Industry Insights

The Good, Bad + Ugly

  • 8th
  • Jan

Looking Back At 2012's Best Branding

Fast Company - Co.Design

Cyprus-based designer Anna Kövecses has come up with a retro rebranding of the troubled American Airlines and Bruce Mau Designs informs the american people why Canada is cool enough to visit. Microsoft fell flat (literally) and Ikea's food rebrand leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.

American Airlines' new branding, though controversial, has created a robust platform to build on over the next decade. Canada's mix of flag and curiousities create an almost infinite palette of ad opportunities. Unfortunately, Microsoft and Windows 8 logos are flat and devoid of anything expressive and interesting - considering the color and expressiveness of the actual new OS. Big opportunity miss? And Ikea? Well, it makes me think there might be saw dust in those bottles.

  • 7th
  • Jan

Improving Your Website Usability Tests

Smashing Magazine - Damian Rees

It's always good to reference another's confirmation of the basics regarding digital usability testing.

I often send these to my clients along with our own prospectus because it continues to clarify the humanized process of why we do certain things a certain way - in a certain order. My favorite part of this article - resisting the urge to interrupt and help the case study user. That's like dousing bleach on a crime scene. (I think I have been watching too much Dexter.)

  • 6th
  • Jan

The Problem With Your Elevator Pitch & How To Fix It

Fast Company - Deborah Grayson Riegel

Some great advice I received from one of my mentors was when talking to people, be yourself. They will connect with you. They will believe you. Pitching like a canned robot or spoon feeding them something they didn't ask for only creates disjunct. Listen. Listen some more. Process. Respond."

From interviews, to client pitches, to just plain networking - It's always best to speak with your own voice and personality. It shows that your personally invested in the topic and genuine - and that makes others more comfortable and receptive. Whether we belive it or not, people always know when something is canned or impersonal. It's as bad as 'death by Powerpoint'. Get personally invested! It Makes all the difference.

  • 6th
  • Jan

A Book Of 100 Brilliantly Absurd Inventions

Fast Company - Co.Design

Time for a little humor. I love it when people put actual products like this together. It really shows the root of the creative process and how insane it can be. Here's a great little book of absurdness called Variations on Normal by Dominic Wilcox.

Think about it. If we sketched every great idea we had, how many would look like this!? Probably A LOT. You know what they say; "Laughter is good for the soul." And the creative process too.

  • 4th
  • Jan

Type Love | 2012 Favorites


Lots of evolving uses of type fonts going on this past year. There's some nice condensed sans and slab serifs. I think the hipster design movement has had a lot to do with the use of some of these.

Lately, I've used Bebas Neue, Code Pro, Forque, Ethon, Molesk and Neo Deco for titles. Adelle Sans, Satellite and Novecento for sub-titles. Some interesting fonts for special typesetting projects; Absinthe, Homestead and PLSTK.

  • 3rd
  • Jan

The VH1 Logo Gets A Much Needed Refresh

The Fox Is Black

There's been a lot of rebranding in 2012. Let's add VH1 to the list. If any brand needed it, VH1 was screaming bloody murder.

I've never liked the VH1 branding over the years. The early mark always reminded me of a back alley print shop - and the tagline 'Music First' stopped being relavent once music channels stopped playing music videos. The new logo is a welcome leap forward, but the rebranding commercials seem awkward and un-targeted. "Hi. We're VH1, and we do EVERYTHING!"

  • 2nd
  • Jan

Snappy Posters That Poke Fun At Clients From Hades

Fast Company - Co.Design

Clients. Love 'em or hate 'em - we certainly need them. There has to be real openness and empathy to get a full understanding of them, their issues and motivators, and deliver ideas and project responses that meet them face on. I work hard to not face the client with a process, but to sit/walk alongside them and create a process together. It’s worth it even on small projects because it’s a great education for them.

Sometimes though, as we've all experienced, clients can make requests that leave us scratching our heads. Here is a fun little post about what would happen if a designer took some of their client's requests and direction a little too literally.

  • 12th
  • Sept

Media CEOs More Bullish on Technology

L.A. Times - Meg James

For years now, we have seen the world's media businesses struggle with how to grapple with the speed of technology and innovation. For instance the the movie and music industry, which seemed to enjoy the self-inflicted pain of trying to figure out how to service digital users.

About half of media CEOs now predict that digital media will increase their companies’ revenues. This continues to be good news - though I really expected this back in 2006. There are two types of executives. There are ones that understand the value/opportunity in marketing and technology, and ones that don't. Reigning in costs should be considered a basic responsibility. Possibly the real crime was missing market share by sitting tight all those years and not embracing emerging technologies and their opportunities. But this is good news. Let's keep trudging up that digital mountain.

  • 10th
  • Sept

New eBay Logo Ditches Quirky Image

San Francisco — Reuters

Hmm. Where have we seen this before. I remember now. The GAP rebranding of late 2010. I can't help but think eBay has the same thing going here with this logo rebrand. It's not "worse" than its old logo (like GAP) but it certaintly not better - and you have to wonder why a brand this big would bother doing something so...mediocre?

Of course, eBay is not a fashion label (if GAP is still considered fashion and not just apparel) so there is a difference there and it will be interesting to see consumer reaction. If you want to revisit the GAP logo rebrand fiasco see this - and this.

  • 8th
  • Sept

KEES – Design Your own iPhone Cae

Design Milk - Caroline Williamson

I love 3d printers. LOVE them. I also love seeing what innovations people are doing with them. We knew this was going to happen, but it looks like they are first out of the gate. Good for them. Now if I can just pick a design I want to use out of the hundreds flying around my head.

On a side note, it looks like we should also be prepared for the "misuse" of the innovations as well. Check out this story.

  • 5th
  • Sept

Apple Edges Amazon in J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey

CNET - Charles Cooper

Apple at the top with tablet satifaction is not a surprise. What is a surprise is how close Amazon's Kindle Fire is to the iPad - and Samsung is not that far behind.

Of course, satisfaction and sales are two different things. Although Amazon doesn't appear to disclose sales figures, here's the breakdown of the top three tablet's recent marketshare; Apple iPad [68.2%] Samsung [9.6%] Amazon Fire [5%]. I'm sure the 'Cult of Apple' has nothing to worry least for a while.

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There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world,
and that is an idea whose time has come.   - Victor Hugo