Tag Archives: web design

First Instagram Ads: Yay or nay?

Ad agency Wieden + Kennedy were commissioned by Instagram to create the new (and first ever) ads for Instagram. The Amsterdam offices created “Stories Are Everywhere,” for the Instagram Stories campaign – Instagram’s first global campaign – with the aim to promote features such as live video, brushes and stickers.

Reflecting how the platform behaves, the campaign’s executions are intended to inspire and excite the audience about the many possibilities available to express themselves. Film content presents small, unexpected moments that are instantly sharable and dynamic outdoor is contextual to the user’s environment. Within the Instagram app, function drivers educate users about the array of features. These executions playfully work together to remind users that Instagram Stories is the place to share life’s highlights and all the casual, everyday moments in between.

The campaign was shot on an iPhone, using just the Instagram app:

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However, the short films showing a juxtaposition of professionally shot footage and “homemade” style footage, does not work for me. They appeared at the Insta Stories Festival in Cologne, Germany last month:

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Praised for celebrating the diversity of expression, they aim to release 20 to 25 films by the end of the campaign, with over 270 billboards and guerrilla OOH, appearing on train stations in Philadelphia and Milan. The concept and the print ads work nicely, but for me the short films above looks like some weird montage. What do you think?

The film compilation is a nay from me! The rest of the campaign – meh. Disappointed as a huge Instagram user and fan.

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California: Designing Freedom | The Design Museum

If you haven’t been to the new building for the Design Museum which recently relocated to Kensington, you are missing out. The architecture and gift shop alone are worth a visit!
The exhibition “California” caught my eye based on the parts that explore ‘freedom’. The exhibition explores more than just the expression of human rights freedom:

California: Designing Freedom explores how the ideals of the 1960s counterculture morphed into the tech culture of Silicon Valley, and how ‘Designed in California’ became a global phenomenon.

The central premise is that California has pioneered tools of personal liberation, from LSD to surfboards and iPhones. This ambitious survey brings together political posters and portable devices, but also looks beyond hardware to explore how user interface designers in the San Francisco Bay Area are shaping some of our most common daily experiences. By turns empowering, addictive and troubling, Californian products have affected our lives to such an extent that in some ways we are all now Californians.

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Aside from the array of Apple inventions and iconic technological advances that California has blessed the world with, the most interesting part of the exhibition for me was “Say What You Want”. Described as “tools of self expression and rebellion”, this part of the exhibition showcased artefacts that were created to highlight racism, sexism and homophobia:

P.S. sorry for the awful photo quality! Taken on my phone.

It was incredible being able to be so close to relics that were created to protest against the biggest human rights movements in the world. They even displayed newspaper articles from the past, and contemporary pieces created against Trump’s America.
I cannot recommend this show enough. It has to be one of my (if not THE) all time favourite exhibitions.

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Nokia 3310 is My Ultimate Nostalgia: Will the New Version Destroy my Childhood Memories?

I’m scrolling through my Twitter feed, I read “the Nokia 3310 is being resurrected” and my first thought is a negative one: “there’s no way they will recreate the original Nokia 3310 in all it’s shit brick glory!” Well, I was right! The first, and most obvious change is that the 2017 ‘version’ has a colour screen, as it runs on Series 30. It also has a 2MP camera phone and a web browser. WTF.
I’m being precious, I’m being judgmental. I can’t help it – 2000 was the beginning of advanced phone technology, and my generation was a part of it. I was given my first phone at the tender age of 11, and spent a lot of my hard earned money on polyphonic ringtones and custom phone cases (Winnie the Pooh and Playboy Bunny being two of my favourites). After I had enough money I soon upgraded to a Motorola flip phone (still on pay-as-you-go, obviously) but secretly still enjoyed playing Snake on my mum’s 3310. Talking of Snake (one of the most iconic games in history) the new 3310 actually features the game, but visually it just doesn’t feel nostalgic for me – as mentioned above, firstly, the screen is in colour so that’s pretty heartbreaking, and secondly it has been replaced by a multi-directional navigation version, rather than the classic up down left and right. We don’t need any more directions!

