The Medium and the Mess(Age)
Working across media – a website, a movie and an innovative stall for the Auto Expo for STL
As we navigate across the globe with a cell-phone in our hands, communication is increasingly become palm-held and centered. Simultaneously, news perpetually spills words across pages and screens such as ‘interdisciplinary’, ‘multi-media’ and ‘cross platforms’. A device can now provide the stage for a performance and you can watch it sitting in your automobile without parking in a drive-in theater. The meaning of venues, platforms and tablets are increasingly becoming synonymous. STL is an established leading OEM supplier, highly reputed in the field. Our long-time clients, they gave us a project that intentionally required an understanding of how every medium continues to have its own delivery. Simultaneously, we drew from each of these to create an integrated brand projection. We redesigned their website, an exhibition stall for the Auto Expo and a film.
For the website revamp, we decided to go with the mobile-first approach, translating the same aesthetic experience to the laptop and tablet. We wanted to bring out the romance of the cold-forging process and so, we brought in movie clips that gave a direct experience of material and manufacture to the website visitor with abstract shots of the products. Full screen videos showed the processes in a cinematic style.
The montage of movie clips combined abstract imagery of the products as well as documentary footage of all the three factories in the film about STL. Interviews with the directors of the company were brought in and interspersed between the factory and product footage. Company values, STL’s strong people-first policy and future vision were incorporated through the film. Text was inserted as supers so that the movie could be viewed with or without sound. Industrial websites typically use vast quantities of information and data, a bookish and quantifiable approach we steered away from. We deduced that a website that speaks through imagery and color would stand out against competition. Chunks of text took on a storytelling form to convey information. The primary visual language was in shades of red from the STL red with a background grid of dots reminding us of bolts. These were also devices used in the exhibit stall.
The exhibit at the Auto Expo for STL this year was inspired from our earlier successful experiment of merging art and technology. The target audience coming to the show were all seasoned experts in fasteners and we did not have to educate them on ‘nuts and bolts’. We chose to go with a highly tactile concept that left visitors with an amazing sensory experience. Our concept was a wall made of bolts set inside anodized aluminium cylinders that were copper coated. These were positioned inside a large grid and could be pushed in and out. Visitors to the stall could make various shapes on the grid by pushing the cylinders and this left them with memorable impressions of the product. We also presented factual data on the main exhibit walls and incorporated all the various fasteners made by the firm.
Our chosen method of relaying information across all these media aimed to create a tactile feel in the film, for the web and for the exhibit stall. At the stall, people could actually touch and feel the bolts, on the web, the visual textures created a sensory feel and in the film, moving images left the viewer with a sense of making things. Our clients loved the exhibit so much that we reinstalled it permanently in their Prithla plant.Sujatha Shankar Kumar