Monthly Archives: December 2010

December 29, 2010

Art Serves Marketing

Commercial Art serves (unlike Fine Art, what you find in museums), you might say, a lower purpose:

Making Money.

Whether you think this is a good thing or not, if you are working in the commercial arena, there are rules. Everything you do should serve the commercial purpose, or at least not detract from it.
Of course that is often violated, as so ably dramatized by The Onion:

Graphic Designer’s Judgment Clouded

That doesn’t mean it can’t be superb, aesthetic, or uplifting.
It means don’t do things just because they are cool.

December 27, 2010

Unlimited Web Fonts

A major limitation of the web has been the small number of text fonts that could be safely used.
This is because display of text fonts depends on them being installed on the computer they are being viewed on. And there are only a few fonts that are universal enough that you can count on their being available. Like Times New Roman and Arial (or Helvetica, its near cousin on Apple machines).
Inevitably, someone would come up with a workable solution.
First several companies, including Typekit and Google developed online font depositories which could be easily referenced and used on people’s website.
Now you can add your own, even custom fonts to Typekit:

Customize the Web With Your Own Fonts

Sky’s the limit folks.

December 24, 2010

Censorship and the Internet

Anyone interested in freedom and/or the Internet (which should be everyone), needs to be aware of a rising tide of efforts on the part of governments to censor websites and the dissemination of information via the Internet.
Of course the big news on this has always been China but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Many countries restrict the Internet to a greater or lesser degree. Many would like to do more.
Even the Land of the Free.
The U.S. government has shut down a number of websites - some of which were owned by foreigners and hosted outside of the U.S. Because their domain registrars were U.S. based, this was possible.
These were NOT shut down because they violated international laws or the laws of the countries in which they were based. In some cases they may have been violating U.S. law (relating to Cuba), but no civil or criminal due process was involved in the shut-downs.
Having a Constitution that guarantees Freedom of Speech is only half the battle. Then the rule of law must still prevail. Read the Constitution of the old Soviet Union some time. It sounds great! Guaranteed freedom of speech, assembly and religion.
Efforts to shut down Wikileaks sites have been ongoing for months. Not with a lot of success. It’s a game of Whack-a-Mole since setting up mirror sites is so easy.
What’s the future hold? Governments are fighting a losing battle in this. The structure of the Internet makes censorship difficult. And whatever they try, clever people will develop ways around it. Here’s one proposal (it gets a bit technical): Building a Censorship Resistant Web.

December 21, 2010

Branding Visuals

I know I’ve commented on this before, but I think I maybe have a better way to communicate it.
Branding visual elements, such as your logo and color scheme, have one purpose and one purpose only.

So that viewers recognize it is YOUR marketing.

If they can recognize your marketing, that helps in several ways:
1. Every time they see an ad, package or whatever, it increases confidence. Just the fact that they see you over and over again makes people accept that you are real, trustworthy and here to stay.
2. As they see your message over and over, or use your products or services, they connect it with your brand so come to know what you stand for (or at least what you say you do) and associate it with the visuals.
So that when someone sees the Starbucks logo hanging outside a storefront, they know they can walk in there and order a double-decaf-soy-latte-machiatto, that they’ll like the way it tastes, that it will cost them $4.73, and that there will be comfortable chairs they can sit in while they consume their drink.
All the other things people try to do with branding visuals are a wasted effort. Sure, a logo or color scheme does have connotations to it. But that is more about avoiding a potential negative than creating a valuable positive.

Don’t use a skull and crossbones in your food logo (unless you’re selling hot sauce).
Stylized illustrations of happy people hugging each other are not going to sell more health insurance.

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