Jonny Campbell

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Gifts for Geeks

Tue, December 6th 2011

Christmas can be a stressful time of year, especially when there is less than three weeks to go and you have a geek in your life to buy a gift for. This year I thought I would share some of the cool things the talented people I follow on Twitter have made.

Handpicked Gifts from Talented Twitter Folk

Chris Baker

The Elements of F*cking Style – $9.99

The Elements of F*cking Style drags English grammar out of the ivory tower and into the gutter, injecting a dull subject with a much-needed dose of color.

The Elements of Fucking Style. Yes, I said it. Fuck.

Jessica Hische

Today Is The Day – $14.00

The Today is the Day pocket planner looks like those old hardcover books with gold lettered-titles. The Art Deco-inspired interior planner pages include full-page typographical illustrations of quotations by Emily Dickinson, Emily Bronte, John Gardner, Anthony D’Angelo, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others.

The spine reminds you to “write every day”, and the back cover exhorts you to make it happen.

Today Is The Day. Pocket planners don't usually come as pretty as this.

Ze Frank

Young Me, Now Me: Identical Photos, Different Decades – $8.98

Ze Frank asked fans to recreate their favorite old photos using the exact same people and poses. The results are interesting, funny, and heartwarming.

Young me, old me. I'd like to see more college party moments recreated. Or maybe they it's for the best they jsut happened the once.

Ryan Brinkerhoff

Bandito Design Co. Prints – From $5.00

Ryan Brinkerhoff’s illustrations are beautiful pieces of work and that is why you should buy his prints.

Ryan Brinkerhoff. Designer and illustrator extraordinaire.

Luke Beard

Luke Beard Art Prints & Posters – From £7.00

Luke Beard designs pretty posters, some with Barney Stinson and Steve Jobs quotes. Awesome.

Luke Beard. The guy with a beard in his name and on his face. It doesn't get much more manly than that.

Rory’s Story Cubes

Rory’s Story Cubes – £9.99

Rory’s Story Cubes are a remarkably simple and effective means for inspiring creative thinking and problem solving in all of us. Simply toss all the dice, examine each of the nine face-up images and let them guide your imagination through a story that begins with “Once upon a time…”. It is quite simply the most fun you can have with dice.

Rory's Story Cubes + Bottle of Rum = Funny Stories. (Not just for drunkards.)

Gavin Strange

Droplet – £6.95

Droplets are multi-coloured, poop-shaped vinyl toys. If that doesn’t intrigue you I don’t know what will.

Droplets. What more can I say? Buy the poop-shaped toys already!

sugru

sugru – From £11.50

sugru helps gadget lovers repair their cables, mount components, customise controllers, tidy their leads and protect their phones with bumpers. It’s basically magic.

sugru: You don't need to be Jonny Lee Miller to hack stuff.

Stickygram

StickyGram – $14.99

StickyGram is a personalised printing service that turns your Instagram images into lovely little magnets.

StickGrams: Instagram, but in real life.

The Manual

The Manual – $25.00

The Manual beautifully chronicles the maturing of design on the web. Every issue captures the voices of six authors who each write two pieces: a substantial article and an illuminating life lesson. Each article is paired with the work of a top, talented illustrator. It’s good, so it is.

The Manual: Read it always.

8 Faces

8 Faces Magazine – £8.00

Printed on heavy stock, with a foil-blocked cover, and pressed at just 2000 limited editions, each issue is a true collector’s item. 8 Faces will be more at home on your bookshelf than in your magazine rack. Who said print is dead?

8 Faces: A book for the typophiles among us.

Tattly

Tattly™ Designy Temporary Tattoos – $5.00

Tattly is a temporary tattoo store for design-minded kids and kids-at-heart. When you have such an all-star line up of designers submitting designs, there’s not much that can go wrong.

Tattoos, jobs, relationships. Who said forever is better?

Beep Industries

POPA – £49.99

POPA is the big red button for your iPhone camera. Push POPA onto your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S and the free POPA app springs to life so you can start snapping photos like you used to – with a lovely big button! *drool* buttons…

A big bloody button for your iPhone.

Justin Gignac

QRapping Paper – $14.99

Even terrible gifts are worth opening when they’re wrapped in QRAPPING PAPER™, the world’s most interactive wrapping paper. Behind each QR code is an original holiday video that can’t be seen anywhere else. Over 50 in all, turning any gift into a tiny holiday film festival. Vive la QR Codes! Sort of.

QR Codes finally found their place in the world!

More Gift Ideas

Here’s a list of places to find even more gift ideas, along with a few gifts that didn’t fit above.

Pantone Christmas Ornaments

Pantone Christmas Ornaments

2012 Letterpress Calendar

Letterpress Calendar

End of Year/End of Days Must Haves

End of Year/End of Days Must Haves

Nerd Boyfriend

Nerd Boyfriend

Made by Hand

Made by Hand

52×52 – Give to charity every week for one year

52x52.jpg

Build 2011

Fri, November 18th 2011

Another year, another cracking conference organised by Mr. McMillan. This year the attendees were lucky enough to hear Erik Spiekermann, Scott McCloud, The Standardistas, Josh Brewer, Wilson Miner, Craig Mod, Jeremy Keith, and Simon Collision talk about a whole host of topics. There was an undoubtable thread which tied each talk together resulting in a much more cohesive narrative than I have ever experienced at a web conference.

