In an age where people rarely send letters or faxes. In a world where saving paper and ink would be seen as a huge advantage. In a time when every home has a desktop printer but those printers are used to print out address, or phone numbers or tickets. Why does the default paper size have to be A4?
One of the biggest uses of A4 is for stuff like this.
Every single one of these notices could have been produced on A5. Indeed they would have looked better on A5. In fact, I'll bet the total print area of most of these notices could fit on A5.
So why don't we have smaller, A5 printers. Why isn't A5 paper the standard paper size you can buy in Tescos? Why isn't an A5 printer more common place at home?
Wouldn't that be a more useful and a more efficient size?
How about this for a fab recession busting unproduct digital idea?
Folksy are doing a thing called Upcycling. You take second hand / charity stuff and make it into something ‘new’ and
desirable to be sold at an online auction starting on the 7th December. All proceeds from the auction will go to Sue Ryder Care.
That's good isn't it?
There will also be a winner - the person that makes the best thing in various categories. The winners get to display their work in the Sue Ryder Care Camden store for one month from the middle of Jan to the
middle of Feb in a specially constructed Folksy set. That's a fantastic opportunity.
I've written an article for a new magazine in the Design Week / Centaur stable. It's called Interiors and it's available in all good bookshops now. Helpfully the article is also available online and you can read it here.
Rhizotron originally means "clear-walled chamber through which one can observe roots as they grow". This version is a little different as it climbs through and over the tree tops at Kew Gardens.
I was impressed by how it seemed to fit into it's surroundings. It would have been an obvious (aesthetic) choice to make it from wood but I prefer it in metal (iron?). It looks stronger for a start. I know wood can be as strong as metal, but I can imagine that those of a vertigo disposition would feel better knowing it was made from metal. The rust colour looks organic and even bolts have a natural feel about them.
I loved the way they've mirrored the look of tree branches for these supports. It's got that nice exciting engineering Brunel look about it. It doesn't look threatening. It looks cool.
The view are pretty cool too and you get to walk amoungst the trees. Little plaques tell more about the trees as you pass and there's even a Bluetooth game.
I went to Unpackaged the other day. John Grant and many others have talked about Unpackaged before, but briefly, it's a shop where all the stuff they sell has no packaging.
I'll admit I was hugely sceptical. It just sounds like some twee, middle England, poncey London, greenwashing fest. After all, anyone can sell this sort of stuff with no packaging.
But I'm pleased to report it's a lot, lot better than that. Sure - it's small and it's expensive, but it's also brilliant. And it looks great.
Those little boxes hold flour and nuts and dried banana skins and what not. They're all designed to be easy to clean, even the tags can be wiped clean and reused for another product. That's good sensible design.
So you bring your own bag / box / jar and you save 50p. They will even refill olive oil bottles, which is pretty impressive.
There are some things they can't unpackage yet. Ecover won't give them a great big vat of washing up liquid for example, but you can leave all the packaging there for recycling. I understand this is common practice in Germany?
There's lots of great little ideas here. Yes, it needs to be bigger (in size and scale) and it needs to be cheaper to have a big effect, but it's a great start and it's a glimpse of how things could be. Surely all packaging designers should (nowadays) start with the goal of having no packaging and then work backwards from there?
UPDATE: Catherine Conway from Unpackaged has just emailed me to clarify a few points.
Firstly (and importantly) the shop was designed by Multistorey
Secondly she's asked me to correct an inaccuracy,
"you mention that some things can’t be unpackaged- the Ecover example is wrong as they do provide us with vats of cleaning products" "most people buy it [Ecover] in refills from us." "an example of something we can’t unpackage currently would be cotton wool or toothpaste."
We also had a little discussion about what I meant by expensive. Cath says, "The question of whether it’s expensive is a moot point- our prices
compare pretty favourably with like for like products (organic, fair
trade) in supermarkets but are obviously more expensive than their
I guess I should have been clearer. What I really mean is that for an unpackaged concept to be adopted across the whole country it would have to cater for the people that shop in Iceland as well. Do you know what I mean?
I went to the London College of Communication the other day. It's more famously known as the London College of Printing but they had a rebrand a few years ago. It's a great place and pretty famous amongst design colleges. Walking round there was that great feeling that 'stuff on the walls' gives you.
Anyway. If you're reading this and you're from the college here's a links to a few of things I talked about.
I basically regave (Tom, is that a word? I can't be bothered to look it up) my Applied Green talk. It was slightly different because things have moved on a bit and the audience was different, but here's a link to the talk pretty much word for word, videos and all.
