Sam Harrelson





“What’s a computer?”

There’s this meme that keeps coming back on Twitter. A young person discovers a floppy disk and calls it the save icon. Apple is using the same idea with this ad. When the mum asks her daughter what she is doing on her computer, she answers “what’s a computer?”

via Apple’s new ad shows how iPads are going to replace laptops | TechCrunch

There’s no doubt that “computing” will continue to evolve from the way we interpret that action today (based on conventions that come from machines primarily from the 80’s but also the mainframes and typewriters that preceded them).

I’ve been using a Google Pixelbook for 99% of my “computing” over the last two weeks. I love the integration that this device has with the Android app store and being able to install apps like Microsoft Word or Excel or Powerpoint and use them in full screen as if I was on a Windows laptop. I also love being able to flip this device around into “tablet mode” and play racing games or browse Netflix using what were previously mobile apps. Combined with the Pixel Pen, this device has changed the way I think about my own workflow in a rapid fashion.

The iPad Pro can do that for many people (especially students but also “adults”) as well.

I’m a big fan of the show Westworld. It has incredible visual effects and a captivating story. But the technology used by characters on the show is what really draws me in (I know I know). The handheld “computing” devices they use with foldable screens, touch sensing, AI, and integration of mobile and laptop features is so attractive to me. I hope Apple / Google / Amazon / Microsoft or whatever company that is currently being bootstrapped in a young person’s garage apartment gets us there in the next decade.

We’re almost there with transitional devices like the iPad Pro or the Pixelbook.

 


What Does Your Brand Do?

Longevity and repetition are two of the hardest to use tools in a marketer’s toolbox, but also the most effective.

via Marketing at millennials won’t save your tired brand | The Drum

There are definitely some points in this post that I disagree with (importance of having a “famous” brand and working towards that being a goal for your organization for one), but this sentence did stick out to me as something that I need to emphasize with our clients more often.

We do lots of “strategic consulting” with non-profits and businesses that don’t necessarily have a large budget for branding considerations. It’s something that often gets overlooked in the process of thinking through a marketing plan. That can easily be seen by the poor quality of logos and branding material that most local or regional non-profits have. But these things can be done well on a tight budget.

As the economy has shifted and nonprofits (especially) are facing slimmer traditional sources of donations there, concepts such as “what does your logo tell people about your group, business or non-profit?” become valuable barometers for improvement whether you’re trying to sell a product or solicit a donation.

You don’t need to have a quality Nike swoosh or Apple apple or Coke wordmark to be successful, but thinking through what you’re presenting and what you’re trying to “do” with your logo, fonts, colors, and brand messaging can make a world of difference when done well.


The Way the Stems Meet the Curves

youtube_2017_wordmark_before_after

Technically, this is an absolutely fantastic update. They have taken the blunt shapes of the old letters and improved on all of them to create a beautiful wordmark. At small sizes the change is almost imperceptible but at larger sizes the change is a feast. If the way the stems meet the curves on the bottom of each letter doesn’t give you heart palpitations then you might be in the wrong industry. That is really masterful. Dork-swooning aside, every letter is better — better designed and better suited for every size and screen possible. Play a little game of Spot the Difference and you’ll appreciate what I mean. The wider opening of the “Y”, the rounder sides of the “o” and “e”, the contrast in thicks and thins. So good. Also, the kerning couldn’t be better.

via Brand New: New Logo for YouTube done In-house

Details. And kerning.

Don’t be boring or cheap with your logo or wordmark.


Waiting for the gift of sound and vision

bowie76

“Because now you have designers, who instead of being encouraged to come up with their own, new, crazy ideas, are being encouraged to do the things that have been proven by the data to deliver results. A lot of times, in thriving marketplaces, a lot of ideas come from the bottom up. You see new consumer behaviors, and then you go, “Oh my gosh, look at what these kids are doing.” But as you end up with more predictable, controlled consumers, you end up with a less innovative society.”

Source: Doug Rushkoff Says Companies Should Stop Growing | FiveThirtyEight

Don’t you wonder sometimes, ’bout sound and vision?

Be weird. Be different. Don’t let your own expressions be drowned out by “what has worked in the past” or be restricted by “the data.”

Round pegs, square holes and all that.


Experience Designing

“In the old days you were either cool and a bit flakey or on it and a nerd. What we need today is cool nerds. People and agencies that can fathom the deep jumbled soup of networked technologies and surf the rich broth of culture. And help their clients to do the same. Experience design is on the frontline of this reconciliation of left and right brain for organisations. The smartphone was the catalyst, yet is only one piece in the puzzle. What is certainly true is we’re no longer looking back and instead start to shape our industry to better serve our  clients and customers in this new world.”

Source: The forgotten language of experience design | Marketing Magazine

True whether you’re marketing a product, a church on social media, or an idea in a classroom.


Redundancy is not helpful

“Each additional link places an extra load on users’ working memory because it causes people to have to remember whether they have seen the link before or it is a new link. Are the two links the same or different? Users often wonder if there is a difference that they missed. In usability studies, we often observe participants pause and ponder which they should click. The more courageous users click on both links only to be disappointed when they discover that the links lead to the same page. Repetitive links often set user up to fail.”

Source: The Same Link Twice on the Same Page. Do Duplicates Help or Hurt?

Very true.


Classical Inscriptions, Fonts, and Avatar

“The Renaissance was chockablock with copyists who learned and then duplicated Latin epigraphic scripts for various purposes. This imitation game had a great amount of influence on the Renaissance antiquities market at the time (forgeries could be bought all over Italy), but it is also revealed in the fonts we use today–particularly Roman fonts. The invention of fonts by various printers and typesetters in the 15th and 16th centuries was often inspired by lapidary inscriptions from the catacombs or pulled from manuscripts recording antique stones. After all, these inscriptions were increasingly displayed in the houses of the Roman elite, by popes, in churches, and in newly established museums.”

Source: Times New Roman: Classical Inscriptions, Epigraphy Hunters, and Renaissance Fonts – SARAH E. BOND


A Complete History of the Millennium Falcon

Fantastic read on many levels. Even a nod to Stainless Steel Rat for Wayne Porter…

The Millennium Falcon underwent a long and arduous number of conceptual iterations before its final iconic shape emerged; the one we now once again see blasting its way across the big screen. In fact it wasn’t even known by its famous name until well into production, having up until then gone under the much mundane moniker: Pirate Ship.

Source: A Complete History of the Millennium Falcon — Kitbashed

 


Cortical Origami

“It turns out that the huge explosion in the number of brain cells in the brain’s outer layer, called the cortex, forces that layer to swell and then collapse in on itself to form those characteristic creases. This cortical origami—which has also evolved in a handful of other brainy species, such as dolphins and some primates—may be nature’s way of solving the tight packing problem.”

Source: Human Brain’s Bizarre Folding Pattern Re-Created in a Vat – Scientific American


14 Degrees of Visibility

Brinton charts 14 degrees of visibility all the way from black type on a yellow background (the most legible) to blue type on red (the most offensive). This research is certainly nothing new today, but gets you thinking about how the theories have been exercised. Take, for example, the classic hazard symbols, or street signs—they each use the most visible color combinations per Brinton’s chart.

via This 1939 Chart Explains How Color Affects Legibility | Fast Company