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So, what exactly is branding?

Mention a luxury brand like Rolex and the associations that spring to mind are likely to include wealth, prestige, status, craftsmanship, heritage, exploration. Whatever your take on someone who sports a $30,000 Daytona, it’s probably going to be different from what you think when I mention Swatch. Fun, colourful, cheeky, playful, inexpensive… and no less a reflection of its wearer than a Rolex.

The fact that a cheap, mass-produced Quartz timepiece keeps time more accurately than a hand-crafted masterpiece costing the price of a small car is irrelevant.

Brands ceased to be expressions of product truth a long time ago; in branding, perception trumps reality.

What your customer thinks of you when they hear your name. THAT is your brand, not your logo, your font, your colors or your website.

8 tips for combining typefaces

type tips
You finally chose a typeface that’s perfect for your next print or screen design project. Good job, but don’t break out the bubbly just yet. For many projects, one font isn’t enough to create visual interest and establish the information hierarchy. And when you have multiple typefaces, you want to be sure that they work well together.

2016 tech predictions – as made by a dolt

Any time I see something from an analyst, I immediately mark it as invalid, uneducated drivel. Because it almost always is. But Fred Wilson is a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley—so what’s his excuse for his list of 2016 predictions that are so blatantly obvious, incredibly stupid, or slightly crazy?

I won’t comment on each of his 10 bouts of idiocy, but here are my thoughts on a few of them:

#2 We will see a new form of wearables take off in 2016… If I had to guess, I would bet on something we wear in or on our ears.

No shit, Sherlock, they’re called wireless earbuds. That’s the only wearable that’s going to take off… because wearables haven’t taken off as a concept to begin with. Even Apple’s awesome watch isn’t a mass-market breakthrough.


#3 One of the big four will falter in 2016. My guess is Apple. They did not have a great year in 2015 and I’m thinking that it will get worse in 2016.

If you ignore the fact that Apple had one of it’s most successful years in history, and managed to grow its lead as the world’s largest company, then yeah… they had a really crappy year. And of the “big four” (whomever they are), of course you choose Apple, because they’re the only one that will get you page views.


#4 The FAA regulations on the commercial drone industry will turn out to be a boon for the drone sector…

No. It won’t. The drone industry will sit in the fringe “I play with remote control vehicles” sector that it has sat in for the last few years.


#5 The trend towards publishing inside of social networks (Facebook being the most popular one) will go badly for a number of high profile publishers who won’t be able to monetize as effectively inside social networks…

Yeah. Because publishers are monetizing so effectively outside social networks. Honestly, this one is the big “no-duh” statement you’ll read all year. I’m not even sure about what “trend” he’s referring to, since there are only a small handful of publishers who are test publishing with Facebook, Twitter, etc…


#7 Bitcoin finally finds a killer app with the emergence of…

Oh please. Bitcoin is never going to happen. Stop trying to make it happen.


#9 Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee and… As a result the tech sector will line up behind Hillary Clinton who will be elected the first woman President.

The tech sector is going to line-up behind whomever the Democratic candidate is because they know the Republican Party hates anyone who isn’t a rich, white male. Donald Trump actually has a better chance with the tech sector because, you know, they need a little light comedy in their life.

Is the Apple Watch a stalled platform?

I reply to a large portion of text messages from the watch, using customized quick responses. Tracking my exercise has helped me lose 10 pounds. But that’s about it. And they are pretty much the same ways I used the watch when I first got it.

The platform simply feels stalled.

I recall a lot of journalists claiming the same thing about the Apple TV years ago. The Apple Watch is going to take some time to become a mainstream device that everyone wants or has. Right now, it doesn’t offer anything new, it just offers another way to see what you already can on your phone. It’s going to take time to train people to leave their phone in their pockets and use the watch instead—and even longer to make that a habit that users don’t want to be without.

Mayer fails to bet the Yahoo! farm

Over all, Yahoo remains much the same business it was three years ago. It is a far-flung collection of news, entertainment and communications destinations supported by ads. Ms. Mayer was hired to build something novel. Instead, at best, she appears to be building a better Yahoo — with debatable results.

We all know Yahoo needs to do SOMETHING to shake things up. The debatable question is WHAT? Everybody is quick to point out that Mayer isn’t doing anything… but nobody seems to have a solution.

Font use inspiration

Font inspiration
Have a look at FontsInUse for some great font inspiration for your next design job. The examples are large images, complete with the names of the fonts used in the piece. There’s some really great work here, definitely worth checking out.

The light bulb at Microsoft finally turned on…

lightbulb

A little bulb hanging somewhere over a manager’s desk at Microsoft has finally shed enough light that somebody with half a brain could read the memo that Apple, and many other service companies, have understood for years.

The race to the bottom yields nothing worth having.

Users of Microsoft’s “Unlimited Storage” OneDrive service found out that they’re hosed, and going to have to find somewhere else to store their terabytes of pirated movies.

Folks, there’s just no such thing as a free lunch. There are plenty of free services out there, but even companies the size of Google kill products and services with little warning. Others may start out free, or offer something too good to be true, but come to their senses shortly after you decide it’s critical to your workflow.

If you find a service valuable, pay for it.

Results are in: The pen IS mightier than the keyboard

pen-mightier-than-keyboard

Educators are eager to know how the computers popping up in their classrooms actually affect student learning. A recent study published in Psychological Science confronts the issue head-on.

The results of the study come to no surprise to me. People who hand-write notes are more likely to process the information as it comes in (and have a much easier time recalling the information later), compared to those who basically sit there and transcribe an entire lecture or presentation on a computer.

I compare the results of this study to logo design. Even with all the modern software & hardware technology making it easier and easier to create on your digital devices, you still get better results when you sketch your logo design concepts on paper first. There’s just less distraction with the process. You don’t get hung-up on colors and precise layout when you sketch on paper, which leaves your mind to focus on the basic concept.

Yet another example I can think of is that I find that when I have a client meeting, I’m better able to understand what a client is asking for when I limit my notes to a few high-points (or not take notes at all), than when I used to basically write down every word they said. I learned over time that it’s better to HEAR what a client is saying, not LISTEN to what they’re saying. When you’re taking notes, you’re listening to what they say, but you’re not really hearing them.