We Haven't Stopped Learning from Hot Wheels and Card Games
To all the fathers out there, I hope you have a wonderful Father's Day weekend full of family time and relaxation. I'll be chasing after our collection of biscuit snatchers, which involves changing diapers, being a guest of honor at a tea party, and getting whacked with a plastic lightsaber.
Anyway, here are a few things we learned since we last spoke:
Does it seem like every Disney movie is the same? They are. We've seen the hero save the girl hundreds of times throughout human history, we know what's going to happen, but we still pay millions of dollars a month to keep consuming the same story. It's no coincidence. It's science, and it's called archetyping.
Our own Connie Tran, with a little help from Carl Jung, highlighted the 12 archetypes that could define your brand. Understanding these archetypes is the first step to creating a brand that motivates people like Disney does.
If you're curious what archetype your brand falls under, we're offering a free brand consultation - no strings attached. Just reply to this email and I'll get you setup. Also, check out some examples of our work using this idea of brand archetypes in the "what we're up to" section below.
Not the kind like the guy you hired for your son's 4th birthday. The Magic that is played by an estimated 20 million people around the world and published in 11 languages. We're talking about Magic: The Gathering. Mark Rosewater, head of design for magic, is delivering a series of insightful pieces titled "Twenty Years, Twenty Lessons," in which he releases ~6 lessons each week he has learned from building Magic over the last 20 years. We drew six snippets of inspiration from Part 1:
Don't fight human behavior - don't change your players to match the game, change your game to match the players. Build your product for your audience.
Don't fight human perception - Aesthetics matter. Failure to satisfy aesthetics makes players feel ill at ease, distracts them from focusing on your product, and makes them pay attention to the product instead of the benefits it creates.
Don't start from scratch - your audience already has a life's worth of experience they will relate to your product. Understanding those experiences is step one to a great product.
Use your audience's preexisting knowledge - don't reinvent the wheel. If your audience is used to referring to a certain feature or benefit by a certain name, don't change it to be unique, stay consistent to be helpful.
Is this interesting or fun? - when you're introducing a new feature you need to ask yourself - is this an interesting feature? or is does this make my product more enjoyable to use? The latter is what will lead to success.
No line is worth a scene - no matter how good a feature or piece of content is, if it's not serving the whole product brand, it has to go.
Check out the video of his full speech here.
Serious play and serious work
Since 1968, Mattel has been releasing one of America's favorite toys: Hot Wheels. What many people don't know is the highly detailed and labor-intensive process behind designing, and ultimately manufacturing, the 1:43 replicas of our favorite cars.
In early June of 2017, Marc Levitz released an incredibly insightful interview where he sat down with two Hot Wheels design legends, Jun Imai and Ryu Asada. These two are responsible for the whole Hot Wheels die-cast design team and take us through the process of ideating and designing Hot Wheels, start to finish. A few of our thoughts from the piece:
Similar to all of us at Trig, both Jun and Ryu knew they wanted to be designers from a very young age. Also similar to many of us in this space, they experimented with more technical paths like physics and engineering before ultimately coming back to their true passion: design.
The best design work starts with a sketch. Missed last weeks newsletter? We sketch too.
Mattel has tracks set up everywhere in their office so the team can be playing with the designs they’re working on. Serious play with serious work. More support for the success of a commitment culture model.
Creativity stems from being able to be inspired by everything and anything, and being able to visualize how one cool thing from one area could be incorporated in another (in this case, little cars). This is something we strive for every day.
Still got love for the streets
It's been over a year since we penned our piece discussing what it's like to work at Trig, a virtual company. It's all still true. We love working virtually and "commuting" through technology gets easier every year. Some of our favorite new tools for doing so are:
Join.me: Super reliable and easy conferencing
Appear.in: We all need water cooler conversations and in a virtual company it happens here.
Slack: Team communications made easy and free-mium.
Asana: Our home for project management. We chose it over Trello because Asana has better UX.
Batterii: Digital brainstorming, customer insights, strategy formulation, and private Pinteresting.
If you also conduct business virtually, we'd like to hear about it for an update we're doing. Just reply to this email!
What we're reading
DESIGN A BETTER BUSINESS Justin Lokitz, Lisa Solomon, and Patrick Van Der Pijl include a comprehensive set of tools and skills that will help you harness opportunity from uncertainty by building the right teams and balancing your point of view in this must-read.
THING EXPLAINER: COMPLICATED STUFF IN SIMPLE WORDS This is easily one of my all-time favorite web comics. This smart, quirky book by Randall Munroe uses simple illustrations to explain big ideas. This book is a helpful reminder to all of us who can get caught up in the specialized language of our respective industries to slow down and explain what we do in the most simple terms.
Until next time,