All Posts in design

November 4, 2016 - No Comments!

Dave Fletcher named as one of the Top 50 Creative CEO’s to Watch

dave-fletcher-ceo-to-watch

Dave Fletcher, CEO of The Mechanism is defining digital branding in a new way by maintaining an interest in and working with tactile relationships; understanding what it means to interact physically with something – whether it is a brand or an experience, and interjecting the potential of a human being actually enjoying the interaction. Under his leadership, The Mechanism strives to create affection for clients’ brands by injecting organic, fluid and meaningful interactions into the digitally-driven solutions that they are creating.

http://bit.ly/50-most-creative-ceos-to-watch

InsightsSuccess Magazine, described as an arch that is sustaining Entrepreneurs quench regarding technology and business update that is currently ruling the business world, featured The Mechanism's founder, Dave Fletcher in their latest issue in their list of Top 50 Creative CEO's to Watch.

The Mechanism’s team is selected on the basis of acumen, longevity and belief that the future is brighter when people are able to connect with one another through technology. Dave is confident that The Mechanism will continue to function as an innovator and conduit for these types of technologies while maintaining a grasp on the humanity that is required for authentic relationships between people, their devices and brands, individuals or products.

In the two-page interview, Dave candidly discusses The Mechanism's history, successes, and ways to continue to be innovative in the modern age.

We will remain visual design-focused and technology-mindful well into our foreseeable future. We can never forget that on the other side of our client’s device, there’s a human being – looking to be astonished and wishing to be connected to something bigger than themselves

Read more in the latest issue of InsightsSuccess Magazine: http://bit.ly/50-most-creative-ceos-to-watch

July 25, 2016 - No Comments!

Dave Fletcher: The Power of Digital Design and Strategy for Affectionate Human Interactions

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 5.07.45 PM

Our founder, Dave Fletcher was interviewed for CIO Outlook.

Read the entire interview, right here: http://bit.ly/CIOoutlook

Check out some highlights here:

"We will soon live with systems that interpolate Big Data seamlessly - by plugging directly into an artificial or ambient intelligence to manage your life, curate your interests, drive a vehicle, keep track of your day to day travels and never force you to remove yourself from an existing experience to use a website to research what the Network will already know you’re looking for. The next generation will be the “Mighty Untethered”, ubiquitously connected to the cloud. You and your friends and colleagues interests will be part of the system, and as they change, so will your personal experience to match your tastes. Diseases, dangers, economies and civilizations will be repaired on a global scale due to mass shared information and the artificial intelligence to be gained from it."

Read the entire interview, right here: http://bit.ly/CIOoutlook

July 21, 2016 - No Comments!

Highlights of an interview with Dave Fletcher in CTO/CFO Magazine

1483757_10153630736372086_4633356903148767980_o

The Founder of The Mechanism, Dave Fletcher, was interviewed in the recent issue of CTO/CFO Magazine about the company, their work and what surprised him over the past 16 years of running a company.

Read the entire interview, conducted by Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine right here: http://bit.ly/CTOCFOinterview

Here are some highlights:

CEOCFO: Mr. Fletcher, front and center on your site is “We use technology to develop authentic and affectionate interactions between human beings.” What does that mean day-to-day? What are you doing at The Mechanism?

Mr. Fletcher: I founded the company in 2001, and have worked in the digital design field since 1996. One thing I discovered early on is that many digital agencies were focused purely on technology and programmatic solutions, and less so on developing human-focused, branded interactions. After all, whether it’s an app, a website or another hybrid interface, ultimately, there’s a human being on the other side looking to build a relevant, enduring relationship with a brand or product. Since my background is in brand identity development, I still maintain an interest and enjoy working with tactile experiences and understanding what it means to interact with something; whether it is a brand or an experience. Therefore, The Mechanism strives to create affection for our client’s brands by injecting organic, fluid and meaningful interactions into the digital solutions that we are creating.


