Thursday, December 29, 2011

BaileyDuran.com

After around six weeks of work we’re happy to release our last freelance project before for the time being: a website for six year old talented snowboarder Bailey Duran. Robbin and I collaborated with her dad to create a snowy world just for her. We also had help from our friend Jonas with the coding. Check it out on www.BaileyDuran.com

Monday, December 26, 2011

Remix your city

Great new work from W+K Tokyo Lab featuring HIFANA and their sound app Fresh Push Play.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winter grey


Shirt & Scarf by SILENT by Damir Doma
Pants by odeur
Photos by Anna

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Junior Art Director Meme

This new meme about junior art directors is full of true, sad and fun stuff.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Website for tadaa

Fresh out of the freelance design oven comes a new website for tadaa. Earlier this year I helped this German startup with giving their brand a new look and user interface.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Lucky Panda – Refined drinking in Tokyo

Tokyo is a paradise of many sorts – retail, fashion, cuteness and craziness – beside all this fabulousness it also excels in presenting a very cultivated drinking cultures in thousands of bars, probably the best ones in the whole world. But these bars are small, hosting only up to 6 or 8 people at a time. A cozy atmosphere that transforms strangers into friends easily. The good places are hard to find, don't go looking for them on a main street, unless there's one located on the 37th floor between two buildings. The darker the alley the better the bar.

The beauty about japanese bars is their sense of refinement, every single glass is carefully chosen and ice cubes are individually carved by hand into flawless round balls. There's even no need for conversations as your jaw usually is busy dropping every few minutes at yet another fine detail in a japanese drinking establishment.

My dearest bar in Tokyo is the Lucky Panda. It's hidden in a backstreet that served me for cutting my walk to work short and I passed this gem of a place countless times before I dared to enter. A lucky encounter indeed and on my first visit it felt more home than home. The man running this place is fully devoted to the cause of fine drinking. Besides caribbean women, this bar is his sole passion. Prices for drinks remain a mystery and the owner rather estimates each visit freely, probably taking into account how much fun the patrons had. A few hours in the Lucky Panda will open every pair of eyes to the beauty of Japans drinking culture. On a visit to Tokyo my multitalented friend Nico Nuzzaci agreed and took the fantastic shots below. "Sumimasen, Hibiki on the rocks please."
 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pipka Pipka

Pipka Pipka is both a fashion brand and a creative collective of five east-european influenced girls. Last week they got together and served up a brilliant show that was more art than fashion – in a good way. They've chosen the GOLEM bar as their location, it's a dark and smoke infused speak-easy in the harbor of Hamburg that serves a mean old fashion and has a dance cellar hiding behind a secret door. There was live piano music and chanson singing girls to set the right atmosphere for Pipka Pipka's crazy outfits. From Barbie doll garnished dresses to a sportswear collection for Nuns – the things on show were both conceptual and visually stunning. All together it was just about the most refreshing fashion show I've attended. Not that I've been to many though.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Herr von Eden store opening





Herr von Eden keeps rocking the world of well suited and booted gentleman by the opening their first bespoke tailoring atelier last night in a swanky location in Hamburg. I strolled down to sneak a peek and wasn't disappointed – it's the kind of place I'd love to buy a suit at. Yet, for an art director this is both curse and blessing as the amount of options and combinations is limitless. Bravo.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Avocado Bacon Flower Salad

My sister has been posting about food & recipes for some time now, so here's me being inspired by her. Todays healthy lunch: Mixed salad, diced bacon, avocado, dill, tomatoes and edible flowers with simple olive oil dressing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Another Robbin Waldemar Interview

2010lab.tv asked Robbin and me a few questions for an interview. Here's one:
What is creativity for you?
RobbinWaldemar: For us creativity is about creating, doing and making stuff in ways that haven’t been done before. Often it’s about fusing existing components to create new combinations. And if you want to get the most out of it you need to get as much input as possible and take in everything that surrounds you. Exact for that reason we adore big cities like London and Tokyo, there’s always something new and exciting lurking around the corner that might spark off yet another thought. On the other hand technology changed all that, and any place no matter how big or small can ooze creativity and inspiration with the right people and mindset.

