Monthly Archives: April 2012

Don’t Get Fooled!

Let’s talk about chocolate and muffins and chips and frozen yogurt and peanut butter! Hungry? Already have your jacket on and are on your way to the nearest supermarket? Let’s imagine you’re already there. So many brands, so much to look at, so much to think about … It’s overwhelming. How do you choose? Will an image on the packaging catch your attention? Its shape or color? Perhaps the words FAT FREE or LOW FAT screaming out at you have gotten your attention.

Brands are constantly introducing fat-free or low-fat versions of their products. And people are constantly seeking out these fat-free or low-fat versions in an attempt to stay healthy, lose weight, become satisfied with fewer calories, and/or indulge without the guilt. I’m sure you’ve done it at some point in your life: “Oh, I’ll have five cookies today––it’s OK, they’re fat-free,” or “Let me add another spoonful of peanut butter––it’s reduced-fat after all.” Have you ever thought about all the extra stuff that gets added to a low-fat product to make it as tasty as the regular version, whether it’s more sugar, artificial sweeteners, or just pure chemicals? Not everyone thinks beyond “fat-free.”

Check out the following chart:

Reduced-fat peanut butter has 187 calories, while the regular version has 191 calories. A difference of four full calories. Wow! There were times I’d eat three muffins (see photo) for breakfast because they were “fat-free” or finish the whole Häagen-Dazs quart in one sitting because––again––it was labeled low-fat! When love handles appeared out of nowhere, I realized that I’d never paid attention to the nutritional information––or even the ingredients––listed on the packaging. I then understood what had happened: marketers had tried to sell the product to me, and they had succeeded. But they had also fooled me and made me fat!

Marketers, don’t mislead your consumers! Who agrees with me?

Author: Marina Kaljaj

The Competitive Edge May Lie in the Method of Communication

From the first caveman’s grunt to today’s mobile technology, from writing on stone tablets to text messages delivered with 4G speed, we’ve come a long way in a short period of time.

We’re still communicating in more ways than ever … what’s your message? What is the true value of the message you’re sending? The information age has definitely kicked the art of communication up a few notches. Supplying users with an array of devices and applications, the challenge lies in how best to deliver the message. The goal is connecting with your targeted audience at maximum speed and reach.

Social media is an equalizer! It levels the playing field, as each person––anyone––has the ability to be heard and seen. Whether it’s an individual or big business, we want to send and deliver a message that will be read. Again, the goal is the same, but the method can vary.

With so many vying for everyone’s attention, how does one stand out, stay relevant, rise above, shine brighter? By asking the right questions! We know businesses are cutting budgets. More than ever, it’s important to ask what brand benefits set us apart from the competition? How can we analyze an existing customer database to build brand loyalty, to expand into new markets, and perhaps reach deeper into multicultural consumer segments?

In our new global markets, businesses struggle to stand out from their competition. Competition––an old game, but the rules are continually changing. From the ever-increasing reality shows to the politicians running for office and the businessmen trying to increase their bottom lines … we’re all competing.

We can rise above the crowd today and tomorrow by reevaluating our customers, staying abreast of new ways of grabbing their attention, and reanalyzing, as there’s no one-time solution. Technologies and how we communicate are forever changing!!

Author: Velda Gardiner

Good Vibrations: Future Skeleton Keys and Hard-Working Tattoos

AT&T Labs is working on a system in which your cell phone or wristwatch would create a unique vibration that travels through your bones, reaching a receiver in a door handle and automatically unlocking the door. (The vibration can’t be felt but would be audible in a silent room.)

On a related but not as new note: Nokia has filed for a patent on a magnetic vibrating tattoo. According to the patent, the tattoo (really more of a skin graft) could be set so that each time you get a call or email, you would feel a different vibration pattern.

Author: Susan Hallinan

Photo-whoops! The Joys of Photoshop Mishaps

Being a creative is tough. Art directors and designers alike have so much to contend with: copy, logos, budget constraints, time constraints, creative director input, account management input, CLIENT input––oh, and the biggest nagger of all, the critic with the harshest and most ruthless taste: themselves.

So it’s no surprise that with all this pressure, mistakes are bound to happen. I get it, art directors––it’s a lot. I’m an account guy with a big, bleeding heart who feels your pain—well, unless you muck my ish up. That is unacceptable.

The rest of the world is going to laugh at your mistakes. I’m sorry, unfortunately that’s just the life you’ve chosen. You’re in the public eye and your mistakes get seen by millions.

And now there’s a forum to see even more. I’d like to point you to a website that is doing its best to find your final art flaws: www.psdisasters.com, a collection of Photoshop mistakes made in years past and available for years to come.

