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Contemporary Contexts.

The creative industries NOW | Derek Yates | 30/01/10 Digital interaction The most important recent developments in contemporary design are obviously related to the internet and developments in new technology but their implications are complex. An obvious starting point for our discussion would be to look at the implications of interaction. A majority of design on the internet imitates the principles of print design, but as the medium develops more and more designers are truly exploring the potential of interaction. These designers have skills that lie somewhere in between Artist/ Designer & Programmer, foremost among these gures is John Maeda. Maeda has the advantage of being able to realise his vision without having to rely upon an programming intermediary. His work is highly intuitive and blends seamlessly the designer and users input into a piece of interaction. In 1996 he set up the Aesthetics & Computation group at MIT and believes passionately in the need for programmers to design and for designers to programme. His design consultancy Maeda Studio still produces work that is unique in its genuine interactivity. His way seems to point the future of web design.
http://www.maedastudio.com/1997/cal3/index.php? category=all&next=1997/cal4&prev=1997/cal2&this=ora_calendar

In England, Digit and Tomato were among the rst designers to really explore the potential of the internet as a truly interactive medium. Time-based change and user input in networked media were investigated by Tomato in the context of branding, with its Sony Connected_identity project. Visitors to the Connected_identity site could select a word, which was then rendered and mutated over time and presented via the web, mobile phones and on a display in the Sony building in Tokyo. Selected clips of these animations were also used in Sony television commercials More recently programmers such as Karsten Schmidt have developed these ideas further to produce visual communication that truly involves the user in its generation. Schmidt worked on the identity for the onedotzero adventures in motion 2009 which uses the Nokia N900 to allow the audience to input messages which then form an ever changing logo.
onedotzero interactive identity: http://www.vimeo.com/6523068

Physical Interaction Digit began to develop ideas for interaction that were not limited to the computer screen and as they expanded designers who started at Digit began to set up their own studios. Two such studios are AllofUs started by ex Digit employee Sankey and Sennep started by Matt Rice. The development of arduino circuit boards has meant that designers, programmers and engineers can build one off bespoke interactive electronics that with a little bit of code make genuine physical interaction possible.
sennep/ dandelion installation http://www.sennep.com/installations

Tinker It have been at the forefront of this technology sponsoring young designers such as John Nussey to demonstrate the possibilities of the technology through things like their toyhacking workshops.
sennep/ dandelion installation http://www.sennep.com/installations

John also works with Kin Design who combine skills in design, interaction and environment design to create engaging pieces of physical interaction such as their Tommy Hilger installation where jeans trigger music from giant cassette tapes.
http://www.kin-design.com/docs/case-study-hilger-2009.html

Moving Brands Before starting Kin, one of the partners, Matt Wade was a creative director at Moving Brands, who for the last ve or six years have been at the forefront of developments in branding and identity as applied to a world where motion and interaction are what attract peoples attention.
http://www.movingbrands.com/?category_name=lcf-work#expression http://www.movingbrands.com/?category_name=kef-work#expression

Code Much of the innovation in interaction is made possible by designers and programmers working together. More recently designers have started to write their own code and open source software has become available that makes this easier than it has ever been before. Dissatised with existing software more and more designers are beginning to programme their own and by cracking open commercial software, a new breed of graphic designers is redening type & image at code level (David Womack, Tools to Make or Break. Eye Magazine 60, Summer 2006) One such piece of software is Scriptographer Scriptographeris a Javascript plug in that Jurg Lehni started working on in 2001 and continued adapting while he was a students at ECAL. The plug in made its public debut in 2002 as the computer programme that drives Hektor a grafti output device. Hektor is a small contraption that dangles from a chord and clutches a can of spraypaint. Following the vektor paths of an Adobe Illustrator le, Hektor bobs up and down spraying words or patterns on the wall.The home made graphic device and the drippy but perfectly plotted images it produces became something of a media sensation
http://www.hektor.ch/Videos/Beautifull-Place.mov/

this combination of traditional manual media and cutting edge programming is an interesting development and suggests a move towards using computers to engage the audience outside of the screen.

