Blogless: Blog of Design Less Better.

Posts tagged Zingermans.

Better Living Through Advertising: Realtime Data

DLB posits: advertising that uses transparent data doesn't just make a pitch, it makes a commitment.

Adam Greenfield, ubiquitous computing pundit, wrote a blog post recently about an unusual British Airways advertisement he encountered:

British Airways advertisement.

This is how the ad reads: “YESTERDAY AT T5 AVERAGE TIME THROUGH SECURITY WAS 4.7 MINS. This picture was taken at 9:44am yesterday and shows Amanda Gemmill on her way to Beijing to watch her boyfriend compete in the Men’s Eight Rowing Final. 4.7 minutes was the average time the 842 customers we asked told us it took them to pass through Security yesterday, between 6am and 2pm. We had to stop at 2pm so we could make this ad.”

The purpose of this ad is to reassure travelers that Heathrow's new Terminal 5 alleviates the airport's infamously long security waits which often lead to delayed departures.

As Greenfield points out, the ad was created in what is soon to be "the old-fashioned way": humans walking around talking to humans, rushing information to the printers, and fixing it to static sheets of pulp. In the near future, it will be possible do the same thing in realtime, with sensors and dynamic media.

Consider the implications of this "transparent advertising". If BA is uses realtime data to taut better service, then to make their point they actually have to have better service.

Let that sink in for a moment.

If the data is not being manipulated and the ads aren't taken down at the first sign of trouble, this is a ballsy move. If BA holds up their end of the deal, it makes a powerful statement: "We don't need to be clever, we're just good-- and we've got the data to prove it". However, if BA slips up, that same copy becomes a public dissemination of guilt. Transparency cuts both ways.

It's an interesting angle in this age of jaded consumers: deliver on what is promised; truth, if not accountability, in advertising. I realize it's naive to expect things to work this way, but shouldn't they?

(Zingerman's would do it)

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NickAug 21, 2008

Less is Better Design Edition: Animating the HAL 9000

In the ongoing tradition of doing more with less, DLB reveals how we created a realistic-looking animation of the HAL 9000 with a minimum of resources and effort.

I have to admit, I’m a little jealous of Paul’s wonderful programming posts. Not only does he get to show off his great solutions to common web design problems, but he gets the highest share of our site's visitors, as well.

The HAL 9000 from the movie 2001.
"What do you think you are doing, Nick?"

In the interest of generating some "graphic traffic", I thought I’d try something similar and write up an interesting visualization problem I solved this week.

The Background

My neighbor is a screenwriter who also works for Zingerman’s, a famous deli we've written about before. Each year, around this time, he makes a short film for the company’s yearly planning meeting. These are surprisingly polished, ambitious affairs, accomplished with virtually no budget and very little time. I chip in by making posters, logos, titles—whatever is needed. It’s strictly unofficial, backchannel stuff, but it’s fun. This year the films of Stanley Kubrick are the theme of his movie. I received my toughest assignment yet: to make a HAL 9000.

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NickAug 8, 2008

What a Relief!

DLB delivers even more inspirado your way. This time we dive into the world of printmaking with some great relief prints.

Here at Design Less Better, we have a strong preference for images with strong contours and high contrast, qualities one often finds in printmaking. Today we have some fine examples of this craft.

First up, we have a couple of prints from Stephen Alcorn's Modern Music Masters series.

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NickJul 25, 2008

Branding lessons from Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Super Smash Brothers Brawl is Nintendo’s branding coup de grâce, if not the defining moment in the history of game-as-branding-strategy.

I was over at a friend's house last night, doing design research (read: drinking bourbon and playing video games), and found myself momentarily distracted from my pleasant Kentucky-style buzz by the jaw-dropping visual assault Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii.

Screen capture from SSBB
Nintendo draws on its deep stable of characters to create a tightly branded interactive experience.

O! Insidious Nostalgia

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a branding tour de force. Level designers Kazuhire Irie, Takeshi Suzuki, and Kou Arai have situated the game as a living history of the Nintendo product line, adopting a wide range of design styles to recreate elements of Nintendo's extensive mythology in a way that allows the player to simultaneously:

  1. indulge in the thrill of recognition
  2. have an enormous amount of fun game-playing
  3. be spoon-fed nostalgia for the commercial products of yesteryear, or else feel an immense need to play catch-up ("Why would they have a level from Earthbound? I never played that.") as part of a not-so-subtle upsell. All the original games are available for $4-5 directly from your Wii.
Screen capture from SSBB
Visually meshing the old with the new, you can see the living history of 30 years of Nintendo.

These three things in combination provide an almost narcotic Gestalt effect that all branding and identity designers could learn something from. It's branded fun.

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PaulMay 5, 2008