Category Archives: Creativity
With some tipping Google Glass to further evolve change our day-to-day experiences, DT’s creative technologist and Glass sceptic Tim Devine found some surprising results after a week with the device.
In a kind of tribute to Steve Mann, the father of wearable computing, and so that I might have at least something of an informed opinion on the subject, I wore Google Glass for a week — everywhere, all the time. For thirty years Mann has worn far less sophisticated versions, so I figured it couldn’t be that onerous, and if I was to give Mann and Glass proper shrift nothing less than full immersion would do.
Aside from my Mann crush, as a creative technologist and practicing media artist my work has at times suffered from crushes on various technologies. There is something wonderful about expectations for a new technology — beyond the new toy anticipation the potential for a leap to occur, even if only in the imagination, is sufficient to begin all manner of feverish speculation.
My relationship with Glass as a technology reminds me of a girl I was seeing a few years ago. While crashing on a friends couch in Brooklyn after an epic romance and break up I noticed a card that read, “I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you”. Love is blind but temporarily.
So the question this led me to suppose was do our relationships with technologies form in a similar way to our relationships with people? A hot flush at the beginning, fading slowly to something you could reasonably take for granted but pine for when you’re apart, replace with the new and shiny, or even do away with altogether?
A few weeks ago I found myself, a youngish creative technologist, contemplating an arranged marriage with Google Glass. Our agency, DT, was fortunate enough to acquire a couple of sets and as I run the creative technology lab I felt obliged to engage.
To be honest, if I could solve a brief with a single fold in a sheet of A4 paper I would. I’ve spent years trying to neutralise the effect technology has on me, while endeavouring to deeply understanding it — when a technology like this is pre-released and inevitably polarises the community, it ends up shrouded in media hype, shrill denunciations and misrepresentative guesswork in the rush to be earliest non-adopter.
The most useful commentary comes from direct experience no matter the device. So I flipped the SIM from my iPhone 5 into a Nexus 5, (Glass needs to be tethered to an Android phone) and strapped on Glass for a week.
Wearing Glass is like dating a celebrity
All week I scored free drinks and double takes as I went about my everyday. It was with me everywhere — driving, golfing, the beach, cycling, the cinema, a rooftop bar, work, watching a band, a restaurant, rock climbing and importantly while I lay hungover in my lounge room hammock. I didn’t skydive, fly a stunt plane, frolic with reptiles, trapeze, sword fight, juggle fire, ice sculpt, own a catwalk, hot air balloon or figure skate — though I was ready for it all, Google.
Glass brings voice interaction into a far more functional context. You have to give over to it, to the point where it sounds like you’re talking to a puppy — very conspicuous if there isn’t a puppy around. If you enunciate, and the sound environment is at a reasonable level, it’s pretty good.
Halfway into my week I found myself engaging in conversation with other computer generated voices, similar to accidentally swiping a non-touchscreen, or mentally pressing “Command-Z” when you pour salt instead of sugar into your tea. In a most illustrative case I was in the part harried, part dazed condition induced by self-checkout in the supermarket.
When asked if I wanted a receipt I accurately turned to face the machine and robotically, in perfect oral formation, enunciated “No. (Pause) Thanks.” Under normal conditions I’m as irritated and diminished as the next person by the automated voice of those machines yet here I was naturally, if automatically, having verbal exchange with one as I would any corporeal service entity.
Fear of blinking in bathrooms
Glass is great for capturing content by voice or wink detection. It’s some kind of wonderful snapping photos with the wink of an eye. Every time I posted something to Facebook it was tagged ‘via Google Glass’, and shot from my 203cm perspective. The result is a peculiar kind of kink in the cultural and visual aesthetic to the content glass captures — it will always be shot from slightly above and outside your right eye, though I eventually figured out how to take a selfie without looking at a mirror. I did find myself trying to warp my neck or body for the best shot, but generally I took photos with a quick wink. If you wish to you can imagine my cold, blinkless disposition while I line up in a bathroom at the rooftop bar.
