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The studio blog is a place to show our thinking in public, sharing the inspirations and processes that get us to the end of a project.

Sketch-a-Move does it again

In 2004, Louise Klinker and I designed a concept toy car for Mattel called 'Sketch-a-move', created a video to communicate the idea and presented the video at Mattel HQ in LA. The project was well received and blogged on Engadget and We Make Money Not Art. Within weeks, the video became so popular that it brought the entire Royal College of Art's server down. A year later we collaborated with Matthias Kranz to build a 'hacked working prototype'. Couple of years later, Bill Buxton published an article about the project in book 'Sketching User Experiences', citing it as a great example of 'video sketching'. End of Story. Not quite. Dont know what happened, but over the last three weeks, we have had over 55,000 hits on the video, a lot of people tweeting and retweeting about it. Amidst it all, some discussion as always has being around the validity of the video and we were even accused of being liars! I tried to clarify, on several occasions that the video was made to tell the story of our idea, that it was a piece of communication about how people might play with the toy, and only a low-tech 'experience prototype', but in vain. The video's believability made people want to buy the toy cars, and play with them. Apart from our attempts to make it real (which have been many, and still ongoing), the video re-run has been a great reminder of the power of quick, low-tech 'experience prototyping' and telling a good story.

Quoting Bill Buxton, who wrote about the project in his book: 

"Contrast to a commercially available toy car as seen in shops which is clearly a product, the one in the video is just as clearly rendered in the visual vocabulary of a sketch, which was not an accident but a conscious and explicit decision. Sketches have a distinct vocabulary that differentiates them from finished renderings, and leaving them without a degree of refinement suggests the actual state of development, or thinking, of the concept. Toys are not about toys. Toys are about play and the experience of fun that they help foster, which video sketching communicates."