Super Cool Party: Interview with Designer Francis Lam (aka db-db)

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Last week saw the launch of “Super Cool Party”, a new iOS app from Francis Lam (aka db-db), which has quickly taken over the Instagram and WeChat moments feeds of Shanghai creatives. It’s a “super pixelicious fashion simulation game” with db-db’s trademark style seen in Tofu Go and Nudemen – a combination of funky 8bit graphics, catchy tunes, and cheeky gameplay (which here involves “undressing” characters to unlock their clothing for fun mix-and-match). In the future, it may feature packs of branded fashion content and beyond. Francis’ expansive practice also encompasses his long-time work as Creative Technologist at Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, and founder of hand-crafted wooden furniture brand OWW. To kick off POV’s new interview series with diverse creatives, Francis graciously agreed to answer our questions.

POV INTERVIEW: FRANCIS LAM, AKA DB-DB

Q: In a nutshell, how would you describe “Super Cool Party”? What’s its connection to shopping and fashion?

A: It’s a fashion-themed 8-bit casual game + social camera app. But what I also want to experiment is to create a new platform for advertising and mobile gaming. In-game advertising has always been a big turn-off for gamers, I really want to build something that can make both marketers and gamers happy.

Q: What inspired the game, especially its visual style, music, and beach setting/”party” concept?

A: Happy, fun and 8bit are always the main themes and styles of my work. It also vaguely linked to my Nudemen Series by the way.


User images from Instagram – add your own with the #supercoolparty and #supercoolstyle tags!

Q: This is your first app since Tofu Go – what have you learned since then, and what different techniques of design, programming, marketing, and distribution were you looking to try in Super Cool Party?

A: I think all my other mobile apps and games are experiments or extensions of my other work. Most of them were finished in a weekend or so. Super Cool Party is a more well-thought and produced project which leverages different digital and social channels. It’s also the first product launched by my new entity db+DB.

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Instagram from @bbfish

Q: Since you left Wieden+Kennedy to work on independent projects, you mentioned that you’re pursuing an interesting workflow of experimenting with various new projects on quick-iteration time-schedule. Can you describe this new project structure you’re exploring?

A: Sure. db+DB is a small team aiming for making tiny digitally-driven products in fast iterations. We have three criteria for our products: 1. It has to be launched in less than 2-3 months. 2. It has to be commercially viable. 3. It has to have a big idea which potentially change the world and make our lives better – maybe for just a little bit.

Q: What do you think is the future of mobile advertising, and how do you think games are important in this space? Many people have talked about the death of Weibo and the rise of Weixin as a space for brands – how are you hoping that an app/game like Super Cool Party can pioneer new directions on those platforms?

A: I think games are one of the biggest digital communities yet to have a working advertising ecosystem. Super Cool Party is an experimental project to try answer the issue.

Q: What inspires you the most right now?

A: Currently, definitely my newborn daughter.

Download Super Cool Party here and check it out!