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Jennifer Bove
Sep 21, 2012
Lights, Camera, Action!

Guest Post By Mercedes Coats, Executive Producer, Marketing at Smart Design.

Smart Design and our client, Ford Motors, were the recipients of the inaugural IxDA Award in the “Disruptive” category in 2012. Thrilled as we were to receive such an unambiguous and unprecedented honor from our peers, we had been talking about the SmartGauge project for a while. It’s one of the key stories we are able to tell about how Smart Design successfully partners with our clients to address and solve the complexities of innovation. In other words, we knew it was good work. But how best to convey to the IxDA jury not only the final product, but also our vision and thinking? We couldn’t exactly deliver a Ford Fusion Hybrid car to the jury room for evaluation.

Or could we? Luckily, the medium of video allows us as award entrants to tell the stories behind our work in a compelling way. We’re not saying anything groundbreaking with that statement… Video has a pretty, um, strong reputation as a storytelling medium. It’s just that within the narrow arena of design award competitions, video submissions are a fairly new thing. Competitions now encourage if not require people to create videos to help the jury understand what they’re judging. For us this was great because often video is the perfect medium to communicate the stories behind our work and expertise.

Our approach to making the video was to go beyond the normal ‘what is it’ and ‘how does it work’ to answering the question WHY. Why did we make the decisions we did? And, why does this benefit the people it’s intended for – drivers. Why is this a great business solution, too? We went with an authentic, documentary feel that was pretty straightforward. No fancy stuff.

But could we illustrate the ‘disruptive’ nature of the work without elaborate motion graphics? Again, we went for simplicity by asking one of our co-founders, Dan Formosa, to sit down and talk about it from a high-level. He also talked through some of the key research the team did which informed design decisions. We used as many photos, sketches and pieces of footage as we could to bring the SmartGauge to life, both from the ideas to the real experience. And we kept it brief and to the point. It got the job done. To boot, we now have a great little tool to help share this story with anyone who will watch.

We’re very excited that the IxDA awards have established a strong foothold in the landscape of design competitions. It’s vital to acknowledge the amazing work being done, but more importantly, share that work with the rest of the world. Go on, you’ve got great work to share. Get a camera and dive in!

Entry to the competition is open to all companies, individuals, and students until October 1.


Interaction Awards is an initiative of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), a global community of over 100,000 individuals worldwide dedicated to the professional practice of Interaction Design. Find out how to join your local group and get involved at

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