CEOCFO: When you are developing a concept for a client what might you take into consideration that less experienced people do not realize is important?

Mr. Fletcher: The number one thing I explain to our clients is that no matter the size -- their audience is always the gauge – the most important thing to focus on. What does your audience want? What does your audience expect? Not, what do "you" expect. It is a tough pill to swallow at times. This is because when you are working with large companies, there tends to be large egos involved at the top. There is nothing wrong with that, because I believe that it is definitely a part of how they achieved success. However, I also believe that one of the most important things is to help company leadership (and their marketing teams) understand as much as they can about the people they are reaching out to with their brand identity. What do they expect? Where else do they go online? What are some of the apps they use? In knowing this, it helps us pull it back to a second tier, which is, “Let us look at what else is going on in your industry by examining trends and data, and let us look at all of those things that are a part of who you are as a brand or company.” By looking at the audience first, we tend to find serviceable information.


CEOCFO: On your website it indicates you do select projects on the basis of their challenges and opportunities. Do you know pretty quickly when you are first talking with someone if the project is right for you? How do you know?

Mr. Fletcher: We look at projects that have a meaningful impact. I know that sounds like kind of a bogus response, but we really like working with clients that are either doing good for other people, helping people succeed, or helping people enjoy their lives or their work lives. It is funny, because when you focus on positivity, if someone contacts you and has a well funded, but personal project that may not have a positive impact on a larger scale, it is easier to turn them away. In rare cases, we will look at a project on the basis of what the long-term ramifications are. When we worked with Flight of the Concords, for example, we enjoyed the music, and they were nice guys. Over the years, we have gotten a lot of interest for potential employees and interns from that client. Was it a financial windfall because we worked with them? Absolutely not. But that's ok, because from a business standpoint it was something that helped us to build reputation. Therefore, occasionally projects will come along that are reputation builders and not the most financially fantastic.


Read the entire interview, conducted by Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine right here: http://bit.ly/CTOCFOinterview

August 28, 2015 - No Comments!

How to Build a Smart Company by Hiring Client-Facing Teams

Building a smart company requires all the traits they teach you in school: personal persistence, vision, acumen and inner confidence - but subscribing solely to that rationale, is too myopic. Your company is never about you - it's about your clients.

Please. Never forget that.

It's only after you've started the company and had the time to recognize your personal points of failure, that you ultimately come to the conclusion that you must surround yourself with people much smarter than you are. Some people go out of business before they get out of their own way. But when you surround yourself with sharp people, you develop a consistent source of inspiration, expand your company potential, and build a team that actually enjoys each other's company.

In the past 14 years, one crucial thing that I've learned is to be on the lookout for people that can be brought in front of clients and will add something useful to the conversation when they are there. Every person you hire will not be instantly ready for that step, but you must learn to identify the people that can eventually reach that goal.

Here are some criteria that I look for when interviewing people at The Mechanism. These questions help me to make the decision about whether or not they will be able to meet directly with clients:

  • Does the candidate have clear and focused communication skills? (e.g. how quickly does any nervousness dissipate during the interview)
  • Do they have the ability to teach me something that I don't know? This speaks directly to communication skills and teaching ability. Good teachers deliver knowledge with empathy. (I also may have stolen this one from @ElonMusk )
  • What do the other team members think about the candidate? Typically, the first interview is conducted without me even in the room. I want to get a gauge from my staff what they think first. If my team has reservations - 10 times out of 10 - I take a pass. Trust your team or don't hire them in the first place.
  • What was the last book the candidate read? It's a personal question, but speaks volumes more than asking their favorite outdoor activity (If it's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss, you may actually have to give them a shot...)
  • What is the candidate's process to complete a project? The journey is more important than the final destination.
  • What was the most difficult conversation they had with a previous employer or client, and...Who was at fault? Useful responses and stories come out of this one, especially with regard to how they will work in the future with clients and team members.
  • When was the last time they experienced failure? A candidate willing to discuss their shortcomings openly - are surprisingly strong spirits.

