After Effects

Quartz The Next Billion: NYC Flagship Event Graphics

Continuing our collaboration with Quartz, we were thrilled at the opportunity to take things up a level for the sixth Next Billion Forum this past November.

The event has grown and a larger venue was needed; hence we got a whole new space to play in, the beautiful Conrad Hotel in downtown Manhattan.

We updated the onstage branding that we developed for London and New Delhi; however the most exciting opportunity was to create a custom loop that played throughout the day over the registration desk in the networking lounge.

The goal was to enhance the guest experience for the flagship event, and specifically bring the energy of New York City to the brand.

Based on our initial scouting of the Conrad in August, we determined that the space at the top of the stairs provided a perfect opportunity to greet guests with a lively visual element as they approach the registration desk upon arrival.

As in London, the aim was to engage the viewers with “visual brain teasers” that were simultaneously elegant and a bit playful. Since this would not be playing in the main hall during presentations (as in London and New Delhi), we were freed to cut loose with a lot more energy.

From the outset, Quartz design lead Eric Trott and I talked about using speed, angles, and bright pops of color to connect the brand to the energy of the city. We also wanted about 2 minutes before the content looped, corresponding to the maximum time it typically takes to check in an attendee.

2 minutes. Blank canvas. What on earth would we fill the screen with?

After some brainstorming, some goofing around, some sketching and some starting over, we found the key points of inspiration.

We’d juxtapose forms inspired by the architectural details of the space with shapes based on the Quartz logotype and Next Billion brand mark to ground the event in the space, and more broadly the brand in the city.

News Post Style Slide.010
We decided to include The Next Billion literally, extrapolating the number of internet users coming online leading up to event day. This idea, embraced in an initial design round, was expanded to include number of e-mails sent and smart phones purchased.

We also wanted to take this quite literally “outside the box.” In order to have the forms to float on the wall without apaprent frame lines, we decided to flush the projection to the top and sides of the walls, and break the bottom frame edge as little as possible (we made a few exceptions in the end!)

The animation was a hit, showing up on social media posts, and more importantly contributing to the immersive experience of The Next Billion forum. Here’s a bit of it in the space, used with permission from Mandy Mei (@munseemei) who shared on Instagram.

111615 ♡ Love this. #motiongraphics #animation #qznextbillion

A video posted by Mandy Mei (@munseemei) on


The event sold out.

We were lucky enough to attend an amazing day of inspiring content. You can watch the livestream of the event here.

We love collaborating with the Quartz team and can’t wait to do it again.

2015 Smithsonian Ingenuity Awards

Rounding out a busy Fall of live events was the 2015 Smithsonian Ingenuity Awards ceremony on November 12 at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C

The event, sponsored by Smithsonian magazine, honors 12 people across nine categories, including technology, performing arts, visual arts, natural sciences, physical sciences, education, history, social progress and youth achievement.

We were excited to be asked by LanternEye Films to create the graphics for each category winner, like this one awarded to Fred Armisen and Bill Hader of “Documentary Now!” fame.

 

 

Working closely with LanternEye director Paul La Blanc, we upgraded last year’s look with the addition of 3D wireframe models for each category and recipient.

Watch the full set of videos on the Smithsonian Website, or check out out animations in this portfolio post.

Council on Foreign Relations: Model Diplomacy

This past year, we had the privilege of collaborating with Blue State Digital on a series of videos for the Council on Foreign Relations new Model Diplomacy program for students.

Of the many graphics we created, this is perhaps my favorite, the video “Tools of Diplomacy” in which CFR President Richard Haass explains that the tools of diplomacy are not solutions in themselves, but instruments used to shape outcomes.

We used the visual metaphor of a lightbulb illuminating a plan, and used After Effects with Plexus to create this animation.

End Client: Council on Foreign Relations
Producer and Creative Direction: Amelia Tovey, Blue State Digital
Art Direction, Design and Animation: Declan Zimmermann

Buttons: A 5-Second Project

Every couple months the folks over at Greyscale Gorilla do a little thing called The 5-Second Project.

The idea is simple: make a 5 second animation, explore some new techniques, interpret the theme literally, figuratively, loosely.

The current 5-Second Project’s theme is “Buttons” and here’s what we made.

The music was created in ButtonBass, which seemed theme-appropriate. Except for the sound effects, which are me dropping actual buttons on a plate.

You can check out the other entries here.