Adventures in Branding

Mike in shades, 2016

Our small city of 135,000 has over 7,000 businesses, 5200 of which have between 10 and 100 employees. I can vouch for the friendliness of the people: hardworking, affable and unpretentious.

Is it a paradise for a business-friendly branding company like Graphic Design in Barrie?

I started this blog a few years back, mainly to comment on design issues and little else. Once my lovely wife and I began thinking about our move from Aurora – further north to Barrie – with the attendant risks and opportunities, more just came tumbling out.

As my Twitter profile says: One brand conscious gentleman takes on weighty issues like modern design, local / social marketing and boomers on the brink. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

With all this fuss about David Ogilvy’s birthday…

you might want to check out this inspiring film about the real mad men of the sixties ad agencies… when artists were first paired with writers. This is the kind of awe inspiring work that is so simple, so fresh, so elemental to be unforgettable (and that’s the point). Still relevant after all these years, these teams and these ads are showcased nicely here. Go see the trailer and then buy the film. You’ll be glad. It will make you happy. But if you’re in the creative business, it will also make you jealous.

The Leading Edge of Healthcare

As broadband and mobile access spreads, more people have the ability – and increasingly, the habit – of sharing what they are doing or thinking with other like-minded internet citizens. In health care this translates to people tracking their workout routines, posting reviews of their medical treatments and raising awareness about certain health conditions.
These are not yet mainstream activities, but there are pockets of highly-engaged patients and caregivers who are taking an active role in tracking and sharing what they have learned. Again, check out The Social Life of Health Information by Samantha Fox from Pew Internet. “I know, and I want to share my knowledge” is the leading edge of health care.

The Default Setting for People with Health Questions

Just one of many enlightening conclusions of this study is that most of the people looking for health information on social sites is asking for another, ie a caregiver or relative. But social media is not typically where one might look for health information. If you want to find out who is searching for health lessons online take a look at The Social Life of Health Information by Samantha Fox from Pew Internet. “I don’t know, but I can try to find out” is the default setting for people with health questions

A little graphic design for the Queen’s York Rangers

Well, our little show went off without a hitch on Wednesday night here in beautiful downtown Aurora. The visiting Lieutenant Governor arrived to the sounds of bagpipes, welcomed by a happy crowd of sincere well wishers and a dozen or so Rangers, our honoured guests.

I was pleasantly entertained all evening not only with the sincere affability of the Aurora crowd but with the pomp and circumstance of the event itself. I met not a few of the Rangers, each resplendent in their regimental blues, and heard what being a Ranger means in a number of different voices.

All my little special projects worked out well, with thanks to the generous efforts of our organizing team… I was outbid on the Silent Auction however: lawn tickets to a Blue Rodeo concert under the stars in August. Other than that, an affair to remember!

Responsive web design fits content to device.

I’m quite intrigued by content management system, open source Drupal. While other web platforms feature a plethora of templates that look to my eye like student work, Drupal invites artistic experimentation and from what I’ve seen, it attracts some of the best designers on the web.

Here is Andrew Revitt’s site, Living to Ride. He’s a mountain biker, obviously sports a great eye, and has been working on this site for 15 years. It has benefited greatly from his elegant polishing and buffing.

What’s lovely to look at is not just the sheer exuberance of the design but the way it redistributes it’s content blocks to fit devices from the iphone size shown here, up to the desktop size >>> just a little further right down along the shelf.

This posts is really one part of four:
Responsive Design Fits Content To Device
Seamless design from iPhone screen to iPad display
Design sized right for Netbooks, Notebooks & Laptops
Designed for screens big enough to lose ourselves in

Seamless design from handheld iPhone to iPad display,

Andrew Revitt’s site reflexively resizes and redistributes itself to show the viewer the correct configuration. From single to double columns, the site seems almost casually right, perfectly fitting each display.

To me, a proud ‘classically trained’ designer, who approached web design from legibility and usability viewpoints, I see now that my fundamental, but not unconscious stance remained with print. Even the word ‘layout’ stems from the type, font and press world of magazines & newspapers of the ink on paper variety. I still love print, hell I just finished a beautiful annual report, but for those looking for it’s death, here’s yet another nail.

This posts is really one part of four:
Responsive Design Fits Content To Device
Seamless design from iPhone screen to iPad display
Design sized right for Netbooks, Notebooks & Laptops
Designed for screens big enough to lose ourselves in

Design sized right for Netbooks, Notebooks & Laptops



This screen seems a little more comfortable with the sheer amount of content as shown here in Andrew Revitt’s home page, Living to Ride.

