Brendan Dawes is a UK based designer and artist
Ever since his first experiences with the humble ZX81 back in the early eighties, Brendan has continued to explore the interplay of people, code, design and art through his work for various clients and on brendandawes.com where he publishes ideas, toys and projects created from an eclectic mix of digital and analog objects.
Fillings for rectangles is how he often describes his work. Over the years those rectangles have come in various shapes and sizes including websites, iPhone apps, posters, books, electronic circuits and pieces of plastic. Whilst his output takes on many forms, running through all his work are consistent themes of playfulness, curiosity and experimentation.
He believes passionately in putting new objects into the world that disrupt the status quo and ask questions about accepted practices; such as his Doodlebuzz news interface – a celebration of chance encounters and serendipity – featured in the Talk to Me exhibition at MoMA in New York and earlier won a D&AD award for interface design.
Accidental News Explorer means I no longer play games on my iPhone. Where as before, when I was a little bit bored, I'd throw birds at pigs, now I open this app and learn something new.
– Peter Lambert (UK iTunes review)
The idea of exploring related news concepts and finding things you didn't know you were looking for would later go on to inspire The Accidental News Explorer – an iPhone app listed as “new and notable” in the US app store and featured amongst eighty projects in the Taschen book Mobile Case Studies published in 2011.
Film students, academics and obsessives with time on their hands may use Dawes's grids to postulate new theories about the language of film.
— John Walters, The Guardian
Three of Brendan's most famous pieces of work are born from his on-going love affair with cinema. The Webby nominated Psycho Studio, created in 1998, was one of the very first Flash video editors and allowed people to re-cut their own version of the infamous shower scene from Psycho. Saul Bass on the Web is an online homage to the father of film titles, the graphic design legend Saul Bass and has been featured in many books on interface design. Cinema Redux™ attempts to distill whole movies down to a single image using specially written software that samples a single frame of a movie every second. In 2008 – after appearing in the MoMA exhibition Design and the Elastic Mind – Cinema Redux was acquired by MoMA in New York for the permanent collection. It would later appear again at MoMA in the exhibition Action! Design over Time.
Dawes is a kind of Jamie Oliver of interaction design and he wittily and insightfully describes his process of just getting stuck in and trying things out by pulling apart gadgets and code, connecting different things together and seeing what results.
– Comment about Analog In, Digital Out by Andy Polaine, co-founder Antirom.
The ideas put forward in his 2006 book Analog In, Digital Out are still at the heart of Brendan's output, including the creation of physical objects. The Happiness Machine – a small Internet connected printer that delivers random happy feelings from people across the web – captured people's imagination and has been featured at the London Design Festival and in the Wired store in New York as well as countless blogs including The Huffington Post, PSFK and Core77.
His love of physical as well as digital would lead him in 2010 to purchase a Makerbot 3D printer. Everything I Make With My Makerbot chronicles his adventures and experiments with this wonderful machine and has been featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, The Atlantic and The Sunday Telegraph. Eventually this experimentation in 3D prototyping led to the creation of two commercial products; MoviePeg a super-simple stand for the iPhone now sold in over seventy countries and Popa a Kickstarted funded physical button for the iPhone.
Brendan’s work has been featured in numerous journals including idN, Creative Review, MacUser, Computer Arts, Create, Wired, Eye, The Guardian, The Times, Communications Arts and was interviewed by Computer Arts in December 2008 for their "Design Icon" series. He has also been featured in various books including "New Masters of Flash" (Friends of Ed 2000), "In Your Face Too - the best of interactive interface design" (Rockport 2000) , "Flash deConstruction: The Process, Design, and ActionScript of Juxt Interactive" (2001 New Riders), "Personal Web Sites" (Rockport 2002), "The Digital Canvas" (Abrams Studio 2006) , "Graphic Design: The New Basics" (Princeton Architectural Press 2008), "Small Tech: The Culture of Digital Tools (Electronic Mediations)" ( Univ Of Minnesota Press 2008) as well as authoring "Drag Slide Fade - Flash Actionscript for Designers" in 2001 for New Riders.
In October 2006 he published "Analog In, Digital Out" - an eclectic mix of anecdotes, observations and thoughts on technology and interaction design, inspired by the world around him.
Brendan spends much of the year speaking at various conferences around the world which in the past have included the HOW Design Conference Chicago, Flashforward New York, New Media Age Congress London, South by Southwest Austin, Microsoft Research Redmond, Macromedia Web World Seattle, Art Directors Club of Spain, Madrid, Europrix Vienna, Voices that Matter San Francisco, Future of Web Design London, Internet World Los Angeles as well as various lectures in universities around the UK. He also sits on the advisory board for Manchester School of Art and has been a jury member for several award bodies including the Art Directors Club in New York, D&AD and the iF Design Awards.
See a list of upcoming and past talks on Lanryd