Exeunt DesignScene

We started Lunar/Theory almost four years ago with the idea of creating great apps for the iPad. Although we were iOS development newbies, we managed to develop and release DesignScene that first year. Since then we have released periodic updates and handled the care and feeding of the master feed, culminating in the release of 2.0 at the end of last year.

Since then, however, we have not been able to give it the attention it deserves. DesignScene was always a side project for us, and we enjoy working on it immensely. But in the last year, as our day jobs became more demanding and our personal lives more complicated, development has languished. We always expected to maintain it for a long time, but the release of iOS 7 this fall has disabused us of that notion. Though we would love to update the UI for the modern OS, and definitely have some ideas for where it could go, we have no time to work on it anymore.

Regretfully, we have decided that the best thing to do is discontinue DesignScene. We removed it from the App Store today. The service behind it will continue until December 31, 2014, meaning that you can continue to explore the latest interesting developments in design for the duration of 2014. But at the end of the year, we will need to shut down the master feed, as well.

This has been a great ride for us, and we — @lunarboy and @theory — have learned a ton about iOS, the App Store, marketing, and how insanely awesome our customers are. We wish we could keep it going indefinitely, but alas, all good things must end.

This has been a rewarding experience we shall never forget. Thank you all for your support over the last few years.

Agree to Agree

As we prepared to launch DesignScene 1.0 in late 2010, the internet was awash in stories about apps getting into legal trouble for reformatting articles from prominent publications. Wired asked, “Is Flipboard Legal?”, while All Things D reported, “Pulse iPad App Gets Steve Jobs’s Praise in Morning…Then Booted From App Store Hours Later After NYT Complains.” Since providing design-related online content in a compelling interface was the raison d’être for DesignScene, we felt that we needed to be proactive in assuring the rights of the sites we featured.

So we took the time to work with a lawyer to write a very simple agreement that we asked most of the sites featured to agree to. I say “most” because some, such as Flickr, had permissive-enough terms for apps to begin with. But for all the other sites, we asked for permission via this letter, and only added the sites that agreed. Today, we have 75 such agreements on file. This worked out great for us, not only because it gave us the confidence to feature these sites without fear, but also because it let them know where we were coming from.

Where are we coming from? Of course, we’d like DesignScene to do well, but ultimately, we wanted to create a platform to feature great designs that drive traffic back to the originating web sites. The agreement, therefore, is as favorable to the content owners as we could make it:

RSS Content License

[Content owner] grants Lunar/Theory, LLC permission to link, redistribute or to publicly display the RSS Content, in part or in whole, consisting of text and images, of [Content owner] via Lunar/Theory’s DesignScene application under the following conditions:

  • Lunar/Theory must display the RSS Content in a manner that allows successful linking to, redirection to or delivery of the applicable [Content owner] webpage.
  • Lunar/Theory may not insert any intermediate page, splash page or other content between the RSS link and the applicable [Content owner] webpage.
  • Lunar/Theory may not modify the text, content, or links supplied by [Content owner] except for the purposes of reformatting as needed for display in DesignScene.
  • [Content owner] retains all rights, trademarks and copyrighted material used in connection with this RSS Service.
  • In connection with [Content owner]’s RSS Content, Lunar/Theory may not transmit any unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, profane or otherwise objectionable information of any kind.
  • License granted is a world-wide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual license for commercial or non-commercial use which may be canceled by [Content owner] at any time.

Yep, that’s it. Perhaps others will find this useful. We’re happy to share, and hope that we’ve contributed in some small way to the success of sites featuring inspiring art and design.

Introducing DesignScene 2.0

Since the launch of our app two years ago, DesignScene has been a great learning experience for us and a labor of love. We’ve been diligently working in the background, and today proudly announce the release of version 2.0.

So what’s new? Collections!

We knew from the beginning that, when designers found inspiring images in DesignScene, they would want to save them for future reference. It took much longer that we’d originally hoped, but Collections finally arrived in DesignScene 2.0.

DesignScene 2.0 has two modes, fondly referred to as Inspiration and Collections. The former is largely the same as the in 1.0: Six portals featuring the images of the latest design inspirations from around 60 creative-oriented web sites, plus a seventh portal with a list of recent design-oriented tutorials, news, and insights. The content of these portals changes throughout the day, and each has a limited number of items to cycle through. (36 in each image portal, and 256 in the text portal. Can you guess why?)

