ABC TV – case study

client / American Book Centre Amsterdam
what / concept, video, animation, gif movies

The American Book Centre is an English language bookstore with stores in Amsterdam and The Hague. The bookstore in Amsterdam has been (for me at least) an institution for many years. It has a large selection of English books on literature, comics, art, design and much, much more. While it’s situated in a largely touristic area it feels very intimate and low profile. The American Book Centre (ABC) always does lots of events like lectures, book launches, open mic’s, trade-in days, which they communicate though their website, social media and mailings.

ABC commissioned me to let their day to day (in-store) customers know about all of these events. They had a large unused flatscreen monitor that provided the perfect tool to promote events. I decided to devise a platform, called ABC tv, which served as a starting point to tell the instore customers about everything that ABC organises, as well as their history.

Searching through the heaps of footage of past events as well as the (rather infamous) history of ABC i decided that (being aware of the short attention span nowadays) the information had to be presented in a short form that connects with the present speed of our media intake, so i thought .GIF.

The format (or the ‘style’ of .gif) provides a quick, fun, and direct way of getting across the right feeling about anything. To be able to use this ‘GIF style’ and make the ‘esthetic’ somewhat similar for all the events, i had to think about the way a GIF works. Usually these are very short, whacky clips taken from a movie. In this case i was working the other way round, using photos taken at events and turning them into GIF-like clips that last longer than the average GIF.

When researching the footage that ABC delivered, i noticed that the photographers at events usually take a couple of shots for each ‘situation’ (people talking, people drinking, people gesturing) which makes it possible to recreate a ‘film’ from photographs. So then, by using repetition and the correct timing you can actually suggest plots and subplots fairly easily. Not all of the events had enough footage to be able to create these GIF movies, so a selection had to be made. In the end 14 different GIF animations were made, ranging from 15 seconds till about 2 minutes in length.

Playing in between the animations is the animated logo (based on the existing identity) of ABC tv (see below), confirming the brand to the viewers and letting them know what they are looking at.

There are so many people constantly walking by, which requires a constant reboot of a quick experience. This is also why the GIF-movies work well: it’s not a huge investment of time for the viewer, and if one GIF-movie doesn’t go down well, they might still have some energy left to try the next!