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December 2015

Need I say more? What is better than combining the two loves of your life?

Although it’s not as easy as it looks, and may put you off food for a while, but it was one of the best experiences i encountered.

Designing with all edible materials may sound challenging, and that’s the beauty of it! And its exasperation! Warning: Making those easy digital curves with whip cream may cause considerable damage to your motor and mental skills!

Stepping aside from the imac, where you are master of the tools, where you cut and paste as you wish and undo with a blink of an eye to a world where you are left under the mercy of the consistency of a cream, the temperature of chocolate and the thousands of stencils and hand made molds you have to create.

It’s true that we, as designers, should not allow our tools to control us, but in the kitchen the rules change. Shapes are determined, colors are acquired and erasing is not an option.

Okay now that I’ve scared you off, it’s time to share with you a few tricks to a satisfying edible set design:

  1. Sketch your idea on paper before starting.
  2. Identify your ingredients, specifying what each layer or component is made of.
  3. Use different textures to create the wow effect.
  4. Choose your colors wisely as edible coloring substances are very basic.
  5. Do not worry about combining sweet and savory products as you are aiming for a visual representation and not a tasty one.
  6. Think outside of the box when it comes to the message you want to convey.
  7. Be resourceful when it comes to shaping your own molds. Let’s just say that there are certain things that should not go into an oven!
  8. Keep your waste at minimum.
  9. Get a good photographer if you are not one. You want to document once and for all the countless hours of work before you throw it all away (yes the one inconvenience of food design).
  10. Enjoy it!And there you go! Food design is a very pleasant experience if you prepare it well and in advance. It comes to show us that there are plenty of ways to get creative playing around the kitchen.

 

Rebecca Mourani
Associate Creative Director

What’s Next?

Reaching the end of the year, the big question that comes to our mind as marketers is « What’s Next? » What will be the latest trends in digital media and how will they impact marketing?

Going through several recent researches, I’ve come to the conclusion that 2016’s new trends are highly defined by the evolution of consumer behavior & changes in his use of digital media and technology:

  1. A more complex purchase decision to face

The influence of online channels has clearly affected purchase decisions and is increasing in complexity. In fact, today’s customer is exposed to content across multiple devices or platforms, social media channels, and e-commerce, particularly for high-value purchases.

Why do see SEO everywhere?

  1. An increase of mobile usage

Mobile marketing will definitely continue to be one of key trends to follow in 2016, as 2015 has seen a continued strong growth in mobile use.

  1. Change problems in managing a company’s marketing activities

“Digital marketing activities” are no longer separated, but fully integrated in Marketing. Amanda Rendle, HSBC global head of marketing affirmed that “For any organization it’s huge waste of resource to have two teams doing the same thing. That’s the real danger ». Marketing departments will have to adopt digital transformation programs by setting an integrated digital strategy to a marketing campaign that works across all channels. And most importantly, they need to recreate the marketing team through a combination of recruiting digital specialists, working with digital agencies and/or training existing marketers.

However, many businesses are still at an early stage of adopting digital marketing techniques. For some of them, 2016 will be decisive in determining how successful they will be in planning their marketing.

Consequently, we as marketers, have to take into consideration these new trends in our strategy formulation. Our challenge is to improve and optimize the level of integration of digital and traditional communication. No matter what, we can’t deny the well-described reality by Jeff Dodds, previously CMO for Virgin Media: “To talk about digital as some kind of separate entity is to not understand it. Our lives ARE digital is not a thing, it is simply a more flexible, response and efficient way to do business.”

Do you have the fear of missing out?

Sabine Menassa
Digital Marketeer

Santa’s not happy this year

Dear readers,

We received this rather sad letter from Santa Claus, apologizing for not being able to visit us this year. Not that he doesn’t want to, but he voiced his reasons and concerns honestly. Here is what the old bearded man said:

Dear Lebanon,

I am writing to you this year with an ache in my heart. I don’t know whether this ache comes out of sadness or that double scotch I drank earlier. But there is an ache nonetheless. As you know, each year I look forward to pay you a visit and share the warmth of the holiday.