Random International- Pixel Roller PixelRoller is a paint roller that paints pixels, designed as a rapid response printing tool specically to print digital information such as imagery or text onto a great range of surfaces. The content is applied in continuous strokes by the user. PixelRoller can be seen as a handheld printer, based around the ergonomics of a paintroller, that lets you create the images by your own hand.
http://random-international.squarespace.com/pixelroller-overview/

Designers, artists, musicians and other imaginative individuals, who once thought programming was only for nerds, are discovering new creative possibilities thanks to new creative possibilities thanks to Processing an open source tool that allows them to writesoftware to create images, animation and interactive visual work with little or no experience
http://www.processing.org/ http://www.scriptographer.com/

Key to the success of any form of interaction is the involvement of the audience. Researchers and theorists have started to point to a radical shift in our relationship to the culture that surrounds us. We are no longer passive consumers but participants in the shaping of cultural experiences. participatory culture..... describes the way consumers interact with media content, media producers and eachother. As they explore the the resources available to them.. consumers become active participants in shaping the creation, circulation and interpretation of media content, such experiences deepen the consumers investment in the media property and expands their awareness of both content and brand. MIT, Convergence Culture Consortium/ companies that desire to understand the consumer ow within the ever quickening media environment need to understand how these changes are generating a rapid movement from impressions to expressions, intellectual property to emotional capital. Such approaches may be the key to breaking through a cluttered and fragmented media environment, relying on consumers themselves to help knit together information & impressions gathered from multiple media experiences MIT, Convergence Culture Consortium/ These ideas are changing the way designers work- and there is a growing realisation that we can no be so precious about control and ownership, rather we have to embrace a dynamic and exible relationship with our audience. Australian designers Rinzen recently demonstrated the potential of these online communities by sending images out and asking other designers to remix them, eventually creating a book and website called Rinzen RMX.

Wieden & Kennedy: Beta-7 A project produced by Wieden & Kennedy for Sega in 2003 demonstrates the power of an open ended invitation to your audience to be part of a campaign. They set up a website to herald the launch of ESPN NFL Football but instead of heralding the benets of the game, the site claimed to be a forum for games testers who had sustained long term psychological and physical injuries from testing this particular game. The site carried no branding and the general public were asked to support a campaign against the evil Sega corporation. A blizzard of press and publicity ensued and newspapers all around the world carried stories of the mysterious Beta-7 rebels. When the public outcry reached its peak Sega came clean and admitted it was all in fact a spoof. T Mobile More recently Flashmobbing has been used to great effect by T-Mobile with a string of events which include dancing in Liverpool St Station, singing in Trafalgar Square and the biggest band in the world.
http://www.youtube.com/lifesforsharing?gl=GB&hl=en-GB

The hype around the campaign has been so big that there has been an inevitable backlash. none of the t-mobile ads are real, cant you see that, Yes of course you like them, because you are supposed to like them, T-moblie have spent vast sums of money researching your demographic and have marketed directly at you . Every paid extra, actor, shot and song is carefully marketed and contrived, NONE OF IT IS REAL, The myspace page, the facebook group, the youtube channel - all fabricated to con you into moving to t-mobile, watch the lm Wag the dog to see how you are manipulated and deceived by marketing and advertising executives, I repeat, nothing in any of the T-moblie commercials actually happened for real, Even most of the awesome comments are bogus , to help perpetuate the myth/ sell more phones. A recent Dr Pepper ashmob caused Creative Review to post the ad on their blog under the title: Brands take note: it really is time to stop with the ashmobs.
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2010/january/cringe-a-ashmob-too-far

The point though is that its not about whether its a website, a ashmob, a giant plasticine rabbit or a beautiful piece of print its that ideas that engage are independent of media, the media simply helps deliver the idea. A good example of this thinking in practice is the recent Stupid campaign from Diesel. This is an idea that enables the ads and events to design themselves.
http://www.diesel.com/be-stupid/

