Just because there hasn't been a blog post since 2013 doesn't mean work isn't being done. (It does mean you probably shouldn't hire Detraform to blog for you.)

L7 product site launched in four languages

L7 product site launched in four languages

Detraform continued to provide art direction for the L7 project when Swissvoice commissioned a product micro site. We've launched in English, French, German and Polish. I'm pleased with the results, especially since we didn't have the budget to produce any images or illustrations specifically for the website. Big thanks to Tyler, Thomas and Johnny for their commitment and professionalism.
 

Concept, creative direction and supplemental copywriting: Joel Blair
Graphic Design: Tyler Johnston
Programming: Smashy Web 
CMS integration: Johnny Lutfy
[Photos: Will Lew Illustration: El Diablo]

 

Anatomy of a photo shoot | part 02

I played with a lot of different props for the L7 press photos. Here's a catalogue of what made the cut.

[art direction by Joel Blair / photography by Will Lew / model: Michelle Bourque]

anatomy 02.jpg

05 Vintage telephone table
06 O'NO 99 "Another family card game from UNO"
07 Obligatory stack of Monocle Magazines
08 Cut out illustrations from Space Travel book

01 Passports [Canadian, Finnish, French]
02 Hench-women-esque uniform dress
03 Moonraker by Ian Flemming
04 The Elluvan Gift by Simon Lang

 

 

Anatomy of a photo shoot | part 01

We're hoping to shoot the L7 at more dramatic locations in the future, but with a small budget to launch with we shot right here at Detraform HQ. Here's some of the props and references included in this image.

[art direction by Joel Blair / photography by Will Lew]

L7 shoot anatomy.jpg

06 Stripey shirt - another reference to The Prisoner
07 Souvenir pencil from the Guggenheim Museum, NYC
08 Montreal logo by Georges Huel
09 Vintage microphone (from my grandfather)
10 "alpha micro" personal computer

 

01 Milk - a reference to The Prisoner
02 Watch from Montreal micro brand Neuvo
03 Vial of poison
04 Pocket Pencil by Alex Hulme
05 CCCP photo book by Frédéric Chaubin

 

 

 

Att ha fast telefon är bara dumt.

TJOCK — from Sweden. 

Damn this webzine is hot. So hot, they did their own improved retouching on the ivory white L7 photo. 

Swedish: Att ha fast telefon är bara dumt.
English translation: Having a landline phone is just stupid.

I have to disagree, but they do go on to say that if you want a landline, this is the one you should long for. That I can agree with.

umm, nice wallpaper guys

Here's a link to a Hong Kong website featuring the L7. I love seeing this stuff, although I question the choice of backdrop. 

Is that a brick phone in the foreground? Awesome. 

L7除咗有激似大哥大嘅外形外,仲有座機喇叭,入面有埋收音功能,不論女仔煮餸、修甲定男孩子打機,都可以用座機嘅 speaker phone功能,唔使拎住電話,講得方便.

Google translation:
In addition to a shock like L7 Mobile Zo generous shape, the Zhongyou landline speakers, buried into the surface with radio function, regardless Girl cook Dishes, manicure set boy playing computer, you can use a landline generous speaker phone function, needless Linzhu phone, put it convenient.

Awesome.

 

Kam warned me.

Here's what happens when you attempt to use an animal in your photo shoot. I think we could have got the shot I wanted if we had multiple cat talent, and about 12 hours. As it was, we tried to fit Max here into the middle of a super busy shooting schedule. Bad idea. 

We're on Design Boom today!

We launched our press push this week and are excited to see the venerable Design Boom create our first media post.

Detraform Celebrates: Courtney Wing

As we approach the commercial release of the model 500 telephone, Detraform takes a moment to celebrate some of the characters that helped us along the way. In issue one we celebrate musician and composer Courtney Wing.


Issue 01. When we wanted to give our 2011 crowdfunding video a finishing polish, we enrolled Courtney Wing to compose the soundtrack. We were inspired by RJD2 and the music of Mark Mothersbaugh, while Courtney produced original work perfectly complimenting the ironic tone of the video. Watch the video again here: http://vimeo.com/24893774. Turn up your volume, the music cues are terrific.

Courtney Wing.jpg

Since the beginning of his professional career in 2001, Courtney completed three albums; Bouquet of Might & Fury (2010, Bonsound), Starlight Shuffle (2005, Maple Music), and For the Good Times (2001), and produced and recorded albums for various artists.  He's toured extensively through Canada, the United States, and most recently, China.

A regular on the Montreal music scene, the multi-instrumentalist is backed by a supporting cast of musicians who’ve played with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Bell Orchestre, Arcade Fire, Amon Tobin, and the 10-piece opera collective Liederwolfe.  Together, this dynamic group contributes to Courtney’s neo-folk compositions with symphonic textures so rich they melt even the most bitter-struck hearts.

