This Clock Tells Time Better Than You

March 1, 2011

Just tell me you’ve seen something as amazing as this. Go on. No really, I’d love to know!

The Clock Clock by Humans Since 1982


Custom Built Tron Light Cycles

July 1, 2010

Tired of playing Armagetron and wishing you had your very own Light Cycle to blaze a solid trail through cyberspace on? Wish no more! At least, wish a little less.

You won’t be cruising the innards of any computers on this baby, but you can definitely cruise the streets. As long as you’ve got a spare $35,000 USD, you can pick one up on eBay right now.

If you feel like buying me one for Christmas, I’m completely okay with that.


[HT @bluerandom via Technabob via Geekologie]

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Another Way To Hang Your Hat

June 2, 2010

If there are better ceiling lights than these, I don’t know what they are – though I’m willing take take suggestions.

Designer Jake Phipps came up with these classy creations a little while back, and I hope was duly rewarded for bringing a bit of dapper to the lighting scene. He calls them the Jeeves & Wooster – click through for cultural reference.

Honestly, is there anything a distinguished hat isn’t good for? If you’ve got some other well designed or wacky hat uses, or lighting solutions, it would be great to see them in the comments!


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Street Fighter IV iPhone Covers are Win

April 27, 2010

If you’re reading this blog you’re probably a tech, or design nerd of some kind, and if you’re a nerd there’s a pretty high chance you’ve wasted (read: appropriately utilised) a good portion of your time playing Street Fighter in its various incarnations. Regardless of whether or not that’s a broad generalisation, these Street Fight iPhone covers are totally rad.

Street Fighter iPhone Covers

Click to see that exact same picture, but larger.

Oh, and enjoy this video.

Personally, if I wielded an iPhone in my daily life, I’d have a hard time not purchasing anything that made it look like Ryu. Got a favourite?


[Source: Capsule Computers Australia]

The Courier: Microsoft wants to send you something nice.

April 14, 2010

We haven’t blogged about this here yet, and given all the tablet-like devices we’ve covered over the last couple of weeks (iPad mania? Maybe.) why not add Microsoft’s possible entry into the fray.

The Courier appears to sit somewhere between a smartphone, PDA, the current imaginings of a tablet and… a book. It may sound odd, but if you can see the picture below, you’ll notice just how enticing this might be to certain creative folk, myself included.

Microsoft Courier

Courtesy of Engadget

Notice the menu on the left hand page, sketching. Sure, reading, playing, all of that is great – but for someone who loves to draw, and loves to draw on the go, this is some kind of dream come true. It hasn’t come true yet, but it looks to be on the way. This concept is intended for both touch and stylus, recognising (much like this) that touch is great for some things… but for others, it’s honestly best to have another tool in hand.

Not all fancy new devices have to come in iPad/Slate/Tablet form, and the idea of a digital note/sketchbook complete with camera and mobile web capabilities is a fantastic step into an innovative, digital future. Better yet, it should fit in your pocket.


Adobe Labs teases us with amazing content-aware fill feature that we can’t have yet.

March 25, 2010

Now the Photoshoppers among us are all very familiar with the Clone tool. Need to remove stuff from an image? Clone tool’s got your back.

Imagine if it was a little smarter. Imagine it knew how to get rid of things you just pointed out it it.

Adobe Labs teases us with this video demonstration of how we might tidy our images… in the FUTURE.

Hat tip to @VinnyCaravella and @dannyodwyer

Mind Melting GIFs

February 2, 2010

The almighty animated GIF has come along way over the years.

David Dope and his funky visual china town blog has a whole collection of GIFS that will slowly put you into a hypnotic trance.

A tip O’ the hat to you Mr. David Dope (even though your name sounds like an alter ego like Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce and Prince’s short lived Camille‘.)

Catch a glimpse on our blog now because this bad-boy is coming down soon so other articles can be read in comfort (it’s a bit of a challenge to view anything else on the page lol).

The Beatles: Mostly played in major key, apparently

January 29, 2010

Designer Michael Deal embarks on an impressive if not somewhat obsessive effort to illustrate the work of The Beatles in infographics.

Here’s an example showing the musical key distribution of their albums and a conclusion that on average they played mostly in a major key:




Looks kind of like Magical Mystery Tour had the most minor key of any of them. Wasn’t that their least popular album? Coincidence?

Other samples here:


The relationship between music and graphics begins with musical notes on paper ahead of a recording session. Interesting to see graphics at the other end.


HT Flowing Data

Refreshingly Fun: What we’ve been doing with Pepsi

January 8, 2010

You’ve probably seen the billboards and bus ads by now, but in case you weren’t aware, we recently launched the digital side of Pepsi’s new Hit Refresh campaign. MTV are pushing it on television, we’re running it here on the ‘net.

It’s pretty cool, a mash-up of Pepsi re-inventing their image and placing a huge focus on digital marketing the combination of which turned into a Twitter based scavenger hunt, with the prizes coming in the form of cold hard cash. Well, not cash so much as 101 slick little EFTPOS cards loaded up with $250 each.

