Bits & Pieces?
Want to make an art director and a copywriter shiver in fear? Mumble the words “annual report” to them. These projects were and still are huge beasts, sprawling projects that seem to go on and on and on. “How about another round of changes?”
While for many this is still the case, our client BloodCenter of Wisconsin decided to bring their annual report, which they call the “community report,” online. Our ears perked up, especially at the prospect of doing something different. Using the theme “Life is in our DNA,” we shared the larger BloodCenter of Wisconsin story, a story that goes beyond giving blood and reaches out into diagnostics, research, organ and tissue donation and more. The site incorporates a two and a half minute video, a “movie trailer” of sorts that brings together the many aspects of BloodCenter’s good work.
The homepage features the video, and if I may geek out for just a moment, I’d like to share some details about the video player. (The following is about to become quite geeky indeed, and I’m providing indication to what part you can skip. You’re welcome). <GEEKiNess>These days it’s always a concern about mobile capabilities when designing anything new for the web. Everyone wants to know if the video will work on their new iPad, their phones, and anything else we may not even know about yet. The challenge was having the entire homepage feature a video, a video that needed to play on all the above. In this case, embedding a Vimeo or YouTube player wasn’t going to cut it aesthetically. And having a custom flash player did not solve any mobile issues (thanks Apple). So, we decided to use an HTML5 video player which helped us solve every playback issue on any device. The HTML5 player works on all newer browsers and even has a flash version it defaults to if for some reason you don’t update your browser (which you should always do. It’s free). On top of the flash back-up, you can also provide a regular video file (mov or mp4) that will play on all mobile devices. If you will be doing video on the web anytime soon, we highly recommend you bookmark that link.</GEEKiNess> And, we’re back.
In addition to the main video and the content of the standard community report pages (Board of Directors, financials, etc), the site also features four patient stories from real people that have had their lives touched by BCW. These stories fall under the categories: Discovery, Diagnosis, Treatment and Cure. We could share with you exactly what those emotional stories are about, but we’ll leave it up to you to explore and find out. At the very least, watch the video.
I hope you enjoy our newest work. It’s work I’m really proud of. It ran the gamut, whether it was learning what an OGG file is to sneakily shooting stills while the cameras were rolling.
Is it hard? Yes. Do I hate it sometimes? Yes. Does it make me feel stupid? Yes. Does it make me feel old? Yes. Does it mean I shouldn’t do it? Not really sure about that yet.
Exactly 4 weeks ago I began work with a team here at Jigsaw as a Senior Art Director (correction, Junior Interactive Designer) to design a new information website for one of our clients (STOP!)
I’m already in over my head. Ok, wireframe. The room is spinning. Page 1, yes, got it. Page 2, uh huh. Page 3, wait, where does that connect to? Page 4, tracking again. Page 5, 6, 7-34… Page 35, air, I can’t breathe. I am going to suck at this. Um-mm-mm, a site map? How do I use this document with the wireframe? (GULP).
Back to my desk. You can do this. How hard can it be? Think, think… when’s the last time you did something for the first time? (PAUSE).
Photoshop, check. Canvas size 1024×768, check. Safe zone, check. Umm-mm-mm. Now what I do? Wireframes, yes. Homepage. Alright, lets begin designing, that’s something I know how to do-oo-oo-oo (HOLD).
Dip, content area, right rail, main nav, side nav, rollover state, on state, off state, drop down. Oh my God, I need a glossary (I haven’t felt this way since I learned to do TV: FPD, lock down, heads, tails, dolly grip, key grip). You want me to do what? Make that more “buttony.” Is that a word? I can’t find it in my interactive manual (oh wait I don’t have one because they don’t exist). Um-mm-mm, pixels. Zoom in, zoom out. Zoom in, zoom out. Is this seriously how interactive designers measure things? And why on earth does Photoshop think it would be a good idea when you duplicate things to keep adding the word “copy” after the layer name. Ok, back to what I know. Type, color, images. Design. Brand. Hierarchy. This is just like a 100 page annual report. Right? Wrong! Because page 4 doesn’t link to page 8 and when you are on page 8, it doesn’t link to page 24, 25 and 26 and page 26 doesn’t link back to page 4 (BREATHE)!
