Recently, Behance Network held their two-day annual conference, the 99U. The entire mission of the conference is to focus on bringing ideas to life through action – as Thomas Edison is famously quoted: “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”
Method held the kick-off studio session for the conference with a workshop that aimed to get attendees taking ideas to action. We led participants through a 90-minute Lightning Brand Hackathon, working through potential design opportunities for IKEA and Airbnb.
We quickly broke attendees up into groups of 7-8 to dive deep into their assigned brand. The goal was to develop uniquely branded product and service experiences that engage users in ways that are authentic to the brand and true to the core brand values. Teams were assigned either IKEA or Airbnb to explore. The final deliverable was a one-minute elevator pitch for that product or service that the team might deliver to the CEO.
The first part of the workshop focused on articulating attributes using various stimuli to generate both literal and abstract ways of expressing the brand. Then, each team built on specific product or service extension opportunities and evaluated them against the brand attributes to determine if the proposed solution was on point with the brand.
The selected solution was storyboarded and then summarized for each group to present. In 90 minutes, teams generated product or service solutions around bespoke furniture and food offerings such as the official IKEA furniture hacking community, IKEAhacks.org, an interactive diary of a Airbnb host that gives visitors “keys to my life,” and a network of “local chefs” that invite traveling guests for authentic, homemade meals.
After the kick-off workshop at Method, myself and our attendees headed over to the conference, held at the Lincoln Center. Throughout the duration of the two days, the conference maintained an incredible energy with thought-provoking discussions around how to become more action-oriented and persevere through the creative process. Experts from all walks of life shared their experiences: social/behavioral psychologists, startup founders, brand gurus, authors, educators, and designers.
After it was all over, three major takeaways emerged that resonated strongly with me.
1: Feedback is important for more than just building a good product. It helps you persevere through the darkest times.
For many speakers what kept them motivated during challenging times wasn’t a blind passion, but a constant remainder that their work was having some, big or small, impact in the world. And the best way to see that was by getting feedback from users.
Jane ni Dhulchaointigh, the founder and inventor of sugru, talked about staying motivated through a rough patch by sending samples to her friends and family and requesting that they send in a photo of themselves using the product. Seeing her product in action gave her a sense of pride, joy and responsibility to get the final product out to the world.
2: It’s not about building awesome products, but building products that help people be more awesome.
Every product idea is born out of a need, superficial or deep. But sometimes the vision for addressing that need can get blurred by the pursuit of perfection during the creative process. The result is a product that makes sense to the one who created it, but not to those who would benefit the most by using it.
For example, Ramit Sethi, author of a NY Times bestseller and a dedicated personal finance blog, talked about a personal investment guide offered by the Wall Street Journal. Although written by investing experts, the guide was way too complex to the average American. Because there was a mismatch between what the creator considered as an “awesome product” and what the user needed to become more awesome in managing their money, the product became irrelevant for many.
3: Being action-oriented is less about tactics, and more about the mindset.
The topic of fear came up consistently throughout the conference. Mainly, creators talking about the importance of looking beyond users’ needs to gain a deep understanding of their fears and concerns.
For example, Josh Reich, CEO and co-founder of Simple, an intuitive digital personal banking solution, had observed that people think they need complexity in tools that help manage their finances. But after digging deeper into the users’ minds, he realized that their fears boil down to simpler things like carelessly spending way more than they can afford. To address the latter, Simple incorporated a feature that tells the user how much money it is “safe” for them to spend at a given point in time.
The 99U Conference was a valuable escape from everyday life to get fully immersed in thoughts that inspire reflection and realization. I left both inspired and ready to bring these learnings to practice at Method.
Light painting is a photographic technique in which photographs are captured at long exposures with a moving light source.
In our London studio, we decided to dedicate a Method PLAY to exploring this technique.
The results were beautiful– from alphabets to beautiful patterns, ghostly pictures to creating a scene out of a superhero movie. It was an interesting approach to creativity photography, which required a bit of trial and error and a rather meticulously calculated formula of timing, camera exposure, and the positioning of the light source in space.
At the expense of looking a bit ridiculous waving tiny LED’s in the air – the excitement of seeing the results was very much worth it. Every image was a surprise and no two images were the same. It was probably one of the most fun and engaging Method PLAY sessions we have had so far.
