HTC’s new Windows Phone 8 devices exploded onto the world stage last week with a stunning 50-second animation at the New York press launch, put together by director Kris Mercado, multidisciplinary studio CHRLX, and talented creative directors Julian Rad and Benjamin Bethurum.
Unimpressed by the “spacey, grand gestures” more typically seen at mobile phone launches like these, the design team have been busy redefining the rulebook for HTC. The result? A striking set of graphics and a killer launch animation that sucked up the audience and spat them out on the other side.
It’s bold, dynamic and brilliantly engaging. But more importantly, the visual language helps cement the Windows Phone 8 in the marketplace as a lifestyle brand – and, as HTC's vice president of design Scott Croyle says, “something that looks and feels very, very different”.
There was no brief for the launch initially, says Rad, just the work that the ID design team had done and the knowledge that it was a Windows Phone 8 device. “What was paramount were two primary stories,” he recalls. “Number one, the colour story from the UI to the device, creating a unified user experience; and number two, that the user experience is fun, vibrant, more lifestyle-focused, targeting younger people.”
More than "just phone porn”
“For the most part, mobile phone launches tend to be rather... well... stuffy,” he adds. “They’re usually slow and grand; what I always refer to as the ‘Star Trek effect’ – large, looming, low perspective shots with super-slow turning models, emphasising how immense and awesome the phones are.”
Instead, Rad pushed to make the launch event more than “just phone porn”, partnering with the environment design team at SSG to create an immersive insight into the personality of the Windows Phone 8X and 8S.
“Ultimately, my favourite part is finding that spark of the creative – that first inkling that it's going to come together,” he explains. “The first time you see the creative breathe; when you see the creative resonate with the client, and then seeing it all come together in front of the audience. Watching the creative develop and evolve and ultimately come forth – that's the exciting part of it."