Design Quote – Jonathan Ive

The word design is everything and nothing. The design and the product itself are inseparable.

— Jonathan Ive

The Big Game

What a game! Many people watch “the big game” just to see the commercials. Have you noticed that most advertisers refer to the Super Bowl as “the big game”?

The National Football League has a trademark on the phrase “Super Bowl” being used in advertisements. Companies can pay out or choose not to use the phase. “The NFL has 22 official marketing partners that pay upward of $100 million annually to be affiliated with the league. The NFL sends out 80 to 100 cease-and-desist letters each year to businesses promoting some Super Bowl special, usually based on a tip from a competitor that is “playing by the rules”  Brian McCarthy, a spokesperson for the NFL, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

So many advertisers called the Super Bowl “The Big Game” that in 2006 the NFL trademarked that phrase also, but the next year that was retracted because the Super Bowl wasn’t the only Big Game.

What do you think? Is the NFL too pushy about using the words “Super Bowl” without their permission?

Bad Brand Translations

If you have a brand that will be used internationally, check the translation in those countries. You may be surprised at what you find. Even if you do not have plans to sell your brand or product internationally, it would be best to do you homework. Use a name that is not perceived negatively or has no meaning when translated.

Even the largest of companies have found themselves in situations where their brand or product name was negatively perceived. Crayola lists crayon names that have been discontinued on their website.  In 1962, Flesh was discontinued and changed to Peach due to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. The color Indian Red was changed to Chestnut in 1999 because some students thought the name referred to Native Americans, when it actually was a color used in art in India.

Gerber when translated in French means vomit. The Honda Fit in Swedish refers to female genitalia. The Dairy Association’s popular Got Milk campaign was not well received in Mexico where it was translated as Are you lactating. American Airlines had a similar circumstance when their Fly in Leather campaign, promoting leather seats in first class, was used in Mexico. It was translated in Spanish as Fly Naked. The Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan Finger-Lickin’ Good in Chinese is Eat Your Fingers Off.

What other marketing brand blunders have you heard of?

How do you get inspiration?

Have you ever had a project that you needed to work on, but just didn’t feel into to for some reason?

We’ve all been in a situation that we were lacking inspiration to do something. How do you overcome that lack of inspiration? What works for one person may not work for another, so you may need to experiment and see what works best for you. Try these inspiration seeking activities.

– Listen to music
– Take a break and step away
– Look at art
– Enjoy nature
– Exercise
– Read books or blogs
– Drink a cup of coffee
– Be in a completely silent room
– Research to find out more
– Make a purchase pertaining to you project

What do you do for inspiration?

Ed Frank Quote

I think there are two types of people in this world – people who can start things and people who can finish things. And while I place great value on the finishers, it’s the starters who are rare because they can envision what isn’t there.

— Ed Frank

Featured Designer – Jeff Correll

Tell a bit about yourself
I’m a 32 year old casual and quiet guy. I am engaged to be married next October to my fiancée Erin. I enjoy collecting Indian artifacts and vintage action figures. I like all types of Rock music and Science Fiction movies. I  enjoy going to museums, trying international cuisine, and I enjoy out-door activities like hiking in my spare time.

What first prompted you to go into the Design Industry?
As a child growing up I was big into fine arts, painting and drawing things. I always got asked to help on create projects like banners and decorating things around school. My interest and creative abilities lead me to the decision to pursue a career in graphic design.

Where do you get inspiration for your designs and what resources do you pull ideas from?
Nature. Pop Culture. Vintage Advertising. Graffiti on Trains that pass by. To name a few things. Graphic design is all over the place, on every street corner, on TV, on the internet. You can’t avoid it. I’m always looking at things like signs, books, labels or any type of advertising to see what other people are doing. Some times a quick search on the internet can inspire ideas as well. I like to see what the competition is doing at times too.

What are some perks and downsides to being in the Design Industry?
It can be rewarding to see your work published or to get a positive reaction from a client. It’s also cool to be out somewhere or driving down the road and see something you’ve created being used. I consider that to be one of the best perks. Like any job, designing stuff can be stressful at times. Tight deadlines, working on long drawn-out projects and having someone not like your work can be a drawback at times.

What are some of your most memorable design experiences?
One of the most memorable experiences I have is getting to do a photoshoot up in the air in a helicopter above Badin Lake and Uwharrie Point Golf Course. That was a fun day at work just riding around up there with the photographer and getting paid for it.
I got asked to help design some licensed promotional giveaways for a Star Wars Convention in Florida last Summer. It was cool to see hundreds of people lined up waiting to receive something that I helped create.

Take a look at some of Jeff’s work!


Brainstorming – Sprinting

What’s the longest meeting that you’ve ever sat in? I can think back to a few meetings I’ve been in that have lasted around 4 to 5 hours. Granted, we accomplished a lot, but it could have all been done in far less than an hour.

Typically, a human brain can concentrate on something for about 20 minutes.  This explains why the person to your left keeps yawning, the person on your right is playing with their phone, and everyone has suddenly gotten off track and started talking about what their plans are for the weekend.

Short intense meetings are actually proven to be more effective that those long drawn out meetings. If you’re looking for a quick and effective way to have your meetings, you should try sprinting. What’s sprinting? It’s a great way for individuals and groups to brainstorm and find solutions to problems.

Here’s how you do it:
First, You’ll need a timer. Set it for 20 minutes and start it. Next, You’ll need to state the problem that you want to solve and figure out what the answer is for it. Try to use as few words as possible. For example, your problem is that your meetings are always too long. Your answer could be finding ways to have more effective meetings. Then, solve the answer. In other word, what do you need to do to accomplish this? Make a list of ideas, but do not all anyone to judge them at this time.

Take a 20-minute break.

Now, Set the timer for 10 minutes and start it. You’ll need to separate all of the ideas into two categories; keep (things that you would like to look further into) and trash (things that would be best rejected at this time). Next,  Set the timer again and use 10 minutes to elaborate more on the ideas in the keep stack. Feel free to combine two ideas into one, if needed.

You should now have a solution to your problem. If not, just follow the steps again. Next time you schedule a meeting, try this out for a change. After becoming accustom to this way of thinking, your team should be able to come up with innovative ideas in no time.