Our year review of the Apple Watch

Our creative director Matt Fields has had the Apple watch since it's inception. After a year of wearing the Apple Watch, here are his thoughts and insights that we thought we would share.

General thoughts and comments

With out a doubt it has made me more productive. Just look around any social setting in the world. What are people doing? Staring into their phone. It's interesting because, people don't realize how much time out of the day their phone actually steals from them. I actually timed myself and it was quite laughable how much time I was on my phone. It's just more socially acceptable to look at your watch than to have your face plastered onto a phone. 

With that said, one of the brilliant things Apple has done design choice wise is email notifications via the watch. Instead of sending you one email at a time it will wait until two or three emails came in via one notification. Such a subtle design choice that actually makes a subtle difference throughout your day. It's a design choice that actually is so well executed you don't even think about how it has saved you time in your day because you don't always have to look down at your wrist when an email comes in. This was a minor problem with owning and wearing a pebble smart watch.

I don't download as many apps as I once did. That is likely because I was just bored and I wanted something, to do. Although, this could also just be app fatigue.

The Activity feature

When I wear the watch I feel like I am letting the watch down and myself down by not getting up and going to go do something when I get a activity notification to stand up and move around for a bit. I would say this feature alone has made me more productive in the office. The watch actually knows the difference between sitting and standing. Which is great!

Another nice subtle feature that is well thought out is the distance tracker. Say you are in a mall and you set the watch to track your walk throughout the mall. What typically happens is that you forget to turn the activity tracking feature off when you get into your car. Which would lead to skewed results of how far you actually walked for that excursion. The watch is smart enough to know when you are in your car and not running at 30-65mph.

The simple fact that I can go golfing and not pull out my phone is simply game changing for me as I am more engaged with fellow golfers instead of staring/glancing at my phone during a meeting. And besides the watch will tell you your yardage from the hole. All the while also tracking how much you are actually walking.

The Quality of the cheapest model

Did you know that the flight recorder black boxes that are found in every commercial airliner are made from 5052-H32 aluminum? And those are designed to withstand a plane crash. The Apple watch is made out of 7000 series aluminum and is used in only extreme cases of strength/weight optimizations.

Interestingly enough, 7000 series aluminum is very hard to machine due to being so much harder than 6000. I am personally amazed that Apple is producing a mass market product intricately machined out of a 7000 alloy and only charging $300 (It was originally $400) for the device. That is simply unbelievable, a true display of their design and manufacturing excellence.

How waterproof is it?

The Hammer & Knife test

The bottom line is something you wear on your wrist all day is possible to pick up a scratch or two over time—but it looks as if Apple has done a lot of work with the screen and waterproofing to ensure your new purchase will last.

My person experience is that you should not get the stainless steel version of the watch. Sadly, the stainless steel version of the watch will have all sorts of scuffs after prolong use of wearing. I highly recommend you go with the Space Gray version of the watch. The watch looks exactly the way it did the first day I put it on. There has been times where I walked into something that the watch crashed heavily into and my mind always goes to that place, "This is the one watch crash that will give it, it's first blemish!" But I will wait a few seconds and to my surprise... no damage or scuffs.

Our Favorite Apple Watch Apps

Cheatsheet is for the little things you never remember: hotel rooms, license plates, luggage combination, ID numbers. Write them down in Cheatsheet and then refer to them anytime in the Today Widget or paste them anywhere with the Custom Keyboard. No more fumbling to unlock your phone and find your notes app; Cheatsheet is as easy as pulling down Notification Center, pulling up the keyboard, or glancing at your Apple Watch.

HeartWatch. View & get notified about heart rate data captured on your watch. you’d think Apple built the $2.99 app itself. As an everyday app, it continually monitors your heart rate, providing stats like your average, maximum, and minimum heart rate via easy-to-interpret visuals. As a workout app, it also keeps track of your heart rate zones, such as warmups, fat burning, fitness building, and high intensity. You can use it to track your sleeping heart rate, too.

