Design Beginnings

In the mid-2010's, I was working for a small tech company with a lot of Engineering and a bunch of awesome co-workers. I soon came to notice that nearly everyone (except me) was wearing a new smartwatch.... Cool. I mentioned it a few times, then forgot about it. But when the holidays came around in December, my family bought me my first Huawei smartwatch. It was slick and weird at that same time, and I didn't really know what to do with it at first. Being an Android fan (over Apple), I quickly learned that I could create my own smartwatch face designs! Artwork and Math work together?!? That's right up my alley and I got started in design work straight away on the Facer platform which was a very young platform at the time. I really got into it - the PhotoShop work in high detail, trigonometry, radial coordinates, the Wear OS operating system, the Facer development language, and just a tremendously cool designer community in the Facer forums. I made a lot of Internet friends and was having a grand time.  

Then in early 2017, Facer announced that they were hosting a worldwide watch dial design competition together with and Samsung for the new soon-to-be-released Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch. The winner would get a new Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch and a $500 cash prize. The judging panel included famous Swiss watch designer, Yvan Arpa who designed the Gear S3 hardware casing for Samsung, as well as some of the top folks at Facer. Anyone who was an active Facer design member could submit their designs. As a joke, I decided to build a sort-of vintage old-school aircraft design watch face with an analog fuel gauge for the watch's battery level and other WWII-style aircraft oriented design elements. It took me about a month to complete the PhotoShop artwork and all of the functional programming, then I submitted the design... and forgot about the contest.

  • Some weeks later, I was informed that there was high interest in my design ......ok, that's nice.
  • Some weeks after that, I was informed that my design was in the short list of favorites among the judges. Now I'm paying attention.
  • Next,  I was informed that my design was one of the five finalists! Wow! C'mon how could that be??
  • Finally in April of 2017, I was announced as the worldwide contest Grand Prize winner! WHAT?!? That's incredible!
This was a great time for me and any creativity that I was nurturing. I received my Gear S3 watch and my $500 cash prize. But the real surprise for me was that Facer formally invited me into the Premium Designer's pool where my designs would be monetized and sold in the Google Play Store. Well that was just crazy... I've got myself a new part-time job here! The watch dial design world has grown incredibly over the past years with the major watch manufacturers now building smartwatches. It's been a tremendous ride for me and I still enjoy it today.