23 Mar
   Filed Under: News   

I’ve been writing on this little blog — the blog with the name nobody can pronounce — since 2007. I’ve posted about user interfaces, procedurally generated art, typography, games, my life, and many more things. But all good, hilariously poorly coded things come to an end.

Later, guys.

Cocoia, as a company, was retired last year when I joined doubleTwist and moved to the United States. Today, this blog, too, will be retired, in favor of dewith.com, my personal blog. Sebastiaan de With’s blog, I call it.

I even posted a list on the new blog of stuff you may be looking for when you look me up on Google. I’ll keep this place online, but it’ll be in stasis. It’s been a fun ride and I’ll remember and preserve the good times we had on this old website (remember when the original creators of Photoshop came by? Ah, fun times). I am happy I’ll be able to finally write again.

On to new adventures.

17 Nov
   Filed Under: Design, doubleTwist, News   

So today, I read this post showing Samsung’s current product lineup. It reminded me of my lovely mother-in-law (no, she really is lovely!) asking me about Android phones a few weeks ago. And of course, it *is* confusing to the average consumer what phone to get. I mean, there’s a lot of options. Do you want the Samsung Galaxy Sâ„¢ II Epicâ„¢ 4G Touch (this is an actual product name. No, seriously, someone actually calls their phone that.), a Kyocera Milano? How about a Huawei M835? The Shenyang J-11? Whoops, that last one is actually a Chinese air superiority fighter, not a phone. I get confused sometimes.

So how many options are there exactly? Let’s limit ourselves to the US. And AT&T, MetroPCS, T-Mobile and Verizon. And I won’t show all the options of colors.

Take your pick.

07 Oct
   Filed Under: Apple, IconResource   

I was sitting in an office as news started coming in yesterday that Steve Jobs had passed away. Shocked, I verified the news, paused speechless for a moment, shared it with my wife in astonishment, and worked on. I worked hard and finished designing a subset of an app that I would say is the best work I’ve done in my life.

I haven’t really been ‘with Apple’ for that long. I’d gotten my first Mac not too long before joining the Academy in late 2005. Before that, in high school I bought a 2003 iPod with the money I’d earned working as a dish washer in a Chinese restaurant. In my little rural school, only a handful of kids even knew what an MP3 file was, let alone an iPod.

I’d grown up with an innate dislike for Macs. Since I’d always had a PC, once I had overcome my fear for its intimidating hidden workings I started taking it apart. From hardware to software, I wanted to know what made computers tick. The Mac seemed like such an antithesis, such an impediment to creativity, learning, and curiosity. Why would people prefer closed, shiny plastic boxes?

It’s only when I got my iPod that I figured it out. The experience was enthralling. When the Mac finally switched to Intel chips is when I felt comfortable switching, and I never looked back. I took the amazing experience that welcomed me – and swallowed me whole – apart, bent on finding what made me love my Mac so much. That year I found my passion for visual user interface and user experience design. Fast-forward to today: I am changing the experiences millions of people have with software for the better as a job. I love it. I have never been happier.

Steve touched us all, and I am no exception. Before going to the Academy of Arts and before getting my first Mac, I started learning about the history of Apple as a company. I devoured books, documentaries and even the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, in which the early years of Apple and Microsoft are told from the perspective of Jobs, Wozniak, Gates and Ballmer. The movie, and Steve’s 2005 Stanford Commencement address, are what motivated me to let myself go, and let myself be submerged in my inner drive to obsess. I put a picture of him and Woz in my sketchbook.

When I worked at Apple, having my work reviewed by him and getting feedback and input from him was my lifelong dream made a reality, and the greatest honor I ever had. It has helped me tremendously grow as a person, and a professional.

When I sat on my couch this morning after a terrible, sleepless night full of confusing dreams and racing thoughts, it finally struck me that that man is gone. Even writing those words now, I feel a terrible sinking feeling.

Steve was my greatest inspiration. We all have to fight, live, work and most importantly love more and more strongly than ever to fill the void he left behind. I’m in a lucky place where I have never lost a close member of my family to cancer, but I am sure I will some day. Until then, I will do all I can to fight it: I am donating all proceeds of my video tutorial website, Icon Resource, to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network between now and Monday, October 10, midnight PST.

As my friend (and amazing human) Aza, whose father was robbed of him by the same disease put it so well:

First my father, then Steve Jobs. Pancreatic cancer has had a disproportionate and dire impact on early Apple people. Imagine if it hadn’t.

And I will end this post on a note I wrote myself:

If you want to honor Steve, don’t mourn. Do your best work every day. Live your life to the fullest. Never settle. His spirit lives on.

29 Sep
   Filed Under: Goodies   

Another quick wallpaper release before the reformatting / redesign of my blog next month. A quickie I put together using Photoshop and Cinema 4D.

Once again, 2560×1600 for all shapes and sizes of screens.

20 Sep
   Filed Under: Goodies   

Based on this picture, as seen on Twitter by @hermoineway. If you know the original artist, please let me know so I can correctly attribute the quote.

Continue reading…

15 Jun
   Filed Under: Announcement, Commercial Work, doubleTwist, News   

On March 30, I raised quite a few questions on Twitter when I changed my handle from the old @cocoia to @sdw — a shorthand for my full name, Sebastiaan de With. I also bought (and put some pages up for) domains like dewith.com and sebdw.com. I mentioned that I’d announce my motives sometime in the future. Some people speculated I was going to expand Cocoia, others (interestingly relevant today) assumed Cocoia was acquired.

It’s none of the above. I’m putting Cocoia in carbonite for a while as I start my first full-time job in the United States: I will be joining doubleTwist as Chief Creative Officer, responsible for overseeing and working on the design, interaction and polish of all their apps and services. I’ve been working with the awesome people at doubleTwist as a freelancer for years now and I’m really, really stoked to give them my full attention. We’ve been working on some extremely cool stuff.

I’ve interviewed with over a dozen companies early this year, and my joining doubleTwist is the conclusion of a long period of weighing all the awesome opportunities I had. You may have seen me traverse all the valley campuses on social networks as I ‘shopped’ around. A luxury problem if there ever was one: picking a job from all these kickass companies. doubleTwist is undoubtedly the best choice, though: working with Jon (– of ‘DVD Jon‘ fame) and Monique has always been a pleasure, and the other staff are some of the most detail oriented and talented I’ve known in the industry.

In related news, I will be moving to San Francisco soon. As a city, it’s a fantastic place to live. As a place, it’s where I truly feel at home out of all the places in the world. I can’t wait to be living and working there.

What does this mean to you, my reader and / or customer, and my ‘behavior’ online? Icon Resource and other Cocoia products will still be supported and developed. I will still work on side projects, UI breakdowns, speak at conferences and (loudly) voice my opinion on things. I will be working more with Android (and possibly, as they emerge, more mobile OSes).

I will, however, no longer accept freelance work. After six years of freelance designing, this is truly the end of an era. Thanks to all my awesome clients, large and small, and my ‘competitors’ for being awesome inspiring designers I was proud to share a market with. You know who you are. I’m sure we’ll work together again in the future. For now, goodbye.

And, of course, I’ll be showing off some of the awesome things I’ve been working on for doubleTwist very soon.