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Hallo Academie ‘Exposed 06′

Somewhere in the West of Amsterdam, there’s an advanced institute for applied creativity that will be known for the talent it produced in 2006.

Directed by Wim Michels, the Hallo Academie is an intensive one-year collaborative creative program for brilliant misfits. Last year I directed a short course on the rebranding of the U.S.A., and I’m honored that Wim continues to invite me to Hallo events.

Exposed 06 was an opportunity to be inspired and challenged by this year’s stellar graduates. I met good people who are unwilling to compromise their creative visions, and I saw communication and product ideas ready for application.

One idea that I feel could be explored to great success is from Hans Knappen who developed custom-designed clothing for his World of Warcraft guild community (EU Black Citadel). Only after he earned the highest honor of level 60 was he able to build up trust in his guild to develop the apparel. Using insights from the interaction with others in the virtual game space, he realized that fellow guild members wanted to purchase fashionable clothing, but were repelled by the blatant branding and overt superficial flourishes. As a result, Hans designed an entire line that is detailed only on the inside, and inspired by the virtual world.

Hans has shown that dedication to an online community can bring offline trust, and demonstrates again the increasingly blurry relationship between offline and online worlds.

Many thanks to Wim and all the Hallo students who shared their time and final projects.

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