Kindly find here under some of the few reasons that led me to boycott you this year. Forgive my Gmail tone, but it’s a force of habit from all the emails I have replied to lately.

Reason 1: My Prada bag is too precious.

With all the garbage bags surpassing the human population, I am anxious that my red bag of gifts may accidently be switched with a blue or black bag that carries cholera, malaria and McDonald’s leftovers. Although I do love the occasional Big Mac, but you get my idea.

Reason 2:  Sohat, I am disappointed.

Not that I don’t wish the winner all the happiness in the world, but seriously guys! I have been taking care of my beard like a pet puppy over the past decades. And when the chance came to win the Movember challenge with Sohat, they said I was too old for it and that I should let the younger generation have fun. What’s up with that? What, so I don’t even get a like in return for the endless gifts I have bought you over the years?

Reason 3: Abou Joseph, it’s not your fault.

Why is this minister constantly trying to boycott restaurants?? I mean I was looking forward to try the worldwide sensation, Abou Joseph’s famous shawarma, but I got cold feet because of this issue. Well I am used to having cold feet but not in that sense…

Reason 4: False Advertising.

I’ve always heard people bragging about how one can go from the beach to the mountains, in less than 30min. Nice try Lebanon.

Reason 5: I have a birth certificate you know!

And who is this so-called “House of Creatives” FEER McQUEEN that wants to ruin everyone’s Christmas?

I will burn that Phoenix of theirs.  I AM REAL!!!!

Sincerely yours,

Santa.

So here it is dear readers, what can we say? He might be overreacting to some extent don’t you think? That is of course, if he does exist in the first place.

Tony Raad
Content Creator and Creative Writer

Stay safe!

Dear Reader,

Let me write to you today about vacations.
You need them. Take them. Enjoy them. But don’t let them spoil you.
I always despised the idea of having too many vacations.
I never knew why, but maybe because I didn’t have the privileges back then and I convinced myself with time that too much is just “too much!”
However, now that I can.. I despise the idea even more.

I might be afraid of them. Afraid to be too spoiled or just afraid of not coming back to my real world.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about my world. But I don’t remember the day I decided that this (my current life) should be my real world.
What makes our real world real anyway? Friends? Family? Jobs?.. Definitely not the country!
Security, I say. Our real world is where we feel the most secure, safe & numb.

Some of my friends decided to live abroad when they didn’t find enough security in their home country.
A lot of people engage in travelling the world for years searching for adventures, exploring different cultures, meeting strangers… But most importantly looking for something missing.
Security, I say.

It hurts not finding the security you need & to look for it everywhere or.. anywhere.
But sometimes, I feel that its lack drives you forward.
It pushes your boundaries, and makes you stronger…To the point that you don’t need it anymore. No matter how much you search for it, you won’t find it.

Vacations are good, even great. Take them, enjoy them.. But be careful.
I know I will.. But in case one day I don’t come back, you’ll know why.

Stay safe!

Salamat,

Firas Mghames
Creative Director/ Entrepreneur

Why we should all switch to Keynote

Keynote is known primarily as Apple’s version of Power Point, that puts some awesome design powers in the hands of millions of business-oriented people.

While both of them create slides using text, tables, charts, graphics and other multimedia elements, aesthetics and design options in PowerPoint rarely measure up to those in Keynote.

For us designers, having a lack of enthusiasm towards Power Point, the comparison ends up being between Keynote and InDesign.

As we are academically and genetically prepared to handle editorials on InDesign, we tend to treat our presentations the same, without making this small extra effort to take on Keynote.

Well not anymore!

Keynote is design-oriented and offers presentations an innovative and dynamic feel through its appealing themes, cool animation effects, and transitions. With a wider choice of fonts, colors and freedom in designing the slides, and its easy-to-manage charts and tables, Keynote surely wins.

