Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Digital: Augmented Reality

Last month, I found myself wandering around the streets of Manhattan and what struck me about my surroundings was how surreal it all felt: the characters, the imposing buildings…the larger than life electronic billboards. So when I read this post, I couldn’t help but wonder what it might have felt like to appear onscreen in Time Square.

Times Square Billboard by Space150 from Cliff Kuang on Vimeo.

Augmented Reality has always struck me as a Back To The Future type of invention: a seamless combination of the digital and real world. What’s more is that it is an application that can be adopted for many uses. Some cool examples are:

A public service announcement in Amsterdam that drew attention to the aggression and violence faced by public service employees. In the video (much like the Forever 21 one featured above) a previously shot footage of paramedics being beat up is played on the screen while a camera records the audience watching the video. What makes this application ingenious is the way it addresses the problem. Onlookers are notorious for watching and not doing anything. This video reenacts the scene in real time, causing people to think....or take pictures *nods head*

This online augmented shopping video by Zugara points to the future of online shopping. Nothing like trying your new clothes in the comfort of your bedroom.

If it were up to me I’d create augmented reality apps that enabled users to relive their memories.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Break, Vacation, whatever you want to call it

Hi people!

I'm taking a mini-break from blogging as I have other commitments to attend to. Hope to be back soon!

Daisy (:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Design: Humanitarian Design

Last week, I wrote about menu design. How many of you laughed and thought to yourself "really? menus?" I almost did the same but after I read the published the post, I felt happy. The kind of happiness that makes you think you have given something back to the community. This week's design post is just about that -- design for humanity. Humanitarian Design might sound like a complex issue but it's pretty self-explanatory. It happens when good-willed designers/architects/engineers pair up in order to work with communities with the goal of designing products that meet the need(s) of the said community. Or in the words of projecthdesign.com, it "connects the power of design to the people that need it most, and the places where it can make a real lasting difference."A popular example is one of the hippo roller, a product created to improve water transportation. The hippo roller was made 15 years ago by two South Africans and redesigned by projecthdesign.com.

Today's post is a little different, it's different in the sense that I'd like to add my two cents to the humanitarian design debate sparked by Bruce Nassbaum's article on whether humanitarian design is the new form of imperialism. I'm not going to write a dissertation so don't close your browser just yet. Bruce voices his concern about the"western" designers who might be missing the mark in their quest to do good for the underprivileged. He raises a point about collaborating with the right partners and learning from the best local people in order to appreciate the bigger picture and actually help the people in need (as opposed to imposing western beliefs and values). He provides the One Laptop Per Child initiative as a example of a failed test run, in his words, it "failed in its initial plan to drop millions of inexpensive computers into villages, to hook kids directly to the Web and, in effect, get them to educate themselves."

From what I gather, Nassabaum is clearly not against the concept of helping others by designing products that they can use to help themselves. No, his concern is whether the right issues are being attended to, the right problems being solved. My answer to that is Yes & No. Growing up in a country that sometimes requires people to fetch clean water. While I never fetched water myself, I have witnessed images like the one seen below and the hippo roller is definitely an upgrade.

On the other hand, people living in congested cities(the hippo roller was specifically designed for rural areas so we can conclude that some thought went into the process) might not benefit from a roller and that's where collaboration begins continues. However, they probably have other needs that will benefit from innovative product design. Just because an idea doesn't work does not mean that it should be classified as "imperialism." Yes, people/designers might be ignorant of certain issues but all they need is education. They have the energy and passion to help and that is mainly what matters.


I can also see how the One Laptop Per Child is an initiative that, given poor infrastructure, will not work. Issues such as lack of electricity remove the benefit of OLPC. However, the concept behind OLPC should not be discouraged. It is forward thinking that should not be shunned. The human race is an ever evolving one. The fact of the matter is that, one day, the hippo roller might become obsolete in very areas that it is being used. But it will have served a purpose. Just as the One Laptop Per Child will one day serve a purpose in villages with electricity. Baby steps people, baby steps.

