Next Big Design: January 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Is Apple’s snubbing Flash all about money or a sign of things to come?


Before the Apple press conference was over this image of a broken plug-in icon where Flash content should have been displayed was flying around the internet showing and the debate over why Apple refuses to put Flash technology on the iPhone, iPod Touch and now the iPad was reignited again. So what’s the real story behind all of this?

We have all heard the company line from Apple that they have not included Flash because they want to keep the platform stable and that is threatened by Flash because it is a resource hog and a security risk – which are both true. The problem is that it’s a convenient truth because the reality is that Apple could work with Adobe to fix the problem but it’s in their best best business interest to keep Flash off their platforms. Flash represents a risk to their substantial revenue generated from people buying TV shows, movies, apps and games through iTunes. It would threaten their development community as the appetite for those paid apps and games would shrink. So while everyone points to Apple as the creative thought leader the reality is that they are just like any big business where a threat to their bottom line is takes priority over everything.

No one paying attention yesterday even started to believe Steve Jobs when he said things like “The iPad is the best browsing experience you will ever have.. better than a laptop” after seeing that broken plug-in icon. You can’t make a statement like that when you are going to exclude 70% of online games, 75% of video on the web and millions of other sites from that browsing experience. You can’t make that statement after you just made fun of Netbooks for being useless but they support Flash content.

All of that being said this isn’t a love letter to Adobe and a complete condemnation of Apple. They have have forced a conversation a lot of designers and developers have had for a while now that Flash is in trouble. It has really languished since Adobe purchased it most of the changes coming in the form of useless filters and changes to the coding language but real strides to move the platform forward. The Web experience is moving more and more onto mobile devices and HTML 5 looking to take a good sides bite out stranglehold on the ability to create rich experience. Flash is struggling for the answer to how it will be part of this new future. Last year Adobe launched the Open Screen Project with more than 50 partners to get Flash and Adobe technology working across all platforms and devices. It sounded good but they haven’t shown any breakthroughs and it leaves me feeling that it was more of a PR stunt to show how everyone is working with them but Apple.

For me the bottom line is that their are faults and flaws on both sides of the isle.

For Apple we will agree that Flash is a flawed technology but millions of people create or consume Flash sites every day and that makes it a standard online technology we want on a device like the iPad. In the past we have been willing to somewhat forgive the exlcusion of Flash on the iPhone and iPod Touch because on those devices they are used to having a mobile device browsing experience where they get lighter versions of sites and paired back content. But with the iPad experience you are moving from that small mobile device screen and mindset to a laptop like experience and that changes all the expectations of what the device will do. The compromise of no Flash content is no longer acceptable and you can’t hide behind the company line anymore. For many people, including me, it’s a deal breaker that’s going to keep a $729 iPad off your bottom line because you’re protecting $1.99 apps. To me that’s just bad math.

For Adobe, you need to evolve your platform and respond to the challenge because Apple is imposing their will on you and they have changed the game with the iPhone. When I consult with any business that gets retail traffic I tell them to stay away from Flash because with the number of searches being done from an iPhone you don’t want to risk business customers not accessing your content but being able to get your competitors non-Flash content and winning out. As designers you have to give us a solution we can work with or we will be forced to walk away from you because we have chose the success of our customers over nostalgia and platform penetration numbers.

For the rest of us another author said it better than I can when he wrote about this subject “We know some things are bad – quarterpounders, cigarettes, Jack Daniels and Flash animations – but we choose to consume them because the rewards frequently outweigh the risks.” Like with all products we vote with our wallets and we have a choice. Buy the device and accept the fact that Apple is restricting your choice and content or don’t and show them that we will like companies who take a creative leadership role just not at the cost of reshaping the online world solely for their bottom line.

Submit Your Art to be Trashed

Artist Michael Landy is questioning the idea of art and trash in a new exhibit at the South London Gallery. For the next six weeks, Landy is inviting other artists and the public to submit their bad art and design projects to be judged by him and then placed into a large trash bin at the gallery. The Guardian writes that the only objects that will be rejected from this anti-museum are those that Landy judges not to be works of art. When the exhibition closes, on 14 March, its contents will be disposed of as landfill.

