So, who stole the #%$@& “Green Payment Key?”
I just love finding stuff like this. It baffles me and makes me smile all at the same time!
So, who stole the #%$@& “Green Payment Key?”
I just love finding stuff like this. It baffles me and makes me smile all at the same time!
I often talk to clients about what constitutes “great logo design.” I’ll comment on things like balance, simplicity, positive vs. negative space and implied meaning. Most often these comments are met with logical recognition but I know, deep in my heart, they’re not REEEEALLY understanding what I’m telling them. In these cases a picture is worth a thousand words.
Check out some truly beautiful graphic works by artist George Bokhua (via the Abduzeedo blog.)
Let me start with my favorite quote of all time….
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” ~Albert Einstein
With that said, I understand that, for some people, getting into a creative groove is PAINFULLY difficult at times. People who experience this feeling too often may give up completely and label themselves as “not-the-creative-type.” To me, this is sad … because we’re ALL creative. You just have to know how to get those creative mojo-juices a-flowin’!!
… and, here’s my favorite ‘creativity’ enhancing tip of all time;
Some examples of this last one; Scraps of paper + a bit of rubber cement = PostIt Notes. Or this….
An interesting twist on the “Explorer Archetype” …
New members of the Flock — brothers John, Martin and Michael Benoit — launched their new business enterprise after a brand and identity creation process. After deciding to tap into the ‘explorer archetype’, they even went a step further and focused their branding efforts on the consummate explorer, Marco Polo. Specifically, this focused idea resonated with them because Polo was a land explorer (not sea or space) which required him to interact with numerous cultures and peoples … learning their languages and customs.
To be a really GREAT leader, from their ‘vantage point’, requires you to know your audience, your customers, your team.
Check out their new name and their new logo…
Note: The three curves representing the three brothers … also reflective of three ascending peaks in a mountain range. The best place to find a successful explorer? At a ‘vantage point’, of course!
Here’s a quickie post with a question for you …
Quick: Take a look at this picture and see if something doesn’t feel right to you?
When I walked by this boutique/shop/restaurant, my immediate reaction was:
My feeling is that there are some products that simply require a HUGE amount of focus to be seen as credible. Sushi would be one of these. How would you feel about ” Pediatric Surgery & Clothing” … or “Fine French Pastries & Clothing.” See what I mean?
Soooo, does YOUR product-line make sense?
From the Steve Krug “Don’t Make Me Think” files, comes a great UI/UX fail.
A gas station near my house asks me to:
Holy cow, all I want is gas in my tank! I don’t want to be forced into feeding your marketing database or have to decline upsells of other services. However, it could be much worse. Here’s a photo of a gas pump in upstate New York that does pretty much the same thing but also requires you to fire up your frontal lobe, read instructions and figure out a transpositional encryption algorithm … ONLY if you’re Canadian. Ugh!
I love the fact that the gas station owners/operators posted these hand written signs on EACH pump. You’d think that every pump collecting this data in every gas station near the Canadian border would have had to figure this one out.
This week I participated in an all day “Tweetathon.” No, there were no packed stadiums of adoring fans. No, I didn’t have to get all sweaty. No, there was no lifetime of preparation. The event was held on Twitter and the focus was to raise awareness for the United Nation’s ongoing work to assist refugees worldwide — their Blue Key Campaign.
So why talk about it in my blog? Well, there are a couple of good reasons:
The Blue Key Campaign is aggressively and successfully using social media to get the word out about their efforts and to increase awareness of their cause. Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr are all part of the mix.
How Do You View Charity?:
My good friend Dan Rickert and I have been working on a new, large-scale project that, fundamentally, asks the question, “What are you doing daily to give back to the world?” This is a tough question to ask and, more importantly it’s often a much tougher question to answer.