You can check out more examples of humanitarian design on Project H Design.com or google "humanitarian design" to learn more about this awesome discipline of design. Likewise, you can participate in the ongoing debate by searching for "humanitarian design" on twitter.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Digital: Pixlr

Gone are the days of salivating to the latest release of Creative Suites by Adobe only to find out that, well...it costs more than two months of your rent. Introducing Pixlr, a "browser based" image editor that can be used as an alternative to Adobe Photoshop. I came across Pixlr on stumbleupon and I like the idea behind it.

You don't have to be a graphic design major, or "know a guy who knows a guy who can get photoshop for dirt cheap". Pixlr is free and there is no catch. Given that this is a browser friendly editor, you can download a Firefox add-on designed for "grabbing" pictures off the net and editing the image on your browser in a matter of seconds. I edited my twitter profile avatar with the add-on:
Just in case you were wondering, the shades were grabbed off Polyvore.com. Yes, they are $325 Alexander Wang shades. I know, they look just like the real thing!

For tips on how to use the editor, check out the Pixl blog. My favorite tool has to be the brush tool. With a growing brush collection, you can transform your image with brushes ranging from doodles to vector stalks, true stroke of genius.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lateral: Life

I did a 5 minute video for this post only to find out that the sound was mute when I played it back.

But that's fine because the video below sums up what I said in my video:

Life is this journey that starts with the pieces you are given, your parents. In some cases people don't start with their biological parents, some babies are dumped in a garbage can, others are adopted. But someway or the other, there's at least one other human being who leads our way. As we grow older we begin to discover more pieces, pieces of wisdom passed on from our loved ones, pieces of our own, pieces of knowledge, pieces of love, pieces of sadness, pieces of regret, pieces of rebirth. What happens when you have a plan that doesn't work out? That piece was missing in your jigsaw puzzle of life. Lateral thinking is a concept that goes beyond the smartest campaign or most creative idea. Applying this concept to life is just as good, if not better. The questions to ask yourself is, did that piece really exist? Is there one in front of me? Can I create a new piece? I'm beginning to appreciate the bigger picture, the piece that has it all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Inspiring: Gilbert Arenas

I like to root for the underdog. Maybe I see elements of myself in them. I'm not just talking about any kind of underdog (there are different types, you see). I'm talking about the underdog who lifts people up with their story. This week, I'm handing the YISI inspiration badge to Gilbert Arenas.

Arenas, also known as "Hibachi" or "Agent Zero" is a basketball player for the Washington Wizards. What's that? You never heard of the team? Me neither. Not until I came across Gilbert Arenas in 2007. I was having a tough semester at school but my spirits brighten up a little after I watched this video:

And this is not some dumb post about how Adidas lifted my spirits. In fact, the brand has nothing to do with this post. Arenas got me thinking when he said "it wasn't even about basketball anymore." How many of us set our hearts on something and forget to see the bigger picture? We listen to what people say about how impossible our goals are. Like Arenas, we're asked to sit on the bench. Arenas inspires me because he has proven to the world that he is not a zero (literally, he changed his number). And yes, he made some bad choices during the 2009-10 NBA season but he has also made some good ones too. His story inspires me to get back up and play with heart.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Design: The Menu

How many times have you ordered for something in a restaurant? How many times have you taken notice of the menu? A menu speaks volumes. Not only does it show what the restaurant/cafe offers, it also enhances the ambiance of the place. When I sit down and reach for the menu, I like to be wowed.  Sometimes the menu comes in simple A4 paper with regular typeface. Straightforward and...boring. And then there's  the "all over the place"menu (my favorite type, when done properly). You can find good examples from the following restaurants: Islands, TGIF, Denny's

don't forget drink menus:
Make no mistake, whether it is all over the place or subtle, menu design plays an important role in meal selection. Today, I'd like to pay homage to the menu. What would life be like without the picturesque menu? A printed piece of work that taps into our imagination and tantalizes our appetites. I'm currently working on a menu for a restaurant. They are in the process of updating an old menu and are asking for a new look to go with their new dishes. Watch this space for a sample of their new menu :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Innovative: WPP Annual Report

