Saturday, May 29, 2010

Evolution of Car Logos

Did you know that the Cadillac emblem was inspired by a family crest of a nobleman who later turned out to be a fraud? Or that Volkswagen was Hitler’s idea?
Grab a fresh cup of coffee and take a look at the fascinating stories behind the logos of some of the most popular cars in the world, thanks to Neatorama.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Demystifying Design: An Argument for Simplicity

This is an awesome and insightful read from Joe Duffy for anyone that's ever been lulled to sleep sitting through another creative brief that begins by explaining process as a way of presenting design or branding services.

Process is vital but first things first!

For once can we please just forget the mountain of stats, graphs, focus groups, polls and PowerPoint nonsense and begin by substituting all that pretentious, fancy-ass account executive flim-flam jargon and simply cut to the chase? Can we just use some plain, straightforward and honest language while we focus on creating and delivering a simple, compelling, differentiating idea, one that's ultimately and consistently executed?

"As a designer I see this as both an opportunity and a responsibility. The opportunity is to continue to use our craft wisely, to solve real business problems, to deliver a means to help people find products and services that are uniquely well suited to make their lives a little better every day. Getting there requires that designers and our clients keep things simple."

What is design? It's art and commerce, fashion and environment. It's industrial and digital, graphic and experiential. It begins with ideas--ideas based in purpose. It requires a plan or a process. It yields innovation, invention or creation. It is successful if it elicits response--attention, desire, interaction or purchase.

Design is as much a process as it is an end product. The process should be simple.

The best strategy behind design is all about collection and collaboration - of people, talents, ideas, perspectives. It's about truly seeing vs. just looking. It's about being curious about what you're seeing, what it means or what it could mean if used in a new way or combined with other ideas or images. It takes a certain appetite and ability to digest.

Honestly it's simple. The best talent understands that. Rarely does the most extensive or unique "process" produce the simple insights necessary to do more than document a situation. The proof is in the pudding. Talented designers create it.

Or as one of the masters of simplicity Tibor Kalman put it: The difference between good design and great design is intelligence.

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Joe Duffy is principal and chairman of Duffy & Partners - check out his Duffy Point of View blog over at Fast Company.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pet Peak

Dig the Pet Peak. This is a nice and thoughtful idea for any curious pet!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Radio Canada

Made from maple and aluminum, the RADIO CANADA concept is a homage to the cultural significance of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. This radio console design was inspired by the dedication of the many CBC listeners who keep their radio dials permanently set to the national broadcaster.

This will work beyond Canada as well - after setting the radio to your favorite frequencies, mine will toggle between NPR and KSYM, you can toggle between the two without hearing the static in between. Genius.

You know you want one: Science & Sons.

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Friday, May 14, 2010


Absolutely Brilliant!

What happens when a concrete man approaches an unsuspecting metro rider? Terminus! This 8-minute gem of a film was made by 33-year-old Canadian director Trevor Cawood, with a crew no larger than seven people.

“I like psychological films,” says Cawood. “Films that comment on who we are, and how we got there."

Bigtime thanks to Spy Films and Wired for sharing Effects-Heavy Shorts Show Off Directors’ Chops.

Totally genius!

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stop Yelling, Say Thank You & Put Down That iPhone

IOU! Let's Shake On It!
I sprained my ankle yesterday while out for a run with my dogs Ringo and Dazy and so I'm spending the day with my foot propped up, catching up on some email, reading and writing a few belated Thank You postcards.

I thought I'd share this insightful, quick read from Peter Madden at Advertising Age: Twenty Things I've Learned After 40 Years Living and 10 Years Running an Agency.

Here's a few that ring true for me:

1. Realize what you're great at and do it all the time. Realize what you suck at and stop doing it completely (and put the right person in place to do it).

5. Trust your instincts. You can interview a prospective employee or client 10 times, they can say and do all the right things, but if your Spidey sense is tingling, something is amiss.

8. Do pro bono work for non-profit organizations that are trying hard to make the world a better place. You'll get more out of it.

14. Did someone working for you just disagree with a decision you want to make? Good. Keep her around as long as possible.

16. Throw parties at your office, no matter how humble or grand the space, for no reason at all. It's all about the people in the room, good music, and not running out of booze or ice.

17. Put your f***ing BlackBerry/iPhone down when you're meeting with me.

And of course -

20. Write personal notes thanking people you meet with and who are in your life. Besides death and taxes, the only other sure thing in life is that no matter who you are, it's exciting to get a handwritten note.

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Thanks again to Peter Madden at Ad Age.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Reclaimed Wood In Kitchens

While working on a kitchen renovation Apartment Therapy's Annie Werble uncovered a structural column smack dab in the middle of their design. To incorporate the discovery into the scheme, they set vintage railroad ties on all sides of the concrete structure, and the gorgeous patina of the wood makes the eyesore melt away.

I'm particularly digging the type treatment on those nice big storage drawers.

Check out the rest from those smart and resourceful folks over at: Apartment Therapy.

And if you happen to be looking for reclaimed wood in your area the Building Materials Reuse Association is a great place to start.

Oh, and speaking of disegno astuto e sostenibile, dig this: Controprogetto.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Greenaid Seed Bombs Rock!

This is absolutely brilliant! Thanks to Daniel Phillip and Kim Karlsrud, founders of The Common Studio, nice job.

Made from a mixture of clay, compost, and seeds, "seedbombs" are becoming an increasingly popular means combating the many forgotten grey spaces we encounter everyday-from sidewalk cracks to vacant lots and parking medians. They can be thrown anonymously into these derelict urban sites to temporarily reclaim and transform them into places worth looking at and caring for.

And speaking of reuse - the Greenaid dispensary simply makes these guerilla gardening efforts more accessible to all by appropriating the existing distribution system of the quarter operated candy machine.

Whether you're a business owner, educator, or just a concerned citizen we'd like to work with you to get Greenaid in your community. You can purchase a machine (or two, or ten...) directly from The Common Studio.

And dig this - they'll even develop a seed mix as well as a strategic neighborhood intervention plan in response to the unique ecologies of your area! All you have to do is simply place the machine at your local bar, business, school, park, or anywhere that you think it can have the most impact and they'll supply you with all the seedbombs you need to support the continued success of the initiative.

Right on!

If you are interested in getting a quote, please contact them directly at:

Check out more from the smart folks over at the California based The Common Studio.

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