Let’s face it. Most of us don’t have billions of dollars like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, George Soros or Oprah Winfrey. Their combined, personal philanthropic efforts in just the past few years is pushing $100 BILLION dollars! A problem with this is these heavy hitters get the press coverage because it’s a WOW story, leaving the rest of us mere mortals feeling like our contributions would be small, petty or even unnoticed. This is faulty thinking. One big player ponying up a million dollars, or a million less wealthy individuals pooling together $1 each, is identical in how it impacts the world.
In this vein, the Blue Key Campaign simply asks for a small donation of $5 but (here’s the beautiful part) ALSO asks you to help spread the word through your own social network of family, friends and business contacts. This costs you nothing and helps out the cause immensely.
Giving and helping DON’T have to make you feel all scritchy and uncomfortable!
So, how many causes, campaigns, fundraisers, non-profits, charities and philanthropic organizations can you think of that you would fully believe in and MIGHT need your support today? Can’t come up with any off the top of your head? … check out CharityNavigator.org or CharityWatch.org to find some of the biggies. But don’t stop there! Think about your local community; local soup kitchens, Rotary, Lions Club, local schools (sports, arts, music), Boy/Girl Scouts … the list is endless!
… OR, if you need a simple way to get the ball rolling, support the Blue Key Campaign with $5.
A designer’s job is not just to make a logo “pretty.” There are a myriad number of issues that need to be weighed and balanced. And, none are more important than color selection, contrast and readability. Let’s consider what MIGHT happen if these were not considered carefully…
Another great catch from my wife as we were driving to a friend’s house. She simply asked, “Don’t you think a company name of Saint Rage is really odd?” This, of course, caught me off guard but I had to agree. After a couple of seconds of more thought, I just HAD to see this company sign so we turned around and drove back a couple of miles. Although she only saw the sign for just a fraction of a second, here’s what she saw:
She knew that it was a storage facility and her brain figured it out after just a second or two, but her FIRST impression was registered as “St. Rage Pros”. I explained to her the issues of color contrast, how the brain works and the importance of time in absorbing content in signage (especially with billboards.)
Can this be fixed? SURE! Here are some suggestions:
With this next photo, all I’ve done is desaturated the colors and increased the contrast to exaggerate the effect. Here’s what her brain saw the first time:
And, yes, the cats and dogs in the neighborhood have been seeing it this way all along.
[Note: My wife's starting to get so good at catching these little sign gaffs, I've added a new blog category called "There's Your Sign." If you've got any crazy, funny, great or really bad signs in your area, snap a picture and send them along!]
Combine these two together and you can get a deadly combination. Case in point…
On a drive back to Central Michigan from Minnesota, my wife pointed out this sign for a local fast food joint. Seems pretty straight forward, yes? Here are some observations:
Question: Did the company start out as “Just Burgers” (with the “& More” added later?) If so, it’s an indication that the business owner was not able to stick to their commitment of delivering “Just Burgers” and felt the need to add to the menu out of fear; fear of losing market share, fear of not offering enough variety, fear of not providing enough value, etc., etc., etc. With a name like Just Burgers, I’d like to see a HUGE focus on the art of making the world’s greatest burger! Not just some knock off joint that’s trying to please everybody by being everything to everyone — ho-hum.
Yes, this is a direct extension of a post I did in August 2009 called “Stick To Your Niche,” (which also included a sign pointed out by my wife.) However, in this case, I was struck with more of a visual of the business owner making a poor fear-based decision… or series of poor fear-based decisions. If you’re going to be so bold as to be a business owner, you should trust yourself … trust your gut instincts … trust that your greatness will lead to success. Know that making decisions based on fear is a direct path to the dark side.
I, for one, would love to belly-up to the bar in at a place that specializes in burgers and nothing BUT burgers! Unique burgers. Outrageous burgers. Burgers with one-of-a-kind ingredients. Burgers with pizzazz! If they add something new to the menu, it’s a new culinary experiment in their never-ending quest for burgertopia. When THAT happens, I want to be one of the first to taste it. How about YOU?
[SOMEBODY PASS THE DIJON!]