Here's a link to a post called Green(ish) Printing which was written by Marcus Brown who is a printer. It's well worth a read. And remember I said you should get some printers in to talk to you. Do that. They know about this stuff and they like being asked.
Here's a link to Thomas Matthews website that I mentioned. Thomas Matthews are a design company that know a lot about sustainability issues. Sarah Thomas, one of the founders, also helped start Three Trees Don't Make A Forest which is a kind of resource for eco friendly designers. I must admit to having reservations about Three Trees. The picture of them all in the trees really makes me cringe. But it's a difficult and admirable thing they're doing and they deserve our support. (PS If you're reading this Sophie, Nat or Caroline I'd love you to come on here and talk about Three Trees.)
I got sent this in the post the other day. Actually a few of us got sent this in the office.
I'm about to slag it off pretty heavily. Part of me feels bad about that because I imagine that every time any printer/paper company sends designers a mailer they get nothing but grief and gripes and turned up noses.
But, you know, fuck it.
You can talk the talk but can you walk the walk. This 'talk' is about green printing. Using environmentally friendly papers and stuff. The cover is printed on Greyboard which is basically all the dregs from the recycled mush. Designers always think it looks great. Good start.
Then it takes you through all the different terminology PEFC means, what FSC means. What carbon footprint means. Obviously it uses all their different environmentally friendly papers throughout.
But there's so much of it. It's 32 pages long.
Right at the end it says, "James McNaughton Group now offer a range of carbon neutral paper products". That winds me up. Don't just offer a range of carbon neutral paper products, make the whole bloody business carbon neutral and be done with it. You're either carbon neutral or you're not. It's not an upgrade option.
32 pages of big, over produced, over designed, printed thing to tell me about environment friendly options. That's just not good, is it? I'm picking on McNaughton's(they can take it) but we get sent loads of these all the time and it's really starting to get on my nerves. Another big convoluted bit of print sent to several people at the same address is not the way forward people.
And before someone asks; no, we're not perfect. We're not entirely carbon neutral and we don't use 100% waterless printing. But we don't send people 32 page mailers.
1. As I've mentioned before (in graphic detail) we compost in our house. It's very good fun. But it's a little inconvenient to take potato peelings or banana skins or Tesco's compostible packaging out into the garden as and when. It's nicer to store them up and then take them all out at once. That's a better use of time. So I looked everywhere for a kitchen compost pot, or a compost-before-it-goes-to-the-garden holder thing, but I couldn't find one. So I made do with this little tupperware box instead.
It does the job perfectly. It has a little flap for slipping in a tea bag and a big lid for emptying the thing. But still, you would have thought that someone would have designed such a thing, wouldn't you? You know, to encourage people to compost.
2. We drink a lot of milk in my house. So much milk that I ended up having to pick up an extra pint almost every night on the way home. This combination of bad household management and post Tube forgetfulness anger led to me stopping a milkman and asking if he delivered to our street. He did and now we have lovely milk delivered straight to the door. And of course it's absolutely brilliant.
I suspect millions have people have said this before but it's reminded me what a brilliant system a milkman is. Those glass bottles are wonderful things, much more sustainable than all that plastic and we're reusing them too! On the Refuse, Reuse, Recycle scale a milkman is firmly in the Reuse bit.
Which reminds me that new isn't always better, and this tugs at a thought I've got that we've probably already got a lot of the climate change/ sustainability / design solutions it's just that we threw them out in the name of 'progress' or more likely 'revenue' and 'sales targets'. But it's not just that, you instantly trust your milkman more than Tescos and you've very quickly got a decent relationship with him. I don't want to be the billionth person to bore you with the suggestion that milkman should deliver post and parcels and so on, but this reminded me of the Yakult Ladies. Yakult Ladies deliver Yakult in Japan in a similar way to how we deliver milk in the UK. Except they do much more than that, in some instances they have the keys to your house and they pop in and put the Yakult in the fridge. They also do something Yakult calls 'Social Activity Born of Delivery Work' [scroll down]. Brands, you could learn a lot from that.
3. Lastly, I've started a DVD rental website.
It's called eBay. Here's how it works; say you were reminded by Wil's illustration that you'd always meant to watch Any Given Sunday. Log on to eBay and buy it. It's gets delivered direct to your door in a few days, total cost - a couple of quid. When you've watched the film, sell it again. You could even use the same envelope if you wanted. You'll sell it for, ooh, a couple of quid, making the whole transaction fiscally neutral to you. Obviously newer DVD's cost a bit more, older ones a bit less, but repeat forever and you're effectively getting DVD rental for, err, nothing.
