Whilst in Portland I had the pleasure of visting Nike HQ.
Fairly predictably you're not allowed to take pictures. Which is a shame because I can't show you the great design library they have. Which has actual stuff, not just books.
James commented that Nike is such a visual company everything you do is judged on how it looks. I was taken aback by this. It's obvious when you think about it (Nike as a company is almost all visual brand) but it's just not very often you hear that. Most companies are the complete opposite of visual.
Even if their external image is very visual (like, say, Apple) the interior workings are still non visual. Nike has always had a history of great visuals and I guess this has lead to a visual culture by osmosis. But James described it as more than that; if you're proposal looks shit - it ain't getting approved. Most companies aren't like that. Quite the opposite.
Nike HQ is full of little visual touches. A strong graphic influence everywhere. It reminded me of the first time I visited a Nike Town in New York, 1997. One memory I have is of swooshes being used as door handles. Again, obvious when you think about it, but so great to see In Real Life as opposed to a concept. Nike HQ is like that, but more.
I wish you could take pictures because they have lots of great stuff. Lance Armstrong's first ever bike in the Lance Armstrong building, for example. A copy of one of the Palm Springs tees outside the Tiger Woods building. And so on.