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Design I/O, interactive designer
Michael Epstein/Mark Thompson, directors
Andrew Banks, producer
eyeball, project design and development
WhyHunger, client

Launch Site

“Touching and timeless musical magic. I found myself completely immersed in this app, enjoying many of my favorite songs and the stories behind them.” —juror Ginny Golden

“John Lennon, a compelling story, a simple idea, game-like interactivity, and interesting animation and sound design. What’s not to love? This experience made me feel good and was hard to put down.” —juror Winston Binch

Overview: Equal parts documentary, storybook, album and adventure game, John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes draws on Yoko Ono’s immense archive of interviews, photographs, demo tapes and artifacts. Net proceeds from the sales of the app support the global nonprofit WhyHunger and Ono’s Imagine There’s No Hunger campaign, which fights childhood hunger and poverty by providing food programs for children and families and training in sustainable agriculture.

eyeball and Design I/O completed the project in a year and a half, from concept to launch.
The app was covered by the New York Times, Fast Company and the Wall Street Journal;SXSW, Sonar+ and IDFA DocLab nominated it for awards.
The app contains ten intimate demo recordings, five newly discovered photographs and hours of interviews, as well as maps, paintings and five handwritten lyric sheets.

Comments by Design I/O, eyeball and Mark Thompson:
What are the project’s core features? “The core is the approach to storytelling. We set out to tell the story of John’s sailing trip to Bermuda, and the app recounts his time there in a unique fashion, taking advantage of capabilities only found on the iPad and iPhone. Using touch, voice and gyroscopic interaction, users can forge a more intimate engagement with John’s story.”

What was the thinking behind the navigation structure? “The app consists of two components: the interactive story, which is divided into chapters, and the archive, where you can explore the tapes John and Yoko recorded, hear interviews, and browse photos from John’s time in Bermuda. From a navigation perspective, we knew it would be challenging to integrate these two different experiences. We settled on the idea of one continuous canvas where you start at the center, with the story to your left and the archive to your right, and can launch either section with a simple, smooth horizontal movement. In some of the more immersive chapters of the story, such as exploring the botanical gardens in Bermuda, the experience is less content-driven and more about immersion, and the navigation is tailored to the individual chapter to make it as intuitive as possible while giving a sense of freedom.”

Was the topic/subject of the project a new one for you? “Our director, Michael Epstein, had just directed a film titled LENNONYC about John Lennon’s life in New York City. However, with our app we had the opportunity to showcase a pivotal moment in John’s creative life that had rarely been told. Knowing that much of our audience would be hearing this story for the first time allowed us to tell it in a new way.”


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