How can you resist a blog that posts things like that?
It's called Subtraction and it's written by Khoi Vinh who's the Design Director of NYTimes.com. It looks beautiful. I've only just discovered it, so I'll keep reading and see if the function is as good as the form.
It's really hard to find decent design blogs.
I've always liked John Sorrell. I sat on a panel with him once. Except that he never turned up.
He now runs a thing called the Sorrell Foundation. They have just finished this fantastic project called Joined Up Design For Schools and they're starting one called Joined Up Design For Health.
What's interesting is that this is where they're starting from.
Call that what you like, research, insight, common sense, usability, design, whatever. This is what it all comes down to. These people are designers, researchers, planners, architects, geniuses - all you have to do is make their half thoughts into real tangible stuff.
That's where the magic comes in.
Went for a nice walk this morning. Saw some great type painted on walls. Why don't people do this any more. It looks great.
We once had a fairly large building client who moved to a new building. They asked us to design a sign for the front and we suggested getting someone to paint on the brick wall. No, no, they said, that's too old fashioned.
Is it only graphic designers who think this looks great, or does everyone think it looks great?
In that lazy sunny Sunday monging mood I thought it would be fun to find out the Technorati ranks of the blogs I listed on Friday.
Post Secret Rank 7 (17,103 links from 11,798 sites)
Cool Hunting Rank 258 (3,903 links from 1,795 sites)
Guido Fawkes Rank 3,990 (1,031 links from 386 sites)
Russell Davies Rank 5,504 (648 links from 302 sites)
Iain Dale Rank: Rank 7,067 (709 links from 247 sites)
Swiss Miss Rank 7,492 (535 links from 236 sites)
The Darbyshires Rank 111,208 (82 links from 28 sites)
Remember I said the man from the Foreign Office came in the other day? Here’s long overdue post about what he said.
We’re thinking of opening an office in China. Seriously. (You think I’m mad now, don’t you?) It’s only half idea at the moment, but the more we talk about it and the more people we meet the more we move away from dream and closer to reality.
Through various connections I was put in touch with UK Design | UK Trade & Investment who came to chat to us the other day.
They were hugely shocked that we wanted to open in China (and equally as shocked that we actually have a business plan). Reading between the lines it seems that the Government is really keen to help UK design companies to open in China, but they can’t find anyone who wants to do it seriously.
Of course it’s not that easy. Hong Kong is relatively simple, but main land China is hard. Laws are very different, culture is very different, for example there is no copyright law in China. They see nothing wrong with copying designs.
All interesting stuff. And us? We’re still very interested and we hope to fly out later this year to explore. We’re also going to talk to more people about it. I’ll keep you informed here.
I went to a conference earlier in the week. This is the main room. Hardly inspiring is it?
Thought it would be interesting (hoped it would be interesting) to list the blogs I read most often. They’re not all about design / creative industries / brands.
http://russelldavies.typepad.com/ Obviously. The first ever blog, ever. Started by Russell in 1966 now with over 3,500,000 readers.
http://5thnovember.blogspot.com/ Widely libellous political blog. Succeeded in stopping Murdoch sueing him, which is quite an achievement. Amazingly correct political predictions.
http://iaindale.blogspot.com/ Can’t stand the bloke and his right wing views, but it’s very well written and produced.
http://thedarbyshires.blogspot.com/ Don’t ask. Mad, narcissistic nutters. If they were made up the writer would get an Oscar. Brilliant. Read it for a month and you’ll be hooked.
http://swissmiss.typepad.com/weblog/ Lovely stuff from a lovely person. Proves that the Swiss are still the best designers.
http://www.coolhunting.com/ I don’t read it every day, but still a great place to find stuff.
http://postsecret.blogspot.com/ As I’ve said before I’m addicted.
Is anyone else getting fed up with Seth Godin?
Almost everything that happens to Seth is an earth shattering marketing breakthrough.
Like the time he visits a ticket website and they were busy. (Hey maybe they were just, you know, busy?)
Or the time he bought something and they thanked him. (They thanked you. It's a start.)
Or this sign he saw on a truck. (Whatever.)
Or some kid he met in the street. (Real insight or just a charming child?)
Sorry Seth, it doesn't feel right to me.
What's your initial reaction to this?
Wolff Olins has been hired to develop a brand for London in the lead up to and beyond the 2012 Olympic Games.
The agency has been appointed by London Unlimited, a new organisation that is backed by the Mayor of London and London Development Agency. London Unlimited charged with positioning London as the best city in which to invest, visit, study and conduct business.is
Wolff Olins said that the brand would reflect the work being done for 2012, as well as providing a legacy for London's residents and visitors.
James Bidwell, London Unlimited's chief executive, said: "We look forward to working with Wolff Olins to encapsulate London's unique essence as the world's most global and diverse city and to define a brand that resonates with Londoners and international communities."