Collection mode, on the other hand, is where you can keep all the stuff you’ve found most inspiring. It lets you create as many collections as you wish, and displays each with a mosaic of the 9 most recent images. (Can you tell that I’m a bit of a freak for modern architecture?) The grid layout is thanks to the excellent AQGridView, and looks just terrific.

Collections

Tap a collection to see all the images in the collection, scroll to check ‘em out, and tap or pinch to go to full screen view, where you can admire your collection of images in their original glory.

My Architecture collection

So how do you collect images? Via the updated action menu. Previously, this menu allowed you to share links to your favorite images via email, Twitter, Facebook, and Instapaper. DesignScene 2.0 adds options to add images to a collection, or to create a new collection.

Which is all well and good, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tapped through to the original story in which an image was featured, and found even better stuff that I wanted to collect. So we made it possible. Now you can collect almost any image—including most you see in the browser view—by tapping and holding the image. This will bring up the “Share/Add” menu, where you can collect or share the image as usual—even if it wasn’t featured in one of the DesignScene portals.

Tap and Hold to bring up the Share/Add menu

Of course, you can tap and hold to trigger the Share/Add menu on any image in the app, too. The only place it doesn’t work is on some sites, such as Flickr, where direct access to the image is disallowed.

We hope you’ll enjoy DesignScene 2.0 as much as we did making it.

DesignScene v1.4.2 Now Available

Hello design friends!

DesignScene v1.4.2 is now available on the App Store. This release fixes the issue with the missing portals when DesignScene v1.4.1 was started in landscape orientation, as described in our previous post. Once you’ve installed this update, you can once again fire up DesignScene in any orientation.

Again, we apologize for this bug and the inconvenience. We try hard to make sure that DesignScene always works, and regret that this one got by us.

If it’s any consolation, know that we’re hard at work on DesignScene 2.0, and expect it to go into beta testing in a week or two. Look for a release in the next couple of months!

DesignScene 1.4.1 Missing Image Bug

DesignScene 1.4.1, which addressed issues on iOS 6, was approved and appeared on the App Store yesterday. Unfortunately, a serious bug got by us and loosed on the world! If you start DesignScene with your iPad in landscape orientation, it’s likely that the image portals will be missing. We are so, so sorry about this. We have fixed this bug and submitted 1.4.2 to the App Store; hopefully it will be approved quickly!

But there is a workaround if you want your images back now. Just follow these steps:

  • Force quit DesignScene by holding down the power button, and then when the shutdown screen appears, then hold down the home button until the shutdown screen disappears and then DesignScene quits. Having trouble? Here are some more detailed instructions. If DesignScene is not currently running, you can follow these instructions to force quit it from the task switcher.
  • Rotate your iPad to portrait orientation, and then start DesignScene again.

Until 1.4.2 appears on the App Store, you’ll always need start DesignScene in portrait orientation. If you haven’t updated to v.1.4.1 and you’re not yet on iOS 6, we recommend not upgrading until 1.4.2 is approved and appears in the App Store, hopefully in a few days.

Terribly sorry for this hassle. We appreciate all your support!

Fight Censorship

As an Internet user, no doubt you’re hearing a lot about the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act in the U.S. Congress. Many sites around the web today are protesting against these two bills because of the grave potential for unintended consequences. The bills—lobbied by Hollywood special interests—are meant to curtail piracy of entertainment content such as movies, TV shows and music.

But they go too far. The proposed legislation would require sites to actively monitor and remove links to other sites that could contain copyright-infringing material. Think about it. If there’s an unlicensed use of an image on a Tumblr blog, Google can’t link to Tumblr.com. In fact, an app like DesignScene could not exist under such conditions because it would be impossible for us to manually censor each image and link, or even algorithmically do that.

We live in a world today where there is open and free exchange of ideas and creativity on the Internet. Through sites like Brand New we can check out identity design from around the world. Through Design*Sponge we can get Grace Bonney’s take on what’s unique and beautiful. And through supersonic electronic, we can discover wild and crazy illustrators. None of those blogs would be viable should SOPA or PIPA is made into law. All of the U.S.-based art and design sites we feature in our DesignScene app could easily be shut down by copyright holders claiming infringement. DesignScene couldn’t exist.

