Visual Storytelling.

Why 2015′s Most Important Design In Architecture Isn’t A Building. via @archdaily

Lat 49. Our newest branding project.

When Sheppard Case Architects approached us recently, they were feeling the pinch of the larger multinational competitive agencies encroaching on their territory. What we provided was a way for them to push back. With exciting bold colours and a new name they are now positioned to be the number one authority in their neck of the woods and beyond. Through the brand positioning developed "envisioning our place", and the exciting use of local photography they really are a fresh dynamic on the landscape of Newfoundland & Labrador architecture agencies. We look forward to supporting their success and inevitable rise to new heights for the foreseeable future and beyond.

Early Sunday Morning

Our rendering concept: An homage to the original painting "Early Sunday Morning" by Edward Hopper.

A nostalgic reference and the memory of hardship in a time gone by of the Great Depression in New York City. Our aim was to Maintain the architecture, mood, and lighting of the original painting while introducing a feeling of hope, whimsy, and fantasy. 

Nice Country Home

Here is our latest small project, a rendering of a country home on a beautiful treed lot for our clients in NY,  The Redd Group.

Gamefication brings in serious business.

This following article really sets out to illustrate a new addition to your marketing arsenal. The author has done a great deal to expand upon how this can apply to the various market streams as well as providing great examples of where it has been utilized effectively.   

Is there a place for this in the real estate development world and can it work to set your product apart and incentivize registration and interest.  

I believe that there is a great opportunity for developments to successfully use this kind of marketing to generate fantastic ROI and increase their social media audience as well as generating positive successful leads. 

In Toronto there are over a quarter of the available condo units empty and all vying for the same audience pool to generate their sales. With incentives like Gamefication to garner retention of your audience and not to mention the benefits of the social sharing aspect through services such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare (which in itself is a form of Gamefication) you will start to see the tide turn towards your products.

I look forward to hearing your thought and feedback regarding wether or not you feel Gamefication is a viable addition to your already comprehensive marketing strategies for new or existing developments and products.

Now onto the article in question


by Brett Sappingto, 

December 22nd 2012 5:00 AM

More than just a marketing gimmick, gamification has the potential to inject new life into a variety of industries and broaden the appeal of many new and existing offerings.

The term "gamification" describes the use of game mechanics, such as challenges, achievements and rewards, to drive certain consumer behaviors in what are traditionally non-gaming contexts, such as television services, energy or health.

Currently, more than 40 percent of U.S. consumers play video games at least once per month, and that percentage is increasing with the growing adoption of smartphones and tablets.

Make It Fun

By introducing a gamification initiative, companies can achieve multiple objectives:

attract new users/customers, including hard-to-reach segments;

retain existing users/customers;

engage existing users/customers, consequently driving their actions toward specific behaviors (such as more spending); and

differentiate offerings from those of competitors.

Gamification captures audience attention but also heightens engagement, introducing fun into routine, often staid activities. It can leverage social networks' viral nature to build buzz around a specific offering and thus improves advertisers' chances to attract broader, more engaged audiences.

Retail has been one of the first industries to benefit from gamification. E-commerce poses a substantial threat to physical retailers. In addition, consumers frequently use brick-and-mortar chains, such as Best Buy or Barnes & Noble, as showrooms for online retailers.

Enhance the Experience

Gamification enables retailers to bring consumers in and enhance engagement within the store. The broad diffusion of mobile devices enables location-based gaming, the most popular being Foursquare. Through the Foursquare app, retailers can reward consumers who check in at a store's physical location and encourage price comparisons, non-discretionary spending and repeat visits.

Gamification is often confused with loyalty programs. In reality, not all loyalty programs have gamification elements and often lack game mechanics that are common in "gamified" programs. These programs have no challenges, competitions, badges or other key aspects of games that would incent behaviors beyond simple purchase transactions.

Airlines have built some gamification into their frequent-flier programs as they reward their best customers with elite status at certain earning levels. However, few fliers would describe their airline's loyalty program as fun or engaging. Few frequent flier programs offer challenges, competition with other players or an active community that allows fliers to compare their statuses and compete with each other.

