June 29, 2011 § 1 Comment
It will take you 10 minutes, but watching these two videos just might change the way you look at poverty and prosperity among the nations of the world. No previous economic education is required—they’re both clear, simple, and well produced, but what they’re saying is massive.
During most of our history, America led the way in showing the world the value of political and economic freedom, combined with a strong work ethic. The end of the Cold War allowed more nations to begin catching up, but the U.S. began experiencing a leadership guilt complex. We’ve been trying to spend and regulate our way into a greener and more “equal” society, while sending billions of dollars in aid to third-world nations. Our diplomatic leadership has been helpful in bringing political stability to many nations, but as this next video will show, we’ve got to change the way we think about economic aid.
I’m very excited about the PovertyCure initiative. It’s refreshing to see a video about poverty that doesn’t treat the poor as though they are helpless creatures with no capacity for self-fulfillment. They recognize that economic development has to begin at a deeper, personal and grassroots level. People cannot be made prosperous.
April 21, 2011 § 1 Comment
Understanding branding is critical to the success of any company or organization. And too many CEOs fail to see that this is not just a burden for the marketing team or president—it’s something that has to be internalized by every top and mid-level executive, because where there’s a weak link, a company’s reputation is compromised.
A “brand” can be thought of as the general recognition and impression that a company has among the public, and more importantly, its potential customers. It can be weak or strong, and positive or negative. And it entirely depends on three things: the frequency, the message and the delivery.
In order for people to get to know a company—the same as with individuals—they first have to engage with them on some level, and in order to make a lasting impression, communication has to have some frequency. At the most basic level, this is the point of advertising. But too many companies take it only this far without the more important next step: messaging.
To formulate a message, a company has to know its own identity. What do you do? Why do you do it? What edge do you have over your competitors? Whether you build cabinets or engineer for oil exploration, it’s not enough to tell customers or investors what you do—they need to know why you do it better. And what else can you expect? We all want to make sure our money is used in the best possible way.
Once you know what you want to say, the medium has to carry that message effectively, so it’s usually worth the expense to hire a reputable marketing or design professional, for consulting if nothing else. But not everyone has a budget for that. And even in day-to-day communications, the integrity of the core message and quality of the company has to be maintained. Here are a few quick tips for the layman designer:
1. Stay on point. Convey one strong idea, not twenty weak ones
2. Know the audience you wish to attract and cater to them
3. Keep it simple; the fewer words the better
4. For a classy look, use simple and limited fonts, include breathing room, and try to keep visual balance
5. If affordability is your key message, ignore #4
6. When showing your work, don’t show everything you’ve done, show the best.
7. Be consistent. There’s a reason that major companies like Ford, Apple, Coca-cola and Nike have been using the same logo for decades.
They say “image is everything,” and there’s a lot of truth to that. When it comes to having a successful company, it matters less what you are and more what people think you are. But even if you do everything right—your logo is slick, your webpage is engaging, and customers are flocking to your doorstep—it all means nothing if you can’t deliver.
Long-term reputations are built on customer satisfaction, which means quality results and a pleasant overall experience. A company’s “image” will be tarnished if it does not have the goods to back it up, and will be seen as hypocritical and too dependent on advertising and PR tricks. The public doesn’t want to be tricked into spending money, and sooner or later, they’ll pick up on it. At that point, you’ve lost them—and their potential referrals—for good.
To recap: know what makes you competitive, communicate that consistently and effectively, and do the very best work you’re capable of doing. Any company or organization that can nail these down is in a far greater position to build a reputation for quality and attract loyal customers, donors and investors.
March 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
Smashing Magazine has a nice post today about professionalism in the design… profession.
I think this might also have some tidbits for photographers, writers and other creative folks who have wanted to take their careers solo.
August 4, 2009 § Leave a Comment
This is part of my non-weekly weekly blog post featuring inspiring art work and design from around the web. Enjoy.
July 28, 2009 § Leave a Comment
This is a pretty interesting idea. At this point it’s just a projection, but I could see architects in the future covering buildings in small LEDs or something, which could allow limitless potential. It would definitely open up a whole new door for designers. Perhaps the fireworks shows of the future will be shape-shifting towers. However, I fear that it wouldn’t be long before they are used to maximize advertising space and we’d end up with a non-stop barrage of 80 ft. tall seizure-inducing infomercials.
Click the link below.
July 21, 2009 § Leave a Comment
One of the best ways to communicate a complex idea is through visuals. As a designer this is something I face every day. How can I express as many words as possible, using as little as possible? But it is also extremely useful for instruction. A speaker or teacher who knows how to use illustrations will be far more effective than one who counts on their words alone.
In the last several years animation has become the internet’s info-spreading- tool-of-choice, whereby quirky and witty illustrations are put with audio in an entertaining 1-5 minute format – making it easy to pass around among friends to share its humorous and/or educational value.
Here are a couple of my recent favorites, which are both about money, hence the heavy use of green.
1) “A Trillion Dollars Visualized” illustrates the enormous size of a number that has been thrown around by the President and Congress lately.
2) “The Crisis of Credit Visualized” is a bit long, but it does a great job of making sense out of a complex and unfamiliar system. I may note though, that it seems to leave out two important players: the sub-prime mortgage borrowers and the government pressures and regulations.
June 26, 2009 § Leave a Comment
All business owners, marketing people and designers should take note: not all logos are created equal, and if you want your brand to look professional here is a must-read article from SmashingMagazine.com
June 25, 2009 § Leave a Comment
You can’t quite tell if they’re praising him or mocking him – though they’re definitely playing off of his persona as The One, which is something that is played up on conservative media than that of the left. In general, I think JibJab does a great job of trying to avoid partisan statements and tries to stay in the comfortable middle. I other words, they’re trying to get a laugh, not a vote.
No matter your position, we can all appreciate this very funny and very well executed video. The graphics and effects are top-notch, the words are great, and the singing captures the drama of it all quite well.
June 5, 2009 § Leave a Comment
This is my pseudo-weekly post highlighting a few interesting and creative images I’ve stumbled upon recently. Hope you enjoy at least a few of them.
May 21, 2009 § 2 Comments
I noticed that since I added “design” to the list of topics to be discussed on this blog, I’ve posted very little in that regard. To ensure that a steady flow of artistically inspiring content is available here, I am beginning a new feature which I am calling “Right-Brain Adventures” to be updated weekly… or at least as close to weekly as I can get. The name serves as a double entendre referring both to the function of the right hemisphere of the brain as the mind’s creative center, and to the political right-brained stance this blog tends to promote.
These posts will include random images that I find interesting in some way or another. It may be a photograph, a graphic, packaging design, drawing, architecture or any other creative medium, and they are mostly chosen on the basis of creativity, technical skill or humor, but not necessarily all three.
So enjoy the first installment of the series, which begins with a rather appropriate illustration.