At Circa News (or simply Circa) I had the privilege of leading the design efforts for their multi-platform mobile app, web app, and brand. We aimed to revolutionize news consumption by introducing a novel paradigm: breaking down stories into concise, easily digestible formats—reminiscent of what could now best be described as live twitter threads—allowing for real-time updates and expansion as news events unfolded. After launch in 2013, Circa achieved significant recognition, receiving Best of Apple App Store and Best of Google Play Store accolades.

Working with a small but passionate and highly driven team, I played a pivotal role in shaping the user experience and visual identity of Circa. Beyond professional collaboration, the relationships formed during my time at Circa continue to endure, and I am still in contact with many former colleagues.

Working on a startup budget brings out the craftiness in any designer! For our initial launch landing homepage I went out and took photos of my phone in various spots around SF and photoshoped screenshots of the app onto the screen. We then had the photos cycle with a fade transition just like this. That was cutting edge at the time!
P.S. Please forgive the low quality of any assets on this page. Anything I have from this era are relics of a time long past! 
I'd always dabbled in digital animation and this was the first time my skill was publicly put to the test. I wanted to get people into our app as fast as possible so the first thing they saw on first launch was this small modal that floated above the home screen with a quick 3-step tour of how Circa worked. If you made it to the final step you got to witness my cinematic masterpiece: a mars rover gettings abducted by aliens.
This was before the days of Lottie animations making all our lives easier so I animated these illustrations in Adobe Edge Animate, a design tool way ahead of its time, exported them as javascript, and our amazing engineer was able to embed each step as a web view. It was seamless and looked as good as a more native approach.
iOS 7 and Circa 2.0
Rumors of the big iOS 7 redesign had been swirling for months and I was prepared. While the actual reveal may have sent me into an existential panic for my career, I adapted and quickly became one of the redesign's biggest championers. We launched the Circa 2.0 redesign a month after iOS 7's public launch. Gone were the skeuomorphic newspaper motifs and the main menu's admittedly dazzling 3d page flip animation,  and for the better. 2.0 was modern and sleek and our users greatly appreciated our dedication to adopting the new UI frameworks.
App Icon
As it goes when working with perfectionists, for better or for worse, Circa had hundreds of app icon iterations during its lifetime. The version I landed on for 1.0 was an elaborate mix of drop shadows and radial gradients that made the vector art look convincingly three-dimensional. Metalic chamfered edges!
We then wiped the slate clean with the introduction of Circa 2.0 for iOS 7. Plain black on white. Flat design was truly a revolution.
Web App
Initially, Circa's main goal was to provide easily readable and quickly digestible news on-the-go for people's phones. However, shortly after the launch, a strong demand for a desktop browser version became apparent. Recognizing the scale of this task, we decided to introduce Circa story sharing through browser-compatible URLs. This approach allowed users to share stories with friends who didn't have the Circa app or were using a desktop browser while we worked on creating a full, browser-based version of the app. Additionally, users could log in with their Circa accounts to follow a story and receive updates on their phones at a later time.
Launch Video
Yes, we even had a launch video. This may be the only documented footage of Circa 1.0  remaining. I even reached out to one of my favorite artists at the time, Blackbird Blackbird, who let us include his song "Pure."

All Projects

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BrandingGraphic Design

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Gillian & JasonWedding Film

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