Good design needs good people:

SP People Edition #2 - Julia Geisendorf & Markus Riedle

Julia and Markus work in the Motion and UX departments at STRICHPUNKT. What's that like? Where do they see the trends in the industry? And which buzzwords should you definitely remember? Watch out for SP People #2.

At Strichpunkt Design, there are people who put their heart and soul into their work. People, who want to grow together. People, who like to work in an atmosphere where it's fun. And people, who are interested in brave, creative and unconventional results. Reason enough to get to know these people better.

Hi there, what are your teams doing at STRICHPUNKT?

Julia: In a nutshell, User Experience Design is about the intuitive design and development of digital products with the goal of creating a consistently positive experience for users. To achieve this, the entire process must be considered and designed. Starting with the emergence of a problem, through the first contact with the product, to the actual use of the product. Everything is focused on the aspects of design, usability, functionality and above all the needs of the target group.

Our work begins with the analysis of the potential users as well as the analysis of the sender (= company) and its competitors. Hypotheses are then derived from this, which are translated into concepts and initially presented in the form of simple wireframes and user flows. Then you go deeper and deeper into the details, you test, correct, change and hopefully at the end it will be implemented (laughs).

Markus: The service spectrum of a motion designer at Strichpunkt ranges from logo animations for 2D and 3D logos, animated key visuals and 3D renderings to complete motion guidelines. Especially for brand portals like we developed for Audi or DPDHL, Motion Toolkits have become a must-have asset. These customer-specific moving image guidelines contain defined on-screen captions, chapter separators, intro animations and the corresponding motion graphic templates. Filmlooks are specified and motion curves are defined. We work with the entire range of Adobe software, from Cinema 4D to game engines and grading suites. We also have a wide range of high-end camera equipment in our repertoire for compact to medium-sized film productions.

In which areas do you work together?

Julia: We have quite a few interconnections. Most often, however, we work together when it comes to the detailed visualization of product ideas and visions. Close cooperation between the UX and Motion teams is also required for the development of Motion Guidelines. Together we define animation sequences for the interface elements of a brand or product.

Markus: We have a wide range of clients and subject areas that we are approached with. We are involved in almost every project in the agency and therefore have many interfaces. Moving images are an optimal medium to present our SP-Cases. They are also a convincing element in every new business presentation. When things have to go fast, click dummies are often animated before they go to the development department. These are then based on the layouts and wireframes of the UX/UI team.

What are the trends in your field and where do you track them down?

Markus: Especially in the south German "animation stronghold" Stuttgart there are several events where you can get inspired, especially the ITFS and the FMX. Fortunately, at SP we also have the opportunity to visit trade fairs further away. For example, we were at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco this year and last year to update ourselves on the latest developments in gaming, eSport and VR/AR. Apart from that, podcasts with interviews with big names in the scene are a good source of inspiration. It's worth visiting the following pages: The Collective Podcast, Motionographer and Art of the Title. I can also recommend the book Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

Julia: On the one hand there are common UX, Tech and Design sites like uxplanet, Codrops, Techcrunch, Awwwards, Wired, The Next Web, Muzli etc. In addition, podcasts, articles, books and blogs from the fields of sociology, psychology, politics and culture offer the opportunity to understand social trends and tendencies and, at best, to be able to address them accordingly (e.g. School of Life, Vice, Jung & Naiv Podcast).

Which of these trends are you already implementing at STRICHPUNKT?

Julia: That may sound cheesy now, but "artificial intelligence" is and probably will remain THE big topic for a while. Here at STRICHPUNKT, for example, we developed the Layout Creator for Deutsche Post DHL Group. This is a web tool based on artificial intelligence with which employees worldwide can easily create high-quality layouts, e.g. for posters that are always on-brand. What is particularly exciting is the right balance between the influence of the AI and the influence of the users. In other words, what freedom do users have in the design process and what decisions are made by the AI?
Markus: A good example are multifunctional logos such as the Weltmeister Living Logo, which also functions as an assistant. We have designed and visualized concepts for interactive assistance systems for several customers. In addition, topics such as augmented reality applications, social media filters, 3D/2D characters and 3D printing are increasingly in demand. It's definitely an exciting time right now!

What does courage mean to you?

Julia: For me, courage means not focusing primarily on what is perceived by the masses as fancy and can therefore be easily presented to the outside world. One tends too often to simply take over things that have already been well received.

Markus: Working in After Effects without auto-save. ;) No, seriously: For me, courage means breaking new ground and implementing unusual solutions. It is important to me to constantly face personal challenges.

A look into the future aka Buzzword Bingo - which Buzzwords will we hear a lot in 2019 and 2020? And what would you like to see more of in the future?

Julia: As mentioned before, the term "AI" will remain a huge topic in the next few years. I see the same thing with other, already more or less well-known terms like Machine Learning, VR, AR and e-sports. But what I would like to see is a stronger focus on topics like accessibility, inclusion and digital ethics.

Markus: A very exciting trend is the more and more frequently used real-time rendering. Images are calculated much faster than with conventional methods. This results in extremely exciting possibilities for the creation of films, games and interactive applications. Here, too, AI is used to reduce image noise.

Due to the increasing immersion in video games and the targeted dopamine bursts that mobile devices generate for the user, there is a danger of dependency or escapism. I think this should be addressed intensively already today, as this problem is becoming increasingly complex for future generations.

Apart from that, here is my list of favorite buzzwords: sustainability - mindfulness - virtual assistant - AI - machine learning - smart city - IOT - spatial computing - mixed reality - real time raytracing - metaverse - transhumanism - biohacking

What are your personal visions at SP?

Julia: Especially in the medical field there are many great concepts for people with disabilities which have been worked out and tested, but in the end have never been implemented because they are "economically not relevant". I think it would be super exciting to be able to start right there. So how could a concept that was developed for a relatively small niche still be used to justify the costs of its implementation?

Markus: I think we could use our abilities to communicate with all our senses and the power of emotional moving images to draw attention to grievances and to inform about complex facts. Several projects have already gone in this direction, I am curious what will follow. And then there is the idea of a holistic brand experience in the Metaversum ;-)