Courtney has composed and licensed music for clients including HBO, Ubisoft, Eidos, Alliance, Warner, Kraft, Fubar 2, CBC, Bravo, and the National Film Board of Canada.

www.courtneywing.com

Detraform Presents: Lori Andrews

ISSUE 01. Detraform Presents is a new series of feature interviews with creative professionals we're inspired by. In issue 01 we speak with Lori Andrews. Lori is an insanely happy creative generalist living in Calgary, Alberta. She practices interior design, photography and other creative pursuits.

Lori Andrews.JPG
 

Joel Blair: I know you work from home. But it looks like you also go out for a lot of coffee breaks and enjoy frequent brunches. What does a regular work day look like for you?

Lori Andrews: My days usually start around 8:00 am with emails and tea. Since I work from home and miss the daily interaction of colleagues, I generally go out for a latte at least once per day. My latest coffee shop preference is Analog coffee (of which I just happen to have designed the interior). I shoot interiors for other designers, client work of all sorts including promotional images, book covers, portraits and stock photography. I schedule my stock shoots at least twice per week and all others when the clients are ready. As my workdays are flexible I generally fit in a work out during the day as well.  It's just as easy for me to process images and work on designs at 10:00 pm as it is at 10:00 am.

You’re a skilled self promoter. You have over 4300 twitter follows, a Klout score of 62 and Instagram followers over 16,000. How does social networking play into your business?

Social Networking has been instrumental in building my career. Being blogged and noticed by a larger audience helps to raise my profile so that when someone is looking for a designer in my city, chances are, someone they know might recommend me. It's also a nice addition to the coffee shops in order to keep me connected with people. I have met countless new friends and acquaintances around the world and within my city because I spend a couple of hours online everyday.

I feel like social networking, like most technology, ultimately isolates us from each other rather than bringing us together. This hasn’t been your experience though has it?

Absolutely not. It has enabled me to transmit my day to day activities to my mom much more effectively! haha. No seriously, I believe quite the opposite. In my circle of Calgary friends I would estimate that at least half of us met online first.

Lori Andrews.jpg
 

You’re represented by Getty images. I was under the impression that stock photography was dead and could no longer be a significant source of income for professional photographers.

Stock photography is in transition and the profits are down for both the companies and the photographers. That in no way means it cannot be an excellent secondary source of income. I'm quite lucky as I simply shoot the sort of images I like to shoot anyhow and buyers it turns out, like them as well.

Are you bringing your camera along on day trips, or do you plan day trips to facilitate your photo shoots?

Both.  I lead a very active athletic life and take advantage of our Rocky Mountains and natural areas to shoot.  But sometimes I just want to go hike without a camera.  Most of the stock and art images that I make are carefully planned out though and the trip is taken especially for the image.

Lori Andrews.jpg
 

You often leave the model’s head out of frame. How would your describe the effect you create by depersonalizing the subject?

It's simply more accessible. Without an identifiable face the image embodies "every-woman" (I shoot self portraits) and therefore the viewer can translate the moment into their own life easily.

Your depersonalized work is deeply attractive and story book romantic. How do you do that?

Intentionally. I have been recording my travels and daily history for nearly 9 years photographically. It has been intentional on my part to remove the extraneous and keep only the sweeping, the romantic and the beautiful.  Ever look back at photos from your past?  If everything in your photographs represents only the best parts it will in fact assist your memory to discard the bad. I want to grow very old very happily.

You have a distinct and relatable style. How do you keep evolving your work so you’re not repeating yourself?

I have been creating art daily since I studied art in University back in the early 90's.  My life has changed dramatically since that time and so of course my work has changed to reflect that. Time and place are constantly moving and therefore my work is continually evolving.

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Here in Montreal we like to turn our noses up at Calgary, but you’re a great cheerleader for your city. Tell me why Calgary is a great place to live and work as a creative professional. 

Calgary is a young vibrant city with multiple colleges and a University. The population is highly educated and due to our natural resources in the province, they are also quite wealthy by comparison to other parts of the country. This wealth may not always be beneficial but it has most certainly in the last decade provided amazing opportunities for the arts and culture sector. We are a city that is in the wonderful position of being so young that we can invent NEW ways of being a city. We have an amazing number of writers, politicians and businesses that are forward thinking and open to change. That may be something and older and more established city might have difficulty with. Change. Calgary was named the arts capital of Canada recently. It wasn't some random title. We really do have an amazing arts scene. And we have the rocky mountains.

Your interiors are characterised by mid century classics, floor to ceiling curtians and a spirited use of colour. Is Calgary a good city to practice contempary interior design?

Contemporary interior design is thriving in Calgary. My practice is limited now though. I prefer to take on smaller inner city homes with like minded clients. I feel it's important to take a stand against waste and environmental laziness. I prefer a very clean mid-century modern look though I happily incorporate other elements. My clients understand that the home we design together should be sustainable and lasting.

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Finally, what’s the deal between you and Wonder Woman?

I grew up and came of age in a time when Diana Prince and Wonder Woman were the smartest and most liberated women on television. I idealized her not only for her amazing feminine beauty but also because she could do anything and she did it fearlessly.

 
 

“Don’t undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible” -Edwin Land

I recently read two excellent books about the Polaroid corporation. Peter C. Wensberg's Land's Polaroid (1987) is an adventure story of American invention and empire building. It's a fantastic tale and the best thing I read last year. Christopher Bonanos' Instant (2012) is beautifully illustrated and includes 25 further years of history.

