Design Week 2018: Gaming in Color

Hair Nah Creator Momo Pixel Wants Designers to Use More Color

"Especially in Portland, there’s this concrete, off-white, 'add wood' feel."

By Sarah Hutchins March 27, 2018 Published in the April 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

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Momo Pixel—an art director at ad agency Wieden & Kennedy and the creator of Hair Nah, a viral-hit 8-bit online game about a traveler named Aeva who slaps away hands reaching to touch her hair—plans a Design Week keynote encouraging designers to think more inclusively and colorfully.

Why was Hair Nah important?

Because that’s exactly what happens. You’re walking down the street and someone’s like, “Ooooo. It’s so nice.” And then they’ll just touch your hair and you’re like, “What is wrong with you?” One day it happened to me 10 times! People ask while they’re already touching your hair. The hands [in the game] are mostly white because I live in Portland, and it’s always been white people, mostly white women. I made something for us to have something therapeutic, something fun, something to laugh at.

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In Hair Nah, a traveler must whack away hands to reach her destination.

Did any other games inspire its design?

There was this game called Leo’s Red Carpet Rampage. It came out when Leonardo [DiCaprio] still hadn’t won any Oscars. You had to run through the red carpet, you had to write a speech, and you had to fight a bear—it was hilarious. I remember seeing that game and I was like, yo, this game is brilliant because it really has a simple point and execution. Nowadays, everything is so damn complicated.

What advice do you have for designers?

Be more colorful. Especially in Portland, there’s this concrete, off-white, “add wood” feel. A lot of designers invoke that in their work, too. It feels very beige and wan, whereas when you see designers of color a lot of times their designs have color in it. A lot of designers don’t challenge themselves or try to do anything different.

Pixels and Games as Social Commentary

8:30–10 a.m. Fri, April 20, W&K, 224 NW 13th Ave, FREE

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