IBM Design Lab


IBM Design Lab

When IBM approached us to help them explain what design thinking is, as well as how it applies to business process outcomes, we had the opportunity to get creative!

Our client was interested in using colorful metaphors—both in the video’s script and visual aspects—to explain some complex concepts. But, because our target audience was high-level employees like CIO and CTOs at Fortune 100 companies, our video needed to be mature and appealing, as well as entertaining.


First Test GIF


Our client wanted us to use Post-It Notes to tell the story, because in their design thinking workshops, the colorful sticky notes were a common sight. The colorful shapes were already an integral part of their branding.

Because of the intensive nature of the production process, we focused heavily on pre-production. The solutions that director Spike Hoban came up with ending up savings us lots of time. We achieved what the client expected in a simplified way that cut down shooting and production time, which ultimately allowed for more flexibility in post.

At IBM, we think the systems of the world should work in service of people. At the heart of our human-centered mission is IBM Design Thinking: a framework to solve our users’ problems at the speed and scale of the modern digital enterprise.

We got the highest resolution camera that Canon makes, plus a cinema lens, to give us a lot of wiggle room in post without losing resolution.

Meanwhile, our production assistant, Melissa Douglas, was a great sport. We learned in pre-pro that using actual Post-Its wasn’t going to work, so, she spent a day and a half cutting hundreds of pieces of paper and admirably never complained once.

The project demanded long hours in the first draft in After Effects. Stop motion is a tedious process, and when you set out to animate 12 frames, it might take half an hour. Of course, if it doesn’t work, you have to re-do it all! However, this project wasn’t a traditional stop-motion project, because not every frame was manipulated by hand. We had resting animation, where only the necessary parts moved, and then in After Effects we moved the whole thing.



Armed with a storyboard, scratch VO, and crude animatic, we were able to point out pain points and work with the director to address them before any problems happened. That kept the process simple and safe, and guarded our client’s timeline and budget.

Finally, we worked with director and musician Daniel Cook on sound design, which was a lot of fun. He created a completely custom piece of music for the cut-down—and he literally brought out all the bells and whistles. The music and sound was used to tie the entire video together.