"So many of these customizers are online now (which is a great thing), but most don't capture the culture of the brand. This one not only remembers the importance of that element, it plays it out brilliantly." —juror Todd Purgason
"From the start this site feels really interactive. There's a great use of handmade elements and illustration and the blank canvas is not only a call-to-action, but a nice way to transform the customization process into self-expression." —juror Susan Easton
Overview: This consumer site for Converse allows customers to design, customize and purchase sneakers. With the ability to add custom text and to choose from a variety of colors and patterns, its creative possibilities are limitless. And the fun is hard to beat.
• 3-4 week fulfillment time
• 120 colors and patterns per shoe
• 21-person team from 5 companies
• Send-to-a-friend viral component
Comments by Jon McVey and Tim Klauda:
"Converse One allows consumers to design their own footwear using the product configurator built for Nike iD by R/GA.
"Our biggest challenge was to create an experience unique to Converse using something that was built specifically for Nike. Although Nike's site, too, is all about creating a consumer-designed product, it's still very much in line with the aspirational nature of the brand. Converse, on the other hand, is more approachable, so the site, and the configurator, needed to appeal to a completely different audience.
"Among the many global brands that stake claims of 'originality,' Converse actually has the heritage and pedigree to 'own' it. To create the unique identity we were looking for, we leveraged the Nike iD platform for business efficiencies but customized the experience to be unique for Converse. It's a virtual desktop that puts consumers in a creative workspace as they design, customize and buy their personalized creations. Our biggest success: The site never sacrifices the brand just to make a sale.
"Since people come to the site to customize and design their ideal pair of shoes, we approached the build by creating a visually rich 'shell' to hold the configurator interface. To put them into creation mode, we 'seated' visitors at a design table and surrounded them with familiar tools like pencils, erasers, paper airplanes, sharpeners, cardboard, rulers, etc. By keeping the environment rooted in the world of real objects and texture, really the opposite of a typical site, we hoped that the technical aspects of the interface would 'disappear' into the background.
"Using stop motion animation, photography and sound we brought the creative workspace to life and made it approachable. Copy was a huge part of the build and helped us to define a tone and personality even before we began the design. Appropriately conversational and informal even when application messages appear they are anything but boring.
"In the end, we realized that the Web is actually the ideal place to bring Converse to life in a unique way for each consumer. It's just another tool for creating—a lot like pencil and paper."