"Be one of the few that do, rather than the many that don’t.”
I’m going to take a moment to allow that quote to really sink in…
Now, I stumbled upon this gem while reading Tony Robbins’ new book that revolves around the financial industry. However, when applying it to the digital age we live (and work) in, is where it resonated deepest with me.
We live in an age where things are getting easier everyday.
Easier to voice your opinion, find where you are going, share your content, learn a new skill, source crowd-funding, launch a new app - hell, even hail a taxi. As an advocate of personal development, this sheer abundance of technology and innovation is mind–blowingly impressive, but are we actually progressing or are we just adding? Hammering the nails in our own coffin?
When was the last time you came across an idea, a website, a product or service that truly captivated you, you have told everyone about it and you still come back to it today? It’s been a while since I have ticked all three of those boxes. I come across new websites, campaigns, apps and ideas almost everyday, and they may excite me in that moment, but do I bookmark them anymore? Rarely. As our industry evolves at record pace, maybe I subconsciously know that’ll it won’t be long until I see something like that again. That the idea I am staring at is not going to blow me away to the point I am rushing to compose a tweet about it anymore. For that to happen, it has to be special - and it is becoming less of an occurrence these days.
We are drowning in a world of flat UI, one page scrollers, full bleed hero images and a quirky tone-of-voice. Copy. Paste. Launch. All style, no substance. Everything looks templated. To the point it has almost become a genre in itself. You can almost predict what a product’s landing page is going to look like now.
One of these is a Canadian detoxifying tea company, one is a prototyping service commonly used by designers. Two completely different products. Two completely different audiences. One incredibly similar design.
Sadly, we have only ourselves to blame. Too busy striving to keep up with the ever-evolving trends, following the herd, maybe even getting too comfortable to step back and challenge ourselves to do something that has not been done before. Be different.
At Realise, we don’t like to conform to trends. Never have I been a part of an agency where you will find such a considerable number from each department, even the Managing Director, so keen to collaborate over some pizzas and get involved in a brainstorm. We take pride in tackling every project differently, and we are certainly not shy about dipping our toe into unchartered territories.
BBC Unearthed was no different. 360-degree footage, binaural soundscapes and interactive video were some of technologies we used in this great project. Realise took part in a BBC Connected Studio event that posed the question: does immersive, interactive digital video enhance the user’s experience of a story? We believe it does.
Now, armed with 4K Phantom footage provided by the BBC, it was imperative that we didn't overcomplicate Unearthed. The focus had to be this magnificent footage. At this point, it would have been easy for us to visit The Noun Project, download a suite of iconography, drop it on top and consider it done.
However, part of my job as an art director is making sure that we produce everything with a level of consideration and craft. Give it substance. In this case, few elements - extremely well-considered. With Unearthed, the intro, the typography, the story, the graphical pattern, the animation, the narration, the interactions – everything was considered. Everything was crafted.
And this is where I feel the industry is tripping itself. This is why everything is beginning to look the same. It lacks direction and craft. I am not saying things don’t look nice. The web is looking more beautiful than ever before, but there is no real care or drive to make something truly different.
Simple can still mean unique.
My challenge to you is that when you begin your next project, product, app, campaign – take a step back. Try and genuinely think of a truly new idea. Don’t open up an old file to use as a foundation. Don’t troll the internet for ‘inspiration’. Be one of the few that do. Create.
Or read our full case study of the project here.
Photo credit: www.thirteen.org