It is also media-based and offers easy sound, image, and video integration, and allows us to use an iphone or ipad as a remote control to present slideshows.

Also a great feature in Keynote is the Presenter Display. This features allows us to have two displays (one for the presenter and one for the audience). It enables us to display notes, see both following and previous slides, and rehearse our presentation with a very helpful timer.

Fellow teammates, I invite you to explore and embrace the Keynote experience!

Rebecca Mourani
Associate Creative Director

10 things to do while rendering

If you’re an animator, editor or someone who grew to hate life, then you’ve probably had to deal with a minimum of one hour of render time.

Yes, it starts out as “Est. Remain: 9 minutes” and that lovely little 9 just stays there. For 7 hours.

That’s 46. 7 times 9 minutes. (I used a calculator for that joke).

So without further ado, here’s a list of 10 things to do while waiting for your file to render.

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1. Make yourself some tea or coffee. By that i mean, make sure you have enough fluids to make you go to the bathroom about 68.5 times (that half time was false alarm.)

 

 

 

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2. Make an origami brachiosaur. If you didn’t understand what either of the last two words meant, you can go ahead and skip this point. If you happily cracked your knuckles, don’t do that. It’s bad for your joints. But here are the steps to do the origami

 

 

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3. Sing your favorite song backwards. Disclaimer: If it is “OOps I did it again”, I heard it summons demons. So just make sure you know what you’re getting into.  (Pretty sure she’s saying ouh yeah shakalakalaka).

 

 

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4. Knit a sweater.

 

 

 

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5. Post-its. Draw eyes. Nap. No one will suspect anything.

 

 

 

 

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6. Turn off the lights but keep a flashlight in hand; close the blinds and make shapes with your hands (it’s called shadowgraphy, you’re welcome). Be the bunny. Hop away.

 

 

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7. Start growing a beard. If you’re not a man, it’s fine. You have time to grow one too.

 

 

 

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8. Try to remember the color of grass (hint: usually found in nature. Outside.).

 

 

 

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9. If time just seems to not be passing at all, you might as well just go to your happy place.
That’s right. You’re on a tropical island, sipping a martini with your pet Chihuahua, Pablito.

 

 

 

10. You can always write a blog article.

 

Vickie Boschiero
Junior Animation Art Director

 

 

 

The effect of repetitive music while working

I don’t know about you, but I am a musical killer on the loose. And while my 25 most played songs compete relentlessly on iTunes, I decided to scientifically prove that my condition exists for a reason, and for a damn good one!

We cannot deny that music is taking part of today’s workplace, but can music help us create?

Recent studies have revealed that the relationship between listening to music and working is at its best, when the work is repetitive. However, new experiments state that it does not matter what type of music you listen to. As long as it boosts your mood, it will push you to be more productive. Hence, listening to music you are familiar with, one that makes you happy, might help you intensely focus on any project (and repeat, in my case).

Furthermore, and while the more emerging open-space workplaces encourage collaboration and team spirit, listening to constant rhythms can be an escape from all the distractions and ambient noise, leaving your personal productivity intact.

Why repeat?

New music requires focus, keeping up with the lyrics and what lies ahead. On the other hand, the comfort brought by familiar tracks gets things done!

To lyrics or not to lyrics?

Personally when a song or a track is on its tenth million repeat, I stop noticing the lyrics, which can be distracting, especially during an intensive workload.

Classical instrumental music and repetitive electronic music are both famous genres designers might go to, when they need to boost their reasoning or overshadow the stress they are experiencing. The first, provides relaxation and lower tension, while the second is said to boost focus and concentration.

Except for momentarily misjudgments, such as the incident in this video – (and kids please do not try this at home), or the peppy “it’s Fridaaaay” moments, for me, an original soundtrack does the job! It can range from Alexandre Desplat’s compositions to Les Miserables musical performance. Heck it can be Beauty and the Beast, as long as it’s in the right mood, and on repeat. Shout out!

Rebecca Mourani
Associate Creative Director