By Gary Hotze
Axel Corjon is a digital jack-of-all-trades. The founder of a Paris-based digital marketing agency that focuses on creativity and design, he has a major passion for website design. It's a skill he put to use with a recent project that’s garnered international curiosity for its avant-garde appeal and unique domain name.
It’s called Jetlag.photos.
The site is a mesmerizing spit-screen journey through two destinations simultaneously, California and Iceland. Its purpose isn’t entirely clear from the get-go. You could literally find yourself lost on it for more than a few minutes, just clicking around to see the cool photo geometric swiping effects written into the code of the website.
Jetlag.photos was a "passion project" for Corjon and a labor of love for four years. Designed to inspire curiosity about his agency, Creaktif, where he is founder and creative director, the website was shared across social media as a way to showcase the business' marketing creativity. (The website features a link back to Creaktif.)
This creativity extends to the website's distinctive domain name, www.jetlag.photos. Jetlag is meant to evoke the sleep deficit that comes with jet-setting across multiple time zones. As for the 'dot-photos'( .photos) -- Corjon stumbled upon this option after discovering that Jetlag.com was already taken. It was love at first sight, and he immediately snapped it up. He says the name perfectly summarizes the site.
“It’s clearer from just the domain name, Jetlag.photos, what the experience is about,” Corjon says.
Two friends, worlds apart
Before the first version of the website launched about a year ago, Corjon needed a partner in crime. To pull off the feat, he chose Thomas Cisewski, a good friend and former creative director at another Parisian agency. The two had been experimenting with ways to coordinate taking photos across time zones and decided to cobble this innovative web-based project together.
“Back in France, we were used to taking spur-of-the-moment trips at night and taking pictures until the wee hours of the morning,” Corjon says. “I wanted to set up a way for two friends to still connect and take pictures at this same time across the globe.”
With limited communication capability beyond email the two had to coordinate same-day travel across timezones. It also took some time for Corjon to get the animation and design just right. The current version launched in January 2016. Despite some technical hurdles leading up to it, on their selected time and date the two began uploading pictures from California and Iceland every 30 minutes over the course of an entire day.
Recognizing the branding power of domains
Though Jetlag may be his most inventive, it doesn’t cover the breadth of cool "not-com" domains that Corjon has implemented for creative campaigns. Other projects include Fontface.ninja and Anagram.paris. (Yep, 'dot-ninja' (.ninja) and 'dot-paris' (.paris) are among the hundreds of new domain options available.)
Fontface Ninja is a web-browser plugin that allows users to identify and isolate fonts used on any website. The interface then directs the user to a convenient place to buy most of the fonts.
Anagram is Corjon’s next big project. To better appeal to the English-speaking audience, he is rebranding his marketing agency from Creaktif to Anagram. The website, which is still under construction, will be the digital nucleus of it all. Its domain name, Anagram.paris, not only tells you the name of the agency but also where it’s located, Paris.
“Also, Anagram is much easier to say in English than Creaktif,” Corjon says. “Maybe someday we will have an Anagram.nyc.”
The reactions to Frontface.ninja, Anagram.paris and Jetlag.photos have all been positive -- if a bit quizzical.
“Some people say they not sure about the campaigns or projects," Corjon says. "But they really like the URL. I don’t see any problem with having unique and sometime weird endings to domains as most people think it’s really cool."
Clearly, the domain names are part of the reason these projects have attracted attention, and Corjon is happy with the results, especially with Jetlag.photos.
“I really just wanted to create a really cool responsive experience and have an excuse to go to Iceland,” he says.
Looking ahead, Corjon says he wants to work on a version of Jetlag.photos that would support multiple users based in multiple timezones to upload travel photos into a similar website palate. It's a new labor of love he'll have to sneak in, in between client work for his agency. But perhaps that will give him an excuse to go to Bali, Tanzania or Morocco ... or anyplace that would prove epic for armchair travelers surfing Jetlag.photos.