DNA Advertising Blog http://blog.blogdir.co.uk The creative blog of DNA Advertising Ltd Mon, 22 Aug 2011 09:56:40 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.1 Elastoplast Advert http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/08/22/elastoplast-advert http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/08/22/elastoplast-advert#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2011 09:56:40 +0000 chloe http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3552 I was watching TV a few nights ago when I came across a very cute, clever advert that has since been passed around dna. The new Elastoplast advert features a childish animation style, built from plasters, and uses a voiceover of a young boy telling the story of how he hurt his knee.

Elastoplast have advertised in the past, mainly for their innovative new products and to keep a strong market share (in 2006 Elastoplast held 47% market share), but this advert stands out so much due to the simplicity of it, driven by great planning and strong creativity from TBWA. Throughout the first 25 seconds or so, I had no idea on how the TV ad would come together to make sense. I wasn’t even sure if people would realise it was advertising plasters! However, at the adverts conclusion, the boy recalls that the giraffe bumped his knee and he needed a plaster ? the tagline is unveiled (‘Every Elastoplast tells a story’). The entire advert and branding beautifully come to life and flood emotion between you and the product (even though effectively Elastoplast is a plaster, and an expensive plaster at that, compared to competitors). Appealing to both parents ? relating the story to their own children ? and to children, due to the quirky animation and use of a funny story. Furthermore, it is a prime example of how brilliant effective adverts can be created with minimum expense!
Further research shows this advert was a viral in 2008/2009, before being released as a TV ad this year. Elastoplast has created promotional ties with the campaign. Check out their website here. http://www.elastoplast.co.uk/

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McDonald’s Ice Sculpture Stunt http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/08/18/mcdonalds-ice-sculpture-stunt http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/08/18/mcdonalds-ice-sculpture-stunt#comments Thu, 18 Aug 2011 08:19:35 +0000 jon price http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3559

McDonald?s Canada and Ad agency Cossette in Vancouver have brought to life an interactive ice sculpture on behalf of McDonald?s Restaurants in Alberta, driving consumer interest in the company?s Dollar Drink Days campaign. Hosted in the town of Sylvan Lake, the stunt saw 8,000 pounds of ice moulded into a seven-foot tall installation, containing over 4,000 sparkling coins, shaped into McDonald?s famous Golden Arches?. Watch the interaction as the ice begins the melt… Thanks to adlag

(Jon Price ? Designer)

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Amazing Hyundai 3D projection mapping http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/08/02/amazing-hyundai-3d-projection-mapping http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/08/02/amazing-hyundai-3d-projection-mapping#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2011 10:00:25 +0000 jon price http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3497 I’ve been meaning to share this for a while, and after meetings some digital projection specialists at Marketing Week Live a few weeks back, I thought it even more relevant.

This is the Hyundai Accent 3D projection mapping video, not only showcasing the vehicle but the creative possibilities of projection mapping and the power viral marketing. It highlights the new slogan “New Thinking. New Possibilities.”

After Skoda’s tv fantastic advert based around projection mapping (below), Hyundai had to go one further and do it for real.

Take a look at the Ford Focus Plasma Ball video too if you missed it.

(Opinion: Jon Price ? Designer)

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Take That Progress Tour http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/26/take-that-progress-tour http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/26/take-that-progress-tour#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2011 10:42:59 +0000 Sarah T http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3511

So I’ve been waiting for my mum to take me to see ‘Take That’ since she promised me when I was 12. 15 years later and we’re approaching Wembley Stadium. Joking as we walked up to the massive building pointing to the top, that we’d be sat right up there and guess what? We were 9 rows from the very top. I had to cling onto the hand rails to even get to my seat, what a view though. You can’t help being overwhelmed by the shear scale of the place and the fact that the lucky people down in the standing area look like ants.

We got comfy in our seats and supped on our plastic cups of lager and lime. I had expected it to be dark but it was sunny daylight with the roof open as the support act ‘The Pet Shop Boys’ started. They were pretty cool and had dancers with coloured boxes on their heads. It could have been a bit more exciting but I wasn’t there for them, I was there for TAKE THAT!!

