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Have you ever wondered why a business owner would contract for hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of print or online ad space, then allow the publication to write and design the ad? It's as if the primary purpose of the transaction is the transmission of the message rather than what the message communicates.

Don't get me wrong, that's not a dig at publication ad departments, some do an amazing job when you consider the constraints of an at-arms-length association. But let's be real, unless you know the product or service intimately, it's very unlikely that you'll produce a clear, targeted message that pulls an above average response.

My point is, we (designers and marketers) need to get better at explaining and communicating what it is we do. In essence, we need to be thinking deeply and creatively enough to convince a client that our vision for who they are and how they should present themselves is even more compelling than their own.

Guess what, I bet you most don't even think it's possible.

Chuck

P.S. Have you visited my Design Store?  Here
 
 
Are you qualified to be a designer? 
These folks want to tell you.
 
The controversial subject of designer certification has raised its ugly head once again. If this doesn't scare the heck out of you, nothing will.

"Not every well known designer has a formal education. Nonetheless, education is at the core of tackling the problems and challenges of our ever-changing world. A formal design education combines theory, history and design engaged with sociology, anthropology and the environment. Design should not be driven by aesthetics, but by a deep understanding of design principles, its history and the evolving practices and methodologies of our field."

That is the first of five proposed edicts that would earn you a capital "D" in your "Designer" title. A campaign christened as CertifyD proposed by Esteban Pérez-Hemminger at Pratt Institute.

Ironically, the first sentence points to the primary problem with entire argument: "...Education is at the core of tackling the problems and challenges of our ever-changing world."

First, no it is not. Formal education is certainly one way of learning some aspects of the design but it is by no means "at the core" of it. And the very nature of that statement demonstrates the obvious problem with certification: As soon as you allow someone to define what a designer is and does, you narrow the scope of those possibilites.

What the author has not yet discovered is that design is opinion, not a structured, hierarchal reality that can be articulated like algebra or law. Whether a particular designer is qualified to tackle a particular project - for a particular client, in a specific market, at a particular time - is easy to determine. The designer shows what they have done for others in the past and proposes what it is they can do for the new client in the present.

If proponents of certification think they can somehow insert themselves into that process and substantively improve the outcome by certifying the designer they are simply opening the door to corrupt the most rigorous of standards: the meeting, the portfolio, and the brief.

The edicts...   Here
 
A video of the event: Designers are obsolete...  Here
 
Is 2013 the year responsive web design goes mainstream?  
 
I point you to this website for three reasons.

First, it's a good reminder that the internet is not magic - it is, in fact, a tangible system of interconnected computer networks that is designed, constructed, and maintained by real people and their organizations. I fear that many of us push a switch and expect something to happen without appreciating the enormity of what that takes.

Second, the Google Data Centers Gallery website is a good example of responsive web design - a simple, clean design that automatically adapts to the device on which you are viewing it. If you're on a desktop or laptop, narrow the window of your web browser to see how the same page adapts itself to tablet and smartphone screen shapes and sizes.

Third, I like the design. Responsive layouts tend to use simple shapes, briefer/larger text, and more illustrations. I suspect 2013 will be the year that responsive design goes mainstream.

Google Data Centers Gallery...  Here 
 
The case for responsive web design...  Here 
 
Learn from the best -- FREE for 7-days...  
 
Use this link and click "start free trial" to use the entire Lynda.com library FREE for 7-days -- no strings attached.  Here
  
Quick takes... 
 
Okay, enough -- no more using the term "award winning" -- it is a cliché.

Manhattan in motion from photographer Josh Owens.  Here
 
If you're using Facebook to promote your business, take a few minutes to read this...  Here
 
From the National Geographic Photo Contest -- The Matterhorn 4478 m at full moon by Nenad Saljic...  Here
 
What motivates a creative mind?  
 
We've all had those moments. You're climbing a ladder toward a goal and you suddenly discover that the ladder is on the wrong wall. If you manage designers (or other professionals who spend lots of time in cognition), this could be one of those moments.

Daniel Pink makes a compelling argument (with proof), that money is not necessarily the motivator we think it is.

Dan Pink's TED talk: The puzzle of motivation...  Here
 
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink...  Here
 
An inside look at Adobe branding  
 
Here's an in-depth look at how Adobe brands their suite of design programs.

CS6 Desktop Brand System...  Here
 
Ryan Hicks created the original two-letter mnemonic system...  Here
 
The most comprehensive, diverse collection of typefaces
and foundries on the web...  Here
 
Story telling through package design  
 
Great concept, great execution. The package tells the story of how the food was prepared.

Packaging for The Butler's Pantry...  Here
 
The illustrator is Steve Doogan...  Here
 
The graphic design consultancy is Brandcentral...  Here
 
The image came from Lovely Package...  Here
 
Are you ready to take life seriously?  
 
At its best, advertising is insightful and honest. At its worst it is manipulative and intentionally deceptive.

No matter what you believe about drinking, to me, this spot represents the very worst of advertising -- it is an attempt at blatant, detrimental, psychological manipulation.

As it is explained in their news release, Dewar's Scotch has embarked on a new campaign, "...to reintroduce DEWAR'S to a new generation of modern and urban men". The concept and line I find so reprehensible is this: "You've got to ask yourself: Are you ready to take life seriously?"

I hope I'm not sounding as if I am thinking I am holier-than-thou. Nothing could be further from the truth (I know the story about casting the stone all too well).

But honestly people, do you have no shame? Is there really a "creative team" and manufacturer that believe it's a good idea to spend millions of dollars to convince young drinkers that consuming a particular brand of liquor is the path to "taking life seriously"?

Adweek.com identifies the agency as Opperman Weiss and the actress as Claire Forlani. The clients are Dewar's and Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. Shame on you.  Here

How to design Apps and Icons  
 
Apple's Mac Developer Library does not contain all there is to know about designing Apps and Icons, but is certainly a good place to learn the basics. Lots of this thinking applies to just about any type of web design.

An introduction...  Here 
 
User experience philosophy...  Here 
 
Design element guidelines...  Here
  
Icon design guidelines...  Here 
 
The front door of the Mac Developer Library...  Here
 
Designers are paid to change things  
 
Or as George Nelson said, "I have never met a designer who was retained to keep things the same as they were."

Commercial furnishings pioneer, Herman Miller, Inc., hosts an ongoing series titled, "Why Design." As they explain it, "Before we decide what we do and how we do it, we like to begin by asking the question "Why?" In Why Design, a new video series, we explore the world through the eyes of our designers, and share something of why we value their point of view."

Why Design?...  Here 
 
About George Nelson...  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 Lynda.com and MyFonts.com -- that means, if you purchase something from them, I get a small commission. Comments? Suggestions? Write me at [email protected] -- Chuck Green