Being unusually tall I’m used to people compelled to ask questions about my experience up there. With Glass I’ve added an entirely new set of icebreakers. Mostly I found myself looking awkwardly out of windows on trams so as to not to have passengers opposite feel like they were in my camera’s field of view. Maybe there will be a mechanical shutter door in future releases to alleviate this awkwardness. Or better still, maybe we need a new type of necklace that emits powerful infrared light visible only to Glass and not the human eye, blowing out all photos taken with Glass, like a kind of urban camo! Tech, counter tech.
Google Glass sits somewhere between the hype and a hands free bluetooth headset with a screen/camera
My original view of Glass was that it was a thing you wore all the time and that it would more or less replace your phone. Personally I wouldn’t wear it all the time. In the Glass Explorer forums there are countless tips on when it’s appropriate to wear it or how to avoid confrontation — like a dojo really. That said, it’s been 24 hours since the end of my experience and I’ve caught myself peering longingly up to where my Glass once satiated my visual cortex… I miss it… if only a little.
Some people will love Glass and wear it all the time (afforded the excuse to wear prescriptionless designer frames). For others maybe it’s a part-time screen, with similar utility to a hands free earpiece. Either way Glass, or some other brand of face-screen coming soon, is definitely going to be part of our mediated life.
Tim Devine is a Creative Technologist at DT.
This article was originally published on mUmBRELLA.
Linda Jukic is Moon‘s incredibly talented Executive Creative Director. She was one of six speakers invited to honestly address the joys and challenges of making your creative ideas a reality at the recent Sex, Drugs and Helvetica design conference. These are the golden rules that underpin her work at Moon.
One of the most exciting parts of an idea is exactly where it can go and what it could truly be. Don’t be afraid to explore and share ideas beyond the original scope of work (just as long as you’ve nailed what they originally asked for). There’s a chance they may buy it and do it.
Make it real.
Whether it be an awesome render or a physical to scale mock-up, make your creative tangible for the client. The senses are exceptionally powerful, the ability to really ‘see, feel or hear’ creative gets clients going. Use it to your advantage.
Focus on the detail.
Eames said; “The details are not the details, they make the design”. Enough said.
Believe in it.
Believe in your creative idea and vision. Never lose faith in the idea or all the things that need to happen to make it happen, just the way you believe it should. As soon as you have any doubts, your team will pick up on them as will your clients and suppliers. And doubt can be just as challenging (and tricky) to manage as tight timings and small budgets and who needs another creative hurdle?
Work your butt off!
Belief is only half the equation. Effort is the rest.
Always be reasonable and fair, never rude or demanding. When projects are tight in timings and budget, your standards high and your creative vision clear, take the journey with a smile and with gratitude. It’s rewarding to see what is possible and exactly what and where you can get to if you treat people nicely.
Dreams can come true.
Most often design work involves compromise. So much happens between where you start and where you end up that it doesn’t feel like the same piece of work. This was one of those delightful jobs where what presented as our original creative concept and intent was pretty much what exists within the world today (with lots of crafting and detailing in between). It does happen.
Today’s guest post is by Sven Baker, Group CEO Designworks.
I might as well concede defeat before I start. I’m sorry. I HAVE NO BIG NEW IDEA. No profound insight that will shake the foundations of conventional wisdom.
A week ago I did have an idea, and at the time I thought a bloody good one! It was an idea centred on the transformative role design can play in business. Up until a week ago I was convinced of the power of Design Thinking to help transform business performance. I was going to be generous with our IP – I was going to share with you our Transformation process, peppered with illuminating case studies.
Such as how we’re working with New Zealand Post to revolutionise the experience of sending at retail from confusion to clarity. A new experience we co-created with customers.
How for Air New Zealand we’ve helped bust the drudgery of queuing in airports with a world first express check-in experience. And then went on to transform the nightmare of cattle class into the joy of ‘Cuddle Class.’
And finally shifting Telecom retail from selling handsets the old fashion way to selling bandwidth the new ‘smart way’ though engaging learning environments designed around the user’s world.
