Is information too easily communicated?

March 28th, 2012 by Kate Kovalcin

I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to infographics. They’re beautiful, carefully crafted pieces of information, to make it easier to digest. We should love them! It’s like reading a picture book for adults. However the increasing surge in infographics in recent years has caused us to be bombarded by information we otherwise wouldn’t really care about. But they looked cool, right? At first, we believed them. Sometimes startling pieces of information rapidly going viral up and down Twitter and Facebook feeds, it would spark public astonishment: “HOW COULD THIS BE? HOW DID WE NOT KNOW?!” And then we all lived in an ideal world where we would change whatever startling habits were going to give us cancer tomorrow, and then forget about it 5 minutes later.

Now, we seem so jaded by the astonishing information, that we tend to not even believe it anymore. Today, an infographic posted on FastCo. caught my attention, Red Meat is Killing Us. I’m always curious about things dealing with food, since it is my favorite thing in the world and all, so naturally I clicked on it. I read through these astronomical numbers (and despite being vegan and patting myself on the back for not adding to the statistic) and I didn’t wholeheartedly believe what it was telling me. It was just too crazy, right?

I read through the comments on the post. And there was a definite backlash on this graphic:
“The graphics are confusing, misleading and a little too retro.”
“I’m a vegetarian and even I found this completely offensive. Scare tactics.”
“This infographic is awful. Please don’t post anymore like this. It’s misleading. Fast Co, you should know better.”
And my personal favorite, “Seems like a pretty hysterical piece assembled very likely by a flaming vegan.”

The author responded to these comments with a link to a New York Times article where the information had come from.

I clicked the link, read through the article, and I felt at ease about the information. But, why? Why do we suddenly not trust these beautiful displays of information in exchange for just reading them first hand? The commenters on the original FastCo. post seem to feel that the information was somehow skewed based on the designers’ possible personal beliefs. Even when infographics have links, cited sources, and all of the other credentials that published news sources do, we still do not trust them as much. Is it because of the fact that it is designed that we feel that another person’s hands have been stirring up the information pot? Possibly. Or could it be that we just don’t want the information laid out so easily if it is things that we don’t necessarily want to digest? As designers, our first priority is to communicate information clearly and effectively. How can we elevate infographics to be back to their respectable, trustworthy glory days without alienating our viewers in the process?

Posted in Design, Thinking | 2 Comments »

It’s Time For a Food Related Blog Post

February 18th, 2011 by Chris Strong

So I realized today that’s it has been more than a little while since I stumbled upon something truly glorious in the world of food and felt compelled to post about it here on the blog.

Well, for all of you out there who have felt neglected by this, this post is for you because I share with you now, from truffle truffle’s ‘Super Bowl Collection’ the Beer & Pretzel Marshmallow.


Now, these bad boys start with a homemade beer marshmallow. I’ve never had this concoction before, but I like marshmallows and I like beer, so as sure as 1 + 1 = 2, I’m bound to like this mash-up. From there, the marshmallows take a swim in some milk chocolate and then get topped with beer & pretzel brittle bits. If you are looking for over the top, you just found it.

The more I stumble upon these crazy chocolate combos, the more I feel compelled to do some experimentation in my kitchen. I just have a funny feeling that no matter what I end up mixing up, it will always end up having a heavy emphasis on chocolate and bacon. Not that, by any means, that would be a bad thing, but it’s probably best to leave this type of creative cooking to the pros. If it isn’t, there is no telling what might result.

Posted in Uncategorized | 178 Comments »

Glassjaw Figures Out How To Fix Music Industry: Selling Vinyl At Local Pizza Parlour

November 12th, 2010 by Chris Strong

Yep, this is pretty much awesome. So awesome, that I had to post it.

So, Long Island, NY’s hardcore heroes, Glassjaw, are apparently releasing a new 7″. Now, you have to understand that Glassjaw hasn’t released an album in like 7 years, so this is pretty big. These guys helped define a genre, so a lot of people are going to be pumped about this.

Now the things is, in 7 years, a lot about the music industry has changed. That’s why the way Glassjaw is releasing this EP is so awesome.

Basically, you want the 7″, you go to…….. Mario’s Pizzeria…… in Seaford, New York.

