Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Give me wine, a little music…

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Hundreds of Canadians banded together - ok we couldn’t help ourselves with “banded” – to create a digital musical mosaic that is not only fun to play with, it actually helped Canadian musicians keep on playing.

‘Play’ is a great word to add to the brand persona of the client we did this for – [yellow tail] wine leaves the snobbery to others and instead has chosen the path of being the accessible beverage for the spontaneous good times of your life. The disruption that has created a whole new space for [yellow tail] is in recognizing that really, most of us just want to enjoy a good glass of wine and to share it with our friends. Wine culture makes a lot of us edgy, and takes some of the fun out it – so [yellow tail] focused on that unpretentious side and is the easygoing, social brand that you can enjoy on your terms, your way.

It’s a great persona to work with – so we came up with an idea that would hit all the notes (sorry!) that say “[yellow tail]”: Our idea was social; fun; share-able as a great bottle of wine; and a bit silly yet also exactly the kind of thing we do when we’re happy.

We created the [yellow tail] Wine Orchestra. We called on Canadians to upload on to a webcam video of themselves clinking, dinging, tapping and rubbing their wine glasses and [yellow tail] bottles to create a rhythm, a sound, a bit of music all their own. Each entry within the Orchestra is added as a tile on a virtual wall of sound – no mean feat technically, but loads of fun to play with – and then we made sure that by highlighting the tiles and moving them around you can blend sounds and beats to create a sort of a symphony. You can take a break in your otherwise hectic and tune-free day to become an ubercool DJ, or conductor, or creator of your own special sound track.

We were inspired by the music of the street, when you see a guy start to drum on a couple of buckets and suddenly a crowd appears spontaneously, all caught in the unavoidable impulse to stop and enjoy the moment. That celebration is exactly what [yellow tail] is all about.

We took the Wine Orchestra a step further. We gave all that sound to composer Kutiman to use as raw material, and he has created an orchestral piece entitled The Wine Orchestra Players — where he sampled from those hundreds of video uploads of Canadians having fun with their favourite [yellow tail] bottle or wine glass as instruments.

For anyone who doesn’t know him, Kutiman is the Israel-born musician is known for his innovative 2009 release ThruYOU, an online music video project mixed from samples of YouTube videos. ThruYOU received more than 10 million views in the first weeks of launch and was named one of the best inventions of the year by TIME magazine.

The Kutiman-created holiday composition and video will be released on this week, supported by a multi-media campaign including outdoor boards, rich media online banners, print advertising and point of sale material.

Kutiman’s piece is a great gift from [yellow tail] to you, just in time for the holiday season.

The generosity runs a little deeper, too. For each submission from the May launch until September 30, [yellow tail] donated $1 to the Unison Benevolent Fund which helps musicians keep playing by offering financial assistance to anyone in the industry facing hard times.  Great Big Sea front man Alan Doyle joined the campaign to help support other Canadian musicians through Unison, and his own video is included among those created by [yellow tail] fans. Both Doyle and [yellow tail] were united in the desire to help musicians continue to colour our lives.

So go colour yours! Check out and put some ‘play’ in your day.



Saturday, August 7th, 2010

I’m always on the look out for great resources for web designers. Over the years I have been asked by hundreds of people about good web design resources. Mephobox is one of my favourites. Everything is organized into categories such as: cool logos, account login, top headers, sick calendars etc. The best is 404 errors. Speaking of 404 errors, if you haven’t seen this one then you have to click on it now!!!!

Mephobox is just an all around great resource for designers when they reach that block. Great site and I would use it if I could actually design. For now I’ll stick to my day job and auto levels in Photoshop.


Monday’s Interesting Things

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Every Monday morning @vandenoyl hosts TBWA\Toronto’s staff meeting. It’s an informal gathering during which Jeff, one of our talented planners, shares info that he thinks will be interesting and relevant. Monday morning meetings may seem like the last thing you want to do to start the week but Jeff is great at finding good content, online usually, that tends to be stimulating, entertaining and worth watching, as you’ll see below.

Dan Pink illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace.
Half déjà vu (we’ve shown Dan before), half new spin on Dan’s news about motivation.

