In my current state of affairs I am finding myself looking around at various companies, trying to figure out what their approach is. Not their process, thats to me is different with every engagement and anyone that tells you otherwise is kidding themselves. More so I want to get under the skin of what drives them and where their passion points are. What do they consider "good". What kind of projects get them jazzed. Are they willing to pass up projects because they simply don't fit their desires. To me companies that follow their passions and dreams, and fill the desks with people that are in line with that vision enough to live it, are the ones that simply prevail. Now I have no idea, without going in to these companies and experiencing their day-to-day, what a company is really like but often the work sheds some light on the people and the passions behind it.
Recently I came across Ueno. A growing agency that, from what I can make out, comes originally from Iceland. That maybe plays into some of my interpretation of them as an organization. Having been engrained in the cutthroat world of NYC agency land I am finding myself increasingly jealous of agencies that find their way into competing in this world from their own non competitive, collaborative, buddies doing cool shit world...and killing it. The work of Ueno is nice, clean, but above all works well...really well in an environment that is increasingly dynamic. Design for me has gone way beyond the world of layout design. Layouts are fluid, reactive, flexible, animated, audible, and need to accommodate a variety of media within one presentation platform. Ueno does this well with no forcing of technology for technologies sake or feeling that some creative director recently discovered a new trick that they are beating to death. The animation is subtle and works with the experience to enhance it. Their layout is clean and easy to digest while still being interesting and conveying the necessary information to do the job at hand.
All in all I love their style and attitude and the Zero Financial site is a good example of that in action. Maybe I'm biased in being a designer so the step away from every other financial site is a welcome one...but then maybe I'm the target? I dunno. Take a look and see what you think but keep an eye on Ueno. I think we may see A LOT more of them in the future.