On being heard without shouting

Back in late April of 2013, Apple started airing a new set of minimal, beautiful ads. The above is entitled "Intention", and while it represents some gorgeous motion work, it also gives us a clear picture of the messaging Apple is trying to convey. Over the past 1-2 years they've lost control of their narrative, as it's been hijacked by investors, pundits, and talk of stocks. They're making a new move in reaching out to customers on an emotional level, whether it's how their products touch lives, or in how they have a sense of craftsmanship and love for what they do.

The first ad, entitled "Photos Every Day" has a quiet and restrained solo piano soundtrack. The visuals are brief looks into the lives of people who are just taking in moments in time, and using iPhones to capture it. We get very few close ups of the device, no loud sound cues of the camera shutter. There's a stigma these days about camera phones and their prevalence has made people focus more on snapping and sharing, rather than just living in the moment. I can see some truth there, but it's more nuanced and balanced. This is an ad provides an elegant balance to that narrative, and in doing so puts some soul into their products.

Secondly we have "Music Every Day", which follows the same themes. Here we see people experiencing those moments in time where that perfect song comes on and amplifies that moment to something special. We never hear the songs, and it's great because of it. The restrained piano is just enough to draw a loose narrative across them, while the viewers are left to think upon their own moments in time that a song made perfect. Once again the devices are featured, but restrained, and in the case of the dancing kid it's difficult to even see in the scene.

It's capped off by a beautiful final scene of a young man floating through what I believe is Hong Kong. I can imagine a few scenarios for him, but one that rings true to me is that of someone arriving somewhere for the first time, trying to get a sense of the character of a city and how he fits into it. It's what resonates with me, but it's flexible to have several other interpretations.

It makes me happy to see advertising that I feel respects the viewer enough to restrain itself. It takes guts to leave room for interpretation, and to be quiet instead of loud when you're trying to be heard.

Really great work.

Pixel Art

Giant Octocat floats across the world

Update from the next day

I've started to try my hand at pixel art over the past few weeks for a game side-project, and I'm really enjoying it. I wouldn't consider myself an artist, but there's something really great about how minimal this kind of work is.

Being able to put down 22 pixels in the right pattern, and be able to call that a person in the right context is fantastic. I'm starting to feel like this is a hobby I'd just like to run with, whether I have a larger project or not.

Current version of the game board. A match 3 game takes place in the center while little scientists and construction workers run around.

Current version of the game board. A match 3 game takes place in the center while little scientists and construction workers run around.

The Octocat alien up top is going to have a few disturbing attack animations that involve it's face distorting in weird ways. I have it all sketched out, and hope to get those done tomorrow. As for the character, seeing as this is for a Github game jam it seemed appropriate to use the Octocat as a base.

In the future I want to create a character a bit more reminscent of Pendleton Ward's Adventure Time. I think I just love ropey arms that can be animated as sine waves when a character is distressed. The character design variety in that show is so impressive. So bizarre and friendly at the same time.

Well I'm off to sleep. More on this tomorrow!