Three factors lead to better performance and greater personal satisfaction:

  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose

Core77′s One Hour Design Challenge – Gestural Interfaces
According to Mr Pink: even though you won’t get paid for this, and likely won’t get recognition, you might like working on something of your own choice, the practice of getting better at creative problem solving, and, hey, maybe you will win—and that would be cool. Free pens and notepads everywhere. Today is the last day to enter. Can you find an hour?


“Up There” Veto’s Vinyl

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

It is often hard to find projects being delivered through its roots, especially in today’s cost-efficient and time-lined world. Malcolm Murray brings us this beautifully shot documentary on the dying industry of hand-painted outdoor murals. It’s easy to see the passion and dedication these artists put into their work that was once filled with hand-scripted text and gold leaf. The industry mentors take pride in teaching aspiring artists about the extensive learning that’s critical to the mural process.

“Up There” does a great job showing the obstacles these teams face on a daily basis. Mother Nature, through her sporadic and sometimes lengthy rain showers coupled with winds tossing suspended rigs twenty feet over top of traffic, can lead to a dangerous day’s work for these artists. Despite the hardships, we get a glimpse into the soul of a painter and understand the labour of love.

In the artist’s own words, “As soon as I get up on that scaffold, I’m up there. I’m at ease. Nobody bothers you. Your own mind. Your own state. You’re doing everything your own way.”

TBWA\TORONTO, in partnership with Apple, is working with similar creative talent on two murals that will highlight the iPad. These hand-painted masterpieces will be located at King and Spadina and at the fire station on Adelaide west of John St.


Magic as a principle of design: pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

Friday, April 30th, 2010

This week, a few of us from the agency had the chance to attend FITC (Flash in the Can), an industry event that covers everything from Flash to motion design, to design and creative inspiration, and a multitude of other technologies. It’s an exciting event that is meant to educate, challenge, and inspire, and features famous speakers from around the world.

One in particular, Brendan Dawes (Creative Director for Magnetic North) gave a talk titled “The Grammar of Interaction Design”. During his talk, he touched on six key principles of design: Silence, Surprise, Rhythm, Subtraction, Magic and Serendipity.

The principle I want to focus on in this post is magic. Brendan showed us a video of a concept toy car, designed by two students at RCA–Louise Klinker & Anab Jain. The idea was simple: Sketch-a-move is a concept for a toy car that allows you to explore the unique relationships between small surface doodles and actual physical movements. If you draw a circle on the top of the toy car, it will move in a circle. If you draw a complicated spiral, the car will move in a spiral. Watch the video here:

How was it done? The reality is there’s a guy under the table who moved it with a magnet. But who cares that the technique was so low‐tech? It appeared to be magic when you watched it.

This is something to keep in mind when designing an interactive user experience. Arthur C. Clarke said, “any advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” and we are living through one of the most explosive periods of technological advancement ever. The industrial revolution practically looks like it was going in reverse when compared to the watershed moments in social networking, groupthink, citizen journalism, etc. etc. etc.

Right now we are absolutely bathed by the warm LCD glow of this magic and using it in ways completely unheard of less than a generation ago. We have more opportunities to empower brands and build relationships with audiences than ever before.

It’s our job as creative thinkers, creators and brand ambassadors to harness this magic and use it to mold images and feelings the way pulling a rabbit out of a hat did when we were 5.

If we can harness this technological magic when engaging people so they don’t think, “how or why are they doing this?” and instead think, “this is a great brand experience” we’ve done our job. We must retain the magic in our work and our brands. Just because we can do a live, interactive twitter page for Swiffer™, should we? Think about the experience before the execution. The magic is in the experience, not the technology.


bored-ing passes no more.

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Now why didn’t I think of this? Having a background in Graphic Design, and all. Maybe next time. Oh well. It’s about time someone thought of redesigning those BORED-ing passes. Get it?

Check out Squarespace Creative director, Tyler Thompson’s redesign of the conventional boarding pass, and others that followed suit, after the jump! Click here.

Now if only they were real. HA!