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The new 3310 was revealed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday and was created by new mobile firm HMD Global, which licensed the Nokia brand last year. There are some improvements that might increase its appeal – apart from the new features mentioned above, it has almost halved in weight (so can no longer be referred to as ‘The Brick’ RIP), has a month (standby) battery life, is a third of the price (£42 rather than £129.99), uses a microUSB charge and has a micro SD card slot.
Here’s my problem with the new version of my beloved Brick: the aesthetics (and I presume the actual feel of the phone) are similar like the QWERTY keyboard and removable back, but who will be buying this if it isn’t identical to the original? Upon first hearing about the remake, I assumed the target market would be collectors and nineties kids. People going away on holiday usually don’t have to worry about charges abroad or phone damage because most people have contracts that allow for calls abroad and phone insurance. There’s no WiFi and no range of apps like the essentials Facebook and WhatsApp, so the only people I can imagine this would be suitable for is OAPs who struggle to adapt to technology and want simple call functions.

Penned as the the “detox phone”, I think Nokia’s aim for the the resurrection of the Nokia 3310 is to appeal as a cheap indestructible backup phone, riding on the back of a classic. Honestly, I don’t think people should be saying “The Nokia 3310 is back”, because it simply is not the same. It will be interesting to see how HMD Global market this phone – will they use nostalgia or endurance as their POS?
So, who is it for? You can buy basic phones for under £20 (we bought one for my grandparents) so drug dealers and festival goers won’t care, and it can’t be aimed at hipster techies because it isn’t the same phone…

 

Check out the demonstration by the Telegraph below:

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Instagram vs. Snapchat vs. Facebook

Back in late 2016 Facebook launched augmented reality selfie masks for Live video – much like the already very popular Snapchat filters. Facebook acquired MSQRD in March 2016, and briefly tested using a similar technology with Olympic-themed masks for traditional photos and videos (only in Canada and Brazil).
I’ve never actually gone Live on Facebook, so I can’t say I’ve tried this feature myself, but I am a huge Snapchat user, and a big fan of the filters. Facebook is now apparently communicating with Hollywood studios to use the animated masks to promote big-budget movies on Facebook. As mentioned above, Facebook already allows filters over the Live videos, but unlike Snapchat brands have not been allowed to feature their own filters.

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Snapchat popularised augmented reality in mobile messaging back in the day – they are the OGs of mask filters – and have had a tone of brands using their service to promote their brand or campaign. The difference between Snapchat and Facebook (and Instagram) is that Facebook and Instagram reach far bigger audiences, whereas Snapchat is seen as a platform for friends.
This isn’t the only feature Facebook has “stolen” from Snapchat – Facebook previously put a Stories section on Instagram, and are currently testing a similar section in its Facebook app. Facebook’s Stories include augmented reality special effects, but that test is currently only limited to Ireland.

Its been stated that marketers and brands prefer the stories feature on Instagram, because Snapchat doesn’t embrace brands the way Instagram does. Instagram makes it easy to follow brands and like their posts – there’s no ‘like’ features on Snapchat, and it’s harder to follow accounts because users have to know exact names to find them (something I find very annoying…). Instagram’s search UI is far superior, in my opinion.
Dan Grossman, vice president of platform partnerships at VaynerMedia summed up the difference pretty well:

Instagram is a follower platform where Snapchat is more of a best friend platform. Snapchat hasn’t encouraged brands to build up huge followings.

As a Snapchat fan, when Instagram first rolled out the Stories feature, I was very hesitant. Now, I actually forget to use Snapchat and usually head for Instagram Stories to post my daily activities. The amount of money Facebook are putting into these new app features are, in my opinion, going to destroy Snapchat. Why would I use 2 platforms that do the same thing, when I can just use one? It’s likely that Facebook and Instagram will link their publishing of stories at some point.

(P.S. that is not me in the header image)
(P.P.S I’ve never written “Facebook” so many times in my life)

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The Standing “O”

Creative agency Deep Focus created a micro-site to say thank you to our favourite president, Obama. The site The Standing “O” contains user-submitted GIFs of people giving Obama a standing ovation, creating a mosaic of Obama himself.

As President Obama’s time in office comes to an end, we wanted to send him off properly – by bringing the world together for one last standing ovation. Join us in #TheStandingO.

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The micro-site allows users to submit a GIF, zoom in to the mosaic and select individual gifs to view. Deep Focus partnered with Giphy and NowThis to collect the GIFs, or videos (that were then turned into GIFs by the agency’s team) of people applauding Obama, which were then moderated to make sure they were not offensive. Algorithms placed the GIFs in the photo of Obama based on colour schemes to create the wonderful tribute wall to the 44th President.

