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"Remember those great Volkswagen ads?"

Everyone in advertising knows how influential the Volkswagen campaign has been. Since the early 60s they have admired the clever copy and simple, clean art direction. So I felt very lucky to be suggested to design a website for the 3rd edition of this classic book, and wanted it to reflect this simplicity. But that turned out to be rather complicated.

I was given a free hand in the design. Logically, and for branding, the site echoes the cover, albeit to different proportions. And it contains a fair number of examples to get visitors interested enough to buy the book. To ensure the distinctive typeface appears identically on different computers all the copy was converted to image files.
Keeping the bottom 'banner' constant throughout decided how many ads would appear on each page. And a clever piece of java enables each headline to be read in the status bar at the bottom of the browser.

More java enabled a popup which would adjust to the individual proportions of each advertisement.
To respect the art direction I wanted to display the ads as large as possible without scrolling. (They're actually made of two images, one for the picture and one for the type.) 
But it occurred to me that however sharp I managed to reproduce the copy it would be too small to read. So I designed a popup within the popup with larger type, giving the impression of magnification.

Displaying the TV commercials brought their own individual problems of retouching and typesetting to reproduce a typewriter feel. After experimenting I found a large gif the best compromise between file size and legibility.

Please visit the site at www.greatvwads.com and maybe you'll like it so much you'll buy the book!


Arthur Robins

Arthur is an inspired artist and a great friend. I felt honoured to make a website of his huge portfolio, which would save him dragging it up to London. I used his signature as a logo, and treated the opening page as the cover of a book, montaging several of his characters to give a taste of what was to come.



I wanted to make navigation as simple as possible, not for the kids who would visit the site, but for oldies who might fear getting lost in the 200 images. I made an animation of one of his drawings as a 'home page'. Most of Arthur's illustrations appear in this space, along with a 'close' button. Hitting that will lead the visitor safely back to this main page.


I decided against thumbnails (the miniature pictures you click for more detail) and instead made a series of slide shows. Some of the illustrations are so detailed they demanded more room, space wasted by the browser's navigation buttons. So for these special subjects I made pop-ups. The file sizes are rather large, which slows download, but I thought it more important to show the illustrations to their best advantage.




Another challenge. John O'Driscoll, who'd been such a help on the VW site, needed an on-line showreel of the tv commercials he's directed. Surfing the competition the movies were too small, jumpy and pixelated, or took ages to download, only to appear as a series of still pictures.

I wanted a reasonably-sized sharp picture that would start running almost immediately but knew absolutely nothing about compressing movie files.

After countless experiments it was clear that each film would require it's own set of compression options. It was well worth the slog, though. And a little Flash magic added a touch of class to the website, without it appearing anywhere near as complicated as it is.




Ric Hawkes' showreel

Boris and I spent months building an on-line showreel like no other. He made the films jump out of the screen, and I made a funny Flash introduction animation based on Ric and Jo's logo, the international sign for a WC. (Ric made the sound effects with his mouth!) We made the movies to a larger format and squeezed the proportions to match the squareness of their logo. And to tie it all together I made links reflecting the Highway Code. All very clean and simple. But tastes change, and so has their website, to a busier inter-active look. But I've kept our original site because I'm proud of it (click the logo below).




Tjala Aboriginal Art

An on-line art gallery. Each thumbnail clicks to a detail of the respective painting with its individual e-mail link and optional information about the artist. Alternatively they can be clicked forward or back to form a slideshow. Quite a nightmare but I've made it appear as simple as possible.
As an opener I deconstructed one of the paintings and, with the help of photographs of the work in progress, was able to create a Flash animation of its mystical conception. Unfortunately, however much I compressed the finished file. there was still no room for the intended soundtrack to run alongside. A case of didgeri-don't.