Archive for July, 2009

The Dieline’s collection of modernist Packaging

The Dieline has quickly grown into the most visited website on package design in the world, and has become the voice of the industry. It is an active sponsor of the Pentawards, the first and only professional design competition devoted exclusively to the art of brand packaging, further promoting the field.

…And it’s true…they document some really good work. Check out their website @

Below are some of the most creative packaging ideas I have seen. Far better than the likes of Apple and the iPod. Smiley face pickles in a bottle, vintage coke cans, and minimalist designs that will probably amaze you even though you have seen so much of them already.

Francesco Mugnai & Rob Morris – The Modernists

Found some inspiring business cards and poster designs. These two designers both have a very modernist approach to design but employ some interesting materials and some interactive attributes – yes even print can be a little interactive. I know hard to believe right…

See for more!

Rob Morris Posters (

United Visual Artists

AP: I really enjoyed Volume, it’s very mesmerising and it also brought up some thoughts about the continuum of interactivity and reactive installations. I think the first thing that would be interesting for me would be to hear some of the motivation behind the piece and why you chose to construct it in the way you did.

UVA: The commission for Volume arose from an earlier site-specific work we’d created for the John Madejski garden, at the invitation of [onedotzero](]. The piece was untitled but came to be known as ‘the monolith’. We’d made a conscious decision to resist our natural impulse towards complexity and produce something very simple – a single band of colour and simple analogue synth sounds, becoming harsher and more aggressive as you approached.

Although the monolith wasn’t entirely successful from an interaction point of view (we had more people than we anticipated, so it spent too much time in ‘overload’ mode), it did ‘work’ in that it created a powerful aura and transformed the space. As a result, when the V&A were approached by Sony Playstation to create a specific work for the Playstation Season, they commissioned us to create something essentially ’similar but bigger’. We first explored the option of simply making a bigger monolith, or replicating the monolith (with three or four). From there it was a short step to a large regular array of ‘monoliths’ (multiliths?), at which point we realised the potential of creating an all-enveloping field of light and sound.

AP: In terms of the interactivity debate, whilst I could tell it was reacting to me, it doesn’t create that kind of instant reactive-interactive feedback loop that normally I go for. By that I mean it is quite hard to ‘work it out’. Yet, I think you showed that this ambiguity can be used to good effect as people seemed to approach the installation as if it had been deposited there by aliens – there was a kind of combined wonder and mesmerisation going on. Many people walked up very close to the pillars and stared at them or touched them as if trying to work out how to communicate with them. What do you make of these observations and is it what you expected?

UVA: The intention with Volume wasn’t to create an ‘interactive experience’ in the sense you describe, or to elicit any particular reaction from visitors, including ‘working it out’. Our previous experiences with that approach to design led us to believe that the problem of predicting the responses of groups of people is more or less intractable, except under simple circumstances like shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded cinema. People quite regularly fail to work out the simplest interactive models, because they’re not expecting any interaction; they’ll often stand and look at something as if it were a television (”it’s not doing anything”); or else they’ll work out the interaction model, get bored, and walk away (”yeah big deal”).

Instead, our goal was to create an immersive, responsive environment that felt like it was alive in some way, and was pleasing to our own eyes and ears. The way visitors behaved, and the atmosphere the piece created, were emergent properties rather than design goals. For all we know there were just as many people who took a brief look and walked away unmoved.

For the record, the interaction model is very simple, as you’d see if you walked through it on your own (admittedly you’d have to turn up at 10am to get a chance buy CBD products do that). Each column plays its own assigned melodic or rhythmic sub-part of the overall musical composition. Walk up to a column and it activates its sound and visuals; back off and it fades out. Stand still too long, and you become invisible to the system until you start moving again. With more than a certain number of visitors, the complexity generated by these simple rules overwhelms your ability to decipher them, but they are nevertheless there and regularly applied.

The key maybe is that the piece works in different ways on different levels – even when it’s switched off, the contrast between its aggressive, regimented minimalism and the Victorian backdrop of the garden creates a powerful sense of presence. Even when the system is ‘overloaded’ with crowds of people, you can still walk through a musical/visual composition, get right up close to LED (which most people don’t get to do), and in particular watch and enjoy the reactions of the other visitors – it’s a group experience.

