October 19, 2010

Projeqt

Sometimes ideas are too good to keep for yourself. This is the case with Projeqt, an initiative from TBWA that started out as a brief for a new agency website and became a creative storytelling platform open to everyone. Their goal was to make a content-rich site that was easy to navigate, worked on any platform from desktop to mobile & tablets(sorry Flash) and was enabled to take advantage of all the various types of social connectivity available today. As they say on their website, “creating a Projeqt is simple and intuitive. In fact, you have probably done most of the legwork already. We play nicely with the other social platforms out there so you can embed your videos from YouTube or Vimeo, post pictures from your Flickr account, include RSS feeds from your blog or even your Tweets. Through Projeqt, you can orchestrate all these integral pieces of content to form one coherent story. And then share that story with the world in exactly the way you want it to be heard”. Check it out here.

October 15, 2010

Week of tweets #19

Here is another round up of my recent tweets/retweets that I think deserve a second showing…

Great article. RT @graemewood: Not digital vs traditional, but awesome vs crap: “Post-Digital or Die” – by @W2Optimism http://bit.ly/9vJbz5

  • Most articles being written right now either talk about “transmedia storytelling” or “post-digital”. This blog post from Wieden + Kennedy falls into the later category and is definitely one to read.

Contextual isn’t always clever… RT @mediaczar: Display Ad nightmares (aargh! My eyes!) http://mczar.me/adPqOE

  • I have to admit that one of my own ad placement disasters has done the rounds but is not in this cringe-worthy collection (luckily).

UNIQLO win big at the Spikes Asia Advertising Festival in Singapore – Grand Prix for Lucky Switch http://bit.ly/d3RT0d

  • Too often we focus on awards at Cannes, New York and London when there are many other great award festivals around the world. Spikes Asia is one of them.

Apple, are you watching? RT @fwa: Demo of Flash on the Samsung Galaxy Tab – http://bit.ly/9kPTw3 – looking VERY impressive

  • My wife already wants one. Will it be as popular as the iPad? Well it’s also a phone so maybe…

IDEO: Why Would You Trade Away Your Online Privacy? 6 Case Studies on Fast Company… http://tinyurl.com/36ywfdb

  • You have to admire IDEO for their thoughtful approach to all design challenges and (in this case) the motives behind end-user behaviour.

Inspired by print… RT @Patou_N: A very interesting read – How Flipboard Was Created & its Plans Beyond iPad:http://cot.ag/agq3TM

  • When I get my iPad this will be one of the first apps I try. In this article Mike Cue talks about the inspiration behind Flipboard. “We decided to do a thought experiment: imagine if the Web was washed away and we needed to build a new one from scratch.”

Interesting…RT @Patou_N: Digital Life, the most comprehensive study of the global digital consumer, ever. Coming soon http://bit.ly/dhlpy6

  • This new tool from TNS is going to be very useful to a lot of people. To quote their website…”Utilising cutting edge techniques and taking advantage of market-leading expertise, Digital Life offers both a lens on the digital world and the frameworks required to make actionable business decisions within it. It can be used to drive global strategies or inform local tactics”.

Inspiring… RT @gleonhard: An absolutely great collection of examples (videos): the creative internet (106 things)http://ht.ly/2S8OA

  • Some of the examples shown are a bit old but there is enough new and inspiring work to keep you clicking…

and finally… the usual piece of stupidity to end my week of tweets:

Boom… RT @fastcompany: After Exploding Kids Ad Sony Drops Out Of @1010 Climate Change Campaignhttp://bit.ly/ds30eC

  • Didn’t anyone think for a just a minute that this was soooooo wrong?


October 14, 2010

Principles of Good Design

In this fascinating video we get a glimpse of the 10 principles of good design as set out by legendary designer Dieter Rams. You can easily apply these principles to any design discipline – not just product or industrial design. Let’s take a look how they can help guide design in the digital space:

Good design is innovative.

Definitely something that defines our digital age where everyone is striving to offer new ways for people to interact with brands or content. The app phenomenon is a perfect example where the constraints of the screen size is causing people to think differently about the user experience. Flipboard for iPad is a great showcase of innovation where all your social media content is repackaged beautifully.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design makes a product useful.

Utility through digital means is still a hot topic for marketers and for agencies like AKQA and R/GA who’s Nike ID work exemplifies the philosphy of making things useful.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is aesthetic.

Apple has certainly taken a lot of inspiration from Dieter Rams and this extends to their websites. As we can see in this blog post their aesthetics have inspire many other websites.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design helps us to understand a product.

Usability has been important in digital since the very beginning and is still influencing how people design for the computer screen and for mobile devices. Good digital design should be intuitive and quick to comprehend. People won’t waste their time if a website is confusing.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is unobtrusive.

Dieter Rams believed that Less is More and while a lot of websites can go to the opposite extreme there are many that believe in keeping things pure. On the Obox Design blog we can see some great example of design being unobtrusive.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is honest.

