Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Real Thing

Alice Rawsthorn waxes on intelligent, elegant and appropriate examples of design that make you feel better just by being there.

There was a time when Coca-Cola's packaging was as irritatingly fussy and over-complicated as its competitors'. No more. Coke unveiled the engagingly simple new Coca-Cola Classic can last summer, after junking the neurotic illustrations on the old cans in favor of the beautifully scripted "signature" that's been its corporate logo since the 1880s.

Really appreciate the clean, subtle and "classic" use of Gotham.

Read the whole thing over at the International Herald Tribune: Alice Rawsthorn on Quietly Good Design.

That's Right,


Monday, April 28, 2008

Try Drawer 61...

I'm not sure if it's the numbers as pulls or all the possible storage options, but this is pretty sweet. Check out the Toolbox, a modular system designed by Pietro Arosio for Emmebi Design.

So, where do you keep your magnets? Try Drawer 61...

That's Right,


Thanks to the smart folks at: Design Milk.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Favorite Ringtone

The closest Dirk No-Win-Ski will ever get to touching an NBA Championship ring is if he reads my blog on his iPhone...

Nice Pre-Game 4 Chatter

SA Town: Boring is just another excuse for fans whose teams can't beat our Spurs.

yndo71: You can't spell boring without ring.

HMK: Genius!

Read it all at ESPN: Counting Out Spurs Becomes A Yearly Tradition.

Go Spurs!

That's Right,


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Set To Stun

Thanks, in part to Bruce Bowen's incredible containment of Steve Nash, our World Champion San Antonio Spurs rolled to a 115-99 last night taking a commanding 3-0 series lead.

That's Right,

Go Spurs!


Friday, April 25, 2008

Keep'em Coming Back for More

Here's a nice handfull of 14 Website Usability Guidelines designed to bring them back for more...

"Sites that are designed to sell products and/or services must go the extra mile to enhance the visitor's engagement with the website. Shopping cart abandonment (shoppers abandoning their carts before deciding to pay for the "items" they've added to their cart) can result in a significant loss in potential sales. But much of that can be reduced when the shopping process is streamlined and geared for shopper satisfaction.

The selling process--from initial interest to the very last checkout page--must be able to grab shopper's attention and proceed to drive them through to the finalization of the sale. But even after the sell, you must deal with customer service issues in order to keep the sale finalized. Good customer service will bring your purchasers back for another and another and another.

Here's the first of fourteen general usability guidelines that will enhance shoppers overall experience on your site.

Images vs. Content

Images and content must work together to provide the user with a satisfactory experience. Relying too heavily on images and other media can be distracting, especially to those that really need to read more about what you're selling before they are comfortable making a purchase. On the other hand, too much content on the wrong pages can also turn some shoppers away. A proper balance must be struck.

Check out the the other 13 via Stoney Degeyter's article over HERE.

That's Right,

Go Spurs!


Awesome image by: M. Moormann.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Viva Hubble!

As if we need another reason to FIESTA down here in San Antonio, let's all hoist a pint to the Hubble telescope - it's 18 years old today!

To help celebrate Wired Magazine has posted an amazing slide show of some of our beloved Hubble's shots from deep space like this one of the ESO 99-4, above.

"ESO 99-4 is a galaxy with an unusual shape that is probably the remnant of an earlier merger process that has deformed it. ESO 99-4 lies in the constellation of Triangulum Australe, the Southern Triangle, about 400 million light-years away."
Photo: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)

Check out the full gallery over at Wired.

That's Right,

Go Spurs!


MassArt Redesign

My Alma Matter, MassArt, the 135-year-old institution in Boston has the proud distinction of being both the first and only independent public college of art in the United States, and the first art school to grant a degree.

Working with brand consultancy Minelli, Inc., MassArt, engaged in an eighteen-month-long planning and assessment process that resulted in a strategic marketing plan that aimed to raise the institution's profile, and one of the key elements to achieve this would be its identity. MassArt assembled a committee of faculty, staff, students, foundation directors, and trustees to oversee the project, who selected Moth Design — which features four MassArt alumni — out of seven design firms that responded to requests for proposal. With a new institution name, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (formally established in October of 2007), and a clear sense of renewal, MassArt established objectives for the new identity:

To present MassArt consistently and with confidence.