"Nothing's too good for the art bin," says Landy.

"There's no hierarchy once they are in the bin," says Landy. "After a while, you won't be able to tell one piece from the next." The art bin prompts questions: who apportions value to an artwork? Who has the right to destroy it? Or even: is modern art rubbish?

To learn more about Michael Landry, the exhibit and how you may submit your art, please visit the article linked below.

But is it rubbish? Damien Hirst joins artist's scrapyard of failure

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fujitsu vs. Apple over iPad name

Fujitsu, the Japanese electronics company, is putting Apple under-fire for reportedly stealing the name iPad. The company's 2002 iPad device is mainly sold and used in the USA as a took for stores to track inventory and verify prices. The New York Times reports that Fujitsu, which applied for an iPad trademark in 2003, is claiming first dibs, setting up a fight with Apple over the name of the new tablet device that Apple plans to sell starting in March.

Although the devices differ, should Fujitsu keep the rights to the name?

Learn more: IPad? That's So 2002, Fujitsu Says

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Package Designers Look to Help Consumers with Soap Overload

The Wall Street Journal reports that manufacturers of laundry machines and soap are advocating that consumers use less detergent to properly clean their clothes. Citing that many consumers believe a "more is better" philosophy when adding detergent to their laundry; the machines and clothes may suffer.

How do you make consumers move to using less? Change the packaging.

Over the next few weeks, Procter & Gamble Co. plans to introduce easier-to-read plastic measuring caps for its liquid detergent brands, including Tide, Gain, Era and Cheer. The new caps will have more-defined measurement lines inside and bigger numbers that are staggered, not stacked, says Dawn French, P&G's head of laundry research and development for North America.

What other ways can package design contribute to proper use of a product?

Learn more: The Great American Soap Overdose

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FUSE is Expected to Sell Out!

The industry has spoken and decided 2010 is the year to Reclaim the Future.

What will that take?

Smart decisions, Great People and a whole lot of passion.

That’s what FUSE is talking about.
Brand Strategy & Design Executives from around the world have decided the days of uncertainty and paralysis are behind them. It’s time to regain control, think next and prepare for the future. These folks are attending in teams. See who’s already registered. If you’re still not convinced why the industry chooses FUSE as their calendar event year over year – here’s why… There are 3 simple reasons… Information, Inspiration and Community.

Event Page: http://bit.ly/5qpNxF
Brochure Download: http://bit.ly/7sLbNy
Register Today: http://bit.ly/4FyNmx
Attending Companies: http://bit.ly/86gSku

FUSE 2010 Highlights
· The 1st Annual International Dieline Packaging Awards
· More Real Life Stories than any other event out there
· Full day workshop at the Art Institute of Chicago on Creativity & Innovation
· New “un-conference” venue conducive to open conversation and visual stimulation
· Full day symposium on Clearing the Path to Breakthrough Packaging
· Keynote presentations by:

Jim Stengel, Retired Global Marketing Chief, The Procter & Gamble Company
Phyllis Aragaki, Director, Target Creative Studio, Target Corporation
TJ McCormick, General Manager, Brand Design, JetBlue
Fred Kleisner, President & CEO, Morgan Hotels Group
Rick Valicenti, Co-founder Moving Design, Design Director, Thirst
Warren Berger, Author, Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your Life and Maybe Even the World
Phil Duncan, Global Design Officer, The Procter & Gamble Company


Participating first hand is the only way to truly understand why this has become such a legendary event.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Coca-Cola Goes Green in Plant-based Bottle

The Wall Street Journal reports that Coca-Cola has unveiled its plant-based bottle in an effort to be environmentally friendly. The container has "the same weight, the same feel, the same chemistry, and functions exactly the same way" as a regular plastic bottle, a Coke spokeswoman says.

Coke touted its "plantbottle" at the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen last month, and it plans another push next month at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where all the sodas and water it provides will be packaged in the plantbottle. "Preliminary research" shows the new container leaves a smaller carbon footprint than regular plastic bottles, Coke says.

