Design Thinking

“The Reader” Give That Man A Bell’s.

Over the weekend I came across a long format commercial for South African whiskey distiller “Bells”. The two videos below show the full length commercial and the behind the scenes documentary that was produced to show the strategic thinking behind the spot. The commercial itself, is a touching and heartwarming look at a man’s growth to literacy.

The product and the tag line don’t even make it into the spot until the last 5 seconds of the 2 minute commercial. It doesn’t matter, this is not a hard sell commercial. It is however extremely effective, having hooked the viewer, and pulled you all the way through the story.If you are a content producer, videographer, story teller, or anyone that works with dynamic media, the second video is well worth watching for the  King James insight about the thinking that went into this piece.

“The Reader” was developed South African agency King James. The team consisted of;

  • Chief Creative Officer Alistair King,
  • Executive Creative Directors Devin Kennedy and Matt Ross,
  • Creative Director Mike Wilson,
  • Art director Cameron Watson,
  • Agency Producer Caz Friedman
  • Bell’s Whisky Brand Manager Thandeka Mgqumeya
  • Marketing Manager Thami Silwana.
  • Director Greg Gray for Velocity Films with Producer Helena Woodfine

The Drawing the Process.

“Drawing is a thought process, not a means to reproduce what you see.” this quote from Daniel Weil in the video below, is a a comment that surfaces about 3 minutes in. It arrives as Weil shows off his sketchbooks, and talks about his process, why he draws, and how it helps him resolve problems, and complete ideas. I have said for years, you can’t design if you can’t draw.

This is fundamental to every aspect of the design industry from graphic to industrial to motion and beyond. It is also something that seems to be slipping away from many designers entering the industry today. I say this, because less than 3 years ago I sat in a meeting with a junior level designer that actually said “What if I can’t draw?” after being asked to sketch out some ideas. At the time I remember thinking, “How did you get a degree in design if you can’t draw”, and then moving on.

Over the last few years, the “I can’t draw” phenomenon has surfaced again, and again. This video, shows you why as a designer, you need to, and should draw, sketch, and visualize with something beyond your computer.

Required Reading. “Helvetica, Objectified, Urbanized: The Complete Interviews”

If you are a designer, there is a pretty solid chance you have seen at least one of Gary Hustwit’s documentaries, HelveticaObjectified and Urbanized. If you haven’t I highly recommend each of them. As with any film, hundreds of hours of footage is shot, but only 1 to 2 hours actually make it into the film. In the case of  Hustwits that means there are hundreds of hours of interview footage that was not seen. The educational value of this footage makes it a real gem, and Hustwit knows this. He has launched a Kickstarter campaign that has surpassed it’s goal in the first nine days it has been up. The project, to bring all of the interviews out as transcripts in a book. Based on who was in the films, count me in on the book.

helvbook

“The book will include in-depth discussions with designers and thinkers like Paola Antonelli, Alejandro Aravena, Chris Bangle, Michael Bierut, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Neville Brody, Tim Brown, David Carson, Matthew Carter, Candy Chang, Yung Ho Chang, Noah Chasin, Wim Crouwel, Ellen Dunham-Jones, Tobias Frere-Jones, Experimental Jetset, Dan Formosa, Sir Norman Foster, Naoto Fukasawa, Jan Gehl, Jonathan Hoefler, Jonathan Ive, Hella Jongerius, Bruce Katz, David Kelley, Rem Koolhaas, Rahul Mehrotra, Bill Moggridge, Marc Newson, Oscar Niemeyer, Enrique Peñalosa, Michael C. Place, Rick Poynor, Dieter Rams, Karim Rashid, Alice Rawsthorn, Stefan Sagmeister, Paula Scher, Erik Spiekerman, Davin Stowell, Jane Fulton Suri, Massimo Vignelli, Rob Walker, Hermann Zapf, and many more… over 75 of the world’s most creative and innovative people.”

The Monocle Guide to Better Living.

Over the last decade, the magazine “Monocle” has become a world leader in presenting ideas, positive thinking, design, and better living. Recently Monocle announced that they have partnered with Gestalten to release their first book, “The Monocle Guide to Better Living”. As the title suggests, this is a curated series of articles from the magazine, as well as outside resources that promotes a better way of living. In the book the Monocle Guide to Better Living, the editorial team looks at one of their core themes: how to live well. That doesn’t mean more stuff, or expensive stuff, it means “living well” whether it is a better neighborhood, or an object designed so well it lasts a lifetime. The video below shows off what the book is about, and the passion behind Tyler Brûlé and his teams thinking.