To represent a level of skill, quality, and creativity appropriate for a leading college of art and design.

To establish a visual signature that is distinct and recognizable as Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

To retain the significant brand equity in "MassArt" while firmly establishing the college's new formal name.

To reflect the energy and spirit of the individuals that comprise MassArt's diverse community.

This is actually the 4th logo for MassArt since my days back in the late 80's. Nice job!

That's Right,


Thanks to the smart folks at: Under Consideration.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Government Branding: Doh!

The UK Office of Government Commerce is:

Responsible for improving value for money by driving up standards and capability in procurement

Now, let's see, how would you improve value for money? I know! An expensive branding exercise. That'll do it.

So FHD, the prestigious London branding agency, has been brought in to devise, among other things, a new logo. And here, courtesy of The Register, it is:

When it was presented to OGC staff it didn't take long for them to look at the new brand logo (emblazoned on mouse mats and so forth) from all angles:

Apparently they are pressing ahead with it anyway. A spokesman for the OGC said (I kid you not) this: We concluded that the effect was generic to the particular combination of the letters 'OGC' - and is not inappropriate to an organisation that's looking to have a firm grip on government spend.

That's Right,


Big thanks to Daniel Finkelstein at: The UK Times.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Perpetuating The Watchmen Buzz

The always energetic and creative genius that is Zack Snyder, director of next year's highly anticipated big screen version of Alan Moore's Watchmen has announced a really a cool idea.

Working with YouTube, Zack and team have created an enticing opportunity for fans to create fake advertising that if awesome enough, might actually be used somewhere in the background of the film.

Smart and interesting approach to including user-generated content while keeping the fanboy buzz churning as the film's production continues.

Ok, where's my camera?

Details over at: The Watchmen Movie.

That's Right,


Monday, April 21, 2008

Color & Meaning

Q: I'm working on a series of logos and labels for a Japanese micro brewery in Osaka catering to a niche of affluent water-skiing Hawaiian Monks. Are there any colors I should avoid that might have potential inherent negative cultural connotations?

A: That's an excellent question. I suggest you pay a visit to the smart folks over at Sibagraphics.

It's a great start anyway!

That's Right,


Marketing vs. Advertising vs. PR vs. Branding

A nicely simplified take on the relationships among marketing roles
from Marty Neumeier, author of the awesome book: Zag.

That's Right,


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spurs Take Game 1 In Double Overtime!

Sir Tim Duncan celebrating his clutch first 3 point bucket of the 2008 season.

Spurs 117 Suns 115.

Spurs in 7!

That's Right!


Friday, April 18, 2008

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Solvent

D.I.Y. Commando David Giffels plastered, painted and pounded his falling-down house into submission.

In these times of mortgage crisis and credit card debt, of people living over their heads and losing their homes, it may be instructive to visit David and Gina Giffels, proud owners of an exquisitely renovated 1913 Tudor house, with six fireplaces, a solarium and a billiards room, which is well within their means, in part because they paid $65,000.

It is true, this was 12 years ago here in Akron, as the city was struggling to come out of its Rust Belt doldrums, and at the time the house was not so exquisite. It was, in fact, as the couple learned only at the closing, about to be condemned. There were large holes in the roof, various furry woodland animals in residence, a barely functional heating and plumbing system. The roof over the master bedroom leaked so badly that the previous owner had placed 55 aluminum baking pans on the floor to catch the rain. Passers-by, glimpsing the house through trees and brush, assumed it was deserted.

On the other hand, except for the mortgage on this house, the Giffelses have no debt. This is not only because they have done so much of the renovation themselves, but because they do not have and never have had credit cards. Their feeling, anachronistic as the servants’ call button in their dining room, is that if you don’t have the money for something, you don’t buy it.

