Critique-a-Week

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Endless Possibilities with HTML5 | BMW USA 3 Series Interactivehttp://www.bmwusa.com/standard/content/experience/3serieslines.aspxNew technology brings us innovative and inspiring ways to consume media. Take the BMW’s new website to explore their popular 3 Series sedans. What you’ll find interesting is how a lot of these companies are using scrolling as a control for the media. It’s much more natural (on the computer) than pressing a ‘next’ button, which was based on previous UI metaphors of ‘turning the page’. I think now that most of us are well-versed with technology, we no longer need tangible metaphors to help us navigate through electronic media - no more ‘desktops’ (Windows Metro is trying hard to leave that behind), no more 3-dimensional buttons and shadow effects, and no more efforts on intricate page-flips. We’re starting to get used to looking at a 2 dimensional screen, and we understand that not everything needs to look glossy to look good.That said, explore this website’s navigation through scrolling, and enjoy all the cool effects. Also check out Tesla’s “Why go electric” page:http://www.teslamotors.com/goelectricKeep in mind that it’s not hard to get carried away with cool effects; this kind of echoes the 80/20 rule in a way: You could probably do 80% of the project with 20% effort, and the rest of the 20% of the project would take another 80% of your effort. You would probably be able to impress your audience the same amount with your 20% effort as you would with the full 100%, but, apart from that, sometimes with all the bells and whistles you add with your 100% effort will increase the loading time to an unbearable amount like the BMW’s page does. Makes it kind of feel like Flash! 

Endless Possibilities with HTML5 | BMW USA 3 Series Interactive

http://www.bmwusa.com/standard/content/experience/3serieslines.aspx

New technology brings us innovative and inspiring ways to consume media. Take the BMW’s new website to explore their popular 3 Series sedans. 
What you’ll find interesting is how a lot of these companies are using scrolling as a control for the media. It’s much more natural (on the computer) than pressing a ‘next’ button, which was based on previous UI metaphors of ‘turning the page’. 
I think now that most of us are well-versed with technology, we no longer need tangible metaphors to help us navigate through electronic media - no more ‘desktops’ (Windows Metro is trying hard to leave that behind), no more 3-dimensional buttons and shadow effects, and no more efforts on intricate page-flips. We’re starting to get used to looking at a 2 dimensional screen, and we understand that not everything needs to look glossy to look good.

That said, explore this website’s navigation through scrolling, and enjoy all the cool effects. Also check out Tesla’s “Why go electric” page:
http://www.teslamotors.com/goelectric

Keep in mind that it’s not hard to get carried away with cool effects; this kind of echoes the 80/20 rule in a way: You could probably do 80% of the project with 20% effort, and the rest of the 20% of the project would take another 80% of your effort. You would probably be able to impress your audience the same amount with your 20% effort as you would with the full 100%, but, apart from that, sometimes with all the bells and whistles you add with your 100% effort will increase the loading time to an unbearable amount like the BMW’s page does. Makes it kind of feel like Flash! 

Timely advertising | Oreo’s Dunk in the DarkLast week America experienced one of their biggest yearly sporting events - the (american football) Superbowl. It would cost a company millions of dollars to put up a thirty seconds advert up; advertising was at a premium.The power went out in the game and just a couple of minutes later, Oreo tweets “Power out? No Problem." with this picture. Within an hour there were 10,000 retweets!
In order to do this, the marketing team at Oreo was sitting at a “command center” office waiting for the right moment to post something relevant. It was made, approved and posted in minutes.Sometimes advertising is not about spilling out money on videos and billboards. Sometimes all you need to do is post at the right time.


Power out? No problem. twitter.com/Oreo/status/29…
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013

Timely advertising | Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark

Last week America experienced one of their biggest yearly sporting events - the (american football) Superbowl. It would cost a company millions of dollars to put up a thirty seconds advert up; advertising was at a premium.

The power went out in the game and just a couple of minutes later, Oreo tweets “Power out? No Problem." with this picture. Within an hour there were 10,000 retweets!

In order to do this, the marketing team at Oreo was sitting at a “command center” office waiting for the right moment to post something relevant. It was made, approved and posted in minutes.

Sometimes advertising is not about spilling out money on videos and billboards. Sometimes all you need to do is post at the right time.

How not to transition between languages on online marketing - QNB eNewsletter

I received these two pictures as an animated .gif image in an eNewsletter.. the gif rotated between these two while I tried to read the text under it. A lot of people think that you need to flip everything which you change languages from English to Arabic. Don’t do this!