I've been doing this for a few months now and it works like a dream. I know you have to wait a few days for the film to be delivered and I know (shock horror) that the DVDs are second hand, but when I hear friends' tales of woe regarding Lovefilm or Amazon DVD Rental I can't resist a little chuckle to myself.
This is a brilliant unproduct idea. No more stuff is being created and yet money is still being passed through the system fulfilling the urge humans have to spend and greasing the wheel of capitalism at the same time. More money, no more stuff. Surely the Holy Grail?
"Imagine this design assignment: Design something that makes oxygen, sequesters carbon, fixes nitrogen, distills water, accrues solar energy as fuel and makes complex sugars as food, creates microclimates, changes sugars with the seasons, and self replicates... Why don't we knock that down and write on it?"
I thought you might like it if I posted my talk here. For the first time ever I've followed Jon Steel's advice and written my talk down, in long hand. One of the benefits of this is that I can post the whole shooting match, here, for you wonderful people.
Hello. My name is (etc, etc, I'll skip that bit here. You lot know who I am.)
Today I’m going to lay out a case for how I think designers, and the design industry, can help with the challenges facing us. I’d love to know what you think about these ideas.
But before we do all that, let’s start with some fun.
Let’s be honest, all this Green / Sustainability stuff can get a bit heavy, can’t it?
I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear someone say Sustainability, it reminds me of Phil Collins. You know, sus sus sustainability, like sus sus sussudio. So in the spirit of that Gorilla ad I wanted to play you this little film I made especially for today.
Seriously, we hear a lot of talk about sustainability in the design industry. Sometimes it even says “sustainability” in client briefs.
According to the Design Council, 95% of design consultancies have less than 5 staff and a turnover of less than £250k a year. So the problem is that when you mention sustainability to 95% of designers they’re not thinking about saving the planet, they’re thinking about next years Annual Report & Accounts.
And that’s part of the problem.
I’m a designer, I run a design company and I accept pounds. We all do.
As an industry we’ve learnt that more stuff equals more pounds. And pounds are good for our sustainability. That’s a pretty simple business model.
If a client asks us to design two postcards; we think, a lot of the time subconsciously, if I can get them to do three postcards that will be great, four will be even better. Because more stuff equals more pounds.
If a client asks us to design a brochure; we say silly things like, “Wouldn’t it be a great idea to send them a letter with the brochure. Yeah, and let’s send them a postcard before we send them the brochure so they know the brochure is coming. And if we send them a postcard before we send them the brochure we really ought to send them a postcard after we send them the brochure.” Much nodding of heads.
I once sat in a meeting where someone said, “I always say, if you’ve got a full colour RPC you should have a full colour envelope”. Yes, they said, “I always say.”
OK, so by default as an industry we produce more stuff because that’s gets us paid more. We all get that, right?
But as an industry we don’t just do that, we also do this:
in case you didn’t spot it
that’s freshly prepared crispy potato slices.
Yes, freshly prepared.
That’s pretty ridiculous, isn’t it?
It’s easy to stand up here and slag off unnecessary packaging, but it’s not just packaging designers who are at fault. Designers, by default, just produce lots of stuff.
Here’s our letterhead.
(I'll skip through these pictures to save pixels...)
Nice isn’t it? Nice big arrow. Bit of Helvetica. You know. That’s the one we use for short messages. This is the one we use for longer letters. Oh and there’s this one as well. We use that, er, when we’re bored of the orange one. And there’s this one too. We use this one for invoices.
So here they are all together. Hands up - I designed these. But it’s ridiculous isn’t it? How can we justify 4 different letterheads? You can’t.
And it’s not just packaging and it’s not just self indulgent self promotional stuff.
It’s classics like this.
Is there really a need for this nowadays?
I know there’s more than a designer involved here, marketing managers and brand managers and account managers can all take their share of the blame; but seriously, as designers we could have stopped this. Really, someone should have stood up and said, “Excuse me, but isn’t that a little unnecessary?”
So, the climate change elephant in the industry is, designers, it’s our fault.
I honestly think we have to admit that before we can move on.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, as I already mentioned there are loads of other people involved, but whose fault is it that a swede comes wrapped in cellophane? That potatoes come, freshly prepared, in a great big fucking plastic box?
