As we bid farewell to the glorious 35-degree-days of summer, and brace ourselves for the inevitable autumn chill, here’s a look back at the creative content that tickled us this summer.
One of the reasons why I love writing these posts each quarter is because, if nothing else, it helps me and the creative team here at Distilled broaden the ways in which we think; and it inspires us to consider the more-varied, perhaps less-expected executions, that we could try.
After a successful run with the same topics and execution style, ideas can become formulaic, and can soon become dull and uninspiring for us and those experiencing our content. So it’s all the more important that turn to others for inspiration, and keep ourselves open to new ways of seeing and representing the stories we tell.
Concepts that leave a lasting impression are often those that illustrate something we know well in an alternative way. Each of these campaigns reimagine everyday images differently, whether it’s in a comical or shocking way.
This ad for KFC certainly makes you look twice. Fire has been replaced with fried chicken. It’s that simple. The organic patterns of the deep fat fried batter really do take on the life of expanding balls of exploding exhaust fire. Cars backfiring, or rockets launching into space – this image ad replacement hits the smart and succinct notes perfectly.
Communicating safe sex to younger people can seem dull, awkward or just something the target audience do not want to think about. This aptly-named ‘Unprotected Text’ campaign, however, cleverly taps into how young people communicate, using the not-so-secret alternative emoji meanings. Emoji are innately light-hearted, accessible and simple, and so allowing the NHS to talk about a slightly embarrassing topic in an eye-catching and memorable way, specifically targeting the 16-24 age range where STIs have been on the rise.
This campaign left me really concerned – is that really how many gorillas are left in the wild?! Campaigns about near-extinction and the depressing statistics that face some of the world’s greatest creatures are often not the most creative. They can be quite scarring and off-putting, shocking but not necessarily compelling people to donate. Instead of using gore tactics, this campaign simply shows the number of animals left in a certain species by the number of pixels used to depict them - the more pixelated an animal is, the more endangered. The mechanism is simple, but the impact is everlasting.
It turns out most people don’t know what a bike looks like… Something we see every day, but for some reason we can’t remember how those tubes of metal connect to make the frame. Using this method of collecting what one item looks like and crowdsourcing drawings of it, means that the variety of executions far exceeds what one person could imagine. With the highly polished graphics and computer renders we are used to, seeing an amateur’s naïve drawing has a charm of its own. This artist turned these quick sketches into realistic images of bikes, immediately highlighting how flawed they were in their design.
This visualisation shows the touring routes of famous musicians on a map shown on a gig ticket. Different music genres are more prevalent in certain locations and fan bases are not always the same, so the routes on the maps vary wildly. There’s also a noticeable difference in patterns when comparing the route that tour buses take versus cross-state flyers.
Tube maps on satellite images - Various digital artists
We are so used to going underground in cities and popping up in new neighbourhoods, we often give little thought to the ground covered. Tube maps are simplified for easy navigation so usually, don’t represent the actual routes. These visualisations, show us exactly where these lines go, passing over iconic monuments that help us navigate our cites.
This scrolling data visualisation manages to simplify how the US uses its land, only 3.6% being used for urban areas and a massive 55% being used to feed the country with crops and pasture land. Having watched Cowspiracy recently the piece later goes on to highlight what this documentary tries to hammer home in that cows and cow feed production takes over a disproportionate amount of the country. Perhaps it’s time to finally give up those beef burgers! The data was gathered using surveys, satellite images and categorisations from various government agencies.
For April Fools Day this year, Google hid Wally (or Waldo, depending on where you are from) in Google maps. You are taken to an area where he is hidden and you are then zoomed into one of the famous Where’s Wally illustrations to begin your search.
Social Media and Mental Health
Mental health company Sanctus have created a tongue-in-cheek page and video that aims to highlight the effect social media has on our mental health. People are often trying to one-up each other by showing the glamorous holidays they have been on, or delicious meals they are eating, this often leaves people feeling inadequate if they are not able to keep up. Life faker makes a point by offering a library of images, so you can fake the life that everyone seems to want to show. My favourite quote from the video is ‘I have never seemed happier’ which really highlights the irony of it all.
Real World Visualisation
Living in such a digital landscape I always get excited when people create physical data visualisations. We all know the length of terms and conditions can be a joke, and this piece highlights the actual length and comparison between the T’s and C’s of different apps. If you’re interested, Instagram takes the lead, closely followed by Snapchat.
What content have you enjoyed lately? Let us know in the comments.