Guerilla: To implement these ideas advertisers have looked at new places and ways to communicate with their audience. This has become called guerilla marketing or ambient advertising. Obvious examples come from Boxfresh and Adidas, who employ grafti artists to spray stencil adverts around cool areas such as Old Street and Brick Lane. BritArt.com manufactured A1 sticky art labels in the style of those you would normally nd in galleries and labelled every day objects such as paving slabs as art. Nike allegedly sprayed all the green trafc lights in Amsterdam with a stencil that when the light came on looked like a green tick. The ad agency, Mother, launched in 1998 to a blaze of publicity when their promotional mail out was called irresponsible by sports minister Tony Banks, it also received a D&AD Award. Inspired by Japanese toy giant Tamiyas infamously anal model kits they produced completely authentic self assembly English Football hooligans to coincide with the new football season. They have not looked back since and are responsible for the two boisterous Jamaican woman who sang the patoi praises of Lilt amongst other campaigns. Just like Kesselskramer they use irreverent humour and a deep insight into contemporary popular culture. Mother were asked to contribute to the Laurence King book Soon in which the big names within the design world were asked to predict some future brands. They produced Grey and style magazine aimed at the over 60s. The End of Print? The rise of digital media has caused people to think about the validity of print as a medium and as a result the industry has been forced to innovate and consider what its strengths are. Books are handled, you hold them and touch them. New developments in technology have enabled designers to take advantage of surface and tactility and as a result book design has gone through a bit of a renaissance. Last year more books were published than at any other point in history and although the mass market is denitely shrinking the production of specialist small run books with high production values has expanded to ll the gap. This trend has been celebrated in a whole series of books, including Roger Fawcett Tangs New Book Design features a plethora of innovations with binding, paper, special nishes, die cuts, heat sensitive inks and packaging from designers such as UNA (Amsterdam), Irma Boom, Browns, Karel Martens, Experimental Jetset & Spin. Bespoke An offshoot of this process is a new mindset that has led designers to seek to create bespoke individualised pieces of design. Dan Eatock uses labels that can be lled out by the recipient on greetings cards and video sticky labels for a lm makers identity. Designers such as Muller & Hess and Value & Service have manipulated the print process to create pieces of work that reject uniform, mass production in favour of the unpredictability and variation. As technology makes perfection easier & easier to attain, imperfection and individuality become more & more attractive.

the digitisation of the design process has resulted in the ironing out of many of the inevitable imperfections of preceding craft based processes, so designers are beginning to build aws into their work in an attempt to counter-act the slick look. Often they adopt methods that force unpredictable things to happen, exaggerating errors to create a sense of authenticity. Ann Odling Smee, New Handmade Graphics.Guerilla Marketing Part of this process is a rediscovery of craft as illustrators and designers explore traditional graphic mediums such as linocut, woodcut, screenprinting, letterpress and calligraphy. In Sweden Flag produce hand printed, limited edition posters and in Holland, the calligrapher Job Wouters has become a design superstar.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajjg3faIQ5A

Competition Graphic Design and illustration have expanded massively over the last twenty years. Shops like Magma have created a graphics sub culture and as a result what was once a niche obscure subject has become a lifestyle choice. At the same time technology has enable anyone with an Ibook to produce graphic media. This has meant that illustrators and designers have needed to become much exible, innovative and entrepreneurial. Max Bruinsma wrote in a 1997 issue of Eye Magazine, within the broad province of art, design & visual communication, graphic design will remain recognisable as a discipline for some time to come. But it will merge more & more with other disciplines. Collaboration Studios like Kin, Sennep & Moving Brands have recognized the need to collaborate to take on a wider range of projects and service the sort of industry that demand media neutral campaigns like Stupid and Beta 7. Working with agencies like onedotzero educational institutions have started to look at ways that they can steer students away from the one man and his portfolio to produce graduates who have enough exibility to survive in this new design culture.
Cascade: http://www.vimeo.com/6472293

Collectives Designers and illustrators have started to pool resources into co-operative groups that have allowed them to maintain their own vision; while sharing a website & studio space, resources, publicity and jobs. Often these designers had different areas of specialism and collectives allowed them to come together as different jobs required. Airside, are a good example of this and under the leadership of Fred Deakin they operate as the band, Lemon Jelly; offering graphic design and an online store selling clothing and accessories.

Airside took part in a recent lecture at LCC where they were described as people who have created a living despite the worst economic climate in years. Similar exibility and entrepreneurship has been shown a group of Illustrators who met at Brighton University in the late 90s. They include Miles Donovon, Elliot Thoburn, Spencer Wilson and Andrew Rae. From their launch in 1999, they promoted themselves strategically to establish a client list including: Absolute Vodka; MTV; BBC; Sony; Levis and Channel 4. They now share a studio in East London and promote themselves through an excellent website www.peepshow. org.uk. The artist within the collective remain separate but are starting to develop more collaborative projects such as animations for Cbbc. They recently set themselves as a limited company and are beginning to produce more and more moving image work. They also have a shop that sells tee-shirts and small run publications Self publishing Peepshow are part of an explosion in self initiated self published work over the last 10 years; developments in technology and the ability to publish through the internet have made it possible for designers to publish their work cheaply and easily, but also the competitive nature of the business have made it necessary for illustrators and designers to supplement their income. Illustration collectives have shops on their websites selling everything from teeshirts to tea towels and small publishing houses like No-Brow publish limited edition books and magazines direct to the public. No Brow Nobrow (TM) was set up in the winter of 2008 by Sam Arthur and Alex Spiro to provide an independent publishing platform for illustration and the graphic arts that would showcase some of the best talent out there today, whether fresh out of college or from the ranks of well seasoned veterans. Our aim is to place a renewed focus on quality in print, using wherever possible the best materials we can get our hands on and always trying to play with format, color, size and design to ensure that our publications are well conceived and individual. We work closely with locally based printers wherever possible so that we can be involved in the creative process from start to nish and we always try to achieve nished products that are not only lled with great work, but that themselves are art objects, to be coveted, collected and cherished. Design/ Writing/ Research One last manifestation of the competitiveness of this new graphic design culture is the blurring of the boundaries between education, research and graphic design practice. Figures such as Rick Poynor have started to develop critical research into Graphic Design culture. First Eye Magazine and then DotDotDot have begun to provide a critical backbone as the subject begins to establish itself on an academic level.

