Inside Google Creative Lab

Photo credit: Darya Luganskaya

Designer Tom Seymour on this journey to Google Creative Lab

Tom Seymour is one of the guys behind such projects as the virtual tour to Abbey Road studio and the interactive textile (Project Jacquard). He made his way to Google Creative in London from Central Saint Martins. In his talk at the University of Westminster, Seymour explained how he managed to end up in Google and what is going on inside the Google Creative Lab.

Seymour told a typical story of the recent graduate. He finished Central Saint Martins in 2002, then worked for the agency named Design Bridge. But there was the line in his talk that differs him from all the rest. He kept building side-projects. There were lots of things — range of paper lamps, block of papers etc. He was exhibited in Milan, appeared in the media, but this investment did not bring him money at that point.

After 2 years in the agency, Seymour spent a year working on his own project but then went back to the workforce as the employee of the advertisement agency. But together with his friend David Bruno he kept working on side-projects. Their chair ‘The Nose That Grows” became a hit and even brought them the job offer — from another advertisement agency Wieden + Kennedy. He spent 4 years working on numerous project, including award-winning animation for Nokia.

And then Seymour got a call from Google. It turned out, that his work was followed by the Google chief for years. I think his story proves two points. First, it is that it is important to do cool things just for self-fulfilment and fun, not money. Second, you should do whatever is available in the industry to get experience. He went for graphics, sculpture, animation etc, and such a mix really boost creativity.

What is Google Creative Lab?

It is a “small team within Google”, as Seymour put it. They work for any Google projects — from Android to Chrome. the whole point of the team is to communicate what Google has to offer. Yes, it is an advertisement, but as well as Google is not just a search engine, the Creative Lab is not an ordinary advertisement department.

The team is the mix of people with background from design, fashion, filmmaking.

Their key principles of Google Creative Lab:

  1. Know the User

2. Know the MAGIC (the essence and all the details of the particular Google’s project )

3. Connect the two

What is the core of the work? 99,9% of the time they spend working on posters, mocks and prototypes. Seymour believes, by the way, it is better to launch early and iterate. Many projects of this lab went in beta first.

And now I present you the most interesting projects they created

Project Jacquard is my favourite work of the lab. They managed to create textile, which can replace the touchscreen. You can touch you sleeve to make a call, and that is just amazing.

Chrome Web Lab. Over 7 million people connected to the exhibition online.

Inside Abbey Road. Many famous artists played at the Abbey Road Studios, but the general public is not allowed to step inside. Google Creative Lab worked about a year on the interactive documentary to show the Abbey Road Studios to everyone online.

Dev Art How to inspire the kids to code? That was the question the lab tried to answer in this case. Many children do not see coding as a creative tool, Seymour mentions. The Google Creative Lab teamed up with the art centre Barbican to design an exhibition of the art pieces made by programmers. The most beautiful of all that Seymour presented was the project with butterflies. You say a wish, the voice recognising software “reads” it, and it turns into the butterfly.

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