"I love the use of sound! Audio is still such an under-appreciated design element and yet, a little goes a long way to enhance this very simple site." —juror Diane Andolsek
"Love this site. Interactive animation doesn’t get much better than this. A great concept that’s unique, funny and captivating, Kinetic has conquered the Web with great illustration and funky animation." —juror Ian Coyle
Overview: This site for Kinetic Singapore offers a wacky showcase for a company known for ignoring conventional wisdom. Its central theme revolves around a starship that transforms into a robot to vanquish bad advertising.
• 7 main Flash sequences, 109 individual SWF files
• 1 designer/developer
• 15,000 visitors per month 24MB total file size
Comments by Sean Lam:
"Kinetic V.4—the 'accidental' Web site.
"After years of quiet neglect, it was becoming painfully obvious that our site—more or less our online shop-front, and therefore critically important—needed a major makeover. Without sounding immodest, Kinetic has always been known for its penchant for breaking with convention; it was crucial for the new site to reflect that philosophy, visually and conceptually. After a few rounds of intense brainstorming, work began in earnest to get the site up and running.
"The original idea was actually very simple. We resorted to good, old-fashioned humor. Since we try not to take ourselves too seriously, arriving at this point wasn't exactly a long, arduous journey. But, I consciously steered away from a 'slick' and 'modernist' approach and went for a more 'low-budget', cut and paste, Kaiju Eiga (Japanese giant monster movie) kitschy look. While the idea was deceptively simple, I was over-ambitious when it came to execution. A month into the job, I hit a wall. A big, reinforced-concrete wall. The style, although visually appealing, was just too time consuming to realize! And, with other projects (for clients) in production, it was becoming problematic.
"It finally dawned on me that continuing with this look would be foolhardy. It was beginning to look as if all that effort was going to go down the drain, but then fate intervened, albeit in a rather cryptic fashion. While crushing some storyboard sketches in sheer frustration, an idea hit! Examining the badly drawn sketches, I was inspired to create an entire site based on the look.
"The sketch-based style is nothing new, and it most definitely isn’t what you'd call ground breaking, but it exuded a distinctive charm. And that won the office over. In addition, I thought that the ‘old school,’ lo-fi look contrasted nicely with the tech-driven nature of our profession. Irony and homage.
"I'd seen sites use this style of illustration and although some of them were really nicely animated, I'd noticed that very few of them had the hand-drawn cell animation bits sustained over an extended period of time. So my challenge was to make sure that every object on our site 'moved,' like watching an entire cartoon instead of just bits of animation here and there. The intentionally poor drawing style allowed for really quick, although still somewhat tedious, cell animation.
"Since our corporate logo consists of one rather old-fashioned rocket, our past sites have always featured an environment within 'Starship Kinetic.' This time, I thought it'd be fun to have our spaceship transform into an invincible robot, K-Bot, bent on vanquishing bad advertising from the face of the Earth. It all works, complete with the prerequisite explosions, destroyed cities and a general trail of carnage.
"With the severe time constraints we were fortunate that everything held up. It still gives me a kick every time I think about how we pulled off a site that was essentially a poorly drawn cartoon. And, there's still a good dose of humor; it reminds me of the flip-book, cartoon doodles I used to do as a child. Not so bad for something that began as an accident."