Writing it down

“Maybe ads/brands/whatever work more like velcro than like a bullet or a tennis ball. It’s not about one big, simple hook, but thousands of little ones. If some of them fail it doesn’t matter. Some of them are verbal. many of them aren’t. They’re mostly the things that happen in execution, not in strategy. They’re to do with tone, manner, character, attitude, look, feel. Orr to be more specific, they’re to do with design, font, colour, photography, music, casting, copy, typesize. All that.

and further down in the comments: The best communications always leave room for the audience to do something. In their head or in the world. That’s why simplification and reductionism is often so stifling.”

Russell Davies on his schtick

Likemind III

Likemind III

If you haven’t heard of Likemind and are in NYC, check out the site at http://likemind.us/ Today was the third gathering and the second that I’ve been lucky enough to attend. Here’s a couple sites from people that were there today. I’m sure you’ll get out as much as I did from them.

cellar door: http://tokyohanna.blogspot.com/

Jack Chen: http://www.jackcheng.com/

BarCamp: http://barcamp.org/

Charles Gallant: http://www.charlesgallant.com/

PSFK: http://www.psfk.com/

1938 Media: http://www.1938media.com/

Popgadget: http://www.popgadget.net/

and of course Noah Brier: http://www.noahbrier.com/

and… The Blgging Times: http://www.thebloggingtimes.com/

Less than what

Mr. Brier points us to a “ton of pictures from Banksy’s LA show.” I think it would be too easy to either call the show an act of genius or a cheap grab for headlines. My question comes more out of interest of the location as opposed to skill in communicating. Since I’m not in the art game, my naivety will probably show through. Having never been to LA and only living in NYC for a couple months I’m going to make a giant assumption about the consumption of art between the two cities in Bansky’s situation. If I’m looking for a splashy event that will be on Extra – I would do it in LA. If I’m looking to challenge the art world, I would do it in NYC. LA’s TV camera’s vs NYC’s monolithic galleries. Bansky one day makes you consider the personality of Paris, and the next day he’s selling art to her friends. I wonder if the work is just a little less than what it could be.

Bleeding Ink

Bleeding Ink

While the concept of placing player’s “dna” into ink is kind of newsworthy, I wonder if Adidas missed a great opportunity to give back to something greater. Why not tie the whole thing into bringing attention to blood shortages? I don’t live in New Zealand, but I’m going to guess their blood-banks could always use more donations. There are an infinite number of ways that they could have passed on the message of how easy it is to give, show people how it helps their community, and what it feels like after you’ve donated. A simple line of text on the back of the poster, a small card or just an url would have effected a lot of people.

Edmonton Oiler’s Hockey Sales Hype – which one is it? (not to be confused with how bad the leaf’s are)

Hockey Night in Edmonton

Here’s one for the creative writer’s ethics board out there if such a thing existed. I subscribe to the Edmonton Oilers email newsletter to stay in touch with one of the things that I liked about Edmonton – their NHL hockey team. On August 25th, 2006 the headline of the Oilers newsletter said “Season Seats SOLD OUT! Mini-Pack Lottery Registrations Begins!!” and yesterday I got this email “Oilers Will Have Tickets Available Throughout Season”. So at the end of August I would have assumed that season tickets means something like the tickets for the season are sold out. Now should I assume that I can buy tickets for the hockey season? So which was/is it?

Sad day for those who bought into the August email hype, good day for those that didn’t subscribe to their newsletter and wouldn’t have known about the issue in the first place.

laptop, paper and plasma

laptop, paper and plasma

While the laptop wifi feature is nothing new, I think the combination of tv + laptop or newspaper + laptop, or even book + laptop with internet access are going to be more like brothers than distant cousins. Over the last couple of months I’ve been noticing that I really can’t enjoy a newspaper or tv show w/ out access to a computer.

Whether it’s b/c I want to look something up, jot a note down, or look something up b/c of a question that was triggered from a show – in any case it’s a new mode of behavior that I wasn’t reacting to a year ago. I think as more people notice this move to a brother/brother media play happen, websites will evolve in their interface. What that is exactly, I’m not too sure.

