Right Brain, Left Brain Blog

80 posts categorized "Product design"

15 February 2013

Design really is everything now

Week in venn design

It’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.

Jony Ive, SVP of Design, Apple

When Apple announced last fall that its own industrial design visionary Jony Ive would also take over software design for the company, UX designers around the world didn't know whether to celebrate or shudder. But it could be just the shot in the arm Apple needs to take its design leadership into the future. And it has big implications for all of us.

Apple has always been lauded for its beautiful and visionary hardware design. But the company's recent skirmishes with Samsung and other hardware manufacturers over who owns the rounded corner has only served to reinforce why hardware design is steadily becoming homogenous. There are only so many things you can do with a thin glass rectangle. Remember the first Motorola Razr? Sure you do, it was an iconic phone. Do you know what the current one looks like? Of course you don’t, it’s just another smartphone.

You can still get phones in different sizes, with rubberized frames, sporting the odd flip-down or pull-out keyboard. But as hardware evolves itself into invisibility we're well on our way to a time when the only thing that differentiates how something feels will be its software. Software design is what makes a page turn onscreen, it makes a TV respond to your voice, it makes an app feel homey and familiar like Apple's Calendar, and it makes an OS feel modern and fluid like Windows 8.

This is not lost on Ive and his team. While Apple hardware has more or less consistently surpassed competitors' designs, Apple's software isn't always best-in-class. As hardware becomes less important to why people purchase the devices they do, software takes on the burden of being the main differentiator. That's why you can expect to see more and more patent applications for things such as the scroll bounce. Unlike complex aluminum construction processes, interactions are easy to copy, integrate and ship into the next OS release.

Apple's competitors are also taking note. Microsoft, not known for spending a tremendous amount of time on interface innovation, has taken a huge bet on Windows 8 and its innovative Metro interface. Window 8's often stellar UI can quickly give way to what is essentially Windows Vista - but as a first step, it’s hugely ambitious, beautiful and mostly successful.

Meanwhile, Google continues to update its Android platform (with its somewhat contradictory Chrome OS platform in tow). The whimsical branding includes a friendly green robot and OS versions called Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich, which, along with its odd mishmash of UI elements, makes Android the least recognizable and least remarkable interface. Sure, it’s possibly the most versatile, and lives on the most affordable range of devices, but Google still seems to be cleaning up after giving headset manufacturers too many design freedoms early on, fragmenting its own operating system into various sub-groups. Still, Android is the leading smartphone platform, and will probably hold that lead for the foreseeable future.

While key players seem to be visually differentiating themselves, there still seems to be a consensus on the need to create cohesive, if not entirely identical, experiences across a wide spectrum of devices. Apple has slowly integrated some of its key iOS features back into MacOS. Google’s app suite has evolved to look homogenous across devices (even the ones that don't run Android). And Microsoft has, rather confidently, proclaimed that the Windows experience should carry across from table to desktop.

At Say Media we're fans of Device Agnosticism and an interface platform that will allow us to start crafting experiences that maintain their consistency, even when the context in which they are used differs wildly. Over the last two years, we have built and learned a tremendous amount and are facing similar challenges to anyone building interfaces for the post-PC era

This is a defining moment, where interfaces will feel as ubiquitous in our lives as the physical objects we use to interact with them are. We will interact with them constantly. They will literally cover our landscapes, live in our cars and living rooms, and become part of the architecture. They will affect the media we consume, the way we look at the world, and how we learn and communicate. These interfaces have a responsibility to make our lives easier, to make their presence wanted and beneficial, to be beautiful and, more often than not, to get out of the way. Here's to the Age of the User Interface.

Alex Schleifer is design and creative director for Say Media.

20 November 2012

How do brands choose a design for sustainable living?

By Ian Birkett, Corporate Culture 

The likes of Unilever and Marks & Spencer are amongst the ranks of blue-chip brands looking to bring sustainability firmly into the centre of their long-term business plans.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan and Marks & Spencer’s Plan A set out their visions for helping consumers live more sustainable lives. Furthermore, these blueprints highlight how they are more responsibly using vital resources such as water and energy in their manufacturing processes.

