Originally published in Web Designer Magazine (January 2018, issue 269).
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Design is woven into the DNA of AREA 17. From its inception, the ambition to transform communication using diverse channels and approaches has shaped this studio. Today, few can match the breadth of understanding AREA 17 bring to the digital channels and beyond.
Introducing “Mike’s Historical Half Truths” to Optical Cortex.
Part of what makes AREA 17 brilliant is our international mix of nationalities and office locations. I love the differences of cultures and ideas and what that brings to creative discussions. Something that always interested me is that different countries have different public holidays. Sometimes they have the same days but for different reasons. And so, I began researching some of these public holidays and I decided to share what I’d learned in a series of emails to all-staff.
Arnaud Mercier and Audrey Templier at the Slash Magazine launch party (June 2011)
Six years ago, we lost our dear friend and partner Arnaud Mercier. Widely considered to be among the most important and prolific digital designers, his memory lives on through the work and hearts of the innumerable designers he inspired.
A year after his death, we created a tribute to Arnaud and his work – a permanent online collection bringing together over 2000 images. His influential body of work from 1999-2011 is an incredible time capsule of pioneering digital design and continues to be salient today.
2014 was a big year at AREA 17. We had the opportunity to work with some amazing new clients, develop deeper partnerships with existing ones, have our voices heard from coast to coast (and country to country), soak up some California sun, and come back home again to expanding studios in Paris and New York. We wished a few old friends the best in new adventures and welcomed a cadre of talented new colleagues hailing from as far away as Dubai and Detroit and as close as Long Island and Brooklyn Heights.
I recently spent a week in Vancouver, where the seeds of my AREA 17 adventure were planted. It was there I met Arnaud Mercier in Y2k while working for Blast Radius and I still remember the buzz that was created when his Elixir Studio Subway portfolio got sent around, along with the news that he would soon be joining our ranks. I was only a couple of weeks into my first real position as a designer, and over the next couple of years I had the opportunity to learn from him and a host of other incredibly talented art directors whom I continue to hold in high regard. I guess that’s why Vancouver has always felt particularly rich in design for me, despite the fact that the Canadian city does not have as many cultural offerings as New York or Paris (a fact subtly lamented by Arnaud at the time). So it was with an odd sense of pride that I discovered a thriving design culture, especially in Gastown, the city’s oldest neighborhood.
Estrella Damm, the beer of Barcelona. Illustration by Alex Trochut.
In 1992 the Olympic Games were held in Barcelona. Since then, the local design scene has grown immensely, so much so that Barcelona now has more design schools than any other metropolitan region in Europe. The city is now recognized globally as a forward thinking design city with the branding to prove it.
In order to maintain Barcelona’s recent reign of design dominance the city’s local government, public and private institutions, and companies have made big efforts to create and build the Barcelona brand.
But how exactly do you brand a city?
I’m a huge sports fan. It’s a full-fledged passion. So you can imagine my excitement when I didn’t have to miss a World Cup game with WatchESPN. Then I learned that FIFA was supporting goal-line technology in all 12 stadiums during the tournament. To me, this only made one of the best sporting events in the world much better. This view, however, has been hotly contested. With technology creeping deeper into every sport the debate on its role has only increased.
People always ask, “why do you keep coming back here?” I’ve already been to Iceland three times. Truth is, I’ve never really been into checklists: been there / done that. Accumulating travels. It was my third time in Iceland but it definitely won’t be the last. I’ll be back again and again and again, until I’ve fully satisfied my appetite for this country and its unreal landscapes. Hopefully these few photographs will make you hungry for Iceland too.
This week saw the Clone Wars animated series air its 100th episode. Much has been written about this series; after the mixed reactions to the prequel trilogy this series has given new life to the franchise to viewers young and old.
I just discovered this gaming site that intends to improve your brain health and performance. According to the website, “Lumosity partners with researchers at Berkeley, UCSF, Harvard, and Columbia, among other prestigious universities. We also work with numerous health care organizations to provide cognitive training services.”
The name of our agency AREA 17 refers to the Optical Cortex of the brain where visual data is received, patterns are recognized and images are formulated. As a company, we have used the term Optical Cortex as an internal code for our ideas, process and methodology, including the challenges we encounter, the tools we use and the work that inspires us.