I did spend about ten minutes watching the MTV’s MVA’s last week (I switched it off once the Black Eye Peas won). During that ten minutes I tried to log in to their behind the scenes web cast. My computer has the most up to date downloads and I still couldn’t get the thing to work. So obviously if the tv + laptop/web thing is to really work, perhaps they should test it out. I’m sure MTV did, but it still needs some tweaking obviously. Football seems to do a good job too about keeping the live game in sync with their online content. What I haven’t needed to do, but think will pop up is how people search for the archive content. Relying on google is one way, but the interface should really allow for more than a couple ways to search. Date and subject matter are but only two ways.

Pretty Serious Fun with Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova in NYC

I think it’s safe to say that most people have seen the commercial that has Maria Sharapova starring in NYC. Maybe you’ve even started humming the song “Pretty”. It’s a really fun piece of communication that does hit a serious note near the end. It appeals to a lot of different groups for various reasons. As you’ll often hear, if you try to please everyone you you’ll probably not reach anyone. But with her ad I don’t think it’s true. Obviously males are excited to see Maria in a commercial, for females I’m going to guess that a lot of them are used to being gazed at. Attention is one thing, but you also want to be taken seriously. The end of the ad hammers that point to the wall. Plus at the end you’re cheering for her.

That leads me to last night. I was lucky enough to see her play her first game at the US Open. Continuing on the “fun” side of things, she had a great outfit that was a nod to NYC. “An elegant black Audrey Hepburn cocktail dress adorned with shiny crystal beads” was the commentary from the NYT. The back followed her hair which I thought was pretty cool too.

Just like her ad, I thought her outfit followed the NYC theme really well. Have fun while kicking some ass. Or in a more staged theme: part one was the commercial, part two was the outfit and I’m going to assume that part three will be her winning the whole thing. That of course is yet to be determined.

Likeminds 2

John, Micahel, Eric, originally uploaded by GuyBrighton.

Aside from moving to NYC for work, one of the reasons why I wanted to move from Edmonton was to have the opportunity to take part in things like Likeminds. It’s a pretty simple concept that you can do anywhere of course. You just get people together from different backgrounds and open up the table for talk. Why this was different for me was that it offered a fresh environment. Here’s a clip from today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRkfk9Af_KU and you can check out updates for the next one at http://likemind.us

One of the people that I met was Eric who has a site at http://preview.buildv1.com/ that is intended to help entrepreneurs connect with each other for help. Again based one two simple but very smart concepts: 1. I need help starting or growing a new business and 2. I want to help new businesses

3 Likeminds

3 Likeminds, originally uploaded by nbrier.

If you’re in NYC tomorrow and feel like waking up early, there’s the second http://likemind.us/ happening. From the website of the same name:

who: people like you.
what: an opportunity to enjoy coffee and conversation.
when: friday, august 25 at 8am
where: sNice, 45 Eighth Avenue, at West 4th Street, NYC (yahoo MAPS)
why: because drinking good coffee with likeminded people is fun.
how: piers and noah thought it might be a good idea.
questions: ny — AT — likemind.us

Wrapping everything

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wrapping everything, originally uploaded by saralynncantor.

“If you wrap that placemat in tissue paper, god help me but I will never shop here again.”

Ask yourself if it’s bad for the economy if you share you’re shopping bag, and find out why stores wrap towels in tissue paper. All that and more can be read at the Curious Shopper.

make it cult-flick, before it’s actually cult

I probably shouldn’t do this, but I can’t really expand on how the movie industry is marketing films. So I quote in it’s entirety from mircea over at Werkernet. I think you could make the case that this is happening in other industries as well.

“* make a myspace page about the movie
* blog about the production
* make an entry of the movie in Wikipedia
* put all trailers / film-extracts on YouTube
* tag some of the contents with Technorati etc.

In brief: make it cult-flick, before it’s actually cult.”


It’s probably a little too soon to be talking about information overload, but how do people actually make choices when there’s an abundance of options? Who do you trust, the billboard or a friend that can talk about why they like or dislike something? In the next couple of days I’ll be getting a new cell phone and carrier, hooking up cable with high definition options, finding a bank and probably a couple other things that I can’t think of at this point. With all the stuff out there, the only way that I can make an informed choice is by asking people… How do you do it?

