Vault49 Gets to Work with Justworks
Running a company is about more than just having a great idea and setting up an LLC. You’ve got to solicit customers, manage employees, get a gorgeous website, and don’t forget about getting in enough coffee! All that and you haven’t even gotten to the legal aspects yet: payroll, benefits, HR, compliance. It’s a lot to handle, and for many business owners, it’s too much. And that’s okay! There are people who will do it for you. Justworks created an entire business out of doing that work so you don’t have to, and if spreadsheets don’t seem sexy enough, Vault49 was brought in to help sell it.
Vault49 helped Justworks by creating a series of advertisements in CGI, bringing together retro inspiration with the timeless aesthetic of neon lights. Justworks cuts through the darkness of navigating the complications of running a business, so Vault49 wanted to offer the light in the dark – and sell a couple aspects of the company.
In the pieces, Vault49 focused on two distinct issues: benefits and reliability. The first piece proclaims, “Get the Benefits of Your Dreams.” Benefits really are a dream, they can be what causes a fantastic candidate to choose your company or another, so vault49 kept the composition dynamic and exciting – while adding in a friendly, sleepy sheep in the corner to remind you that you have nothing to fear.
The second piece that Vault49 created for Justworks proclaims, “We’re Working Whenever You’re Working,” reminding us that Justworks is all about creating a professional internal culture. It’s not enough to do your best when you’re just starting a company, you can’t really let up until the whole machine runs smoothly – and that can take a while. Vault49 created an image that assertive and firm: they’re not here to play. Trusting an outside resource like Justworks with the crucial elements like payroll and compliance is no trivial matter, so Vault49 created a composition that inspires trust and reliability. Messaging is as much about emotions as it is information. Vault49 tracks, and expresses, both.
Pick The Most Delicious for Dunkin Donuts with Vault49
It’s not every day that you can direct the path of an international coffee giant. But right now you can. Dunkin Donuts is testing the thirst for three new flavors by letting customers decide what wins and makes it into the pot. They want to know what’s your “flavorite” flavor from their Bakery series: Blueberry Pancake, Dulce De Leche Cookie, or Coconut Caramel. It’s not enough to get a taste the flavors, you’ve got to experience them too, so Dunkin Donuts asked Vault49 to help them bring each of the flavors to life in a series of three digital illustrations that come together on DunkinFlavorite.com.
In three stand-alone images, Vault49 played on the idea of the game, creating three different versions of the classic Plinko drop game. There is a certain amount of chance when it comes to which flavor is going to win: as the thousands of votes come in, they cannot be swayed by anything but their own experiences. So it’s up to a certain amount of chance to see which flavor wins.
Vault49 spares no desire in each of the images, doing their best to make each flavor look as delicious as the rest. Whether it’s a buffet of donuts, cheesecake and squares of dewey caramel for the Dulce De Leche Cookie, a luge of berries shuttling to a high stack of pancakes for Blueberry Pancake, or coconuts overflowing with caramel next to exploding bags of coffee for Coconut Caramel, each composition has unique elements that are mouthwatering and irresistible.
But you must pick one.
If you’re a coffee drinker and want to get in on the fun, check out Vaul49’s work at DunkinFlavorite.com and make your voice heard.
Vault49 Introduces a New World of Bulova
Life is not lived in a straight line. It’s full of twists and curves, and as much as industrial design is meant to reflect an idealized nature of life it’s also crucial that it reflects reality. Bulova added another “first” to their CV with the CURV watch, a new design that follows the natural shape of the wearers wrist with the chronograph. It’s the first time that anyone has brought this particular shape to a watch, which is saying a lot considering watches have been designed and built for hundreds - if not thousands - of years. To mark the momentous occasion, Bulova invited Vault49 to create a video that would help announce the product to the world. And it’s pretty dramatic.
The video begins by showing the curve of the earth behind the watch, reminding us how omnipresent that shape is in our world. And then the elements of the watch come together piece by piece, flying into the unique design. Vault49 animated each and every element of the watch so that we could truly feel how it all comes together. From every corner the pieces zoom in, and then it’s magically whole. The entire piece is underscored by sound design and music to lift the whole thing up.
Vault49’s provided soundtrack adds to the personality of every element. The final video has string music over it, but we’ve included the video without the music so you can get a very clear feel of how Vault49 told the story.