Check out some of the results below!
A few weeks ago, we congratulated our friends at Whole Foods Market for their James Beard Foundation Awards nomination. Dark Rye, their new online magazine, had been nominated as a 2013 Best Group Food Blog, alongside long-running food blogs, Easter National and Grub Street New York.
This week we’re happy to announce that Dark Rye is the 2013 winner for Best Group Food Blog!
Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards is one of the preeminent recognitions, awarding culinary professionals for excellence in their fields. To win a James Beard Award is an enormous achievement and honor for any culinary professional, and we couldn’t be happier for Dark Rye!
IEEE is the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology, bringing innovators and leaders together with the goal of “advancing technology for humanity.” Their flagship magazine, IEEE Spectrum, is an award-winning source for technology news and analysis and is highly regarded by the science and engineering professions.
Today, IEEE Spectrum announces the relaunch of their website, designed by Method. The website is responsive and allows visitors to view and browse the site on multiple devices – whether they are viewing on TV, desktop monitor, laptop, or tablet. Viewers are offered enhanced ways to explore and discover IEEE Spectrum’s vast library of content, as well as a revamped reading experience, making IEEE Spectrum a recognized destination for leading technology content.
Additionally, we developed a new identity for IEEE Spectrum, which represents the brand’s namesake, “Spectrum,” while also communicating their formative voice in the technology industries.
Read the full case study behind Method’s approach to designing IEEE Spectrum’s new brand identity and website.
Read about all of the enhancements IEEE Spectrum has rolled out in this article about the details on the redesign.
We’re particularly excited about the new digital magazine as it positions IEEE Spectrum as a content leader in the science and engineering fields. Check out some of our favorite articles on the new website, on whichever device you prefer!
Martin Venezky is a creative force. Best known for his collages and experimental typography, his work has appeared in Wired and The New York Times, as well as countless books. In 1997, he was listed among ID magazine’s “ID40″ list of influential designers, and in 2001, an exhibit of his collected design work was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Additionally, Martin is an Associate Professor at CCA in the Graduate Design and Graphic design programs.
He’s also the mastermind behind Appetite Engineers, an internationally recognized design firm, which just happens to be located a few blocks from Method’s San Francisco studio!
A small group of us had the pleasure of visiting Martin in his studio, which is less of a typical workspace and more of a mini wonderland for discovery and play. Every inch of wall space is covered by photo collages. Children’s toys line the book shelves and scraps of paper are everywhere. Martin explains that he likes his materials on hand should inspiration strike. As he took us through his work, his unique process, which centers around deeply engaging with the content as a means to guide design, inspired our group at every turn.
“Hearing Martin talk about his process is always so inspiring for me. His work reminds me that play is an important part of the design process. He has a unique combination of rigor and openness to chance that, in my opinion, lends itself to discovering solutions that otherwise would have gone uncovered.” – Melissa Martin, Lead Interaction Designer
“Getting the walkthrough of Martin’s painstakingly detailed and manual creation process was a breath of fresh air, to know that powerful designs can be created with everyday objects like cutouts from The Yellow Pages and regular old tape. It was also inspiring to get Martin’s POV around creativity and art, that it’s less about accuracy and perfection and more about decision and mark making, which everyone is capable of doing.” – James Lee, Insights
“It was really interesting to see someone applying traditional cut and paste graphic design while intentionally limiting the involvement of software in his process. The clusters of toys and collectables in Martin’s studio came together to create the entire space as curated collection of ephemera. This idea mirrored his work in the way that small groupings of type and graphical elements created the sum of the entire design in his work pieces.” – Mark Roudebush, Interaction Design Lead
“Martin’s work (and studio) was amazing! From super detailed book design and typography to giant posters to hand cut paper sculptures to photo collages, he does everything. And does it well. And has fun doing it! Tons of fun and food for creative thought.” – Ryan Gates, Design Technologist
Leading global digital creatives and strategists from will be joining London’s tech community at this year’s Digital Shoreditch Festival May 20th – 31st, for a series of interactive exhibtions, showcases and presentations around the future of innovation and business.
