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It occurs to me that established brands have a very difficult time playing on anti-establishment themes. Apple is one brand that, though it is the definition of "establishment", has maintained the perception of being anti-establishment. By comparison Facebook is losing its battle with conventionality, Google has lost it, Microsoft lost it in the 1990s, IBM never fought the first battle. Dare I say it? Designers (generally speaking) tend to spend a lot of time striving for perfection.

Within this wonderful piece David Segal produced for This American Life he points out that, "Two radically different world views are clashing here, one in which life is all about seeking perfection, and the other in which you make normal compromises and settle for good instead of great. The settlers consider the perfection people to be babies and whiners. The perfection people see the settlers as strangely hostile milquetoasts who've given up, who aren't striving for greatness, who've been cowed into lowering their standards."

Listen to this and tell me if it rings a bell... 


Hope you are well.



Have you seen my 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...

For Adobe InDesign Here or For QuarkXPress Here

If you could see the future, it might look like this

Mary Meeker is an analyst and a venture capitalist for Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. As they say, when Meeker speaks, the investment world listens. Here is her recent presentation for to D: All Things Digital.

An interview with Mary Meeker... Here

Meeker's slide presentation... Here 

A summary from the Washington Post... Here

Meet illustrator Carl Wiens

We all dream. I guess that's what I like about illustration is that, in cases like this, you get a sense of how someone else imagines something. To me, it's just plain interesting to see the interpretation of an idea without the encumbrance of an explanation.

This is some brilliant stuff.

Example 1... Here

Example 2... Here

Example 3... Here

Wiens' view of Birdhouse City... Here 

(It's a real place)... Here 

His Drawger blog... Here

and website... Here

Have you seen the current crop of design tutorials at

To me, it is THE venue for learning how to use all of the top design-oriented software programs and for discovering more about the design business and its community. Here 

The advertising and design business is a soap opera (no offense to soap operas)

Early in my career I worked as a freelance designer in Richmond, Virginia. Contrary to what you might think, Richmond has long been a hub of the advertising business, primarily because Richmond Professional Institute, now Virginia Commonwealth University, has been churning out art, design, and advertising graduates since the 1930s.

I worked for a bunch of advertising agencies, among them, Brand Edmonds Bolio (when Lu Matthews was an art director), Siddall (when Stan Matus and Peter Coughter still had their names on the door), Webb & Athey (for Dee Webb and the irascible Dick Athey), and The Martin Agency (when Harry Jacobs was the creative head and Mike Hughes was still an up-and-comer).

Haha... as Dickens said, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness..." I spent countless days and nights creating storyboards, comping ads for presentations, building those signature presentation boxes (that Diane CookTench and Chris Overholser dreamt up for Siddall), and pasting-up and produced literally hundreds of print pieces.

I'm reminiscing because it was reported locally today that The Martin Agency, now a big force in advertising (Walmart, GEICO, Moen, PING, Pizza Hut) and it's Creative Director John Norman, are parting ways after just two years.

I don't have the slightest idea what happened, I lost track of local agency goings-on soon after the web caught my eye. It just reminded me of how volatile a business advertising was then and is today.

From whatever angle you view it, the design and agency business is a grand soap opera. A full length feature soap opera that tells idealized tales of falling in love, courting, marriage, and the divorce of clients and agencies and agencies and the people who populate them. It is a business that, by its nature, builds great expectations, reaches exhilarating heights, then - sometimes graciously, sometimes rudely - steps aside and watches helplessly as these players or those wither away or crash and burn.

What's the point? I love it - the whole mess - design and marketing and the relationships between clients, agencies, business people, and creatives. It's high-theatre, artistry, commerce, and psychology all rolled into one. If you have a penchant for drama (and a strong stomach) you won't find a more interesting, exciting, unpredictable way of making a living.

The marriage... Here

and the divorce... Here

Today's Martin Agency... Here

John Norman... Here

will reportedly be replaced by Joe Alexander... Here

"Like sands through the hourglass so are the Days of our Lives"... Here

Proof on print: It's still the most effective way to deliver many types of messages

Print is still the best way to deliver many types of messages

I consider myself pretty neutral on the relative value of print versus online communications. I'm as comfortable producing a brochure as I am a web page.

But I sense that print is getting a bad rap - it seems, is becoming a second class citizen. For what it's worth, here's a heads-up: Print, in many cases, continues to dwarf digital in the response category. There is some science to the assertion that a message in hand trumps its digital counterpart.

Digital (obviously) is a highly effective and efficient way to communicate, but let's not lose track of the fact that print is still, in many cases, the best way to cut through the clutter.

Here's some proof... (Thanks to Karla Humphrey for pointing us to the Millward Brown piece.)

A summary of the DMA's 2012 Response Rate Trends Report... Here

A Millward Brown case study on Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail (725KB PDF)... Here

The Royal Mail's Mail Media Center on What is neuroscience and why is it important for marketers?... Here

What are APIs and why should graphic designers care about them?

Simply put, an Application Programming Interface (API) is a structured process through which you access data that another party chooses to make available to you. APIs are used by many organizations that compile and organize various types of data, for the purpose of encouraging others re-use the same data in ways that make it of value to a wider audience.

Sometimes access to the data is free and anonymous, some sources require that you identify yourself and pay for using it.

So who cares? We do. Designers, marketers, and their clients can use APIs to create a "mashup" - the action of combining data from two or more sources to make something new and different.

Coding the API data once you have accessed it may not be something every designer is prepared to tackle, but knowing the types of data available and being aware of what might be possible is important.

To that end I'm pointing you to some further explanations of the API process and I've listed some examples of the many types data available through APIs.

Here James Williamson explains APIs as part of his Web Design Fundamentals class (below)... Here

(That video segment is from this Web Design Fundamentals class on Here

I like how Chrys Wu explains the process in this article: Beginner's guide for journalists who want to understand API documentation... Here

Example 1: The API to The New York Times... Here

Example 2: The API to Google Maps... Here

Example 3: The API to Zillow Real Estate and Mortgage Data... Here's API Dashboard... Here

About writing API documentation... Here

From my Facebook and Twitter conversations...

I always enjoy these interviews with type designers... Here

I did not know what it's called when you create a word with inner uppercase letters, for example, "InDesign"

It's called, among other things, "CamelCase"... Here ...and "intercaps"... Here

Naming. Real estate developers need to be more cognisant of the fact that in 2012 (and for the last 20 years), increasing numbers of people work from their homes. Who the heck wants their business address to be "Duckling Walk". No kidding, just saw it on the plat for a high-end housing development.

"Brainstorming sessions are one of the worst possible ways to stimulate creativity..."

Thank God, someone finally said it. To me brainstorming is like eating a raw oyster: I'm supposed to like it, I want to like it, but it just makes me gag.

Vindication, at long last, has come from Susan Cain's insightful piece for the New York Time titled, "The Rise of the New Groupthink".

In part she says, "Conversely, brainstorming sessions are one of the worst possible ways to stimulate creativity... But decades of research show that individuals almost always perform better than groups in both quality and quantity, and group performance gets worse as group size increases."

More on Susan Cain later.

The Rise of the New Groupthink... Here

What are the most popular typefaces? 

Here's Myfonts' current TOP 50... Here

About this newsletter

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. I am an affiliate of and -- that means, if you purchase something from them, I get a small commission. Comments? Suggestions? Write me at [email protected] -- Chuck Green