Evaluation

This kind of project is very close to me. Being a person who is very passionate about all kinds of technology, past, present, and future, I was excited to see what I could come up with. My research covered a lot of different things from augmented reality to physical devices; those that changed the course of history, and those that could become part of our future. It was my desire to seek as much information about emerging technologies as I could, that led me to discover and better understand what would become my final product, Google Cardboard. My research shows my journey towards this conclusion, starting from the realisation of how augmented reality has immersed consumers into a digital world, where products are not only being sold on their physical value, but there digital value as well. It allowed me to see how emerging technology can entice consumers to get involved and feel like they are a part of a unique experience. Where once virtual reality was a pipe dream, it has become more apparent over recent years that this dream is now a reality.

Although I feel my research has covered a range of new media technologies, I do believe I may have focused a bit too heavily on certain areas. Augmented reality has been one such area. Up-and-coming technology another. Focusing on a wider range of research may have helped me produce more ideas. Perhaps focusing less on tech, and more on contemporary ideas of self promotion and the ways of making this possible, may have resulted in looking at this project from a different angle. I do believe though, that my end result says a lot about me as a designer; the way I think about the future, and my passion for it, and that my research and my initial excitement towards this project has led me to my final result.

This project has given me the opportunity to explore a range of ideas about the future, and led me to start thinking about how I could use what is being made possible today, and predict how it could be used for self-promotion over the years to come. It led me to think about how graphic designers could promote themselves with the emerging technologies of today. One such product was that of Samsung’s flexible mobile screen. Although it is a reality of sorts, it is not something that is commercially available, nor do we know when or if it will be something that will exist in the future. But coupled with the finding of Microsoft’s Productivity Future Vision, it became clear that this is something that others are predicting as well, and this in itself led me to think on a more personal level, and how I would use such an emerging technology.

If it were possible, I would have designed and produced an interactive business card, but this simply isn’t feasible. The very idea of it though shows my way of forward thinking. It involves my love of tech, my interest in UX and GUI design, and just as important, my current work. I feel that creating a video of this nature hasn’t just promoted what I do, but it has covered other important areas about me as a designer.

During this project I had struggled with what I do now as a designer, and how I could promote it. My current portfolio includes a lot of typography and print-based work, and I found this difficult to show in, what I wanted to be, a new technological way. Again, I believe my research surrounding more contemporary ideas would have helped, and focusing less on emerging technology may have produced more variations of concepts. It was though, my way of thinking about how I couldn’t produce what I really wanted to, that helped me understand that I could use this sense of feeling for my self-promotion campaign e.g. ‘This is what I can do (todays business cards), but this is what I want to do (future interactive business cards)’. This initial feeling became the focus for my video, but at the same time had inadvertently given me the opportunity to promote my current work; the card had become a blank canvas and what better way than to fill it than with my own work.

My first-hand experience with Google Cardboard became invaluable to me, as it helped me to not only experience virtual reality, but to also better understand the concept behind it. It is such a simple product. It is cheap to make, can be produced by anyone, and is unique. It would become my physical hook and is something that I believe will work well. It can be easily made, and distributed, and once received I feel the recipient will want to get involved with it, because it is such a unique product. It also gave me the chance to personalise the device with my brand, and promote myself and my name from the outset. I have discovered from my time with Google Cardboard that it can become a great tool to deliver my video, and with clear instructions for the user, and with the initial test run of the device being the viewing of said video, I will have a captive audience. There is a chance though that the recipient may not want to go to the effort of typing in a URL, as would they may also not want to download a QR code app to read a code, but as in my initial idea of having an app to direct the user to my video, I sadly don’t have the knowledge to create one. Typing in a URL was the simplest solution, and in the knowledge that every smartphone has a web browser, the recipient would be more likely to do so.

My final video and physical hook both say a lot about me as designer, and I feel the two together will help me promote myself in a very unique way.

The final package including video and physical hook:

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Instructions To Complete My Package

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Of course, it is all good and well sending someone Google Cardboard with your name on it, but without clear instruction on what to do next, it’s a bit pointless. I have to consider the recipient, and the probability that they might not know what Google Cardboard is. I need to show them what to do, and then how to use it, and to do this I have taken photos of each step of the assembly. This is the same technique I used when putting together my video. I’ve used imagery alone as I believe this helps to suggest the simplicity of the product. We all know what it’s like to open up a set of over complicated instructions, so I have simplified them.

The overall look of the instructions also says a lot about me as a designer. They include colour, shape, and typography, all things that feature heavily in my design work. It will be the first thing the recipient sees, so I felt it important to make a good first impression.

I wanted to also include some personality, and encouragement, and my choice of words have been used to execute this. I have even shortened the YouTube URL to a more simplistic link, so that their job is simple to the very end. As a package, I believe it will work well and promote a hands-on approach by the recipient.