The Question

The Question

It had to happen sooner or later, that just dumping a link on my blog and mentioning “it’s interesting” wouldn’t be enough. Now that I’m in the final countdown (for instance this is the last Tuesday that I’ll be working in Edmonton) in moving to NYC, I’m just about ready to move on with my blog. It started as an experiment, not really sure what to expect. Last Christmas I had a lot of time to think of where I wanted to take things, both with my career and my blog. I felt that it was time to move on from Blogger and perhaps with the name design*notes. I changed blogging platforms to WordPress and if you noticed the url of this blog it doesn’t say design*notes but sidewalkpressed. It was one of those small reminders of where I wanted to get to. When I finally moved to NYC the name of my blog would change.

I walk a lot, it’s one of those things that give me a chance to clear my mind and just think. During one of my long walks over Christmas time I wanted to come up with a name for my blog that didn’t have the word design in it, and something that would allow me to grow outside of publishing digitally. When you have the means and skills to communicate in an infinite number of ways, why should you hold yourself back? I liked the word “press”, but it wasn’t enough, I didn’t want it to be locked down in the world of publishing. As I bounced a lot of ideas around, I decided to keep things simple. Like I mentioned I walk, and that’s usually on a sidewalk – nothing too deep, but it gives things a bit of context. In the end I felt sidewalkpressed put a lot of the elements that mean something to me through the expression of ideas. In a long winded manner, design*notes the name is coming to an end. As a heads up I will be putting it to bed once I start walking in NYC. This blog will be known as sidewalkpressed in less than ten days.

The content isn’t going to change that much. I’m not a big fan of reading stuff from people when it gives tips about rules on designing or web interaction or whatever. I’m not going to go “I’m the expert and this is the way it should be” type of attitude. But I will try to put more time into writing about thoughtful experiences that were memorable to me. As my philosophy goes “see to think, think to design, and design to live” it won’t be like I’m not talking about design, but the life that makes up design.

On a side note I have to share one of the funnier e-mails I got from Vancouver about me moving to NYC. I’ve paraphrased a bit, and taken out some stuff, but you’ll get the idea. All I can say is that some people sure know how to write…


That’s fantastic. You talented little fucker. I’m jealous. Take me with you!!!

No, seriously. I hate you. I’m going to go kill a kitten in an evil ritual to put a design voodoo curse on you. The moment you arrive in NYC you’ll get creative block until you invite me there. You’re screwed. 🙂

Alright, alright, alright…congratulations. You’re a talent mofo and deserve a break like this…

Where have I been?

Sorry for the unuusal quietness of this blog, but hey I’m moving to NYC in a week and there’s a lot of things to get done. One thing that I’ve been to meaning to mention is the redesign of All This Chittah Chittah blog by Steve Portigal. Clean and easy to read, there’s something there that that will make you question your daily surroundings.

I’m relocating to NYC!

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I’m relocating to NYC!, originally uploaded by Michael Surtees.

Yes, it’s true – I’m moving to New York to work at Renegade Marketing. More to come as I can collect my thoughts…

Crumpler mini matches

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crumpler mini matches, originally uploaded by Michael Surtees.

Walking around for a couple days in NYC with my new black MacBook, I started to feel that the bag I was carrying wasn’t up to the challenge. Lucky for me I found the Crumpler store. Just a couple doors down from Rice to Riches, I checked the bag store out. Of course I found the bag of my dreams, but more noteworthy was one of their giveaways that I’m now talking about. They had these really nifty mini matches. They’ve got this really cool scale to them and how can you not smile when you look at them – just like they’re bags.

Common issues with a new site, Marktd reviews one week of action

If you’re familiar with http://digg.com then a site like Marktd would be a welcome addition to your morning routine. However it’s not perfect as commented on by it’s initiator with his review at Marktd – Week 1 Review My biggest issue would be the lack of people marking. 3 or 4 marks for any story is not enough to make a huge differentiate on stories like digg. I’m looking to see what’s catching people’s attention just like I used to do when visiting the NYT and checking out the most popular stories. If the site catches on with a lot of people getting active with the stories, it should be of benefit. You can check Marktd at www.marktd.com

Asclepius and Caduceus Explained

Randy over at his Spin Technologies blog has broken down the difference between the two commonly used medical symbols Asclepius and Caduceus. In his post Asclepius vs Caduceus we find out that the more appropriate symbol is Asclepius. “According to greek mythology, Asclepius was the demigod of medicine and healing. Caduceus is considered the symbol of commerce.”