The Reach of Gamification

The deregulation of energy markets around the world has led to more competition among energy retailers. In addition, market restructuring has forced electricity retailers to think of users as customers for whom they must compete. Because little differentiation exists for the fundamental service (electricity) beyond price, this greater competition has led electricity retailers to explore programs that will affect customer engagement and loyalty. For example, Reliant Energy has deployed gaming activities to some customers that incentivize energy savings.

In-home monitoring and remote energy management also offer opportunities to differentiate electricity services. These services inform users of their current electrical usage and its cost and enable the user to remotely turn off and on electrical appliances. Gamifying the use of energy management devices and platforms is more likely to create lasting engagement for consumers.

Gamification of television programming can foster greater engagement, provide access to a related community of viewers, and incent viewing of programs and advertisements. Several companies have created gamification platforms or services that enhance consumers' TV watching experience and provide rewards for participating. TV channels also use gamified websites to attract audiences and keep them engaged with their content.

Brands can use gamification to engage consumers during commercials and to enhance a brand's appeal among certain demographics. Several brands, including Best Buy, Teleflora, and Pepsi, enhanced their Super Bowl commercials with Shazam integration. Viewers were able to use the music identification app during commercials to unlock rewards, such as discounts, gift cards, and sweepstakes. While the gamification aspect was limited, it showed the potential of extending the impact of commercials beyond traditional viewing window.

Above the Competition

Consumer packaged goods have a low price relative to durable goods and a limited shelf life. Profitability commonly relies on achieving high volume sales and maintaining a distinct brand that consumers choose among myriad alternatives. For these reasons, companies selling consumer packaged goods rely heavily on marketing and advertising to create brand recognition and mass appeal, including the development of unique logos, mascots or messaging. These companies also face increasing difficulty reaching certain segments of consumers who regularly use Internet-connected personal electronic devices but spend less time on traditional media.

Leveraging social networks offers significant potential for marketers of consumer packaged goods to reach target customers. Facebook and other online communities enable advertising to finely targeted audiences and allow deeper consumer involvement with a brand. Other consumer packaged goods brands have taken gamification more literally by reaching out to the growing number of people who play mobile games. For example, consumers who achieve certain goals on Kiip-supported mobile games can win tangible goods like samples or gift cards from brands such as Kraft, P&G, and Pepsi.

Beyond Selling

Applying gamification to education can make learning more enjoyable and ultimately more effective. For years, instructors have used the principles of success tracking (grades) and positive reinforcement via recognition, achievement, and rewards to motivate students; these are tools that are common to successful gamification programs. Terms like edutainment, educational games, and "serious" games are often used to describe the gamification of education. Gamification can also be applied to adult education, particularly to help with job-training effectiveness. Companies can promote specific behaviors and deliver rewards to employees who follow those behaviors and achieve results.

Health-related gamification encourage good habits while discouraging or stopping bad or addictive habits, based on behavioral change theories that recommend engagement with timely, positive feedback loops to reinforce good behavioral changes.

Gamification strategies will apply across many industries, leveraging cloud-based platforms and mobile apps to achieve the greatest possible reach. The potential benefits include improvements to brand perception, explanations of the benefits of complicated products, improvements in sales numbers, an increase in margins, driving customers to particular points of sale, and incenting referrals.

Adoption of tablets and smartphones will increase, and in the case of tablets, that increase will be dramatic, reaching approximately two-thirds of U.S. broadband households by 2013. These factors will drive wider adoption of gamification but will also lead to more discerning gamification consumers. As this market area develops, consumers will become much more selective about the programs in which they participate, forcing developers and brands either to simplify their programs in order to achieve the broadest possible adoption or to refine their strategies to have more targeted appeal among specific, well-defined segments. is new and improved.

We here at Neilson Digital have been working hard to bring you our best. We have completely redesigned our website, galleries and even added a P3 section to highlight some of our recent wins and past success. 

The new look is fresh and speaks to the stories we are trying to pull from our client creative. It's all about the story from the simplest image to the full branded experience. Our main image was created to illustrate that goal. Using simple elements we have pushed beyond just a straight product shot and created a world where something is happening.

