Aloha from Hawaii

Originally published on , last updated on .
Still from Waikiki Beach video. Credit: Brandon Morrison

For 2016, I’ve decided to revamp on a monthly(-ish) basis to try out some new technology or flex my design muscles. This is a retrospective on the background of January’s piece.


My wife and I took our fourth trip to Hawaii in January. Despite being very susceptible to sunburns, I’ve always enjoyed going to the beach and spending time by the water. Honolulu never disappoints. Waikiki in particular combines the kitschiness of a typical tourist town with the vibe of an island getaway. Even if you don’t see him anywhere explicitly, you get the sense that a part of Honolulu never got over Elvis leaving.

So, basically, it’s Tropical Memphis, and I’m ok with that.

Before Instagram and Facebook, if you wanted to show off that you were on vacation at an exotic locale, the best way to do it was to send a postcard. The artwork in postcards can help build and reenforce the mental picture that we have of a particular trip.

I really like the set of postcards produced by artist Kerne Erickson, which can be seen all over the island at gift shops and art galleries. His work feels straight out of the 1950’s, both in style and subject. Each card depicts a vision of Hawaii as an exotic landscape full of surf and sun.


For my site this month, I wanted to create a “living postcard,” something that’s a bit more immersive than a static image, but still has that warmth and artistry that comes with these old-style postcards.


Originally, I had planned on using stock footage for the background, but given the timing of releasing the site and our trip, I was able to actually film the background myself. I took an afternoon there and filmed several half minute videos that would work well for an ambient background.

I wanted to try to capture the feel of many of the Waikiki beach photos that I had seen that incorporated Diamond Head in the background, so I took several shots from the water in that general direction.

I’m not a professional videographer, but I did relearn a very valuable lesson for anyone who wants to shoot video in waist-high water: Bring a tripod.


Typefaces: Raleway & Damion

Video: Shot on a Moto X Pure, edited in iMovie