Rock on David, you're my hero! After getting canned from my two year stint at an advertising agency (my first real world exposure to the "game" as some of the veteran hacks call it) I can only thank my lucky stars and the Big Dude upstairs to make it through my first 14 months of working from home and having the cash to not only cover my mortgage and bills, but also to cover my self-employment tax nut.

Sure, things were tight for a while, they still are. The wife and kids are covered health insurance wise, but as of today I'm still not, but soon. I sold my car and we rarely eat out but the bills are all paid and, like the Giffelses, the only dept is the mortgage on our groovy little 1949 casa down here in Monte Vista.

In a nutshell, I've got plenty of projects on my plate, it's officially
FIESTA Time and the sun is shining and I'm fixin' to go walk my dogs Ringo and Dazy. Things are actually quite sweet right now.

It's really pretty basic and simple - if I can't pay cash for something, I can't afford it.

Read the rest of Joyce Walder's New York Times piece Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Solvent.

That's Right,


Russian Bear Vodka

Keeping in line with the “Fun Side of Russia” campaign, a “propaganda” poster for Russian Bear Vodka was placed on the walls facing bathroom mirrors in pubs and clubs.

At first glance, the writing appears to be Cyrillic, but when looked at in the mirror, the reversed letters read: Real Men Don’t Drink and Drive.

Nice work.

Product: Russian Bear Vodka
Agency : Lowe Bull, Cape Town

That's Right,


Thanks to AdverBox.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spurs In 7!


Finger Lickin' Good

Why are our brains so receptive to taglines, slogans and mottos?

The brain is wired to seek the unusual phrase that describes something it should be aware of. It ignores phrases that seem ordinary and unimportant. Sound and repetition of distinctive sound play a huge role in remembering a political or commercial slogan. Inflection, tempo and rhyme are the three major elements of sound that make the brain pay attention. The power of sound over sight never diminishes; if anything, it increases.

Top 10 Taglines of All Time according to Ad Weeks's Steve Cone:

"A Diamond is Forever"
De Beers

"Come to Marlboro Country"
Philip Morris

"The Pause That Refreshes"

"Think Small"

"Just Do It"

"You Deserve a Break Today"

"When It Absolutely, Positively Has to Be There Overnight"
Federal Express

"When It Rains It Pours"
Morton Salt

"M&M's: Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands"

"You Don't Have to Be Jewish to Love Levy's Rye Bread"
Levy's Baking

Read the rest of Steve Cone's article for Ad Week: Help Taglines Regain Lost Glory.

That's Right,


Monday, April 14, 2008

Above The Bar

Barcodes, or UPC symbols, these ubiquitous emblems of our consumer civilization, have received a radical makeover by a Japanese firm D-Barcode - and as a result their ideas are ending up on grocery products all over Japan.

Sample the rest over at Dark Roasted Blend.

That's Right,


Sunday, April 13, 2008

KSYM Pledge Drive Raises 40 Grand!

Dial Low. Volume High!

It's not too late to pledge and grab one of the 3 KSYM shirts I designed and donated for this year's KSYM Pledge Drive!

That's Right,


Saturday, April 12, 2008


And thanks to Stan over at Brand DNA for bringing this nice Flickr set of vintage comic book sound effects to my attention.

That's Right,


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Muy Tiki Bongo!

El Estratografico has an awesome Flickr set of Vintage 45 Covers that must be seen! - case and point, from the Spanish Microwatt label, this muy bonito 1962 Flexidisc cover for Michelin... I'd love to have the audio from this.

Very nice!

And speaking of Tiki Bongo and Cha Cha Cha... Dig the new single and my primitive keyboard skills, just in time for FIESTA down here in San Antonio: Totally Fiesta Cha Cha Cha.

That's Right,


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Big Bucks for Vintage Machines

Old tractors like this one are exerting a new kind of pull. As collecting interests a broader, wealthier audience, prices for many models, especially those more than 40 years old, have surged. Some of the oldest tractors -- early 20th-century machines often powered by steam -- can now fetch $100,000 or more, up from about $10,000 a decade ago. Rarer models can sell for much more.

