Bringing the Digital World into the Physical

Bringing the Digital World into the Physical

Interesting technology out of MIT and Pranav Mistry.

We talk a lot about User Experiences at my company NGAGE. We tend to speak in terms of the current digital landscape, but this is a really interesting look at where we might be going.

Plus, I like the fact that he refers to keeping humans human by bringing the digital world to the physical world. Call me crazy, but I have seen too many movies where computers take over, I know that could happen. I am convinced that my Mac Pro is smarter than I am already, he’s just biding his time.

Hey! Remember November?

Hey! Remember November?

I don’t, it was like a blur.

A lot of stuff happened, and I saw and heard a lot of interesting stuff and things. I hope to bring everyone up to speed in the next couple days.

But for now, I want everyone to stop what what you are doing and become addicted to a game.

It’s called Continuity, and it combines an Atari simplicity, with a Mario Bros. style and the frustration of a tile puzzle.

Here’s a screenshot to give yo an idea.

Play it today, and I’ll catch you up on my November by EOD.

And no, I haven’t been playing this game all month, but it was tempting.

The Fun Theory – Piano Stairs

The Fun Theory – Piano Stairs

I work in the advertising industry and one of our biggest segments over past few youtuberific facebooktastic years is social media. So, user or company generated content that will be passed virally around the blogosphere, email and of course social networking sites and micro-aggregators like Twitter. Ideally they are produced at a fraction of the cost of TV and are seen by more people than the series finally of Friends in like 5 minutes.

The problem is noone has perfected it yet. There is a delicate balance in this medium of people not wanting to be marketed to and wanting better and more interesting online content.

Plus there is an argument being made that, aside from a brand touch by seeing a logo, there is no payoff for companies. Are consumers converting from viral video to purchase or at least brand awareness at rates that make it worth it? Or does the normal Youtube user go from a branded video strait to a video of a cat bathing itself in the kitchen sink, and forget everything that came before it?

I say it is worth it. Indubitably. Unequivocally. If nothing else, it shows that a company understands their customers. Where they are, what they are doing. That says a lot in the minds of the general population. Second, a well done video or app will direct individuals to websites where purchasing, more information and further brand impact can ensue. And lastly, it’s cheap. It should be anyway. And if something doesn’t work, change it, evolve it, take it down, put it back up. We live in a world of immediate gratification, corporations need to get in on the chaos. Let consumers tell you what they want either through views or comments and be open to changing to oblige.

Here’s a good example of a video, campaign, idea that is shareable, socially aware and delicately but seamlessly branded.

Volkswagen. like a whisper right there at the end. But the company’s long established brand makes sense here. It doesn’t feel forced as it would with even another car company like Ford or even BMW.

I don’t know if it is tricky editing, but I love the old guy (see photo above, or 1:23 in the video) who is going for the stairs. That guy is awesome, he’ll probably play Chopin all the way up.

I think this idea will work, and will be really interesting as it moves forward. And even if it doesn’t, 7,000 people in one day are now aware that VW is trying to make the world a little more fun.

See more of the campaign here, in German. I guess the english site is not up yet.

Ogilvy tweeted this today, which is where I saw it.

"You’re a mustache away from being one handsome devil…"

"You’re a mustache away from being one handsome devil…"

FAME a branding agency from Minneapolis chose a “dive bar” theme for an open house they put on. They did an amazing job with both design and copy.

I love when a company lets their creatives go all out for something non-client related. I see no better way of proving how you can propel a client’s brand and culture than to dominate your own brand through design and culture.

The average client might be scared to try something new. Out of the box. I once had a client ask me not to use gradients for fear their customers might not be ready for that yet… true story. But if you can do amazing, fun, different, game changing work for yourself and show clients the results, they will feel much more comfortable. In fact, they will probably come asking for it.

Check out this whole integrated campaign:

I saw this on

1980’s Schnucks…

1980’s Schnucks…

I as prowling tonight and stumbled on something really familiar. Maybe familiar isn’t the right word… nostalgic?

Check out this photo of Schnucks, circa 1980.

I wrote the other day about the pool I swam at growing up. Well, the pool was often preceded or followed by a trip with my mom to get groceries. I see this photo and I can smell the store. The bakery, produce and even the cleaning supplies.

Lots of things interesting about this time in history. First of all the style is awesome. That sort of Star Warsian modernism with the strange but constant addition of American Flags and Ferns. Most know how I love my orange, not the fruit, but the color, and this period was not stingy when it came to the swatch.

Something else to note, for all those who wonder why global warming “snuck up” on us or why BPA and the over abundance of plastics in our society is so predominant, take a look at the options for bagging your groceries as of 1980. Paper or…. Paper?

Anyway, thought it was a cool shot or a piece of my history, and probably yours as well. The next time I walk into Culinaria in Downtown STL (the newest in Schnucks design) I am going got take special notice of anything that carried over. I do think their logo is orange. Good call!

Want to see more 80’s vintage stuff (ads, products, photos) check out this Flickr page. That’s where the original photo came from as well.

Fun work

Martin Luther King Tribute

I wanted to attempt this style  in February, and being Black History Month I chose the Rev. as my muse.

His face is made up of the words of his epic Lincoln Memorial “I have a dream…” speech.

Take a look. I am having it framed as I type.

Smoking Goat Branding

I like beer.

Beer high in flavor, alcohol and price. I brew at home, but wouldn’t consider myself very good at this point. I’m working on it.

We have friends in Louisiana who I would consider really good. I designed some branding for their forthcoming brewery down there.

The Smoking Goat will hopefully be amazing, especially if I get some good beer out of the deal.

Have a look. Then drink a beer and have a look again. Continue this process until the logo looks awesome.

New Poster

This is a poster I made for my buddy Dustin.

A classic quote from him as we drove by Effingham, IL’s infamous and huge cross.

I thought it would look good in his new apartment.

Sheltered Perceptions

I recently got the chance to work on a project for the Humane Society. Given the fact that every time I walk into an animal shelter I have to be talked down from taking home every animal in the place, I was happy to help in anyway I could.

With the majority of pet buying in the United States coming from breeders, mall pet shops and unfortunately mills, animal shelters (specifically the Humane Society) are left overflowing with pets that need loving homes. They are running into a perception problem however, and many misconceptions about shelter pets are accepted as fact, and often repeated as such.

To get past this, we decided to take the problem head on, and address the most common misconceptions individually.

Here is where we landed:

Humane Society - Misconceptions"Mutt"

Humane Society - Misconceptions - "Bark"

Lauren and Dan sit’n in a tree…

My good friend Lauren is getting married in July, and though I am extremely jealous of her fiance Dan (don’t tell my wife), I made their save the date cards.

I use VistaPrint to print these types of things. Though the quality suffers, and the rumor is that they are destroying local community printers nationwide, for the price they can’t be beat. Check them out next time you want to customize your own holiday card or invitation.

Here’s how Lauren’s STDs turned out: