Updates and articles around our design studio, work, ideas and things we like.
A new book on planning and designing digital brand experiences
We are honored to be featured in a new book called “Branded Interactions”. Marco Spies, the author of this massive, beautifully designed tome, interviewed us almost two years ago. Now the book has been released. And it was definitely worth the long wait.
The book is currently only available in German, but wenn sie sprechen deutsch and work in interaction design and/or brand communication, you should buy a copy. Believe us, you won’t regret it.
Apart from the interview, the book also features our multiscreen patterns and a case study of Native Instruments “Maschine”.
Dezember 31st to January 6th
Happy new year!
2013 started with some long overdue housekeeping here at the precious HQ. We equipped the new kitchen, cleaned the place and cleared the heap of moving boxes in the middle of the floor. Where there was chaos are now two empty desks, waiting for new team members (if you want to be one of them, let us know).
For the rest of the week we’ve been busy with a two-day client workshop. Since we were so enthusiastic about our new kitchen, we decided to do the catering for our guest ourselves. We baked three loafs of artisan bread, two banana breads, one Hefezopf and a batch of healthy energy bars. We made vegetarian and vegan lasagnas for lunch on the first day and an arabic spiced lentil-soup, a tofu curry salad and white bean fig salad for day two. Yummy.
Although it was strenuous, we really liked taking care of our guests. It encouraged us to do more workshops, gatherings or other events. And it reminded me of a quote from Charles Eames:
“The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host, all of whose energy goes into trying to anticipate the needs of his guests.”
December 17th to 23rd
The last week of 2012. On Friday we closed up shop for the holidays and will return in January. At least that’s what we told our clients. We’ll probably use these quiet days to ready our studio space for 2013.
But before enjoying some time off, we continued working on Puichon in full speed. We are still doing everything in parallel: phone, web, tablet. It’s all coming together beautifully. We do something for the mobile app and it will influence the web version, and when we make new layouts for the web, ideas are adapted for the tablet… it’s a luxury to work like this, but it pays off.
Unfortunately this was also Sean’s last week at precious. Because of some bureaucratic regulations he couldn’t get a work permit as a precious employee, but he was able to find another place to work, so he can stay in Hamburg. It’s sad to loose him, since he is not only a talented and very diligent designer, but also a great guy who brightens up every room he enters. We hope he will drop by our office from time to time to challenge David on the Xbox and share some meals with us (you can always lure Sean with food). Goodbye Sean, we wish you all the best!
December 10th to 16th
Not that much interesting things to report on the project front, so I keep it short: David (with a little guidance from Christophe, who still enjoys a well-deserved time off) worked on a new sub-project of Wasatch, an bigger ongoing project. Sean and I were busy with Puichon.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Michael, Christophe and I sat down together for a couple of hours to talk about strategic matters. Our company’s principles, the type of projects we want to work on, what skills we need in our team, how we find the talent we are looking for… these sort of things.
We could have talked much longer about those topics (and soon we will), but we had to stop, because our christmas party was about to start. We rang in the evening by watching “Future by Design”, a documentary about “futurist” Jaques Fresco. The movie stirred quite a lot of discussion, but our intellectual endeavors were soon replaced by a short, yet intense session of Kinect Sports. Afterwards we feasted at La Monella. Delizioso!
Talking about food and cooking: the construction of our kitchen finally started. It’ll be a huge update of the studio space once we can make lunch ourselves and don’t have wash our dishes in the bathroom sink. Smaller but nevertheless significant upgrades this week included a new storage shelf and a custom-made side-table that completes our “comfy corner”. The side tables/wood cubes were crafted by Hartmut Jansen and we couldn’t be happier with the result. Our meeting room also received some attention. Michael started to sand and paint an entire wall with whiteboard paint.
It took longer than we expected, but i’m positive that we will have completed most of our initial ideas for the interior by the end of the year. On the whole everything is coming together quite nicely. I will take some pictures as soon as our studio doesn’t look like a construction site.
November 26th to December 9th
“Buttons”, was the word most used in our weekly review on Friday. After a phase of developing a visual language and a few exemplary layouts for the web interface of Puichon, the developers are anxious to implement the design. So we had to switch modes from exploration to specification. One part of that were buttons. Different types, styles and states had to be designed. Rules for their usage, their behavior and there relation had to be put in writing.
Apart from taking care of general studio business, Michael with the help of Sean and David, did some updates for the Tocotronic website. The band released some appetizers for the new album. Check it out.
Christophe is on paternity leave for the rest of the month. He is now the proud and happy father of a healthy, cute (as a button) son. Wonderful!
November 19th to 25th
It’s early sunday morning, the dark outside is slowly turning into grey. Everything’s quiet, except for the oven which hums while emitting a faint smell of baking bread. Perfect time to write a weeknote!
The week started with a little bummer. We’ve been considered for a very interesting new project, but due to some timing issues, we haven’t been selected. We had good (joyous!) reasons for not complying with the tight schedule, though. C’est la vie.
For the same reasons Christophe canceled his talk at the Push Conference in Munich. The presentation he was preparing was called “Learning to say no”, and learn he obviously did. Michael bravely took over the duty, having only a few days to prepare his talk about (design) processes.
Like the week before, Puichon kept most of us busy. Our client dropped by every other day to get a cup of coffee and review the work we’ve done. We are making good progress.
Christophe was also involved in Wasatch – an ongoing project that was a bit on the back-burner in the last weeks. He went to the client’s headquarters twice this week, still trying to find out better and faster ways to get there. Bus, train, cab, bike… he now knows all the options, travel times and fares.
The week ended with another bummer, although it didn’t came as a surprise to us: The Financial Times Deutschland will be closed down in December. We worked with a small team at FTD since the beginning of this year. Snoqualmie and Snohomish were both project code names associated with this client. The latter stood for their new mobile website, which was just released a few weeks ago. Snoqualmie, on the other hand, was a bigger project which is now almost a year in the making – and will remain unfinished. We might share more details about this, if we are allowed to talk about it.
Snohomish and especially Snoqualmie were an integral part of FTD’s digital strategy. Unfortunately these efforts came too late. I wonder what would have happened if Snoqualmie was done a year earlier. Could it have saved the sinking ship? Or at least sparked some hope that the brand had a (digital) future? Unfortunately we’ll never find out.
We wish the talented people at FTD all the best in these turbulent times and hope that they will find new jobs and challenges.
To end this note with something more pleasant: The studio space got two more updates. Three custom-built, wooden cubes that can serve as a either stools or side tables, and a new floor in the kitchen. Es geht voran.