|Greetings -- thanks for subscribing. Though huge amounts of advertising and marketing stock have moved online, there are still lots of innovative and effective uses for conventional mail. To that end I think marketers and designers should have a seat at the table as changes are made to the postal system - and changes are coming.
Don't miss the first post -- it's time to pay attention to the postal crisis.
Be well, Chuck
Check out my Adobe InDesign Ideabook: 315 template files in 19 different categories Everything from brochures, newsletters, and direct mail to packaging, calendars, and books (one CD works with both Mac and PC). Use two or three files and you'll pay for the entire book and disc...
Designers and marketers: It's time to pay attention to the postal crisis
If you hadn't noticed, the United States Postal Service is in the news. Last week, for example, Businessweek's cover story was titled, The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse. And on June 15th, technology, government, and business heavyweights are convening in Washington D.C. to discuss their ideas for addressing postal system issues.
If you don't already have an opinion about what we can do to reform this important resource, I'll point you to some resources that will get you started in forming one.
I won't lie to you, I have a prejudice: I LOVE mail. Even thought I'm a total technology junkie, I still appreciate and enjoy picking up a magazine, a catalog, opening a letter, and getting a hand-written note. I still see the mailbox as a gift package that I dig through in the hope of discovering something interesting and new.
Even the most dire of predictions estimates the annual US mail volume in 2020 to be 118 billion. For some clients, products, and services, now is actually a pretty good time to be using direct mail - in some cases it's actually the out-of-the-ordinary way of contacting prospects.
What do you think about direct mail? Do you use it?
Here > A Newsweek cover story: The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse...Here > The United States Postal Service Five Year Plan (550KB PDF)...Here > The PostalVision 2020 Conference...Here > Check out the USPS's Deliver Magazine companion site for ideas about mail marketing strategies...Discuss this topic here...
Microsoft previews a new, very different operating system: Windows 8
The elements and compounds that produce effective and inspired work
It looks as if the next version of Windows is going to adopt the touch screen and web-connected apps we've come to know through the iPhone and iPad. It will also include a new user interface, a "portable workspace" feature, and will use the processor and the physical memory more efficiently. Makes you wonder if, five years from now, there will be any significant user interface differences between Mac and Windows operating systems.
Maybe Apple and Microsoft will have a historic, west coast summit and merge the two companies with a happy handshake - orrrr... maybe not.Here > The first demo of Windows 8...Here > From the Microsoft News Center...Here > The Wikipedia entry offers lots of detail...Discuss this topic here...
Creative Juice, a microsite designed by Matt Stevens for Hawse Design, is described as an effort to gain the attention of new clients. I am guessing it worked.
If you want a client to trust you to successfully represent their product, service, or idea, you'd better be successful at presenting your own.
Here > The Creative Juice microsite...
Here > I love this visual interpretation of "Instinct"...
Here > Hawse Design...
Here > Matt Stevens' portfolio...
Discuss this topic here...
A graphic design portfolio in story form
Watch how the folks at Design Bridge show a project in story form. The illustrations of some are more elaborate than others, but among them you see information-rich compositions shot using a broad mix of angles and distances - establishing shots, medium shots, close-ups, high-angle, low-angle, and so on - many captured with a touch of drama.
Most show marks and packaging and then, depending on the project, show how the brand is applied to clothing, signage, accessories, collateral, and so on. In some cases, they also include a shot or two of people and places where interaction with branded materials is taking place.
It helps, of course, to have stunning work to show.Here > Example 1...Here > Example 2...Here > Example 3... Discuss this topic here...
Some of the most impressive Photoshop work I've seen
SeventhStreet bills itself as a retouching and design shop. That's kind of like calling Pixar an animation studio - accurate but modest. These folks, under creative director Mike Campau, do amazing things with tools such as Photoshop, Poser, and other 3d and CG rendering programs.
Look and you'll find many examples of finished images and details about the many images that were used in their making.Here > Example 1...Here > Example 2...Here > Example 3...Discuss this topic here...
Meet custom typeface designer Ray Cruz
Type is magic. The characters of our alphabet are so ingrained, our brains are able to intuitively translate certain mixes of characters into an infinite array of feelings, impressions, and understanding. There is much speculation about how a typeface influences the message it conveys, but it think it's safe to assume that it can be significant.
So it's no wonder organizations would commission Ray Cruz to design a unique typeface. He has developed many you will recognize - for Pella Windows, Xerox, United States Postal Service, New York Life, and Este Lauder - exclusive typefaces that add an additional layer of distinction to the brands they represent.
Why a custom typeface? The most obvious advantage is, of course, that a custom design distinguishes an organization's collateral, signage, website, and other branding materials from all others. It can be designed to reflect the particular preferences of the organization's creative team and conform to branding standards.
But there are also financial and logistical reasons for a custom design. Some organizations, for example, commission typefaces to avoid the fees and distribution restrictions associated with a typical retail font license.
Logistically, an organization might commission a typeface that is optimized for use with a specific language and/or to include a set of special characters that addresses the needs of a particular industry or profession.
Cruz, formerly the Type Director at Young & Rubicam Advertising, has his own firm devoted to designing custom typefaces, logos, and book covers. He also, luckily, has designed many retail typefaces for type foundries such as Agfa/Monotype, Garage Fonts, Bitstream, and P22.Here > Cruz's website...Here > His portfolio of typefaces (1.9MB PDF)...Here > Some of his retail typefaces on myfonts.com...Here > Recognize this custom typeface for Xerox?Discuss this topic here...
About the briefing
I try to remain as objective as possible about the information I share here. Unless I tell you otherwise, I receive no compensation from the organizations and people mentioned except for occasional product samples. Comments? Suggestions? Write me at [email protected]