While farmers have dominated the antique-tractor market in the past, they are now bidding against a new, well-heeled breed of collector. The influx mirrors the trend of city slickers buying up farmland for vacation homes in rural parts of the country.

And dig this cool rig! More spaceship than farm equipment, this sweetly restored McCormick-Deering Orchard Tractor has smooth bodywork designed to keep wheels, gears and protruding parts from damaging delicate fruit trees.

Kinda reminds me of my first tractor seen here in this shot from back in 1963.

Check out the rest of Jonathan Welsh's story over at the Wall Street Journal.

That's Right,


Couple Therapist

Nice low budget business card solution for Marisa Shcmidt, Couple Therapist from agency Master Promo, Curitiba, Brazil.

That's Right,


Thanks Freddie!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Elastico Bookshelf

You gotta love this book shelf concept by Arianna Vivenzio. I found the original post over at Unwritten Doctrine via the awesome Swiss Miss, but I hit a deadend in regard to finding more info. Stay tuned and I'll let you know as soon as I do.

That's Right,


Monday, April 07, 2008

Audio To Go

Dig the very cool IH85B iPod Bicycle Speaker from the smart folks at iHome.

The IH85B is a water-resistant iPod speaker case that clamps to your bike frame and comes complete with a handlebar mounted remote control. Not bad for 79 bux.

That's Right,


Friday, April 04, 2008

Genius Concept.

Absolutely Genius. Even if you don't have kids, you gotta love this.

Dig Handipoints, a digital chore-list manager for parents and their kids.

Very cool idea, but if you ask me, I'm pretty sure there'd be alot more chores done if the rewards section included PayPal or an iTunes card.

And while we're at it, let's get the daycare centers to hire senior citizens to nurture and teach the young ones and then next we can add the ability for doctors to check our medical histories on their iPhones and then we'd all have nicer weekends...

That's Right,


Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Rewards of True Collaberation

When it comes to branding a new restaurant the first order of business is “a big discussion about the restaurant, what it is, what kind of clientele they expect and what they want the logo to do for them.”

A restaurant’s logo helps set the tone of the meal to follow, from the signage outside to the typography on the menu. First impressions are vital in the ultracompetitive restaurant biz, and executing those few letters and occasional graphic just the right way is crucial.

Translation: Ditch the free fonts that came with your pc, do some serious and real type research and focus on the core aspects that embrace the spirit of the place.

If you're lucky enough and have the luxury of being able to collaborate with your clients like one of my all time favorite designers Louise Fili, then you've probably got some great work in your book.

Communication between the client and the designer is vital when creating any new identity. Without it, well, we've all seen examples of logos and signage that a one point had the potential to be smart, appropriate, and unique but end up missing the mark - usually due to either a tight budget, poor planning/lack of time or the pompous and visually unsophisticated short sightedness of the client that believes he can do it all himself without the aid of a professional visual communicator.

The exterior presentation of the logo – aka the signage – can have a major impact on the design. “It can’t be a very long logo if there is a short space for it so we have to take that into consideration very early on,” she added.

In regard to the menus, the end product must be flexible enough for frequent updates. “The design is about 1% of my work,” said Fili, “and the rest is figuring out how to do it so it doesn’t get messed up.”

Read the rest of Garth Johnston's Zagat piece: A Logo Is Worth 1,000 Words.

Check out the attention to detail and amazingly elegant work of Louise Fili.

That's Right,


Thanks to Louise Fili for the inspiration and the smart folks over at Design Observer.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Real Face of Leonardo

Leonardo Da Vinci's life and work is well known -- but his own face is not. Illustrator and activist Siegfried Woldhek used some thoughtful image-analysis techniques to find what he believes is the true face of Leonardo.

In this short video, he walks viewers through exactly how he did it.

That's Right,


Thanks to my sister in law Kaye and the smart folks over at Ted.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


In an effort to to draw people to the Times Square Pedigree Dog Store in New York Agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles staged this nice outdoor stunt in Central Park.

That's Right,


Thanks to: AdverBox.