Random Acts of Awesome

February 03, 2010

Picture + Paper + Personal = The Perfect Postcard

For anyone who laments the demise of printed mail (the funny stamps! the feel of paper!  the thrill of opening that metal box and seeing something other than a bill peeking out from the stack!), but relishes the speed and convenience of e-cards (I'm too lazy to go to the mailbox I'd rather just click a button!), Hazel Mail may just put your communication conflicts to rest once and for all.

The nifty program lets you upload your own photo from your computer or phone (yes, there's an app for that). Then it will create an actual postcard (i.e. paper), stamp it and mail it anywhere in the world, all for way less mental and financial hassle than it would cost to find a mailbox in the middle of nowhere. In the high technology vs. personal touch debate, this scores a solid  "best of both worlds." Easy as a Twitpic but just as personal as a handwritten letter from your childhood pen pal.  No, I didn't have one either, but I've read about them, and they sure seem swell.

All it really means, of course, is that instead of getting the typical birds-eye view of a beautiful landmark, my family and friends can now look forward to receiving snazzy prints from my ever-in-development "Hey look where my feet have been" series. Thanks, Hazel!

GC Feet

December 22, 2009

The Moment Jars

Every year, our team collaborates on a winter book. Mark writes the story, Lure Design designs the book, Kim Fox does the illustrations, and Drive New Media develops the website. This year's book, The Moment Jars, is about a man who captures the special moments in his life and places them in a jar. It's a wonderful story, probably my favorite one yet (though I seem to say that every year) and a beautiful book, but what really set this year apart from the others was the success and far-reaching impact of the website.

The Moment Jars is a pretty simple site, with a pretty simple idea: share your own special moment and add your virtual Moment Jar to the collection.

Moment Jars web
 

The response has been amazing. First, we shared it with friends and family, who were great about adding their own moments and memories. But it was the mention in Swiss Miss (recently named one of the world's most influential design blogs) that really gave us our big break. Soon there were moments rolling in from all over the world. We had Italian moments. Spanish moments. Even one from all the way in Japan. There were moments about having kids, and moments and about being a kid. Moments about leaving home for the first time and moments about finding home in unexpected places. There were many, many moments about falling in love. Almost as many about falling out of it. At last count, there were over 500 moments in all. Most were short and sweet, though one was too long to leave in a jar. As one blogger pointed out (in a very sweet post which I can't seem to find again), not a single one was about money, possessions, or any other material thing. A great reminder, especially at this time of year, that life's most precious gifts aren't anything you pick up at a store.

Now here's the funny thing. While the website proves that people all over the world want to capture the moments of their life in a tangible way, the story the book tells makes you question that desire. How? You'll just have to read it to find out.

Share your moment, and purchase The Moment Jars book here.

June 23, 2009

The Real Transformers


Barrell-monster

Let's set the whole matter of legality aside for a minute. We can learn a valuable lesson from North Carolina University student Joe Carnevale, the infamous "Highway Monster Artist" who created this sculpture (and now faces criminal charges for it). We are all - companies, agencies and individuals - looking for new ways make an impression. To attract attention. To get people to stop what they're doing and give us a few precious seconds of their time. Most are looking to the neverending stream of new technologies to get the job done, and certainly, that must be part of the strategy. But could we be overlooking some very powerful tools simply because they don't look like tools? No one's talking about them. There's no buzz surrounding them. That's not what they're there for. But as Joe Carnevale proves, the world is full of opportunites to transform ordinary things into extraordinary attention grabbers. It just takes courage, creativity and the willingess to do something unexpected.  

June 12, 2009

Holy #####!

Speaking of new iPhones, here's a great little campaign that could just score you one. For those of you still wondering if there are any smart, powerful and transparent ways to use Twitter to drive business awareness, here's your answer. Bravo, Squarespace.