While driving home from Celebration Cinema in Lansing, Michigan yesterday, I had to stop and take a picture of the outdoor signage for the local Hooters Restaurant. First, here’s what the westbound folks get to see:
No problem there, right? Now, HERE’S what the eastbound lane sees:
Quite a bit different, wouldn’t you say? Now, I know it’s pure coincidence that those particular neon bulbs were burned out, but HOLY COW this can’t be what the Hooter’s marketing folks have in mind for their brand! Hmmmmm … on second thought.
For as long as I can remember — in helping small businesses with their marketing and web strategies — I’ve struggled with the one big difference between micro-businesses and businesses that are larger; Small biz, Med Biz, Large Biz, Whales. That difference? … their budgets.
In the day-to-day operation of their companies, micro-businesses have budgets that are, frankly, micro. No surprise there. The impact is not simply that they have to scale down their thinking, the big problem arises when they have to completely remove business concepts from their operational and marketing toolkits. A couple of examples would be; Radio (too expensive), TV (too expensive), National PR campaigns (too time consuming and too expensive).
What about accepting credit cards? Have you seen a Whirlygig Vendor at a craft fair take credit cards? Nope. What about local fine artists? Not likely. What about temporary fundraising projects like a walk-a-thon? Not! All of these examples are of people who’ve found accepting credit cards is either too expensive, too complicated to set up or too much of a long term commitment.
Started by the smart folks who founded Twitter, this free device allows you to swipe a credit card using your smart phone. Monthly fees of …. zip. Setup fees … nada. Annual fees … bupkiss. With a 2.75% per swipe fee and no other commitments, just about anyone can star accepting Visa, Matercard, Discover and AmEx. Brilliant!
A group of people got together with the idea that infusing a process with fun will cause people to do that process more often. It will actually get people to change their behavior. What do they call this theory? … Welllll, “The Fun Theory” silly. Now, here’s a tougher question. Who came up with this theory? A marketing firm? … Nope. A game designer?… Strike two. A social scientist? … Wrong again. Give up? It was Volkswagen!
So, what have we learned?
Thinking outside the box is not only OK, sometimes it’s brilliant! Marketing by creating campaigns NOT within your industry can work simply because they’re good ideas and they associate you with those ideas. Fun is a wonderful thing.
Check out the four or five videos created under this campaign to date at www.TheFunTheory.com. They’re all fabulous ideas and you won’t be able to stop yourself from smiling. Here’s a sample;
Ford’s Scott Monty pointed us to this Fast Compnay article about Facebook’s new feature enhancement where you can now tag a brand, organization, company, celebrity … anyone with a fan page … and have the tag link to their fan page. Cool.
In the article, a question is raised about whether the entire Facebook Like system has any value to brands, asserting that “Social media experts have begun to look askance at the Like system.” And, then asking important questions like;
Although these are, indeed, great questions and worthy of deep discussions at a social media professional event or a marketing executive team meeting, I think the article misses a point. An important point. There’s more going on in social media than just marketing brands!
Our online social networks are an extension of our “meat space” social networks and, as such, we are discovering new and innovative ways to communication important social concepts to each other — in the absence of visual and verbal queues.
The Like concept gives us insight into the most basic thoughts, beliefs and desires of our friends, families and the closest of contacts in our social graph. It’s like sticking a wet finger up in the air to get a quick gauge of wind direction. It’s not fancy. It’s not techno-slick. But it works. Take a dive into a book called “CONNECTED. The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. How your friends’ friends’ friends affect everything you feel, think, and do” to see what I mean.
Now, let me lay down some of my core beliefs about social media, in the hopes we can all review these comments, years in the future, to beat up on me if I’m wrong … OR praise me for my genius foresight if I’m right (wink);
With the realization that social media is here to stay, we all need to chip in to figure out how to navigate its rough waters. We need to not be pessimists, and not simply be optimists … we need to be leaders.
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The Leader adjusts the sails.” — John Maxwell