Not being able to watch feature films and TV on your wrist isn't a disappointment. But tiny seconds of video seem well-suited to wrist-based viewing. Vine enables you to take in featured and favorite Vines right on your watch. This is a little bit of a time waster but some times you need a distraction and what better way than to look at your watch rather than your phone?

Slack's popularity as a team communications tool is undeniable, but you wouldn't want to scroll through the entire feed on your wrist. The app therefore wisely limits itself to direct messages and mentions, which you can reply to using succinct pre-defined answers, Emoji, or voice input by way of Siri. I highly recommend it!

Golf-centric GPS watches are great, but what do you do with them after leaving the links? With the free Golfshot app, you don’t have to change your wristwear when you’re done with the back nine. Relaying your iPhone’s GPS data to the Apple Watch, Golfshot provides real-time data to the green, without having to whip out your smartphone. It also provides flyover previews and helps you keep track of your score. Too bad it doesn’t help your short game. It will also make a great talking point with your clients on why they should get one.

Great Examples of Minimalist Packaging Design

At Clear Space, one of our core principals is the use of minimal design. With that said, we thought we would share some of our favorite pieces from artists around the world. 

Brücke Bier design by Anna Salvador

Brücke it’s a brand formed by a Schwarzbier and a Weissbier. Its name refers to Franz Ernst Brückmann, a german doctor who wrote a play in which the Brunswick Mumme was mentioned as a drink with miraculous effects.

Packaging and rebranding for Hoodoo Brewing Co. by Benjamin Puffer


Cheburashkini Brothers Dairy Packaging by Ermolaev Bureau

Cheburashkini brothers are real people, who have restored four old farms in an ecologically clean Moscow region, transported highly productive European cow breed, and built up an ultramodern dairy factory. The packaging of dairy brands on the Russian market is often based on traditional visual codes such as pouring milk, images of cows, etc.

The main idea of packaging design is based on typography, where initial letters of products are central elements of the design. We have designed a display sans-serif typeface with a set of weights, and for the text setting we have used the Cyrillic version of Euclid typeface from Swiss Typefaces.

Zorra design by Análogo

Umbra Shift Packaging design by Post Projects

Umbra Shift is an extension of Umbra that focuses on contemporary influences in the design community.

Pure Jomo design by Alaa Abuamra

JUMO consists of five different products which are gemstone, conch shell, tea, essential oils, and kinetic sand. Each element is associated with one of the five senses

The package design was kept minimal  to deliver a clear message about the benefit of the product and instruction on how to use the product. The colours of the brand reflect the nature that the products came from.

Românico Bordados design by VOLTA

Românico Bordados (embroidery) wants to recover the famous Vale do Sousa (an area in Northern Portugal) embroidery and turn these fantastic linen and cotton goods into luxury items.

Our solution was to create a symbol based on the monument’s motifs, allied to a decorative but strong typography (Estilo Pro by portuguese typeface designer Dino dos Santos). We used kraft-like paper for the tags and product boxes, printing only in one color.

De Cecco Packaging design by Kajsa Klaesén

Packaging and rebranding project for the Italian brand De Cecco.

I wanted to keep their classic color scheme, but changed the hues to give it a fresh update. The idea was to make packaging that would stand out next to other brands, but still have a traditional feel. The circle is a recurring element both in the typography and the cut-outs.

Milk from Finland – Packaging for Arla design by Tuukka Tujula

When Arla started selling exclusively local milk in Finland, it renewed its entire milk packaging line in the country.

We took the task of designing the new packaging to reflect the new approach and the milk’s origins. The end results is a concept based on water-coloured illustrations that make the packages instantly recognizable – the packages are livened up with seasonal details. Each product type has its own motif to ease consumer navigation. Stripes indicate basic milks, balls point out low-lactose products whereas waves mean non-lactose. Bacteria-boosted soured milks are signposted with triangles.

Great Northern Wilderness – Organic Flour design by Tom Jueris

Corinne Cosmetics design by Anna Trympali

Maison La Crème design by Análogo

Maison La Cremè it’s a boutique coffee shop and boulangerie located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México in the beautiful Providencia zone.