Learning how to lead is a tug-of-war between our inner selves. It's the leaders who learn to let go of their ego – and hire true genius – that will build solid, loyal, creative teams and stand the test of time.

As part of our 14-year celebration, we sat down with our Founder, Dave Fletcher -- to talk candidly about The Mechanism, how it started and where it's headed. We've put together a series of short video clips from the lengthy interview that we'll be sharing over the next several weeks.

July 23, 2012 - Comments Off on Myriad Marathons

Myriad Marathons

Olympic season is upon us once again. Time to watch that opening ceremony, a few interesting events, and then tune out till the medal count comes out! All snark aside, I have fond memories of watching the Olympics with my family. As an event that only happens every four years, it's incredible to think there have only been a handful of games, winter and summer, since my birth. Yet as a celebration of the limits of the human body and how it can bring us together all politics aside, the Olympics are definitely inspiring.

Watching the opening procession of the games can turn into quite the geography lesson. Sometimes to the point where one swears some of the more obscure countries don't even exist. You wouldn't be wrong in the case of the country Vodkovia, a fictional Stalinist country in Eastern Europe that has a penchant for genetic modification. Oli Kellett did a series of interesting photo manipulations to illustrate the bizarre team the country has assembled for London this month. Whether this is a strange art project or viral marketing campaign is unclear, regardless it is a wacky parody of the effort spent to approach perfection in athletics.

Basketball

Archery

 One of my greatest annoyances about this year's Olympics is the London 2012 logo. While undeniably unique, something about its 80's retro stylings and harsh abstract appearance have turned me off since its premiere years ago. Yet such aesthetic can work in certain situations as the site for art director and graphic designer Jimmy Raheriarisoa attests. The sharp abstract angles and shapes are much more in balance in this stylish one page site. While it still possesses much of the distracted energy of such a style, it is honed here to communicate the singular vision of artist.

Nerisson

The Olympics is an invitation for advertising and media gluttony. With so many eyes focused on a single city and event, content providers go into overdrive, often producing tons of generic and unoriginal material to feast our sport-hungry eyes. However the following television intro for BBC's coverage of the Beijing games is a stunning exception (sadly, BBC didn't manage an equal level of vision for the event now happening in their own capital this year). Created by the powerhouse duo behind the Gorillaz, Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, and borrowing music from their London opera of the time, Monkey: Journey to the West, this short is incredible. The thrumming bass accompanies a summarized version of the classic Chinese tale Journey to the West while the main characters subtly reenact many of the Olympics' most famous events. How many can you spot?

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin from our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

July 23, 2012 - Comments Off on The MechCast 202: I’m Analog, I’m Digital

The MechCast 202: I’m Analog, I’m Digital

The Mechanism brings a unique perspective to interactions with our clients and team. This frame of reference was recently clarified during a conversation with a colleague from a previous job. The two of us have been in the interface industry, arguably since it began in the early 90’s, giving us a different outlook on the design and interactions with clients which produce enlightened creative solutions.

He said, “Dave, we understand the concept of being Digital, while we each possess very Analog dispositions.”

I know what he meant. He was referring to the fact that we had grown up and lived in a world that was once not Digital. We both understood what communication was before personal communication devices. We had experienced the multiple connection revolutions of the 90's, when mobile networks made it affordable to evolve from a device called a "Pager" to a "cellular phone" to "Palm Pilot" to "smartphone". We understood what it meant to spec and order type before we became typographers and we knew how creative solutions were delivered to clients before the computer became the tool that turned everyone into a graphic designer. Rather than standing by complacently observing a communication and creative revolution take place in our lifetime, - we had both chosen to become "Digital" as our lifestyle and profession, yet brought all of the foresight and understanding of what it meant to be "Analog" along for the ride. It’s a rarity that we avoided becoming Luddites or at least individuals that stopped thirsting for the continual influx of wired knowledge, advancing us to become more Digital creatures, while simultaneously holding on to what it meant to be Analog human beings.

