Craig Ward Gets Smart with Android
Technology is as integrated into our lives as we ever could have imagined. Most days are spent bouncing from screen to screen. Some on the wall regaling us with stories, the screens on our desks provide an outlet for our objectives, and the screens in our pockets connect us with everyone else. The big question is, now that we interact with technology almost as much as possible, is there a way to make our relationships with these pieces more seamless?
Wearable tech is the next step in bringing these elements together, and the biggest, most consumable step in wearable technology in 2014 was the introduction of the smartwatch. Android Wear just launched a whole new platform for their tech, and they invited Craig Ward to design one of the inaugural looks for the watch. As a part of the handful of designers and creators, Craig looked at this as an opportunity to challenge himself. “A lot of what I do is process driven. I’m sort of searching for a way to reconcile that physicality and that sort of giving over your work to the process,” he says. “I’ve always been looking for the digital equivalent. This project feels like there’s an idea behind it, there’s a process, and it’s never going to look the same twice, basically.” Craig’s watch face is exactly that: an interplay of the digital and the real.
The custom numerals that Craig designed sit on the face in a 3D rendering. Taking into account the time of day, the time of year, the sunrises and sunsets, light is cast across the digits, throwing shadows appropriate for the time of day. Using a lot of fancy coding, Google and Craig were able to find the perfect soft edges and shadow opacity of natural light. They initially played with other options as well. “Some of our early stuff was very vectory, sort of ray traced, hard edged shadows which was cool, but it sort of wasn’t what I had in mind. I wanted it to be something subtle and tonal,” Craig explains. “It’s doing 3D things in a 2D space.” This perfectly aligns with the work that Craig normally does, constructing compositions using real 3D materials and letting them reside in 2D. But the digital arena provides a dynamic space, offering movement and interaction.
Craig felt that his skill set as a typographer couldn’t go ignored, so he provided the custom type. “I wanted it to be very geometric so that the numerals were based around perfect circles and everything else was perfect straight lines. Art Deco with a sort of futuristic feel,” he explains. He heard someone refer to it as “Space Deco,” and thinks he’ll adopt that title. It was important for Craig to bring this unique level to the project since Google was so creatively respectful to Craig during the whole process. “They were entirely trusting on this project which was nice. They were like ‘Yeah, that’s cool. Do it.’”
To download Craig Ward's Shadow Clock Watch Face from Google Play, click here.