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Convergence Creates Controversy

Several years ago my brother and I were discussing our worst album purchases. He was quick to attack my Creed Human Clay CD and mentioned MC Ren as a regrettable purchase (Sorry to all the Creed and MC Ren fans). This was at a time where I was a member of BMG and obtained my albums via a mailing list subscription. I ordered what BMG offered that fit my tastes and take a chance on an album I thought I might like. Of course, there were some not so great albums that slipped through the cracks and you would have to listen through an entire album to decipher what you did or did not like. Today, the landscape has been changed forever as new mediums dictate how we listen to and purchase music.

We are in an era of convergence. Apple’s line of iPods, iPhones and iPads are leading us to what many call the Black Box Fallacy (accessing all media content through one device). Shuffling through your albums (be it record, cassette or CD) by hand has been replaced with scrolling or swiping through digital album covers through iTunes.

The days of phones being used for talking and music players used for only music are nearly extinct. Being without my smartphone for several hours (having misplaced it in a friend’s car) over the weekend left me feeling nearly helpless (although briefly liberated). In an instant, I realized I didn’t have a phone, my contacts, GPS, way to check email on the go, music player, camera and a portable web browser. When I lost my (now retired) Sony Walkman as a child, I was bummed. When I lost my phone on Saturday, I almost panicked.

While established artists like Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z can usually rely on their fan base to make their albums reach gold or platinum status, the music industry’s landscape makes it extremely difficult for unknown artists to break through.  As Scott Berinato’s post  The iTunes Effect and the Future of Content says, “Perhaps artists will have to ‘sell out’ to video games and placement in advertisements and TV shows (as many have done) with increasing frequency.” Evidence is quickly proving this. I first heard of the band Phoenix through a car commercial opposed to what normally would have been on the radio first.

Video games like Guitar and Rock Band are giving new and independent artists another (although not as lucrative) platform to show their music to the masses and some people are always purchasing ringtones for their phones. Is it enough? How does a new artist even attract attention to themselves? Do they have to dress outlandishly like Lady Gaga just to make headlines? The days of releasing a single, music video and the anticipation of an album are almost of a bygone era. I can remember a time where Michael Jackson premiering a music video in primetime was an event. It was almost like a mini-movie. With MTV and VH-1 needing higher ratings and revenue finding an actual video on those networks is a rarity as video are now relegated on-demand via YouTube or niche channels. Yet another way for the consumer to easily decide what they do or don’t like. The hours of commercials I would sit through in the early days of watching MTV on cable, have now been replaced with a 30 second spot I begrudgingly watch before a music video on YouTube.

While listening to music on the radio is still a constant, it is no longer the main way we consume music. If I wanted a new album, I would hear about it word of mouth and maybe take a chance on purchasing it without hearing more than one or two songs (along with paying a steep price at Sam Goody). Today, I can go on iTunes or Amazon and sample 30 seconds off each song and read a plethora of customer reviews. It narrows the risk of buying something I won’t like.

One Man’s Stealing Is Another Man’s Sharing

How can you talk about music in the digital age and not talk about file sharing? Napster was all the rage when I was in high school and even though that service was shut down, many continue to this day. Even while long standing peer to peer (P2P) sharing programs like Limewire recently shut down, there are dozens more you may not have heard of that pop up. Can we justify what Metallica’s Lars Ulrich once called “stealing” as simply “sharing?” He later recalled his feeling (pardon the language)…

That is an ethical question, but while there were always folks that would rather take something for the price of free, it was also the consumer speaking up. Consumers felt they were paying far too much for music or just wanted access to hear bands they might not have heard that the record companies weren’t marketing. It was a case of technology moving faster than the music industry. While I won’t begin to condone stealing music (after all big brother is watching), Steve Knopper raises some good point in his book Appetite for Self-Destruction, chronicling the downfall of the recording industry. As Knopper says,

One of the first things the labels got wrong was the elimination of the single. It got young people out of the habit of regularly visiting record stores and forced them to buy an entire CD to get the one song they craved. In the short term this was good business practice. In the long term it built up animosity. It was suicidal.

Some consumers could argue that practices like this made the record companies seem greedy, which justified their usage of file sharing programs. While that argument has gotten people into dicey legal situations, the fact remains that record companies were far too slow to adapt to technology.

Where does this leave us?

The good news is that the art form that is music will never die. Artists will create and people will listen to music, although the way they listen to music has evolved. We don’t really have to hear anything we don’t like. I can change the channel or just buy only the individual songs I want. As Wired’s editor-in-chief Chris Anderson calls this the “golden age of opinion.” This can force an artist with an established fan base to connect with their fans even more. Waiting for the latest issues of Rolling Stone or a fan club mail is no longer the only means to connect directly with your favorite artist as most are on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

The bad news is that the industry is not making the money it used to. While I am not sympathizing with “the man,” the consumer gets shortchanged in other ways. Ticket prices for live shows have gone up drastically to compensate profit margins and new artists waiting to be discovered have an extremely tough road ahead of them. The record companies will not pay artists what they did and a clever music video may never even get seen. Will future generations of children be as motivated to start a garage band of their own or will they just be content to play around in the comfort of their room using Garage Band software on their Mac? Has owning an actual CD or record just become a novelty? Did the consumer really win? Or will record companies find new ways to drive the consumer?

  • “The ITunes Effect and the Future of Content – Scott Berinato – Research – Harvard Business Review.” Business Management Ideas – Harvard Business Review Blogs. Web. 09 Nov. 2010. <http://blogs.hbr.org/research/2010/01/the-itunes-effect-and-the-futu.html>.
  • Oiaga, By Marius. “No More LimeWire Downloads, the File-Sharing Network Shut Down by Court Order – Softpedia.” Latest News – Softpedia. Web. 09 Nov. 2010. <http://news.softpedia.com/news/No-More-LimeWire-Downloads-the-File-Sharing-Network-Shut-Down-by-Court-Order-163125.shtml>.
  • Technological Convergence.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 09 Nov. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_convergence>.
  • “Sony Retires the Cassette Walkman After 30 Years.” Social Media News and Web Tips – Mashable – The Social Media Guide. Web. 09 Nov. 2010. <http://mashable.com/2010/10/24/sony-walkman-rip/>.
  • Garner, Dwight. “When Labels Fought the Digital, and the Digital Won.” New York Times, 6 Jan. 2009. Web. 9 Nov. 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/books/07garn.html>.

Final: Blogetery In Forward Motion

Design is a very competitive field. My peers are my harshest critics. Many don’t easily (or free of charge) offer much in terms of advice or insight. Considering how tech savvy graphic design is as a field, you would think more designers would be open in their blogs/websites. I set out on this blog wanting to do something different.

I use Photoshop and the Adobe creative suite on a near daily basis. It would be too easy to simply talk to the core audience with technical jargon, but my audience is intended to be larger. While, I won’t quit my day job, I do enjoy stand-up comedy and quotes and ideas from that realm seep into this blog. I have a passion of design, but I also realize that it is okay to laugh and poke fun of yourself. As I’ve said several times, it humanizes my job.

I am writing a blog. That word grew out of weblog. In grammar school, we had to keep personal accounts for our science fair project. We called it a log. A lot of the students had difficulty accounting for their trials and tribulations. Our teacher was looking for something personal about our successes and/or failures. To me, it was being honest. It seemed so easy to me, it was fun. Writing a blog is the same.

What Do You Know?

Again, this is common among my peers in the field. Who really has esoteric knowledge in design or in life? I am still looking to meet these people. Before I enrolled in graduate school, I felt the need to learn more. I went on some Amazon shopping sprees and purchased a number of design sources. I am looking to further develop my knowledge and my voice on this platform. I have the books and know some good resources. This blog provides the opportunity to finally utilize them.

How Have I Grown?

When I first starting posting, I wrote about fears, successes, failures and personal stories. I thought it was a good foundation, but felt something was lacking. That something was design. I was honest with the reader. To some, it came off as a lack of passion or confidence, but to me, it was just the ups and downs of a designer trying to make it in the field. I grew from the personal stories to talking about my experiences with the larger goal of design concepts in mind. If I blogged about working with a local YMCA, I wrote about the evolution of their logo. If I read about the word of mouth that was the OBEY Giant graphic, I wrote about the evolution and controversy surrounding the logo. If I was looking for an online portfolio to upload my designs, I posted about which sites worked best (or worst) and why. I went beyond just me during the course of this blog and talked about the larger concept of designs and how they affect me.

What’s The Plan? Next Steps?

The next step in this blog is the actual design of it. With all of the blogs I have written on the subject of design, I realize that the proof should also be in the look. Choosing another designer’s template is almost like having someone ghostwrite my posts. It would not feel natural. As I grow as a graduate student, I hope to take my graphic design skills into web design and give this blog the look I feel it should have. This would also reflect on my Twitter page and YouTube channel for continuity purposes. To learn web design and post about it would be a comprehensive learning experience in the future.

Personal Achievements

In an earlier post, I mentioned how writing was a passion as a child. There are a lot of children that dream of playing a professional sport, but for the majority, that dream fades into adulthood. With the way technology and communication have changed, my passion for writing does not have to fade.

A major accomplishment for me writing for something I am truly passionate about, even if I have the occasional writer’s block. If you took a look inside my room, you would find music/movie posters, sports memorabilia and a rather large collection of DVDs. I could much more easily blog about music or movies. The key is that I would never really learn anything, as those are not fields I strive to break into. I knew in graphic design this would not be the case. To attempt to post a compelling blog meant that I had to sometimes go outside of what I knew and tap into other resources. That made me learn. There was never any wasted motion in this process. If I spent hours trying to create an online portfolio, I blogged about it. If I was inspired my metaphors in my writing, I also tapped into how they affect me in design. These were topics I can take with me well beyond this blog.

From the start of the blog up to now, I feel Blogetery in Motion has a much greater sense of identity. It evolved from my personal ramblings to graphic design, life experiences and creative ideas (as mentioned in the blog subhead). The Blogroll on the upper left column has relevant links to my YouTube channel, a design website and a Photoshop tutorial site. Below that is also a link to my design portfolio. To make the blog a bit more official (and to prove that I actually design), this accelerated the need to also create an online portfolio to link up to, at least until I become an improved web designer.

In my writing class, my professor said something that will really stay with me moving forward in my classes and career.

“Your worry shouldn’t be will I find a job, but what if I miss this opportunity?”

I knew going in that blogging about design would not be the easiest topic for me. Design is subjective to many and sometimes too can have to segmented of an audience to appeal to universally. To choose anything other than it would have felt as though I was not only cheating the reader, but more importantly, myself. It would have been that missed opportunity.

Web Design For The Non-Web Designer

I have posted a lot about graphic design on this blog. You have read my words and perhaps heard my voice (on this video), but you have not really seen a lot of my work. I have alluded to some of the projects I have worked on, but trying to showcase them all is not easy, especially since I am not a web designer. However, as a graphic designer, I am very specific in how I want to show my work. For a while now, I have been looking into a customizable, online portfolio to show my work. Without knowledge of coding, HTML or CSS, finding reputable (and free) options are limited.

Wix

Wix.com allows for some Flash animations and is customizable. The widgets and apps have features that allow you to connect with Google Maps, PayPal and RSS feeds. The downside is that it takes too long to edit and you are often limited to what templates are available. Also there did not seem to be a way for me to link up a widget on this blog, thus not as much connectivity between online platforms. From a website with potential to…

Web.com

I signed up for web.com last winter. Big mistake. It is free for 30 days, but they still have your credit card information on file and will charge you when the trial runs out. Since it is a publicly traded company with 275,000 subscribers, I assumed the site would be legit. I called just to make sure the site was customizable for my needs and the operator assured me they were. They answered my questions a little too swiftly, making me suspicious from the start. The available templates were laughable and something you would find on Websites That Suck. I later found out that there was very little customization on the user end and if I wanted any of the advanced features, I would have to pay for them (NOT what the operator told me). Even the cancellation process was a hassle. When you do a Google search on web.com one of the auto results is “web.com scam.”

Lesson learned. I just wanted to have a level of independence to showcase my own work and be taken seriously.

Coroflot

I was initially hesitant to use coroflot.com. It seemed very bare bones without a lot of customization. The more I thought about things, I realized that while web design is a goal for the future, I want to show my work now. I remember choosing Facebook years ago over Myspace. I did not want to deal with all of the add-ons and features that Myspace had. I wanted a clean and (at the time) simple interface that Facebook provided. With Coroflot, I didn’t have to be ashamed about my lack of coding skills to create my own personal and professional portfolio. The layout puts everyone in the same boat, while making your work speak for itself. While not overly flashy, Coroflot also allows you the option of placing a badge (similar to embedding a YouTube video or Facebook Fan Badge) to your own website (as seen below).


view my portfolio:
coroflot.com/faccento

It is not the end all of what I want to do. The goal (as I move forward in my graduate program and career) is learning the ins and outs of web design. In today’s job market, the lines between a graphic designer and web designer are blurred. A lot of jobs expect both out of one person. I always had dreams of launching a website to show all of my work and branding. Someday that will happen, but in the for now, its important to show the work you do have. In the meantime, my portfolio will have to do, at least until this website idea takes off.

Stepping In the Social Media Squared Circle

I have always been interested in sports and entertainment. With my nephew recently discovering the live action soap opera that is professional wrestling (marketed as sports entertainment), I thought it was the perfect time to revisit what I watched as a child (World Wrestling Entertainment) and review their social media presence.

I stopped watching the then-WWF as a teenager for a time because I felt they were always slow to adapt to change. To my surprise, their social media presence is apparent right on the front page. There are links and logos for Facebook, YouTube and Twitter prominently featured on the front page. The Twitter page gives links to all of the wrestlers’ official Twitter accounts. I would be very curious to see if the performers are required tweet in character or not. I actually think it is a great opportunity for a newer performer to connect with fans. Characters live and die with fan support, so this could be a great way for a performer who may not get a lot of television exposure to stay in eye of the fans. While their website offers their own video player, I think it is also important to utilize YouTube. I think having a personalized YouTube page for WWE’s brand offers fans the opportunities to potentially embed videos to their own blogs.

I chose review the WWE’s social media presence because I feel it was always an industry slow to adapt to change. While they never really outright inform fans each broadcast, it was long been accepted that the events are staged and results are predetermined. It goes to show the importance of social media. Even a traditionally “sheltered (in terms of other working with other media)” company like the WWE realizes that there are more ways to connect with fans rather than just using their website. It provides a new way for both fans and performers to interact with fans, in ways that “real” sports does not officially adopt.

What About Design?

Web designers are always on top of the latest trends. When I do a search on social media and graphic design, I see that a lot of great work is being done in terms of designing logo, templates and favicons. However, I don’t see an abundance of interaction within social media. Blogs whose feeds I subscribe to include You The Designer, 2expertsdesign and Logo Design Love. All they really have are infrequently updated tweets on their Twitter accounts. What can I learn from this?

My Own Social Media Squared Circle

Like the WWE’s undercard of talent looking for a break or fan reaction, I think it’s important to stay on the forefront of social media, even if I’m not a publicly traded sports entertainment company. How to do this?

Twitter
I find that the more I tweet, the more followers and blog reads I receive. I recently blogged about the relevance of the OBEY Giant artwork. I personally found the topic interesting (did I mention that I watched wrestling as a child), so I posted an offbeat tweet about it. To my surprise, I received a fair amount of feedback. However, I don’t always check Twitter as religiously as others, so when I go weeks without a tweet, I notice I’ve lost a few followers. Clearly, the advantages (especially for an upstart professional) outweigh the disadvantages. I’ve learned to tweet items relevant to your blog and not post with a course agenda to them. Unless sending a direct message, I want my tweets to sound authentic. I tend to never read a tweet from a peer that posts “Assignment 5: Post 1.” We all have writing requirements, but its important to continue to attract outside followers with similar interests. Now the key, is to hold their interests.

Facebook
I do not consider Facebook (at this juncture) to be a viable means to reach my audience. As someone with a personal account, I don’t feel comfortable promoting my brand to friends and family at this stage. To gain notoriety and success is the dream of any graduate student and should (or optimistically when) this occurs, I would feel it is appropriate to create a Fan Page.

LinkedIn
I find that LinkedIn is sometimes in the shadow of the other social media giants, but is also important. While not as informal in tone as my blog posts, I think it is important to show the client where I have been in my career and also read recommendations on my work.

YouTube
YouTube is the next realm of social media that I want to take more seriously moving forward. I have already posted a link to my DesignSource project and YouTube will be a platform to not only post tutorials, but perhaps a video slideshow of my portfolio. Perhaps not necessarily YouTube, designer Dave Werner utilizes video to describe his work in an extremely effective manner.

I think most of us (even you wonderful baby boomers) have come to accept social media as the norm and not a fad. For an upstart trying to make a name for myself, it would be foolish for me not to try. Of course, I can go on about this…now to make it happen!

Module 10: DesignSource Presentation

Intro

Hi. My name is Jonathan Faccento and I recently graduated with my bachelor’s degree. Currently, I’m a Marketing Associate at a non-profit organization that’s given me a couple opportunities with graphic design projects, which is my dream job. Sure, our great country is in the midst of a recession, but with experience and a little bit of patience, I’ll be on the fast track to “living the dream” in no time.

Cut to

Look, I’ll be completely honest, that was 3 years ago. Sure, I’ve had a few freelance jobs here and there, but I’m always looking for more. CareerBuilder and Monster searches aren’t enough and I just don’t think my portfolio has gotten enough exposure. Graphic design is not an easy business to break into without that competitive edge.

In 2006, there were 261,000 people employed as graphic designers. By 2018, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of graphic design jobs will increase 13 percent—as fast as the average growth for most occupations. Despite growth in the field, however, there is strong competition for graphic design jobs. The hours are often extensive, and in the start of your career, you may not get the most thrilling assignments. According to The Princeton Review, many new graphic designers become discouraged and leave the profession within the first few years.

About 25 percent of graphic designers are self-employed, and many of these designers work on a freelance or contract basis. As a graphic designer, I love nothing more than heading to my computer, turning on some music, tuning out the world and get motivated about my project. Unfortunately, jobs are not always easy to come by. It takes the right amount of networking, personal branding and experience to land your next gig.

Are you new to design? A graphic design student looking for jobs or career advice? Or an experienced professional designer trying to further your prospects? Maybe you’re just looking for inspiration?

Find it all with DesignSource.

What is DesignSource?

Are you a client looking for the right design? Are you a designer looking to showcase your talents? Let Designsource.com be your bridge to creative networking. DesignSource is a way for designers and clients to create, explore and connect. It’s taking the work or potential work you have and sharing it with a community dedicated to making the client/designer relationship as smooth as possible, all in one source.

For Designers

You’re an artist. A web designer. A graphic designer. You want to sell yourself. Now, sell your complete self with DesignSource. DesignSource is a comprehensive site dedicated to sharing your work and helping you find new work and connections. For graphic designers, there are plenty of websites dedicated to showcasing your work…and they have a catch. Many require you rebuild your portfolio from scratch using their own Content Management Service. Websites like Monster and CareerBuilder help you look for jobs, but often allow you to attached a pdf when going for jobs. Isn’t there a better way to showcase your work regardless of format? Do you have a portfolio you want to showcase be it web, pdf or Flash? Share it. No need to rebuild one that you already have. Link directly with DesignSource.

Your Identity

In the digital age that we live, many of us have spent countless hours sharpening our social media identity. Social media helps define who we are both professionally and personally. Decide what you want people see. Some of us might tweet, have a Facebook fan page, YouTube video portfolio or a LinkedIn resume they want to share with a like-minded community larger than they know. Share it. Show what you want to show. Be as transparent as you want to be. DesignSource provides the user the opportunity to link up what want to showcase from their desired social media site, be it widgets for Twitter, Facebook fan badges, Linkedin resumes or just embedding a YouTube video. You can do all of this with DesignSource’s simple in easy to navigate interface.

For Clients/Agencies

Ideas are almost never conceived perfectly. Nobody ever said brainstorming was easy. Many organizations that have a marketing team simply cannot afford a graphic design with all of today’s cutbacks in the business. Trying to find a designer with fair rates is not as easy as finding a repairman.

DesignSource takes design and outsourcing tasks to the next level. It gives designers the opportunity and platform to showcase their portfolio and website, but also serve as a way for companies and agencies to hire, recruit and discover designers. Designsource.com connects the client with the designer, all in one source.

Job postings/recruiters will be charged a nominal fee per job post. This not only helps build revenue for DesignSource, but helps us make sure are recruiters are legit.

Other Benefits?

Showing your work and finding jobs aren’t the only things DesignSource has to offer. We plan on having sponsored design contests to get your work showcased as a featured portfolio on our front page, much like a top YouTube hit of the day. We also plan on having special guest speaker videos and blogs with advice from experienced professional. In additional to this, DesignSource will provide monthly RSS feeds notifying our email list of industry trends featured employers and other site updates to stay connected with our audience.

DesignSource is convergence for the modern day designer. Unlike the competition, there are no gimmicks, templates or other product tie-ins. Just the work you already have. Think of it as your own blank canvas which you can add your work, social media presence, find inspiration, networking and potential careers.

Find creativity. Share creativity. DesignSource.

Personality Typefaces

A lot of friends I know have Psychology degrees. I can certainly appreciate the hard work they put into their major, but I always felt that as a Communication (and now Interactive Communication) major, we came from different worlds. I don’t analyze my personality, I just design. Nonetheless different personalities are abundant in design. This was broken down by Graphic Design Blog’s post, 10 Personality Types of Graphic Designers. Here are the 10 they listed:

1. The Perfectionist “Monk”
2. The Ingenious “Sherlock”
3. The Brainy “Dexter”
4. The Friendly “Casper”
5. The Experienced “Papa Smurf”
6. The Show-off “Johnny Bravo”
7. The Speedy “Flash”
8. The Lazy “Garfield”
9. The Enduring “Ironman”
10. The Hyper “Hulk”

Who Are You?

Based on the characters used, you might be able to guess the personality types. Now who do I see myself as? Not to scare off a potential client, but I most identify with the perfectionist Monk (ironically, I’ve never really watched a full episode). While I don’t have the compulsive issues that Monk has, I do want the project done with precision. When I first started, especially my first paying job, I would become slightly obsessed with a project. I felt the pressure of putting mine and the company’s reputation on the line. I wanted to prove how seriously I took the job.

It is a double edged sword. Sometimes, the job needs to be completed, regardless of how much better I think it can be. Its important to want to be proud of the work you do, at the same time its important to make the client happy and not burn yourself out. Of course, I can be the Casper (friendly) and sometimes Sherlock (problem-solving), but it all comes with becoming more like Papa Smurf, I mean, gaining experience.

I think a lot of these traits are prevalent in design as they are with several other jobs. Who do you see yourself as?

Reference:

To GPS or Not GPS (In Design)?

At my current job, we have our logo and branding in place. Sometimes, I can add in my own creativity in a design, but mostly, we have our templates laid out. Change is not an expression at this job, it’s a slow process. When I first started, I felt stifled by the creative limitations. On the other hand, when a design is due at the last minute, I can always quickly modify a template and get the job done.

Recently, I had a client that was the opposite. They told me to create a poster for a grand opening to their business. What would you like? What’s the size of the poster? What theme are you going for? The response I got was, “Make it nice and use your best judgment.” I thought that was perfect, until I sat in front of my computer scratching my head for an hour. Where do I start?

The question is what works more effectively, too much creative direction or too much freedom?

Free At Last?

Freedom is why people even come to America. However, in the design field too much can make the mind wander and lose focus. When the mind wanders, time drifts away. At a certain point, I find myself watching a rerun of Seinfeld hoping a killer idea will magically appear. This can turn into a time consuming process and when there is a deadline looming, a lack of direction can put you in a creative rut. I look at it like a head coach telling a player to coach the team for the rest of the game. Sure, it is liberating, but at some point, you need a little direction.

Limited Too

Time is saved to a very high degree in this case. But at what price? It is nice to have a job that is a little easier every now and again, but to have no say in the creation is frustrating. I find that a lot of the jobs that tend to be limiting are often jobs that I wouldn’t really want to include in my portfolio. It feels like a lie for an idea I didn’t really help mold. Besides, how am I ever supposed to grow and master my craft if I’m not allowed to think “outside the box?”

What’s The Solution?

The easiest solution is balance. I was lucky enough in my first full time design job to have a boss provide an outline of what she wanted, but always asked my input. It felt like a total team effort. If we weren’t on the same page, she would have the final decision, but was always open to whatever additional drafts I created. This reminds me of the film, Fletch, in which director, Michael Ritchie and Chevy Chase had different visions of how a take should go. Ritchie would have final say, but allowed Chevy to ad-lib his own take. It was that nice creative balance. It’s easier said than done, but it’s nice to have direction and your own “Chevy take.”


Designs Within Designs

Back in an undergrad advertising course, I explored hidden messaging in advertising. Like Disney movies that sometimes contain hidden adult themes, there are designs that do contain some hidden messaging. Some have varying themes, while others just have a logo within a logo look. Let’s start with a well known one…

FedEx

In my office, we are used to the short, rude sweaty guy in the purple and orange dropping off a package, but if you look closely, between the E and the X, you’ll notice an arrow, which stands for speed, moving forward or whatever else FedEx wants to sell you.

Hartford Whalers

My beloved Whalers, how I miss Connecticut’s former professional hockey team. I had the Starter jacket as a kid, but never really bothered to notice what was going within the logo. If you look closely, you’ll notice a whale’s tail, letter “W” in green and the gray space forming an “H” for Hartford. See, we’re pretty clever here in CT. I think I speak for everyone here when I say, “Bring Back the Whale!”

Amazon

Amazon is my favorite and most trusted online store. They have everything. The logo is simple and the gold/orange smiley face is obvious. What I didn’t realize is that apparently the “smiley” starts at the letter A and the arrow ends at the letter Z…because Amazon has everything from A to Z…or maybe we read too deep into that one.

Big Ten Conference

In collegiate sports, the Big Ten conference really has eleven teams. Doesn’t make sense, right? Between the G and the T and the T and the E, you may notice the number 11 (which would show up as a purple 11). I know what you’re thinking, but the Big Eleven just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Yoga Australia

Just a woman stretching? She is actually stretching her leg in the shape of Australia.

Milwaukee Brewers

Going back to sports, I had to do this one, since I still own the hat. See the M? See the B? Look even closer and you may see a glove and a baseball. If you have enough brews, it may even resemble a beer mug…or maybe not.

Roxy

I bought my niece a Roxy brand iPod dock, but the logo just looked like another “girly” logo. Little did I know that they are a subsidiary of Quiksilver clothes and Roxy took two Quiksilver logos to form a heart.

Tostitos

As much as I’ve munched on these corn chips, I never bothered to notice that there were two people connected by a chip dunking into salsa. I feel kind of stupid for that, hopefully I’m not alone.

Schizophrenic

Happy and sad are the range of emotions in this clever, yet a simple design.

Forkwire

This is an online food service and even though I’ve never heard of them, the message is clear with the fork as an @ symbol.

Some these may be obvious, while others may make you think. I recently created a design for an organization commemorating their 10th anniversary. Their main logo contains stars (hey, that’s what was already in place). For the anniversary I subtly placed 10 stars around the number 10. It was simple, yet subtle, but once noticed, was appreciated. Just like some of the aforementioned logos, it is easier to win your audience over and make them remember you can make them think, even if it’s for an extra second.

Just keep in mind that you should be clever at your own risk. Sometimes subliminal logos aren’t intentional, like this institute for higher learning.

Or at least I hope. Yikes.

Reference:

  • Way, The. “25 Logos with Hidden Messages – Amazing Graphic Designing Tricks! « Graphic Design Blog – An Ultimate Resource for Graphic Designers.” Graphic Design Blog – An Ultimate Resource for Graphic Designers. Web. 23 July 2010. <http://www.graphicdesignblog.org/hidden-logos-in-graphic-designing/>.
  • Pooten, Holger. “23 Brilliant Logos With Hidden Messages | The Roxor | Design Blog for Resources and Inspiration.” Design Blog | TheRoxor, Because Design Rocks! Web. 23 July 2010. <http://theroxor.com/2009/10/22/23-brilliant-logos-with-hidden-messages/>.
  • “Smart Logos with Hidden Symbolism | Webdesigner Depot.” Web Design Resources and Tutorials – Webdesigner Depot. Web. 23 July 2010. <http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2010/07/smart-logos-with-hidden-symbolism/>.

OBEYing Fair Use

In my writing class, Professor Kalm mentioned the classic graphic Andre The Giant has a posse, later coined OBEY Giant. I have always been fascinated with that graphic. Maybe I channeled my inner-child as a 1980’s wrestling fan. Maybe I just really liked the Princess Bride. I knew the design was cool, so much so that I even had a T-shirt of the graphic in my teenage years. When I wore it in high school, many were perplexed. It wasn’t classified as a wrestling T-shirt, but almost a kind of art. Girls thought it was weird, but almost everyone I know has heard of the proclaimed “Eighth Wonder of The World.”

Creator Shepard Fairey’s Andre graphic was posted all over the world. It was the type of “word of mouth (for lack of a better term)” that graphics don’t see every day. The one thing I always wondered was if Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) ever sued Fairey for any copyright issues. After all, I’m sure the initial photo of Andre was property of the WWF. They did and this caused Fairey to stop using the name Andre The Giant and later modified the look of the graphic to what we now know as OBEY Giant.

Steal This Art

Fairey is often criticized for using copyrighted artwork into his own works and failing to provide credit for the work used. Graphic designer Baxter Orr did his own take on Fairey’s work, called Protect, with the Obey Giant face covered by a respiratory mask. Once he started selling prints as his own work, Orr received a cease-and-desist order from Fairey’s attorneys, telling him to pull Protect from sale because it violates Fairey’s trademark. Fairey threatened to sue, calling Orr a “bottom feeder” and “parasite.”

While I certainly enjoyed his designs, does Fairey really have the right to complain? After all, he did use photos of Andre the Giant and later Barack Obama that were not his. He used these photos to enhance his art and messaging. While Orr’s idea was uncreative, perhaps he felt the same in his intention. In the days of advanced technologies and people being empowered to remix songs and editing videos, can the same apply to art? Is this piracy? I think not and as American academic and political activist, Larry Lessig says, “creativity is being strangled by the law.” He goes on to say that the television and music that his generation had is now being created by today’s generation. The film, Steal This Film II, reiterates this thought process too. The read/write culture enables us to recreate media to say things differently. I do not see this as “stealing,” but expressing yourself through another person’s art. What if library’s decided not to let us take out books for writing papers and learning? What’s the point of creating them in the first place?

For profitable gain (which Orr did do), building your bank account off someone else’s creation is wrong. However, if you have a passion for what you do and are paying an homage to someone’s work, who are we to say who’s a parasite and uncreative? Did Shepard Fairey really intend on sending a message or did his tracing of an Andre the Giant photo catch lighting in a bottle that was interpreted differently by the masses? Did he intend on creating the OBEY graphic to make money? Maybe so, maybe not, but we remember it and it is still considered art.

Works Cited:

  • 1990s, The Early. “Andre the Giant Has a Posse.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 21 July 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obey_Giant>.
  • “Module 9 – The Search.” The Interactive Voice. Web. 21 July 2010. <http://interactivevoice.blogspot.com/2010/07/module-9-search.html>.
  • Steal This Film II. Web. 21 July 2010. <http://www.stealthisfilm.com/>.
  • “Larry Lessig on Laws That Choke Creativity | Video on TED.com.” TED: Ideas worth Spreading. Web. 21 July 2010. <http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_lessig_says_the_law_is_strangling_creativity.html>..

Pitches and Proposals (Module 8)

Proposal 1: Design Source

Sentence

Ideas are almost never conceived perfectly. Design Source can take your idea to the next level, develop an eye-catching design and find the job right for you.

Elevator Pitch

Nobody ever said brainstorming was easy. Many organizations that have a marketing team simply cannot afford a graphic designer with all of today’s cutbacks in the business. Trying to find a designer with fair rates is not as easy as finding a repairman in a phone book. Design Source takes design and crowd-sourcing (outsourcing tasks) to the next level. It gives designers the opportunity and platform to showcase their portfolio and website, but also serve as a way for companies and agencies to hire, recruit and discover designers. Designsource.com connects the client with the designer, all in one source.

Promotional

Are you a client looking for the right design? Are you a designer looking to showcase your talents? Let Designsource.com be your bridge to creative networking. Many websites offer online communities to showcase portfolios, but tie in a product you have to use and edit. With Design Source, there are no gimmicks. For designers, just link to your website or embed your pictures and videos. For organizations, agencies and recruiters, post your job listings. It is a way for designers and clients to create, explore and connect. Its taking the work or potential work you have and sharing it with a community dedicated to making the client/designer relationship as smooth as possible, all in one place.

Find creativity. Share creativity. Design Source.

Proposal 2: Barbara Healy Associates

Editor’s Note: Pitches and proposals are a big part design process. In my short time as a freelancer, most of my dealings with clients have been informal. For the purposes of this proposal (and growth in my business/professional etiquette), I will be referring to an actual client that I am still continuing to work with to develop her brand, both aesthetically and marketing-wise .

Sentence

Barbara Healy Associates is a consulting practice focused on developing people, organizations and creating solutions. We believe that people are the key to the success of any organization.

Elevator Pitch

In a time of economic downturn, many people don’t know where to turn or what their next step will be. Our mission is to develop people and create solutions for their professional needs. Are you trying to develop leadership within your organization? Are you an individual looking to facilitate the “next step” or transition in your career? Barbara Healy Associates helps you with these difficult decisions in an increasingly complex professional landscape.

Promotional/Proposal

In terms of promotions, I am laying out an overview, goals, objectives and solutions on what pieces need to be in place for a successful design.

Overview

Barbara Healy Associates is a consulting firm dedicated to helping people with their career goals and is looking for a full branding effort, both web and print.

Goals and Objectives
Barbara Healy Associates is in need of a corporate identity to showcase its offerings in the business consulting industry. The company is in need of a corporate logo, business card design, company letterhead, website graphics and brochure. These marketing materials will help set the tone for the brand and business. The tone for the graphics will be light, cool colors that convey a sense of femininity as well professionalism.

Solution

The development of an original, corporate identity and marketing package.

This package will include:

  • A corporate logo
  • Business card design
  • Company letterhead
  • Billboard design
  • Merchandise brochure

The marketing pieces will work together to continuity among the materials to showcase the new company as a highly regarded career and business consultant.