Posts Tagged ‘designer’

“L” Stands for loser.

February 10, 2012

Another Super Bowl is in the books. Over hyped? Yes! Bad halftime show? Yes! But the game was great and Super Bowl Sunday has become a holiday so why not enjoy.

Now it’s time to prepare for next season. The NFL players are resting, getting needed surgery and getting prepared for mini camps. Just like the players, the NFL is already working on future Super Bowls. And that’s a good thing because the NFL has a little problem with Super Bowl 50. Ever since the first Super Bowl, the league has numbered them using Roman numerals. That would make Super Bowl 50, Super Bowl “L”. “L” stands for loser. This creates a heck of a problem to solve. The league has managed it’s way through and around  Super Bowl IV in 1970 and Super Bowl XXX in 1996. But having a giant “L” with a sponsor’s logo like, say, Nike’s swoosh right above it could be a little awkward. Not to mention being awkward for the host city.

SO. Just like players trying to get stronger and faster, a crack team of designers and sharp thinkers are squirreled away trying to solve this big problem for a big client. Maybe they will take this opportunity to convert the Super Bowl to Arabic numerals. After all 50 is a huge mile stone. They didn’t think there would be ten Super Bowls let alone fifty. Maybe they’ll have the “L” stand for something other than “Loser” or find a way to hide it in the design. Who knows. But what a fun challenge that would be.

I have a lot of great ideas. I’ll just sit back a wait for the NFL to call.

THE LOGO EVOLUTION; an optimistic revolution

January 18, 2011

A logo update often speaks of a company trying to stay up-to-date in its offerings while strengthening its’ connection with consumers. But, with Starbucks falling into the bucket of recent logo evolutions within the last few months, I was forced to put down my Venti, Non-fat, Carmel Macchiato and ponder – could it mean something more? Could we be on the cusp of a branding revolution?

Every New Year begins with the hope for better things to come. Resolutions are made to convince ourselves that we can try harder and be more than we were the year prior. Every January, we are motivated to turn over a new leaf, conceive and commit to a better version of ourselves, and to accomplish big things. 

Essentially, a rebranding.

I believe the growing appetite for brand evolutions may possibly be an effort by these companies to demonstrate a new promise for the future – even in spite of familiarity feeling more sensible to their consumers.

Perhaps after being smacked around by the impact of the recession – and still jostling from the residuals – we are all eager for a more optimistic perspective.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, twice as many Americans think the U.S. economy will be better rather than worse in 2011.

2011 Expectation (vs. 2010) In Terms of the Economy (Percent of Group)
  Expectation % of Group
Group Better Same Worse
National adults 52% 21 25
   East 55 24 21
   Midwest 56 25 18
   South 51 20 27
   West 48 17 32
$75K or more 55 23 22
$30K to $75K 52 21 25
Less than $30K 51 20 27
Republicans 46 23 31
Independents 50 23 26
Democrats 62 19 16
Source: Gallup, December 2010

Recent tracking results show that consumers only became increasingly optimistic about the economy as 2010 came to an end.

Gallup analysts suggest this could be due to our general optimistic nature as Americans, or it could possibly reflect views of a recovering economy.  

Or it could simply mean that we are all ready to move forward.

And, honestly, was it the attempt these organizations made to put forth a new image that has been debated? Or the lack of creativity, planning and strategic foresight that has forced us to question the success of these new brand transformations?

As Paul Rand said, “Good design is Good for Business.”

And bad design will get you posted on every blog and Facebook page known to man!


Get off the sideline

September 17, 2009

HelmetFor those of you who know me, you know I really LOVE football. I played from the age of eight until I was a college sophomore. The players I most admire are those playing multiple roles. You’ve seen them. Guys who play defense and offense. Running backs that play on the kick-off team. Receivers that return punts. For the football illiterate I am simply saying this: versatility on the gridiron is good.

Another place versatility is vital these days is any advertising, marketing, design or other creative shop. While most agency folks are assigned a title (web designer, art director, copywriter, etc.) those titles can be blinders that prevent people from doing their real job: coming up with great ideas for clients.

In our creative department we take versatility seriously.

For example, we have a copywriter who makes music, art directors who design websites and anything else they can get their hands on and a web designer/developer who also happens to be a talented art director and overall idea guy. These discoveries weren’t the result of some agency wide cross-training effort; they happened because people saw beyond defined roles or titles. They got out there, tried new things and helped each other out. The result has been great work for our clients.

I believe the best path to great ideas is across the lines of job titles and disciplines. Get out there, return a few kicks and see what happens.

Like I said, I like football. In fact, here’s a blank helmet so you can design your own team helmet. I know you can do it. While you’re at it, send me your creations. We’ll post the winning designs.

When Creatives and Clients Meet

May 27, 2009

Late on Thursday afternoon, an account manager came bounding to my office with the news that a new client would be here tomorrow. “Tomorrow?”, I gasped. But tomorrow is Friday! Friday, the pre-game show to the weekend. I had already planned to wear my Spiderman t-shirt.

 Now, wait a minute.

Before you start calling me a geek, I know, I’m a geek. The shirt is black with a rendering of the wall crawler crouched in attack position. Plus, it was given to me by my sons as a Father’s Day gift. It’s very cool and it’s tailor made for Fridays.

But, with a client coming in for a meeting which usually dissolves into lunch, too, that meant the sweetest t-shirt ever made would have to wait until next Friday to come into work.

 Eventually, I made peace with the idea this particular Friday would have to be a staright-up business-casual day. But it got me thinking about how creatives react in client meetings and how clients react to creatives.

 In the old days, only the account manager, account executive or some other suit-wearing agency service person interacted with a client. In those days, the creative team rarely saw a client outside of a major presentation, pitch or important client event. Creatives were sheltered from the “harsh realities” of client interaction. Why?

 Usually it is one of two reasons. Or sometimes, both. The cost and the artist stereotype.

 Fortunately for me I work at an agency that values creative input at all levels. However, other agencies I know tend to think that clients look at a group of agency people and see the dollar signs start adding up. Any additional people in a meeting gets the billable time calculator whirring away. I mean, we only need to meet with our agency contact, right? Why is that long-haired person in here? Is that Patchouli? Why is everyone wearing black?

 Then, there’s the artist stereotype. The idea that if a creative is attending a meeting, then someone has to be responsible for him or her. Someone needs to make sure the creative doesn’t speak out of turn, make an off-color joke or make a mess on the carpet. So most creatives head into a meeting feeling a little leashed. And not just from the suit and tie.

 In my experience, some of the best thinking in the business comes from writers, art directors, designers and new media folk. And not just about creative matters.

 Clients have a difficult job to do in today’s market. They have to manage costs and still produce results on often what is a shoe-string budget. Doesn’t sound like much fun to me.

 However, managing a creative project can be fun and different. It’s like a college project. Meeting with creatives can make a client feel creative. Plus, I have found that today’s creatives instinctively think outside of their own discipline. They make it their business to know their clients’ business so they can often provide a fresh way of looking at things.

 There is now a new generation of creatives, too. They are extremely articulate and can sell their ideas convincingly to clients – some even have real MBAs and understand strategy. Go figure.

 And with today’s faster cycles and shorter, budget crunched deadlines,  there is an even stronger case for direct creative involvement.

 So don’t be afraid. Open your basements and barn doors. Let your creatives trade their Spiderman t-shirts, black hoodies and Vans for coats and ties, square-toed pumps and clothes that require dry cleaning.

 You might be surprised to learn that when you unleash creatives, they may be some of the smartest people in your agency.

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