Archive for the ‘Creative culture’ Category
Using humor in a marketing campaign is something a lot of companies want to do, but few can actually pull off. Done smartly, you can end up with Kmart’s viral ‘Ship My Pants‘ commercial. Miss the mark and risk widespread criticism and a spot on various news blogs’ “Worst Campaign Ads of the Year” lists.
Our friend Baratunde Thurston, former digital director of The Onion, comedian, and New York Times Best Selling Author, knows a lot about this. He’s the co-found of Cultivated Wit, a company that combines comedy, tech, media, and strategy to “make the tech space more creative and the creative world more innovative.”
Baratunde tackled the topic of humor in marketing in a recent blog post on the Cultivated Wit Blog titled, “PBS’s Embrace Of Comedy In Marketing Proves We Know Everything“.
In the post, Baratunde explores the hesitation business leaders have when deciding to use humor in their own marketing, and the insights he’s learned from his own experiences. Baratunde draws directly from this past SXSW, when he teamed up with Method’s Paul Valerio to discuss what people charged with “innovation” can learn from standup comedy. The principles Baratunde outlines are directly influenced by Paul’s original 10×10 piece. Read the full blog post at Cultivated Wit!
Read the original 10×10 piece that inspired the SXSW event, “What’s so funny about innovation?“
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.
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
[all images from forage press]
From album covert art to band t-shirts, audio and visual creativity have always been a natural pair. Forage Press is a collaborative publication that celebrates this harmonious union through original, visual-based articles composed by creatives across the globe.
Launched by Method’s Tomi Lahdesmaki, a Visual Design Lead in our UK studio, Forage Press came together with the some special help, including from Method Interaction Design Lead, Tim Diacon, and Method alumni, Adam Weiss.
We asked Tomi what inspired him to create a platform that engages people to discover new and unique creative work.
“The idea came from being personally inspired by the music I love and the desire to create and publish imagery based on the tunes that fill my head,” Tomi said. “Instead of just creating my own set of images I wanted to open it up to others as well. As I have discovered from working within the creative industry, creative people are more often than not deeply inspired and passionate about the music that they listen to.”
Stay tuned to Forage Press in the coming months, with various visual treats from an eclectic collection of illustrators, designers, photographers and artists.
Monocle Design Editor, Hugo MacDonald, visited the Central Saint Martins campus to speak with the MDL team around the accelerator’s latest initiatives and projects. With MDL directly involving the talented students at Central Saint Martins, the joint-venture aims to help students and young talent refine their creative ideas and activate for production. Santiago Matheus, Managing Director at Method and co-founder of MDL, discusses the reasons behind Method’s Involvement:
“The calibre of the students [Central Saint Martins] is unrivaled. You’ll see things at degree shows that you won’t find anywhere else. Our aim with the Method Design Lab is to turn these ideas into reality and to turn graduates into entrepreneurs in the process. It’s a chain that needs kickstarting.”
Yann Mathias and Boris Thuery, MDL Creative and R&D Directors also touch on some of the projects in the pipeline. One idea by Central Saint Martins student Hyungwoo Yoon is the Uniwrench, a universal wrench with a retractable claw, which is likely to be the first project to go into production this year.
Method is invested in helping to grow the global design community, and MDL’s latest initiatives are part of growing a talent pool of designers and entrepreneurs in the UK.
This 15-page feature reminds us about the importance of design and the value that experimentation, creativity and collaboration bring to businesses today. Method is also supporting the IncludeDesign campaign to defend the integrity of design in education in the UK.
To ring in the new year, PSFK has tapped some of the world’s established innovators to share their insights into what we should be on the lookout for in 2013.
Among the fascinating minds on the list is Method Principal, Marc Shillum! Marc shares his predictions for what will happen to design in 2013, exploring the two important movements he sees happening parallel to each other in 2013. Read it here.
What do you think of Marc’s predictions? What do you think will happen in 2013? Let us know in the comments!
Method is honored to have helped develop TED.com, opening up the conference’s acclaimed lectures and performances to a worldwide audience. From the very beginning of our work with TED, Method was inspired by the remarkable content presented in TEDTalk videos, which became a key feature in our design of the TED.com homepage.
Since launch, the site has become one of the most popular video sites on the web. In the first year, page views soared to 46 million. This week, TED celebrates one billion TEDTalk views!
To honor this milestone, TED and Mashable have curated TEDTalk playlists from notable members of the TED community. To get into the spirit, we made a list of the TEDTalks that have inspired, entertained, and educated our team.
What are some of your favorite TEDTalks? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @method_inc
Method’s Top 20 TEDTalks
Rodney Mullen: Pop an ollie and innovate!
