Blogless: Blog of Design Less Better.

Posts tagged Advertising.

Four Design Links:
June 10, 2010

Four Design Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week.

1. How BP is fighting back

Interesting story on Grist about the many ways BP is attempting to control more than the oil spill. It's reaching out to tame lawsuits, legislators, and even Google.

2. Lessons learned from 13 failed software products

Failure is the best teacher, as they say. I found a lot of this advice useful.

3. The State of Web Fonts, June 2010

A List Apart has a great comprehensive review of Web Fonts -- browsers, tools, and other information. If you're interested in learning more or possibly taking the plunge, this is a helpful resource.

4. Design Fiction

Bruce Sterling finally organized his sprawling Wired blog. Of interest to BlogLESS readers: the new Design Fiction tag. It's like science fiction for the creative set. A speculative glimpse of our design future punctuated by Sterling's entertaining rants and snark.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
NickJun 10, 2010
 

Sneakiest Design Ever?

A great design solution + a less than ethical client = sneaky. Graphicology has the scoop on the Marlboro F1 redesign.

Marlboro is a sponsor of the Ferrari Formula One team, but European laws prohibit cigarette advertising -- so what to do?

Marlboro F1 Design

This barcode-looking thing is an ingenious design. It's not explicitly the Marlboro brand, but at a subconscious level -- particularly at high speeds -- it gets the point across.

As of last month, the design was removed due to complaints. But it's still an interesting case of design ethics, this subliminal non-advertisement.

Marlboro F1 Logo Comparison
Images via J. Jason Smith, Graphicology
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
NickJun 8, 2010
 

Four Design Links:
June 3, 2010

Four Design Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week.

1. The Revelation

We've been thinking recently about our business practices here at Design Less Better, so this recent speech by John Thackara really hit home for me.

It meanders a bit, but excluding the environmental stuff early on, I can appreciate at least three points he made about the business of being a thinker:

  1. There is a need for deep thinking Folks will pay for strategy, futurism, ethical frameworks, etc. because most of them don't have time to come up with it themselves. It's a simple assertion, but creative types might take it for granted. We tend to think other people are like us.
  2. A lot of well-known designers and thinkers don't have it as great as it might look. Like you, most of them have boring work they have to do to keep the lights on, but it's not the kind of thing that makes for a good lecture.
  3. The monetary rewards of those "good" jobs you see in the lecture are also less than one might expect. Thackara claims that he only gets paid for about 25% of the hours he works. The other 75% of his time is writing, thinking, and hustling so he can land those paid hours.

This is not at all the point of Thackara's speech, but it's something I appreciate nonetheless as an insight into the process of how such a person works and an indicator of how important passion is in being successful at it.

2. Meet Mr. W

Love this wonderful German (yet English-speaking?) ad. Clever!

3. Dropbox – The Power of a “Value Based” Startup

Dropbox Logo

We're huge fans of Dropbox, so this writeup on the company's strategy was of interest.

Essentially, it boils down to design less better.

Rather than follow the mantra of "release early, release often", the Dropbox team focused on a set of limited, but useful features that worked beautifully out of the gate. This high level of polish for a free product helped retain and gratify users who then went on to market the software to their friends.

Speaking as a user, that's exactly what happened to me. Dropbox is limited compared to the many other file-sharing sites out there, but this also makes it simple to use. And Dropbox does it so well that I can't help but recommend it.

4. This is not content

A recent post from 37 signals had this nugget, which is not an original observation, but bears repeating nonetheless:

[People don't want "content"] What people want is opinions, analysis, techniques, experiences, and insights. The best of all these come as a by-product from actually doing stuff.

One might rephrase this as: make things, not content.

Time to follow that advice...

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
NickJun 3, 2010
 

Classic Volkswagen Ads

Check out these classic ads for Volkswagen Station Wagons.