Vault 49 Opens a New World for Grind
How do you take your morning coffee? Do you like a bold blend or something a little smoother? Milk, cream, maybe something soy? Sugar is an option, but so is agave, or something a little darker like a raw sweetener? The possibilities are practically endless, and each choice is as personal as any other. Building a morning mug of coffee is like building a cocktail and no one knows this better than Grind Espresso Spirit, an espresso based liqueur. Grind has been winning awards for decades but recently came to Vault 49 to help them rethink their identity. “Re-position and re-design Grind to make it more relevant to consumers today. However there was also a secondary – and equally essential – objective,” explains Vault 49. “We needed to show that our packaging solution would have a grounding in product-relevant authenticity, and have the substance to support an off-pack brand world and drive consumer-focused stories.”
Packaging is like a handshake, it speaks for the product as a first impression for the consumer. It has to strike the right balance between being personal and aspirational, it must communicate the ideals of the product while at the same time being accessible to a shopper. So Vault 49 invited Grind to their studio and involved them in the creative process. “Exciting and unpredictable creative processes are often hidden from clients by agencies who are concerned either that they are weak in this area, or that the practice is too unpredictable,” explains Vault 49. “By laying our process bare we were able to achieve such excitement and senior client buy-in for the re-launch that it made the rest of the design process and sign-off a relative breeze. Our client saw the potential, and as a result also drove Vault 49 to deliver bigger and better.” Vault 49 got Grind on their side from the quick, and the rest became a creative torrent. In fact, that exhibition included a live chalk drawing by Annica Lydenberg of Dirty Bandits, whose process we’ve included a video of.
But Vault 49 didn’t stop there, they also created a comprehensive brand identity for Grind that starts with the packaging but also encapsulates everything that represents them online, all the way down to accessories that carry the brand’s story. This kind of total brand reimagining can only happen with exquisite trust, something that Vault 49 earned from Grind, and something that will translate directly to consumers. “Our clients love to see the humanity of our team and our work, and we’re confident that same humanity is much more likely to be evident to consumers as a result,” says Vault 49. Cheers!
Vault49 and GE Show You How the Brain Works
The human brain is one of the world’s great mysteries. Perhaps that’s a species centric way to look at it, but why not focus our wonder on the piece of our nervous system that makes us who we are? It’s one of the most exciting areas of biological study with breakthroughs coming one after another as we dig to a deeper understanding of our human condition. General Electric, the company best known for home appliances, is one of the companies on the cutting edge of brain research and they’re really quite proud of their work. So they linked up with Vault49 to help spread the word about what they’re up to. “Together with Vayner Media, we interviewed six GE scientists, asking them to explain how the brain acts differently when exposed to various challenges and emotions,” says Jonathan Kenyon of Vault49. They took what they learned and communicated the ideas and lessons into a series of videos that explain these complex sciences to the layman.
Whether looking at the way the brain physically changes when it’s learning, by examining the brain chemistry of a drummer, to figuring out what makes an introvert’s brain different, everything was set up to give a crash course in neurosciences that were engaging and educational. “We created six pieces of captivating content that lit up GE’s social media feeds with interesting and surprising ways to tell their stories,” says Jonathan. In the environment of social media it’s crucial to use time effectively, so Vault49 took Vayner Media’s scripts and infused them with visual heft and storytelling magic.
Even though GE has been around for more than a century they’re happy getting outside help to show off their work. They’re busy making headway in these groundbreaking areas, so it’s up to Vault49 to bring those discoveries to the public so that we can understand them. “GE has so much going on beneath the corporate surface that can only be grasped by meeting their people and understanding the passions that fuel them,” says Jonathan. “Their process felt equally as creative as our own, and with awe-inspiring results.” With each group focusing on their individual creations we get to experience, learn, and watch as this new ground is being uncovered.
Vault49 Paints the Invincible Legacy of Serena Williams
Last week Serena Williams lost to Roberta Vinci at the US Open Semifinals in a major upset. It was a huge surprise that that no one saw coming and changed the expected course of the entire competition. Serena was disappointed but did not bow; there was no shame to be had. She’s still one of best players in the world, if not the best. Although she missed getting another Grand Slam title that day, it was just one more game in a career that has been record breaking and competition defining. The mark she has left, and continues to make, on the sport of tennis cannot be marred by a single missed match.
