BoyDog Design
Design and more…

Social Media iconsI came across a great article by Hootsuite today, 5 Reasons Why A Social Media Content Calendar is Important For Your Business. I’ve been immersed in social media since it started trending. So much so that I felt completely overwhelmed with the responsibilities involved in posting in a timely manner and where I intended the content to appear. It seemed like I was spending so much time on social media that I was neglecting some of my other responsibilities. As time went on I just gave up. Enough already!

So I’m back! I decided to get busy.

Today while browsing my Twitter feed I came across the above-mentioned article. It got me to thinking how similar the job of a traffic manager in an advertising agency is to managing social media. Honestly, I had never put the two together before. Lightbulb went off today… I’ve worked as a marketing manager and I always had a good six months schedule planned out for all of my media resources. Print, trade shows, promo items – it was all on a spreadsheet that made my life easier. I had a spreadsheet of all of my advertising – magazine, date, product, etc. So why is it I never put social media into the mix?

I’m guessing in the beginning I was so wrapped up on learning the ins and outs of social media. Finding all of the available social media apps. Organizing what goes where. Too make it even more difficult I was posting for multiple accounts. Time has passed. It’s not longer a new thing for me, or anyone else for that matter. It’s time to settle down, get organized, and start posting again.

If you have a minute or two in your day you should check out the article I came across. Very helpful.

 

I suspect that as I get into this it may turn a bit snarky. I’m at a point right now where I vacillate between my genuine love of design and my disappointment in some of the absolute crap I see out there. I can’t help but notice the design that is born from an educated eye and respect for design. It is then coupled with a complete ignorance for design principle and put out for consumption simply because “they can” and with no regard for what preceded them in the design world. Yes, I am a design snob. And I can’t “get over it”.

I shake my head sometimes as I see a new commercial or print ad (albeit a print ad that I see on my iPad because I admit I read magazines online via a really cool app). I have to wonder how the pitch went for some of this stuff. Wouldn’t it be great if we did some really stupid stunt and combined it with some inane copy. Better yet, let’s crowdsource and pull some online babble. It’s so relatable to the public and it’s bound to be a hit. Speaking of hits – it’s bound to be “liked” by tons of people. This is when I start to wonder why this bullshit is tolerated.

When I was learning the ins and outs of advertising in college we had a few categories that our ads were put in. The point of these categories was to weed out the crap and leave the cream so ads could be refined and have some sort of plausible basis for being considered for presentation to a client. It was a brutal process at times. Ads pinned up on the wall and each one was critiqued by some of these standards:

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Bad
  • I Don’t Get It
  • I’ve Seen It Before
  • Bullshit
  • Too Cute

It was not uncommon to put your ad up for review and have it torn to pieces during the critique. That’s how we all learned. It helped develop a mindset that wasn’t in a rush to put out crap for public consumption. (I’m reading through this now and I realize I use the word crap a lot. If it offends you, “get over it”.)

Now I know that business is all about making money. Money, money, money. I also know that there a some designers and artists who have made a very comfortable living putting out sub-standard work. For some reason they’ve caught on – they trend, they fascinate, they entice, they are provocative. Oooohhh! Unfortunately I’m not one of them. I can’t get those design principles out of my head.

I know that thinking out of the box will bring along innovation and a unique perspective. I’m all for that. Times change and the things that people relate to change with them. I get that. Demographics change. The economy takes its toll. People leave the industry and new people step in. Change is inevitable. I get it. At some point though I can’t help but wonder what happens when little by little we let basic design principles become eroded and disappear. I’ll use my local newspaper as an example. Some months back they set out to redesign the paper. One day I opened the paper and wondered, “What the hell happened here?” My eyes were having trouble focusing on the articles because they had used multiple fonts in multiple type sizes. HUGE headlines and then teeny tiny copy for some while others had whacky font choices and big spaces (kerning) in the copy. It takes a few days and finally the editor writes that they are in a redesign process and, yes, they’ve heard from people about how bad it looks. OMG! To date it’s not uncommon to see widows and orphans in the typeset. Articles just end in mid-sentence. And those pesky fonts keep showing up now and again. I suppose if the most important goal is to keep those circulation numbers up you’ll let a few things slide.

It’s no different online. Some websites were fantastic for their navigation. Then one day for whatever their reasoning they’ve changed things and now it takes more clicks to get to where you want to go. It isn’t intuitive anymore. I find myself just staring at the page – I can’t figure out where I’m supposed to go. I love animation. I love slideshows. I also like the ability to read. Simply read the information I’m interested in. It doesn’t have to move. It just needs to sit there and be readable. I understand that there are many ways to construct sites these days. They each have their own perks. Some just look cool. Some can be maintained by their administrators. I know companies like that. There are the ones with the latest bells and whistles – what’s trending in tech design at the moment. Not always a bad thing I must say. It’s not for me to figure out why they do what they do. I do know that I’m going to notice things. I’m going to notice the inconsistencies, the lack of continuity, the navigation issues, the use of art and the way it’s all composed on the page. I am, as I’ve already confessed, a design snob. I will ultimately wonder where we’re headed if the lack of design standards appears to be the way we do things in the future. Will anybody notice the sloppy work? Will anybody question the composition of an ad? Will online and print media turn into a mere scrapbook of ideas, art, and type that are put together disguised as professionally designed media? If the public doesn’t notice, who will care? If the money keeps rolling in, why bother? If the future of design devolves into what’s the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to communicate then I’m going to be very sad. For me it all comes down to design. I love it. I want to preserve the best of design. No shortcuts. No sloppy work. No babble for copy. No crap.

