the Story

Switch United is a digital innovation company working on its own proprietary IP and with leading entertainment and technology visionaries to bring business models to web, mobile, and emerging platforms.

With strong graphic design roots that go back to 1984, and digital branches that have extended internationally since 2000, the studio has always known how to tell a good story, harnessing the technologies and platforms that will deliver in a way that is compelling, memorable and, above all, relevant to each target audience.

From a 110 ft. sensor-driven interactive wall for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, to an augmented reality mobile walking tour exploring the city’s colourful neon history for the Museum of Vancouver; from a multi-media exploration of 100 years of Canadian Grey Cup history for the TSN network,to a passionate exploration of the life of a Kabul filmmaker for the National Film Board of Canada – wherever words, pictures, motion, and code come together in ground-breaking solutions or interesting collaborations, this independent Vancouver-based studio is front of line to take on the challenge.

  • Pitch Success at Whistler Film Fest

    December 3rd, 2010

    Seven minutes. That’s all we had to pitch our Measure of a Man multi-platform entertainment property (in partnership with Ed Brando) to a panel of international digital content broadcasters and buyers at the Whistler Film Fest. We were up against some very strong competition – four other teams shortlisted after the Merging+Media Master Class held in October. Projects were incredibly diverse and creative, from an iPhone app for a Food Network show to a drama that unwound on the Web and TV, and we are absolutely thrilled that Measure of a Man won the NFB’s development prize. Check back for details as we move ahead with this property that crosses platforms and offers exciting opportunities for branding, sponsorship, user-generated content, and international export.

  • Switch United joins Board of Themed Attraction Association of Canada

    September 29th, 2010

    When you think ‘themed attraction’ Disneyland might be the first thing that jumps to mind. For TAA Canada, however, themed attractions extend well beyond amusement parks, encompassing Olympics and World Expositions, trade shows, conventions, museums, science centres, and more. TAA is a non-profit association of Canadian companies that provides a broad array of services for themed attraction projects around the world. As digital storytellers fresh from creating interactive installations at the 2010 Olympics (see our Digital Gateway and the Curious Tree projects), we knew Switch could complement TAA’s already impressive roster of capabilities. We also saw the value in belonging to an organization committed to fostering and promoting home-grown expertise in the planning, design, and execution of themed attractions. We’re excited to get involved at a deeper level as our Director of New Business, Mark Ross, joins TAA’s Board of Directors and takes on the role of Communications Chair.

  • Applied Arts ‘Best in Motion’ Award Goes to Digital Gateway

    June 14th, 2010

    Vancouver’s Olympics might be a fading memory but the 110-ft.-long interactive installation we created for the 2010 Commerce Centre at the BC Showcase is still getting ‘buzz’ via blogs, video channels, online articles, and more. Whether it’s the green architecture community, motion graphics experts, or themed event companies, our ‘people powered’ installation based on animated illustrations continues to interest people across a variety of industries. Most recently, the Digital Gateway won Applied Arts’ Photography & Illustration Awards in the Motion/Animation category. Get a glimpse of it in the latest print edition of the magazine or read about it in more depth on the Applied Arts Wire.

  • Ice Pilots NWT Shortlisted for Rockie Award’s Best Cross-Platform Project

    April 15th, 2010

    When it comes to the Banff World Television Awards (the Rockies), it really IS an honour just to be nominated. With over 900 entries from 43 countries, making the shortlist in this prestigious international competition recognizing outstanding creativity and innovation in TV is, in a word, humbling. Omni Film Productions and Switch United created a cross-platform strategy for Ice Pilots, Omni Film/History Television’s real-life series about Yellowknife-based Buffalo Airways, that builds on the themes of the show while incorporating new content and new ways for fans and flying buffs to engage. In particular, the website includes an interactive Storymap that lets visitors contribute their own stories, videos, and photos about aviation North of 60. Supported by a robust social media campaign spearheaded by our partners at FanTrust, our cross-platform initiative helped Ice Pilots Season 1 become History Television’s most watched Canadian series ever. Rockie winners will be announced in June…and while we’re thrilled to be a nominee, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed til then.

  • A United Front

    April 1st, 2010

    The big news: After 27 years under different names and different divisions, our eclectic little band of multi-disciplinary designers, writers, and programmers are coming together under one name. One common goal.

    SWITCH UNITED (under partners Catherine Winckler and Blair Pocock) will continue on as a small experimental studio specializing in multi-platform campaigns for entertainment and lifestyle-related clients. We look to our recent work with interactive digital installations at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics (see videos for The Digital Gateway and The Curious Tree) .. our 20 year history with Nintendo of Canada.. our award-wining bicycle branding for MEC . and our ongoing work with TV and film production companies including Omni Film and Brent Butt’s Sparrow Media .. and we know we’ve found our ‘sweet spot.’ We love bringing our love of narrative and our passion for design to multiple platforms. As of April 1st we’ll be doing it under the Switch United name. Stay tuned …

    Note: Why April 1st? We figured if it was good enough for Apple Computers who started April 1, 1976 in Cupertino, CA (and we know how that story turned out!), then it marked an auspicious start for us as well.

  • ‘Vomby the Zampire’ selected for Digital Development Lab

    Winter 2009

    We made it! This year we were one of the five teams chosen from 50 pitches for the second annual Digital Development Lab sponsored by CBC, BC Film, and New Media BC. Designed to support the creation of new internet activities and original interactive entertainment, the three-day lab will give Switch the opportunity to further develop our game meets storytelling world of ‘Vomby the Zompire,’ a young vegetarian misfit with a Vampire mother, Zombie father, and human brain best friend, brought to life through animation and 3D glasses accessibility. If the three-day lab with top mentors and fellow producers wasn’t enough, they actually pick a winner and a $10,000 development prize.

36 East 5th Avenue
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Darwin and Delilah

Dog Day Afternoon

Posted in Uncategorized

Switch United is going to the dogs — quite literally on this International Bring Your Dog to Work Day. Darwin & Delilah definitely made it through employee orientation and the meet-and-greets and seemed to have progressed on to an extended lunch and playtime successfully. Now if we could just harness the work!

Dog Day Afternoon

Switch Welcomes (Back!) Chris Waind

Posted in Announcements

Eight years ago, a talented young art director working at Switch came in to the partner’s office saying, “It’s not you, it’s me” and left us for what he dreamed would be the uncomplicated land of New Zealand.  He left a huge legacy and pretty much the best departure note we’ve ever received:  ”For the [...]

Switch Welcomes (Back!) Chris Waind

Arctic Air Adventure Takes Flight

Posted in Games, Web Design

Could you survive stranded in the frigid Canadian Arctic? Our team at Switch United wants to see if you have what it takes to get out of the cold. Of course, having strong “ice frogging” skills will help, as will remembering the basics from Flight Simulator. Both will be put to the test in Arctic [...]

Arctic Air Adventure Takes Flight

South Hill Inside Stories: Web Documentary

Posted in Design, Web Design

A collaboration of award-winning documentary filmmaker Nettie Wild, Creative Director Jeremy Mendes, and photographer Shannon Mendes, South Hill Inside Stories was envisioned as a unique ‘web documentary’ that would not only document the residents of a vibrant, culturally diverse community in southeast Vancouver but help the residents themselves get to know one another and share [...]

South Hill Inside Stories: Web Documentary