Sifteo Design & Branding LOOPLOOP by Stimulant

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Industry Games
Media Design & Branding
Market United States
Agency Stimulant
Released October 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Offline Digital Design
Advertiser: SIFEO
Product/Service: SIFTEO CUBES
Chief Executive Officer: Darren David (Stimulant)
Design Director: Nathan Moody (Stimulant)
Design Lead: Jules Konig (Stimulant)
Technical Director: Josh Santangelo (Stimulant)
Test Lead: Aron Schoppert (Stimulant)
Project Manager: Kristi Torgrimson (Stimulant)
Interaction Designer: Brian Yeung (Stimulant)
Media placement: Software App - Sifteo Store - 4 October 2011

Describe the brief from the client
Sifteo asked us to contribute to their launch portfolio of games focused on kinaesthetic learning, spatial reasoning, and collaboration. Sifteo cubes, originally featured at TED 2009, are sturdy 1.5-inch square devices with 1-inch screens, not unlike a child’s building block. They have an amazing tactile quality and fit well in hands of all sizes and ages. Sifteo cubes are aware of orientation, tilt, direction, and proximity to other Sifteo cubes. A single button is embedded underneath each cube’s 128-pixel-wide screen. They are controlled wirelessly by a nearby computer and come in packs of 3 (expandable up to 6) cubes.

Describe the challenges and key objectives
Designing for a developing platform with 3 to 6 discrete devices that could interact with each other in unique ways challenged how we thought about interfaces. To manage budget and mitigate risk, the team aggressively stuck to a less-is-more ethic for features, scope and priorities, focusing on doing fewer things better. Our goal was to iterate and fine-tune the technical, interactive, visual, and aural aspects of the project in order to produce something that was fun, engaging, and a joy to play with. This would demonstrate the strengths of the product, and help diversify the client's growing platform.

Describe how you arrived at the final design
We whittled several concepts down to an exploratory multitrack music toy that leveraged the minimalist and modular nature of the cubes. Our designers started prototyping interactions while the developers researched technical constraints and possibilities. The design began with paper sketches for the interactions between each Sifteo cube, using existing game blocks and verbal beat boxing for play testing. Our visual style mimicked the Sifteo cubes themselves: cute and minimal with surprising complexity revealed over time. This influenced the sound palette and the application's naming, which is a nod to the onomatopoeia of the patterns and the nature of how the tracks repeat.

Give some indication of how successful the outcome was in the market
LoopLoop was available as a free download upon Sifteo’s product launch in September 2011, and it has consistently been one of the most popular applications for the platform since then. We've seen that children as young as 18 months are able to grasp the core cause-and-effect model and make smile-inducing tunes almost instantly. In February, LoopLoop was awarded the 2012 Interaction Design Award for Best in Show by the Interaction Design Association as the year’s best example of expressive applications, and possible future vision of interaction design.