We developed the main identity with only one font family: Tautz. This gave the whole project a unique and distinctive character. Also we designed a monogram that combines the initials of Maison La Crème and the names of the two founding sisters. The color palette consisting only of black, white and gold, enhance the sense of austerity and elegance along with the good taste of their gastronomical offer.

Love Guide Condoms design by Guan-Hao Pan

Jucy Lu design by Dani V. Sanchez and El Autobus

Jucy Lu is a cold-pressed juice and health food shop that uses premium organic ingredients to provide necessary provisions to replace fast food with convenient healthy food.

Our proposal has at its core Jucy Lu’s altruistic philosophy while bringing attention to the hand-made aspect of the food and juices they produce. The brand is amicable, simple but well crafted, maintaining an almost monochromatic scheme to achieve balance. With this in mind we created: a large set of illustrations, typographic arrangements, icons, stamps and stickers; all of which are intermixed on the packing.

Keisari Bakery design by Werklig

Keisari Bakery (Leipomo Keisari) wanted to renew their visual identity and to communicate the change of the old name Kakku & Leipä Keisari (translation: Cake & Bread Cesar). The old name seemed to be too constraining as it gave the impression that they sold only cakes and bread, where as the product range is much wider.

We set out to create an identity that was designed in measured steps and used simplicity as an asset. The first step was to clarify the name, which was done by dropping the cake and bread references. On the visual side we created a black and white pattern that stemmed from scoring marks that are often found in baked bread. This pattern proved to be very versatile as it could be scaled to fit different types of surfaces using both black and white colours. In packaging we decided to use white materials instead of the usual brown as it created a clear differentiation from other bakery brands. The black and white visual identity made a great contrast to the product range, from levain bread and french baguettes to pastries and colourful cakes. To sum the results up we achieved a strong graphic look that stood out and simultaneously highlighted the product.

Moccato design by Rodrigo Saiani, Lucas Campoi, Dominique Kronemberger, Flora de Carvalho

A coffee club for hardcore coffee lovers.

It was vital that we came up with something young and cosmopolitan. The stencil logotype was our re-interpretation of something very traditional to the coffee industry (the coffee sacks and wooden boxes used for transportation), and also a nod to street art, young and nonconformist by nature. And lastly, sure, it also resembles the curved shapes of coffee beans.

The boxes are practical and small – so the consumer can handle and store them easily. Each color relates to a flavor, but the die cut of the stencil letters is random, which makes the boxes different in every shipment (a fun spelling game to keep in the pantry).

Splitz Popsicle’s by Wylee Sanderson

Each Popsicle is molded in house at a steady 29° and cast with only the finest imported fruits from across the world.

The Marshmallowist Branding & Packaging by Veronica Lethorn / Pattern, Photography & Art Direction by Eve Warren

The developed brand celebrates the companies values; a bold, contemporary product that embraces artisanal ingredients, progressive flavour combinations and innovative production methods, all with a slice of fun.

The brand identity was then expressed by Veronica Lethorn through a customised version of Piero Di Biase, Think Work Observe, Futwora (a contemporary take on the classic type face Futura originally designed by Paul Renner), across the packaging range printed on G. F Smith Colorplan papers.

Recently Oonagh collaborated with emerging creative Eve Warren to art direct, develop a supporting brand palette and create a range of abstract patterns to market the product range. The abstract fruit patterns, developed by Eve, were then applied to the flagship bakery shopfront.

Teastories design by Anagrama .

Teastories is a tea store offering selected premium tea products located in Vienna. The store offers a wide variety of teas that come from all over the world starting with black tea from Sri Lanka to green tea from Japan as well as various tea accessories. Teastories searches to represent the place where tea lovers are born, also offering an approachable way to enjoy high quality tea on the go.

Our proposal created a brand that makes allusion to the natural accents of flavor and aroma in tea getting presented in a minimalistic and approachable way. This was obtained by using brush strokes using a subtle color palette referencing the essence of tea, which is present throughout the brand’s packaging.

The logo brings together quotation marks and tea leaves, playing with the idea that every tea shares a different story. On the tea packaging you can find quotations that describe the tea’s personality accentuating each tea’s different characteristics in a unique way.