Each year we review our Objectives and Key Results for that year and adjust them for the following one to provide guidance for our studio. The goals summarized are to be the best known and respected playful design studio that works with the best people in the field to deliver value for our consulting clients and pursue relevant projects of our own.
We started and concluded many self-initiated projects last year which was one of our key results for 2014. We can call the year a tremendous creative success. The projects we have shipped are all in some way front-runners of the wider industry and a great showcase of what our studio model is capable of.
What was new this year is that many of our own projects are becoming their own entities with their own websites, branding and rhythm. This makes it easier to talk about them as things in their own right.
We completed and launched Standing to critical acclaim and we then updated the app with an attractive visual design. Playful activism is a very important theme in our work and Standing serves as an example of our thinking and practice on this topic. We think that Standing will remain relevant for the foreseeable future and we’ll refer back to it regularly.
We conceived and created Camparc for STRP on an open brief and we are extremely happy with the result. Camparc is a very interesting and deep toy, that facilitates play as a performance and includes live video, a recent interest of ours. We will develop Camparc further this year into a standalone traveling attraction.
We started conception and design of Bycatch last year as our first collaboration with Subalekha Udayasankar. This quickly turned into an example of how we think games for serious issues should be designed as well as a viable self-published card game. We will be selling the game this year and talking a lot about Bycatch.
This is an odd one out but we still run Cuppings out of a personal interest for coffee and because it is a great example of uncompromising app design. Sales of Cuppings have been stronger last quarter than they have been ever before so it looks like this little app has a bright future ahead of it.
One of the most important parts of our work is communicating the value of our process and theory. We haven’t been bad at this last year but we need to be even better this year. The biggest problem is that a lot of things about playful design which are obvious to us aren’t even apparent to our peers, let alone the wider public.
Most importantly this year we have changed our core proposition on the front page of the website to very clearly state the work we do for clients—“Strategy”, “Invention” & “Prototyping”—and we split ourselves into a consultancy and a studio. The consultancy helps organisations do things with games and play, the studio creates playful products.
We did things at LIFT, Behaviour Design Amsterdam, Studium Generale Leiden, Rezone, This Happened Utrecht, Mediamatic, IT University of Copenhagen, De Vuurlinie, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, JOIN, STRP Scene, Vechtclub XL, ASEM, IMPAKT, ThingsCon Amsterdam, Tegenlicht, Lab for City, Talk and Play, Creative Mornings Utrecht.
One way to term our approach would be an anti-agency with Kars residing in Utrecht and me in Berlin. We have a list of regular collaborators for many projects and the connections to be able to get the best people for any job.
We also have an associate program consisting of Ianus Keller, Joris Dormans and Sebastian Deterding which has proven very useful. Associates are people who we have worked together with in a partnership type agreement and with whom we want to keep doing this. We have deployed each of our associates on work this year and we look forward to doing more.
The Utrecht studio—our de facto headquarters—moved to Vechtclub XL. We are immensely pleased with the local facilities and network we have there in an irresistible industrial-chique location just outside of the city.
The Berlin studio KANT closed down its location of the past years as subtenants of Panorama3000. We are waiting for our next studio in the newly built addition to the Aufbauhaus Kreuzberg. The new location will have all of the benefits of Berlin without its transience.
We think Hubbub has an unique perspective on designing for the ludic century in which we find ourselves. We think we have honed this perspective over the past years by thinking-through-making and we look forward to sharing it with you in the coming year.