Design Patterns in Live show productions (NINE INCH NAILS TENSION TOUR 2013)

How cool is that design is present in almost everything we used or do. Since I get into Ux design I have seen how design should solve problems, it's a process to create new experiences and how humans interact with technology and that's exactly what calls my attention when I get into this video.

WIRED did this Article about how Nine Inch Nails put together such a cool show and looking at this minute I notice how the art director Rob Sheridam include card design patterns into the visual content for the NIN live show.

About Card Design UI Patterns

I will not give you a full explanation of this web trend because you can find it on this article. Carrie Cousins did a great job explaining the full concept behind Pinterest, Trello, Spotify and Google Material Design patterns. And the guys at UXPin have a great Ebook about it. So let me show you a couple of examples for you to visualize what I want to explain in this very music/design geek article:

Spotify Cards for playlists
Pinterest is one of the first examples I saw on Card Design Patterns.

Now with the concept in mind I want to share with you what I realize while enjoying the behind scenes of this Tour. Trent Reznor definitely goes beyond just make music, the whole creative process behind this live show it really amazed me.

I've been into music since I'm 10 years old and when I get to know industrial music I felt in love how creative this composition of music can be. For instance how Klayton of Celldweller took his music from 90s dark industrial stuff to OST for video games and movies or how NIN can take a tour into a whole new User experience for their fans.

From the Client requirement(What are we trying to say creatively?) to the final delivery(Fan and critical response was overwhelmingly positive throughout, and the band is now releasing an official concert film (on Blu-ray/DVD/digital) of the Los Angeles Staples Center show) This Tour can teach anyone who wants to get involve into UX design how creativity can produce high usability products and experiences at any field.

Cards as Content framework in each tour date.

The title sound super fancy but I like to see it that way! I would love to have some coffee with Trent Reznor and Rob Sheridam just to see how the creative process behind this tour was and discuss if they even call it this way.

However I would like to name that way because I want to show how UX design and design patterns can be useful in other industries. So let’s get in detail:

Basically they want to make a new experience for this tour because a lot of factors like: The new album Hesitation Marks is an album coming out after a while, there isa new music compoment they want to bring forefront, they didn’t want turn Nine Inch Nails into a nostalgia act, etc, etc, etc

So they get back to review the previous tour and bring back a lot of dusty ideas and equipment in order to achieve what the creative director of this tour explain here:

“You’re always torn [about] following that spark of creation,” said Reznor. “You have to surround it with optimism, but there always comes an editorial moment where you go, was that just a shitty idea? And am I way down a fork in the road that was a wrong turn?”

So they create a Content framework in order to give Reznor the availability to use a whole new set up for a new playlist in each date. They not only create a great experience with technology they also create a way to give the user (Attendance to the show) a new experience in every date! The show set up will be changing every time the band wanted. Amazing huh!

So through the use of 2 led transparent Screens (Cards),a Fixed none transparent screen in the back of the band plus 14 Magic Panel light pods (More cards) they create a flexible architecture to suit an evolving environment that in every song they will create new content for the user to experience a new level of live music performance.

From the use of live video to display in the screens to the laser set and illumination to create this content framework with cards to integrate music, visuals and interaction with the audience. For me and from my standpoint of design it's an amazing example of how everything merge into a great example of UX.

What About the involvement of designers in the music industry and live show production.

This make me think! what about having more designer involved in the creation of this kind of concerts? this will create new way to get involved problem solver and new experience into the concert and move out from box of having a stage with fancy lights and a backdrop with the band logo.

Or what about if a super band hire a designer to create new experience for them and step out from the simple digital music sample or the tour experience. Would be cool to follow the example of how Spotify re invent the music industry! What about to do the same for tours, band’s, Label, etc.

In conclusion this is a very geek article about music and design with potential theories how cool guys put together a great tour for a great band!

Take a look at the show in the video below and hope you enjoy the reading