Hyperprism : July’s New Founders Participant

Company: Hyperprism
Location: San Francisco + New York City, U.S.
Industry: Creative services

What does Hyperprism do? Tell us about the services your company offers.

We are a creative studio that specializes in merging technology with visual design. We try to focus on getting the most creative ideas across while also being fearless in pushing the medium. Our work is driven by a wide range of tools, such as 3d, flash, motion graphics, film, and uber code hax which help us create functional, intuitive experiences, be it for the web, mobile apps, kiosks, or whatever new medium we might have the opportunity to experiment with.

What inspired you to start the company and go into business for yourself?
We’ve talked about having our own shop for a while now, but finally decided to go forward with it one day after realizing that this was as best a time as there was ever going to be. After working for other people for so many years, observing how they run business, and making our own connections in the industry, we found that there was still a lot of room for new creative ideas and execution in a very crowded pond. Of course, there is also a fulfillment to be had from knowing that you are ultimately working for yourself, versus only acting as an agent for someone else.

Who’s in the company and what are your backgrounds?
There are three founders/creative directors. We all have a specific role but each of us fulfill a variety of different duties depending on the need. Sarah is the main technologist, who is the catalyst for most of Hyperprism’s technical capabilities. Jon deals with the day-to-day account duties and client services. Hai focuses on creative direction.

We all come from various advertising backgrounds having worked in many environments, from small boutiques to the world’s largest agencies. We tried to take the best from these experiences, and learn from what we felt may have been flawed about each and how we could improve on it. Despite having only three people, we don’t feel that there is anything out there that we couldn’t do.

What’s a typical day like over at Hyperprism?
We are split amongst two coasts, so we have two different threads going on at any given moment. Over on the Brooklyn side of things, Sarah is usually up in her office drinking pint after pint of water, to help offset the heat of the summer and the computer screen. In San Francisco, things stay much cooler, and Hai and Jon are usually working together in one room, keeping in touch with Sarah via iChat AV, Basecamp, and Harvest.

What do you do to keep yourself inspired?
We like to look everywhere but the Internet when coming up with new ideas. Technology will always be a driving force, as people are really starting to embrace Flash as a means to better interactive design in a lot of areas from video games to mobile interfaces and devices. Everything from industrial design to the human body can offer a great amount of influence when it comes to deciding how to approach a project creatively. It’s been noted before, but the common world around us and how we interact with it has a lot to offer in the way of inspiration.

Also, definitely talking with friends who are in the business and seeing what kind of work your peers are doing is a constant source of inspiration for us.

Please briefly tell us about a couple of your most recent projects?

Our latest site project has been for Huf shoes and clothing, a boutique in San Francisco. They needed a site that not only did the job of selling shoes, but also emphasized community. We built out an experience that allows each employee to have a profile and keep a blog, viewable to all who visit the site, in addition to posting the latest store arrivals, event photographs, or video. The concept of the site is that of a house situated against a sweeping view of San Francisco, to bring it home that Huf, and the track bike/sneaker freak/skateboarder culture surrounding it, are uniquely bay area.

We’ve also been doing a lot of pro-bono/community work for friends and non-profits, as we think that it’s important to support those outside the realm of commercial money.

You’ve been using Harvest for time tracking, how has it been working out for your company?

Harvest has been great for keeping track of how much time has been spent on projects. Especially since we are working on opposite coasts, it provides an organized and easy way to keep track of how we are spending our time. As we get more work, the ability to create time reports will be invaluable for helping us decide how to manage our resources.

What do you envision the studio to be like a year from now?

We see ourselves remaining a small group, yet expanding on a wide network of friends and colleagues that we can collaborate together with on projects.

Although the differences between online media’s and traditional broadcast’s technical capabilities have been becoming more narrow, a larger gap still remains between the two in terms of actual experience and storytelling. We don’t just want to put commercials online and call it a video experience – which is the trend right now – we want to improve on the cinematic qualities that an interactive experience can exhibit, given the right amount of attention and loads of creativity.

We hope to see a lot of strides being made in interaction design next year, not only online but also within interfaces of everyday tangible items we see in living rooms and offices alike. We hope to be right there with it.

Thanks to Hyperprism for the interview. We’ll check back with the talented group in a year to see how things are going!

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