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Jenny Holzer

Whether questioning consumerist impulses, describing torture, or lamenting death and disease, Jenny Holzer’s use of language provokes a response in the viewer. While her subversive work often blends in among advertisements in public space, its arresting content violates expectations. Holzer’s texts—such as the aphorisms “abuse of power comes as no surprise” and “protect me from what I want”—have appeared on posters and condoms, and as electronic LED signs and projections of xenon light. Holzer’s recent use of text ranges from silk-screened paintings of declassified government memoranda detailing prisoner abuse, to poetry and prose in a 65-foot wide wall of light in the lobby of 7 World Trade Center, New York. She has received many awards, including the Golden Lion from the Venice Biennale (1990); the Skowhegan Medal (1994); and the Diploma of Chevalier (2000) from the French government. Major exhibitions include the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2001); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1997); Dia Art Foundation, New York (1989); and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1989). Since 1996, Holzer has organized public light projections in cities worldwide. She was the first woman to represent the United States in the Venice Biennale (1990). Jenny Holzer lives and works in Hoosick Falls, New York.

Some of her truisms:

A little knowledge can go a long way
A lot of professionals are crackpots
A man can’t know what it is to be a mother
A name means a lot just by itself
A positive attitude means all the difference in the world
A relaxed man is not necessarily a better man
A sense of timing is the mark of genius
A sincere effort is all you can ask
A single event can have infinitely many interpretations
A solid home base builds a sense of self
A strong sense of duty imprisons you
Absolute submission can be a form of freedom
Abstraction is a type of decadence
Abuse of power comes as no surprise
Action causes more trouble than thought
Alienation produces eccentrics or revolutionaries
All things are delicately interconnected
Ambition is just as dangerous as complacency
Ambivalence can ruin your life
An elite is inevitable

Jenny Holzer

The Trillion Dollar Campaign by TBWA\


We developed a unique solution. One of the most eloquent symbols of Zimbabwe’s collapse is the Z$ trillion dollar note, a symptom of their world record inflation. This money cannot buy anything, not a loaf of bread and certainly not any advertising. But it can become the advertising. So, we turned the money into its own medium by printing our messages straight onto it .In rush-hour traffic, malls and universities millions and billions were given out one note at a time. We sent bundles of cash to captains of industry, politicians and media personalities. Wherever the Zimbabwean was sold, we put up posters made of real money. At every public place we could, we had a poster-with notes that people could detach to keep the email address. We made trillion dollar wallpaper murals and even made the world’s first billboards out of real money.

CyberLions Awards 2009

For a while I thought Interactive took a nap but the Cannes Lion’s entries proved otherwise. Though its not as exciting as the work R/GA has produced in the past, here are this years best entries:

The Best Job in the World by Cumminsnitro Brisbane is a recruitment site for the “Best Job in The World.” It was made to promote the tourism industry in Australia and also to attract people to come work on this Island. You get a giant rent-free apartment and $8,800 monthly salary to look after the Island.

To raise awareness of Queensland’s Islands of the Great Barrier Reef we created ‘The Best Job in the World’- a position that sounds too good to be true, but is a genuine opportunity with Tourism Queensland. We recruited through online job sites and small display ads, directing traffic to News of the opportunity spread across online news sites, forums and blogs. In 56 days had 6,849,504 visits, 47,548,514 page views with an average of 8.62 minutes spent on the site. 36,648 people from 201* countries applied. And we received over 450,000 votes for the Wild Card applicant. *Web-coded countries (only 195 countries are recognised by the UN).

Fiat eco:Drive by AKQA london is an application stored on a USB drive that plugs in your car and records your driving habits. When you’re back on the computer, the application shows you how to drive better.

Fiat is the first car manufacturer to launch the concept of ‘The Connected Car’, developing an innovative way of mapping a car’s engine, and thus providing diagnostics about how the car is being driven. We saw a huge opportunity to send this data to a USB stick via Blue&Me™ (Fiat’s in-car Bluetooth system); it could then be collected and analysed via a user-friendly desktop application. Called eco:Drive and based on real and accurate journey data, the technology allows Fiat drivers to easily understand how their driving techniques and habits can be improved to reduce CO2 emissions and save money on fuel.

SO what is a Cannes Lions Award actually worth?


Interesting email ad made by Tribal DDB (won the junk mail awards at the Webby’s 2009):

Thriller Michael Jackson Copenhagen Train Station


What do Netflix, Nike+, Nokia viNe, and Kashi have in common?