Make sure you take a look around and leave us some love. Let us know how you like the new home 

Patrick Kitchen, Neilson Digital, Creative Director

180 Gordon site is up...

Our latest production for a great new location in Guelph, Ontario. This boutique development offering is surrounded in natural beauty. We are proud to have worked with Podium Developments on this project.


cool ads

Just a few ways to be creative in your branding and advertising...


Architectural Visualization Today

Architectural illustration may have its origins in the earliest cave drawings, and documented throughout history in artists’ paintings, but it wasn’t until the 19th century when Hugh Ferriss, the American delineator and architect, defined  architectural illustration as a profession. Though trained as an architect, he focused on graphic representation of other architects building designs starting around 1912. The artistic practice of graphically representing building designs continues to this day as an integral part of the design process. Since the mid 1990’s the realm of architectural illustration has become mostly digital. There are many hand sketched and painted perspectives of buildings still being developed today, and will always be a part of the architect’s tool set, though the majority of imagery developed for public presentation is now digital 3D visualization. 

The business of “arch viz” as it’s termed in most publications, has struggled to define itself since the changeover from hand to digital representation in the late 90’s. Architectural illustration by an artist, has given way to digital architectural visualization developed by a CAD technologist, and through this transition we have seen the artistic practice of illustration give way to technical CAD models and photomontages. There are many caveats to today’s digital process, artistry has been lost, complexity has increased, timelines extended, and the service deemed a necessary evil in the world of architecture, some times devalued to a crude service offering.

“Today the digital process is necessary with the advent of integrated project deliveries, the ongoing iterative design process, and a visually saturated audience now expecting not only photo real depictions, but animations of proposed designs.”

Today the digital process is necessary with the advent of integrated project deliveries, the ongoing iterative design process, and a visually saturated audience now expecting not only photo real depictions, but animations of proposed designs. With this expected deliverable comes much pressure on the architectural practice to not only develop visualization services but to integrate this imagery with the new development of building information modeling. This combination is proving beneficial to integrated architectural, engineering and construction firms (AEC) as it allows design changes throughout the new process while providing visual imagery, construction drawings, and even animations. This new approach to achieve success in the complex requirements of today’s deliverable is a real challenge.

Now AEC firms are looking for efficiencies in the design process, extraction of cost information from BIM, and provision of high impact visuals and interactive presentations for the client – all at the same time. There is an expectation for many firms to develop the ability to provide visuals in-house, as this allows immediate imagery for review during the design process and fast turnaround visuals to convey design concepts to clients for that 9am meeting. While the skills of today’s architectural graduates can provide this, the challenge becomes availability of staff resources and consistency of imagery across multiple teams. Large AEC firms may develop their in-house visualization teams to handle their multitude of projects, but funneling enough consistent work through these teams, maintaining staff with specific skill sets, the modern practice of decentralization, and the creation of digital assets becomes both a managerial and financial challenge.

Most firms maintain a relationship with a few outside artists to assist in big presentations or demanding timelines, and recently with the impact of globalization some have adopted the practice of outsourcing visuals offshore to countries like China or India. This practice is very common throughout the AEC sector and considered a natural progression to supply goods and reduce costs. In fact, the actual process of engaging offshore work can prove very frustrating and comes not without risk for stakeholders with problems arising from language barriers, repeated design change misunderstandings, lengthy back and forth review processes and possible illegal distribution of intellectual property. This engagement of offshore studios most often results in a break in the newly formed BIM process and works against the goal of an an integrated design process. 

Whether the modern AEC firm decides to adopt in-house development of visual services, outsource to individuals or agencies, or look offshore for solutions, clients and management will continue to expect beautiful images and animations on a tight timeline with that elusive push of a button, but the process is considerably more complex and requires proper planning and understanding to deliver successfully. This is the challenge for today’s architectural visualization industry, albeit in reality closer to five thousand button clicks away and much artistic development beyond the technical aspects. The key to successful architectural visualization is to have a comprehensive understanding of the design process, to take advantage of the modern technology at hand, integrate seamlessly with design teams, and strive to achieve a level of artistic merit in all imagery produced.