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Issue: December 1, 2012

SWOT: Royale's Jayson Whitmore looks at Design

By: Jayson Whitmore
STRENGTHS: “We've come to this day and age where any visual can be created and the only limitation is our own imagination. Concept is still king — and backed by impeccable design skills, the tools to bring them to life, and great client communication, anything is possible. In effect, there is really nothing you can't do these days.... that is, of course, with the right budget and schedule in place.”

WEAKNESSES: “Fear is #1. Everyone is fearful of taking new chances. With so much pressure to make the most out of the least, combined with market saturation, the industry is nervous about pushing the envelope. Sadly, some of the simplest, non-tested ideas (hello, viral campaigns) are the most effective way to reach today's consumers.”

OPPORTUNITIES: “I see three here: standing out, taking creative chances, and going back to basics. Sometimes the most effective solution doesn't have to be so polished. There is an opportunity to scale it back a notch and simplify. Everything in the world is so complex that having a bit of zen and simplicity to our visual language and messaging help you stand out from the pack. Brands don't need to scream to be heard.”

THREATS: “The core issues are smaller budgets, tighter timelines and higher expectations. With decreasing budgets, short turnarounds and buzz words such as ‘photoreal’ and ‘particles’ becoming the norm, the challenge is to make sure the production studio is not spending its own money and resources to create the award-winning commercial. If this happens often enough to any one company, they will meet an undesired fate.”

OUTLOOK FOR 2013: “The outlook for 2013 is exciting. The normal workhorse production techniques will persist, including 2D/3D animation, live action, character animation, VFX and photorealism — but the way in which we reach the consumer will continue to evolve. The door will open wider for more innovative and cost-effective means to getting our messaging into the world. High production value will always be high production value; those budgets should not change. However, the mediums for distribution will become cheaper, reallocating money to making the production an even more memorable piece.”

Jayson Whitmore is a creative director and partner at Royale (http://weareroyale.com) in Los Angeles.