August 15, 2017No Comments

When Wonder Woman is Your Canvas

Since Facebook launched it's Canvas Ad unit, it's been interesting to see how designers adapt to the medium. Like any new marketing channel, there's a bit of a learning curve. Testing things here. Tweaking things there. A lot of trial error goes on before hitting the design sweet spot. And let me tell you, I've seen quite a few Canvas ads that are still looking for that sweet spot.

Recently I came across a Canvas ad promoting the release of the Wonder Woman movie on Blu-ray.

I fell in love. This is by far one of the best uses of the format I've seen to date. Let me tell you why.

Some VV for WW Canvas

The Wonder Woman Canvas ad makes use of vertical videos throughout its layout. It opens with a beautifully paced overview video of the film that ends with a call-to-action to continue scrolling to learn more about Diana's journey. As you move through the timeline, you discover additional videos interjected at perfect break points.

I stress the use of vertical video here, because it works so well with the mobile user experience. And it's really starting to pick up. As new ad units that focus on the mobile user experience continue to develop (think Instagram videos), brands must create content designed FOR the space. In an ad unit like Canvas, that extra effort pays off.

Embracing the Scroll

Even though the Canvas ad unit is designed solely for the mobile experience, I've seen several examples that still seem to be scared of the vertical scroll. Either elements or stacked tightly together, eliminating the need to scroll, or the designer hasn't taken into account where the breakpoints on a mobile device are.

The Wonder Woman Canvas ad does not make these mistakes. Attention to detail and user experience radiates throughout the design. Screen break points fall where you expect them to. "Journey" elements are just the right size with ample breathing room. Everything about it says "hey we thought about the environment the user is interacting in."

The Brave and the Bold

The designers of this ad clearly took one inspiration from the Wonder Woman film: bold is beautiful.

This design featured two of my favorite trends this year: bold color gradients and texture. And they were used in a way that allowed the design to still feel clean, but deliver the same punch as the film.

A minor nit: I'm not the biggest fan of the text drop shadows used for the "journey" copy.

The Verdict

This year has been good to the comic book Amazon. A blockbuster film and a precision marketing behind it. This ad was the perfect example of what Canvas can do for the mobile experience. It is far and away the best use of the Canvas platform that I've seen to date.

February 13, 2014No Comments

Twitter? I don’t even know her.

I came to Twitter late in life. While I've had an account since 2009, I rarely engaged in the Twitter community. I didn't fully understand how it worked or what the benefits even were for having a Twitter handle. After all, I was already on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. Wasn't I being social enough?

Today, there are hundreds of online social communities to engage with. There's Tumblr, Instagram, Vine, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter to name a few. New social networks continue to pop up and show no sign of slowing down. With so many options, how do you find the right ones for you?

I asked myself this question last year as I was redesigning my professional website. During the redesign, I was thinking about which social networks to feature on my site. I wanted to engage with professionals within the design community, as well as strengthen my network. I also wanted to begin a blog, and was thinking about the best way to grow my audience through social media. As I begin reviewing my options, I first settled on LinkedIn as an obvious choice. I had been a member of it for a while, but like my Twitter account I hadn't fully used it. I then thought about Facebook. While I do interact socially through Facebook, it's more for personal engagement. I could post to it, but I didn't believe that audience would generate the effect I was going for. This brought me back to my dusty old Twitter account.

I decided to do a little homework and try to understand how to fully utilize Twitter. I had always thought of it as an outlet for people to vent their frustrations and tell you what coffee shop they were at. As I delved into it further, I found that Twitter is actually a very useful tool for delivering and receiving timely news, as well as branching out of my social audience safety net. With Facebook, I had always interacted with people I had already met in person, rarely trying to meet new people. When I started tweeting, I was initially timid about following people I didn't know or seeing other unknown people following me. Would this be considered rude or stalker like behavior? I eventually realized the different etiquette for connecting through Twitter. Twitter is about engagement beyond your initial set of contacts. Twitter allowed me to share my updates with a broader audience that I hadn't attempted to reach before.

Once I got into it, I found that Twitter is a great way to find news on topics I'm interested in, that I can also share with others. This helped me build a larger following, as well as providing me with relevant information in my field.

Don't get me wrong, Twitter is still that social place where people tweet about the most mundane daily activities and outrage. But it can also be a tool for finding relevant content, broadening your network and increasing your SEO. The moral of the story, for me, is that you can't jump on every social media bandwagon that springs up. However, don't dismiss something out of hand just because you're unfamiliar with it. Research it's intent and potential use and make a decision on what your goals are. You may end up as surprised as I was to realize you had a great tool in front of you that was wasting its potential.

Let's connect.

© Justin Herren 2022 | Creative strategist + design lead