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theme and variation – rapping on digital

This time it's digital!: Advertising-Agency Interactive-Design Recruiter Adelaide, Multimedia Animation Jobs, Multimedia Production-Management Recruitment Brisbane, Digital-Studio Production Jobs, Contract Digital-Agency Packaging Recruitment
This time it's digital!
You see it's all very delicately themed ...
It goes without saying that there is a lot of love for the annual Artisan party. It's become a major annual industry event and has people calling us to beg, borrow or steal an invite in. Part of the fun with each year's event is the theme that goes along with it, which is more often than not coming from Artisan's MD, Michael Broderick. However, behind the scenes, Artisan's favourite young up and comer, Danielle Kerr, has been responsible for the brilliant visuals that greet guests every year. This is the story of how it all panned out for her.

The Artisan 2012 Digital Theme - from inception to implementation

The original brief was somewhat open to interpretation. It was a fairly basic brief. Essentially a one word brief: ‘digital’. Text was provided for the Christmas card and centered around the nascent proliferation of smart phones, tablets, touch-screen and 3D technologies, and also on Artisan’s increasing utilisation of online systems to facilitate low-paper and low-effort interactions with candidates and clients (stay tuned for more of that in the near future).

Michael had some very clear ideas of where he wanted to go with the Artisan Christmas card, but the other aspects of the project had a great deal more room for creative freedom. Being handed too much rope can be an issue for a designer at the best of times, but an open ended brief together with serious timeframe limitations can be a deadly combination. Unlike in previous years when the design process has started many weeks before the deadline, we needed to put together a coherent array of promotional paraphernalia in a matter of days. Given the timeframe we would be unable to create an off-shoot of the Artisan Brand as we had the previous year (Artisan Air for those who weren’t with us at the time).

Rather than trying to re-invent the wheel (or the Artisan brand) in such a short time frame, James (Artisan’s resident IT manager, who took on the role of Art director) and I made a creative decision to go retro, drawing inspiration from digital technology pre 1985. Having set ourselves some boundaries, we hit the ground running.

We made a clear decision to rap on the theme of digital nostalgia. As opposed to using images of modern smart-tech devices, we felt that retro style visuals yielded grater creative potential. That and it was a bit of tongue in cheek, taking about the advancement of technology whilst using images of thoroughly out-dated technology.

We set about creating the visuals for the party with geek-fuelled enthusiasm. In the spirit of a theme-and-variation style approach, we kept a consistent element (the binary code) throughout all phases, but each promotional piece drew additional inspiration from different elements of the retro digital era:

• The Artisan Christmas card – Binary code – an exposition of the theme
• The party invitations and RSVP website – Terminal window command line interface
• The party night’s name tags and props – 8 and 16 bit video games

The binary code that was present throughout the campaign was in fact an encoded message to you all. We suspect no one picked up on it, but anyone proficient in reading binary would have noticed that it was a repeating phrase; “Thank you for being a part of the Artisan family in 2011. Have a happy and safe holiday season and we hope to see you in the New Year”.

Time was a big factor in much of the design process, and particularly during the email party invitation and the RSVP website design development. We had less than 3 days to design and build the website. Simple: one and a half days for design and one and a half days for site development … what could possibly go wrong?

The original concept for the RSVP website was to be a true replica of a terminal window, but we decided against that idea in case people thought our RSVP site was crashing their computer. Admittedly, the odd guest did call in and ask us to RSVP for them because they didn’t have programming skills. But hey, if you’re going to build a website mimicking an outmoded form of user interface which became largely obsolete due its non-user-friendliness, you’re bound to get a few responses of that nature.

Then there were the name tags. We had a bit more time and a lot more fun with the name tags. Basically we have four different types of people that come to the party: Artisan staff, candidates, clients and guests. We also have four colors associated with the artisan brand: red (obviously), green, orange and cyan. As such, we decided to do a different design and color scheme for each, keeping to a common theme of old-school video games on the front and stylised circuit boards on the back.

Artisan Staff: Tetris – because recruitment is all about lining things up and finding the best possible fit.

Clients: Pacman – because any successful business involves chasing the money (cherries) and avoiding any problems (ghosts) along the way.

Candidates: Donkey Kong - climbing the creative ladder and trying to avoid any burning briefs along the way.

Guests: Space Invaders – but no, really, we mean it in the nicest possible way :)

The banners used as a backdrop for the photo-shoot area were kept very simple; binary code using Artisan’s corporate colours. By this point in the campaign, the binary had hopefully become an iconic theme representing the party, but was also simple enough so as not to detract from the photo subjects (our lovely and very photogenic candidates and clients).

And to make things a bit more fun, we did of course also have an array of foam props, based on the name tag artwork. These were a huge hit and everyone wanted a shot with their favourite Artisan video game characters, from Artiman to Art Director Kong (as legally distinct from any actual video game characters).

So only one question remains: did anyone actually notice the homage to Pong in front of the name tag desk?

by Danielle Kerr and James Champion