The Internet has made available a plethora of webware and advertising that has transformed the marketplace. The consumers of the digital space actively consume online media, engage with websites and webware, and interact with digital advertising on a daily basis. If I may say so, interactive advertising is losing interest as quickly as it gained its popularity. Advertisers love the precision and metrics it offers but consumers hate its end product. Banner ads receive less than a 1% click through rate. Why you may ask? They shout advertising and desperately demand attention. YouTube’s in-player ads are targeted using the latest and greatest algorithms but don’t receive much attention. Microsites are elaborate but advertise in a very traditional way — speaking to the customer rather than with them. Interactive advertising needs a make-over. Here is my analysis:

Netflix's Suggestion

Web applications like offer suggestions for movies based on your personality (determined by your order history) which is extremely effective. So effective in fact that Netflix offered a grand prize of $1,000,000 to anyone who could rewrite their algorithm to get a 10% improvement. Why does Netflix win? They offer something to improve the lives of their customers. They surprise them by suggesting movies they may like. We often receive suggestions in real life but its missing in the online ad world. Why are advertisers so stuck on creating online advertising that so closely resembles the traditional ad world? We need to reach out to our customers by being engaging, informational and social. These are the most important characteristics of Web 2.0.

Kashi Challenge is a site designed by the Barbarian Group that closely resembles’s visitors can challenge themselves by joining groups and recording their daily progress. The site helps you avoid bad foods and asks you to exercise on a daily basis while making Kashi foods more enticing. Users leave comments like “I started eliminating HFCS from my diet 3 months ago and I feel great. Kashi products are great!” While microsites are great, engaging Web 2.0 sites like go above and beyond in trying to engage the customer.

Following Kashi’s example, I looked into the work of R/GA and found some interesting things. R/GA is a very interesting company with a very unique past. They have continually reinvented themselves by experimenting with emerging technologies, social networking, and collaborative online websites that create communities. They started as a motion graphics studio Now they are an interactive ad agency. Combining their previous expertise in motion and VFX they make some of the strongest online interactive experiences I have seen. Their secret formula is to focus on technology. They often do the product development and let the advertising follow. All of their end products are applications that are highly engaging. R/GA has truly learned that in the 21st century the product needs to be the advertising. Here is some of their most award winning work:

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Nokia viNe is a breakthrough mobile application that records photos, videos, songs, text, voice and bookmarks onto a multimedia map of your life. It’s an easy way to relive, search, and share your experiences, just how you lived them. To start your vine, simply load the application on your GPS-enabled device. Press record, then do what you were doing already. As you move through your day, each photo you snap and video you capture appears on your vine exactly where you take it. Songs appear where you listen to them. You can even use GPS to bookmark your favorite locations. Nokia viNe is the ultimate travelogue tool that lets you capture and share all dimensions of your life. –

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Nike+ Human Race
The largest one-day running event in history, and the next evolution of the award-winning and industry-changing Nike+. With a little help from technology, runners around the globe came together, both physically and virtually, to challenge and inspire each other, and raise money for some very worthy causes. In the end, the Nike+ Human Race was one of Nike Running’s biggest success stories:

  • Nearly 800,000 participants representing 142 countries
  • Nearly 2.5 million training miles logged
  • 280,000 new challenges issued


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NIKEiD was introduced as the world’s best online customization tool, then as a 23-story digital sign experience in Times Square, to a customization destination at NIKEiD Studios worldwide. This year, we took it to a new level. With Nike’s help, our team set out to evolve the NIKEiD consumer experience. At the heart of it is the new NIKEiD builder. Now, the product is the interface: guests are welcomed to the experience by a hi-res photorealistic shoe, where they actually customize color on the shoe (or product) itself. The site seamlessly integrates image rendering of guests’ designs, giving them 360-degree views of their creation. The zoom feature lets guests get see stunning detail of the stitching, fabrics and form. What’s more, guests can now customize performance aspects of Nike products, like selecting from a variety of cleat options.
Another key addition is Design Search, a feature provides instant access to thousands of designs created by the NIKEiD community, searchable by color and other filtering options, helping to inspire NIKEiD designers everywhere. –

Team One Advertising, a subsidiary of Saatchi & Saatchi, has also made some inroads into the integrative ad space. Check out these campaigns:

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VCG worked together with advertising agency Team One to launch an innovative web application as part of a campaign for Lexus to support the launch of the all-new Lexus IS luxury sports sedan.
The website featured an interactive photo mosaic of the IS which was made up of thousands of photos submitted from visitors to the site. Photos uploaded by visitors to the website for the mosaic were randomly projected on the world famous Reuters board in New York City’s Times Square.
The ground-breaking site was created in Flash technology for the front end, and programmed in Java for the back end functionality. Guests to site were treated to stunning imagery composed of a photo mosaic of random images which simultaneously highlight the dramatic lines and classic styling of the new IS. Selecting major categories on the website led to the rotation of an innovative homepage “cube” that directed visitors to the next section. The entire website fully encapsulated the vision that Lexus had for a major launch website, and was accomplished under a very tight timeline.

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