A brief run down: the refreshment company activation team (known as Pepsi Refreshers) make their way out into the world, choose an obscure location in a well populated Australian city, and then start tweeting out clues about where they are from the Pepsi Australia Twitter page. We’ve rigged it so that game playing, money lusting, Pepsi fans can also catch these updates on the Facebook Page, or at the Hit Refresh site, in order to more effectively race each other to the prize.

This is excellent because the entire thing can essentially be run from a smartphone, an easy thing for a Pepsi Refresher to have on them at all times. Plus, the players themselves aren’t tied into any particular service in order to keep up with the clues. It’s infectious, interactive, and incredibly efficient – social media at its best, really.

Creative mastermind Toby Caves really took advantage of the fact that APIs and widgets basically rule the internet now, and the main campaign site grew into a deliciously crafted overview of everything that’s happened, and is happening in the competition at any given time.

The latest clues are fed in from the Twitter page, Facebook fans are prominently displayed, a schedule and Google powered map let people know which cities the Refreshers are going to pop up in next and the Winners Gallery shows off all those lucky sods with their fancy new free money cards. It’s all ruled over by an explanatory Flash header, and coated in a vibrant blue that only exists between shades of Pepsi and Twitter.

Speaking of those cards, we feel like they’re a bit of a win. Based on the global Refresh campaign posters and candy colour palette, they are a bit more recognisable and fun than straight up cash in your hand while still being just as usable.

Stamped with the new Pepsi globe logo, we’ve also slapped some helpful thematic suggestions for spending the well won dollars. Things like style, scene, and so on – after all, if you win a prize you shouldn’t be using it to pay your bills (unless you really need to, then it’s ok). As a general rule though, prizes are fun, should be used for fun, should be spent on your self, and we wanted to encourage that.

We wanted the prize cards to be like the campaign, simple, effective, fun and it feels like we nailed it.

No, it’s not modest or polite to rave on about oneself, but this is a pretty exciting project for us, and the response so far has been amazing, so we thought we’d throw out a few more details and see what you all think.

Check out the campaign, hit us up in the comments and let us know.

5 Amazing and Unique Portfolio Interfaces

November 4, 2009

There’s a sea of portfolio sites out there. Of the best ones there are many that look great but don’t stray far from the typical interface design frameworks and information architecture.

Here’s a collection of five seriously impressive efforts to innovate, take chances, do something unique, delight and surprise… Great stuff.

1. Wonderwall

This Japanese interior design firm presents their work via a sproingy, elastic, 3D, slightly off the grid mosaic interface. It’s just fun to play with and tightly executed. It’s not a facade, either – the transitions and detail views are well thought through.


2. Resn –

Not a new site, but if this New Zealand based creative agency ever changes their portfolio I look forward to seeing how they plan to improve on it. The imagination behind the navigation rollover effects and the presentation of the work in the portfolio section are inspiring. Use of full bleed background imagery and subtle audio really surround the visitor. Great balance of creativity and usability.


3. thetoke –

Slick, clean, technical. Slightly ambiguous concept around the identity and the intro, but it all makes for good eye candy. Play with the viewing modes in the top right hand corner to see cool applications of 3D in Flash.


4. bio-bak –

Wow. Also been around a while but something truly bizarre. It’s a game. The object is to find the site’s navigation. This site has balls. And they’re hairy and badly drawn.



Ok, so it’s a book launch, not a portfolio, but it’s classic Frost and fits beautifully with the others for a range of inspiration on how to simultaneously provide a stage and set a tone.




Design this: The Rolling Stones on vacation in Cuba in the early 70’s

October 7, 2009

Designing to a theme is an effective way of innovating in visual design. Two examples of this from Amnesia Razorfish’s portfolio are Smirnoff Mule (1940’s film noir murder mystery)…


…and ninemsn’s Friend Magnet (mid 20th century carnival fun house).


Senior Art Director Toby lead the charge to bring these two visual themes to life for our clients.

With that in mind, here’s a theme I like found on Behance: The Rolling Stones on vacation in Cuba in the early 70’s.

Why not?






Why visual communication works for getting ideas to stick in our brains

July 30, 2009

“What is it about animation, graphics, illustrations, that create meaning?”

imageInformation designer Tom Wujec looks at how the brain processes ideas and points out three guidelines for conveying ideas. Three guidelines that happen to completely validate the realm of visual communication.

  1. Make ideas clear by visualizing them
  2. Make them interactive
  3. Make them persistent

Follow the interactive transcript here on…


Kleinmania. Now slightly more popular than ever.

July 9, 2009

image image

The man who puts the Klein in Kleinmania (one of our senior designers here) was interviewed by The Publics.


“Kerning is an interesting process because it can be very time consuming and it’s usually invisible, as in you only notice it when it’s bad … To my knowledge nobody has ever died from poor kerning.”

Read the interview:

Kleinmania on Tumblr: 


The Key Features of Social Media and Networking Sites

June 5, 2009

Smashing Magazine comes though again with a brilliantly in-depth article about the user interface design of social networking sites and what makes them good user experiences.


