Google / World in Progress

/ Google / World in Progress

In 2005, 36 years after the invention of the internet, the world’s billionth internet user came online. At the time, analysts were forecasting another 10 years before the world would see another billion, and another 25 years before the third.

Today, in 2022, more than 4.7 billion people access the internet. Of those, well over half — 2.5 billion users — can be categorized as “Novice Internet Users” (NIUs). Typically mobile-only or mobile-first — most using low-cost, minimally capable feature phones to access the internet, NIUs are low in digital literacy and confidence, and don’t yet fully appreciate the value of internet access to enrich their lives.

Designing an internet for these users presents myriad challenges. But doing so will determine what the internet will look like for all internet users, all over the world, 20 years in the future.

The World in Progress project from Google not only illuminates the current challenges we faced when creating an accessible and inclusive internet for every human on the planet, it also demonstrates the progress that’s already been made with the help of fully immersive research and design.

I’ve always had a special spot in my heart for projects that call for rolling up your sleeves and getting filthy in the details. I don’t always enjoy the process at the time, but when all is said and done, and I’ve actually learned something valuable and new — those are the projects I’m always most proud of. Aggregating and shaping the content of this book helped me appreciate the transformative nature of the internet in an entirely new way. And it came out looking super pretty, too!

Thanks to friends at Arts & Letters and their partners at Google for allowing me to take part. If you’d care to read the book in its entirety, you can find all 163 pages of World in Progress here.

Driveway / Buy or sell a car from your happy place

/ Driveway / Buy or sell a car from your happy place

Google / The Circle Comes Full Circle

/ Google / The Circle Comes Full Circle

The Pixel 5a comes packed with new tech. But the most exciting feature might be the one they brought back for an encore.

I had the pleasure of helping bring this to life along with a team of fun people at Arts & Letters and on the client side at Google. Scrappy in-house production that feels like a million bucks. (my favorite kind).

“A Kid’s Book About Belonging.” Another Story Time project for Portal from Facebook.

/ “A Kid’s Book About Belonging.” Another Story Time project for Portal from Facebook.

“A Kid’s Book About Belonging” by Kevin Carroll is part of the “A Kid’s Book About Series” published by Jelani Memory in Portland, Oregon.

The series is less about telling a story and more about starting real conversations with children and parents about the sometimes challenging world we live in.

Working directly with Kevin and Jelani, our team at Facebook collaborated with AR animators at Invisible Thread (also in Portland) to adapt the title into an AR experience for Facebook’s Portal device.

Though I’ve now been involved with more than 10 children’s titles on this platform, this one was a creative adaptation in the truest sense. Because the illustrations in the original book were so simple, Kevin and Jelani gave us much more license interpreting them in motion, and we’re all very proud of the result.

Note: while working on this title, “A Kid’s Book About Belonging” was chosen among other select “A Kid’s Book About” titles, to be on “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list for 2020.

Story Time for Portal by Facebook / Dr. Seuss!

/ Story Time for Portal by Facebook / Dr. Seuss!

As the father of three little girls (who are, sadly, no longer little enough for reading picture books) this project was extremely special.

This was my third time working as part of the AR/VR experiences team at Facebook on the Story Time platform for their Portal video calling device. This time, we would be partnering with our friends at Nexus Studios in London, adapting four early reading titles from the beloved Dr. Seuss catalog into augmented reality.

Working on this project through the Covid-19 crisis imbued the assignment with even more meaning. Story Time was designed to bring children face-to-face with family members so that they can share meaningful experiences that physical distance might prevent. Suddenly, here we are in 2020, and physical distance is a bigger barrier than ever. This somehow felt like we were giving people a magical, Seussical tool to overcome it.

Special thanks to Ian McCamey, who was not only our intrepid creative producer, but also serves as the talent on these delightful gifs!

Anolon Cookware/Cooking through Quarantine

/ Anolon Cookware/Cooking through Quarantine

Noodles & Company/The Z90X Program

/ Noodles & Company/The Z90X Program

When Noodles & Company introduced their zucchini noodles, aka “Zoodles,” they were a smash hit. Not only were they light and delicious, they also gave health conscious parents a guilt-free option when their kids were begging for Noodles’ famous mac and cheese, yet again. In fact, with Zoodles on the menu, there was no longer any legitimate excuse not to enjoy Noodles & Company every single day of the week.

Enter “The Z90X Program” – 90 different Zoodles combinations with one simple, super dumb plan: eat Zoodles every day for 90 days straight.

Creative team: Annie Russo, Kim McDonald

Story Time for Portal by Facebook

/ Story Time for Portal by Facebook

In 2019, I was fortunate to be part of a team at Facebook adapting licensed children’s book titles to AR for their Portal device. The Portal is a very special piece of video calling hardware, and Story Time is a feature that allows loved ones to share engaging stories with children no matter how far from one another they might be. The video above features Todd Parr, author of countless children’s titles, including the “Otto” series, demonstrating the Story Time of his own book, “Otto Goes to the Beach.”

We also adapted “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by the late, Anna Dewdney and several “Pete the Cat” titles by James Dean. It was an unforgettable project involving some of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with.

Fruit of the Loom x Humble Design/”A Humble Holiday”

/ Fruit of the Loom x Humble Design/”A Humble Holiday”

Fruit of the Loom is all about comfort. So during the 2019 holidays, we partnered with Detroit-Based “Humble Design” – a non-profit that furnishes homes for families transitioning out of homeless and domestic-violence shelters into Section-8 housing.

The effectiveness of Humble Design’s contribution is staggering. On average, 50% of families who make this transition will end up back in shelters. But with Humble’s help, approximately 99% of families stay housed for good.

As part of the effort, we traveled to Detroit and Seattle to tell the stories of two families in transition, and for every item customers purchased on fruit.com during the holiday the company made a donation to Humble. It’s a partnership we all hope will last.

Donate Life / Share the Love

/ Donate Life / Share the Love

A while back, a friend of ours died quite suddenly. As it turns out, he was an organ donor, and was able to save the lives of several other people as a result. Very shortly after that, I got the opportunity to work on a project to promote organ donation. The project didn’t end up working out, but this little song remains. It’s silly, and probably too long, but I’m proud to have written it just the same. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re an organ donor, check for the little heart on your driver’s license. And if you’re not, please register now at organdonor.gov