Mark, Gary, Jason and Howard came on and the whole place went wild. As we were in Wembley Stadium, Mark Owen (My Favourite) thought it would be appropriate to sing the National Anthem so, hand on hearts, we all stood and sang. They continued to do a set with the songs that brought them back, such as ‘Patience’. Next up we had Mr Robbie Williams, who was brilliant live.

And then, what we’d all been waiting for ? ‘Take That’ as a five piece again. They were absolutely awesome and the show was spectacular with a 60ft mechanical robot which emerged from behind the stage. They performed on the hands of the robot as it moved out, singing old classics and new hits from their ‘Progress’ Album. There were also six aerialist dancers from Cornwall called ‘Incandescence’ and 30 dancers who climbed a towering wall of water during the song ‘The Flood’.

£15 million was spent on the production of this tour, so the set was incredible and costumes were amazing. Overall, a fantastic concert. Next time I’d like to be standing at the front. Also I would definitely stay at the ‘Ibis’ right next to the stadium as it wasn’t fun trying to squeeze thousands of people onto a tube. It took 2 hours to get back to our hotel!!

(Opinion: Sarah Thomson ? Designer)

Robot in Spotlight at end of Take That Progress Show Wembley Stadium Take That backdrop with dancers at wembley Take That on Stage at Wembley Centre Stage of Take That Progress Tour Take That Progess Set at Wembley with 60ft Robot Huge Poster at Webley Stadium of Take That Robot at Take That Progress Tour Mark Owen on screen on stage of Progress Tour ]]>
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Swisscom Brand-renewal video http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/25/swisscom-brand-renewal-video http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/25/swisscom-brand-renewal-video#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2011 10:01:47 +0000 jon price http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3490

I stumbled across this from 07/08; it’s a nice, brand renewal video from Swisscom, one of the leading brands and a market leader in Switzerland (with more than 60% average share of the market). Swisscom is perceived as one of the most trusted brands by Swiss people and this re-brand was the final step to a major restructuring of the whole Swisscom organisation. “Our concept for Swisscom centres on creating just a cross-platform, dynamic identity. This will form a strong and clearly defined single axis around which every element of the Swisscom organisation can then move”.

It’s an interesting way to demonstrate an overview of the brand-refresh process and goes some way to capturing the amount of work involved. The video speaks for itself but you can see further development here: http://www.movingbrands.com/?category_name=swisscom-work#strategy

(Opinion: Jon Price ? Designer)

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Our new website is here! http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/14/our-new-website-is-here http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/14/our-new-website-is-here#comments Thu, 14 Jul 2011 16:15:29 +0000 jon price http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3477

Following on from our recent rebrand we are pleased to launch the new and improved dna website. It took a little longer to complete than we had hoped but we?ve been very busy getting some exciting client projects finished first. As always, we wanted to take the time to get it just right, so we hope you like it.

Check out the ?see our work? section for an assortment of projects from our ever-growing client list, providing a good representation of the quality and variety of our work. On the ?meet the team? page you can find out more about the people behind the agency and see for yourself what a good looking bunch we are.

We?ll be updating the site often, so make sure you check back soon, or even better sign up to receive updates using the link at the top of the page. We hope you enjoy looking through the new site and would love to hear what you think of it, so get in touch!


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The DNA Dawdlers @ The Sleep Walk http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/11/the-dna-dawdlers-the-sleep-walk http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/11/the-dna-dawdlers-the-sleep-walk#comments Mon, 11 Jul 2011 15:00:58 +0000 Sarah http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3445

On Saturday (9th July) the ?DNA Dawdlers’, otherwise know as Sarah and Katie, took part in the Rowcroft Hospice Sleep Walk along with 1500 other women and a giant sheep named ?Barbara’. We have been working with Rowcroft since October last year to produce the Sleep Walk campaign material and website so we were really excited to be part of the big event. The atmosphere on the night was amazing and it was an incredible sight to see so many women dressed in their PJs all determined to have a great time and raise money for such a worthy cause.