Intense Jonny with Mustache

The main themes focused on the importance of our craft, story-telling, passion, and the beauty of serendipity. Wilson Miner especially imbued a sense of meaning in what it is we do as craftsmen and craftswomen of the web with a beautifully crafted address; marrying spoken word, moving visuals, and carefully selected audio which captivated every attendee in the conference hall. You could have heard a pin drop. As Frank Chimero quite aptly put it,

If @wilsonminer’s talk at #buildconf didn’t stir something deep within you, fuck you.

At the end of the week I, and the others I talked to, came away revitalized and inspired by what we had heard and the people we met along the way. Good luck topping that, Andy.

My brother @fillyc did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of the conference from start to finish should you wish to relive the memories, or see what you missed.

Build 2011 Infographic

For Build this year I decided quite late on that I wanted to put together an infographic, similar to the Build 2010 Standardista’s Open Book Exam infographic I made last year. With my stats at hand I powered up Illustrator and began to structure my layout from my sketches. It wasn’t until I began laying elements out that it struck me I could just as easy put my visuals together in HTML and CSS. This would allow for a responsive, dynamic result which would be much more interesting than a boring flat. Below is the finished project:

Build 2011 Infographic

It is a little rough in places and it’s pretty ugly under-the-hood as I was trying to get it live before Build kicked off. If I find the time I will go back and tie up any loose ends. As always, I’d love to hear what you think. Hit me up on the Twitter.

5½ Questions with Tracy King

Tue, October 18th 2011

Tracy King is the Managing Director of February Marketing, the organiser of TAM London and co-organiser of The Big Libel Gig. She speaks on a range of topics including viral marketing, advertising psychology and using marketing in science communication and critical thinking. She is the producer of Tim Minchin’sStorm” movie, a regular writer for Skepchick and The Skeptic Magazine (UK), and her work has appeared in the prestigious journal Nature.

Who is Tracy King and how did she end up in the running for a BAFTA?

I was recently described by Padraig Reidy as “queen of the angry nerds”, which I think is fairly fitting, although I’d go with geek over nerd. Better social skills ;) Outside of that I guess I’d describe myself as a producer of things. Until very recently I ran a marketing company, and I still do some consultancy, but Storm has allowed me to pursue my artier ambition of running an animation studio. We didn’t get the BAFTA, but it’s still amazing to have been even close. The short answer to how you get to be in the running is “tell them your film exists and see what they do.”

Was it difficult to promote Storm? Did you have a social media strategy in place?

Easy and difficult in equal measures. Easy because we had somewhat of a captive audience (Tim is an arena-selling performer and Storm in audio form had already gone viral), but difficult for exactly the same reasons. In other words, if Storm had been rubbish after all the hype and expectation, then it would have been very difficult to promote. As it was, most people seem to like it and have been kind enough to share it online. The hardest part about getting people to watch it is the length. Ten minutes is very very long in YouTube terms. It’s also very long in animation terms, which is why it took two years to make.

I should stress that Storm was a non-profit project. I wanted to make Tim’s amazing poem into an animation. So although I did have a basic social media strategy in place, nothing like to the degree I would for a commercial project, simply because I didn’t have any budget for one. It’s doing fine without, though!

February Marketing

You have worked on a number of great projects, but one stands out in my mind as it has been viewed a staggering 85 million times: The Colour-Changing Card Trick. What is the secret behind creating a successful viral marketing campaign?

I should clarify that 85 million views includes television airings worldwide. On YouTube it’s around the four million mark. I give a talk on what the secret behind a successful viral marketing campaign is, the shortest version of which is “there is no secret”. You have to have killer content (i.e. you can’t polish a turd), but you also rely on a million other factors including a huge amount of psychology, and none of it is particularly predictable. If you can’t make a video that taps into one of the key motivators for passing along content, then it won’t go anywhere, but equally you could tick all the boxes and it might still go nowhere. Sadly I see a lot of crummy cynical commercial attempts at getting videos to “go viral”, when really people should just be concerned with making something good that they like. If it is good, it will find an audience. It may not be the hundreds of thousands you want, but if you’re just playing a numbers game then you need to consider why you’re making videos in the first place. If it’s for commercial purposes then innovation is the key.

A concern for many businesses when it comes to social media is ROI. How can this effectively be communicated to clients and what metrics do you think are the most important to track?

This is hard to answer because every campaign is different and every client defines ‘return’ differently. If a client is looking to follow click-throughs and considers a successful campaign only on the basis of conversion to sales, then they aren’t going to get the best from social media. It’s about building trust and long-term relationships.

skepchick.jpg

If you could share just one status update with the world what would it say?

“I love the smell of facepalm in the morning.”

Finally, some people have a book that has had a profound impact on them, rewiring their brain or changing their outlook. Does one stand out for you and if so what is it?

I have two titles, equally important. Sagan’s Demon-Haunted World turned me into a rationalist and science advocate, and Feynman’s Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman gave me a sense of humour about it.

lrg-storm.jpg


Thanks Tracy for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you have any suggestions for a person in the series just let me know by pinging me on Twitter.

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About the Author

  • Jonny Campbell is a web designer, lecturer, blogger, and brand engagement strategist living in Belfast, Northern Ireland… Read more.

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