At-Home Pesticide Check

Balsamiq, OmniGraffle, Illustrator, InDesign, Moab Paper


Even if people do know that it is unhealthy to consume pesticides, there isn't much they can do to see how many they've consumed or determine what types. Supposing that they do know what test to ask for, there are still a lot of hoops to jump through – more than most people would bother with, which is why they won't ever learn why they should bother.

I felt that the problem called for more than just informing people. A free, easy, at-home check that can be picked up at the doctor's office or ordered online actually lets people know how they are affected, which allows them to make appropriate healthcare decisions while building the foundations necessary for political pressure.


Coda, jQuery, Typekit, Illustrator


Minimalism is about reducing things to their essentials, no more or less. Is the current approach to simplification and automation leading us beyond that point?

As a work of design criticism, HYPR-RDCR (pronounced "hyper-reducer") is meant to playfully criticize what I see as a trend in design to confuse minimalism with over-reduction.

Play with the demo. (Don't worry, it won't actually connect to your online accounts.)

Virtues & Villainy

French Paper, Book Board, Canvas, InDesign, Illustrator


In addition to being a fun and unique game, Virtues & Villainy aims to (1) be a lighthearted yet thought-provoking tool for identifying possible inconsistencies with preconceived notions of right and wrong and (2) inspire curiosity about the field of ethics that will motivate players to examine and discuss ethical theories.

The point of the game is not to tell people what they should believe or make them feel judged. When the game reveals potential inconsistencies with a player’s beliefs about morality, it’s up to them to decide how to either resolve or explain why they like some ethical theory for some dilemmas but not others.

After receiving enough positive feedback from play-testers, professors, and the CMU Humanist League, I've decided to bring the game to market in 2013. Stay tuned!


Illustrator, OmniGraffle


This is a diagram that maps and then connects the ideas from numerous cited readings on the topics of information, interaction, and perception.

The essentials from the complex diagram (second image) were pulled out and presented in a more pleasing, approachable, learnable way. Viewers will start to get some basic information from a distance, and will continue to get more information as they get closer. Additionally, the information has been “chunked” so that it can be most easily learned.

The design decisions that translated the complex version into this version are based entirely on the same readings that the work is meant to explain.

My Family Tree

Epson Paper, Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects


As a project to organize a vast amount of information in the form of a large poster, my classmates and I were each randomly assigned a different topic. I was given the task of researching and creating my family tree. Little did the professor know that I'm actually adopted, which meant even more data to organize and research.

In the iPad application, there are multiple ways of navigating that make use of the iPad's natural touch interface (pinch to zoom, click and drag, and point and click), and a combination of size and opacity is used to create emphasis for different sections.

What's a Sexy Way to Ask?

Sumi-e ink, Epson and Moab Paper, Photoshop, Illustrator


My aim was to create an anti-rape campaign for Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) that was gender neutral, non-accusatory, and interesting without being nagging or blaming victims. It focuses more on how to be and what to do instead of telling people what not to do.

Prevention will happen through changing culture and behavior, which will be done by presenting “How should I ask?” as the normative line of thinking instead of the more troublesome “Should I ask, or just go for it?”

The campaign also included some greeting cards that ask the recipient for sex in a variety of ways that range from humorous to sensual. It was chosen to be used by PAAR and was deployed at colleges for Valentine's Day 2012. The process book presentation[PDF] shown at a ceremony at PAAR headquarters concisely explains the work from conception through completion.

Alternative Personal Branding

French paper, Illustrator, InDesign


This is a more colorful variant of my current branding.

Rather than just make one business card, I made a system that fits together. Each card can function by itself, but when they are put together, they reveal a whole different level. I find that I often give out more than one card to a person as it is, so this allows them to wonder, “Why are the cards he gave me different?” and then put them together to have a fun moment of revelation. Having them be slightly different proportions than the normal business card encourages them to not just dismiss them as a regular card.

For the letterhead, I wanted to demonstrate how the vertical rhythm would also be consistent between documents that use the letterhead. This means that every line of type, regardless of the size of type or being on separate pages, rests on an uninterrupted baseline grid.


Canon Rebel XSI, Photoshop, Illustrator


Ari (short for Activity Recommendation Information) was a ubiquitous computing concept done collaboratively with 3 other people. I helped with the photography and film editing, sound design, storyboarding, user and environment research, and brainstorming.

Since Ari is a tool meant to help people with their health and fitness goals, we envisioned that its usage would begin at a nutritionist's office, where it would be a touch-sensitive part of the table. It would offer information and suggestions, but the nutritionist and the end user would be in control.

We Never Make Mistakes

Flash, Dreamweaver, SWFObject, Illustrator, Logic Pro


We Never Make Mistakes was originally a pair of short novels written by the Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I created a Flash website as if it was being made into a movie.

In addition to the usual information given on movie websites (story, cast, etc.), I wanted to take advantage of Flash to have something a bit more fun. I made a soundboard of what would be lines from a Soviet captain in the movie.

You may also view the process book[PDF].

© James A. Laslavic, 2007–2013.