Here at FormFiftyFive we have been very fortunate to have been given a copy of the new Open Projects application for iPad to review and we must say it has been a pleasure. Developed by étapes, a paris based graphic design magazine and publishing house, Open Projects is their first Interactive book release for the ipad.
The concept is simple, discover innovative design projects through a unique interactive experience: Open Projects, an e-book for iPad, outcome of an unprecedented editorial challenge. Throughout 51 projects by non-standard identities, Open Projects is a total immersion in the world of contemporary design. Provided to you in a simple to use grid based interface each individual identity project makes the most of the interactive and touch interface with various images, conference recordings, videos, embedded websites and 3D animations. Each project is showcased in great detail and is supported by a written rationale and background to the brief so you can really get a sense of the project and what the designers were trying to create whilst seeing the work alongside. Within each project you can scroll down through the content of that project and you can then either skip back to the initial grid menu or you can simply swipe left and right through the projects concurrently making for a very easy read. There is also, my favoured option of being able to see each project as a column like thumbnail and quickly view the content before delving down a level into the project. Once in a project you also hav the option of a project scrollbar which shows a small thumbnail and allows for quick access to a different project. Watch the video of the app in action here.
There is a great mix of projects contained, some of which you will be familiar with such as the Stefan Sagmeister Casa da Musica and Mevis & Van Deursen’s Rotterdam 2001 identity, although its nice to see and interact further with some of the content such as a 3D Casa da Musica logo which you can spin and rotate into different guises, as well as a whole host of interesting projects many of which I had never seen or explored before. The projects featured were chosen by Cristina Chiappini and Silvia Sfligiotti, reputed italian graphic designers and teachers, who take part in many publications, exhibitions and events about design. They selected the works presented by Open Projects and made an exhibition and a book in French out of them.
Overall Open Projects is a groundbreaking combination of support and content, the first in a series of high-quality projects from étapes and it will be interesting to see what they have up their sleeve in the future, perhaps specific editions based on specific types of projects would be interesting like Typographic Projects, Branding, Signage, Product, Architecture etc. I have to say that so far I have felt a lot of iPad ‘interactive’ magazines have always felt a little forced into a touch screen environment and although, at first look, they are interesting they soon lost out to their print counterparts in terms of a pickup and put down ability. Open Projects however, feels exactly like it should, it seems to just work the way that you would expect and brings together a wealth of information and media into a package which is as informative and educational as it is pleasing to use. Its one that you would go back to time and time again and use as a reference tool. Open Projects is now available from the App Store for the limited special price of $7.99.