It’s probably too late by the time you read this to get a copy (head over to eBay and over pay if you’re interested). The best though, was that to get the vinyl you had to order “The Glassjaw” upon which you’d be presented with the “7-inch personal pizza” for $11.11

The band is inviting fans to visit the restaurant and order the “The Glassjaw” to get the “7-inch Personal Pizza” for $11.11.

Best part is the ad they took out for it:

Posted in Design | 18 Comments »

Bacon, meet soda. Soda, meet bacon.

November 11th, 2010 by Chris Strong

Well now, if you are a regular reader of the HyperQuake blog or Twitter, you know 2 things:

1.) We like food.
2.) We (or at least a few individuals, specifically) really love bacon.

Bacon is after all, one of the most important food groups on the food pyramid.

Now, bacon is a pretty good food. Flavorful and versatile, pairing well with most anything. On a BLT sandwich for instance, chips and a soda are two things that can compliment the bacon-focused main course without a problem. What would only make the soda better is, say, if you could somehow capture that bacon flavor and impart its deliciousness upon it.

Well, leave it up to those crazy flavor maestro’s over at Jone’s Soda to continue to evolve and blur the line between actual food and soda. Yep, that’s right, they want to introduce you to bacon soda!

The good thing about this bacon soda is that you buy it as part of a gift basket of sorts. In it, not only do you get bacon soda from Jones (staying true to form in its sharp, fun and witty packaging), but you also get bacon popcorn, bacon gravy and bacon lip balm. Over-the-top you say? Never.

It’s probably good to point out in closing, that apparently J&D’s, the place where you can buy this wonderful bacon gift basket, really does live by the philosophy posted on their site. You can probably guess what it sounds like – ‘Everything Should Taste Like Bacon’.

Posted in Uncategorized | 169 Comments »


November 8th, 2010 by Julie Hill

People here in Ohio are obsessed with buckeyes, which can be found in our state nickname, tree, and assorted fervent sports teams. I will refrain from pointing out that an inanimate nut is a pretty lame sports mascot. OH OOPS.

Anyway, buckeyes are the nuts from our state tree (the Ohio Buckeye Tree, obvs), pictured above and so named because they resemble the eye of a deer. (Which I guess makes what I’m about to say a little gross, sooooo forget about the deer eyeball thing!) Ohio has also invented the best treat ever, of course modeled after the beloved buckeye: buckeyes.

They are made out of peanut butter and chocolate and love and happiness. They are always the first to disappear from the holiday cookie assortment plates. Make them and never regret! Here is the traditional recipe, and here is a retooled, lighter version by Smitten Kitchen. Enjoy!

Posted in Uncategorized | 216 Comments »

Show Dominos Your Pizza

September 2nd, 2010 by Chris Strong

Domino’s definitely seems to be getting more and more confident about its improvements to its pizzas. This includes both the changes to the crust, sauce and cheese blend we posted about a couple of months back, as well as the actual visual appeal of the pizzas coming out of the restaurants across the nation.

So what does a brand like Domino’s decide to do at that point? Well, launch another ad campaign centered around showcasing the “realness” of the brand, essentially reinforcing to consumers how much of an open book the brand is and how proud of their recent changes they are.

The contest, referred to as ‘Show Us Your Pizza’ also integrates a contest with the campaign, allowing users to submit photos of their pizzas for a chance to win $500 if their pizza photo is used in an ad.

The program is tied in with Facebook and is currently awaiting the 3rd assignment to be pushed out to Facebook fans who have “Liked” the brand. Appears that they have over 5,000 of those right now, which of course is good for the brand as they can now continue to market directly to those fans through Facebook in the meantime.

Another facet of the campaign is that according to the article linked to above on AdWeek, the campaign is also a response to “Web sites like “This Is Why You’re Fat” that show unflinching photos of real food orders that contrast with the more idyllic images found in advertising.”

I’m not going to lie, as a bunch of foodies here at HQ, a number of us find our way to that site quite often and I’m sure a lot of other people do too. Some of the stuff you see on there


looks nothing like what it does in ads, no matter how crazy a dish might be.

Given that the brand is apparently paying attention to what’s going on over at This is Why You’re Fat, I’d say the next evolution in this campaign is seeing what the craziest pizza someone could actually come up with is. I can think of a few Quakers who might see what they could come up with.

Either that, or Domino’s brings back the Noid!

Anyone want to start petitioning for that with me?