London Unlimited has also named Deborah Hale, former global corporate communications director for WPP's Red Cell, as its brand director.
Wolff Olins begins work on the project this month.
Just been reading this article in the The Indy about different types of housing.
Reminded me of something I once heard Richard Rogers say about the need for more houses. He said, everyone complains when there are plans to build high density housing near them. in fact everyone complains about high density housing full stop.
But he's never heard anyone complain about living in a Georgian Terrace and they're some of the most high density houses around.
We do lots of virals here. We've even won awards for them.
Clients quite often want a viral campaign. If they ask for one and they haven't had one before we normally tell them 3 golden rules. I'd like to share them with you.
1. A viral is not a video that gets emailed round.
Technically that could be a viral, but starting from that point isn't viral.
A true viral campaign is an idea that has a life of its own and spreads in the same way a virus does, prolifically and exponentially. Email is an obvious way to do this, but it doesn't have to be email it just has to spread. Take Google for example, it spread virally - yes word of mouth, yes email, yes PR etc.
2. Virals need to be funny, rude or useful.
Very funny, very rude or very useful. Web 2.0 useful.
Rude - the trick here is to do stuff you can't do on TV. So swear, show nudity, offend people, all the stuff you wouldn't normally do. You'd be surprised how reluctant people are to be rude. Britishness I suppose.
Funny - remember that being funny is very, very difficult. Ricky Gervais is funny and Steve Coogan is not. Disagree with me? Agree with me? Then you understand the problem.
3. Virals need to be simple.
Simple, simple, simple.
You can't say to your mate in the pub, "It's kinda like this but not like this and a little bit like that and..." You can say, "it's called WinWorldCupTickets.com".
So why am I writing all this now? Well yesterday I saw a good example of a viral campaign and it reminded me of a bad viral campaign for the same sector.
Good Viral - Zootube
Zoo is a watered down Maxim is a watered down Playboy is a watered down Razzle. Zoo are currently running a TV ad that says, 'our boss gave us £10k to make an ad but instead of doing that we thought we'd hire Keeley and film her underwear shopping.' (Keeley is a model, Page 3 style.)
Ignore the obvious problems (what sort of ad would £10k get you, you're doing an ad anyway silly etc) and you've got a great viral effect. The average Zoo customer will think - going against the boss, going against corporate, model, underwear, tits. Brilliant.
All we need now is a catchy url. How does Zootube.co.uk sound? See how simple that is?
Rude (or rather stuff you can't do on TV) = topless model
Funny = zootube.co.uk and men with camera and topless model in underwear shop
Simple = zootube.co.uk
Zootube actually uses You Tube to display videos. There's a blog and you can watching the making of the video and other delights such as strip crazy golf and the Zoo chaps flying a fighter jet - you get the idea.
On brand, correctly targeted, uses the medium properly. A good viral.
Bad Viral - (judge for yourself)
Now here's a bad one. Same audience, practically same mag, certainly same content, it's simple (tick) it's rude (breasts = tick) but it's just not as clever. You can judge it for yourself.
Spent a very enjoyable afternoon in Regents Park visiting some green, ethical,hippy (delete as per your view) festival.
Saw some interesting things. Stuff.
This is great. Good graphic design. Shame the website can't replicate the style.
This kind of protest graphics can be really powerful. But probably not on some old hippy's side car.
Interesting thing to do with kids and plastic bags.
I think this is a good (an obvious) way for TfL to cash in on the Underground brand / licensing / kids / Thomas / characters / brandcasting arena? (If you understand what I mean.) Anyone agree?
When I was younger I wanted to be either an architect, a film director or a graphic designer.
Flim director seems like the kind of job where they only let you work on decent stuff when you get to 60. So that was out.
Architects have to draw straight lines. And I can't do that. So that was out.
However, I love cinema (not videos or DVD's - there's a difference) and I love architecture. So yesterday I visited the RIBA bookshop. Loads of lovely books about design and buildings.
Loads of weird architects, which is always fun.
Why don't they have forms like this for designers?
Wouldn't that be useful?
I've always thought that big American brands need to tap into this to overcome Anti-Americanism. McDonalds for example, why on earth do you sell salads? You sell burgers, for Pete's sake. The Liberati may hate you but they never went to McDonalds anyway.
So here's a great example of authenticity. If it didn't have authenticity it would be horrendous. By authenticity I suppose I mean it has an "only we could do this" factor.
Levis have put on their website a series of letters sent in from customers from way back.
This one is great.
But the they also have letters from Cary Grant, Clint Eastwood and Ronald Reagan. How Levis, how American, how authentic. Good work.
PS McDonalds? Take the annoying music of the website. Ta.