The ten mile route took us from Occombe Farm through Cockington and along the harbour to Kents Cavern where we walked through the caves (our favourite part of the walk). From Kents it was back along the harbour before climbing the hill up Headland Park Road, along Sandringham Gardens and Preston Down Road then heading back to Occombe Farm for a much needed bacon sarnie.

The Sleep Walk event has seen sponsorship pledged currently standing at an amazing £130,000 ? that?s a whopping £170,000 including Gift Aid! This money will help secure the future of Rowcroft and the end of life care that they to provide. It?s not too late to donate, you can support the DNA Dawdlers here or find out more about Rowcroft and the services and support that they provide by visiting www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk.

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A new face at dna! http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/07/a-new-face-at-dna http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/07/a-new-face-at-dna#comments Thu, 07 Jul 2011 09:30:04 +0000 paul mabin http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3436

On July 4th, Chloé Harvey joined the dna team for her placement year from Bournemouth University, studying Advertising and Marketing. Chloé hopes to bring new ideas to dna and is excited to be working alongside the Client Services team and getting thoroughly involved in some real projects, gaining experience she can take back to complete her degree.

Welcome aboard Chloé!

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Marketing Week Live! 2011 http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/05/marketing-week-live-2011 http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/07/05/marketing-week-live-2011#comments Tue, 05 Jul 2011 08:08:15 +0000 Sarah http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3413
Last week Paul, Jon and I left the usual studio hustle and bustle and boarded a train to London to spend the day at Marketing Week Live! This is the second time that dna have attended this event and on arrival to the Olympia hall it was soon evident that this was going to be another exhibition of great value. Marketing Week Live! attracts marketers from across the country and consists of four exhibitions, namely Data Marketing Show, Insight Show, In-Store Show, Online Marketing Show. Each area is packed with interesting displays and seminars on all aspects of marketing.

Not surprisingly the theme of the show seemed to be heavily digital weighted with key speakers including Google?s MD for the UK & Ireland Matt Brittin discussing ?how the web is changing the world for consumers,? giving reference to Google+ and the importance of social. The show rather poignantly witnessed the distribution of the last traditional print version of ?Design Week? as proof of this merge into the digital (only) age…

There were plenty of exciting technologies on display including the very latest in 3D and AR. Touch-screen technology was also making a big impression in Point of Sale/Purchase arena. One product which kept Jon and I busy was the Paradigm interactive multi-touch table (below) that allows interaction between projects with the swipe of your finger using a familiar iOS-like interface. It delivers efficiency and plain fun to the office and we hope to be seeing one in the dna boardroom very soon!

The exhibition is free to attend, so if you want to visit the show for yourself next year visit www.marketingweeklive.co.uk.

(Opinion: Sarah Znideric – Client Services Director)

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Great Handiwork! http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/06/16/great-handiwork http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/06/16/great-handiwork#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2011 14:42:27 +0000 Katie http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3383

Using just hands and a phone, this American phone company creates some amazing advertising.  We love it because it?s different and eye-catching but still clearly displays the product. If you look closely you can see that human hands are intricately painted and posed to depict iconic images representing countries around the world. Cool huh?

(Opinion: Katie – Project Manager)

Bahamas India Australia China Costa Rica Egypt England France Italy Japan Norway Canada ]]>
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What makes a good logo? http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/06/10/what-makes-a-good-logo http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/06/10/what-makes-a-good-logo#comments Fri, 10 Jun 2011 16:49:08 +0000 john dawkins http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3346

Almost every business today has a logo. Some are merely text-based, a representation of the company name. Others are clever, memorable graphic devices that try to encapsulate something of the nature of the business.

But what makes a good logo? I’m not an expert but I would say that a good recipe should contain a portion of creativity, a dash of simplicity and a helping of adaptability to ensure a long life.

Company logos have performed the same basic function since they first began to be used. They are applied to a company’s products to make them distinct from those produced by a competitor. Nothing much has changed in that respect, as every business needs a neat graphic device to represent and reinforce its brand in front of the buying public.

So, when was ‘the logo’ first invented? That’s debatable but I submit that one of the first documented uses of such a symbol must have been the Christian cross symbol. Although ornamental crosses existed way before Christianity, its use to represent (in a graphic form) a particular philosophy has lasted from the 2nd century AD to the present.

Others that spring to my mind include the Kellogg’s logo and the VW logo. Although in terms of world history they are comparatively recent, they are both good examples of a device used to represent a long-established company from its inception up to the present day.

Mr William Keith Kellogg first started making his revolutionary breakfast cereal in 1876 and soon applied his own signature to the packets. By 1906 it had been developed into a recognisable logo and since the 1920s it has remained virtually unchanged.

Adolf Hitler’s Nazi government sponsored the design and production of the Volkswagen (‘People’s Car’) before the 2nd World War. Ferdinand Porche designed the car’s mechanics, Erwin Komenda designed the classic Beetle shape but it was Porche employee Franz Xavier Reimspiess who designed the logo. Originally more complex, it took its current form after WWII when the Allies took control of the VW factory. Again, it has remained unchanged ever since and I reckon every westerner over the age of 5 would recognize it!

So what makes a logo a good logo? Difficult to answer but the ingredients in my recipe (above) are surely essential components. My boss here at DNA always says that if a logo works well in black and white it will work well almost anywhere.

If you want your company to stick around, make sure you have a good logo. On the basis that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, think long and hard before you change yours. If you need an example of how not to do it, just think of the Royal Mail. In its wisdom (or was it poorly advised?) it decided that its identity needed refreshing. It was reborn as Consignia and instantly lost its credibility in the minds of its customers and had to hastily revert back to being the Royal Mail.

If you want to stick around but don’t have a good logo (or don’t have one at all), there’s a bunch of creative folk here at DNA who like nothing better than to design logos that are clever, simple, adaptable and long-lasting.

Opinion: John Dawkins (Designer)

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Cowell Runnings… http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/06/06/cowell-runnings http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/06/06/cowell-runnings#comments Mon, 06 Jun 2011 08:17:32 +0000 jon price http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3325

(See what we did there?) Our trusty BDM Tim has taken up  yet another challenge all in the name of charity! Tim will be running the Torbay Half Marathon on Sunday 19th June on behalf of Rowcroft Hospice – it’s a charity that’s close to Tim’s heart and provides fantastic care to people facing life-limiting illness. With the 13.1 mile coastal route giving all participants a run for their money, any kind donations will be most appreciated ? please show your support and give what you can. Thank you.

Tim’s Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Tim-Cowell

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It’s BIG! http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/06/01/its-big http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/06/01/its-big#comments Wed, 01 Jun 2011 11:13:19 +0000 jon price http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3316

It was the time for high-vis vests and ear plugs as the two Sarahs and JP headed over to the British Ceramic Tile factory for a tour of the new plant.

Although reopened some years ago, with the new brochures looming, we thought it apt for a refresher course and to show newbie DNA designer Sarah what happens behind those closed doors. The £40m expansion was certainly impressive and our guided tour from raw materials to a gorgeous product from the latest Laura Ashley range was fascinating ? with automated robotic flatbeds zipping about the shop floor delivering tiles, giant silos that look like they belong in a science museum, state-of-the-art biscuit (not that kind!) conveyor networks and 1000°C kilns. The new plant has been modelled to accommodate new machinery in line with its plans to grow, to meet a target output of 30,000sqm tiles a day.

You can join Barry online in a step-by-step journey  here.

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Do the new changes to the rules on using cookies affect me? http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/20/do-the-new-changes-to-the-rules-on-using-cookies-affect-me http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/20/do-the-new-changes-to-the-rules-on-using-cookies-affect-me#comments Fri, 20 May 2011 12:23:47 +0000 Simon http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3298 If you run any website then the answer is most probably yes! Until now the law has stated that as long as users can opt-out of having cookies set on their computer by your website then this is OK, but as of the 26th of May 2011 this is changing. The new law will state that you must get users to expressly opt-in to having your site set cookies on their computer.

Do I even use cookies on my site?

Most websites use cookies in some form or another, be it for tracking users via third-party ad networks or simply displaying a different font size or colour based on users’ preferences. Beyond one small caveat in the rules they do not distinguish between those that grab your details and track your every move to those that aid you in using a site.

