Alex, Phil, James and Gary are all brilliant. Here's the blurb.
"Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino is an interaction designer. She’s been working on internet-of-things products and services since 2005. Until recently she ran a design studio called Tinker London. Ask her about emotional robots.
Gareth Williams helps start-ups and young businesses establish themselves and grow, working as a manager, non-executive director and consultant. He knows his CapEx from his FTSE. And he can write too, often on his own blog, or The Dabbler.
Phil Gyford has been designing and building websites since before most people have heard of the web. His clients include Google, the BBC and Channel 4. You might have heard of his Pepys’ Diary project, or Today’s Guardian."
You will probably know some of them as I've talked about them on here from time to time. They are all fantastic people doing really exciting stuff on their own and for clients. They are the kind of people you want to work with.
So it brings the RIG team to 7. We're an odd group, I'll admit, but we now have design! business! powerpoint! code! writing! all in one place. If you need any of that call us.
First up a boring, self indulgent one about me. Then over the weekend a much more interesting one consisting of links from my delicious.
2010. It's been a good year.
As Newspaper Club we won the Design Museum's Design of the Year award for Graphics. That's a nice award to win as you don't enter yourself your peers nominate you. And it's from the Design Museum too. Very chuffed to win that.
Newspaper Club has had a fantastic year. We've taken a Christmas joke and turned it into a business with a six figure turnover, staff and actual customers. We've navigated software, usability, financial and fulfillment issues.
We were even in Time magazine.
But most importantly we've made an actual product and put that into the world. We've shipped. And as Tom says, "You’ve either shipped, or you haven’t". We have and the vast amount of stuff we've learned along the way will ensure the next project is a thousand times easier. And there will be another project.
One of the most exciting things I've worked on this year has to be Nike Grid, which claimed the 3rd best digital campaign and the 6th best poster in Campaign's Review of the year.
You've all read about that before, but it's nice to be involved with a project that's a realisation of stuff people are talking about in many different sectors. Digital, maps, mobile, real time data, the city, visualisation - all that. It's a real collaborative project too and on the second version I got to work with Stamen, which I'd been wanting to do for a long time. Hopefully that project will grow next year.
I also continued to work with w+k on the Guardian and Observer account. We relaunched the Observer with much success in a difficult market.
I think this is my favourite Guardian campaign of the year.
One of the more surprising and pleasing things of the year was the success of BRIG which turned out exactly how we planned without us planning anything.
Way back we had this idea of a space where all the interesting people we know could work together formally or informally. You know like all those Tech Shed Co-Working places in America, but less aggressive. And that's sort of happened. And like Russell says we don't do enough stuff together. Yet.
Look how happy these people are. Believe it or not, these people are working.
But looking at BERG's Flickr stream the other day it struck me all the brilliant things that have happened in that building in the nine short months we've been in there.
You will all be familar with Dentsu and BERG's lovely Making Future Magic video. Lots of that was shot in and around the BRIG (obviously as BERG are based there).
James, who was the start of dConstruct partly made his Iraqipedia books in the BRIG. Seems like ages ago now, but they were tantalisingly left on his desk for ages before his talk.
It all that was one Agency we'd be off to some fancy foreign land to win Something Of The Year.
But it feels good that our building, the BRIG, is becoming part of the fabric of a very interesting time.
It's also worth mentioning other things we've worked on - Dextr, Starling and Radio Roundabout. All exciting projects that I enjoyed working on and you'll be hearing more about next year.
And that's kind of it. Some great stuff up there. Exciting stuff. But there's a niggling feeling at the back of my mind. Frustration. Anger even. Stuff I've wanted to achieve that hasn't been achieved yet. Stuff that's nearly working, but not quite yet. Gotta fix that in 2011.
You can see all the Nike Grid data viz films here. We're making one film every day for two weeks from the game data. And we're taking today's data and putting it into a film which will run on Channel 4 as 12:05 tomorrow.
The second Nike Grid started last night and runs for two weeks.
You may remember I was Creative Director on the first one with w+k, I thought I'd written about it on here, but I can't find the post. To save time there's a quick overview written by Doug E Fresh. The second one is bigger and bolder and has been aided by Dan Hon joining the team at w+k. So we've plundered his gamification skillz to make the gameplay better and to allow new ways of playing such as team play.
We haven't started from scratch with the look and feel. We built a really strong identity last time and we were keen to evolve that and to make something that still feels like it could go further for Grid 3 and grid 4 (should they happen etc). Last time we kept it to one colour plus black and white, this time we've added more colours, partly to make it feel bigger, partly to help with visualising team play.
Also new this time is the involvement of Stamen. They have worked with us to created a map, using Open Street Map and some awesome data viz stuff which will go live throughout the game. Here's the first of several videos we'll be using to tell different stories throughout the game.
We're using Facebook as a way of logging in, I don't have much to add to this expect that it reinforces my increasing affection for Facebook. I'm starting from a low base, but Facebook increasingly is The Internet for people and the fact that it lets 'them' do all the stuff 'we' do on Twitter, Flickr and Foursquare in one place is a Good Thing. OK, maybe not a Good Thing, but a Thing.