In the weeks leading up to the US Open all eyes were on her, remembering her celebrated record. As a part of it, Gatorade teamed up with Vault49 to create a mural that supported their initiative to remind people of Serena’s history and get them ready for her competitive performance. “To celebrate Serena’s 21 major victories, we worked together to create 21 unique pieces of art, each one celebrating a specific major victory,” says Vault49. “Every piece has its own individual look and is representative of each specific tournament moment.” These different pieces were combined into a single composition called “Serena 21” and painted on a huge wall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and painted over a number of days. Vault49 employed styles that best told the stories of each of her most significant wins, creating a history not just of her career so far, but also of artistic styles. Each moment is placed in a type of aesthetic context to better understand her journey. The mural was paired with an inspirational TV advertising spot that showed off Serena’s history and reminded viewers to “Win from Within.”
This piece by Vault49 reminds us that the legacy of a player like Serena Williams is larger than just a single game. Coming out of Compton California, her career has inspired millions and galvanized the passions of players who have faltered in determination or in the face of doubt. Her work ethic has resulted in success that few expected and many look to as a bastion of faith. This year’s single loss will not change that legacy, and Vault49’s “Serena 21” is a reminder of everything we stand to learn from this exceptional athlete.
Vault49 and Uniqlo Heat Up
Despite the fact that it's August, now is the time to look into the next season and prepare for what we should be expecting. If the trend of "autumn for a week," from the past few years holds up it's going to be cold before we know it. Earlier this year, Vault49 teamed up with Uniqlo to visualize their latest technological fabrics that brought cooling properties into the weave of their textiles, working at an almost molecular level. Through a process of 3D rendering and creative problem solving, Vault49 was able to create a visual language that explained these technologies in visceral ways. But even as we strive to stay cool in the summer, warmth is the treasure of the winter and Vault49 has been hard at work at visualizing Uniqlo’s new technologies.
Uniqlo's latest collection features apparel that activates warming and heat trapping techniques, causing the fibers of these pieces to interact with heat in a new way. This kind of fiber level activation ensures the wearer is more comfortable through winter, all without layering to a veritable puffball. "The main challenge is figuring out how these products actually work," explains Luke Choice at Vault49, who took lead on the project. There was an educational process between Vault49 and Uniqlo where Luke and his colleague Nik Ainley had to reach the deepest understanding possible of these technologies in order to most honestly convey their properties. Once they were able to get there, it was about communicating that information to the audience.
For Luke, the most exciting of the series was one that drew on the Japanese provenance of the company. Luke and Nik turned to traditional Japanese ink paintings, and the brush strokes that have defined that aesthetic, to explore how the fabric interacts with itself. In a marked break from Japanese calligraphy, they explored using this historic style using new techniques. "It was nice because we tackled doing it in 3D," says Luke. "We were trying to make it look like it was floating in space but still had that traditional Japanese calligraphy style." The 3D space allowed Luke and Nik the flexibility to look at the shapes from every angle to ensure the composition was exactly what they wanted. Once in that 3D space, the trick is to bring a sense of reality to the touchability of the fabrics. “The challenge is making sure that the fabric is realistic and not too plastic and trying to give it that tactile feel without seeming too digital,” says Luke. After all, the imagery is all about Uniqlo’s apparel and helping to bring consumers into contact with them. The information that Vault49 helps Uniqlo communicate with these images is crucial to understanding these technologies and educating the consumer. But none of it matters if the clothes aren’t impeccably put together and a pleasure to touch. And Uniqlo has never had a problem with that.
Vault49 and Pale Horse Celebrate Music with Sonos
Award shows like The Grammys are a benchmark for many artists. Careers converge on these nights, a whole year of artistry and lobbying culminating at the reading of a card. Hundreds are nominated and only a handful leave with their hands full of trophies. It’s an exciting night where dreams come true, with some differed. But what happens the next day after the statues have been distributed and the artists have to get back to work?
To create an ongoing celebration of the people and energy that goes into creating music, Sonos teamed up with a handful of visual artists to design speakers inspired by nominees. Both Vault49 and Pale Horse Design got involved, handling different categories in their signature styles and processes.