It’s the designers fault.
And if you won’t agree that it’s the designers fault at the very least you’ve got to admit that the designer has done nothing to stop it – which in my view makes it the designers fault.
Now, I don’t want to stand up here and say all designers are bad and we should just get everyone to make less stuff. That’s lovely and everything, but it’s very unrealistic and it’s not gonna help with this bit.
If more stuff equals more pounds, than less stuff equals less pounds, right?
Now you might think that a gas guzzling 4.8 litre car can never be environmentally friendly, but just think about that stat for a bit. What they’re saying is that 60% of the stuff we’ve made is so desirable, so well put together, so well designed, that people are still using them.
Imagine if 60% of other stuff was still in use. I don’t know about you, but I’d be happy if 60% of the iPods I’d owned were still working.
Imagine if 60% of carrier bags were still being used. Imagine if 60% of computers were still in use today. 60% of food packaging was still in use.
Lewis Mumford, the historian said “Why should we so gratuitously assume, as we constantly do, that the mere existence of a mechanism for manifolding or of mass production carries with it an obligation to use it to the fullest capacity?”
Or why do constantly we make as much stuff as we can, rather than as much stuff as we need?
Now. Take a look at this:
This is a video simulation of all planes flying across America in 24 hours.
These are the flight paths from a Heathrow take off.
The designer in me says wouldn’t it be nicer if some of those lines were, y’know, a little bit straighter. I could drop those flight paths into Freehand, mess about with the Bezier curves and straighten that mess out in no time at all.
A report in June in that well known design journal The Economist found that “if air traffic control systems were reorganized” a fuel efficiency gain of 12% could be made. Fuel efficiency gain of 12%.
What do they mean by reorganized? A continuous gentle descent into the airport (as opposed to a stepped descend, hold, descend again approach) could save around $100k per year, per aircraft. British Airways have 235 planes so that’s a saving of $23.5M every year just by redesigning the flight paths. 23 million dollars just with a bit of Freehand work!
And obviously, not only are we saving money, we’re saving fuel.
Ok, I’m aware that all sounds a bit naive.
So I spoke to some air traffic controllers. They said that whilst that would work, you can’t just go around redesigning flight paths. There are all sort of restrictions. For example you can’t fly over Buckingham Palace.
But listen to their other ideas for making flight paths shorter, this is the exact words,
“Better airport signage = better retrieval of baggage = better turn around time for aircraft loading and unloading = more gates available through operating hours = more aircraft can be landed in a given time period = less aircraft time in the air waiting to land = less fuel wastage from circling aircraft.”
“Even better carry on luggage storage may mean less time loading/unloading = more gates available for a new plane to land at = less time in the air waiting to land. Maybe it's not better storage but better carry on luggage.”
“Maybe it's better exits in an aircraft - could the side of the aircraft just roll up?”
“Maybe the aircraft could be a "canister" carrier, unload the canister, pickup a new one and away you go.”
Let’s look at what they said there: Better airport signage. Better luggage storage. Better carry on luggage. Better exits. Just better aircraft. Aren’t these all design problems? Are you starting to see what I mean?
That other esteemed design publication, BBC News online, reported in February that Belkin, the people that make USB sticks etc, reviewed the packaging on one of its network card products.
“The alternative design signified a 50% reduction in box volume, which will boost transport efficiency and cut material costs.
The new design saved more than 18,000 kilograms of paper and 2,400 kilograms of plastics each year and reduce packaging-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 104 tonnes annually - with clear financial and environmental benefits.”
18,000 kilograms of paper. 2,400 kilograms of plastic. 104 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Clear financial and environmental benefits. Ahh ha, we’re back to pounds again. Good.
You see - I want designers and the design industry to move towards a business model where design is a way of thinking rather than a way of creating more billable units.
Someone with a designer’s brain can spot these problems and can go about solving them.
Someone with a designer’s brain can be invaluable in the fight against climate change.
I keep having this thought that the best design minds in history would see Climate Change as amazing opportunity. Don’t you get the feeling Da Vinci could have knocked up an alternative fuel in his spare time? Don’t you think that Raymond Loewy would have found an efficient way to package some of Tesco’s Finest Swede before his elevenses?
I want this speech to be a rallying call to the design industry. We ought to say to companies don’t use us to implement your shit ideas, use us at a much higher level.
Now, I don’t just mean chuck loads of designers into every boardroom in the country, that wouldn’t work. I mean that people who think like designers think, can see these solutions more easily than others.