It’s a rarity that we avoided becoming Luddites or at least individuals that stopped thirsting for the continual influx of wired knowledge, advancing us to become more Digital creatures, while simultaneously holding on to what it meant to be Analog human beings.

This is an interesting perspective for many reasons, but I believe that my colleague also inadvertently hit on why perhaps, The Mechanism has managed to grow as a collaborative and successful digital agency for 11 years.

Being “Digital” forces us to understand how all User Experiences best translate across myriad devices. Programmers in the Digital space must know the solution before the client even asks the question. It’s also vital that "Digtalists" are generating The Wave and not simply riding it's crest - which is why people that work at The Mechanism are expected to stay ahead of future programming and technical trends.

Being completely Digital, however can make us all a bit apathetic. Communicating with only a buffer of pixels between two human beings breeds misinterpretation.

The human component vital to conversation tends to curtail any miscommunication or misinterpretation that occasionally occurs within the singularly Digital realm.

As soon as you incorporate the concept of being “Analog” – or what I believe is an organic and human component to how we actually do business – that’s when you have something really special.

Despite our swift evolution to being Digital humans, we still perceive the world in Analog. Everything we see and hear is a continuous transmission of information to our senses. I’m much more comfortable walking up to someone in the office to discuss an interface or design solution than to carry on a conversation through Skype (no matter how many "(mooning)" emoticons I can successfully squeeze into a single chat).

The human component vital to conversation tends to curtail any miscommunication or misinterpretation that occasionally occurs within the singularly Digital realm. And that goes for clients as well – while I happily communicate using email or other means of digital services to solve problems, I am best suited (as humans all are) for natural, face-to-face interaction. Until our facial expressions and body language are translated in the Digital realm via real-time color, patterns or background sound recognized by your digital communication device, we won't begin to scratch the surface of everything that Analog communication can accomplish.

In his statement I alluded to above, my friend Jon touched upon the core of what truly can separate a great technical or visual agency from a simply great agency, period. I’d much rather work with clients that I could sit down and have a drink with after work, than simply shift pixels back and forth with. While I rarely get the chance to spend this kind of quality time with clients, it remains the core of what makes us all beautifully vulnerable and what keeps me striving to hold on to Analog traits in an increasingly Digital reality.

Notably this minor revelation occurred between two humans, born Analog, reared Digitally, both communicating without filters over a couple beers at a pub.

More importantly, no "0's" or "1's" were harmed during our conversation.

Published by: davefletcher in The Mechcast
Tags: , , , , ,

June 11, 2012 - Comments Off on Managing of Media

Managing of Media

While we may be living in the information age, our increasing dependence of data also means an equally increasing dependence on interface. When I pause to think how much interface has evolved over my lifetime alone, it is truly mind boggling. I remember lying on the floor changing channels on the TV with my feet when our remote broke as a kid yet today I can control my computer from my couch with a touchscreen device. And as technology and art become more closely intertwined, the impact of interface on art and vice versa is inescapable making interface undeniably inspiring.

French design studio Zim and Zou celebrate our interface history with a joyful series of paper-craft facsimiles. While modern gadgets may be slick, it saddens me that today's kids will never know the (near) endless joy of pulling the tape out of a cassette and draping it about the room as impromptu confetti. Likewise the magic of an instant Polaroid will be lost on them as digital cameras make photos instantly viewable, no shaking necessary. Then again, they do have touch screens in their pockets so let's not pity them too much.

