We went up to the top of 20 Fenchurch Street the other day. The top of the Walkie Talkie, the 'sky' 'garden'. Russell wrote an eloquent architectural review here. Building Design managed to write a fairly dry review that still makes their views clear. Oliver Wainwright gives it both barrels.
Tl;dr - it's rubbish.
However I noticed this.
I like these characters who remain sort of behind the scenes but have a big impact on society. Professionally famous but anonymous to the general public. The Frank Picks of the world. And I like discovering them via random memorials.
Like this bench.
James Black was a fascinating man, quietly going about his business inventing the world's best selling drug.
I was at UAL: London College of Communication on Monday night to hear Emily Bell give the Cudlipp lecture. She was very good. She started with a tl;dr version, which was smart and was - journalism needs more journalists who have a deep understanding of the technologies of the web.
If you're a UAL student and you're reading this, I'd love to meet for coffee and hear what your experience of digital at UAL is. All of digital, the application process, the internal systems, the teaching resources and the teaching. Drop me a line. Details here.
Found this yesterday at the back of a filing cabinet.
It's an envelope I sent to myself with something written on the seal to prove it hadn't been opened. Luxford is the name of a now closed ad agency I worked at in the late nineties.
This is a thing they teach you at college as a cheap way to project yourself in case of copyright desputes. Theory is; have genus idea, post copy of idea to self, then you have legally dated, sealed proof.
I'd always hoped to be involved in one of these disputes so I could rip open the envelope with a flourish in Courtroom A in front of Rumpole and his mates. But I don't remember any of my brilliant ideas being stolen in that time so I figure it's safe to open.
The envelope is dated 9 Feb 1999. It's very tempting to wait until 2019 and the twentieth anniversary, but I think instead we should open it together, live on this blog, on Monday 9 February. 16 years after posting.
See you back here, then.
Tony and Kim and w+k in general, had loads of little phrases and rules.
One famous one was Kim's obsession with no puns in ads. They were strictly banned. Everyone knew it. (You obviously had to induct the new creatives before they presented puns. It's a popular option with creatives.)
Here are two reasons why that's a good rule.
The ads aren't very well written. They don't make sense without the pun, they make even less sense with them.
They've mistaken pun for idea and sacrified clarity.
No puns, it's a good rule.
Here are two books, both good, both worthy of your consideration.
The first deserves a better review than I can give it. TM: The Untold Stories Behind 29 Classic Logos by Mark Sinclair is a beautiful book, well written and well thought out.
Does the world really need another book on logos? Mark answers that here, but the sucess of this book is in only picking 29. Lots of these logo books cover thousands of them and the quality is dimished with every turn of the page.
This keeps it simple and sticks to the classics. It's a good addition to a design library. In fact, I'd go so far as to say if you only have one book on logos get this one. And then don't buy anymore. You only need one. There are enough logos now.
Next up is the It's Nice That Annual 2014. Always good, this year they've raised their game on the design and it looks great.
They've even done that big hyphenated type thing that you lot love. I can never bring myself to do that, but it looks good here.
Some highlights of the year and some new stuff I hadn't seen before.
Makes me wish I'd answered the questions they sent me...
I know we all know the problems with iTunes. But this is so odd.
Seeing this a lot recently due to not understanding iTunes Match or iCloudTunes or whatever it's called. I have to go into the store to find a song I know I have. I have to click to "buy" the song, it asks me for my password (again) and then it says, "You have already purchased this item. Would you like to download it for free?"
Considering the interaction pattern knows I was attempting to pay money for it, I think they could safely assume I'd be happy to download it for free.
And then to confirm that I have to click "buy".
I know this stuff takes lots of work, but this feels so wrong and pretty straight forward to fix. It's not complicated, it's just hard.
There is a difference between saying you're doing "innovation" or just saying innovation a lot, and doing something that is innovative.
I read somewhere that for <large number> of "innovation units" only <single digit number> of them had actually delivered a product or service.
Mostly what we do is Fix The Basics, not Innovation. Turns out lots of people think that's innovative.
This is pretty much one question - do you watch [football] via the internet?
But I think what they mean is:
a) do you watch [football] on a laptop
b) do you watch [football] on a tablet
c) do you watch [football] on a phone
But they could mean:
a) do you watch [football] in a browser
c) do you watch [football] in an app
But, to be honest, I have no idea.
Couldn't resist this.
It's a bus stop in Baltimore.
I have no idea if it's real, or if it actually works as a bus stop. I can't see any times or a map of routes for example. I think it's real, there is more detail here.
But it looks cool and it's pretty clear what it is, which is nice. And it reminds me of these.
People around my age (39) have grown up among digital transformation.
When we started listening to music it was on vinyl and cassette, when our tastes started hardening it was on mp3s. We've seen both and experienced the change. The same is true of many other things.
The generation after us won't see this. They've grown up with digital technology and they find the analogue ones strange and confusing.
The generation before us largely had digital technology happen to them. They can often find it strange and confusing.
This is neither good nor bad. It just gives us a different view.
Design and creative stuff often seems to invove a lot of bottlenecks. In a traditional agency the Creative Director is a bottleneck and the maybe the ECD. Sometimes you can't see the High Ups for days and this becomes a reall issue.
There's got to be a better way of doing this? I'm not suggesting you have no oversignt and no approval process of any kind. (I have written a little bit about the design process at GDS.)
Maybe there's some interconnected way of doing this that is better. Forces pulling together not apart. Some inter-related approval system. A network effect instead of a bottleneck.