In the FTSE 100 38% of CEO’s have an accounting background, 23% sales 18% general management (whatever that means) 0% have design backgrounds.
I want people with design backgrounds to be CEO’s and CFO’s and CMO’s and town planners and air traffic controllers and European Commissioners.
You’ll probably have noticed recently that Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, LG, and Nokia have all agreed to standardize their mobile phone chargers. Everyone can agree that’s a brilliant idea. And I’m sure some designer at Nokia or Motorola had the idea ages ago, but why have they only done this now?
Because the EU's WEEE directive makes manufacturers responsible for some of the costs associated with recycling their equipment, and a broadly applied standard removes the need for a new charger to be distributed with every phone.
This is cheaper (ahhh pounds again) for the manufacturer, and also results in a smaller, less heavy box, which reduces on shipping costs, storage costs, warehouse costs and so on.
So regulation forced them to do it. Wouldn’t it have been nice if it was the other way round? Wouldn’t it have been nice if the CEO of Samsung had a design brain and stuck his neck out and they’d done this off their own back?
I want design to be a management tool. I want designers to get paid (more) for brilliant thinking.
“Reuse, reduce, use less, make smaller, make clever, we're running out of resources can you still do something clever?”
Well to me, that’s a design brief.
All these climate change issues look like design problems to me.
Maybe we won’t be able to get people to change their behaviour so we’ll have to work around that.
My brother lives in America and so I got over there quite a lot. Am I going to stop flying out to see him? Well, yeah, I might but my Mum and Dad won’t. And they’re not gonna miss the opportunity to fly out and see their grand children. So may we have to redesign the planes so that they use 50% less fuel. Maybe boats were the answer? We just need to design them so they’re a little bit faster…
Maybe we need to design a communications system that means they can get the sensation of holding that grandchild from their lounge. I don’t know the answers, but I know that the problems are design problems.
You think I’m mad? Remember when people used to think you needed the tactile feeling of an LP to sell music?
I guess I’m saying to you – I’m a designer. Use me better.
"A dull disposable razor dragged across a layer of foam or gel on your
cheeks is a step backward from the past, not an improvement."
Isn't that sad? Seriously.
I say sad because think of the hundred's of millions of pounds worth of R&D technology invested into shaving by huge global corporations. Think of all those MBA's and all those sharp brains. Think of all those meeting rooms and flip charts and PowerPoints. All that - and we're going backwards.
Isn't that sad?
The article goes on to say that all you need for a good shave is water, a blade and some cream. That's right, just one blade. Not five.
"Millions of men have been shocked to discover that the “old fashioned”
method of shaving they thought went out with the Hula Hoop is actually
the best quality shave you can get."
You see, according to the article, a "cheap shaving gel" that "smells just like your deodorant" actually dries the skin. And all those fancy blades don't work because they're designed for "the knucklehead who thinks the harder he rakes the razor across his cheeks the closer his shave will be" when actually the less blades and the lighter the touch, the better the shave.
Isn't it sad that we've actually designed a considerably worse experience than we started with hundreds of years ago?
Lastly, the article says,
"somewhere along the line, when shaving became more about cheap,
disposable razors than a nice, precision-made metal tool in your hand,
it became a brainless routine to rush through in the morning without
even thinking about it".
How does this relate to design?
I think this example is a metaphor for how marketing departments and brands and designers have managed to make stuff worse using design. And not just worse, but we've actually come full circle and designed a solution that's the complete opposite of the answer. You can see a lot of that in modern design. You see it in websites, in products, in basic information, in wrapping swedes in polythene.
In The Hidden Persuaders there's a great story about a guy who was asked to double shampoo sales. He came back and said that they should add the words "repeat if necessary" to the text on the back of the bottle. Sales doubled almost immediately. OK, I'm paraphrasing that, but you all know the story and you get my point.
Yet again we've taken something that was perfectly good at its job and we've added another layer that actually makes the experience worse not better. Not only that we've made it "cheap" and "disposable", the complete opposite of valued.
If we are to take the environment and Reduce, Reuse, Recycle seriously then we've got to stop adding layers of badly designed, badly thought ought extra stuff into everything. We've got to make the best use of the materials available to us. We've got to really think about what we're designing and not just keeping adding blades.
We've got to say enough, more. One blade is enough. One rinse with the shampoo is enough. Nature's natural packaging is enough.
Not a review, not a discussion about the effect on the global conference market, just a few observations on the graphic design project.
