Soft Brutalism & the Era of Weird & Wonderful

Cassie McDaniel

Design Director, Glitch

There’s no denying that interactive design is tracking toward weird. Is just everything weird now? Glitch was weird from the beginning; lovingly dubbed “the two fish coding side”, technology writer Ada Powers once called the Glitch aesthetic a harbinger of “soft brutalism”. What does that even mean? Faced with balancing the deeply embedded, off kilter soul of our brand with building a more powerful and usable product, the Glitch design team is holding onto our weird roots. Here’s how we are looking at the trend and responsibly building weird into our interfaces and user experiences.

Cassie is the Design Director at Glitch, a NYC-based tech startup building a friendly, collaborative code editor. She leads the distributed design team completely remotely from Orlando, as she had for several years prior at the Mozilla Foundation. Cassie has a long history of building tools to make the web a more creative and open environment. She founded Women && Tech, helped bring Creative Mornings and Hacking Health to Toronto, ran a beloved event series in rural Ontario called Paris Lectures, and now admins the Orlando Design Slack. Over her fifteen years in tech she has worked at Adobe, ran her own design studio, built a design team within an innovation lab at Toronto General Hospital, and collaborated with several advertising and boutique digital agencies across Canada and England. She’s written and spoken about design for many years for industry leaders A List Apart / An Event Apart and Smashing Magazine / Smashing Conf. Outside of work her two daughters (6 & 3) and renovation of the childhood summer home of Alan Shepherd, the first American in space, are keeping her ridiculously busy. She cares a lot about design's impact on people's lives and is eager to see what a more creative, empowered, and equitable technology industry can do.

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