These are paragon examples of advertising minimalism and wit. Notice that the second one doesn't even show you the Volkswagen. Beautiful stuff.

Volkswagen Station Wagon Ad (1/2)
Volkswagen Station Wagon Ad (2/2)
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
PaulMay 17, 2010
 

Heineken: Your only real friend?

Heineken's so-called "case study" is a case study in dubious marketing ethics.

We were alerted this week (thanks Megan) to an interesting case of marketing/media ethics.

On the night of October 21st last year, Real Madrid played AC Milan in an important Champions League match. Heineken (under guidance of advertising agency JWT Milan, Italy) gave university professors, girlfriends, and various media outlets (hereafter, the foils) tickets to a classical music and poetry a concert that night. The foils, quite naturally, asked or required their students, boyfriends and employees (hereafter, the pawns) to go to the concert. Naturally, many of the pawns were nonplussed. Their (quite strong) preference was to watch Real Madrid/AC Milan, not to attend what they saw as a boring concert. Here's what happened.

Now ask yourself, what is the message to the pawns (the target market) here? I think it has to be this: "Heineken knows you better, and looks out for your interests better, than your professors, girlfriends, wives, and bosses. When your work, education, and family stand in the way of your happiness, count on the Heineken brand to save you."

That, by my lights, is a little perturbing.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
PaulApr 5, 2010
 

Two Monday Worries: March 8, 2010

Two Monday Worries starts your week off right, tracking troubling tales trending in design, advertising, and ethics.

1. Google is Making me Stupid

I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle...

The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas.

Read the whole article here and an interesting follow-up here. (Thanks, Seamus.)

Detail of 'Google Monster' by Asaf Hanuka
Detail of Google Monster by Asaf Hanuka

2. Max Barry: The Lawnmower People

But [corporations] weren’t enough of a person, apparently, so now they have First Amendment rights. In particular, they have the right to spend as much money as they like on political advertising: airing ads in favor of anti-regulation candidates over pro-regulation ones, for example.

The Supreme Court has let them into homes: now the [corporations] will speak to us through TV, radio, internet, print, and tell us who to vote for. That might not seem like a problem. After all, you are a smart person. You’re probably not persuaded by advertising. The thing is, everyone thinks that, and advertising is an $600 billion industry. Someone, somewhere is getting $600 billion worth of persuasion.

Read the whole article here.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
PaulMar 8, 2010
 

Four Design Links: February 25, 2010

Four Design Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week.

1. The Ethics of 3D

3D Picture
Creative Commons photo by Jim Frost

3D seems to be everywhere these days, but is it bad for us? ABC blogger Mark Pesce thinks it might be.

Exposure to the kind of fake-3D we see in movies and video games can affect a person's real-world depth perception. Unless a different technology comes along, Pesce argues that viewing 3D in this way for long periods of time could cause permanent perceptual damage(!).

But the media companies must have thought of this, right? Not really:

All of this is rolling forward without any thought to the potential health hazards of continuous, long-term exposure to 3D. None of the television manufacturers have done any health & safety testing around this. They must believe that if it's safe enough for the cinema, it's fine for the living room. But that's simply not the case. Getting a few hours every few weeks is nothing like getting a few hours, every single day.

To follow up on this question of ethics, what about 3D accessibility, as well?

Even if it proves to be harmless (which I doubt -- more on that next week), as it turns out, some people can't see 3D. It bears noting than an experience should not require 3D, or one risks excluding at least some of the audience.

As designers, it seems as though we ought to be more careful in our application of 3D.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
NickFeb 25, 2010
 

Nine Ways To Improve An Ad

A classic illustration of Less is Better, nearly 50 years ago, Fred Manley cleverly taught us how bad design slips in from the best of intentions.

Nine Ways To Improve An Ad

I first learned about this article a little over a year ago. If you aren't familiar you owe it to yourself to check it out.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
NickJan 26, 2010
 
← Newer PostsOlder Posts →