Online you can easily be pulled up for using design elements that are untrue or badly Photoshopped. Make sure you keep an honest eye or it could backfire like this example from Microsoft.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is durable.

Unfortunately the digital world falls flat on its face here when we look at sites from the recent past that certainly don’t stand up today. But some sites will look as good in 5 years as they do today.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is consequent to the last detail.

“Pixel perfect” would be a term that Dieter Rams would no doubt love. But do we spend enough time thinking about every detail of a website? Take a look at some D&AD winners to see what keeping an eye on the detail looks like.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is concerned with the environment.

This principle is a little hard to apply to the digital realm. But you can still design responsibly and cater for people with certain needs though accessible design principles.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is as little design as possible.

Very hard to achieve but beautiful when realised as this collection of sites prove – on the Minimal Sites blog.

October 5, 2010

Captain Lebowitz

The third in my series profiling digital leaders features the unstoppable Michael Lebowitz, founder and CEO of Big Spaceship. For over 10 years he has guided the company to greatness while exploring places where no-one has gone before. OK, enough of the Star Trek language. Let’s take a look at the man himself to see what makes him such a great captain. Let’s start with a short video…

Here are a few facts. Since launching the agency in 2000, he has been integral in acquiring and serving its high profile clients, including 20th Century Fox, ABC, Adobe, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Google, Gucci, HBO, Microsoft, MoMA, NBC Universal, Nike, Royal Caribbean, Sony Pictures, Target, Victoria’s Secret and Wrigley. His profile on the site goes on to say that over the past decade, Michael has led Big Spaceship to attain countless awards of high distinction. This includes a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for the agency’s work with HBO Voyeur, Cannes Lions, Clios and One Show Interactive Pencils, as well as numerous Webby, FWA, Communication Arts, W3 and Pixel Awards. Michael was also named among the 2010 Creativity 50 and the 2008 OMMA Online All-Stars.

It doesn’t end there as he is also an inaugural board member of SoDA, the Society of Digital Agencies, he’s a member of AIGA’s Visionary Design Council and the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Not forgetting all his other activities such as speaking, judging and more. It’s amazing that he gets to spend any time at the agency.

Clearly Michael does find the time as they recently won their 50th FWA award for Skittles Experience the Rainbow. In this interview for FWA, as well as saying that he works 50 to 60 hours a week, he says that he finds his inspiration everywhere. He goes on to say “I read dozens of blogs, watch a fair amount of TV, read books and magazines, and try to see movies, though it’s become difficult since my son arrived earlier this year. I also get tremendous inspiration from my co-workers at the spaceship and my friends at other agencies. We’re very fortunate to work in an area of the industry that has such a high level of intelligence and curiosity”. What’s interesting is that at Big Spaceship nobody has the word “creative” in their title as they believe that everybody and no one is creative. In this AdAge article Michael credits the team system in helping to create a culture of cross-pollinated talents. “If all the designers sit together, you get a culture of departments. And departments, in my mind, lead to fractiousness,” he says.

Time for another video, this time from Linda.com where we get an “intimate look at the inner workings of one of the web’s most innovative firms”.

In an interview with Agency Spy we get further insights into how Lebowitz thinks. To quote the article, “strategy, production, design, development are some of the keywords Lebowitz used to describe what his company does. His job is to contextualize, to facilitate communication and does so by participating in nearly every project”. But, he says, without micromanaging his “superstars.” When he started out there was a “big realisation” that the bigger agencies were producing terrible work yet there was brilliant people working there. “The bigger the company”, he said, “the harder it is to consistently take on work that keeps everyone happy, and produce work that’s top quality”. “Never repeat yourself”, says Lebowitz, “referring both to the type of jobs taken on and their execution”. Read the full article here.

HBO Voyeur has to be one of Big Spaceship’s crowning achievements winning awards across the globe from a gold Cyber Lion to gold Clios. Yet after winning big Michael Lebowitz (as reported in on the CREATIVITY website) “famously chided BBDO (and Cannes) for what he felt was Spaceship’s slight in the awards draw for its work on the HBO “Voyeur” campaign, he went on to criticize the current digital vs. agency divide”. Also in Creativity he wrote: “Digital agencies are pushing for (and, in my opinion, deserve) greater ownership of the overall consumer experience.”

In the end Michael believes that it’s “all fun and games” as we see from this article on Apple. To quote the article, “we’ve earned a reputation for innovation, so we get to do incredibly fun stuff for great brands,” he says. “We’re not a traditional graphic design company — we’re always thinking about new ways to engage with people.” The article finishes by saying that they have succeeded because they make interactive marketing fun. “We like making people laugh, and we like making people scared,” says Lebowitz. “Evoking emotion is high on the list. And we love the ‘aha’ moment. If you can make somebody say, ‘Oh! I’ve never seen anything like this before,’ or ‘I wasn’t expecting that.’ We thrive on that. That’s the best kind of impact we can have.”

Follow Big Spaceship on Twitter.

Read my other profiles of: Lars Bastholm and Tom Eslinger