Learn more: Coke Bottle Is Part Plant

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Social media content compose Grammy nominated artists


I can say with almost complete certainty that the launch of a new awards show Web site has never created the least bit of interest on my part until yesterday and the launch of the Grammy Awards new site WereAllFans.com. The site creates pseudo photo mosaics of 11 featured artists from Dave Matthews to Beyonce out of YouTube, Twitter and Flickr content that was tagged with each of the artists. Each image only borrows from the photo mosaic aesthetic but is more of a semi-transparent image imposed over top of all of the content. Putting the social media content into this format takes it from the thing we have started to overlook because it is so ubiquitous on every site to an interesting and compelling experience that makes it fun to explore. You can look at all the content at once or narrow it down to just site through the simple control interface at the bottom of the page. ‘Join the Conversation’ lets you sign into any of the sites and post your own content with the correct tags so that your content will appear on the site for your favorite artist.

The other half of the site is the The Fanbuzz Visualizer that is a real time data visualization that monitors the daily and total social media buzz for each of the Grammy nominated artists. This experience isn’t nearly as well done as the social media mosaics as I found it littered with technical and design problems. I started with Today’s Posts and was only able to drag and scroll down the 3D list once in 10 tries. Frustrated with that experience I switched over to Total Posts that changes the view to a 2D list and I found that I could click and drag to scroll the content. That relief was quickly replaced by a new frustration as I found that if I kept my browser window in it’s normal more vertical shape the artists and the results were cut off to the point where I couldn’t read a lot of it. After some exploring I realized I had to change the window to a more horizontal shape and that would force the content to zoom back so I could read it. So while it would have been nice to see the same level of innovation and polish put into both halves of the site, the social media content mosaics make it worth checking out.

Peeking Into Netflix Queues


There is an interesting article in the New York Times that uses Google Maps based data visualizations to show neighborhood by neighborhood Netflix rental patterns in 12 major U.S. cities. For the selected city you can roll around the map to see the most rented movie by zip code or sort them by most rented, alphabetical or meta score and then use the slider to go through the 50 movies listed. In looking at New York you see interesting trends on some movies like Mad Men that is almost exclusively concentrated in Manhattan, Obsessed that was concentrated in Brooklyn and New Jersey and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was seen by everyone everywhere.

FUSE 2010 Speaker Profile: riCardo crespo, WW Group Creative Director, Mattel, Inc.

riCardo crespo,
WW Group Creative Director,
Mattel, Inc.

riCardo crespo, is an ambassador of Mattel Inc., one of Fortune Magazines top 50 Companies to work for, and serves as group creative director. A seasoned and celebrated creative, he continues to influence his passion for excellence to many global brands through his practices and strategic executions. riCardo has held several leadership positions including executive creative posts at notable advertising giants such as McCANN ERICKSON, Saatchi & Saatchi and Bozell Worldwide. He offers a unique and valued perspective as a professional with the experiences from both the agency side creative and client side POV.

riCardo is a frequent contributor on design methodologies, and the strategic value of design + creative in the branding development process.

Join riCardo as he presents, "Brand Facelifts: Evolving a Brand While Staying True to Its DNA" on Thursday, April 15 at 4:00pm at FUSE 2010.

FUSE 2010
April 14-16, 2010
Trump International Hotel & Towers
Chicago, IL






Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Designing Living Brands

In my last post, I talked about celebrity branding. Well, you can’t mention celebrities these days without mentioning lifestyle. Lifestyle branding has undoubtedly been the holy grail of brand aspiration in the past decade – not just for celebrities but across the board for everything from cosmetics to cars. The original lifestyle brand pioneers – think Ralph Lauren - have been typically presented by a well-defined image underpinned with a strong philosophy, set of values and ownable aesthetic. But the two-dimensional and somewhat ‘cookie-cutter’ approach that has been adopted by many in NO way mirrors the way we live our lives now. Rather than prescribing lifestyle on a mass scale, we are moving to a new evolution of - and design of - what we are terming ‘living brands’ with a re-focus of aspiration around ‘real’ lifestyles.