Posted in News | 205 Comments »

How Coca-Cola Has Gotten Inside your Head

July 27th, 2010 by Rachel Forgus

Even after the hype of the World Cup 2010 is dying down, viewers still find themselves humming that catchy K’Naan song. Renown for its ever-innovative marketing campaigns, Coca-Cola has done it again by turning “Wavin’ Flag,” hitting the scene during the Vancouver Olympics, into a walking, singing Coca-Cola commercial during the World Cup by adjusting the melody ever so slightly.

Reaching #1 on the music charts in over 17 countries, Coke has essentially gotten their signature sonic logo stuck in the heads of millions of consumers worldwide, which will last long after the end of the World Cup. It is their largest ever integrated marketing campaign to date and considered much more effective than merely paying an artist to mention their brand in a song.

So if the K’Naan song happens to be playing while you’re eating meal, it is no coincidence that all you want is a Coke.

Posted in Uncategorized | 144 Comments »


July 23rd, 2010 by Julie Hill

I am one of those people who really likes the idea of eating locally grown fruits and veggies. l seek out restaurants and markets that specialize in them. So, I was really excited to catch an article on a new expression of this, in, of all things, an airline magazine. (I know, if I care this much about transporting foods I really should confine my travel to mule or paddle boat or something, but I don’t.)

Farmers’ markets have long been frequented by chefs as a source for amazing local in-season produce. Now, there are restaurants popping up all over the US that actually encourage patrons to share the best of their own backyards. Foraging is not a new idea, my dogs do this all the time. They scour the back yard for the best sticks and bugs my neighborhood has to offer. But, now restaurants are creating their own foraging culture.

Localvore “Foraging” ranges from chef’s literally exploring the land near their restaurants for useful edible items to sending out harvest calls for crops from home gardens. The resulting daily specials with true “just picked” flavors sound positively delightful.

Tomatoes from community farm Johnson’s Backyard Garden in Austin

Eating local is a great idea however it comes to fruition, but I must admit the idea of bringing something from my garden to be transformed by a food virtuoso into something both imaginative and delectable sounds absolutely dreamy to me.

Posted in Thinking | 206 Comments »

Hyperquake lands Buffalo Wings & Rings franchise business, filling stomachs in process.

June 22nd, 2010 by Andy Brownell


HQ recently had the opportunity to leverage our digital marketing and brand design strengths to pitch and ultimately win the agency of record assignment for the Cincinnati based, Buffalo Wings and Rings restaurant chain. What’s even better is the fact that we will continue to leverage our passion for all things food to help build this nation-wide, 54 restaurant business (and who doesn’t like wings?).

For 2010, our efforts will be focused on developing an integrated campaign utilizing  social media, loyalty, customer advocacy as well as both traditional and non-traditional media launching later this summer. Our recent return from the Buffalo Wings & Rings annual franchisee meeting in New Orleans, LA gave us a great chance to hear directly from the dedicated front line teams of owners throughout the US.

“Buffalo Wings & Rings is a different kind of restaurant brand centered on catching up and connecting,” says Roger David, CEO of BWR. “Families and friends choose us because of the unique BWR experience. We want our marketing to reflect and build on that experience and sense of engagement. As a leader in experiential marketing, consumer connection and new media technologies, HyperQuake is well positioned to help us.”

Thanks Roger and the entire Buffalo Wings & Rings team. We look forward to helping build your business and our own knowledge of your 45 wing sauce/heat combos in the future.

Posted in Design, News, Thinking | 161 Comments »

Cupcake Cannon

June 21st, 2010 by Chris Strong

Always a supporter of diy technology development, I thought it was interesting to see that someone decided eating cupcakes with one’s hands was obviously outdated.

Enter the ‘Cupcake Cannon’ created by the folks over at Kamp Grizzly in Portland.

Apparently they made this for the recent Johnny Cupcakes ‘Suitcase Tour’ stop that rolled through and according to the story on their site the cannon they developed was “a steam-punk style pneumatic cupcake cannon and set the stage for eating frosty delights at 120psi.” The video was captured in HD and is now making its way around the web.

Who know watching people get blasted with cupcakes, in slow motion, with good tunes playing in the background would be so much fun. Nice work guys!

CUPCAKE CANNON from kamp grizzly on Vimeo.

Posted in Technology | 130 Comments »