Postscript: I wrote this almost a year ago. Never posted it because I thought it might be a bit much. Looking at it now, I have to say my thoughts are the same — so here it is…

 

photo by Campbell Soup Company

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s 1962 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans piece, Campbell’s released a limited edition collection of soup cans featuring pop art labels from original Warhol artwork. It’s amazing to see a well-known product take on a new persona with the addition of some new colors and a bit of tweaking to the type.

If you’d like to read a little more about it Laughing Squid posted an article with more photos and links to check out.

 

April 16, 2012

Here are today’s links:

30 Fantastic Celtic Fonts for Free

When Typography Speaks Louder Than Words

A Beginner’s Guide to jQuery

Study of Font Styles and Best Uses for Each

14 Fonts to Add to Your Font Collection

30 Amazing Photoshop Tutorials That You Can’t Miss

47 Rusty Metal Textures to Download And Use In Your Designs

30+ Excellent And Useful jQuery Tutorials

All The Cheat Sheets That A Web Developer Needs

Create A Button For Your Website Using Photoshop Tutorials

Typography Design Inspiration #4 

15 Useful Infographics For Designers And Developers

20 Sources to Download Free Photoshop Patterns 

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy! 

April 15, 2012

Here are today’s links:

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy!

Colorize a Black and White Photo in Photoshop

30+ Great jQuery Calendar and Date Pickers Plugins

Bold and Justified: The Huge World of Typography (Infographic)

A Compilation of 38 Uniquely Shaped Fonts

Fresh Package Design Inspiration For Designers

April 14, 2012

Here are today’s links:

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy!

Apply Green Patterns to your Design and Feel A New Look

How to Create a High-Tech Cyborg Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

25 Vector Tutorials To Improve Your Skills

Sequence.js: The jQuery Slider Plugin with Infinite Style

15 Uncommon Sets of Metallic Texture, Pattern and Brushes for Photoshop Users

30 Beautiful Examples Of Cool Catalogue & Brochure Design

40+ Useful Free ONline Books for Web Designers

April 12, 2012

Just about every day I spend some time on my computer searching for interesting, helpful, and inspiring information related to design. I’ve been posting those links on Delicious and StumbleUpon for a while now. So many helpful links… It occurred to me that it might be useful to let you all know when I add new links to those sites. Starting today I will be posting my new links each day.

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy!

20 Beautiful Free Fonts for Vintage and Retro Style Website Design

30 Logos of Professional Designers / Inspiration

Toying With the HTML5 System API

The Current State of HTML5 Forms

FontShop Releases Adobe PhotoShop Plugin

15 Hot & New Fonts That You Should Use

Photoshop Mastery: 25 More Techniques Every Designer Must Know

Usabilla – collect design feedback as you build a website

photo from Soulsight/Projects page

Have you noticed the recent updates and new package designs lately? Seems like crisp, cropped and to the point design is trending. I just came across this article, Less Calories, More Crop/via Brand New, and it is a perfect example of the “less is more” concept.

As you can see, the new design continues to promote the brand’s identity, but in a more modern way. If you’ve been a fan of Miller beer prior to this redesign you surely will continue to recognize your favorite beer. For those who have not been introduced to Miller beer, this new design is a refreshing alternative to the old logo and package design.

Give both six-packs a quick glance. Which one was the easier read? The new design will easily stand out in the beer aisle. Its bold use of a cropped logo is sure to catch your eye. In a world of some very creative beer labels, I know that a giant red “Miller 64” will get your attention.

If this new branding can gain some traction with an established audience and bring in a new dimension to their target market , I would say they’ve met a goal or two. It will be interesting to see how future ad campaigns help develop this new image.

 

2011 is over – history. You know without a doubt exactly what you accomplished and where your business came up short. Now is the time to examine every aspect of your 2011 marketing plan and see how you can revise it for a more profitable 2012. Please tell me you do indeed have a marketing plan. Without a plan you are relegated to shooting from the hip as your year progresses. Always reacting to circumstances instead of acting to create a response. The winning business is the one that has a plan.

Look back at 2011. What products or services offered were a hit? Which were not received well? Did you reach your target market? What media did you employ to reach your market? Were you able to measure your success? Did your particular field encounter a major change during 2011? Is the field of competitors filled with the same players or are there some new ones on the field? Were you able to achieve your goals working within your budget? Does it look like your business is stagnant? Once you’ve answered these questions you can move forward with a 2012 marketing plan.

