Under The Microscope

Five Good Looking Years

As some folks know, Rogue Amoeba is a distributed company, with home offices around the globe. This has both upsides and downsides, and it leads us to work hard to make the company feel like a cohesive group. Part of that is taking time to celebrate major releases and anniversaries. As readers of this site may recall, one big anniversary we celebrate is five years with the company. Previously, Mike Ash, Jeff Johnson, and Lee Falin all reached that mark, and were properly feted. Now, it’s Christa Mrgan’s turn!

Christa joined us back in October of 2009, as our first full-time designer. When we started the company, we used various part-timers for our art needs. As we grew, we realized we needed more, and eventually we sought out someone to work with us full-time. Unfortunately, we had a run of prospects who simply didn’t work out.

I had first met Christa at WWDC in 2009, and we hit it off as friends. After repeatedly bemoaning our troubles in finding a suitable designer with her, we eventually realized that, hey, she ought to give it a shot. More than five years later, it’s clear this was the right call. In ways both big and small, Christa has touched almost every single thing we make here at Rogue Amoeba. She’s done touch-up work on older apps, and full designs for newer apps, and all of our apps are better for it. There’s lots more to come, too, with some major updates including improved designs coming in the next year.

Piezo and the Braun RT-20

One of Christa’s best designs can be found in Piezo, our charmingly simple audio recording tool. Piezo was made to be very simple to set up, with one big record button and not much else, and it certainly succeeds in the ease-of-use department. However, its interface and corresponding icon also look great, featuring subtle wood grains and other textures. Even after the skeuomorphic trend has passed, Piezo still holds up well.

Christa did a lot of research finding reference images for old stereo equipment. As Christa noted in her Piezo design review from 2012, perhaps the most relevant hardware found was the Braun RT-20 radio. You can read more about that radio thanks to Australia’s Powerhouse Museum.

The RT-20 hasn’t been made for decades, but I knew this would be a great gift for Christa. Thankfully, the Internet makes it possible to track down things like this. After I hunted down and acquired an RT-20 to match Piezo, Quentin did some work in restoring it.

Christa's Braun RT-20

The controls are all in German, but it works! It sounds great, and it looks even better. We hope it enjoys pride of place in the Mrgan household for many years to come. As Christa’s Instagram photo indicates, she was delighted:

…[C]heck this out: a vintage Braun RT-20 radio, which inspired the design of Piezo, the first product I designed from inception at Rogue Amoeba. PLUS a special challenge coin for the RA elite (5 years!) Many thanks to [Paul] for hunting it down, and to Quentin for restoring it. And to both, for a job I enjoy doing!

Thanks for Five Great Years and More to Come

So then, allow us to issue a public thank you to Christa for her great work in the past half-decade! We look forward to the future as well, with many exciting new products and updates in the pipeline, all with your mark upon them.

P.S. Now Hiring

This also seems like a great place to mention that we’re currently hiring. While Christa handles all our current design needs, we do have an opening for a Cocoa developer. If you’re interested to join us in making top-notch audio products used by Mac users the world over, we’d love to hear from you.

You can get the full details on our Jobs page. Apply now!

One Response to “Five Good Looking Years”

  1. Chad Armstrong says:

    Very neat. I was curious if this was designed by Dieter Rams. One search later reveals: yep.

    Did it have the European plug on it, or was that rewired?


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