Roof Studio doesn’t pioneer new technology, nor does it try to save the world. But what it does, it does to perfection. Designed by EVB for Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the website encourages Mini Cooper owners to view the car’s roof as a blank canvas. Davis’s reaction summarized the entry’s functionality—”You can print out a giant sticker and put it on your roof, dude!”—and also captured the enthusiasm of the large community of fans that has formed around this very small automobile.
The gallery features hundreds of Minis adorned with graphics ranging from the U.N. flag to cartoon characters to romantic landscapes, all arranged in concentric rings that float onscreen. Navigation is intuitive. Clicking in the center of the circle allows users to advance through an ever expanding galaxy of roof designs, zooming in on any one to find out who created it; the designs can also be sorted by motif. But where the rubber really hits the road is in the ability to download vector files of the graphics that can then be taken to a sign manufacturer and rendered as roof-sized vinyl stickers. Visitors can also design a rooftop of their own using the Studio’s tools: Images are imported into the application to be cropped and scaled, and a finished masterpiece can be uploaded to the gallery.
“Execution sets this site apart,” Hirschfeld said. “Distractions such as instructive copy can be kept to a minimum because the underlying navigation is strong enough to keep the user oriented. When there is text, it’s straightforward without being dry, with excellent typography.” The jurors admired that the site challenged Mini fanatics to define themselves as a group and enabled owners to actually use the graphics. “Imagine if you saw your design on the street,” said Davis. “That would make you feel pretty good about your contribution to the community—and, by extension, the brand.” Stowell agreed: “So many of the games that companies post to engage users fail to create this sense of community,” he said. “The site lets the customers be the stars, which actually takes some of the pressure off the design. It’s brilliant.”
DESIGN Crispin Porter + Bogusky (Miami, FL): Alex Bogusky, executive creative director; Andrew Keller, creative director; Jeff Benjamin, interactive creative director. EVB (San Francisco): Jason Zada, executive creative director; Todd Bois, associate creative director; Nick Mitrousis, Flash developer.
CLIENT Mini Cooper (Munich)
SOFTWARE Adobe Professional, Macromedia Flash, After Effects