A big question we need to ask in this era of globalization is how to tailor-make our content for different people, different cultures, and different languages. It’s really easy to make a website in English, or any LTR (left-to-right language) and then say “oh… those guys read RTL (right-to-left) so let me just flip everything around! 
We have to understand that technology has created a whole different set of norms, that makes life a bit more complex for designers. Web pages and electronic media are not like books where we can flip everything around. If it were really that simple, then we would have iPhones that “swipe to unlock” towards the left for Arabs and right for Westerners! We would have number pads that are the other way around as well for Arabs. And for Japanese and others whose script is read top-to-bottom, that would mean their number pad starts with “1” on the top left, and then “2” and “3” would be below that!

Yes, technology has made us all stick to more standards in terms of the way we interact with it, which is a good thing. But this just means that designers have to think a bit more on what they think should be flipped for different languages, and what should not be flipped.

Metaphor for internet speed | Google Fiber Ad

I love a good metaphor in advertising. The best one I’ve seen recently is from Google Fiber (internet provider). The most effective metaphors take a product/service, and somehow related it to something totally different, but something that the audience experiences regularly. In this case it takes internet speed (from Dial-up all the way to Fiber) and relates it to traffic, something we experience everyday. Learn from these guys!

Check out another great metaphor, straws on soda-cup lids: http://critique.zaidhaque.com/post/25591345187/thinking-out-of-the-box-with-drinking-cup-lids

Jul 9

Modifying conventions to make a statement | Qtel Prepaid Internet Advert

As I mentioned using innovation to make a statement (in my previous blog entry), I wanted to carry that concept with something else I just found: an advert from Qtel for using mobile internet on your laptop! Utilizing simple isotype*, they’ve done a good job at modifying your everyday signage to show that their mobile internet can be used anywhere, anytime! Impressive work, Qtel!

*isotype, in plain and simple terms can be called a “picture language”. It’s what is used is signage throughout the world, as a kind of universal means of communication for everything from bathrooms to airports. They’re made minimalistic on purpose; because the idea behind them is the more detail you add, the more complicated the symbols and signage become, and the harder it is for everybody to understand them.

(Source: qtel.com.qa)

Thinking out of the box with drinking cup lids:

It’s been a while. Got caught up in everything from interviews and job hunting to graduation, and now I’m working on immigration paperwork.

However, as soon as I saw this I was instantly inspired to put it up. I felt like this picture can demonstrate the ‘thought process’ behind thinking out of the box. It’s all about metaphors, like I said in my previous post. Take something that is very familiar to people, and turn it into something that’s not, giving that ‘something that’s not’ a lot of emphasis. 
Turning a straw into a car exhaust pipe.. it can actually have the effect of ‘emphasizing’ with the world how it would feel to have all these poisonous gasses filling up the world.
Anyway, try substituting something that everybody knows with whatever you’re trying to emphasize, Very effective method to get your point across!

Thinking out of the box with drinking cup lids:

It’s been a while. Got caught up in everything from interviews and job hunting to graduation, and now I’m working on immigration paperwork.

However, as soon as I saw this I was instantly inspired to put it up. I felt like this picture can demonstrate the ‘thought process’ behind thinking out of the box. It’s all about metaphors, like I said in my previous post. Take something that is very familiar to people, and turn it into something that’s not, giving that ‘something that’s not’ a lot of emphasis. 

Turning a straw into a car exhaust pipe.. it can actually have the effect of ‘emphasizing’ with the world how it would feel to have all these poisonous gasses filling up the world.

Anyway, try substituting something that everybody knows with whatever you’re trying to emphasize, Very effective method to get your point across!

Mar 4

Finding a metaphor for marketing - Mercedes Benz F-CELL

Marketing and Advertising is getting increasingly harder, as people get more and more engrossed in their phones and music and less aware of their surroundings. How do you catch their eye? You’ve got to make something they haven’t seen before. Now that’s not the easiest thing to do, assuming you’re making something even *you* haven’t seen before in that case. But.. that’s innovative design.

You’ve also got to make sure whatever your crazy new idea is relevant to what you’re doing. That’s what Benz did here. Their new fuel cell car produces zero emissions, essentially making it “invisible” to the environment.

Good metaphor, check. Eye-catching, check.
[Stolen off Dejoe John from YouthArabia

(Source: youtube.com)

Grid guides where you need them most | Hallmark wrapping paperI know it’s old-fashioned nowadays to wrap gifts; they’re either wrapped professionally or, more commonly, presented in a shopping bag (hopefully a paper one rather than a plastic bag). I prefer wrapping gifts myself because it gives a touch of personality, and the person you’re giving it to always appreciates it. Besides, buying a gift isn’t just about hopping in your car, going to the supermarket and picking up something and just passing it over!This isn’t meant to be a preaching for why you should wrap gifts, but what’s important here is that most people hate wrapping because they don’t like cutting stuff, it gets all crooked and it always end up being a mess. Hallmark wrapping paper helps stop this by providing gridlines on the back so it’s easier for you to cut straight lines and halve a sense of where to cut. Great example of digging down to the root of the problem (cutting paper being a mess) and helping to stop that from happening.