There are many sites nominated on ‘Media Queries‘.

Each shows a different designer’s vision of this most original of design principles,

FORM
FOLLOWS
FUNCTION.

This posts is really one part of four:
Responsive Design Fits Content To Device
Seamless design from iPhone screen to iPad display
Design sized right for Netbooks, Notebooks & Laptops
Designed for screens big enough to lose ourselves in

Designed for screens big enough to lose ourselves in.

Here’s the multi-column large-screen display. Don’t cha just love the way Drupal works this? Can’t wait for WordPress to catch up!

This posts is really one part of four:
Responsive Design Fits Content To Device
Seamless design from iPhone screen to iPad display
Design sized right for Netbooks, Notebooks & Laptops
Designed for screens big enough to lose ourselves in

Social Media is a noisy office party, where everyone wants to be heard. Who speaks for the brand?

Marketers increase Social Spending but many wonder ‘WHY’?S Marketers Aren’t Sure About ROI but Will Spend More on Social Media, the World Federation of Advertisers Says. That’s the Advertising Age headline.
“Companies Often Don’t Post Enough or Fail to Express a Brand’s Personality Online” Author Emma Hall goes on to note that logistics seems to be part of the problem, who will measure, let alone who is responsible for the brand when everyone from the internal marketers, to ad agencies, to social media experts is stepping up to be the owner of social media in the corporation. Difficult to hear when everyone’s talking at once.

Healthcare for seniors. Refreshed. Re-designed.

I have had the distinct pleasure to design this annual report and to refresh the brand of the preeminent long term care association in Canada, in the process refocusing on the people, the caregivers behind the scenes.
I originally wrote the tagline, WE ARE LONG TERM CARE IN ONTARIO to refer to the organization as they had over 475 members and a cross section of all long term care providers in the province, representing the entire sector. But in the next year, the line came to refer to the caregivers themselves, as the face(s) of long term care. Click to see the pdf: high res lowres

From Post War, to Baby Boomers, then Pepsi Generation. Now we’re Generation Alzheimer’s.

< Our disease? Get the ‘Generation Alzheimer’s: the defining disease of the baby boomer’ report.

With each new conversation with another my age the inevitable topics come up, ‘How are your parents doing?”

What follows is typically an exchange of stories, sometimes in the early stages, moments of trepidation, like last week when one mother asked her 50 year old son when it was that he started wearing glasses. The response was, “in eleventh grade”. That would have been about 5 years ago in my mother’s case. Today I learn that she’s in virtual lock down and may be reading the same page in the same book over and over – alone in her room.

This is our disease. Breathe deeply. Own it. More later.

What Social Media Influence Looks Like

The Web Ecology Project plots robot against robot competing in a week-long Social Media Influencing Contest. The task for “Socialbots 2011” is based on a lead bot, with points awarded for the number of mutual connections with the lead bot and responses they can elicit from the 500 targets that have been generated.
Teams launch their lead bot, as well as any number of supporting bots, to maximize social impact. I found this on Marshall Sponder’s blog intriguingly addressed ‘web metrics guru the’ dot com. If you’re interested in evaluating social media this blog is a must read.

A night to remember in Aurora

I have been recently ‘gifted’ as some would say these days, in meeting and working with a group dedicated to helping Queen’s York Rangers by staging this prestigious event. This regiment goes back to American revolutionary times and their history is deep in the DNA of Aurora. Follow me as QYRbugleboy on Twitter!
Shown is the logo for this event, graphic designed as part of an overall design, marketing and social media strategy for the event.

Steady as she goes for Shell’s aquatic logo

Shell presents a treasured symbol shown here evolving over the last century and now celebrating it’s  100th birthday. Each single, evolutionary step is careful never to land so far away from the previous iteration that the audience is lost or the customer taken for granted. Yet, as every picture tells a story, here the design ethos of each decade is rendered fresh, literally blended into the corporate identity. The changes are so subtle, probably most went unnoticed, yet each managed to keep pace with ever changing public perceptions of taste and modernity. I love the most recent one where even the company name is declared superfluous. When the name goes yet the meaning remains, it’s a proud display,  proof the mark has attained universal icon status.

MUSIC AT THE NEW CENTRE OF AURORA

The Aurora Cultural Centre is in its inaugural year. Already its well on its way to realizing its vision to enrich the community through arts, culture and heritage.

I am privileged to have them as new clients. Here’s my design for the Music at the Centre series of piano concerts at the Centre.

Find out more at auroraculturalcentre.com

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