They’ve chunked them down to 9 key points:

1. Simple Interface Is The Key

2. Prominent and Functional Search
3. Prominent Call-To-Action-Buttons
4. Calm Separation of Elements
5. Treat text as User Interface
6. Simple and Usable Forms
7. Real-Time Updates
8. Word-Of-Mouth-Advertising and Personalization
9. User-Centric User Interface

The article is a must read for any web designers or social media gurus, its very in-depth and definitely one to bookmark and pass on.

Read it here


*note: image by Kleinmania

Designers Staying Ahead of The Curve

June 4, 2009

I just finished reading a really well put together article on Six Revisions about how to go about getting ahead of the design game in these tough times. with so many designers going out on their own there are a few things author/designer/developer Aaron Irizarry thinks we should focus on.


From collaboration to hitting the books to really just wanting to do what you do, the article is a good little way to get your mind back on track and think about why we became designers in the first place and what we want to get out of our careers.

While the article focuses on designers it’s a good read and pertinent advice for most of us.

Give it some love here.

The worlds strangest lamps

June 4, 2009

A little bit of light hearted oddness (pun intended).
Oddee has compiled a shortlist of the worlds most weird and wonderful lamp designs.

No matter how you look at some of these, its hard to imagine what the designers were thinking or indeed, if they were thinking at all! makes for a good few mins of procrastination though

See all the lamps here




No matter how you look at some of these, its hard to imagine what the designers were thinking or indeed, if they were thinking at all! makes for a good few mins of procrastination though

See all the lamps here

5 tips for creating your first digital design portfolio

May 22, 2009

At our 2009 Open Studio event I gave a short seminar about first time online portfolios. Here’s a recap of the points made:

1. Don’t reinvent the wheel (unless you’re looking for work
reinventing wheels)


A lot of effort is spent building portfolio sites from the ground up. Unless you’re specifically aiming to show off your ability to design and build a portfolio site (and are confident you can do this in a way that competes with the free industry standard options available) you might consider using some easier options to save time and assure a usable, professional presentation.

Here’s just one example of an off the shelf solution to the portfolio problem: Create your own free portfolio with bells and whistles at Krop’s Creative Database:

Another simple option is to take advantage of the browser scroll bar. As long as the work is clearly displayed there’s nothing really wrong with a long scrolling page for displaying content. Works for blog posts all the time. Here’s an example: 

2. It’s about the content

What do these two objects have in common?


Aside from the fact that both of them are contexts for the presentation of visual communication, they’re both relatively minimal. Again, unless it’s really important that you demonstrate an ability to redefine the packaging your work sits in, remember the advice of erring on the side of minimal so the content jumps out.

(One exception to this that comes to mind which works well is the portfolio of a digital senior creative we’ve worked with where you have to play pong and then choose the correct holy grail from the fakes to enter the portfolio. 🙂 It works because the nature of the intended role is one of redefining the rules. And it was well executed. Risky but good.) 

3. Edit and organise

There’s a natural tendency to want to include everything you’ve ever done. Sometimes a review can be going well and then one piece triggers a feeling of ‘wow, how did that wind up in here? It was going so well.’ Edit your main portfolio down to your strongest work, even if it’s not that many pieces. It’s always acceptable to have additional categories off the main area (additional albums, essentially) for displaying backup examples if the reviewer wants to drill down.

Consider leading with your strongest work and wrapping up with your second strongest to start and end with best impressions.


4. Know your objective

Know what type of work you’re going for ahead of creating your portfolio so you don’t wind up with something lacking focus. It shows.

imageKnowing your objective will also help you identify your intended audience which will help you make decisions when you edit your work, and when you choose your presentation platform.  

Think of your portfolio as a stage. The moment before it’s reviewed is like the moment before the curtain opens. Your audience really doesn’t know what to expect.

In this context, here are three example objective and material pairs to consider:

  • Objective work: interactive design = work to display: screen mockups
  • Objective work: ideas and art direction = work to display: sketches and rationale through to finish output
  • Objective work: illustration = work to display: illustration in full and detail views, both in and out of context

5. Get the metadata right: what was the brief and what was your role?

It’s important for reviewers to know A) what the problem your work is addressing is for any given piece, and B) what exactly your role on a particular project was.


It’s best when this information is clear, concise, consistently structured and easy to scan.


Feel free to comment if you’ve got any questions or ideas on these tips.

Here’s a related blog post from ANidea: 10 Tips for Landing an Interactive Design Job

A Look Into the Future of Transport Infrastructure

May 8, 2009


Well, perhaps not so much… but whatever the future holds, it’s big things for photographer and illustrator Hubert Blanz.
Check out some of his wonderful works here.

Web design is 95% typography

May 1, 2009


Interesting article for designers from Information Architects Japan on the topic of information design and typography. Helpful for designers who struggle with getting past the visual aspect and into the information being communicated. 

Incidentally, IA’s 4th web trends map is in beta. Amazing visualisation effort which makes a fascinating poster.