As a simple example, do you use Google Analytics on your website? If you do then the new law states you must tell users and get them to tick a box to say they are OK with this before accessing your site!

What should I do?

Well here’s the problem… firstly the suggested fixes have not yet been agreed upon and secondly asking users to opt-in to every website’s privacy settings before use is not only annoying to the user, but could greatly hinder business! The reasoning behind the law is a sound one but, we feel that the practical solution is currently unworkable.

In the first instance we are advising customers to amend their privacy statements to specify the cookies used and their purpose. As with the introduction of website accessibility laws a few years ago, this is going to be a long process for all businesses to be able to implement workable solutions.

The ICO who have set out these rules in the UK use Google Analytics on their own site – and set 5 cookies on your machine when you visit their site. The country now awaits the 26th May to see what the ICO do before following suit.

Read the ICO’s “Changes to the rules on using cookies and similar technologies for storing information” document here >


Opinon: Simon Farrow – Web Designer

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The Anti Smart Phone http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/15/the-anti-smart-phone http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/15/the-anti-smart-phone#comments Sun, 15 May 2011 12:51:24 +0000 jon price http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3285

Not breaking news this, but it did make me chuckle so I thought I’d share it. A few weeks back I was at my first BBQ of the year when a friend pulled out a solid white wedge from his pocket and professed it to be the ‘Anti Smart Phone’. It doesn’t have a camera, it can’t access the internet, it has one ringtone and can’t even send or receive text messages… The no frills design, devised by Diedriekje Bok is certainly self-aware; there is a physical address book on the back where you can ‘write’ your text messages with the included stylus pen, and even play games (naughts and crosses)…

John’s Phone‘ - “The World’s Most Simple Phone” is so anti-fashion, it’s actually quite a cool (if expensive £59.99), slightly eccentric novelty. The official website reads: ”John’s Phone is a no-nonsense mobile phone, it doesn’t pretend to be anything more: no bull****, just a phone to call, talk and hang up on.” Well, we had a good laugh at it, what do you think?

(Opinion: Jon Price ? Designer)

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Nightstrider, not just another charity night walk http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/12/nightstrider-not-just-another-charity-night-walk http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/12/nightstrider-not-just-another-charity-night-walk#comments Thu, 12 May 2011 10:43:17 +0000 Simon http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3277 Following the success of the Rowcroft Sleep Walk campaign, we were contacted by St. Margaret?s Hospice enquiring if we could help them with their sponsored walk and after party fundraising event, ?Nightstrider?.

The Somerset based hospice is a lifeline to people with life limiting illnesses and their families and the event runs every year to raise funds for the worthy cause. To emphasise the uniqueness of this event over other nightwalks, DNA created a festival themed design to run throughout the campaign which comprises of a transactional website, e-newsletters, social media and printed collateral.

The event is going ahead on the 17th June and promises to be a great night with a fun walk, fabulous after party and camping fun for those who want to stay over. Spaces for the sponsored walk are filling up fast so to secure your spot or have a nosey at the site go to: www.nightstrider.org.uk

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Sarah meets Barbara! http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/10/sarah-meets-barbara http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/10/sarah-meets-barbara#comments Tue, 10 May 2011 15:36:51 +0000 jon price http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3256 In preparation for Rowcroft Hospice’s ‘Sleep Walk’ women’s-only charity night walk event, the Rowcoft team have begun selling promotional merchandise and giving out their famous training t-shirts. Sarah popped down to the wonderful surrounds in the bay to pick up her shiny new tee only to find not just Barbara promo items galore, but a special appearance from the Sleep Walk mascot herself!

The success from the promotion of the event has seen 1800 walkers sign up in 2 months with over 200 on their waiting list ? great news!

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Creating a Splash in aid of Rowcroft! http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/05/creating-a-splash-in-aid-of-rowcroft http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/05/creating-a-splash-in-aid-of-rowcroft#comments Thu, 05 May 2011 10:00:51 +0000 jon price http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3249

A huge “Thank you” to everyone that helped us smash our target, donating for such a worthy cause. At 121% of our target, DNA’s ‘Row Yellow: Rowing for Rowcroft’ charity event raised a fantastic £1146.41 (including gift aid) as the DNA team took turns to row the distance of The Channel and back again! 9.5 hours of sweat and aching bottoms later and the team had reached the magic 60 miles, with the whole event streamed live!