What is garbage?


This was a response to a post from a couple days ago. J’s response deserves as much space as the original. Thanks J.

“You know, Karim Rashid is a total wanker. The words are his but the idea isn’t and I wonder if he really actually Gets It.

The Garbo trash can Rashid designed in 1995 was his first big contribution to making our lives better. If Rashid were a rock star, the Garbo would have gone platinum. Rashid says somewhere between four and six million trash cans were sold.

It boils my blood when someone like Rashid makes these grand sweeping statements (vaguely implying a sense of ethics or morality) about the industry they contribute to when they have such a wasteful claim to fame. And for a writer to say that the Garbo trash can is a contribution to “making our lives better” is a total farce.

Imagine shaping human behaviour so that rather than buying between four and six million trash cans, essentially for the purpose of filling with garbage, we were inspired to recycle four to six million garbo trash cans worth of plastic instead.”

Design has the power

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stealinthedeejay, originally uploaded by DanielleGrace.

“Design has the power and the influence to actually make very large social and behavioral shifts in the world. And design, I think, is a very nice tool, an instrument really to shape human behavior,”

Karim Rashid

via Everyday Art Designers Seek Function And Beauty When Making Consumer Products

the Unboxing Ceremony

iPod 60GB, In-Ear Headphones, A/V Cable, with packaging
Originally uploaded by JoshB.

Imagine designing something so well that others feel the need to capture the experience and share it on flickr. There’s a photo pool that does just that: www.flickr.com/groups/unboxing/pool/

There’s also a blog dedicated to people talking about they’re experiences at www.unboxing.com via core77

How changing a name has made people buy more coffee

Large is the new extra large

Second Cup, (a coffee chain in Canada) has changed the names of their coffee sizes. If you were to buy a large today, a couple weeks ago it would have been the size of an extra large. So now the sizes go small, medium and large, previously it would have been medium, large and extra large. Why the name change? To sell more coffee obviously. Asking on of the people behind the counter about the name change, I was curious to know how the new large was selling. Apparently it’s their new most popular size. Who would have guessed?

Recognizing a pattern

There’s a couple things that I’ll try to tie into this post. The first is the video you should watch above, the second is this small crit on ad blogs from if, and the third is the pattern blogs I keep linking from.

I first caught the video above at Russell Davies blog a month or two ago. He had a couple different formats available, I could watch it on my browser or download it to my iPod. Now I can pass the video live from my blog. Ironically or not, blogs are being scrutinized the way magazines talked about blogs a short time ago. if suggests “There is little in between. Ad-blogs have the same problem as the ad press – they see the game as advertising and they’ll tend to highlight the newsworthy and miss the strategically sound.” Yes the same could be mentioned of design blogs, maybe I’m guilty too, maybe not. Third point, what does the group of bloggers I continually link from tell me of my interests, and how and will that help me figure out my future career intentions?

Design seizures

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Design seizures, originally uploaded by Michael Surtees.

When has it ever been a good idea to place a hologram on the cover of a printed piece? How about never? If this is what get’s advertisers excited about mags, we’re way past content issues.

Affirmation sticker and smart blog

Affirmation sticker
Originally uploaded by saralynncantor.

http://curiousshopper.blogspot.com/ just came on my radar tonight. It’s a nicely written blog by a retail planner, though I’m not entirely sure what a planner does…

The affirmation sticker post HERE is a good example of what you’re going to get with Sarah Cantor’s posts. I also like the word “Another.” It’s kinda like those ads – “Secret #24: Sometimes I fake an accent at parties” – you feel like there are at least 23 other Secrets. Here, the word “Another” makes you feel like you aren’t alone – there are tons of organized customers, and you are yet another of the already-overflowing pool of organized people in your town.

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