Completed Google Cardboard

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After much searching, I found a cardboard box that made just the right material to use for my Google cardboard. Being corrugated it has meant that it can fold without splitting, and being the thickness that it is has meant that it all fits together well. It is sightly too thick though, and I have had to exclude a piece of the design and forego the magnet switch. Neither of these things affect the overall product though, and my tests have shown that it works just as well and will achieve what I want it to.

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My original vision of a Google cardboard product was one that included the ability of being able to direct a phone to my video via the inclusion of an NFC tag. There are a few problems with this; the first being that I don’t have the ability to programme an NFC tag, and secondly, not every smartphone has NFC capabilities. Alongside this would be the need for an app to be downloaded which included my video. At this moment in time I don’t have the skill or knowledge to do this. Thus, the end result has been a bit different. Instead, I have devised a way of getting the recipient to simply type in a link within a web browser on their smartphone. It will direct them to my video on YouTube where they can then play the video from there.


As can be seen by the video above, I had made the video split screen with the use of a video converter programme. This is a 3D effect and can only be viewed properly via the use of a virtual reality headset, like Google Cardboard. What this does is simply make the 2 images become 1. Although there is no sense of movement or 3D within the viewing of my video, the viewer will still be watching my video in a unique way.

More Attempts At Making Google Cardboard

My first experience trying to make my own Google Cardboard wasn’t quite as successful as I’d hoped, and I realised that making it by hand may not be the way to go for this project. If I were to send this product to an agency or client it would need to look professional and properly made. I would want them to take it seriously, and of course, get involved with it.

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From the Google Cardboard website, anyone can download a template to make one of their very own, and this download also includes a laser cut template (example above). The college provides us with a laser cutting machine, so I took the opportunity to use it to hopefully make a successful Google Cardboard.

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I immediately hit a problem though, and that was that the laser cutting machine was too small for the template. To get around this I had to (with the help of Rory pictured above) edit the original Google template. This meant that when the cardboard is cut, it would be cut into sections. This wasn’t a problem though, as I predicted that I could fix some parts in place so that it could be delivered partly assembled.

Modified Google Cardboard template

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My Google Cardboard being cut in the machine

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The result

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Sadly, this attempt proved unsuccessful due to my choice of cardboard. It seems that it was too thin, and when assembled nothing stays attached. The quality of the cut though was great, and it is definitely worth seeing this through.

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My next attempt used card that was much thicker. I had also modified my original template to include my logo and name to give the product a more personal touch, and further promote myself. Sadly though, and as can be seen by the example above, the thicker cardboard didn’t work either. As soon as I folded it, one side would split and eventually tore off. I have realised that to make a successful Google Cardboard, I must use corrugated card. It will be the right thickness, and should also bend without splitting.

Feedback About My Video And Further Editing

I have shown my video to my peers and the reception has been positive. One thing that has been noted though is the transition between the Google Cardboard part and the business card concept part that follows; the transition between the Google Cardboard being used, and a video being seen through it is not clear enough. All of those who watched it didn’t understand that I was trying to visualise what the viewer would see when they interacted with the Google Cardboard. Further to this, my tutor has advised me that the video needs more explanation, and that adding more words would explain the idea behind the video more clearly.

I have taken this feedback and advice on board and have now re-edited my original video to include more explanation of my idea. I’ve added in more about myself and the hook at the beginning to clearly set up the video. For the transition between Google Cardboard and the business card concept I have made it clear that what the viewer is about to see is what they would be viewing through the Google Cardboard. Below is the video with new audio added.

Putting My Videos Together

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Now that I have 3 videos made it is time to piece them all together to make one video. To do this I have used After Effects. From Photoshop I have saved each animation as an mp4 and it was simply a case of exporting each into one composition in After Effects, and positioning them together so that they played seamlessly. I have used fade in’s and out’s to edit each video together, and added an audio track which runs through the entire video.

Below is the video I have made. Please note, it is silent due to having used a copyrighted track. I shall change this in my next edit.

Adding Google Cardboard

I still need to put my two videos together, but for now, my business card concept video is complete. As a single video though, it has no hook to entice people to watch it. That’s where Google Cardboard comes in. Although I have attempted to make my own Google Cardboard by hand, it wasn’t entirely successful with its presentation lacking somewhat. I have bought my own pre cut one though, so I can use this in my video. I want to demonstrate how the recipient would receive my package and how they would go about assembling it.

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To achieve this I have taken various photos of myself receiving and assembling Google Cardboard. I have decided to put a stop frame animation together using the photos (examples above). This will give the video a more handmade feel, and will link it to the assembling of the cardboard on screen. I’ve used the video timeline in Photoshop again to piece together each photo. What has become of this is an animation that shows the simplicity of my hook, and how easy it is to assemble and get involved. A gif showing the basic animation example is below.

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