Thursday, December 14, 2006

Brand utility V Branded Utility

Have you noticed that the terms 'brand' and 'branding' have become highly abused in the advertising, design and marketing industry? 'Brand' has gone from being an approach to recognising and developing a products attributes, to being a cover-all term that usually masks a messy swamp of half-baked marketing waffle.

I knew something was up when I heard someone say 'Kylie is a brand'. err... I thought she was singer, or an Australian, or a cancer survivor, or the singing budgie. Not a sales sticker.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Cherry Blossom Time

When told that I would be in Japan during Cherry Blossom season, I was underwhealmed. Cherry blossom is all very nice, but nothing to get that excited about. On arrival in Tokyo - there was not a lot of cherry blossom. I and my sinuses were relieved.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Turning Japanese

Prepare yourself. I spent some time in Japan earlier in the year. My first time. The next few posts will be that of me as a Japanophile.

Going to Japan has been something I wanted to do for many years. I love the minimalism, the respect for beauty, the torturing of nature. The ability to create beauty by the arrangement of things.

On my first few days in Tokyo, to my western eyes there were constant contradictions between beautiful vistas and mundane interruptions like electricity wires and TV antenna's. I would frame a shot, and there would be the bright pink sign in front of the perfect cherry blossom tree in flower.

For a while - I was frustrated, until I did some reading.

Donald Richie who since WW2 has lived most of his life in Japan provides some interesting insights into this. In his book Partial Views: Essays on Contemporary Japan he argues in one of the essays that the Japanese have a way of ignoring interruptions to beauty. The Japanese view instantly edits the frame to eliminate the telephone wires, or the neon sign.

Once I had read this comment - I abandoned my quest for the 'perfect shot'. It was quite liberating.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Fridges - Platter or no Platter

Not really graphic design related, but anyway.

This weekend, I went looking at fridges for our soon-to-be-renovated kitchen. Being a child of the sixties - one of those fridges with 2 side-by-side doors, an icemaker and chilled water dispenser has always been my aspiration.

These are very available and quite affordable, but they come with a downside. They won't take platters (because each side is narrow), or if they will, they are over a meter in depth - which means you have to have kitchen benches that are a meter deep if you want the fridge to be flush. Or have a sticky-outie fridge - and no one wants that in a modern minimalist interior.

They have two door fridges with freezer draws (sounds like a good idea until you try one). They have one door fridges with freezers at the top. But do they have a two door, freezer below wide model with an icemaker . . . not that I could find.

So, the perfect fridge would be wide (for the platters), with an icemaker, and chilled water in the door, and a freezer at the bottom (not in a drawer).

If you find one - I need to know

Monday, March 6, 2006

All web designers should be a part of this list

Design on the web moves at such a pace. I find it difficult to keep up.

I have some regular sources I check on. Some are in magazines, but most are online.

A List Apart has been around in one form or another for a few years. It is a community of contributors that want to share their knowledge.

It's probably more for the designer and developer rather than the client.

I hope you find it stimulating.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Looking for the perfect Web Designer

Advertising for a new member of our team can be a daunting experience.

Firstly, it makes you confront what your business is about, and nail down what skills you're in need of.

Secondly, creating a new position, means that you are making a committment to a person, to keep them in wages, and work.

Thirdly, bringing in a new person can change the balance in a small organisation.

And fourthly, in this modern world, with internet advertising, you have to wade through scores of applications that don't even meet your minimum requirements. Unfortunately the convenience of the internet means you get a deluge of applicants that have just clicked that button on that says 'Send Resume'.

Finally, it is also exciting. What will the new employee bring with them? A new way of looking at our clients needs? Better jokes round the office? . . . the excitement of the new ?

If you are interested in applying - you will find an outline of the job here.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The death of Advertising Agencies - a little premature

In the Monday edition of the Financial Review, the death of the advertising agency was 'announced'. 'Ad revolution leaves agencies out in the cold'(unfortunately the article is only available to subscribers online)

I exaggerate a little.

The article does however point out that organisations are more and more turning to consultants who specialise in marketing to boost sales, rather than to traditional advertising agencies who - if anything - specialise in creative ideas, especially for television advertising.

However - as Matthew Melhuish of BMF Advertising points out - a good creative idea will always have value:

" There are still too many clients who see creativity as nice to have but not essential, They don't understand that the only way to engage busy, advertising-literate consumers and cut through the marketing clutter is to develop strong ideas"

While I agree - he does imply that marketing consultants don't have good creative ideas.

A view that I am sure some would challenge.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Most of Sydney comes from New Zealand (or Adelaide)

The advantage of using internet job ads like is that you get hundreds of applicants. The downside is you do get hundreds of applicants - that don't meet your criteria.

Last year I ended up interviewing about 16 people out of a total of 150 applicants. Only one of them was a perfect fit. It took me a day or two to come to this conclusion - meanwhile they accepted another job.

Just as I was about to give up - an email from a newly arrived New Zealander. Interview, tryout day, appoint without delay!

Reece has been with us a couple months now, and a well as being tempted by the bright lights of Sydney, he's settling in as a wonderful designer.

He reminds me of my move from Adelaide to Sydney about 20 something years ago.

Sydney is one of those places filled with people from elsewhere