Working both with agency partners such as Droga5, Wunderman and Ogilvy as well as, increasingly, as digital aor (including recent wins Aflac and SoBe), Firstborn has raised the bar for advanced design and development that feels somehow simple and intuitive to users. After all, all the fancy 3-D animation in the world doesn't amount to much if it feels forced or unnatural.
A dramatic site Firstborn created for Ford Mustang with Wunderman Detroit harnessed the power of social media to get enthusiasts (is there any other kind of Mustang owner?) sharing designs created with a customizer that went far beyond the sea of them currently online in autoland. Its full-video site for the launch of the Puma L.I.F.T. sneaker created an engaging and humorous user experience that somehow did not feel like a Web site. And using the 3-D assets created for the 13-year-old interactive shop's first-ever broadcast spot, Firstborn created an immersive 3-D game with BBDO for M&M's.
It is easy to fall into the trap of designing for yourself or even for your client," says Firstborn senior vice president Dan LaCivita, "When in reality you may want to spend more time thinking about the consumer, or whoever will be interacting with what you create - to give insight into how you approach the design and development process."
While many outfits shrank in the recession this year, Firstborn added the talents of Zeh Fernando, an accomplished and world renown Flash developer to its team, brought on another well-regarded developer in Dolf Yun, and wooed designer Dave Snyder east from FL2 in Denver to come on board as associate creative director.
In the spirit of industry innovation, when one of Firstborn's lead developers Mathieu Badimon received accolades and attention for his interactive vector-based 3-D animations system FIVe3d, he released it as open source. And this is just one of a slew of proprietary work developed in the Firstborn studios. In fact, the studio's use of Flash prompted Adobe to include Firstborn developers in its beta testing programs, giving them access to programs not available to anyone outside Adobe in exchange for feedback.
"Another area we find to be really exciting is how we are beginning to leverage what we know about interactive design, and user experience design," says LaCivita, "to effect other forms of communication extending outside the browser."