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Kevin “Picasso” Rooney

By Memrise Blog

Users have been wondering why our learning-game looks so good.

The answer is, quite simply, Kevin “Picasso” Rooney.

The story of Kevin’s nickname deserves repeating. It has changed frequently over time due to a variety of circumstances, most notably the fact that, for the last 15 years, the world’s best soccer player has, with the predictability of clockwork, possessed a surname that sounds like Kevin’s.

So back in the nineties, the world’s best player was the World-Cup winning Brazilian striker ‘Ronaldo’; understandably, during this period people began to call our designer “Kevin Roonaldo”. That carried on happily for a few years, and just when Ronaldo’s star began to fade, another Brazilian, Ronaldinho, conveniently became the World’s top player. Kev thus became known as Roonaldinho. Within two years, though, Wayne Rooney had seized the footballing limelight with some storming performances for England and Manchester United, and Kevin returned to being called, simply and accurately, Rooney. To his great relief.

Such a home-coming was short-lived however, as Wayne Rooney was quickly usurped as Manchester United’s and the world’s best young player by Christiano Ronaldo, which thus ensured that Kev was once more addressed as Roonaldo.

You’d have thought that would have been that, but then Kev came out from Sligo, Ireland, to become our design guru. And he’s since been known, as the scope and delights of his talent and style have become apparent, as “Velaskev” “Roonbrandt”, “Roobens”, and, finally, ‘Picasso’. The latter is a distortion of a nickname given to Kevin’s thrifty ancestors, the famous pickaroonies, who used to follow coal-trucks about town en famille picking up any lumps thrown off onto the street.

‘Picasso-Rooney’ is a variously qualified graphic designer with an obsession with simple, unobtrusively beautiful interfaces; his design watchwords are politeness and futurity. A gifted sportsman, Kevin has represented Ireland at basketball (one season, incidentally, he landed a perfect 23 free throws out of 23, and became known as ‘Magic’ Rooney). Kevin can juggle with five balls and has the most common sense of anybody on the Memrise team. He is a nocturnal worker, and so doubles as our night-time security team. Regrettably, not only on this count, he currently works from his home in Dublin. During his 50% time, he takes all of our photos, but has never before appeared in one, allowing him to operate unrecognized and unmolested in the office.