The dutch studio Metahaven is a really interesting example of how this trend is evolving.Metahaven, based in Amsterdam and Brussels, is a studio focusing on design and research in visual identity and architecture. Its partners are Vinca Kruk, Daniel van der Velden and Gon Zifroni.
http://www.metahaven.net/mhSRC/t.php?p=1

Here is a list of Metahavens research papers which can be downloaded from their website along with examples of their design work. White Night Before A Manifesto - Metahaven History vs. Future: Public Relations - Vinca Kruk Interview with Jonas Staal - Daniel van der Velden Symbool X - Daniel van der Velden Facts are the Enemies of the Truth - Interview (2004) Empire and design - Dieter Lesage Discovery of the Fifth World - Metahaven White Flag - Daniel van der Velden The Network Ruin - Metahaven The Floating Signier - John OReilly Research & Destroy - Daniel van der Velden Vlaggen en symbolen - Discussion We - Daniel van der Velden Imagination of Engagement - Metahaven The Museum of Conict - Discussion Let art save democracy! - BAVO Specimen: Beyond Identity Politics - Metahaven 9/11s Ghost Ship - Metahaven Conversation with Markus Miessen - Metahaven Secret Practices - Interview (2007) In the Name of Europe - Gon Zifroni Crypto Logo Jihad - Daniel van der Velden A Democratic Brand Paradox Metahaven (ed.) Kristjan Mndmaa in conversation with Metahaven Designers and the political - Interview (2006) Brand States - Metahaven Peripheral Forces - Metahaven Branding the Superstate Abyss Interview (2009)

Appendices. Here are some interesting ideas on all of this from the Wolf Olins website http://www.wolffolins.com/views/#142 Brands started as a stamp on a product, and became a gadget designed to get people to buy, an emotional lever. Now theyre becoming something bigger and different. Brands are becoming platforms. More and more, customers are invited not just to buy things but to do things. On the platforms of eBay, Wikipedia, ickr and YouTube, people sell things, share knowledge, broadcast visual ideas. Through Zopa, people lend to and borrow from each other. On Sellaband, you can launch your favourite unknown band, and then share in the prots. Sony Ericsson shows how its mobiles enable people to do what they love. Peugeot now invites customers to become car designers, and crowdspirit gets large numbers of people to invent new electronic products. Newspapers like the Guardian have become less promoters of an ideology, and more a platform for a spread of voices, including those of readers. Across the developed world, consumers are becoming active, even activists, and brands their platform. Its a less emotional, more practical relationship people dont love eBay, though they love what it allows them to do. As consumers are invited not to buy but to work, functionality really matters. Creating a brand, and designing the service behind it, are becoming inseparable. Its not just individual customers who use these platforms. Other organisations do too, and brands increasingly link organisations together. The corporation of the new century is more like a constellation, and brand is becoming the link, the multiplier. Amazon may seem like a bookselling corporation, but actually its a constellation of retailers of electronics, homewares, toys and more plus the wider constellation of people who review and recommend. Creative people increasingly work in consortia, forming communities through conferences like TED or websites like worldchanging.com. Cities like New York are creating a city brand to connect and multiply the impact of the myriad of agencies who promote the city. Fairtrade is a German charity whose brand is a multiplier for 600 producer companies. Companies from Gap to American Express have created new products for (RED): a percentage of prots goes to treat AIDS/HIV in Africa. The London 2012 brand embraces sponsor and partner organisations. This new world of branding isnt about self-contained citadels, or force-elds that repel other brands. Brands like (RED) embrace the organisations they work with. As brands become less the property of an organisation and more the banner of a movement, ownership will become even looser. Logos will be things other organisations, and individuals, can borrow and adapt. Red squared (RED) visually embraces the brands it works with the device implies the mathematical power of one brand acting on another. As brands become platforms and links, they get used and abused. People want to make them their own which means they may no longer be the same everywhere. Brand becomes not one tune, but a theme with variations. As ideologies compete, as cultures become more multi, organisations are getting much more sensitive to context, to localness. Even Starbucks the great exponent of a repeated formula now believes in identity, not identical. The BBC has moved from uniformity to create distinctive channel brands. Mandarin Oriental thinks of its hotels as a family, not a chain, so that San Francisco looks and feels different from London and

