Apr 15, 2006

More Compelling Flash

The Ikea site has started an interesting conversation here in P-town. What is our job? Should we be order fillers? Should we tell our clients what they need or listen to what they want?

If you know me, you know my answer. We should listen to what our cients want. Figure out what they really need. And then make them want our solution. This ain't McDonald's. :-)

My clients usually don't know what they want. If they do know, they usually don't know exactly how to realize it. I see this as my main role. This is where the magic happens. The technology doesn't mean anything, it is merely a vehicle for the idea.

Thats my rant. For more self-riteous pontification, see my discussion with Phillip Kerman in the gotoandplay.net flash discussion list.

Apr 13, 2006

Ikea Microsite

Ikea is spending some good money on very cool Flash:

Ikea Stockholm done by Daddy AB is incredible. All German, but incredible. The mix of flash, 3d, photography, video, and I think some Affter Effects is very cool. I need to figure out how to do it. We need to do this kind of thing in the States. Represent 'n shit.

I love the way Daddy AB's website is so basic. Just images on a long scrolling page. They must be very busy. The moving eyes are kinda lame. Freaky too. I have a feeling that an intern may be responsible.

This one, done by another agency is very cool to. The same mix of media. It was done for Ikea Sweden.

You know, I started this blog not really caring if anyone actually read it. In fact, at first I was a little hesitant about sharing it because, well its not really that cool. However, the more I write about stuff the more I care about who is listening.

If you're reading, send me a shout out and tell me what you think.

Stefan Bucher

I went to a PAF event last night with Stefan Bucher. He is a brilliant print designer and gave a good talk. I was a little skeptical at first. A lot of speakers come in and paint this grand picture of how great life is for them and how they always work on cool projects and blah, blah, blah... and you begin to resent them a bit.

But Stefan brought it down to reality very quickly and offered a good perspective on design. I don't have a lot of time so I'll break it down in main take-aways:

1. Be prolific.
Design as much as you can. I asked Stefan after the talk, "What do you do when you're not designing?" He doesn't not design was the answer. I think that design influences all my interests and is something I am always thinking about, but I do other things. He admitted that achieving that focus is hard to do.

2. Do your own thing.
Kind of a "build it and they will come" or a Zen Buddhist way of looking at things. I'm sometimes frustrated at how some designers seem to get so much credit while others, who are doing just as good of work, don't (including myself). You can attribute it to the school they went to (Art Center for Stefan), or where they worked (WK). They met the right people, worked on the right projects, etc. But Stefan has a more centered approach. It takes time, but if you do what you like and put your personality out there, people will notice (lets assume we all have great personalities).

3. Connect with people
One of the things that I noticed right away was Stefan's willingness to connect with people. On his site, unabashedly he says, "Call me!" I e-mailed him and he got back to me immediately and was very open to talking. His work on the All Access book shows this. He just called 30 of the most famous designers in the world up and interviewed them. I put all these barriers up. I can't talk to this person or send my book to them, they'd never talk to me! Why?

Constantly ask questions, share yourself with people. Do this and people will respond. The worst that can happen is that you won't get a response. But if you're passionate about something people will probably see it and respond positively.

Apr 12, 2006

Turning 30

Well, it happened. I'm officially old. I turned 30. Had a great party. 25 of my closest friends and family showed up and helped me celebrate in style. U feel good about 30.I think these next few years are going to be the best of my life.

Went to Doug Fir and closed it down. What an awesome place! I've always been attracted to old skool design. I am always looking at old machine shops and television stores. There is this great old one near my house, I'll have to get a pic as soon as I get replacement camera. Ours got left in the rain and doesn't work now... wierd, huh?

Anyways, the "retro" look was big a few years ago. A lot of designers were mimicing the ads of the 20-50's and it was cool. Distressing and muted tones were cool too. But I think the retro look back then is different than its latest incarnation. So-Cal Speedshop's catalogs and t-shirts are all done in this vintage style that is just great. But I think what makes it great is the overall feel and big idea behind what they are doing. They aren't just applying a retro style to a modern concept. They are recreating the entire experience. That is what Doug Fir does. Sure, they have modern bands and music and the crowd is defnitely not retro, but the feel of the place is definitely got a retro aesthetic.

Even my Fir Burger at the Doug Fir Lounge captured the retro aesthetic. It was still complex and modern, as the lounge is, but it had a distinct flavor and look that sparked impressions of the 50s. Not memories, I wasn't alive in the 50s. But a collective impression passed down from generation to generation.

Capturing this aesthetic is tricky. Lew's Dari Freeze in Milwaukie attempts this. Although the location is about as authentic as it gets, the retro nature of the food still includes the grease and cheap ingredients (it is tasty but a little bit too authentic) and the service sucks. A new owner took over and it hasn't been the same. Even the Annual Cruise at Lew's, one of the best car events in Portland, may go by the wayside. Too much liability or something.

At any rate, I don't think any of these wonderful legacies of American culture is in any danger of dissapearing. It will always live on in some form or another as long as it is still relevant to our culture.