I guess we've all done work for friends or friends of friends. We certainly have here, and almost every time it's gone tits up. Or at the very best it hasn't gone very well. This was a big concern of mine when Russell asked us to help out with Interesting.
It's a fantastic project, really intriguing. But history tells us to avoid these projects like the plague. They always go tits up.
This one didn't. In fact, I think it went rather well.
So why is that? Although I don't really know; several reasons spring to mind. Possibly Russell is more used to working with designers than previous friends; although we've worked with people who have worked with designers before. From the outset we agreed a budget of zero; I think this is important, as free is very different from cheap. You can't beat quite good and free as someone once said.
On to the brief. The hardest part of this brief was to create something when nothing was really needed, in the traditional sense anyway. For a normal conference you'd need brochures, adverts, banners and all sorts of other bumpf. Interesting didn't need any of this. The tickets were already sold out before we started working on the project.
Yet we still needed a 'look', we still needed a visual language and Russell needed some images to stick on the blog from time to time.
The second hardest part was to make it genuinely interesting. Interesting by actually being interesting rather than by trying to create interesting. Interesting without being messy and incoherent. Interesting without getting sick of the bloody word interesting.
Harder than it sounds.
This is the little logo type we created. A proper old fashioned logo type. It's not a typeface (it was hand drawn) it's not a blurry symbol. It doesn't change colour. In fact it doesn't change at all. It's a mark.
It's deceptively simple, and at first it doesn't look that important. But look how hard that little fella worked. It was used in black, in white, and reversed out of a square. Just sitting there, not getting in the way, communicating clearly.
It worked on almost every colour known to plastics manufacturers, it worked on record sleeves, tshirts and lots else. (If 'lots else' is valid English.)
Our studio during an intense bout of screen printing.
Lots of interesting, exciting things happened that we didn't expect or we didn't predict. Early on Kingsley spent a day at home making screens and he emailed them into the office.
Just great little images. The logotype quietly sitting there.
One day Razvanpopped in and helped us take a few pictures. We were constantly testing the screen on different substrates. Out of habit, I uploaded all of these pictures to Flickr.
And then Russell started using them in blog posts.
This is what I'm going to call the visual language spilling out (because I can't think of a more sensible expression to describe what I mean). It's all there, you recognise it as Interesting 2007, it all fits, it's all on brand... and yet there's no big identity manual, there's no brand manager, there's no marketing plan.
Quite close to the big day Dino rang and donated 350 CD's of a mix he'd made. It seemed appropriate, interesting and (sorry) on brand to reuse 7 inch singles. We bought 250 odd from eBay for about £5 and we traded the rest with our friendly local Oxfam manager. And so Tom and Kingsley created this fantastic CD holder. Here's that logotype again, just sitting there, not getting in the way, communicating clearly, adding to the thing.
One aspect I found really interesting - as well as the 'official stuff', the tshirts
the bags and the CDs;
was the visual language spilling out into the day and into the far reaches of the blogosphere.
Here's Matt sporting the logo on his presentation and wearing his tshirt. Bonus points for that.
It's all there, you recognise it as Interesting 2007, it all fits, it's all on brand...
What's interesting for me as a designer is how the visual language seemed to take on a life of it's own. Even within our studio. Without instruction it spread in a way that was always totally appropriate. The designers biggest fear when having anything less than 100% control is that everything will look shit. This didn't happen, in fact I thought the randomness of the substrates, blog posts, Flickr pictures added to the richness of the project. Which was the idea, without being the idea. If you see what I mean.
Russell and I had talked before about big brands allowing their logos to be remixed and allowing people to create their own versions of logos and graphics. I doubt if that will happen anytime soon, but I think there's some really interesting lessons about control here. It would be nice if a brand could create a true spirit or a 'way' for the graphics (not for the brand, but for the graphics) that was then allowed to be taken and interrupted by consumers, users and people. "You are more than what you have become" as Mufasa says to Simba in The Lion King.
There's also something very interesting about the reusing aspect. We didn't produce any new stuff. We added more value to existing things. That's not easy to do well or to do seriously, but when it comes off, again, it seems to be more than the sum of it's parts. Surely that's what a lot of branding is about today? Becoming more than the sum of your parts?
It was genuinely rewarding to see how chuffed people were to collect their tshirts. If you're a graphic designer you don't often see that sort of reaction to your work.
I hope there's a brand (a big, high street brand) that could adapt some of these principles and build something big and powerful without micro managing it. Surrendering control and gaining influence and so much more.