Hong Kong, though theres a unifying oriental sensibility. Brazilian telecoms company Oi has different ways of being with extreme, mass and business customers. The London cultural venue Southbank Centre has a new logo that has an innite number of variations. The new brands have many ways of doing things, many ways of speaking. They experiment and change over time. The brand is not a perfect blueprint, and brand creators are less architects and more inventors, learning by adapting. What unites the organisation (or constellation) isnt the surface logo but the underlying idea. The London 2012 brand is a theme that partners adopt and adapt. Heres sportswear partner adidas, using the theme to connect London 2012 to its own impossible is nothing brand idea. Amazing things happen when you combine thousands of peoples ickr pictures: see an extraordinary demo at TED http://www.ted.com/talks/blaise_aguera_y_arcas_demos_photosynth.html

Five marketing principles brands should embrace in 2010 Most of the marketing rules we lived by just ve years ago are practically obsolete. The industry has faced more changes in the last ve years than in the previous 50. Lets face it, theres no point in improving broken legacy models. Since necessity is the mother of invention, lets not waste this recession and instead use it to rethink how we go about branding in this new decade. Here are ve key ways: 1. Create better realities: A Bain & Co. survey notes that 80 percent of CEOs believe their product to be differentiated, but only 8 percent of consumers agree. And Y&Rs recent Brand Asset Valuator found a 90 percent erosion in brand differentiation over the last 10 years. These are not just sad examples of illusory superiority, but a staggering statement of our industrys failure to add value in the past decade. Its critical that marketers realize that the product itself is the most powerful brand-building tool. Weve all heard it before: innovate or die. But todays hyper-connected society adds a sense of urgency to this broadly accepted mantra because mediocrity is getting extinguished with increasing speed via social networks. Because reality always trumps image, marketing needs to create real value versus just adding a perceived value. Marketers need to shape the offer -- the product, service and experiences consumer buy -- not just communicate it. Marketing becomes the product and the product becomes the marketing. 2. Dont be design blind: With design driving innovation, we need to challenge our understanding of design. The Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon noted that everyone is a designer who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones. Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management, equally challenged our perspective when he said, Todays businesspeople dont need to understand designers better, they need to become a designer. The concept of design thinking has become highly regarded and commonly understood, but it has yet to inltrate corporate culture. When design thinking is practiced, creative problem solving happens more successfully, leading to truly innovative business solutions versus the incremental improvements left-brain-driven analytical thinking leads to. 3. Be brand led: While brands need to apply the same rigor the human-centric approach design thinking requires and while actionable insights are key, theyre only half of the equation. Being solely consumer led does not allow you to be differentiated. Be brand led and consumer informed -- not the other way around. Being brand led allows innovation to be true to, and guided by, the purpose of the brand, making it more credible and in line with what the brand is capable of.

4. Think 365 -- not 360: Shift from singular, consistent messages to multiple coherent ideas, from simplistic, one dimensional, reduced executions to complex, multidimensional, rich executions. Stop striving for perfection and go for progress by iteration. Join the movement shifting from campaign thinking to conversation thinking. At the same time, a brand must build long-term platforms to become an indispensable part of peoples daily lives by providing continued entertainment and utility. Brands cant afford to go dark any more. Instead, stimulate brand conversations with more initiatives, more often. Just like people, brands are a sum of their experience. 5. Be interesting: This you know -- but do you practice it? A brand that generates little or no conversations will be killed by one that does. In a world where its more important what people say about your brand than what brands say about themselves, give people something to talk about.

Lets stop confusing excuses with reasons. Lets use this recession as a reset button. Lets make business more innovative and the world a more interesting place.

18 January 2010, posted by Frank Strieer