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Creativity it’s what ultimately took us to the moon

Berlin, December 6th, 2018

Berlin-based agency UFOMAMMOOT has an eccentric leader at the helm: Karsten Weil. Asked for his job title, he describes himself as Chief Galactic Officer (a.k.a. Creative Director). Together with his wife Steffi, they have founded and run UFOMAMMOOT since 2007, creating provocative and playful digital campaigns for their German clients.

Can you describe yourself and your work?

I’m passionate about what I’m doing, and therefore I’m working on things just for my pleasure. For me, my job is a mission.

Another passion of mine is music. I’m into producing music as much as I am into doing graphics. So if you ask me… I’m into everything! I do illustration, 3D-modelling and animation, texturing, design, typography, concept, art direction, digital painting, video editing, vfx, programming, music, managing an agency, presentations, creative direction, team-lead and maybe even more!

What are UFOMAMMOOT’s vision and mission?

We use technology to reach and enhance communication goals. We want users to get involved and interact with brands leaving them with a positive feeling.

In your opinion, what ingredients are essential to create a successful digital campaign?

A successful campaign should not just blindly repeat what’s being said in the more classical channels. It should communicate in its very own way, using the advantages and strengths of the digital platform – ideally leading to interaction.

If people deliberately choose to react on an ad, spending time with a brand, avoid feeding them with TV-commercials and headlines they already know, instead let them discover and explore genuine and unique content.

What’s the secret to connecting specific emotional responses with the visual form?

There’s a core to everything. It is not about slapping it into people’s face but rather gently and subtly evoking an idea of it into their minds. Only in the moment of realisation and understanding will we respond emotionally strong enough to attach to something we have seen.

Virtual layers provide an excellent way of turning communication into gamification. We did a few games for our client Adidas. Especially the DFB-Jersey game was a big success. People are drawn into playing with a brand a trillion times more than watching a printed ad.

AR, as I see it, may well be the future of human-machine interfacing. By the use of AR, an informative visual layer is added to the real world, which makes it more natural to interact with. Future AR devices can become so discreet that you won’t even need to think about them. It will be more like wearing just sunglasses, instead of a helmet with a television attached to your head.

The same goes for VR. The difference here is that with VR, the person blends into a world. In my experience – and I’ve spent numerous hours in VR – it can evoke powerful emotional responses in users due to it’s immersiveness.

By the way, I don’t get why people discuss if AR or VR will be THE thing. I think it’s not either-or, but rather both are the next big thing. AR is more practical and natural in usage, while the immersion of VR is more about the experience. I think future devices might have an AR mode where you deal with digital activities comparable to using a computer or tablet. The VR mode will be more of an experience like watching a movie.

What is your design process?

We research and explore the matter. We play with the results and deduce a framework for form. And most importantly we do test-runs to end up with a proof of concept because there never is a plan that works out right away when it faces reality.

What challenges do you face today in your agency?

There never is a perfect plan. No matter how hard you try, there’s always something that doesn’t work out the way you intend it to. Especially when pioneering in the use of technology work can be much more exciting than you would like it to be.

How is the agency’s culture cultivated and maintained?

Everyone is able and asked to contribute. No matter which department you’re in. Whether it’s consulting, project management or programming we embrace everyone to come with something.

What first drew you to the creative field?

I started to fall in love with computer graphics, in general, going back to 1993 as I discovered the Demoscene, an underground subculture dedicated to demonstrating the visual possibilities of computers.

What is your definition of creativity?

Creativity can shape reality just by the power of thoughts! It’s what ultimately took us to the moon.

To which qualities of creativity are you most sensitive?

I like the anarchic aspect. Creativity defies rules and collective agreements. The best things often emerge out of mistakes and failure instead of being guided by calculable methods.

Do you consider yourself a team player?

Some years ago I wasn’t. I’d rather the guy you lock up in a cellar and wait for the results. But things have changed and at work, I do I transform into a team player. Nowadays I even find joy in teaming up with others.

Thanks Karsten!

By Geny Caloisi.

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