in hospital. I’ve had one operation, so now I’m looking at a bit of a battle and a long waiting list for the one I really need to ensure I’m well again. I might even need hospital treatment before I get that far. It’s not a particularly stable time. But while it’s disappointing, perhaps there is some kind of opportunity here. Time to learn more, do more (albeit carefully), and just generally be prepared for when I can take control of my life again. Sometimes these things just happen and all you can do is try to make the most of a bad situation.

Happy New Year! Fingers crossed for 2015 🙂

Goodbye 2013

This was the year that:

Design went 2D
Flat interfaces, Metro inspired squares and those funny extra long diagonal shadows. Geometric shapes. Simplicity. Thin versions of fonts. Chunky stroke borders around type. GIFs (or is that jifs?). Colour swatches that, when apart, look like the kind of syrup medicine you used to get given when you were little (“Banana”, “Strawberry” or “Cherry” flavour. Mmmm.) but together look… kinda cool. They’re bright, but also toned back, like they’ve been taken from an Instagram filtered photo.

(SM Ent) K-pop really happened
SHINee marking their 5 years since since debut by going from being those kiddies with bowl cuts and singing about a crush on an older girl to doing everything from self-penned R&B to electro, dance and pop with their excessive number of albums/singles/EPs. Girls’ Generation winning at the YouTube Awards. EXO actually having an album. f(x) actually having an album for that matter. Super Junior and Infinite doing world tours that actually included Europe. SMTOWN 2014 in London please.

This happened
And I was there. Glad I got to see some really well done cosplay in person. Plus Borderlands. That sneaky, Sneaky Zebra

I did New Things
Finding inspiration in unusual places. Meeting new people. Personal development stuff like: working with Blender (the 3D program), improving HTML skills, working on web design, illustration and animation. Unfortunately a New Thing was spending too much time for my liking in various hospitaly places. But somewhere along the way picked up how to read Hangul (the Korean alphabet; still working on the what it actually means part), and have reached at least cooking level 2 (Herby butternut squash pizzas ftw)!

It hasn’t all been good, personally or globally… But let’s hope 2014 can be a good year.