Daily nuggets of inspiration from the good folk
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Am I the only one who’s getting all apped out? I know I risk sounding like the old man of Elmwood NY, but indulge me in a rant here. The other day, I was on the subway, doing a spot of people watching. I noticed a girl doing a jigsaw on her iPhone. I mean, a jigsaw? Aren’t they supposed to drag you away from technology rather than drive you to it? The same goes for the app version of Scrabble, Words with Friends.
And just near her was a guy playing some sort of nuclear warfare/world domination game. I was transfixed as he annihilated another unwary nation and dispatched a mega army on the next unsuspecting continent. Heavy stuff.
There’s an app for that!
The story continued as I arrived at the studio. The first email I saw when I got in was a circular about an app telling you the best time to go to the restroom during a movie. Almost despite myself, I downloaded it for research purposes.
I now know that when I go to see Skyfall, to wait for the moment 1hr 29mins in, when Bond says to Q ‘He’s gone’. Then I will have four minutes to race to and from the gent’s (and probably get a hotdog!) without missing anything much! This totally negates the need to organise myself before the film. Genius? Or madness?
Was Einstein right?
‘I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots.’ A bit harsh from Albert, perhaps, but maybe it explains why I’ve been feeling ‘unappy’…
So let’s all go and create digital stuff with meaning and substance and a real use. Easy to say, not so easy to do!
The other day, I overheard my ten-year-old daughter prompting my five-year-old daughter to find the red bird. ‘It’s there, it’s there!’ she shouted, impatient with her younger sister to spot the app so they could get started on yet another game of Angry Birds.
It got me thinking that the channels for branding have become far more sophisticated but the basic principles of memorable design remain the same.
My kids might be looking for an app, or something I’ve asked them to find in the supermarket. Last time we went, I gave them the brief (ever the designer) to find the yellow butter with the big red anchor on it. They came back with a pack of Anchor in no time, thanks to the way it cuts through a cluttered fixture with its brand colour and bold icon.
Drawing parallels, the iPad desktop is the shopping aisle and the Angry Birds app is our pack of butter. Both depend on bold and simple design principles to attract the eye.
Even with CGI, I believe we need to stay true to our love of storytelling through colour and clever symbolism. And don’t forget you can buy an Angry Birds toy in the real world now….I’m sure it’ll be easy to find on shelf.
Japanese Fujitsu Laboratories have developed ‘Color Frame’ – a mobile app designed to help users track the condition of their skin.
Users begin by using their smartphone’s camera to take four photos: one around the cheekbone, one beside the nose, one beside the cheek, and one around the mouth.
The app analyses these photos then gives you a set of scores, assessing factors such as spots, dullness and pore size. Users can then compare these scores to future results.
The Instagram app makes it easy to create nostalgic, polaroid-like images. Now, a new prototype device called Instaprint lets you print out these photos when you’re on the move. The lunch box-sized inkless printer can be placed anywhere and set up with a location, so tagged images pop out of the printer.
The Instaprint is currently still in production but people can make enquires and pledge their support for the idea via Kickstarter. Although apps like Instagram have made it possible for anyone to create beautiful digital images, many of us still crave tangible photographs.
Buying someone a drink in person is nice, but buying someone a drink via Twitter is, well, unusual. (Thanks, Zoe.)
Online networking app Tweet-A-Beer hopes to change that and make paying for other Twitter users’ drinks more of a habit. Here’s how it works (flip through the gallery below for a visual tour): Tweet-A-Beer uses Chirpify – an ecommerce platform that lets you buy, sell and donate money – to sync your Twitter account to your PayPal account. You can safely send beer money in $5 allotments.