So again, thank you to those who donated – we really appreciate your support and Rowcroft Hospice will use your donations to continue their fantastic work. See the final slo-mo stretch on our YouTube page

Or relive the experience here on UStream and scroll down to the recent videos.

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A new member of the team http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/03/a-new-member-of-the-team http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/05/03/a-new-member-of-the-team#comments Tue, 03 May 2011 08:42:29 +0000 paul mabin http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3242

On 18th April, Sarah Thomson joined the DNA team. Sarah has a passion for the industry and has been working in design for over 4 years in both the print and digital arena. She left her previous role, managing a small team of designers to join DNA. We see Sarah as a great and welcomed addition to our creative team and I know she is excited to get stuck into more creative projects and work with our prestigious clients.

Welcome aboard Sarah.

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Go-Go Gadget Show Live 2011 http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/04/13/go-go-gadget-show-live-2011 http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/2011/04/13/go-go-gadget-show-live-2011#comments Wed, 13 Apr 2011 13:54:42 +0000 jon price http://blog.blogdir.co.uk/?p=3220

Tues 12 April: Feeling the early morning chill on platform 5, I awaited the train with only a cardboard cup of tea and a luke warm bacon bap for company. This trip will be the envy of many, others may possibly even drool at the prospect, but sometimes you’ve just gotta do what you’ve gotta do…

It’s important to keep abreast of the latest developing technologies when you’re working in an integrated design and digital agency. Be it software or hardware developments, emerging new media platforms or routes to market, it’s essential to keep your eyes peeled for the next industry evolution or new standards on both developer/designer and user sides of the table.

Sadly, Tomorrow’s World was canned in 2003 and frankly just reading about new technologies doesn’t cut the digital mustard. You can’t beat hands-on interaction and demonstration. So I took a trip to the Birmingham NEC on an exclusive Press preview invitation to The Gadget Show Live Professional, the largest consumer electronics show. That’s five huge exhibition halls crammed with hundreds of stands sporting the latest gadgets, consumer tech, demos, workshops and presentations from every industry imaginable, giving an insight into technology and trends of the future… FIND OUT WHAT’S HOT!

For a multimedia and graphic designer with an unhealthy interest in futuristic tech this was something special and after spending 6 hours negotiating the bustling halls and exhibitor stands, playing, learning and experiencing, here’s my take on future Tech and ones that dominated the show. Amidst the eco transportation, domestic robots, sound systems, digital storage devices, gimmick-focused toys, customisables and things you’d find in your local Curry?s, the big boys were:

3D home cinema and gaming.
You may still require those dodgy glasses but playing the latest Nvidia 3D vision system on the worlds largest 3D plasma was pretty immersive. Like last year’s expos, 3D was everywhere and 3D PC-powered experiences was chief. With every major manufacturer touting their improved 3D tv engines (LG’s being non-battery powered and shutter/flicker free – RealD cinemas style), 3D video cameras, stills photography and now 3D Bluray recorders, the industry is charging ahead with this stereoscopic mindmelding whether we like it or not. With the Nintendo 3DS paving the way for no-glasses consumer electronics it’s only a matter of time before that hits our home and we’re all pleasantly cross-eyed.