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AKQA: The Snow Fox

Creative agency AKQA have created this children’s digital storybook for Christmas, transforming the traditional bedtime story of flicking through the pages into a beautifully designed app.

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Inspired by the winter tradition of stories by the fire, The Snow Fox puts the magic of storytelling into the hands of children like never before, giving them the power to bring each page to life in their own personalised story.

Not only is the app’s aesthetic beautiful, the added detail such as personalisation (name and gender of the child) and recordings of the child’s voice for a rendered video at the end is the perfect addition to this digital book.
I love the illustration style and colour palette, which seems to be a rare find in companies and brands who randomly roll out apps and games (not naming any names, Channel4’s ‘Gogglebox’ game, wtf) with little consideration regarding the design.

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Women’s Refuge: The Shielded Site

Horrifyingly, New Zealand has the worst rate of family and intimate-partner violence in the developed world, so Saatchi&Saatchi (New Zealand) teamed up with the Women’s Refuge to help tackle this problem.
Dr Ang Jury (Women’s Refuge Chief Executive) says:

We’ve noticed an increasingly disturbing trend of perpetrators using smartphones, software and apps to track and stalk women, during and after the relationship has ended. The very tools we hope would assist a woman in seeking help are being used to abuse, and we needed to do something about that.

The solution involves an anonymous website that protects women from from those who may check their browser history. The website appears as a widget on websites (currently only The Warehouse’) and allows users to access help. 1 in 3 partnered women in New Zealand reported domestic abuse, and other findings include:

  • 64% of women suffer from psychological abuse,
  • 49% physical abuse,
  • 23% financial abuse,
  • 21% harassment and stalking,
  • 12% sexual abuse,
  • 11% abuse with weapons,
  • 24% of cases included a child witnessing or hearing it happening
  • Family violence rates spike dramatically in NZ before and during the holidays

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These stats are insane, and it goes to show that there is a hell of a lot of work to be done to protect domestic abuse victims. However, I’ve just noticed a serious problem with how this is being tackled – the website claims that:

The shielded website allows victims to seek information online under the guise of browsing The Warehouse website.  A victim in an abusive relationship who is seeking support or advice can safely can visit The Warehouse website, click on the icon, and be provided with vital information without leaving a browser trail.  A perpetrator tracking a victim’s online movements and browser history will see they’ve only visited The Warehouse website.

So, if the abuser sees ‘The Warehouse’ or any of the other future supporters of the project (so far The Warehouse is the only organisation currently taking part in this online initiative) on their partner’s browser history and has read about the ‘shielded website’, this will contradict the entire reason for the project. Whilst anyone or any business can support the Women’s Refuge by adding the Shielded Site button to their website, won’t victims still be at risk if this appears in their browser and is recognised by their abuser?

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AI Experiment: Quick, Draw

In collaboration with Google Creative Lab and Data Arts Team, developers Jonas Jongejan, Henry Rowley, Takashi Kawashima, Jongmin Kim, Nick Fox-Gieg built a game built with machine learning:

You draw, and a neural network tries to guess what you’re drawing. Of course, it doesn’t always work. But the more you play with it, the more it will learn. It’s just one example of how you can use machine learning in fun ways.

AI experiment is a website released a few days ago that showcases Google’s artificial intelligence research through web apps that anyone can play with. Projects include a game that guesses what you’re drawing (Quick, Draw), a camera app that recognises objects you and a music app that plays ‘duets’ with you.

Very interesting! Give it a go here. There was only one drawing the machine couldn’t recognise when I tried to draw a stringbean.

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B-Reel: Claw Your Way to the Top

Attention makers, creatives and techies! Agency ‘B-Reel’ has created a digital version of the classic arcade claw machine, complete with RFID-enabled prizes. The objective is to win a job interview, but as the video suggests, it could take place while surfing, a phone-call, getting a massage… the weird list goes on.

Aside from the impressive development and 3D printing – the art direction itself is fantastic. Gradient backgrounds and single-colour 3D objects are really on-trend in the world of design at the moment. Flat design seems to be on its way out.

BReel is a team of storytellers and technologists creating new ways to connect brands and audiences.

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