The new breed of lifestyle brands may have a heartland area but extend their offers to create a broader and more eclectic branded experience. Jones Soda diversified into Jones Soda candy and Jones Soda flavoured lip balm - completely apposite lifestyle extensions for a brand that is all about flavour. And Jones has – and is continuing to be – recognised and awarded for their unique packaging that features constantly changing labels that are generated and submitted by the consumers themselves – www.jonessoda.com. Brands like this focus on building an image around discovery and individuality and meeting different expressions, and interests, of our characters outside of their expected boundaries. And, yes, it may create more of a struggle to be everything to everyone but these brands approach lifestyle as individual and personal. They realise that it’s not about such indulgent and stereotypical visual messaging but about creating a more fluid and flowing aesthetic and a design approach that builds its own interpretation of modern living and life.

It’s these same sentiments that have been brought into play with the creation of Jme: Chef Jamie Oliver’s first foray into lifestyle branding. Elevating Jamie from the kitchen to the home, it changes the way people interact with lifestyle brands by offering a constantly evolving and growing collection of useful and lovely things, innovated and designed both by Jamie himself and by different designers all over the world. The brand ethos is emotive rather than ‘branded’ and corporate so it actually fits in with the personal style of individual homes. Rather than imposing an aesthetic, the strong Jme marque is collaborative and adaptable allowing the Jme brand to exist in a fluid and natural way and hold together the eclectic and evolving collection of products and packaging.

Time to start creating living, breathing brands.

Jonathan Ford, Creative Partner Pearlfisher, will be presenting at the IIR’s annual FUSE event – FUSE: Reclaim The Future – with the Jamie Oliver team on 15 April 2010, Chicago http://www.iirusa.com/fuse/home.xml

To find out more about Jamie Oliver and Jme, check out http://www.jamieoliver.com/

Are you engaging your Customers as Partners in the Package Design Process?

What motivates purchase behavior? From the first moment of truth through engagement towards loyalty, creating a brand relationship begins and often ends with the package itself. In a world of abundance, get the message right.

PROOF: Market Research for Packaging Design is back!

April 14-15, 2010
Trump International Hotel & Tower
Chicago, IL

Event: http://bit.ly/7F3r7D
Brochure: http://bit.ly/82zay9
Registration: http://bit.ly/58xqL4

This April, join the leading minds in brand, research and design and arm yourself with the strategies, insights and tools you need to "lead the way" and stay ahead of the competition in 2010.

What's New for PROOF in 2010:

Keynote Jim Stengel, Retired Global Marketing Officer, Procter & Gamble shares his experience with Applied Leadership, Amazing Results

Featured session by Coca-Cola, "Busting the Burst" Optimizing On-Pack Promotional Messaging Brand"

Industry leading corporate practitioners sharing case study presentations, including: Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin Williams, HP, DuPont and more.
Presentation of the 1st Annual Packaging Awards brought to you by The Dieline and FUSE

More interactive networking sessions than ever before enabling you to meet your fellow PROOF attendees. Plus shared cocktail receptions with FUSE allows you to network with hundreds of design and branding experts and visionaries.

Join us!

Friday, January 15, 2010

'Wall Street Journal' to launch branding campaign

Sean Callahan of BtoBonline.com reports that The Wall Street Journal is about to launch a new branding campaign. The campaign will use the tagline, "Live in the Know." The campaign will debut next Monday and will feature ads in print, online, and on broadcast and cable television.

The campaign was created by mcgarrybowen.

"The campaign highlights the breadth and deeper understanding readers get every day only from reading the Journal. We want to invite new readers to discover the diverse coverage The Wall Street Journal delivers, from business news, world news and politics, to more personal topics such as wellness, personal finance and leisure pursuits," Jim Richardson, VP-brand marketing for the Journal, said in a statement.

