18 May
   Filed Under: Personal   

I really resisted the idea of writing a bit about myself, initially, but this year I was interviewed by newspapers and on radio shows and it seemed weird to not have something up on the place where I ‘live’ my professional life: on the internet. I think it’s also good to have something to link to for the ‘About me’ button.


Who are you?

I am Sebastiaan de With, a 2122 year old freelance designer and one-man company. I specialize in icon and visual interface design and consultancy, but I also design logotypes, and maintain a blog and a website service that teaches you how to design icons. I occasionally do presentations for teams and companies, too, on making apps that are beautiful and fun to use.

I live and work in my own studio in the northern region of the Netherlands, a tiny country in the west of Europe. I love Macs, technology, gaming, reading well-written stuff, mecha, and kittens – but that should be obvious. Everybody loves kittens.

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07 May
   Filed Under: iPhone, Personal   

Steven Frank puts into words what we’ve all been feeling for almost a year:

It continues to kill me, seeing that iPhone apps are still getting rejected for ridiculous reasons.

The Cocoa Touch platform is so great, and this approval nonsense is so absurd that it’s hard for me to reconcile.

Almost a year now, and Apple still has a stranglehold on the platform. I’m an adult, and I am quite sure most iPhone owners are adults, but apparently there still needs to be someone who decides that I can’t use anything that has as much as a nipple in it on my phone. In the mean time, people I know that aren’t very tech-savvy have heard about the news buzz over strange App Store screwups and get completely turned off.

I’m not afraid of competition to the iPhone. I’d be really happy with a good competitor to keep Apple on its toes. I’m much more afraid, however, that something that is qualitatively far worse (but ‘good enough’) than the iPhone platform comes along and wins out because it’s perceived as being more open and people feel like they can do with it what they want. Which may be some really stupid stuff that Apple doesn’t allow on their store. The platform just needs to be ‘good enough’ and not buried in critical news coverage.

Sounds a bit like the old Mac vs. IBM PC battle for supremacy, doesn’t it? We all know how that one ended.

06 Jan
   Filed Under: Interface Design, Personal   

Before you associate the following UI design with me or Cocoia, let me assure you that I have had no involvement in Picasa whatsoever. With that out of the way, the recently released Picasa Mac version is quite… unique when it comes to UI.

This image illustrates nicely how Picasa seems to use mixed sans and serif typography, wholly custom controls and strange, nonstandard color palettes throughout the app. I must admit I’d expected more from Google; I’ll stick with iPhoto for now.

Update: Michael J. Tsai reports that Google is using a cross-platform toolkit, which also prohibits Picasa from running on PowerPC Macs. Weak.

31 Jul
   Filed Under: Announcement, Apple, News, Personal   

I’ll be going places this August, combining holiday with my favorite pass-time (that’s work, in case you’re wondering), and I’d love to meet blog readers, clients, and other familiar faces when I’m in their vicinity! I’ve got two places that I’ll be attending for a significant amount of time, and if you’d like to meet me, be sure to drop me a line!

So where will I be? As with last year, I’ll be attending the Dutch musical festival ‘A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise 2008′ (links to last.fm); I can’t reveal my share of the custom design work I did until the festival’s commencement date, but if you’re attending, I can guarantee you’ll like it! The festival is split up in three days, and if you’re there, be sure to email, text, or call me to set up a meet (details can be found in my vcard on Icon Designer) – it’s always fun to get together.

More exciting (and outlandish) is my prolonged visit to the United States from August 21st to September 10th. I’ll have a week of vacation with my girlfriend from Sept. 3rd to Sept. 10th, and the rest of the days I’ll be working on something fantastic. I’ll be in San Francisco during that entire time period, so if you live near, or happen to travel there, be sure to contact me. I really look forward to seeing San Francisco (and the US in general, I’ve never been there before) and all the designers and great companies that take up residence there. Vacation tips are, of course, also appreciated!

It was a real challenge getting my girlfriend on a plane, as paper tickets are no longer used, and her surname is too long to fit on an e-ticket reservation, Expedia refused to offer her any service (any. Really, I’ve been told by an Expedia supervisor that she just flat out couldn’t travel at all), but fortunately it appears that the airline, BMI, has been very kind with us and solved all the issues with the reservation. We’ll even be on the same flight back, in two adjacent seats. In the end, it even saved me several hundred euro’s. So a tip for all of you; just don’t use Expedia.

That’s it for this short notice; I’ll be updating the blog soon with more released projects and work, and I’ll probably do a few posts from these two trips too, so you can stay informed of my adventures. I hope to see you there!

19 Jun
   Filed Under: News, Personal   

Since we’re steadily moving towards fully appropriating and settling into our new studio (home/office), I’ve posted a few pictures of our new location.

If you’re Dutch, you may recognize the artistic direction of the building as ‘de Stijl’;

(… De Stijl sought to express a new utopian ideal of spiritual harmony and order. [It] advocated pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essentials of form and colour — [members of de Stijl] simplified visual compositions to the vertical and horizontal directions, and used only primary colors along with black and white. – wikipedia )

The similarity is not coincidental, as the entire block was designed by the founder of de Stijl, Theo van Doesburg. As such, we considered it to be the perfect location for such a graphic studio!

Feel free to check out more of the images on our flickr.

12 Apr
   Filed Under: Apple, Interface Design, Personal, Popular   

I have been noticing a disturbing trend in custom interface design of third party applications for Mac OS X. As it is no longer an exception for software developers to build interface elements that are entirely unique to their application, the threshold for customizing other, system-standard interface elements is also lowered significantly. The ghastly trend I am about to describe is in existence due to this lowered threshold. In fact, I think this particular deviation off the beaten interface path would have been far more frowned upon a few years ago, when Mac interface designers were more conservative in using custom UI elements in general, and Apple disapproved of it more fiercely. Today, however, it won’t even stand in the way of scoring a design award runner-up, as my examples will go to prove.

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