Polaroid

Yet not all interfaces have to be intuitive. There is something to be said for the joy of exploration and discovery through interaction. The studio Blacknegative creates just such an experience with their delightfully confusing website. Beyond the basic sliding page action, each individual page contains its own visual and interactive vocabulary unto itself making each a wonderful game of interactive discovery. Each click promises to reveal new tidbits making for a very engaging web experience. Add to this the superb use of HTML5 technologies like full page video and adaptive design and you get a riveting modern site.

blacknegative

Blacknegative manages to push how we perceive current interactive experiences while others are eagerly trying to define entirely new ones. This fascinating mini-documentary showcases new point cloud camera technology which combines traditional cameras with the affordable depth camera of the Microsoft Kinect. The interviewees address not only what makes the tool itself interesting, but how it is so unique that it requires a complete redefinition of the visual language in film. While I doubt such devices will take over Hollywood anytime soon, I can foresee their 3D ability becoming ever greater to the point of allowing true telepresence and other immersive virtual experiences.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

April 30, 2012 - Comments Off on Mandalas and Mats

Mandalas and Mats

Patterns are the fuel of the human mind. Our pattern recognition ability is a large part of what us makes such smart creatures and remains our most defining trait in the battle for/against artificial intelligence. As such it is only sensible that pattern be one of the core aspects of art, and therefore inspiration, to us all.

The Pattern Mechanism

David Stephenson relies on the power of patterns to create truly marvelous photography in his projects Vaults and Domes. Classical architecture is obsessed with symmetry, pattern, and texture all of which the eye finds very pleasing. Stephenson manages to create loving odes of our forbears' passion with a straight-on modern twist. Meanwhile, his other works find beauty in the chaos of nature and organization of modern man.

Chapter HouseSala de as Dos Hermanas

Of course such intricacy has recently fallen out of fashion in favor of minimalism and simplicity, spearheaded by modern art movements. This aesthetic has now seeped into the commercial sector as well with the design ethos of companies such as Apple. The visual communication agency VOID uses this elegant block and color approach quite wonderfully. The site's stunning color palette is emphasized by the use of square, grid and linear patterns as well as a nicely animated scroll from section to section which grids out the site even further: patterns within patterns.VOID

Lastly, the inspiration for this inspirational post was the following video. Though short, it absolutely mesmerizes the viewer. An intro video for the TEDxSummit, the dancers from the Icouldneverbeadancer studio performed captivating choreography on colored mats shot through a giant kaleidoscope. The music of Yasmine Hamdan helps create an end result that is truly stunning. Enjoy and stay inspired.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in The Design Mechanism
Tags: , , ,

July 15, 2011 - Comments Off on The Thinking Mechanism – 7/15/11

The Thinking Mechanism – 7/15/11

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

Consider this one the take a break from work edition. It is perhaps a bit New York City centric but the spirit of it applies universally. If you don't take the time to experience things outside the realm of your day to day work you are severely cutting your ability to be inspired. In addition, as Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons convey in their book The Invisible Gorilla, if you are hyper-focused you are very likely to begin experiencing a psychological phenomenon that renders you unable to see things that are right in front of you, in a kind of blindness that compromises your intuition.

With that in mind here are a couple of suggestions to clear your mind and perhaps lead you to new experiences:

Viral video kings OK GO have developed a collaborative dance piece with the fantastic Pilobolus dance company. They are in residence at The Joyce Theater until August 6 with the band dancing with the company on July 25 and 27. If it takes OK GO to get you to see dance at The Joyce Theater, the home of dance in NYC, then so be it. Your creative life will be richer for it.

• British company Punchdrunk has developed an extraordinary new work called Sleep No More. They company have taken over three warehouses and transformed them into The McKittrick Hotel. You arrive, meet at the bar, and then a strange character hands you a mask. For the next three hours, in silence and while wearing the mask, you traverse the hotel exploring complexly designed spaces and follow the actors as they re-enact a version of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Everything, from the sound to the objects in the rooms, is tone perfect. You are free to do as you please and explore. In a recent performance I followed Lady Macbeth and watched her wash her bloody hands. Characters sometimes use the audience to pass notes to other characters.

