Cole Johnson
digital designer


You're away from you computer, but you'll be right back.


Personal Project




Web Application


Designer, Developer

The task at hand was solving a problem I had discovered in the workplace and at school. How can you give notice to you whereabouts when your away from your workplace? I wanted to build something to answer the question of "Where did Cole go?”

Launch Site

Approach  -  Motion Graphics  -  Next Up

Brb is a web application that provides a quick solution to notifying others where you are when you leave your workspace. This is accomplished through the display of a full screen notice comprised of an aesthetically pleasing motion graphic and a single line of editable text. These notices are labeled as tags, and can be quickly accessed through a keyword preceded by a slash at the end of brb's url (i.e. or from a selection of popular tags on the websites main screen. These tags are meant to be purposefully general ranging from “lunch” and “phone call” to a default “be right back”. While primarily imagined for an open workplace environment, brb has further uses in school or casual public places.

How I let co-workers know I'm caffeinating.

My initial focus was to make this tool quick, because I knew in a normal use case, the user would already be in the process of leaving their workspace. Shortcuts through simple URL tags achieved this, bypassing a selection menu and jumping right to the end point. Realizing the small size and specific function of the project, I thought “why not make this fun?” Bold fonts, thick lines, and bright colors balanced with ample whitespace gave brb a lightweight fun feel. In future releases, I plan to make more dynamic playful animations for transitioning between menus and notice screens, and creating bespoke motion graphics.

I see you Betsy.

Motion Graphics
I see a huge opportunity for identity and personality in this little web app, and I think that lies particularly in the motion graphics presented. In the first release, the motion graphics used are sourced from Dribbble artists. And while adorable, they don't contribute to the site's identity, they don't follow a consistent style, and it feels less personal. I think bespoke motion graphics can really help build the brand of the site, decrease bounce rate, and increase discovery. Want to help me? Get in touch!

What's Next
(2/3/17) With the help of Brendan, a talented developer here at RIT, development of brb V2 has started! The second release of this web-app will be running under node.js. Along with the default tags, users will be able to create their own with a little help from a pasted GIPHY link. Furthermore, users will a BRB account will be able to not only create but save their custom tags. Updates to come.