What Brutalism, Wabi Sabi, and Virtual Reality have in common.

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Illustration by Tim Evans

If I had a quarter for every time a designer was asked to make a product fun, I’d have a fortune by now. Fun is one of those words like good, love, and art: so simple and all-encompassing that it eludes definition. So, what do we mean when we strive to make a product more “fun”?

Most interfaces are bound by rigid systems that immaculately align elements to a grid, creating a sense of rhythm and unity. However, in interface design, ‘fun’ is often derived from the lack of order. Like iMessage letting users drop stickers anywhere on a chat thread or our old pal MySpace, who let its users edit their page’s CSS ad nauseam. Those product decisions are widely considered fun because they’re chaotic. …


Gabriel Valdivia

Design Director at CNN // Prev Jigsaw, Google, and Facebook // Big fan of music, dogs, and bread.

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