Learn more: 'Wall Street Journal' to launch branding campaign

Thursday, January 14, 2010

FUSE 2010 Speaker Highlight: Jim Stengel


Jim Stengel
Retired Global Marketing Officer
Proctor & Gamble

Widely known for reinvigorating P&G’s marketing culture during his tenure as global marketing officer, Jim Stengel personally led the transformation that has firmly established P&G as one of the most admired brand building companies in the world. His reputation for evolving marketing and branding to make a positive impact on the lives of consumers has influenced his global recognition as a leader in the marketing community. His new venture, “Jim Stengel, LLC” is both think tank and consultancy – conducting proprietary research, generating thought leadership and applying a new framework to drive business growth in today’s global economy. The Jim Stengel approach is strategic and holistic, with a mission to “rethink marketing, branding and life.”

Stengel is widely known for leading innovation and for his commitment to building breakthrough marketing capabilities. As a result, he was recognized in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007 by Advertising Age as the number one “Power Player” in marketing. In 2005, he was recognized as Grand Marketer of the Year by Brand Week Magazine – that same year P&G was named Marketer of the Year by Advertising Age. A prolific speaker and writer, he has delivered dozens of keynote addresses around the world. His groundbreaking speech, “The Future of Marketing,” delivered at the American Association of Advertising Agencies 2004 annual meeting, has been quoted thousands of times and is considered a catalyst for changing the 50-year-old TV-centric brand building model. He has been published in The Harvard Business Review and has been featured in The Financial Times, The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times and Fortune as well as CNBC and many other print, broadcast and online media outlets.

In his seven years as P&G’s global marketing officer, Stengel helped guide the organization to creativity, innovation and optimal performance. He also lead implementation of systemic changes in the Company’s marketing organization that have positioned P&G and its leadership as a world-class leader in the marketing and brand building. Stengel brings this experience to his new venture as a consultant to help companies who are “seriously motivated” to embrace change and are open to rethinking their current approach. He offers consulting services on a range of topics related to purpose-based marketing and branding as well as organizational transformation, leadership and innovation.

Jim’s biography courtesy of Washington Speaker’s Bureau

Join Jim for his presentation, "Applied Leadership, Amazing Results" on Thursday, April 15 at 8:30 am a FUSE 2010.

FUSE 2010
April 14-16, 2010
Trump International Hotel & Tower
Chicago, IL

Monday, January 11, 2010

Innovative Headset Allows Users to Play Audio with Touch Sensors


This post on the Design blog highlights a touch sensitive innovative headset called "Earth" which was designed by the Brazilian designer Atila Rossito. Users are able to control and play audio with touch sensors by just flipping a finger on the sensors. This clutter-free design is sure to be a huge hit in the future.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lady Gaga to help design new Polaroid camera

According to Parade, Lady Gaga will work with Polaroid to design a new camera that will incorporate botht he old instant print capabilities of Polaroid and a new digital function that will store pictures. She's focusing on bringing the instant picture form back as an option for those with cameras.

She also stated: "Well, I'm definitely a Polaroid camera girl," she said. "I really believe in the lifestyle and injecting the things that I love into [this]. ... For me, what I'm really excited about is bringing back the artistry and the nature of Polaroid."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Creative leadership doesn’t comes from a job title

Anyone who has ever had to lead and inspire a group of creative people knows how challenging it can be. You have to lead but let them find their own solutions and creative process. You have to set the tone and style for the work but allow for individual creativity. This isn’t ever going to be book that will give you all the answers on how to do it. I get a lot of emails from people of all levels asking for advice or ideas on how to do it better as we all move down the road in our career and develop from a creative designer to a creative leader.

I break the problem down into how you manage the creatives who work for you on a day to day basis and creating the long term road map for the group.

The day-to-day creative director
I have found that creatives will come to me for two things on a day-to-day basis – hope and support. Hope because they they need to know that tomorrow is going to be better than today and they are going to be able to do better, cooler, bigger work in that future. I think that if we are really honest we would say that creatives are restless and insecure by our very nature so we need a sense of hope that this personal endeavor will be well received. Support so that they know their work is valued and you are just as passionate about it as they are and will fight to protect the countless hours they have spent creating this work that is very personal to them.