Read the whole interview here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

500 posts in 5 years

Exactly five years and 500 posts ago, on the 5th of October 2006 I started a blog and called it 'Creative in London'. I just moved to the English capital to pursue a career in advertising – an adventure in itself that together with this blog was (and still is) a great ride seasoned with ups and downs, exciting times and dry spells. From London to Hamburg to Stockholm to Tokyo this blog has seen me changing countries, jobs, creative partners, agencies, universities, interests and haircuts. Back then I didn't really have a clue what I was doing with this website – it was just for fun. Reflecting on everything now I can point out three themes that became dear to me and kept me blogging through good and bad:

The first thing is that this is a great way to document my journey and have a diary of sorts. The second thing is that I write here to keep myself thinking, questioning and reflecting, it's a collection of thoughts. The third reason is to share what I find moving or interesting and to connect with others through these thoughts and findings.

Every time I open this website I'm more than happy that I never stopped writing. I'm curious what the next 500 posts will be like. I hope they will be different as change is good. I will share more about culture, food, fashion and the bigger picture of creativity. But of course there will be advertising. It's still what I'm doing. Thanks for sticking around and reading this, I appreciate it. Comments and thoughts are always welcome. This blog is as much for me as it's for the ones reading it.

One final look in the rear mirror, eleven posts from the past that were defining, interesting, funny or random, enjoy:
  1. Games – the real new media
  2. Leo Lab Landing
  3. Interview with David Droga
  4. Rum alchemy
  5. Reflections from my internship at W+K Tokyo
  6. My lunch tale (creative writing)
  7. Workshop with IDEO
  8. Drawing of Spikey
  9. A creative team for today
  10. Advertising & Art
  11. The Hyper Island Way

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Creativity in Japan

Two years ago I didn't know a thing about creativity in Japan. Asian advertising was something I'd watch on YouTube to be left wondering what randomness I just witnessed. This all changed on a Sunday afternoon in Stockholm when I stumbled across an online lecture from Naoki Ito in November 2009.

At that time I was studying at Hyper Island and considered myself up to date with all things interactive online. Yet I realized that I never saw the work from this video before and it struck me that there's much more to Japan than I thought. This lecture planted a seed in my head to explore Japan to get a perspective of creative advertising beyond the western part of the world. Months later Naoki Ito became the Executive Creative Director of Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo and I was lucky enough to be invited to their Tokyo office for an internship with my creative partner. During this internship and the following employment I had the chance to work daily with Naoki and learned a great deal from him. Communication wasn't always easy but he helped shaping a perspective on what makes Japanese creativity different from the rest of the world:

While Japans culture has a big desire for the always new and quirky their art in all forms is very conceptual and has many layers of meaning. Their everyday is cluttered with commercial messages and it's the toughest place on earth to stand out. That's why communication has to be as different as possible from usual advertising and at the same time it has to be meaningful and be able to become part of culture and influence it. This makes Japan a country where the bar for great creative work is higher than anywhere else.

I imagine that's one of the reasons why five of the most talented Japanese creatives joined forces to start up PARTY, a creative lab. The lineup: Naoki Ito, Morihiro Harano, Qanta Shimizu, Hiroki Nakamura and Masashi Kawamura. In just a few months they created work like the Toyota Backseat Driver and two music videos for androp: Bright Siren and Bell. It's an impressive indication for the things to come and I believe their approach to technology, collaboration and storytelling will lead to a new breed of creative work that will show the world the true potential of Japanese creativity.



Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Robbin Waldemar song

Once upon a time a creative team discovered fiverr.com and the fact that you can order the silliest things for just 5 bucks. For example a song written and performed by a musician on a topic of your choice. Sing along if you like. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Suited up

It's only on rare occasion (such as a best friends wedding) that I slip into a suit. It's then when I'm thankful for having one of my favourite designers in Hamburg – Herr von Eden. Their suits remind me of long gone by Dandy times refreshed with modern materials and curiously patterned accessories. Photo by Anna.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

London Advertising Monopoly

Admonopoly is a fun take on the London advertising scene where most agency are represented as properties on a game-board. Follow them on twitter if you like these sort of things: @admonopoly

