I just can’t help myself to always snap a few, or a shit-ton of pics with my cell phone at a client location when we’re there for meetings or other, non-photographic reasons. They are so helpful. Clients love to see past and future mockups actually placed in their environments, and it is sooooo hard to get images from them of their spaces.
The fun part is that you’re not actually suppose to be taking pictures and using them, especially not for your marketing purposes. So usually I’m creeping around before the client lets us in, like around reception in the public area, just snapping cell phone pics in a non-discreet manner like I’m just reading text messages horizontally… which nobody ever does. I’ve only been called out at a client retail location but never in a corporate office. But I have been told before to be sure not to get any computer screens in my pictures.
My favorite is getting people in the pictures also. Especially since most of our digital work is based on engagement… so I want some people in there either looking at a screen or about to touch a screen. I get a lot of receptionists in there, some random guests, even some co-workers (they really hate it usually).
Of course the pics aren’t the best but usually if you get a steady and in-focus shot, you can photoshop that bad boy in some professional fashion to make it work. Lets be honest, iPhones will take a pretty badass picture these days and will work for most needs these days, and a hell of a lot cheaper than paying for a photoshoot or high res stock images (… don’t get me started on prices of high res stock images of fucking office building interiors!!!).
One of the more satisfying things I’ve done from a design execution standpoint … go out and concept a large-scale media wall application from scratch, just based on a client’s new marketing campaign. They don’t even see it coming, but you hit them with some beautiful mockup laid over a photo you took on your last visit. They usually freak out a little, and then often seem a bit timid to ask how much its going to cost them, like we can’t tell they want it no matter what.
The beauty of how to do this, especially when talking about large-scale media walls which can be over 10,000 pixels wide, is to make sure you can re-use all the campaign assets from their website and NOT require the client to seek out any original assets which is always a pain for them. I’ll usually download all the graphics from the website before I start concepting in real pixels, so I know how I can blow them up (about twice their resolution at most) and what exact pieces I have to work with per each type of content node I want to include. After that, I get a developer with me and start whiteboarding it out, just to make sure you’re not getting too crazy, everything is working from a data perspective … and at the end of the day, it gets them involved early in case the client wants to pull the trigger quickly, and you always want the developer in a more ‘ownership’ capacity to get the ball rolling on this type of innovative digital media.
As soon as a restaurant moves their menu boards into the digital realm, which does have a big initial cost, they can start to take advantage of real time updates and eye-catching visuals and movement. From fast food, corporate cafeterias, to displays behind the bar at fine dining restaurants, these digital endpoints allow for the company to promote their products or experience in innovative ways that can be very eye-catching.
It seems like a big win just to have the menu items and prices with associated images of the product that can be quickly updated through a content management system, across any and all restaurants with the push of a button. But the advertising opportunities to promote new products and specials make these digital menu boards start to get fun.
Now, here is where I think people have gone wrong. When you’re trying to read the menu and the background graphics or images behind the text are animating and paralax-ing, it gets a little crazy. I was at Wendy’s and the backgrounds were slightly moving different directions which is a cool affect on the web but while I was standing there trying to read, I started to feel a little sea-sick. It just seems like the distraction element of this has to be taken into account, and maybe keep the cool motion affects for a separate screen or just during a complete transition of the screen’s content.
On a different and unexpected note, I was at a bar in Las Vegas, and there was 2 displays behind the bar; one playing TV and one playing promo content. I was actually entertained by their content, which was more about their specials, events and marketing, but it gave me some nice visual stimulation during commercials on the TV. If the content is done nicely, I think there’s a huge place for this in more establishments if the restaurant can afford and execute on proper branded content. And I’m not talking about your TV commercials, unless its hilariously funny.