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you are told to read a detailed report? If you are like most people(including myself), you put it off or find other things to preoccupy yourself with. What if you found out that you didn't have to read the whole thing? That you could watch and listen as well:

The 2009 WPP Digital Annual report takes home today's innovative badge. Here's why: the thought behind the process of putting that report clearly appreciates the time and attention span of its readers. WPP is a leading communications service group that offers services in Advertising, Media, PR, Branding, Healthcare, and Digital (among others). What does that mean to investors? They want to know that this organization is good at what it does. My verdict is that it must be if it can come up with a creative way to sell itself. The report gets an innovative badge instead of a digital one because it combines interactivity, design and multimedia to create a report that is actually fun to read.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Digital: Artificial Intelligence

Imagine the horror when I woke up this morning and didn't have an idea for today's post. How is that possible? Everything about this blog has a digital element, offline ideas shared online...it's a blog!
So I took a deep breath and did that thing my Doctor says to do anytime I run out of blog ideas...surf! I got out my surfboard but quickly realized what he actually meant. He meant the net.

Introducing Bina48, a robot with a lazy eye and digital mind. And I know you think I'm only just saying "digital mind" because I'm writing a "digital" post but if you liken this robot to the likes of  search engines e.g. Google, then it all makes sense. Google provides relevant answers to your questions. Bina does the same thing. Bingo! Go on with your bad self Mina, I ain't hating.

Check out her video here

 Bina joins Repliee Q 1 Expo and a few others:

In the future, instead of searching Google, we'll ask our robots instead...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lateral: Tate Tracks

Last year I attended a course designed for aspiring account planners. In simple terms, account planners are advertising agency people who work to understand the consumer's view in order to create communication that resonates with them(the consumer). The discipline of planning has different approaches and it boils down to the agency culture and the type of planner working on any particular campaign.

So back to my story. Each week, I hopped from one agency to the other (we had our seminars in  different agencies) gathering knowledge from a diverse range of planning directors. In each seminar, we were presented with at least one campaign from the hosting agency. What has any of this got to do with lateral thinking? (If by now you cannot tell that I like to provide background information, now you know :)

One campaign that stood out to me was a campaign for Tate Modern by Fallon. The video below sums up the idea behind campaign idea, Tate Tracks:

Just to give you some background information, Tate Modern had some success drawing in that audience but they struggled to keep them. The reason why this campaign gets a mention today(a highly honorable feat if I say so myself) is that the thinking behind it provided a long term benefit. We all know that music plays an integral role in the life of the audience they were looking at (Tate Modern used music in their previous attempt) but Tate Tracks went the extra mile by getting into the heads of the musicians. The question asked wasn't (only) "How do we get the consumers attention?" but "What do they consider as art?" "How do they contribute to art?"

"Lateral thinking is concerned not with playing with the existing pieces but with seeking to change those very pieces" (SOURCE). The campaign changed traditional art by tapping into the inspiration it provided to musicians.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Inspiring: John C. Maxwell

When someone gives a detailed and honest breakdown of an area of interest that you have, you can't help but appreciate their input. Today's inspiration is of an author that I have come to respect and admire:

John C. Maxwell is known for his books and seminars on leadership. From reading and listening to him, I have learned that leadership is about empowering and inspiring people rather than merely dictating and managing them. I also like that he is upfront about his faith. Some people might tone down their faith in order to get mass appeal but that hasn't been the case for him. Mr Maxwell provides readers and viewers with insightful knowledge while also acknowledging the source of his wisdom. There's no doubt that Mr Maxwell is a respected leadership expert and a man of God to be reckoned with! Thank you Mr. Maxwell for giving me a better appreciation of life and leadership.