Taking place at a number of premiere venues in London, the conference will be dedicating each day during the full festival week to discussing and debating various issues affecting companies and brands worldwide.
Method Principal David Eveleigh-Evans is scheduled to present on Digital Shoreditch’s Future Brands day on May 22nd alongside a diverse lineup of leading product innovators to explore opportunities and threats facing communications and advertising for the world’s most forward looking and successful brands.
Join us and the hundreds of design and tech innovators at Digital Shoreditch! Register for Digital Shoreditch before April 15 for 50% off!
There are so many reasons to love Aviary’s Photo Hack Day. Free food and beer, awesome API’s, and thousands of dollars in prizes and money. And if you attend the weekend-long coding marathon this weekend, you’ll also get to meet and work with the Method San Francisco team!
As one of the in-house design firms for the weekend, our team will will be consulting with Hack Day teams of talented developers, helping them build applications using web and mobile photo API’s. The teams will compete to create the most inspiring and innovative apps, aiming to win big prize money, cool tech gear, and the respect of their peers in the startup community.
The 4th in its series, this weekend’s Photo Hack Day is being held at Facebook’s Headquarters in Menlo Park. Are you attending? Let us know in the comments!
Read more about Photo Hack Day here.
[image: Dark Rye, issue 9]
Congrats to our friends at Whole Foods Market for a James Beard Foundation Awards nomination! Dark Rye, a new online magazine that explores food, art, health, and sustainable living has been nominated for the 2013 James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Group Food Blog” alongside long-running food blogs Eater National and Grub Street New York.
Launched in 2012, Dark Rye brings together stories and people to jump-start the imagination and inspire people to try something new. Method worked with Whole Foods Market to help realize their vision for the online magazine, and with each issue, Dark Rye brings together pioneers of unconventional ideas to explore the edges of the creative life. Thoughtfully curated articles and recipes run alongside engaging videos and gorgeous illustration and photography to create a compelling story revolving around that issue’s particular theme.
This month, Dark Rye released issue 9 based on the theme of the “Future.” The issue explores transportation, small living, urban agriculture, and energy, while featuring futuristic concept art.
Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards is one of the preeminent recognitions in the culinary industry, awarding culinary professionals for excellence in their fields. The foundation’s mission is to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity.
The winners of the James Beard Awards will be announced this May in New York City. It’s a tremendous honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America, and we are looking forward to the results of the award!
Check out Dark Rye: www.darkrye.com
As things heat up in March Madness and we approach the Final Four games, viewership across channels for games have already exploded as March Madness On Demand continues to provide fans across the US with exceptional anytime, anywhere access to the tournament!
Method is proud to have worked with Turner Sports to create the NCAA March Madness On Demand suite of products for the much loved tournament. Last week, Turner reported the app has set all-time marks across online and mobile platforms by garnering 36.6 million live video streams and more than 10 million hours of live video consumed during the opening week of the NCAA Tournament.
Also, the app ranked #1 as the top sports app in the App Store and Google Play during the first week of the tournament. It was also the #1 free app across all categories in the App Store during the opening weekend of the tournament.
This week, the app continues to generate record-setting video streams and engagement! Across online and mobile (tablets and smart phones) platforms, NCAA March Madness Live has reached 45 million live video streams and more than 12.6 million hours of live video consumed across digital properties over the first two weeks of the tournament.
Congratulations to NBBJ on their new site redesign and launch! Method collaborated closely with the international architecture firm to help re-articulate their vision, resulting in this new online presence.
Overhauling NBBJ’s previously outdated and difficult-to-use Flash website, Method helped implement a new digital strategy to help them communicate their strengths and brand vision in more interesting and relevant ways.
With a more visually-oriented and modular layout, the new NBBJ.com tells the NBBJ story through bold thought leadership and impressive case study history that focuses on three main navigation items: work, impact, and ideas.
Method is proud to have worked with NBBJ to launch an all-new platform to help translate the firm’s architectural expertise, individual brand, and unique ideas. It was a pleasure working with them, and we’re so excited to see how well the design strategy has brought to life NBBJ’s inspiring and compelling story. In addition, we were pleased to help NBBJ craft a custom and unique CMS that is tailored to their workflow and is extremely easy for the NBBJ team to use.