SXSW 2013: Enchantment, Emotions & Sci-Fi Tech

  • March 15, 2013
  • INK Team

Another year, another SXSW. In the spirit of our Green Room theme, here are some themes that left an impression on me this year – the ones that made a mark.


Sometimes, it’s just about enchantment.
I sat in on a talk about Android’s design principles – the principles that entirely guide Android product and software development. One of those principles is simple: “enchant me.” This is essentially telling designers to incorporate details that are based on joy. A lighthearted sound when you press a button can make you feel satisfied and delighted. A soft movement across the screen can do the same. This design principle has plenty of room for interpretation – which, I think, also makes it a great one to adapt into other projects. For instance, the TagSXSW mural we commissioned and featured in our Green Room this year was truly enchanting (see the image above). Its whimsy left people intrigued – thinking, smiling and talking.

Look at emotions.
When designing for mobile, Android developers tune into users’ emotions. After all, our phones and tablets have pretty much become our best friends. They tuck us in at night, they travel with us 24/7. This same theory applies to storytelling. Flow Nonfiction, an Austin agency that makes branded nonfiction films, believes strongly in using real people over actors, because real people are the ones with the true emotion, the ones that can tell the story most effectively, the ones that depict truth. With that, the story will resonate.

There is a future for infographics.
According to Jason Lankow of Column Five, this is true – but it will be hard for your infographic to come out on top. With the democratization of infographic-making tools, the market will be over-saturated with bad graphics. The plus side? We’ll all get better at consuming and understanding data. We’ll learn to recognize which data is overdramatized, and we’ll demand better, more accurate information. Plus, with the rise of interactive infographics and real-time visualizations, we – the audience – will also become the content.

Learn (or at least try) to draw.
Thanks to a fantastic talk by Von Glitschka, this is my latest goal. As it turns out, I’m not alone in the design world when I jump right onto Illustrator rather than first sketching the idea with pen and paper. As it also turns out, this method may seem more efficient, but it hinders creativity. Our dependence on technology has a huge part in this. Gone are the days of reviewing thumbnails, refining style by hand, and doodling in your notebook during class or meetings. But drawing—whether doodling, illustrating, sketching or what—has actually been proven to increase productivity, creativity and memory. Time to give it a shot.

Sci-fi tech is no longer sci-fi. It’s REAL.
There were 3D printers on every corner, and I played with Leap Motion (which will be selling for only $80 retail). People, the future is here.


Tell us, who or what left the greatest impression on you this SXSW?

Now, time for a nap.

Other good stuff in here