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tokyo Rising

Pharrell stars in this urban documentary film which is part of Palladium’s exploration series. He takes a trip to Tokyo to see how people deal with the recent earthquake & nuclear disaster. In particular he looks into the thriving music, art and fashion scene of one the most influential cities in the world. It's undeniable how much pain the 3-11 disaster brought upon Japan but this film also shows the new-won spirit of the japanese that will help them overcome the event and learn from it. The pictures are breathtaking and if you've ever been to Tokyo this will give you itchy feet to return there. A friend once said that living in Tokyo is like living in Bladerunner, but it's cleaner and the people are nice.

You can find the trailer below and see the five part full length documentary on the Palladium website.

 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Colette Secret Island


Colette is a store well known for their eclectic music collection and on my last trip to Paris I was lucky enough to pick up this gem of a disc. It's a compilation of 16 tracks that help you to escape whatever desk you're tied to and get lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to discover a secret island where both summer and day dreams are endless. Listen in to it on iTunes. Below is the first track which pretty much sets the tone for the whole experience.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

tadaa – branding, design and user experience



For the past few months I worked together with a start-up in Hamburg to help them create tadaa – an iPhone application all about photos. It has a lightning fast camera, a bunch of cool filters and a deep community system to help people share photos and interact with each other. On top of that every user gets their own tadaa photoblog with all their published pictures automatically added to it, here's mine for example.

My part in this project was the whole visual side: creating the tadaa brand look and feel, designing the whole user experience and interface and creating everything from the smallest of buttons to the website. tadaa is the first mobile application I fully designed. The process wasn't always easy but I learned a great deal during this project. Here are five things I've learned along the way:

  • 1. Designing an iPhone app is a huge amount of work and requires a lot of attention to detail.  Achieving consistency across the whole application and creating a balanced look while remaining user friendly is very very time consuming.
  • 2. It's not about great looking static screens – transitions, animations and interaction states are as important to the overall look and they require care.
  • 3. User feedback is essential to improving the experience, there's no perfect design and the app is hardly ever finished, there's always something to improve. If I'd start this over again, I would try out more radical design approaches and get more feedback on it.
  • 4. The retina display is a tricky thing – the resolution is quite high and tempted me often into sleepless nights of designing details no one else would notice. It's important to keep the older low-res displays in mind at all times. Also, downsizing from retina to low-res was not as easy as expected and vectors / smart objects were the way to go here.
  • 5. Probably my biggest insight: Getting a user experience designer / art director on board as early as possible is crucial. I joined the project after the developers already created a simple 1.0 version of tadaa where most functions already had a distinct user flow. At times this project was too much about redesigning a questionable user experience rather then re-imaginging a new one from scratch that would serve the user more. Starting over is a luxury that requires a lot of time and guts.

It was great to be involved in the tadaa design project. I think this app has great potential to compete with Instagram and Co. especially in the area of user community and photo interaction. I love the fact that people can have conversations around photos and reply with a photo to an existing one. There's lots of room to grow and I hope to be of help while improving this product. The tadaa app is free and can be downloaded from the iTunes app store. Give it a try and let me know what you think of it. My tadaa username is 'Waldemar'.




Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Simon Sinek


One of my favourite speakers at the moment and a challenger of values, beliefs and leadership. Don't miss out on his brilliant talk from the 99% conference.

Monday, July 25, 2011

How to choose the right agency to work for








Ideas, Awards, Clients, Reputation, Location, Salary? All these things matter but if your aim is to grow as a creative you should look out for another greatly important factor: agency culture.

It's a combination of all things together and beyond. It also takes into account what your expectations and goals are. I think agency culture is crucial for choosing a workplace – yet at the same time agency culture is hard to grasp by being a rather abstract term that's both difficult to define and compare.

Luckily during the Cannes Lions festival 72andSunny held a Masterclass about exactly that topic. They called it 'Company VS Culture'. While most other agencies showed a lot of their own work, 72andSunny instead used their time to talk about agency culture and presented ways on defining and understanding it. For Robbin and me this talk was especially relevant as we're talking to different agencies at the moment and trying to figure out the right next step for ourselves.

