Begone, Desktop Calendars of Old.
Not since The Far Side entered the world of desktop calendars has anything about those little paperweights really felt compelling. The truth is, we’ve been pretty bored with those January gift staples. They just sit there on your desk, a constant reminder you’re forgetting someone’s birthday, and not really helping at all since it’s midsummer but the last time you tore off a page was evidently January 17th. And ya know, when something should be interesting, but simply isn’t, that kinda pisses us off. So we got to thinking, what could take the desktop calendar to the next level? What does the future of desktop calendars look like?
Introducing the 2015 AR Calendar
New Month, New Artist. Firstly, nobody remembers to change dates on their calendars daily. This is 2015, we have computers, phones, watches, Siri and Scarlett Johansson all to tell us what day it is. We don’t need a desktop calendar and there isn’t enough coffee in the world to motivate us enough to change a page every morning when we sit at our desks. So first and foremost, get rid of that daily nonsense. Let’s simplify this thing, keep it to months, and provide 12 beautifully designed, completely unique cards. People are a lot more apt to change out months than days. Secondly, we have a pretty wide range of talented folks here at Royale. Varied interests, varied backgrounds, varied specialties. Let’s use this as a showcase for that, allow different artists to each claim a month, and create a personalized, completely unique piece of artwork to celebrate each month.
An Augmented Experience
By now, most folks have heard about Augmented Reality, it’s been around a good while. Most associate it with the always irrelevant QR code, but the reality is AR has gotten pretty advanced and marker less AR is a very real and pretty cool thing. The difficulty with such a technology, as is often the case, is how do you engage someone to use it? What’s the motivation? Same could be said about desktop calendars, and the more we thought about it, the more we felt the two were destined for a marriage in eternity like Burt and Loni (shhh, don’t tell Brien they broke up). By adding an animated story to each month, the calendar becomes a year long animated adventure.
We created a companion iOS app to enable the AR calendar and keep track of achievements hidden within each month’s experience. Be sure to keep an eye out for those Easter eggs, you never know what combination of “keys” on a certain 80’s “heartthrob” might unlock a certain “theme song” to the “greatest television program ever created in the history of mankind.”
500 calendars, 12 cards per calendar, 4 colors per card, 24,000 total passes.
In the spirit of creating a truly unique calendar, it was highly important to us that the calendars themselves be as beautiful as the designs they displayed, and as thoughtful as the animated secrets they contained. Instead of firing up the old Epson workhorse in house, we decided to reach out to Creative Letterpress Inc. to massage a fine amount of emboss into our artwork. There’s just something to be said about letterpressing your work into buttery smooth stock that makes us smile.
Each design was split into 4 color plates and handed to Creative letterpress Inc. to run through their vintage presses. Seriously, those things have a patina Restoration Hardware would die for. Jack nearly lost a finger filming some macro’s of the presses in action. We also worked closely with Creative Letterpress Inc. to design a packaging that mirrors as a stand for the calendar – we wanted it to feel self contained, with no waste.
Introductions are nice, animated introductions are fantastic. Inspired by the airline video of old, we crafted a character driven piece that explains the proper augmented reality procedures the first time you open the app. Our stewardess walks an unsuspecting calendar holder through the motions while he wonders all along, how exactly she got into his office from the beginning. As our development team was working through the implementation of the app, our design, and animation teams were crafting the intro. Starting with an exploration of characters we quickly honed in on a geometric style that felt clean and silly at the same time. We carried that language through each scene, finally bringing the assets into animation.
The Whole Enchilada.
We’re big fans of taking something mundane, and ordinary, and twisting it into something exciting. We’re also really big fans of having a creative outlet to do something experimental. When the two come together, stars align, and Jay’s muscled up on enough protein… magical things happen. We’re constantly looking for opportunities to engage the entire breadth of talent in the studio whenever possible. Every one of us is an artist that, at the end of the day, just wants to do something cool. The AR Calendar is just that – a project that taps into the whole studio.