I’m aggravating my team. Creating later nights on top of late nights. Costing my company money. Everyone hates me. I am a failure. Useless. Maybe I should just go back to print land where I am safe and secure and I know my #@$! (HALT).
But that. That would be giving up. No one ever learned from giving up. What kind of pride can be gained from quitting. Trying something new means you have to do it. And do it again. And when you are done doing it, do it once more for good measure and think about the next time you will do it. Because the best way to learn is by doing and application. Not reading theory. You can’t break rules until you’ve applied them. You can’t ask questions you don’t know to ask without experiencing something first.
Doing something for the first time may be painful and frustrating, but at the same time it is so damn rewarding. It challenges you, makes you humble and reminds you how much you don’t know, how you aren’t always right. How doing it again would be better than quitting. Sure, only time will tell if interactive design and I get along or not. But one thing I know, heh, at least I did it.
Please note my 1 month interactive experience could not have been possible without the help of our wonderful interactive team. Who took a leap of faith. Who thought my level of knowledge with web design was not as important as my talents, smarts and intuition. Who, although wanted to kill me (daily) believed that teaching me would be better then getting rid of me.
It seems an appropriate time to share one of Jigsaw’s most recent projects. The Alverno College Annual Report. It’s a project that has numerous people’s blood, sweat and tears mixed into 75 pages. And let me just remind you, the act of reading a 75 page annual is much easier then designing a 75 page annual.
Each year (okay for only the last 2), I have happily lead a team in creating this fine report. In true Jigsaw style, we assembled our team from both the agency and the client side, and together we have persevered the worst: pagination flow charts, word count comps, copy drafts, headlines, photo selects, color studies, concepts, designs, presentations, numerous rounds of revisions, countless mock ups, last minute financial reports, retouching, production, paper samples, press checks, embossing tests, late nights, early mornings, our lives…
So what makes me want to do it over and over again? Two things: 1. The people. The way they make me laugh, their non-stop passion and commitment, their suggestions, comments, opinions and understanding that in order to make magic, it doesn’t happen alone. 2. Our client. Because over and over again, they challenge, direct, give feedback, dedicate themselves, work hard on our team and often become the cheerleaders in the room because they believe that we can make magic happen.
So take a look at our hard work. It’s beauty. It’s craftsmanship. It’s content, it’s photos Because it truly is a magical piece. It’s received many honors and praise and has successfully helped tell the Alverno College story for 2011. Thanks to everyone who touched this project, especially our team at Alverno, Fox Printing and of course, our lovely Jigsaw team.
If you’d like to see a full copy of the report, let us know, we’ll send you one.
See you next year guys (in 302 days to be exact, but who’s counting?).
About a month ago, I visited Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. There were 2 things that really stood out to me.
- The infusion of and inspiration from advertising and design into the artworks…Or is it advertising and design inspired by contemporary art?
- Overall, the artwork lacked high quality craftsmanship. (Glue was messy, matting was sloppy, ect.)
In any case, I’m a firm believer that art, design, advertising play a role in reflecting and influencing mainstream society—consciously or subconsciously.
But what I’m interested in, is the future of art and design. Are the two disciplines coming together or fighting against one another? Why is craftsmanship overlooked?
And of course, there is a definite rift between those who are creating commercial or fine arts. Stereotypically, you are either selling your soul or you’re a starving artist.
What I’d like to believe is that design is becoming more like the arts and the arts more like design—they are fusing together.
The biggest difference I see between a commercial artists and a fine artists is the need to work together – collaboration. (Not that some commercial artists don’t work alone and some fine artists don’t collaborate.) But maybe, just maybe, when creative people collaborate—ideas, craftsmanship, and execution become stronger and visually look more refined.
Some of the most notorious (and my favorite) modern fine artists work with a team behind them. Dale Chihuly, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Jeff Koons all utilize teams to make their big ideas reality. As I see it, that’s no different than a Creative Director having an idea and utilizing his/her team to create a final product.
I’d love to hear your opinions. Will advertising, design, and art evolve to become one discipline? What does the future hold for art, design, and advertising?
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