Picked by: Patrick Ashmun, Client Services Coordinator
JJ Abrams: the mystery box
Picked by: Carolyn Weiss, Lead, Client Services; Ben Fullerton, Director, Interaction Design
Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity
Picked by: Marc Shillum, Principal; Kaisha Hom, Designer; Mehera O’Brien, Director, Interaction Design
“When I was running a school, I showed this to all my students during the phase of the quarter at which they feel most insecure. Many of them thanked me after, saying they felt reassured and inspired again.” - Mehera
Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability
Picked by: Mehera O’Brien, Director, Interaction Design
Bobby McFerrin plays… the audience!
Picked by: Jeremy Juel, Interaction Designer
Hans Rosling: Stats that reshape your worldview
Picked by: Mark Roudebush, Interaction Design Lead
Kevin Kelly: The next 5,000 days of the web
Picked by: Reuben Steiger, Principal
“As one of the high-priests of early Internet culture, he calmly compares the Web to a brain in quantitative terms. About 5 minutes into the talk (given in 2007) he drops the epic quote: ‘So, in total, the Internet is roughly the size of ONE human brain. But your brains isn’t doubling in size every 2 years.’” – Reuben
Aimee Mullins: It’s not fair having 12 pairs of legs
Picked by: Grace Kim, Senior Interaction Designer
Alan Kay shares a powerful idea about ideas
Picked by: Ben Fullerton, Director, Interaction Design
Burt Rutan sees the future of space
Picked by: Ben Fullerton, Director, Interaction Design
Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice
Picked by: Alexander Grunsteidl, Director, Interaction Design
“I read the book, but liked him actually talking about it in his own voice. Plus, his dressing style is representative of the spirit of TED. These ideas deeply affect my thinking about Interaction Design. Also, this is 2005 in the middle of the years we will look back to as having profound impact on how we act on and interact with our world enabled by broadband, wifi, iPhone, YouTube, Facebook, etc. etc. all emerging within a short timespan.” - Alexander
Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work
Picked by: Derek Kim, Designer
Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are
Picked by: Melissa Martin, Senior Interaction Designer
Dan Barber: How I fell in love with a fish
Picked by James Lee, Insights
Brian Cox: Why we need the explorers
Picked by: Tomi Lähdesmäki, Design Lead
“Space is awesome, science is awesome and Brian Cox is awesome.” - Tomi
JR’s TED Prize wish: Use art to turn the world inside out
Picked by James Lee, Insights
Roger Ebert: Remaking my voice
Nikki Roddy, Marketing Associate
Marco Tempest: The magic of truth and lies (and iPods)
Picked by: Reuben Steiger, Principal
Reggie Watts disorients you in the most entertaining way
Picked by: Alis Cambol, Lead Interaction Designer
“Nobody has talked for this long and actually said nothing in the end, in the history of TED Talks.” - Alis
Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders
Picked by: Kate Butchart, Client Services Lead
Every year, design studios in San Francisco gather on one field for what is always, undoubtedly a magnificent display of sportsmanship and athletic prowess. That’s right, we play dodgeball.
This year, Method dominated. Well, for two rounds at least. The rest of the day we enjoyed tacos, bocce ball, and cheering on the teams still in the game. Despite not winning the tournament, we left in high spirits and look forward to facing off again next year!
To see more dodgeball pictures, visit the Method Facebook page!
Method has a valued relationship with the California College of the Arts (CCA). Several of our designers have taught there–our own Ben Fullerton is currently teaching a class on interaction design–and we love representing Method at CCA recruiting events and attending student shows.
So, we were thrilled when a new survey by PayScale, a compensation data company, confirmed that CCA is ranked first among art and deign schools in the country in regards to alumni with the highest-paying jobs. The annual report ranks undergraduate degrees and schools by post-graduation salary potential. In the Bay Area, CCA ranks fourth (behind Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and University of California, Berkeley). Statewide, CCA is ninth.
Method London wanted to take the whole team on an activity day away from computer screens. Something wet seemed suitable (as we didn’t know if it would rain) and when it came down to a vote, coasteering–a sport that involves a wild mix of adventure swimming, sea-level traversing, and rock diving–won out!
On Friday, early last month, 29 Method team members took the train from Paddington to Totness station and then cars to the Old Vicarage in Devon, a huge place with a great garden and glorious views across the Devonshire farmland. We were also greeted by the sunniest weather since May!
Later that day, we went coasteering for 3 hours with our trusty Sea-N-Shore instructors, exploring caves and rock formations, plunging into the sea from great heights. Our last jump was comparable to leaping from the roof of a two-story house. Both terrifying and extremely fun, the day was a great team-building experience and the ultimate in adrenaline-inducing water sports activities. That night back at the house, we BBQ’d and relaxed by a fire with a few glasses of sangria.
On Saturday, we played cricket on the beach, and later in the evening, Director of Interaction Design, Alexander Grünsteid, directed a team in the kitchen to create the most delicious 3 course-meal for 17 people (mint soup, stuffed peppers and sweet dumplings). Followed by Tequila agave cocktails, of course.
As we prepared to leave on Sunday, the weather turned grey and wet and we were ready to head home. Some of us even took much needed naps on the train ride. All in all, our trip to Devon was a truly delightful experience!