You can follow him on twitter @johncmaxwell for a healthy dose of advice on life, learning and leading.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Design: Infographics

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. What happens when you have numbers/words/concepts and you would like explain what the numbers/words/concept means in less than a thousand words? Use a picture!

In the words of smashmagazine,  infographics can be described as visual representations of information, data or knowledge — are often used to support information, strengthen it and present it within a provoking and sensitive context, depending on designer’s creativity. For a better understanding/appreciation of the history of the 2010 World Cup's least favorite instrument, check out the "vuvuzela" infographic below (made by socialradar via mashable).

I'll spare you any more words so you can feast your eyes on the many types of infographics out there.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Innovative: DoSomething.org

Getting involved in charity is something most people have on their list. But how many people actually tick that action off? An innovative charity website designed to "power offline action" gets the innovate vote today.

DoSomething.org is a website that encourages empowers teenagers /young adults with a straightforward tactic: Leveraging "communications technologies to enable teens to convert their ideas and energy into action." The concept is simple, if you are a teenager who wants to make a change in your community, check out the opportunities available or create a club that supports your cause. This can be done by clicking on the ACT NOW toolbar.

DoSomething is an action-oriented charity that has progressed from the traditional emotional appeal to using instant communication tools. This charity will most definitely appeal to anyone who wants to be involved in their community but doesn't know where to start.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Digital: 3D Audio

Last Tuesday, I wrote about audio bedtime stories by The Magical Story Machine. This week's digital post is not too far off from that. If you've ever wondered what 3D sounds like, look no further:


Papa Sangre is a surround sound mobile game that guides players through a virtual thriller maze with the aim of saving a loved one. According to the website:
Papa Sangre is a video game with no video. It’s a first-person thriller, done entirely in audio by an award-winning team of game designers, musicians, sound designers and developers. We’ve created an entire world using the first ever real-time 3D audio engine implemented on a handheld device. Which was BLOODY HARD.

To visit this dark and mysterious palace, players will only need an iphone, functional earphones and...their imagination. Check out this video to get a snippet of what the game sounds like:

Entering the Palace of Bones from Papa Sangre on Vimeo.

I think it's brilliant idea. I haven't had the opportunity to watch the video in full because of my internet connection but I am guessing the game will be even more fun when played in a group, as shown during their first playtest.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lateral Fridays

Depending on the way you look at it, Friday either signals the end or the beginning.  Is it the end of an awesome work week? or the beginning of a horrifying weekend? Our topic today is about changing our perceptions to explore alternate posibilities. It's about recognizing our pattern of thinking and removing barriers in order to tap into our creative spirit. Here's a video from the mastermind behind the concept of Lateral Thinking: Edward De Bono.

Lateral thinking is an area of interest for me because it opens doors that we never even knew existed. Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking?

Here are two examples of lateral thinking:
If you haven't already watched Valentine's Day, I thoroughly recommend it. Not only is it a funny movie but the unexpected relationships and individual story resolutions make the plot a very good example of lateral thinking at work. I personally think that the art of writing (whether writing scripts for movies, TV shows or non-fiction books) involves a lot of lateral thinking because writers tend to play with our preconceived notions to produce twisted resolutions that make us love the shows, movies and books that we do.

Another example is by LoveJozi, a T-shirt company based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

If you can't beat the competition, join become 'em. (:

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Inspiring Thursdays

As you might have noticed with the headings, each day has a focus on a particular subject matter. So far we've had Digital, Design & Innovation. Today is a little different from the rest. While I've spent some time sharing my thoughts on ideas, brands and whatnot. Today I am changing focus to...people. Every Thursday, I will be featuring people that inspire me. People from all over the world, working in different industries. Today's feature is none other than Franchesca Leigh Ramsey from franchesca.net.