Tablets, slates, touch-screen mobiles and PCs.
These little babies were simply unavoidable. The lines certainly are blurring between these devices – way beyond the Dell Inspiron Duo’s netbook/tablet identity crisis. The new HP touch pad has sidelined it’s Windows slate and opted for WebOS on it’s new 9.7inch tablet. The Motorola android powered Xoom is weighing up a real contender against the iPad2, with Nvidia’s Tegra 2 Dual core processor and using Google’s (built for tablets) version of Android, Honeycomb. Even BlackBerry have jumped on board the casual bandwagon with their ‘executive plaything’, the BlackBerry Playbook. Throw the Xperia Play (the Playstation Phone) into the mix with its D-Pad design and dedicated portable gaming service and you’re spoilt for choice. Mobiles are becoming smarter and tablets are getting lighter, smaller and more portable – surely there must be the perfect middle ground soon? Well, Acer’s Iconica phone has now entered microtablet territory with it’s 4.8inch 21:9 widescreen display. Powered by Android Gingerbread, the Iconica smarts an 8megapixel camera, 720p video capture and HDMI out. A big phone, a tiny tablet or the best of both worlds? Time will tell. On the other hand, sWaP’s tiny Nova phone is the worlds lightest at 43grams cramming top touchscreen tech into the size of a matchbox! The latest word on the future of this big/small conumdrum… expandable smartphones. Oh and that Android is set to win the OS war… Did I say that aloud?

For portable gaming, widescreen media device and work tool, 2011 is the year of the tablet.

From the web getting smaller, to it getting much bigger! Smart TVs are certainly where things are going.
After experiencing the LG PZ950T 3D smart web-connected television with it’s pointer controlled web browsing, on demand streaming and tv-specific aps it was a no-brainer and is set to become a standard in years to come. Also integrating wirelessly with your other devices to stream from phones or computers, I was suprised that no other exhibitors were fronting these features.

My pic of the Gadget Show's Jason playing a proto-type 'whack-a-mole' with the power of his eye-balls.

Superpowers! It sounds far fetched but both eye-controlled and mind-power controlled electronics were on show and any were on sale! Recently appearing on The Gadget Show, the NeuroSky MindFlex head gear works with custom apps using brainwaves for control, be it focus to beat an onslaught of Zombies or meditation to reduce difficulty levels. Not exactly mass appeal though. Likewise, NI’s Waterloo Labs have developed a working prototype of thier Eye Control techology - forget jumping about with Microsoft Kinect, now you don’t have to raise a finger – literally!

Although not as dominating as it might have been Augmented Reality, fronted by T-Immersion was also a key player – blurring the lines between the real and virtual worlds. AR is a relatively young, but actually quite established technology and it’s extremely flexible. I saw examples of product focused AR whereby the user has full control over a 3D model of an animated Nissan, educational focused AR whereby Dinosaurs literally came to life from a picture book, through to in-store interaction and videos to engage you before you purchase. AR has massive potential but it’s still misunderstood, yet to break the novelty barrier into a mainstream form of consumable interaction. However this is set to happen very soon in conjunction with traditional print advertising methods.

Unfortunately my biggest let down were the highly anticipated Vuzix Augmented Reality glasses, capturing 3D video in real time and and overlaying 3D digital creations and experiences before your eyes -great in theory but in practice, well I’ll try again next year.

An animated, lighting box, no circuitry - just ink.

Wireless Power?
While we?re on the subject of futuristic tech and with relevance to digital media, advertising and design applications my favourite has to be the progressive work by Fulton Innovations and their eCoupled intelligent wireless power. Although it appears to be in it’s infancy as far as final applications are concerned, this tech allows phones to charge without wires, food to heat itself whilst in it’s packaging and even animation of the packaging design itself through the use of conductive ink! All you need to do is place said item on an eCoupled countertop or shelf – lets get then in stores pronto!

Finally, some other things to look out for:
3D printing, literally Ink-jetting a solidifying resin into a 3D object from a 2D data file.

Near Field Communications – using mobile devices as secure travel passes, wallets, travel cards etc. Major players like Samsung, Orange and Google are backing this one and a similar tech is already established in parts of Asia.

4G mobile networks – O2 are already testing the super fast 4G system with rumored speeds of 20x faster than today?s home broadband on your mobile device!

Then there’s folding, paper-like touch and display screens to be the norm in 2018, Ultra HD TV is set for launch in 2020 although initial tests have resulted in sickness due to the image appearing as ‘too real’… after that, quite possibly time travel.

Well, the day was an educational and insightful one and although I wouldn?t say my mind was blown, it was certainly frazzled. ? lot?s to think about.

Check out the official GSL website here for more information and to sign up for public tickets or watch videos from the show.

(Opinion: Jon Price ? Designer)

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