Matt Jarvis & John Boiler started their lecture with a strong but simple statement:
'The most important career decision you can make is the culture you choose to grow in.'

A thought that particularly rings true if you're young and starting out as it will define a big part of how you do things later on in your career. Their advice is to look for a culture that doesn't only produce great work but also great people. I guess most of us know deep inside it's more than work that matters, but what Matt & John did here was to break down agency culture into five points and shared simple ways on how to recognize it. The five values they see most relevant to an agencies culture are Collaboration, Generosity, Courage, Accountability and Ambition:

1. Collaboration
If you get into a culture that values collaboration, there's room for you to contribute. Places that value collaboration tend not to be about the person, they tend to be about 'THE BEST IDEA WINS'. This is not about people or ego, it's about the idea. How you recognize it:
  • How are people seated? Departments? Integrated? Floors?
  • Do they assign ideas to people? Groups? The boss? Name on the door?
  • How do they review work? In the open? Corner office? Small/big?
2. Generosity
Is important because your early career should be about learning, not just output. And it takes generosity to teach. A culture of generosity will allow people to explore their own ideas, potential, find their own voice and learn from failure. How you recognize it:
  • Do co-workers celebrate your success as their own? Do they want what you want for yourself?
  • Ask who has grown and developed the most last year. Do they actively think about it?
  • How do they give and share credit?
  • What's the approach to training and education? How do they handle career reviews?
3. Courage
As creative people, you should be wired for courage. You need an organization that stands up for brave ideas, or you will learn fear. How you recognize it:
  • Do you look at their work and ask 'How the hell did they do that?'
  • How many ideas do they bring to a pitch?
  • Have they ever resigned business for a creative or cultural differences?
4. Accountability
A culture of accountability quickly teaches that success or failure matters. Being accountable for the outcome, either positive or negative, is leadership. Be in a culture that shares your definition of success and that teaches you to lead. How you recognize it:
  • Do they embrace metrics? Do set them at all?
  • What is the ultimate win to them? Awards? $$$? Long relationships? Happy clients?
  • What is the compensation structure for clients? For staff? For leaders? What does it reward? Performance? Seniority? Internal political success?
5. Ambition
It's important to understand your personal ambitions and find an agency that shares the same ambitions.  If you're missmatch it's going to be a bad relationship. If you aspire to greatness, attach yourself to an organization that aspires to greatness. How you recognize it:
  • What goals do they aspire to? Success as defined by clients, industry or culture?
  • Do they talk about what they could do better more than what they do well?
  • Do they visibly push themselves?
  • Do they attract 'Challenger' clients and brands?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

For me this is a great check list and toolbox to have in the back of the head when looking into agencies and going on interviews. There might not be a perfect place that has all of these covered but it's important to have them in mind and also to ask yourself which of these of these five are most dear to you.

This whole lecture is quite in line with my learnings at Hyper Island. There I learned that there is great value in thinking about the 'how' side of things not only the work itself. One can be a happier and more effective creative when having certain expectations on your environment, workplace and coworkers and communicating them clearly. I think it all comes down to simply being a more considerate creative, thinking about what you want, what you want to achieve and finding a place that is best suitable for this. Thanks to 72andSunny for sharing their thoughts on this topic and to end on their words:
'Don't pick a company. Pick a culture.'

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Victors&Spoils workshop



A rather fun experience in Cannes was the Victors&Spoils workshop with John Winsor. They are a new kind of creative agency based in Boulder Colorado that is based on Crowdsourcing creative talent. They organized their workshop so it would demonstrate their business model and creative process. They've set a creative brief for all participants: Come up with a print campaign that encourages condom use in Cannes during the advertising festival. People could work alone or in teams and submit their ideas to the V&S website while creative direction would be provided remotely from Evan Fry from Boulder.

We had a go at it and submitted three different ideas, and the first one seemed to click instantly with them so we took the first place alongside Moniq Gonzalez from Mexico. The prize – a 1000 euro tab at the Gutter Bar. It was a clever demonstration of what Victors&Spoils are about and we had fun with the workshop and of course afterwards. Below our winning entry.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cannes Lions 2011 Recap


The Cannes Lions Festival, a legendary week for advertising creatives and alike. This summer we were lucky enough to experience it for ourselves and to see what the fuzz is all about.