Grid guides where you need them most | Hallmark wrapping paper

I know it’s old-fashioned nowadays to wrap gifts; they’re either wrapped professionally or, more commonly, presented in a shopping bag (hopefully a paper one rather than a plastic bag). I prefer wrapping gifts myself because it gives a touch of personality, and the person you’re giving it to always appreciates it. Besides, buying a gift isn’t just about hopping in your car, going to the supermarket and picking up something and just passing it over!

This isn’t meant to be a preaching for why you should wrap gifts, but what’s important here is that most people hate wrapping because they don’t like cutting stuff, it gets all crooked and it always end up being a mess. Hallmark wrapping paper helps stop this by providing gridlines on the back so it’s easier for you to cut straight lines and halve a sense of where to cut. Great example of digging down to the root of the problem (cutting paper being a mess) and helping to stop that from happening.

Moving into the post-modern style | Origin Oman logo
I’ve never done a post on anything Arabic, but I think my blog deserves a few more culturally aware posts so here’s one. I’m really proud of the designer who made this logo as part of a logo competition at Oman for making a new logo. This logo appears on products that were made in Oman, including things like Pepsi (I’m assuming Pepsi has a factory in Oman). The reason I like this logo is because it moves away from the regular calligraphy logos that are so famous in the Arab region. Al Jazeera is a classic example. Most of these logos have a teardrop shape, and while, no doubt they look beautiful, from a distance I cannot read them, and I also find them all very similar looking. With Omani creating this nice, legible and modern logo it makes it shows the possibility of taking the Arabic typeface into the new generation. The logo consists of three letters, the ‘Ain (3ain), meem and ‘ya, which form the word Omani.

Moving into the post-modern style | Origin Oman logo

I’ve never done a post on anything Arabic, but I think my blog deserves a few more culturally aware posts so here’s one. I’m really proud of the designer who made this logo as part of a logo competition at Oman for making a new logo. This logo appears on products that were made in Oman, including things like Pepsi (I’m assuming Pepsi has a factory in Oman).

 The reason I like this logo is because it moves away from the regular calligraphy logos that are so famous in the Arab region. Al Jazeera is a classic example. Most of these logos have a teardrop shape, and while, no doubt they look beautiful, from a distance I cannot read them, and I also find them all very similar looking. With Omani creating this nice, legible and modern logo it makes it shows the possibility of taking the Arabic typeface into the new generation. The logo consists of three letters, the ‘Ain (3ain), meem and ‘ya, which form the word Omani.

(Source: blue-chi.com)

Jan 4
Metaphors in advertising | Toyo tires, 2008
Metaphors are a great way to get people to understand the value your brand holds, what it stands for. I saw this advert of a great example of a metaphor in action during a road trip this week, and found an image of it online afterwards. 
The octupus (not sure what the plural form is!) is known to have very, very sticky tentacles. Using those to demonstrate how great the grip is on TOYO tires is a great way to push their product. They weren’t the first to do this though, check out this short blog post on ‘squidvertising’.
You know.. sometimes the best way to show how amazing your product is to relate it to something nobody would’ve thought of. That picture stays in their head much longer, thus leading to more customers trying out their products, and also a bigger customer retention.
I think a lot of adverts could do with some metaphors. Maybe putting shampoo on barren ground and having green grass grow out of it? I don’t know, might actually work for Head and Shoulders. 

Metaphors in advertising | Toyo tires, 2008

Metaphors are a great way to get people to understand the value your brand holds, what it stands for. I saw this advert of a great example of a metaphor in action during a road trip this week, and found an image of it online afterwards. 

The octupus (not sure what the plural form is!) is known to have very, very sticky tentacles. Using those to demonstrate how great the grip is on TOYO tires is a great way to push their product. They weren’t the first to do this though, check out this short blog post on ‘squidvertising’.

You know.. sometimes the best way to show how amazing your product is to relate it to something nobody would’ve thought of. That picture stays in their head much longer, thus leading to more customers trying out their products, and also a bigger customer retention.

I think a lot of adverts could do with some metaphors. Maybe putting shampoo on barren ground and having green grass grow out of it? I don’t know, might actually work for Head and Shoulders.