My idea for an interactive e-card came from our holiday gift brainstorming session. The form itself began to shape a message about our company entering a new decade dominated by digital media and environmental responsibility. The card could serve as the announcement for our new website and also communicate how we think, our creative process, and the delight we take in collaborating with many different people in our projects. These ideas coalesced into a responsive landscape, a metaphor of the unknown of each design project and the economic situation before us all, navigated by a wayfinding arrow from our company’s roots.
After breaking this into the smallest possible pieces, I began programming on an airplane and in a hotel room during a business trip. I made arrows chase the cursor around the screen, simple shapes spiral out into colorful pinwheels, and, with a healthy amount of trigonometry, spin the entire drawing while leaving a dashed trail.
As Nicole put the finishing touches on the new Website and optimized the mailing list, Chris and Hillary worked to define colors, shapes, arrow styles, and began the email announcement. The project stalled though when my programs could not save any drawings to our server. Since one of our goals was to gather and display the drawings of our collaborators, this was a problem. I turned to the message boards at processing.org for help. I outlined my problem and soon a few programmers from around the world suggested some possible solutions. With that input the game was running smoothly on even the oldest computers in the office. We finished the email design, I learned about the Can-Spam Act rules, created a webpage with the instructions, and squeezed in a simple online gallery and a signature form late the night before our deadline.
1200 emails were sent as an official announcement of our updated website and we watched the gallery fill with drawings from our designers and staff, friends and colleagues, and both former and current clients around the world. The Denmark based programmer of the gallery script I used was one of the first to give the game a try. The interactive experience set the tone for the website launch, the New Year, and the new work that Sussman/Prejza will be sharing with the world. Give the game a try yourself, draw picture, and add to our gallery.
I continue to learn about this and other interactive media, and treat it as another design medium, albeit one that can be entangled with the audience in a very new way and that requires a healthy mixture of creativity, math, and analytical thinking to produce.