Trend Report

With the end of the recession faintly appearing on the horizon, marketers, creatives, and investors are evaluating what will be important in the coming months. In other words, they are predicting trends. Here’s a summary of reports.

Churchill Club’s 11th Annual Top Ten Tech Trends
Oya’s CEO and VP were present at this event, where a collection of panelists (VCs, CEOs and some marketers) discussed trends and then voted on them. Shortly after, the crowd was asked to share their vote. Here’s what they agreed on:

1. The “Millennials” — the new college grad generation that doesn’t remember what it was like not to be online — will further innovation farther than ever before because they were born with the web.

2. Advanced batteries have the potential to be the most popular alternative energy investment in ‘09 and’10 if a company can get the technology right.

3. Enterprise data growth will be huge in five years, and 80 percent of that will be unstructured, creating opportunity for information leaders.

4. Wireless broadband will be one of the only IT sectors to see increased funding this year, but the crowd disagreed with this claiming people will always want more bandwidth.

5. “Maintech” not “Cleantech” — it isn’t “greentech” that will thrive in this economy, but newer ideas in more traditional energy technology.

6. Power and efficiency management services will see a flowering of investment and innovation — the smart grid will be increasingly important.

7. The triumph of the distributed web — crowds will control much of the interesting things people look for online.

8. Healthcare administration will see the best growth in B2B software in ‘09 and ‘10

9. Consumption of digital goods on mobile devices is THE growth story of the coming decade and application building will fuel growth in the mobile space rather than the ad model.

10. Electronic displays will prove the hottest investment in hardware this year and the next as long as an ROI is involved.

For a full report on the event, visit

Communication Arts Interactive Annual
The 2009 interactive annual was released in May and the jurors provided feedback on trends they noticed while reviewing the thousands of entries from websites to mobile applications. They include:

1. There’s a growing focus on providing one piece of functionality that’s relevant at the right moment.

2. Design and interaction is becoming more simplified, rather than overwhelming the user with technology that’s just new and popular.

3. The integration of social media continues to grow, but more attention is being paid to making it a seamless and organic experience.

4. There’s been a dramatic overuse of video due to its ability to be both memorable and informative, but if it doesn’t project the personality of the brand it will fail to be an effective medium.

5. Loaders have taken on their own art form, becoming a means of extending the personality of the brand.

6. Mobile will become more central — it’s real time, fits well into people’s lives, and location-based technology will improve online services—while corporate websites become less important.

7. More experiences will be built to cater to dwell time — engaging snippets of brands during commutes and waiting times.

8. TV and print will not go away, but digital will continue to have a stronger ROI.

To view winning entries, visit

The Oya Group
Here at Oya, we have a few predictions of our own — some of which we have already acted on. Here’s our short list of our trend spotting.

1. Digital media will become smarter, integrating into our online experiences as needed rather than pure volume. Fewer bells and whistles, more speed and function.

2. We’re seeing more mobile devices being used in relation to locations. For those without the app or mobile device, digital displays will become increasingly important for on-the-spot communications.

3. Websites will become lighter, moving back to the simplified navigation with fewer videos and items requiring download time. The multi-media factors will be moved into microsites for more targeted experiences.

4. Companies will become more conscious of their brand message as social media evolves as a marketing tool. Vocabularies will expand and there will be more opportunities to directly  interact with their audience.

5. We will begin to see more digital experiences in the environment rather then behind a computer monitor.

6. Print won’t disappear, it will become ‘special’.

7. Community Manager is the new Brand Manager.

8. Blue is the new green and yellow will encourage a positive attitude during these tough economic times.

9. ‘Found’ may be the new ‘search’ technology (Bing, Siri), but its ability to react to human behavior will determine its success.

10. With digital print technology improving in both cost and quality, shorter more customized print runs will be done to compete with the digital noise consumers are surrounded by.

Have you noticed some trends? Leave a comment and share your predictions for the year ahead.

Time’s 10 worst is the worst!

That august publication, Time, has just published their worst 10 tech failures of the past 10 years. While everyone may agree or disagree with Time’s take on the worst of the worst, I find their presentation of the material to also rank as one of the worst ever! Naughty, naughty, Time! In order to take in the entire list, you have to scroll, page-by-page, through the material…unless you happen to spy the “entire list” button, which is so badly placed that it’s possible to miss it until most of the way through the article (I did, for instance).  And, even once you find it, the presentation isn’t well done–what happened to providing nifty java/ajax rollovers to see a precis before having to go to each page?

Perhaps it’s time for Time to get with it?

The world is now less fun…

This week marked the passing one of the best comedians of all time. Dom DeLouise. Truly a master of characters, improvisation, and general insanity, he was the inspiration of an entire generation of “new” comedians such as Robin Williams and Billy Crystal.