I will agree that the process of putting together a marketing plan may seem daunting. It does take a lot of work. It forces you to be honest with yourself about your past success. It makes you face and confront areas that need improvement, a complete overhaul, or require new ideas using new media options. That’s why it can be beneficial to utilize the talents of a professional. Work with someone who knows the process and can guide you through each and every consideration as you formulate your plan. Some of you may only require a few meetings of consultation to refresh your approach and let you know what’s trending in business communication outlets. Think social media. Think mobile advertising. Others may need more in-depth assistance as you formulate target markets, demographics, media usage, budget constraints, and your particular timeline. Some of you already have marketing departments that keep your business focused toward a specific goal. That’s a wonderful advantage. Even in this circumstance it may be necessary to consult with a design professional to be sure you understand the best way to use new media and to create that media. A partnership between marketing and design should produce the most effective advertising placed in the best venue for your product or service.

Welcoming 2012 is fresh in our minds. Now is the time to work toward a profitable new year. If you’re a veteran to this marketing task then let this serve as a reminder that there’s work to be done. If you’re new to this or feel that you could use some expert advice, now is the time to pick up the phone or send out that email to a professional. The time and expense you put into this task now should prove profitable as your year progresses. Establish goals now and work to realize success. BoyDog Design can assist you with your marketing plan and the media you need produced to reach your goals.

I wish everyone a year filled with opportunity and success!

 

Sept 29, 2011: New packaging for Ivory soap brands on display at Procter & Gamble's Cincinnati headquarters. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

What does this brand’s evolution mean to you?

Seriously,  I’m curious – what do you think about this new packaging? Obviously, it gave me pause and that is why I’ve decided to explore it in this post. The more I think about it – more levels of consideration come to mind. Let’s reflect on a few now:

Brand Recognition

Few products have enjoyed widespread recognition as Ivory soap. It is iconic in that it represents soap in it purest and basic form. No fuss – just soap. Years of positive consumer feedback have secured Ivory soap’s place among its competitors.  As long as Ivory can continue these branding benchmarks it should expect continued success based on its marketing strategy.

With the introduction of new package design, do you think Ivory will suffer a change in brand recognition?

Package design today requires the use of color, type, and shape that will bring attention to your specific item. Anyone who walks down the aisle of a supermarket quickly sees that package design has evolved into a rainbow spectacle of products vying for your attention.  There are two ways to look at Ivory’s new packaging. In one way they have joined the masses to compete using the same media. I’m wondering though if their product would stand out from the crowd even more if it had retained it’s white (as in pure) packaging? Speaking for myself, I have often overlooked a product with a new package design simply because it was new. I was not aware of the change and my eye simply overlooked the product. Even items that I use regularly I have overlooked and assumed it was out of stock on the shelf at that time. Eventually I’d discover that it was there, right in front of my nose. Will that be the case for Ivory?

Below are some examples of how Ivory packaging has changed over time. If you’d like to see more examples they can be found on Photobucket and Google.

New packaging for Ivory soap

Demographics

Without any knowledge of the specifics of Ivory’s marketing plan, I will presume (based on my personal perspective) that the market reach is for any age group that wishes to use soap in its purest form, at a competitive price, and that is easily accessible for purchase. No bells or whistles. No fancy claims. Just soap – use it and it successfully cleans what it is applied to.

Will the new package design negatively affect a current user’s opinion of Ivory soap? Conversely, will the new package design positively entice a non-user to give it a try? Will the new colorful package bring it to the attention of a new customer base? Will the new package design imply a change in the product’s performance to both past and potential consumers? Does a change in the use of color, type, and package shape wield that much power in the minds of a consumer?

It’s a battle between “if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it” and “out with the old and in with the new”.

Economics

Let’s face it, the economy is a tough nut right now. People are more aware than ever of how far their dollar goes. I know that some pricey product lines establish their identity with the use of specific fonts and colors and the materials they use for packaging and the product itself. Things that shine give off the aura of expense. There is a certain luxury attached to the softness of fur, fine leather, cashmere, etc. We can all tell the difference in the package design of a brand name product when compared to a knock off sample or even a dollar store brand. Most likely it doesn’t have the same presentation and impact. It is in fact a step down from the originating brand.

So how will the public perceive a product that evolves from a predominantly white package to one that incorporates color? Will there be any perceived change in the brand’s value? Will there be a change in the perceived return on investment when buying Ivory soap? I  must admit I’ve never contemplated the repercussions of a change like this before. I would be interested to know if any metrics become available that give us a answer.

So what do you think?

I’m confident that hours and hours of discussion were involved in this package design change. It was accomplished by utilizing the skills of the highly acclaimed agency Wieden+Kennedy of Portland, OR. Time will tell if this new package design will enhance or detract from Ivory’s brand. I will continue to monitor my media sources for more information. If you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to share.

If you’d like to read more about the roll out of this new package design, here is a recent post on Yahoo.