Wednesday, October 8, 2008

United Way Video

Here is a link for a video the United Way shot of my family on our experience during hurricane Katrina and how the United Way helped us. I made a one and a half second appearance. :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

3D Iconic Form

Packaging, branding and trademarks are all so intertwined with iconic 3D forms. “The term 'icon' goes back to the Byzantium where local artists were trained to exactly replicate religious images so that no matter where the icons traveled, viewers would share the same emotional experience. Modern marketing is seeking to do exactly the same.”

See article on Designing Iconic Packaging -


In the case of the Ketchup (or catsup) bottle, the shape is so closely allied to the product that without labels any American can easily identify the contents of any traditional catsup bottle. Shapes not only have functions, they have associations. Further, without labels, anyone can identify the Heinz bottle. As any student of the art history of Western culture knows, traditional iconography and traditional forms are closely wedded together, it is quite possible, in fact, that iconography and form are functions of each other.


Coca-Cola has just received trademark recognition for its iconic bottle. The elongated hourglass bottle became a registered U.S. trademark in 1960 and is honored by Russia and China, among other nations. Coca-Cola began fighting for Japanese trademark registration of its "contour bottle" back in 2003. Other shapes associated with pop culture and American food, notably Kentucky Fried Chicken's Colonel Sanders, have won Japanese trademarks. What made the Coke case different is the fact that its bottle has no lettering whatsoever. In fact, it's the first bottle sans lettering to receive a trademark in that country.


There just aren’t that many great great great ad campaigns. I’m talking about the ad campaigns that transcend commerce and become art. But the Absolut Vodka campaign hits that mark. That’s why, of course, there are books and collectible posters related to the campaign, just as there have been with Volkswagen, Campari and other great brands, that focus on the iconic bottle shape.


Nabisco makes Barnum's Animal Crackers, arguably the most famous commercially produced version of the snack, due to the distinctive package art of a circus cage on wheels and full of animals, with a distinctive handle. The string handle was originally added so that the box could be hung on a Christmas tree or house plant.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Good Design with Food

I love food and I love design so naturally I would love these!

The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley

It was fun to reread the first five chapters of this book. IDEO makes work sound almost like play. It's great to think about how you can excuse the silly dress codes and stifling office environments and yet still get serious accomplishments completed. I still think that you have to be lucky enough to get the right people - not only smart and flexible, but with great work ethics and integrity. Because a lot of people would just use the freedoms in a place like IDEO to "flake off" and under-perform. With the right group mix, perhaps either they wouldn't last long or they'd change and become creative and reliable.

Chapter 1 - Innovation at the Top

Tom Kelley, general manager of IDEO and brother of David Kelley, IDEO founder, describes the 5 major steps of his creative methodology - Deep Dive:
1. Understand the market, the client, the technology, and the constraints
2. Observe real people in real-life situations to see what they need and what they hate
3. Visualize new concepts and who will use them
4. Evaluate and refine prototypes
5. Implement the new concept for commercial production

He details IDEO' Nightline show on having one week to create an innovative grocery shopping cart.


Chapter 2 - Winging it in Start-up Mode

A short description of how David Kelley started IDEO.


Chapter 3 - Innovation Begins with an Eye

IDEO designed the first stand-up toothpaste tubes and self-sealing sports bottles, fat and soft toothbrushes for kids, and all-in-one kids' fishing kit. He describes the initial observations, questions asked, attempts and re-attempts at designing these (and other) products.


Chapter 4 - The Perfect Brainstorm

"The best way to get a good idea is to get a lot of ideas," says Linus Pauling. He details seven steps for better brainstorming:
1. Problem statement -could be a question - but has to be well-articulated and specific enough.
2. Don't criticize or debate ideas.
3. Number the ideas.
4. Build and jump.
5. No personal note-taking - scribe everything on paper on the wall for all to see.
6. Do group warm-up exercises before started brainstorming.
7. Do both 2-D and 3-D mock-ups of ideas - have lots of materials on hand.

Six things to avoid:
1. Boss gets to speak first
2. Everybody gets a turn - going clockwise and giving everyone 2 minutes - stifles creativity and sharing.
3. Don't be an expert snob.
4. Brainstorm at office - not at off-site retreat.
5. Anything goes - even silly stuff - in brainstorming. Don't ban silly ideas.
6. Don't write everything down like you're taking notes in class.


Chapter 5 - A Cool Company Needs Hot Groups

Team building, teamwork - heart of IDEO method. Must have clear goal and firm deadline.

The Designer as Producer: Working Outside Mainstream Manufacturing by Victor Margolin

Margolin discusses the emerging global marketing structure that has changed the role of the designer - designers are becoming manufacturers and distributors as well, due to the use of advanced technology. Computers and the internet allow designers to immediately become entrepreneurs, creating and selling their designs world-wide and doing away with the old craft-based cottage industry with only local distribution. One particularly exciting area is sustainable products. He argues for design schools to move beyond the historical preparation of designers to serve manufacturers, and rather create design entrepreneurships, for designers who want to be both product innovators and manufacturers, to learn about technology, marketing, management, and design.

Post Turtle

This made me laugh...and it is so true...

"While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man.

Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President. The old rancher said, 'Well , ya know, Palin is a post turtle.'

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was. The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle.'

The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain. 'You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up there, she doesn't know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with.'"

What is Product Design

What is Product Design: Part I - Issues by Laura Slack

Product design is "the creation of an object that originates from design ideas - in the form of drawings, sketches, prototypes, or models - through a process of design that can extend into the object's production, logistics and marketing."

Slack asks the question, "Is it the a designer's responsibility to be designing for our future and to find new and effective ways of producing what people want?"

A timeline chart of the history of design shows how it is directly related to worldwide economic development. (p. 14-15)

Part I also highlights hybrid products, functionality, decoration, and design as a statement.