This project seems to be a lovely mix of several things that feel very current. It's a game, but it's not just a game bolted on to a brand. The game is integral to the brands heritage - running. It's got lots of Post Digital thinking, we're not using tech for the sake of it, we're using it to amplify the experience. It utilises Magnificent Bits Of Infrastructure that are lying around (I've worked on another project that does that too, heh) this time in the form of phoneboxes.
It would be wrong of me to talk about stats this early into the game, but as with last time the depth of engagement people have with this is insane.
And there's lots of interesting stuff happening on Twitter and Facebook.
As ever, I'm a very small part of a big team of talented, dedicated people working night and day to pull this off. And not just at w+k, at Nike, AKQA and MindShare.
For the last few weeks I've been working with W+K London as the Creative Director on the ad campaign for the relaunch of The Observer.
We made a TV ad which was brilliantly written by Rob Burleigh and David Stevens, brilliantly directed by David C Kerr (from That Mitchell & Webb Look, among other things) and brilliantly acted by Justin Edwards (from The Thick Of It). I mostly stood around telling everyone the objective was to get home on time.
We created a press campaign too. For the teaser ads we used quotes from an online campaign set up to save The Observer when it was faced with possible closure back in the summer. Some of the quotes from well known people were amazingly bold things for a brand to say. So we used them as 6 sheets.
And there's this.
The whole idea behind the campaign is pause, review and reflect which came from something John Mulholland, the Observer editor, wrote about the role of Sunday newspapers in the future. A few days before we were due to do a photoshoot of the paper I asked the creatives at The Observer to run me off three section headers with pause, review, reflect written in Prelo the lovely font they're using in the paper. I wasn't really sure what they were for, but we shot it and it looked great. So we ran it.
There was some other exciting online stuff, but I shall talk about that later. The campaign seems to have gone down well. Read more on the w+k blog.
In other news Newspaper Club has launched as a small beta. It's fascinating seeing what people are doing with the platform and we're already working on tweaks, but more about that another time because the most bloggable news is that I'm amazed and proud to report Newspaper Club has been nominated in the Design Museum Design Of The Year awards. Incredible news.
An exhibition of all the nominees (including the iPlayer, the Kindle, a BMW and err, us) is on now until June at the museum. We commissioned the brilliant James Bridle to create a special one page newspaper for us which you can take away from the show. One side features a massive logo, obviously. The other side features a map for a walk which starts at the Design Museum. You can read more about A Wide Arm Of Sea on James' blog.
Noticings is a casual Flickr game built by RIG's very own Tom Taylor and BERG's Tom Armitage. It's a game about learning to look at the world around you. You take a picture, upload it to Flickr, tag it with noticings, geotag it and you're in.
Noticings' rules are always in flux, but for example you get 10 points for noticing something and 70 for noticing something every day for a week. There are other short lived rules, so one week you may get x2 for noticing something that is lost or something that is red.
There's a score table, but it's weekly, so new players can very easily get to the top of the league.
Anyway. Seeing as it's a game on Flickr I thought the logo ought to be pink and blue. And seeing as Flickr is more blue than pink i thought we'd flip that. And then crucially the 'o' in the name gave me the chance to put a little eye in there which becomes the Noticings icon.
Seeing as Noticings is a game played on your mobile phone and on the web this is more important than the logo. It's certainly used more. Here's the Twitter stream,
the App Store,
the App icon,
the laptop stickers,
the favicon (etc, etc)
and in possibly the best moment of my career so far the Flickr machine tag.
Yes! Something I designed made it into the official Flickr code!
Look how small that Flickr machine tag icon is. Teeny tiny. And yet the symbol still works as a logo and as a cheeky little eye. I'm pretty pleased with that.
A few weeks ago you may have noticed this gorgeous thing whistling around my Flickr pages.
It's a newspaper we designed and printed for the BBC called 8.
It's a collection of essays which came out of 8 studies commissioned as part of the AHRC/BBC Knowledge Exchange Programme. The paper contains articles by Bill Thompson, Katherine Corrick and Pat Kane among others. Brendan from the BBC talks more about the project here.
I'm particularly fond of the cover. Looked great on the press.
Back in January when made TOFHWOTI we said it was a product of the future. The success of that project made us investigate that a bit more. We spoke to 4iP, Channel 4's investment fund, who agreed to fund a separate business called Newspaper Club.
Newspaper Club will have two components. It's main purpose is to allow anyone to curate, create and then collect (by that I mean print, but that doesn't alliterate) newspapers. It might be a group of birdwatchers, the residents of an estate campaigning for improvements, or a yearly “best of” printed product for obsessive bloggers. You'll be able to organise this stuff online and then print as little as a few to as many as a few thousand.
Like TOFHWOTI but made by you.
Those newspapers will be based on template designs and the user will have limited design choices. Obviously. Which is why I've been thinking about this stuff.
But we realise that some people may want a bespoke option to create something extra special, like 8 for the BBC. A document created from scratch. We're currently working on another one for Penguin which I'll tell you about soon.
Newspaper Club is a major project, lots of people already seem excited by it and there is a lot more I want to tell you. Stuff about how we're working as a team, how we're building the Newspaper Club brand, 4iP, designing templates and so on. But I shall save that for another day.