With Dumb Fun, designer Tim Moore is aiming to bring collage art to our daily lives. The AR app allows users to add a cacophony of virtual imagery to their surroundings, and explore 16 different “worlds” Tim has created, each with their own weird and wonderful aesthetic.
For Tim, who previously worked at photography mobile app company VSCO alongside building a creative portfolio, the project began as a newsletter. “I had worked on a lot of apps before but got to a place where I felt like I didn’t have a story to be told through product design anymore. Collage art had always interested me, and I have a photography background so the interplay of different images and meanings to make a new message was something I always wanted to explore. So I started a newsletter called Dumb Fun because frankly, that’s all I wanted at the time – the freedom to explore without any social pressure.”
The visuals Tim sent out combined his photography and haphazard style of collage in digital artworks. As the project developed, he looked for another outlet for the idea, exploring the possibility of a film, a book or an exhibition, but none felt suitable for its digital art beginnings. Simultaneously he’d been picking up coding again and experimenting with Apple’s ARKit – and soon his two facets of interest aligned. “Collage art has been this product of manipulating layers, and this was a new way to manipulate them. Instead of presenting the layers 2D to tell a story, I could fill the room and have you walk through the layers.”
Dumb Fun is filled with textures created by Tim but is open for personalisation by its users. This, he believes, is the “beauty” of working on an app as opposed to an artwork – that no matter how much you design it for a certain use, users will always adapt it to be used in other unexpected ways. “That was always fascinating to me, that you could make a statement in your work and people from every walk of life could turn that into a tool to express themselves.
“What I love about AR/VR is that it’s a new wild west in tech,” he continues. “I loved the days when you could go to the App Store and discover a fun, unknown indie app. Nowadays it feels like most apps are service platforms in an app wrapper. Most AR apps I played with, like the Ikea app, have a concept of dropping a real-world object in your space and you move around it. With Dumb Fun I found it more enjoyable to move through the objects than to observe them.”
Of the 16 scenes, Flower is his favourite “because I would like to live in a world that’s completely surrounded by that aesthetic,” he says. “This may sound silly, but I grew up extremely poor and I always fantasised about living in a beautiful space. When I explore the Beauty chapter my hippie design fantasies feel somewhat fulfilled.”
Dumb Fun is available now on iTunes.