I had the pleasure once of seeing Dom Delouise and Robing Williams on stage together, and it was a truly remarkable event–it was the peak experience of insane comedy and the two of them drove each other to heights of hilarity rarely seen.

The world is truly a slightly less fun place now–we’ll have to all work to ensure that we bring some of Mr. Delouise’s inspired insanity to all of our daily lives.

Some treats for fans of insanity:

Dom and Dean Martin

with Johnny Carson…and some eggs

and Charlie Callas

Dom, we’ll all miss you, thanks for the wonder!

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Information Design Using Digital Tools

Information design is adopting more ways to reach out to its audience through technology. Designers are also expanding their knowledge on how people experience information and how interaction enhances the learning process. This is a big subject to cover in one blog and I’ll likely come across other great examples, so I’ll keep this as an on-going topic.

Generally, there are three types of memory. They include semantic (facts, independent of context), episodic (context, time and place), and procedural (tying your shoe laces).  Each one will be challenged when the user interacts with new technology. The content will be semantic, the interaction will be episodic, and the user-experience will be procedural. A complex learning experience like this can be exciting—engaging the reward system and enhancing the desire to learn—or it could be frustrating. One way to ease the learning curve is to use an analogy. In cognitive psychology, it is considered an important method of problem solving. More on that later.

Here are some articles and examples of new technology being used in information design, along with a video I prepared showing an example of augmented reality.

GE’s augmented reality page

Articles on augmented reality

Web trend map

Radiohead, House of Cards video (3D plotting technology)

The making of House of Cards

Photo Shoots Gone Bad

Once in a while, it’s good to be reminded of the importance of managing a photo shoot. Just over a week ago, the entire nation got that reminder.

Lesson 1: Communicate, Confirm, Then Re-confirm

In an effort to capture some photographs of Air Force One flying across New York’s harbor, the duplicate backup plane was brought in along with some F-16 fighter jets to escort it. Unfortunately, the public was unaware that the event of a low-flying aircraft circling the city was about to occur. Panic broke out, people started evacuating from their high-rise buildings, and emergency phone calls flooded 911.

Following the false alarm, the director of the White House Military Office assured the press that steps were taken to notify city officials. A furious Mayor Bloomberg, however, was never briefed on the event. Due to the lack of communication, confirmations, and proper briefing, the photo shoot not only took a toll on the city of New York financially, but emotionally too.

After discussing it with some colleagues and photographers, the general agreement was this should have never become a photo shoot in the first place. Use Photoshop instead!

Lesson 2: Stick to Business—Leave the Ego at the Door

Photo shoots can be glamorous, involving celebrities, pre-release top-secret products, and incredibly talented photographers. Amidst all the excitement, egos can get in the way and jeopardize an otherwise fantastic photo opportunity.

Jill Greenburg was becoming a hot photographer, shooting covers for Wired magazine, Fortune, and developing a style of photography many other photographers were trying to replicate. It didn’t take long for the editors from The Atlantic magazine to come knocking on her door. The assigment was to take photographs for the cover of their magazine, of Senator John McCain during his campaign for president. She completed the assignment, but captured a few of her own at the same time, retouched them, and posted them on her own website with slogans and statements that ridiculed the candidate.

Not only was this incredibly unprofessional, it was also embarrassing for the publication that trusted her. Last I checked, they were considering taking legal action and did not pay Greenburg for her work. The photography community also lashed out at her actions and she has since changed her agency rep twice (mutual departures).

The extended lesson here is to have strong relationship with your photographer, a solid contract, and a clear creative direction that won’t be altered because of personal opinions.

Lesson 3: Lights, Camera, Models, Props, Wardrobe, Makeup….

There’s a lot of coordination involved in preparing for a photo shoot. Location, proper staffing, transportation, equipment — it’s a lot to organize. Some of this is the photographer’s responsibility, but most is in the hands of the client and agency. Communication, again, is the key to making a photo shoot go smoothly, though being able to improvise on the spot is also necessary in extreme situations. Here’s an article I found that illustrates this lesson very well—enjoy!

Angels, Demons, and Typography

Tom Hanks may be playing the part of a symbologist named Robert Langdon in the soon to be released film Angels & Demons, but the character is actually named after John Langdon, the typographer.

John Langdon was approached by Dan Brown’s father—an admirer of Langdon’s work—and asked to prepare an ambigram for his son’s next album release (apparently, Dan Brown’s singing career wasn’t as successful as his writing). The album’s title was Angels & Demons. Ten years later, Brown asked Langdon if he could use the ambigram again, but this time it was for a book.

Ambigrams are logotypes designed to read the same whether they are upright or upside down. These became popular through Brown’s stories. After designing a few more of the typographic puzzles for the book, Brown showed his appreciation for Langdon’s skill by naming the main character after him.

To learn more about ambigrams and see some examples, read this article by John Langdon.