I came across Franchesca's blog in 2008 and after watching a few of her videos, I was drawn to her bigger than life personality (the video below is one of my personal favorites). Although I discovered her blog a year before I started mine, her blog was one of the reasons why I reconsidered the "blogging thing."

With a BFA degree from Miami International University and aspirations to be a comedian, singer and entertainer,  Franchesca holds down more than just a graphic design degree. In 2008 she won the Red Carpet Reporter competition to interview celebrities for the 2008 Emmy's and she rocked it. She was also one of the many hosts of YouTube's LIVE stream.

What's there not to like about Franchesca? She is a shooting star with a bright future ahead of her!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Introducing: Wednesday's Design

ketOkay, as the title suggests, today is a design day and I couldn't be any happier. We all know design has many forms. There's interior design, graphic design, fashion design, web design and even product design. The list goes on. I like all forms of design because I am truly inspired by art and the expression of people/places/things through the different forms of art, design and media. I'm not your typical artist but I like to paint from time to time. Give me a sketchbook and you'll be my new best friend. That's why I'm excited about this post.

Introducing "The Sketchbook Project," a project that invites people from all over the world to be a part of a sketchbook collection that will be exhibited in these venues and then finally housed in the Brooklyn Art Library.

You sign up for the project by first ordering a sketchbook on the website. It costs $25 to participate but that shouldn't stop you from getting involved. You get to pick the theme of your book as well as the option to digitize your art (an extra 20). I like the fact that your book can be tracked.

I'd love to participate in this project, will keep you posted if i do. If all else fails in the world of advertising, I will become a glorified artist-cum-film director.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Introducing: Innovative Tuesdays

There's something about human beings that makes us want to create and label. Fashion Designers give their own labels to the clothes they make. In a similar fashion (I love puns) organizations give their products brand names. I suppose it makes sense when you look around you and everyone else looks different. We might share similarities but we all have unique qualities. This concept of personalization will be the focus of this post. But first I'd like to define the two words:

innovative: (of a product, idea, etc.) featuring new methods; advanced and original
personalization: design or produce (something) to meet someone's individual requirements

The feature today is The Magical Story Machine via Springwise. The latter featured 4 other personalization businesses but the story machine stuck out because it's a simple yet innovative method on personalizing an age old phenomena, the bedtime story.

Two years ago, armed with more than enough bags of shopping in my hands, I stopped by a bookstore to buy what I thought was cutest, quirkiest story book for my cousin. It was something about the life size illustration on display that drew my attention. But then when I gave the story book to my cousin, I didn't get the feeling that it was the best gift he had ever received. In other words, I don't think he even read it. What's the point of my story?

I think he would have preferred a personalized version of the story.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Introducing: Digital Mondays

After the 7 month hiatus, I am happy to say that my blog is back! It just seems like the right thing to do and a good reason to keep me up to speed on new developments.

Since my last blog post, mobile apps have taken center stage in the world of interactivity. But I'll spare you a post about apps to focus on a campaign I came across this morning on YouTube: "My Movie Pitch" sponsored by American Express & Tribeca Film.

While my initial interest in this campaign stemmed from my fascination with movie making and the processes involved (I wanted to be a film director at age 9..it's never too late), I am even more interested because of the mastermind behind it -- American Express. Everyday, I go through a number of websites. Websites by brands, people and what have you (robots in outer space?) and I usually take a screen capture of the sites that stand out. A couple of months ago, Open Forum was one of them. Open Forum is a social networking site created by American Express. In words of the company, Open Forum is "a social media site and resource center for business owners." You can learn more about it here or visit the website.

I'm not going to say this campaign makes me want to go register for a card but I am impressed at how subtle and classy the brand goes about with its digital promotion. If film making isn't your thing, you can visit other channels sponsored by American Express. Less focus on the brand and more on the individuals who just might register for it...that's what I'm talking about.