Vault49 tackled bringing 10 different artists into their process. Luckily, Vault49 is set up for that kind of huge undertaking. “Vault49 is quite unique in that we have a lot of artists that work in one studio,” explains Jonathan Kenyon, Creative Director and Founder of Vault49. “So rather than having one artist do one collection of five pieces, we actually had fives artists do a design from each of the two award categories.” By splitting the work, each artist was able to commit to the full composition of each of the pieces.
Part of their work was to interpret each artist in a unique way. They were directed by Sonos to avoid the classic representations of each artist and find another way to communicate their energies. “Whether it’s the hat and the glasses of Beck or the legs for Beyonce, or abstract patterns for Sam Smith. We really tried to drill down into what would be instantly recognizable as the artist,” says Jon. After they arrived at the designs, Vault49’s artists employed a range of painting techniques to translate the designs onto the speakers. From markers, to airbrush, to paintbrush, they chose what would work best with each aesthetic and artist to complete the composition.
This kind of work is exactly what brings out the best in Vault49. “We have everybody pushing themselves to try lots of new techniques,” says Jon. “There’s nothing more satisfying than leaving the office with paint under your fingernails.”
When Chris Parks from Pale Horse Design got his assignment, he went right to work as he was responsible for five speakers. But the project was a natural fit. “Music has always been a big part of my career,” Chris says. He’s always been singing and playing guitar for bands since the beginning, “That’s kind of how I got my start, making graphics and album art for my own band.” Everything else has come out of those beginnings.
Like Vault49, Chris avoided using the immediately recognizable signatures of each artist, instead translating them through his distinct style. “What I always inject into my work is bold colors, and nice line work, and a lot of the work that I do has a tattoo influence to it,” Chris says. The only challenge was working in a totally different medium. Typically, Chris does all of his work digitally. But this one was going to applied by hand. “I had to think about things a little differently, creating work that could be painted onto the speakers. Simplifying my normal style down to a graphic that could be painted really well.” He stuck true to his Rock 'N Roll style, but adjusted his work so it would sing on the speakers.
We've included some photos from Vault49 and Pale Horse's process so you can get a taste of how these pieces came together.
Vault49 and Si Scott Go Natural
Kiehl’s Artfully Made campaign doesn’t stop, and this time we’re taking a look at the work Vault49 and Si Scott did for the project. One of the focuses that Kiehl’s has as a brand is to create products with a careful balance between nature and effectiveness. They strive to make goods with an attention so particular it becomes an art; they are artfully made. Contracting artists to interpret their own work underscores that effort, and Vault49 and Si Scott were happy to oblige.
When Vault49 approached the assignment of tackling the Ultra Light Daily UV Defense, they started with Kiehl’s attention to derivation. “Kiehl’s products are all created using Naturally-Derived ingredients, so we felt that the piece also needed to look natural and organic to reflect this,” explains David McLeod, Head of CGI at Vault49. “We set out to create a bright, fun and energetic scene, filled with nature and summer activities in a hand-crafted paper cut aesthetic.” Obviously, UV Defense protects against damage the sun can inflict on human skin, so that was the perfect visual jumping off point for their design. “We wanted to really place the focus on the product, and to achieve this we used the radiating sun to draw the focus into the center of the image,” David says.
To get the natural organic look that David mentioned, they opted for a cut paper aesthetic, but it’s entirely CGI. Starting from sketches, to compositing in Adobe Illustrator, to finally using Cinema4D to construct the 3D image with texture, Vault49 was able to create that natural look using technological processes.
Si Scott’s image was for the Centella Skin-Calming Facial Cleanser, derived from Chamomile and Tiger Herb (Centella) which are favorites of bees. Si has always been enamored with insects, especially those that fly, so it was a natural fit for Si to bring that interest into their piece. Along with the bees Si brought the actual natural ingredients into the image. “The ingredients that are used in the cleanser were used to create the illustration that wraps and sits around the product,” he explains. Bright, big chamomile flowers are embedded in the leaves of the Centella, along with spears of aloe, another ingredient.
All of Si's work starts as hand drawn illustration that gets converted to digital assets as it proceeds. This was no exception. The details in the leaves, flowers, and bees remain from his handy work, while vector drawn elements infuse a luxurious movement to the composition.
Kiehl's "Artfully Made" series continues uniting artists with the inspiration Kiehl’s uses in their own products, creating the perfect marriage of mission and creation.