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Creative Lessons from JibJab

December 19, 2010
at 9:37 pm PST

On Cisco.com we usually won’t do anything with quite the entertaining production values of JibJab’s latest year in review (a romp through US political headlines of 2010). But it turns out that our rich media design process at Cisco has a lot in common with JibJab.  I know this because the JibJab team took time to put together a fascinating behind-the-scenes commentary showing how they created their latest video.

What struck me especially is that the basic process they follow at JibJab is similar to what we do on Cisco.com when we’re creating more business oriented online demos, conceptual overviews or training. It’s standard great design practice:  Creating a brief, then writing a script, then storyboarding , then laying the audio tracks, potentially creating animatics to show how the resulting video or Flash piece will be, and then animating or doing full production.

Whether it’s the demo of the Cisco FlipPRO camcorders, or the adventures of IT Willis, we go through pretty much the same journey with scripting, storyboarding, etc as the folks at JibJab.

Of course, we explain these steps every week to our internal teams at Cisco, as do countless design organizations in every company and organization around the globe. But the folks at JibJab have captured the design process in a really interesting format that lots of people are likely to read.

Here are a couple of samples from their design process overview: An example of a storyboard, and a puppeteering session:

One difference. At Cisco.com and most other web sites, the teams don’t get to play with puppets, which looks like a lot of fun.  I’m jealous.

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