April 18, 2011

Sweet art design

Ornamental Arrow - SeeBe design 2008
Today I dust off a pattern created back in 2008; also featured in other color combination's on SeeBe's website. It's no secret that I advocate for eclectic and artistic designs in marketing and branding which I believe can be a fresh and needed equilibrium to more glossy, polished design styles. Why? For some products an artistic, "handmade" design profile connects directly to core product features and the design subconsciously communicates this to the consumer.

It's oh so nice to see more and more companies choosing similar styles to represent their products and marketing.  Here's a link to an Italian manufacturer of handmade chocolate. Needless to say I think their design profile and packaging is sweet !

Nudo - straight from the grove 

April 15, 2011

Twisted building

New York by Gehry
I stumbled across this project website about a new residential high rise already part of  the  Manhattan skyline.

The photo looks like its been Photoshoped with the liguid tool and the structure of the building is amazing. Visit the website to get access to gallery photos, a video interview with the architect and other background info.

To visit Gehry's project website: NewYork byGehry

Random acts of kindness

A little late but a small follow up from March on a consumer trend still very much trending. 
Random acts of kindness...Just saying the words can make you gasp for air right.. ? It's all about doing something extraordinary, something human and its definitely not been recognized until recently, as part of a business culture or a business plan. It is a trend solely based on a planet spinning its way into endless connectivity. It can be a source for great recognition or a major pitfall; in worst case a Damocles sword turning against your mission.

Did you ever happen to be the kid wanting something extra from your parents? Whether it was extra pocket money or lending the car, those ridiculous rites of being extra nice to them to get on their good foot before you asked? Yeah, you were so busted before you ever got to the question! It is a naive example but it still has some moral behind it. Your parents might just smiled it off and understood how badly you needed the car, but the question is if a customer will be as nice as your parents was.

Even with a business in mind the spirit of acting kind has to be sourced to a true conviction, a cause or something that touches you relative to your business and your customers. And you might say I have a bottom line to be concerned about. Well, it is even ok to set aside a budget for random acts of kindness, but do not use it unintentionally and be clear about why you are being kind. The worst thing that can happen is if your customer find your act to be a shallow stunt just to sell more products.

On the bright side, customer loyalty is not so easily achieved as it used to be and I believe this trend can be an opportunity to establish loyalty to brands, products and companies that goes beyond the constant flow of information and offers generated to the consumer every day.

Here are 2 links where you can read more about the trend: 

Random Acts of Kindness 

Random acts of kindness and your brand 

April 2, 2011

Visual thinking

A new online magazine from Google; beautifully put together and a true pleasure to view and browse through or take in deeper by resting your eyes and mind on an article. This is what Google says about their magazine:

...."But in a world of accelerating change, we all need time to reflect. Think Quarterly is a breathing space in a busy world. It's a place to take time out and consider what's happening and why it matters. Our first issue is dedicated to Data – amongst a morass of information, how can you find the magic metrics that will help transform your business? We hope that you find inspiration, insights, and more, in Think Quarterly." 

I will be waiting for the next issues and exited to see what they will be dedicated to.

To visit magazine: Think Quarterly

April 1, 2011

Colorful thoughts

The RYB model
This is a link to a blog post focusing on the  importance of having some source of knowledge when working on projects involving graphic design and use of colors. Larissa Harris points to the entry of a vast area rooted in science (Sir Isaac Newton created the first diagram of colors in 1666) and that it take years of practice to master the art. What she does not mention is there is not only one color theory but many and most importantly there is no manual with right/wrong answers. Color theories are extremely useful but they are guidelines only.

The Munsell color system
Harris focus on the importance of harmonizing colors and here is where I may part a little away from her opinions: Sometimes it can be worthwhile to break some harmony rules and take a step away from what everyone else is doing. Reflect over the fact that a color reckoned as fashionable today, may  have been unthought-of yesterday, not to mention different use of colors in cultures, countries and markets.

With that said and meeting up with Larissa again, the bottom line is that it is not advisable to gamble and implement a color just because it seems to look OK. Reading between the lines this is what Harris tries to warn about. There are technical aspects, especially related to digital medias and you need to have some basic knowledge on how to differentiate between RGB, CMYK, spot colors etc. to get it right.

The NCS color system
Another interesting aspect: She tells us about her daughter wanting to accessorize in an original and unusual way. Children have an innocent and "clean" perception of colors in comparison to grown ups where elements like learned habits, influence of social/business norms and fashion trends has a stronghold on our choices. In a professional sense this points to the fact that it is not enough to have knowledge about color theories, you also need to know facts about history, brand norms, market segments, social/cultural differences, present trends and preferably forecasts too.

Additive colors
Working with colors can certainly be challenging and sometimes it requires a rebel soul to figure out new un-thought-of-but-still-acceptable-crowd-cheering-color-combination's. But more often, the most important job you do is to comply with already existing design  guidelines and make sure the correct color codes gets implemented.