This blog post is the third in a five part series on the "Four Pillars". If you'd like to start from the beginning, you can find the first post here.
What we do at Bitlink is an inherently creative kind of work. Whether it's software engineering, interface design or experience design, there's a kind of creativity at play. It's a kind of ingenuity; a creative approach to problem solving, or a creative approach to engineering. However, when we talk about creativity in the context of the Four Pillars, we're talking about something a little different.
What we look for in terms of creativity when we're assessing projects, is that they go beyond interesting design and engineering problems and involve some creative components that are more artistic. Examples of creative elements to projects that we find to be compelling are: that it requires illustrations, that it involves a storytelling component, that a 3D world will need to be created, or that there is going to be some sort of gameplay as part of the core experience.
By focusing on projects that have a more traditional creative component, we leave ourselves an opportunity to have some kind of creative expression take place as part of every project we work on. Sometimes, we tackle the more traditional creative components in-house (we have writers, illustrators and game designers as part of the team), in other cases, we work with external contractors to deliver the required creative elements.
Like our focus on novel interaction, targeting projects which have a more traditional creative component has two major effects. First, it narrows the scope of projects we take on, by providing a clear indication of whether a project is a fit for the Bitlink team or not. Second, it broadens the scope as far as early design decisions are concerned, which leads to more interesting projects in the long run. When a project has a more traditional creative component to it (something closer to art than to engineering), then that leads to a whole raft of interesting design decisions that need to be made. This ensures that we're going to find the project to be interesting and rewarding to work on and it also increases the chances that what we ultimately deliver is going to be unique, special or interesting.
Every project or problem has its own requirements in terms of what kind of creative component it might include and how that component is best tackled. In some cases, the creative component of a project is a small number of illustrations that are used as part of a larger experience, in other cases, the creative component is the most central and important part of the project as a whole.
There are a number of creative elements that are regularly included in Bitlink projects, which we'll quickly outline here. That said though, it's the nature of creativity that you never really can pin it down to a single list and we're sure that sometime in the next few weeks, we'll find ourselves working on a project where we've ticked the creativity box, but not through any of the methods outlined here.
One of our favourite elements to include in our projects is storytelling. Storytelling is such an integral part of the human experience and such an important source of joy, education and expression. Sometimes a storytelling component in a project is relatively minor, but in other cases, we've built entire products around a story that we wanted to tell.
Out interest in incorporating traditional creative pursuits into our projects began with illustration and in particular, an augmented reality comic book that we wanted to build. To this day, illustration is probably the most commonly used element in Bitlink projects. We use custom illustration wherever it makes sense to and we love working with the artists that make the magic happen.
If you want to tell a story, you probably want to have some characters, and if you have some characters, you'll probably want a script and some voice actors. Voice actors can make an experience come alive.
Where an application requires someone to feel present in another place, or to experience something in the first person, there needs to be a compelling 3D world for the user to inhabit and explore. We love working on projects that plunge people into a virtual environment with the intention of telling them a story, teaching them something, or simply creating a memorable experience.
If there's one thing that everyone on the design and development team at Bitlink has in common, it's that we've all been playing videogames for as long as we can remember. For us, games aren't just a form of entertainment, they're a way to teach, a way to learn, a way to tell stories and a way to positively influence behaviour. Whenever we have an opportunity to incorporate gameplay into one of our projects, it makes us very, very, happy.
As always, we can't cover everything in a single blog post, but with any luck, this provides a bit of an idea of what we mean when we talk about creativity at Bitlink.
If you like what you've read here and would like to talk about it with us, or if you think you've got a project we might be interested in, then please don't hesitate to drop us a line via our contact page.
This blog post is the third in a five-part series on the "Four Pillars" that the Bitlink team use to determine which development projects to focus on at any given time. Projects that align with the four pillars are actively pursued, projects that don't fit the mould are declined or referred on.
If you'd like to read more, you can find the other posts in the series here: