Posts in category: Design

System builders affect culture

The people who build systems unconsciously or consciously affect the culture we live in. Their unique world view, cultural quirks, and beliefs will inevitably seep into the systems they build. These systems then become ways to export the creators culture to others....

It doesn’t have to be black or white

Tired of the generic colours of your favourite computer or MP3 player? Colorware will change it for you. An interesting niche business. This is the 21st century version of a car body customising business. What similar niche can you identify in your...

Expression, anonymity and (the illusion of) being heard

I have a lovely long Friday lunch with Justin McMurray last Friday. Our conversation revolved around these core needs of the human species. The Internet is an ideal medium to satisfy all of these needs. It has opened up more avenues for individual expression than ever...

On Thinkpads and bento boxes

When you think design + computers, you may be forgiven for thinking only of Apple. Design is about thinking things through, and working in a disciplined, methodical manner with a clear and unabiguous focus in mind. The final stylistic outcome can vary dramatically. A...

Paper catalogues online, and the lessons therein

While shopping for a new television, I discovered that some retailers are putting actual facsimiles of their paper catalogues online (as opposed to other retailers who have searchable, database driven web catalogues). While I can understand the cost-saving and ease of...

Is this shop closed?

This is the shopfront of a large electrical retailer in central Sydney. Every time I walk pass this shop my first impression is always “oh, they’re shut.” The blue strips are actually and intentional “design feature” – sticky vinyl...

First impressions … oh poo!

Walking off a packed train into this gushing forest of brown liquid is not good! Snapped at Sydney Central station. The same imagery is also available for your enjoyment at other quality locations city-wide. Is this the first time a Coke ad showed the actual product?...

The Origin of Brands

The Origin of Brands: Discover the natural laws of product innovation and business survival. By Al and Laura Ries. ISBN 0-06-057014-8. Categories, not product features, are what matters. Categories will always diverge. Create and own your category to win. Al and Laura...

The one-gimmick rule for logos

A good logo should only have one gimmick. A gimmick can be: different colours , changing colours with a simple motif , a single styled letter amongst “plain” letters , a unique typeface used for the whole name , a graphical treatment of the name , or a strong symbol ....

Put your money where your customers are

Does your business purport to care for customers? If so, are you spending more money producing glossy ads than you do the material that supports, enables and empowers your existing customers? This blog post raises some very good points about how businesses treat...
Straight-talking signage

Straight-talking signage

These signs can be seen all over London (UK), attached to the appropriate objects of course. I love them for their simplicity and directness. They sure beat the ones found here in Sydney which says “Danger: High Voltage”. I would venture that death is a more commonly...
Refreshingly plain and simple

Refreshingly plain and simple

Most corporate communications today are big, complex, full colour, and shiny fold-out extravaganzas. When I received my Virgin Velocity membership card the other day, it came as a small (A6), white, package with light gray clean type, and no imagery. How refreshing...

Make numbers easy

Completing the census last night required the reading and transcription of several 12-15 digit numbers. Breaking long numbers into sets of 3 digits will vastly improve the ease of handling, reduce stress, and transcription errors. Don’t believe me? Which of the...

Packaging integrity

Integrity and respect for customers – every business would like to think they live and breath this truth. A walk through my supermarket clearly indicates otherwise: “Lite” olive oil is still 100% fat. The reasonable serving size for fish fingers is...

Still not getting it

I just had another spam phone call from a certain large telco. Apparently I have magically qualified for another of their specials. From a customer conversion point of view, these were the challenges presented to me: To determine how much I will save with the offer, I...

Another take on photography

Here’s an interesting example of innovative thought: www.scannerphotography.com (click on one of the Mirror# links) Combination of existing concepts = new concept with interesting unexpected bonuses; a new photography...

Comtemplating the simplicity of Google

My thoughts on reading The Beauty of Simplicity on FastCompany. Why do so many businesses just get it so wrong? The business itself lacks a cause, the reason for being. And therefore lacks focus. If a business does not know what it is truly about, it will act in an...
Choosing fonts for effective communications

Choosing fonts for effective communications

Fonts communicate beyond the message Fonts (or typefaces) are the not-quite-consciously-visible elements that carry the bulk of the content of our communications. We don’t give them much thought beyond the often cursory “which one looks nice to me”...
Design effective signs and posters

Design effective signs and posters

Various posters on Flickr Signs and posters are short and sweet A sign or a poster has a very specific function – to clearly communicate a (usually limited) set of information in a way that both attracts attention and can be read in a fairly short period of time. A...
Using colour in business communications

Using colour in business communications

Colour in business communications The use of colour in business communications – on logos, signage, printed documents and websites – fulfils three broad roles: Enable effective communications; including meeting any regulatory compliance requirements. Implement and...
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