Continue reading "How do brands choose a design for sustainable living?" »

16 May 2012

Video of the Week: The Story of Send

By Mike Woods, Framestore

Ever wondered what happens when you send an email? Google shows you here. (This is not quite a video, but a lovely linear journey, nonetheless.)

 

Screen Shot 2012-05-16 at 9.26.30 AM

15 February 2012

Unveiling the BRAVES, by Noma Bar

Superheroes, like science fiction, are now acceptable to like in public. This trend can be attributed to a number of events: the cult series Heroes, the popularity of the DVD box-set that helped cult TV go mainstream and the new maturity of superhero representations on the big screen. The corny comic-book adaptations of the 1980s are now cult cinema curios compared to the superhero films that will hit screens in 2012; Christopher Reeve's square-jawed Superman would get a proper kicking from Christian Bale's Dark Knight. Confirmation of the hero concept as trend, if any were needed, arrives in form of the new Lego Superhero series that hits shops soon.

When we were working on the branding concept for the BRAVES, superheroes became part of the imagery very early on. An award that celebrated the heroes of video, needed to have some heroic figures to represent them. Eventually, the perfect amount of caffeine and lively discussion created a brief for the characters who would become The BRAVES, and this brief was brought to life by the brilliant artist, Noma Bar

Bar is famous for his deceptively complex graphic illustrations. Using blocks of colour and simple shapes, the man is a master of negative space and efficient graphic style. In short, he's a bit of a genius, and it's a bit of a coup for the BRAVES that he agreed to produce our characters.

Introducing: TEAM BRAVES

Braves_Team Braves

 

CAMPAIGN BRAVE

Braves_Campaign


Smart and strategic, Campaign BRAVE has a plan and is in control. A master of innovation and insight, his mission is to promote the best use of video in advertising campaigns. The Campaign BRAVES category promotes the best in video campaign innovation and creative planning. 

 

CONTENT BRAVE

Braves_Content

Content BRAVE is an artist, always looking to capture that moving image and experiment with new techniques and aesthetics. The Content BRAVES celebrate the art in video and specifically reward the role of branded video content where there brand has been involved from the outset. 

 

TECHNICAL BRAVE

Braves_Tech Craft

Nobody knows where he came from. With tools for platforms, players, analytics and distribution, strong, silent Technical BRAVE is essential to the video ecosystem. His best work often goes unnoticed, so the Technical BRAVES are designed to recognise the best technical contributions and innovations to the video landscape.

Information about the BRAVES.

Video-based case studies found on Cream.

An interview with Noma Bar.  

29 September 2011

The roots of Nordic creativity

Cream dissects the roots of creativity in the Nordics and showcases some of the cleverest media campaigns that have hit the right note with their target audience.

Playtype_01_pressThe Playtype concept store in Copenhagen, a pop-up shop selling fonts from brand consultancy e-Types

Modern Nordic aesthetics are an amalgamation of Danish neo-classicism, Finnish craftsmanship, Norwegian folk art and the Swedish social approach to design. The result is a cool, blonde, refined look. Compared to other cultural centres in modern Europe, urbanisation and industrialisation came relatively late to the Nordics. This meant that values from a more agrarian culture were transferred directly into the new industrial setting, translating into an aesthetic movement rooted in a social setting.

Art and design had a responsibility to help create a world that was clean and functional. Influences of the British arts and craft movement found particular resonance in Sweden, and the style we today recognise as Nordic is easily identifiable. So much is design a part of the region's consciousness, that it is even possible to visit a font shop (pictured) in Copenhagen, run by a local brand consultancy. 

This design ethic is mirrored in the region’s media. A largely moderate political climate with social democratic leanings has created a culture of cooperation between individuals, which has enabled creative media industries to thrive. 

Sweden, in particular, has secured its place in the industry as a hub for digital excellence, with the work of Hyper Island, Prime and Perfect Fools winning plaudits and accolades at a global level. Sweden secured seven out of 80 Cyber Lions at this year’s Cannes festival, accounting for nearly 10% of the category. But digital excellence in one market hasn’t eclipsed the innovation and popularity of more traditional media channels. As recently as 2010, a newspaper-based campaign in Norway walked off with the ‘Award for Media Bravery’ at the Festival of Media Awards in Valencia. Print media enjoys a relatively healthy existence in the Nordics, particularly in Finland, which ranks third in the world for newspaper consumption with 31 seven-day dailies in circulation. At the first signs of contraction in the channel, Finnish print media has been quick to respond, launching campaigns to gently remind Finns that reading is a national pastime.