I say that knowing those are very big and general points so I break it down into things that are more executable like the next time I talk with one of them I am sure they walk away from me with:
1 – A plan of action for both of you which will give them hope that things will improve and the two of you will work to fix their problem, challenge, campaign, design, etc. It also sets goals and expectations so that hope will be fulfilled and not become and empty promise which will become more damaging.
2 – An understanding of what I am going to do about the problem because this tells them I understand and value the work they have done and tells them I am going to fight and protect them, their work and our group

From designer to creative director (or how I miss the days I was still a designer)
You get to the point when you decide to transition from a just a designer to a designer and manager and that you need to be able to focus on leadership, vision and hope more than your design ability. In a lot of ways it is a strange system that the higher you go in your career the further you get away from what you love and what brought you into the industry in the first place.

For leadership you need to lay out a clear path for your team and the company right away so they know what is expected of them and what they should expect from you. Vision to me has always been to be the one who is always pushing the team to go 10-20% beyond where they want to so the work gets better than it is now. Hope, so that they know tomorrow will be better than today, that their work will be better than it is today and for you all of that will add up to them staying with you for years.

Along with laying out your expectations for the group you also need to evaluate the talent you have to work with. Trust your gut and make any cuts you need to. The one thing I have learned from working for a lot of epic creative directors is that you always protect your best talent no matter what and let the rest fall where they will. It is never worth losing a truly talented art director because you didn’t fire a junior copywriter who is making their life hell.

These things are just the starting point but don’t be afraid to actually lead, set the tone and set expectations. Listen to your people so you know what they need, how they work and what you need to do to support it. You are asking them to creating something personal for you while working crazy hours so remember you owe them just as much as they give you.

New Microwave Prototype Plays YouTube Clips While Your Food Heats Up

Benjamin Sutton over at TheLMagazine.com reports of a new prototype microwave that plays YouTube clips--we're serious. The CastOven has an LCD screen where most microwaves have a window, and it's programmed to select and play a random YouTube clip of the same duration as your cooking time. Check out the video here.

What do you think?

A microwave/TV combo would have been ideal for cramped dorm and early 20's living situations--but simply a YouTube player? Hmm.

Learn more: New Microwave Prototype Plays YouTube Clips While Your Food Heats Up

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

FEI Europe Track Spotlight: Design Thinking

FEI Europe has a whole symposia dedicated to design thinking in Amsterdam next month. This all day symposium will cover how to integrate Design Thinking throughout the business. With unique stories and real-life examples, this forum will cover design in an innovation context, the process of leveraging design thinking to solve business problems, overcoming the unique management challenges of this thinking process as well as the skill sets that must be developed.

Some of the companies speaking on this track include Do Projects, 3M, BERG toys, Philips Design, and Waag Society just to name a few. Make sure to download the brochure for a complete run-down on topics covered. Hope to see you in Amsterdam in February!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sprint teams with Google to design new e-reader


Out with the paper books, in with the digital readers. Google and Sprint have teamed up to design one of the most dynamic e-readers available, even allowing users to tap into Google Books. There is also availability to surf the web with audio and video playback. What do you think about this project? Do you think it will influence more readers to go digital?

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's assignment - Help design Firefox 4

Mozilla’s Firefox continues to chip away at Microsoft’s Internet Explorer's market share and recently they been showing off new user interface mockups of the next major release - Firefox 4. Staying true to its long-standing focus on openness, Mozilla has launched the Firefox 4 Design Challenge this is a series of events meant to encourage innovation and experimentation in user interface design. The first challenge asks you to concentrate on ideas for switching Firefox’s Home button to a Home tab that will facilitate start pages in the browser similar to MyYahoo and iGoogle start pages. They have supplied the following mockup of how the browser might keep the new start page concept available up top via the Home icon at left:



If you want to participate in the Design Challenge you have to submit a short video explaining your concept and presenting a mockup that clearly shows how a new start page might work. Wireframes and polished comps are also welcome. Mozilla has a submission form available here and example templates are available here. How often can you use your time off to influence how millions of users will interact with the web.