Be sure to check out the Greatest Hits section and see brilliance like this:

Adweek has even gotten in on the fun. The headline from last week’s page read: “Ad in Target Circular Either Photoshopped or Features an Alien.” Love it.

Okay, okay, so there’s plenty to laugh at. Again, I recognize that you sometimes only have 25 minutes to whip something together. That being said, I leave you with a site from people who clearly have 25 minutes to spare:

www.onetinyhand.com

If you like the images below, you’ll definitely love this site. Check it out!

Author: Eric Swenson

Transitioning from Print to Digital Publishing Design

If you are currently making a living as a print designer, I can almost guarantee that you have thought about what it would take to design for digital publishing. And by digital publishing, I mean publishing to tablets and smartphones. For many designers, this issue has caused a great deal of stress. Well, I am happy to report that Adobe is making designing for digital publishing much easier with its new release of Creative Suite 6.

Creative Suite 6 boasts a whole plethora of new features that will help designers and the like perform their daily job functions more efficiently. What makes this release better than its predecessor is how you can take a print layout in InDesign and transition it over to any tablet or smartphone––landscape or portrait! With previous versions of Adobe’s digital publishing suite, you had to design two separate files for portrait and landscape orientations. This led to a lot of duplicate work for designers and never allowed fluid translations to different devices.

Take a sneak peak at CS6 and some more interesting features!

http://www.youtube.com/user/Photoshop

Author: John Mehl

Onions––really?

You got it right: she is chopping an onion with an extremely large knife, on a really big cutting board, on the unstable Queens-bound N train in New York City. And trust me––it’s a shaky train ride. I take it to work every day. It makes quite a few bumpy turns during my half-hour commute; when this happens, you’d better hold on. Using a knife on this rocky subway is definitely not the smartest idea. Plus, aren’t knifes forbidden in public?! Well, maybe that’s the reason she got my attention.

Living in NYC, I see a fair share of “performance art” on the subway. It does put a smile on my face for the most part, although I rarely talk about anything I saw once I go above ground. But this lady “dressed to impress” in a little black dress caught my eye.

Onions––really?

Take a look at the video:

and let’s get creative: How far would you go for attention?

Author: Marina Kaljaj

Communication Arts’ 17th Annual Interactive Annual Awards

Communication Arts’ interactive annual winners were selected in this month’s 17th edition of the competition. This year’s panel of jurors spent 10 weeks sifting through and discerning the best 35 projects to be showcased—a job I do not envy.

The projects were divided into five categories: Advertising, Information Design, Entertainment, Self-Promotion and Experimental.

There are some really amazing projects that are worth checking out. Visit the site here for more.

A few picks:

Experimental

Per Communication Arts: “Overview: When Forever 21 claimed the iconic Virgin Record store in Times Square as its new flagship location, its goal was to stop the 500,000 daily passersby dead in their tracks. The result is a digital display that’s the center of attention on pop culture’s biggest stage. The billboard is broken into multiple LED surfaces at the heart of which is a high-definition main display that features a rotating schedule of content and models that interact over a live video feed of pedestrians. A companion Web site served as a means to connect the Forever 21 community. The online hub allowed users to see the billboard live, real-time tweets and fashion/culture tips that match the brand’s youthful, fast-moving image.”

Advertising

Per Communication Arts: “Overview: During the holiday season, consumers are jaded by the glut of shallow and meaningless marketing tactics from corporations. Starbucks stood out from the clutter with this multimedia campaign that raised awareness and donations for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS in Africa. On December 7, 2009, musicians in 156 countries sang All You Need Is Loveat exactly the same time. The performances were streamed onto screens at an event and broadcast live at StarbucksLoveProject.com and a video featuring all the performances was posted on YouTube. The entire Internet audience was encouraged to get involved in multiple visitor-participation options, each resulting in a donation from Starbucks, including participating in the worldwide sing-along and contributing to a crowdsourced tapestry of Love Drawings.”

Entertainment

Per Communication Arts: “Overview: LEGO Photo, available free at the iTunes App Store, was a component of the 2010 LEGO Cl!ck campaign and the first official iPhone application for LEGO. The app works with saved images on the iPhone and iPod touch and lets consumers immortalize their favorite images in LEGO form. Users can simply choose a photo from an existing gallery or point the camera to snap a photo then touch the screen to watch their masterpiece build. Additional screen taps show each portrait in nine different color palettes. And, celebrating the portraits is easy; users can upload them to social networking pages, e-mail or print them and tweet them using #legoclick.”

Author: Eric Swenson