Blog, business

New site, new blog

I started the new website almost a year ago, solicited comments from some trusted friends, and then never finished the project. The website needs to be up-to-date and full of interesting things for people to see. So here I am, trying to incorporate some of the comments from my first-round beta-testers.

Additionally, I am building the new site entirely in WordPress. It’s a bit limiting on the design side, but ultimately useful for its searchability, scalability, and ease-of-use. I hope to be completely done within the next week or two.

Blog

Okay, this is just a fun idea. Ecofont.

sample of the Ecofont by Spranq

My wife always tells me to stop printing things out at home. That way, her toner cartridge will last a little longer. (But I just print it out at the office anyways, right?)

So some enterprising people at Spranq created this wonderful new typeface entitled Ecofont, based on the open-source Vera Sans, except with lots of dots in it. The dots ensure that you will use significantly less toner when printing out all those important documents on your laser printer. They designed it “to avoid unnecessary wastage in ink” and toner, and to “increase environmental awareness.”

Cool. I’ll try to use it sometime and report back.

Blog, graphic design

Color And Design Affect Gift-giving?

Leatrice Eiseman is a color goddess. She has made it her life’s work to understand how color affects us on a visceral level. She had a great post in December, about choosing gifts based on people’s coloration:

Taking a bit of extra time and thinking about the personal coloring of the gift recipient can be a vital clue to your success in gift selection as most people tend to prefer colors that blend with their natural coloring. For example, have you noticed that redheads, people with golden blonde or brown hair with amber brown eyes invariably gravitate to earthtones?

This struck me because, as I was riding home today, I realized how much the things I put around me really do follow my color likes, which actually do follow my coloration. I’m light-skinned, have brown-hair and gray-blue eyes. So I’m drawn to earth-tones, greens, and blues.

Fuller Arts Festival Brochure

The bike is green. As I look around the office, there are candles in green and blue, the desks are rich honey brown (the old IKEA office furniture color that was the best they had until they discontinued it), and the lighting is all incandescent/halogen (no fluorescent). I have subconsciously surrounded myself with things that scream my colors.

Now Eiseman says give gifts based on people’s coloration. I’ll have to give that a try…

Blog, graphic design, portfolio, Uncategorized

Awesome new project complete

Wildwood School in West Los Angeles asked us to come up with some cool spirit merchandise for the parents to 1) use as a fundraiser, and 2) make everybody look cool. The fundraiser was such a great success that they had to re-order the apparel within a month of taking delivery of the first batch. Here are some photos:

Wildwood School apparel by Hearken Creative Services, all three pieces

Wildwood School apparel by Hearken Creative Services, slate t-shirt 2

Wildwood School apparel by Hearken Creative Services, hoodie 2

Wildwood School apparel by Hearken Creative Services, hoodie 1

Wildwood School apparel by Hearken Creative Services, gray shirt 1

We’re really proud of our collaboration with Jennifer Rowland and the entire team at Wildwood School. And we can’t wait to get these new photos up on the website!

Blog, graphic design, post production for film and video

Shoutout to some great campaign trail design

Whether you like the outcome of the election or not, this — I believe — was the most important change in the recent presidential campaign vs. previous campaigns: good design. Honestly, can you remember a well-designed logo from any previous political campaign? Barack Obama’s people hired Sender LLC to design a logo, and MODE to handle the film and video duties for the national campaign. The “O” logo is a brilliant embodiment of the “hope” message of Obama’s campaign, and therefore makes it a powerful “single read” identifier or placeholder/surrogate for the campaign. More powerful still, the simple fact of a well-designed logo immediately tells the viewer that this organization “has it together”. The videos and ads continued that marketing push with well-designed graphics and a perfectly-set “tone” for the current national climate. Regardless of whether you like Obama, we can admire and acknowledge the successful role that good design had in winning the election for Barack Obama.

Matthew Creamer from Advertising Age takes it one step further, and argues that Obama’s team did something crazy with their marketing: they succeeded at “reimagin[ing] who his audience, or his customers, could be. His win was in many ways about ditching doctrine and boldly plunging into places where most wouldn’t necessarily expect the brand to work — which is to say places such as Indiana — and then winning them over”:

The result was a brand that was big enough to be anything to anyone yet had an intimate-enough feel to inspire advocacy that raised funds at record-breaking, almost obscene levels and gave birth to a massive network of on-the-ground supporters who were so crucial in the get-out-the-vote effort that added incremental Democratic ballots.

The article challenges us as marketers to continue to re-imagine our own marketing efforts, and check whether we are underestimating who our target market should be. Don’t settle for what conventional wisdom says; rather, think big, and come up with the big ideas to back it up.

Edit: Forgot to add this very interesting article breaking down the online ad expenditures for the Obama campaign. Some smart moves here.

Blog, Uncategorized

Why spend time on marketing?

It seems I am spending more time than ever before on marketing myself. Getting the website up and running, printing new postcards, making phone calls, networking — am I spending more time marketing than actually doing work right now? Well, in an economic downturn, that’s just what you are supposed to do, according to this wonderful article entitled “The Dumbells Cut Back…The Smart People Don’t”: The Upside of Recession from the Wellesley Hills Group:

Whether there will be or won’t be a recession, maintaining a healthy marketing program will only build on what you have already developed. And maintaining and growing what you have toiled long and hard over requires careful planning, decisive execution, and plain old guts. Now more than ever the money you spend now on marketing matters. Not because dark times loom, but because there is real opportunity out there right now.

So, I will spend the time and energy on making sure to put my best foot forward. To that end, we will be launching several new websites over the next month or so: http://www.oldpasadenafilms.com/, http://www.rosecityfilms.com/, and http://www.rosecitydesign.com/, among others, will highlight specific focus areas of our business: weddings, sound, film production and post-production, and graphic design.

And we’re continuing to service our current client base with some pretty exciting projects. I will post a few as soon as I get photos taken of these really recent design projects!

Blog, graphic design

A note on cross-cultural design

Many of my clients are in other countries, and I have strong opinions on how cultural differences should be displayed in design and film, so this quote seemed like a ray of sunshine. It is from Henry Steiner‘s book entitled Cross Cultural Design:

…When designing across cultures…the goal is to achieve a harmonious juxtaposition; more of an interaction than a synthesis. The individual character of the elements should be retained, each maintaining its own identity while also commenting on and enriching the other…Combination, mixture, blending — these are useless concepts as they will result in a kind of mud. Street stalls in Hong Kong serve an understandably unique beverage called Yin-yang, a combination of tea and coffee. It tastes as you would imagine: the worst characteristics of both are enhanced. In the Tai-Chi (the yin-yang symbol) the elements don’t merge, they stand for positive/negative, male/female, light/dark, and they are complementary, yet discrete.

This speaks to one of my frustrations with modern graphic design: we take indiscriminately from this and that culture, or this and that school of thought, and throw it all together and expect it to be good design, or good art. But “blending” — as Steiner calls it — does not make good design. Juxtaposition and complementing make good design, whether it be across cultures or across styles.

This is something that I strive for with Hearken Creative’s projects.