Help stop this non-sense and fight for the Internet’s freedom from censorship.

2 years ago 1 ♥
DesignScene is featured as a Staff Favorite on the App Store this week. Wow!

DesignScene is featured as a Staff Favorite on the App Store this week. Wow!

DesignScene: Now with Instapaper Love

One of the most requested features we’ve had since launching DesignScene has been Instapaper support. Instapaper, for those of you among the uninitiated (lucky you!), is a terrific service for saving web pages to read later. Sure there are other bookmarking services, but Instapaper then lets you read the page in a readability-style interface in native iPad and iPhone apps, so you can just focus on the reading the content. And now it’s a great way to save/favorite things you discover in DesignScene.

DesignScene + Instapaper

Say that you’re exploring in DesignScene, getting inspired, and spot an interesting blog post by Steven Heller. But you don’t have time to read it now. Just tap the sharing button and then the Instapaper icon. If you’re not already logged into Instapaper, you’ll be able to do so. Otherwise, the post will immediate be saved to Instapaper. That’s it. Read the post later in the Instapaper app or on the Instapaper site.

Of course, if you’re already an Instapaper user, you’re probably already familiar with this pattern from other apps. And if you’re not an Instapaper user, well, today’s a great day to learn more and sign up!

And to celebrate the launch of Instapaper support, for this weekend only, DesignScene is half price! Get it for a steal by the end of the day on Monday.

We’re happy to announce that Beni M. has won our DesignScene What Inspires You? Contest! His photo above was among the top vote-getters in our contest, and our special panel of judges selected his photo among the finalists.
Beni will receive a nice inspiration package from us and our generous promotion partners:
One year subscription to Communication Arts magazine
A Design Insider Membership from HOW and Print:
One year U.S. subscription to HOW Magazine
One year U.S. subscription to Print Magazine
One year online access to more than 20,000 award winning graphic designs from Print’s Regional Design Annual
10% off HOW Design Conference Registrations
10% off of all products from MyDesignShop.com throughout the year.

The Smashing eBook Bundle:
Smashing eBook #1: Professional Web Design
Smashing eBook #2: Successful Freelancing for Web Designers
Smashing eBook #3: Mastering Photoshop for Web Design
Smashing eBook #4: Mobile Design for iPhone and iPad
Smashing eBook #5: How to Create Selling E-Commerce Websites

$50 iTunes Gift Card
Congratulations Beni!

We’re happy to announce that Beni M. has won our DesignScene What Inspires You? Contest! His photo above was among the top vote-getters in our contest, and our special panel of judges selected his photo among the finalists.

Beni will receive a nice inspiration package from us and our generous promotion partners:

  • One year subscription to Communication Arts magazine
  • A Design Insider Membership from HOW and Print:
    • One year U.S. subscription to HOW Magazine
    • One year U.S. subscription to Print Magazine
    • One year online access to more than 20,000 award winning graphic designs from Print’s Regional Design Annual
    • 10% off HOW Design Conference Registrations
    • 10% off of all products from MyDesignShop.com throughout the year.
  • The Smashing eBook Bundle:
    • Smashing eBook #1: Professional Web Design
    • Smashing eBook #2: Successful Freelancing for Web Designers
    • Smashing eBook #3: Mastering Photoshop for Web Design
    • Smashing eBook #4: Mobile Design for iPhone and iPad
    • Smashing eBook #5: How to Create Selling E-Commerce Websites
  • $50 iTunes Gift Card

Congratulations Beni!

    We’re Just Getting Started

    It’s been about two weeks since we launched DesignScene app for iPad. The reception so far has greatly exceeded our expectations and we’re very grateful that it is getting such a good response. To everyone who has purchased the app already and have supported us, we say thank you!

    We are currently working on some bug fixes that we hope to release soon. We are also beginning work on a new feature that a lot of our users have been asking for. Look for this soon.

    In the meantime, please check out DesignScene if you haven’t already. If you’ve already purchased it, please tell your friends!