First of all we had to plan ahead and put on the back-burner on some freelance projects in order to get a Young Lions pass to the event – and it was very much worth it.

The festival of creativity as it's now called was an overdose of inspiration. Of course it was accompanied by more parties than we could handle and a lot of meeting people but our main focus were the seminars and workshops. And they did not disappoint. Sure, some of the lectures were not as interesting as we hoped but the majority was well interesting. The highlights included Coca&Cola on liquid mystery, John Hegarty on being different, Sir Ken Robinson on Inspiration, Google on our future, Malcolm Gladwell on the importance of being third, John Boiler on agency culture, Rob Reilly on great pitching, Danny Choo on Anime, Johan Lehrer on the science of creativity, Mark Holden on future technology and many many more. Luckily all of these talks are now available online to watch the ones we missed and take in the very good ones once again. We had a great time, it was inspiring, enlightening and very motivating. Next year we'd like to be on stage to pick up a Lion ourselves.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dover Street Market London


Part two of my DERZEIT flying Paperboy assignment led me to London where I visited the Dover Street Market store. It's one my favourite clothing stores partly due to a great selection of Japanese brands headlined by Comme de Garçons. After I inspected all five floors of this style temple I met my former partner Jai for lunch and strolled through Brick Lane to enjoy the sunny weather. Somehow the whole day I kept bumping into old friends, even on the plane back to Berlin – it's a nice feeling in such a big city. London, you are missed.




Saturday, July 9, 2011

DERZEIT in Paris

This week I'm a rather lucky Paperboy, I'm delivering the daily newspaper DERZEIT which is all about the Berlin Fashion week to two european cities. My first trip started as early as it gets, 7 o'clock and I was on my way to get the magazine fresh off the printers. Being a true fashion week victim I was also carrying a massive hangover with me from last nights Broken Hearts Club party. And it did exceed hand luggage. The first time I realized I was in Paris is when I saw the Eiffel tower but it just didn't feel like I was there. It called for drastic measures: Cafe au Lait, a Croissant and the Amelie Soundtrack blasting from my headphones – finally my head seemed to have landed in Paris as well.

The two places to visit: LazyDog, a cozy little book store in the Bastille area and Colette, hands down one of the coolest shops I've set my foot in. Next to some great clothes they have a fabulous selection of toys, gadgets and other things people don't really need but have a strong itch to buy. After I completed my task I took a stroll through Paris and visited Ladurée to satisfy my sugar addiction. A day well spent. London's next.






Derzeit on tour

Berlin is invaded by fashionistas, it's the Mercedes Benz Fashion week. DERZEIT is a free daily paper written, designed and printed in the heart of Berlin – and delivered fresh off the press to several cities in Europe. I'm on board helping them out to deliver awesomeness and visited Paris yesterday and writing this from London right now. Watch out for the travel diary and lots of photos next.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

RW website update

Right, we're almost done finishing up the freelance projects that we've been involved in for the past few months. Now, Robbin and I are looking for an agency to call home again and we've updated our online portfolio to start off the search. First, a short video to introduce ourselves:


Additionally to some new work (Domino's Pizza Race and Soundtracks) we reworked the About Us section to look like this:


To round it all off we designed all new business cards that turned out quite nice. We hope to have the opportunity to give a few of them next week during the Cannes Lions festival. We'll be sharing our progress on our Facebook page, check it out if you like.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Internet is Magic

Justin Gignac is an art director – but his ideas are so much better than advertising. I've just enjoyed the talk he gave for the PSFK NY conference over my morning coffee and have to say that his work is absolutely inspiring. The best talk I've seen in a while:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Aled Lewis

While browsing through my recent favourite art magazine Juxtapoz, a double spread with the above photo/illustration grabbed my attention. Being a kid of the 8/16 bit era I immediatly fell in love with this series of 'Video Games vs. Real Life' by ultratalented artist Aled Lew. There's more in the series on Flickr. Also don't miss out on more inspiring goodness from Aled Lewis on his website.