All of which aimed to demonstrate simply that ‘Design is a good idea’ – that as our name suggests, DESIGN WORKS.
But it appears it isn’t so. A week ago disaster struck. I was checking my email and I clicked on Fast Company’s website link and there it was… My heart sunk. To my horror! A blog post by design commentator Bruce Nussbaum. The headline read: ”Design thinking is a failed experiment. So what’s next?”
The last ten years of my life flashed by in an instant. All my professional endeavours have been for nothing. Design Thinking it appears was making way for a new ‘Conceptual Framework:’ CQ – Creative Intelligence. It appears I’ve been part of a FAILED experiment.
Seems like everyone talks about storytelling in advertising. Agencies talk about it. Clients talk about it. It’s the buzzword that makes all of us sound like we know what we’re doing.
Stories have become a focus for marketers because when it comes to communicating, stories are the most powerful medium there is. They let us explain things, they let us feel things, and they have been the main currency of communication between humans since time began.
But as fun as it is to talk about stories, you may occasionally find yourself actually having to tell one. To your boss in a meeting. To a client in a presentation. Or to a consumer through a campaign. Whatever the context of your story, it’s worth asking yourself: how do I know if I’m telling a good one?
To examine this question, I’d like to begin by talking about screenwriting.
One tendency for aspiring screenwriters (confession: I’m one) is to pack every scene they write with as much information as possible to ensure the audience understands exactly what’s going on. They (er… we) make sure the audience is crystal clear on things like how the characters got there, who’s motivated by what, the reason this girl is angry, the reason that guy is late, where they’re going next, how they’re going to get there etc etc and so on and so on.
And I can tell you, this approach makes for scenes that are incredibly clear. And incredibly long. And, usually, incredibly boring. Believe me. My list of Google Docs is a cloud-based testament to this painful insight.
But when listening to an interview with the legendary screenwriter David Mamet (he wrote this), I was interested to hear his view that the key to writing a great scene is to arrive late and leave early.
Taking his advice literally, I took one of my ten page scenes and deleted the first three pages and the last three pages. The result wasn’t perfect, but I found it surprisingly coherent and even more surprisingly… engaging.
To illustrate why, I want you to imagine you are sitting (bear with me) in a foodcourt. And let’s say you overhear two people talking. Now, even if you know nothing about these people, I’m pretty confident that just by listening to them, you could actually work out quite a bit about what they’re discussing. You could probably even determine some of the dynamics of their relationship.
No matter who you are, I’m pretty confident you could do that, because “working stuff out” is more or less what we all do, all the time. In life, there is no narrator. We are always trying to work out what’s going on, and all we have is the action right in front of us. We never have the full story. We are always arriving late and leaving early, but somehow, we work it out.
A few years ago, when some super-tanned JWT guy in linen pants on stage at Cannes (yeah, I went) said the secret to engagement in advertising is to tell incomplete stories, I think this is what he was getting at. You don’t have to tell your audience everything, you don’t have to spell every little thing out for them. Instead, you can tell them a story that’s a bit more like life. You can drop them right in the middle of it and let them work out for themselves what’s going on.
Unless you think your audience isn’t smart enough.
How tempting it is to dumb things down, to treat your audience like the lowest common denominator and then see them continually stoop to meet your expectations.
Whether you’re an agency person, a client person, or just a struggling, undiscovered genius of a screenwriter toiling away in your mother’s downstairs rumpus room, I’m challenging you (and myself) to treat your audience with respect. Assume they are at least as intelligent as you are. Tell them a story that makes them think, that prompts them to join the dots in their head and work something out for themselves.
They may arrive late, they may leave early, but there’s also a pretty good chance they’ll come back.
Creative Director Mike Barry (@Mike_Barry) leads the white agency’s team of creatives solving problems for clients like Lion, Lexus, Coca-Cola and The Commonwealth Bank. This post first appeared on white’s excellent blog. If you like this, you might like: Why brands shouldn’t be storytellers.