When Two Worlds Collide: SXSW Interactive

sample screen printed t-shirt

Complex SxSW Design

My next two posts feature  this week’s South by Southwest Interactive show in Austin, Texas. How does  the virtual world of bits and bytes relate to the physical world of t-shirts and branding? Internet types know good design whether it’s real or virtual, and have dreamed up some interesting promotions that combine both physical and internet components.

 My favorite official shirt from the show features a fashionable American Apparel style t-shirt. It’s a five color design, with lots of complexity that requires an expert screen printer.

Don't get screwed by ticketing companies

A Really "Graphic" Tee Gets the Message Across

Sometimes simplicity, not complexity, makes for the best design. Look at the t-shirt from Brown Paper Tickets. You know at a glance what their value proposition is. They’re a fair trade event ticketing company, with services that are free to event producers with simple flat fees for buyers. I get it.

Another way to stand out from the crowd is to pick a signature look and color, and stick with it, like dotJenna, who is President of TheMarketingShop.com, and specializes in social media and web marketing for the real estate industry.

dotjenna at sxsw 2010

Hot Pink is the Look for dotjenna. Photo by NoNoJoe flickr.com

Jenna brands herself with hot pink, whether its business cards, t-shirts, or beverages. Instant Imprints made some hot pink and black t-shirts for dotjenna and her team for their Cog’aoke (Karaoke) competition at SXSW. Their performance was a hit, with standing room only.

 Earlier in the article, I promised to tell you about some intriguing promotions that combined physical and online elements.

Pepsi sponsored the Pepsi Refresh Project, which awarded $50k to an individual or group with the most exciting digital pro-social idea. Festival participants used a hash tag to vote online in Twitter for the best project. Then they took their cause offline, by writing in their favorite project hashtag on a button that they wore to build support among the thousands attending the conference.

Pepsi Button & Twitter Promo Combines Virtual & Physical

By the way, I love the Pepsi caps. The logos really pop because of the richness of the embroidery and its high stitch count.

Finally, have you heard of “Stickybits”? Essentially, they are stickers with a unique UPC code that allow you to attach a digital item to a physical item, using an iPhone application. This is a great idea, because it lets you attach extra rich video, music, or detailed content to a physical item where there isn’t space for the information.

notes combine internet file link to physical item

Stick a Digital Note with StickyNotes

For example, you can use Stickybits to attach a digital resume to a business card. Or you can use the stickers to add updated information to a product flyer. Another application would be to attach music to a birthday card.  How does it work? You use a mobile phone application for the iPhone or Android phones to scan the sticker and attach the information online. Then the recipient scans the product with their mobile phone application to view or listen to the content.

 What do you think of these promotional ideas? Can you see people enjoying the “game” aspect? Or is the combination of digital and physical too complex to follow?