Polaroid book covers.JPG

Edwin Land is my hero. Steve Jobs couldn't hold a candle to the mystery and magnificence of Land's genius. Not only did Land conceive polarized filters, 3D photography and film, heat seeking missiles, instant photography and all its advances, he was also a trailblazer in human centre manufacturing processes and employing female scientists. I'm enamoured with Land's habit of employing young people with a degree in the humanities and making them into scientists in his personal back room laboratory.

In it's heyday Polaroid was one the top five wealthiest companies in the US. Today it has 30 employees and exists strictly as a licensing company. I experienced this sad state of affairs first hand when visiting the Polaroid booth at the CES 2013. While the company was capitalizing on Polaroid's heritage, the extensive product line was a hodgepodge of garbage with no common design language or quality standard.  Core77 strangely wrote "Polaroid must be the best place for an industrial designer to work at". In fact, it's unlikely Polaroid employs designers of any kind at all.

Bonanos quotes Land's response to Kodak's theft of instant photography,  "We took nothing from anybody. We gave a great deal to the world. The only thing keeping us alive is our brilliance. The only thing that keeps our brilliance alive is our patents."  Patents and Land himself.

Homme

Detraform HQ is a flurry of activity this week as several product ideas are being investigated. Today the focus was on a project demanding communication with the estate of Alexander Calder, and the architecture studios of Moshe Safdie and Roger Taillibert. We hope to announce this series of playful products before the summer starts.

Illustration by Joel Blair

Illustration by Joel Blair

Lapka at CES 2013

The Lapka booth in the South Hall. #2013CES

The Lapka booth in the South Hall. #2013CES

I've been following the start-up brand Lapka since they were featured on Co.Design earlier this year, so I was thrilled to stumble upon their booth in the South Hall. Lapka is a product-driven brand with a beautiful kit of "Personal Environmental Monitors". Sergey and Valdik were great to meet and clearly stood out from the geek-factor-10 gearheads roaming the show.

Sergey Philippov

Sergey Philippov

These guys do everything perfect. From the physical product, to the mobile app, branding and packaging, a consistent vision and control of details has been executed with impressive results.

There's a aura of mystery around the Lapka device. I don't know if some details have been lost in translation (the founders are Russian) or if it's intentional. The Lapka products invite discovery and that's part of the fun of this brand.

Delightful Lapka packaging includes playful instructions, stickers, cloth cable and even graphic details on the wrapping stickers. 

Delightful Lapka packaging includes playful instructions, stickers, cloth cable and even graphic details on the wrapping stickers. 

CES 2013

On Freemont Stree

On Freemont Stree

Detraform attended CES in Las Vegas for the second year running. This year I had more meetings, met more brand owners, and had more fun. 

The first order of business was to review the latest model 500 prototype. It's looking great but the plastic was rapid prototyped so I have to wait until the end of the month to review the production model out of the proper molds.

I had several meetings scheduled with manufacturers, brands and engineering firms. I pitched six new product ideas and received interest in five. Detraform will be working to launch development on one of these projects over the next few weeks.

Joel Blair with Pierre Garner, product designer for Swissvoice, Invoxia, Withings and Urban Hello among others. At the Cosmopolitan's Chandelier Bar. 

Joel Blair with Pierre Garner, product designer for Swissvoice, Invoxia, Withings and Urban Hello among others. At the Cosmopolitan's Chandelier Bar. 

The following posts were imported from our old Tumblr blog. Please forgive the sometimes awkward text size.

Lost Steve Jobs Tapes Still Fifty Percent Lost! Last month Fast Company published “The Lost Steve Jobs Tapes”. When Journalist Brent Schlender discovered some three dozen tapes in his storage shed he brought them to Fast Company where a young staff member was given the grunt work of digitising the tapes for transcription. However, as a child the CD and MP3 era, the young staffer didn’t know that cassette tapes were two sided. The subsequent article was written and edited based on only half the recordings. Only after publication was the mistake discovered. Watch for text from the full recordings in Schlender’s upcoming book. [As told by Fast Company editor Robert Safian in the C2-MTL green room. Pictured above is Robert Safian, Albert, Amber Mac, and Geneviève Borne.]

Lost Steve Jobs Tapes Still Fifty Percent Lost!

Last month Fast Company published “The Lost Steve Jobs Tapes”. When Journalist Brent Schlender discovered some three dozen tapes in his storage shed he brought them to Fast Company where a young staff member was given the grunt work of digitising the tapes for transcription.

However, as a child the CD and MP3 era, the young staffer didn’t know that cassette tapes were two sided. The subsequent article was written and edited based on only half the recordings. Only after publication was the mistake discovered.

Watch for text from the full recordings in Schlender’s upcoming book.

[As told by Fast Company editor Robert Safian in the C2-MTL green room. Pictured above is Robert Safian, Albert, Amber Mac, and Geneviève Borne.]

AT&T push button phone, as seen at Shannon’s apartment in Mile End.