Sleep No More is wordless Shakespeare, living film noire, the best of contemporary dance, true augmented reality, masterful storytelling, respectful homage, detailed design and that is not even taking in consideration the technical requirements needed to produce and perform such a "play" every night. Punchdrunk have taken the performing arts and remixed them creating something completely new, yet familiar, and absolutely spellbinding.

• And speaking of Shakespeare, you have not experienced New York completely until you have attended Shakespeare In The Park, produced by The Public Theater. It consistently presents some of the best Shakespeare productions with Central Park as the backdrop. This year's productions are The Merchant of Venice and The Winter's Tale and they run until July 30th.

• Now until July 24 is restaurant week in NYC, with dozens of restaurants creating prix fixe menus that are affordable and a great way to discover new cuisines. Have a decent meal with friends for a change and for goodness sake, no talk of work.

• Looking for something that you can explore at your own pace? Starting July 24 and running until November 7 The Museum of Modern Art is displaying Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects in the special exhibitions gallery. From the exhibition description "Talk to Me explores the communication between people and things. All objects contain information that goes well beyond their immediate use or appearance. In some cases, objects like cell phones and computers exist to provide us with access to complex systems and networks, behaving as gateways and interpreters. Whether openly and actively, or in subtle, subliminal ways, things talk to us, and designers help us develop and improvise the dialogue."

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, at The Met until August 7, will make you question everything you know about fashion and art and their roles in your life. It is a glorious tribute to an artist gone too soon. A friend recently described it as "the most lavish and gorgeous visual concert ever produced" and I have to agree.

• Can't attend any of these this weekend. Well, iTunes has Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 available for $.99 rental until next Tuesday. Revisit Part 1 and then head to the theater to catch Part 2 as the Harry Potter movie saga comes to an end.

• For those of you that have not read the Harry Potter books, let me try to entice you to read them with the words of Stephen King "Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity." J.K. Rowling single-handedly got a generation of children to read and at over 3000 pages total across seven books that's a lot of reading. She changed the publishing industry. The recently announced Pottermore is set to change publishing once more as she releases the novels in ebook format. But the main point here is not the praise or the business, the point is that a single mother, during tough times in her life, had a singular vision and worked very hard to create a world were hard work, loyalty and persistence pay off. So go right ahead, take a break from work, dive into the series, you may not like it, you may love it, you may be re-reading it, but above all you may learn how to apply that same level of creative detail to your own work.

There you have it, no excuses, walk away from the screens for a few hours and fuel your creativity with something unknown.

July 12, 2008 - Comments Off on Paul Rand interviewed in 1991

Paul Rand interviewed in 1991

I used to live near Pratt Institute, on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn. One of the many great graphic artists and designers that attended Pratt was Paul Rand (back in 1929). For those of you that don’t know the name (shame on you), Paul Rand (August 15, 1914 "“ November 26, 1996) was an American graphic designer, best known for his corporate logo designs, helping to originate the Swiss Style of graphic design, and keen thinking and curmudgeonly attitude about our profession.

I stumbled on a 1991 interview with Rand conducted by Miggs B, producer/host of “Miggs B On TV,” a public access TV show in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 of the interview features an idiot known as “Art Mann,” – a bit of a ghoul – and obviously a bi-product of early 90’s baboonery. Rand doesn’t fully grasp the intended humor of a segment where Art claims that Westinghouse came to him to simplify their logo (one of Rand’s logo designs), which added uncomfortability to the hearty porridge of nonsense that was being served up to Rand in heaping spoonfuls.

Part 3

However out of date the interview segment is, it is full of great nuggets from one of the “design greats.” One of Rand’s quotes that particularly impressed me was, "A good logo is meaningless until it is used." Good food for thought, indeed.

Dave Fletcher is a Founder and Creative Director at theMechanism, a multi-disciplinary design agency with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa.

Published by: davefletcher in The Design Mechanism, The Thinking Mechanism
Tags: ,