Karkimedia Finland

Subtle nuances make it difficult to generalise about the creative characteristics of a region, but there is a phrase on 358 Helsinki agency’s website that neatly sums up the creative pragmatism that is  present throughout Nordic media: “When Finnish old folks see something that’s good for someone they say, “that’s good advertising... Idea one: Anything that helps people like a company more is an ad”.

Nordics

A quick tour of Nordic creativity

Norway: Heartbreaker (Starcom)

Norway Heartbreaker

Since the birth of services like Napster, the traditional business model of phased single and album releases has died a slow death. Kaizers Orchestra decided, therefore, to shun CD, mp3 and vinyl formats and release its new single, Hjerteknuser, on paper. Before the song was heard was anywhere on the radio, the band made the sheet music available on posters,  forums and torrent download sites. The only way to hear it was to play it yourself. Fans started posting their covers in different styles and genres. As word spread, the band became a popular topic for bloggers on twitter and in the press.

Sweden: Chocography (Prime)

Sweden Chocography

To learn where Marabou chocolates fitted the values and interests of Swedish consumers, the brand conducted a survey which identified a number of different ‘chocolate profiles’. The results revealed some chocolate truths; Fruit & Almond was the perfect gift for cultural city women, while a woman with a shoe fetish would love a Swiss Almond. The idea of ‘chocography’ was seeded among the blog community. TV, online and in-store advertising directed fans to the campaign site, which shared functionality with social networks.

Denmark: Extra summer (PHD)

Denmark Somersby

Danish summers are very short and the winter dark. The 2009/2010 was the longest in 14 years and by February the Danes were craving light.By changing to daylight saving time (summer time) on 21 March instead of 28 March, Somersby could deliver an extra week of summer time to Denmark.From a pop-up campaign office in Copenhagen, it led the national rally for an extra week of summer, kick-started by a TV commercial introducing the ‘mission’ and running across multiple platforms to spur group involvement.

Finland: Burn (Helsinki 358)

Finland Burn

When the Cancer Society of Finland wanted to communicate its non-smoking message to teenagers, it knew that talking to this audience required subtlety. So Cancer Society tapped into the teenage obsession with celebrity. The result was Burn, a magazine emulating popular lifestyle magazines, with celebrity gossip, showbiz news and light-hearted features. The difference in Burn was that all the content was related to smoking issues. Response has been positive. Initially intended as a one-off project, interest in the title has seen a steady increase and issue four is now due to be published. 

31 August 2011

Pringles in Asia: Same but different

Pringles were featured on Cream recently for an excellent European campaign that allowed consumers to collect on-pack coupons and exchange them for some nifty speakers. But the stroke of genius that got the case study into Cream was the idea that the speaker could be attached to the famous Pringles tube, creating a ersatz speaker system that can be connected to an MP3 player - perfect for groups of friends enjoying music outdoors. 

Read the full case study and watch the video on Cream here. (This case study is free to view for a limited time only)

Continue reading "Pringles in Asia: Same but different" »

19 June 2011

3D? No thanks

Harry_potter_23993


A recent poll conducted by entertainment news site Digital Spy has revealled that the vast majority of cinema visitors prefer their films in 2D format. 

When asked to vote on their favourite format, 77% of readers preferred standard 2D films, citing the high ticket price and poor 3D conversions as the reasons for preferring the traditional format. 

There are several high profile 3D films due to be released in 2011, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

14 June 2011

Playboy speaks!

Talking playboy
There have been lots of attempts to bring sound into print, but not all these experiments could be described as 100% successful. While VW in India has experimented with bringing sound to newspapers, Playboy in Brazil has gone one step further.

Continue reading "Playboy speaks!" »

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  • Right Brain, Left Brain sums up the dichotomy of a media business that’s constantly battling with the challenge of delivering a profit and discovering new ways to communicate to consumers. The Cream editorial team combined with a dream team of industry pioneers from around the world share their expert opinions.

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