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Great organizations come about through the vision and energy of individual people. Once established there is often a rush to build the organizational brand so that it thrives beyond the efforts of its initial leadership. 
I suggest, instead of working to make your workforce anonymous, that part of building your brand should be to publicize the current and next generation of leadership and keep alive the history of your founders and their principles.

So many transactions are, at their core, the purchase of a customer's trust -- people do trust far better than entities.


Have you visited my Design Store?  Here
Is it necessary to recognize third-party trademarks? 
An old discussion surfaced this week and I'd like to hear your opinion about it. The question being, is it necessary to recognize the trademarks of third-party brands in materials you create for your clients? (I'm talking about word marks here, not design images.)

First, a disclaimer: The content of this website is offered for informational and educational purposes only - it is not legal advice. I recommend you check into these issues for yourself before taking any action.

My understanding has always been that it is only necessary to recognize the trademark of a third party when there is the potential for confusion or misrepresentation. In that case you mark the text with a trademark declaration (TM), a registered trademark symbol (R), a service mark (SM), or one of the prescribed citations designated by the trademark grantor.

Yes, trademark owners would like us to help them build brand recognition by adding marks, but it is my understanding that actually doing it is more of a courtesy than a requirement.

As you'll see listed below, lots of organizations declare trademarks (TM) and many go to the added expense of register those trademarks (R) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They publish very strick-sounding rules about what you must do in order to use their word marks but the question is what are the actual legal requirements. That's where it gets cloudy.

Furthermore, when I do label trademarks, I was instructed a long ago that it was sufficient to mark the first or most prominent use of the word or words only.

That said, I'd like to hear how you handle this issue.

Trademark marking requirements from the International Trademark Association...  Here
An in-depth discussion of the topic from The Cover Pages...  Here
About the law: What is Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act?...  Here 
Examples of corporate trademark guidelines: 
Apple...  Here 
Adobe (137KB PDF)...  Here
Google...   Here
From the International Trademark Association: A Guide to Proper Trademark Use (275KB PDF)...  Here
Quick takes... 
A truly fascinating interior...  Here
A first look at Facebook Graph Search...  Here 
Wow. Laser cut maps of the sea...  Here
An important lesson in acting and marketing 
I'm cursed, I see design and marketing everywhere.

Recently I was watching a clip from the film Glengarry Glen Ross in which Alec Baldwin plays the role of a particularly abusive, unscrupulous salesman. The scene is spellbinding and it got me interested in how he played the role of such an intense character so believably.

Which led me to an episode of Inside The Actors Studio in which Alec Baldwin mentions a pivotal lesson he learned from one of his acting coaches, Mira Rostova.

Forward the show to minute 7:30 and you will hear Baldwin discuss how he learned to play such a role. In part he says, Rostova taught him how not to dominate the other actors in a scene or to attempt to make his characters seem invincible. "...That's the death of acting," he explains. "And you see that all young actors, a lot of them, they do that. They think that acting is to have a kind of intensity that is an artificial intensity and to have a kind of domination, sublimation schematic to the scene that is the death of all scene work."

It occurs to me that acting has some substantive similarities to marketing - and that the same point Baldwin can be applied to both. An artificial sense of intensity is also the death of marketing. When you attempt to infuse your message with a level of artificial intensity, it ceases to be believable. That, to me, is very wise and important insight on acting and marketing.

Inside The Actors Studio - Alec Baldwin...  Here
The most comprehensive, diverse collection 
of typefaces and foundries on the web...  Here
What every graphic designer (and everyone else) needs to understand about the plight of the United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is a critical resource for graphic designers - it delivers a hefty percentage of the materials we create and many of the products our clients produce.

And I fear that the uninformed think of the USPS as nothing more than an antiquated bureaucracy that is being killed off by a confluence of mismanagement and better technology. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What follows is the first well-researched, clearly written piece I've seen about the true plight of the Post Office. It poses a question we've been needing to address for the last decade: Do We Really Want to Live Without the Post Office?

Thanks to Karla Humphrey for pointing us to it.

From Esquire magazine: Do We Really Want to Live Without the Post Office?...  Here
Meet illustrator Harry Campbell 
Harry Campbell does wonderful drawing using hard lines and shapes (mostly) and sometimes softens them slightly. An approach I have not seen before.

Example 1...  Here
Example 2...  Here
Example 3...  Here
About the design of the Triburbia book jacket...  Here
Harry Campbell's web page...  Here
Campbell's Drawger blog...  Here
Using and misusing statistics in marketing and graphic design
I was reading a story recently that compared the life spans of people living in two places. The people in one place, the author explained, live twenty years less than the people living in the other place. Then she went on to make the case, using statistical data, for the cause.

I have no idea whether this particular case was credible or not - it could be exactly what the author speculates or there could be some underlying cause that she missed entirely - in this type of case, it's very difficult to know. But I have learned to question.

It did get me thinking (again) about how much and how often we use statistics to make a point, sell a product, or promote an idea. And it reminds me about the special responsibility we have as marketers to use statistics and data in an ethical way.

Here are two books on the subject that you might find interesting. (Haha... then you will be skeptical too.)

First, How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff. It is one of the rare non-fiction books that, after over 50 years in publication, stands at 1,715 in the Amazon Best Sellers Ranking. In part, the description explains it, "runs the gamut of every popularly used type of statistic, probes such things as the sample study, the tabulation method, the interview technique, or the way results are derived from the figures, and points up the countless number of dodges which are used to fool rather than to inform."

And second, Don't Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking by Thomas Kida. It explains Kida's "'the six-pack of problems' that leads many of us unconsciously to accept false ideas:

"We prefer stories to statistics 
"We seek to confirm, not to question, our ideas. 
"We rarely appreciate the role of chance and coincidence in shaping events. 
"We sometimes misperceive the world around us. 
"We tend to oversimplify our thinking. 
"Our memories are often inaccurate."

"In a complex society where success--in all facets of life--often requires the ability to evaluate the validity of many conflicting claims, the critical-thinking skills examined in this informative and engaging book will prove invaluable."

The original edition is online here: How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff...  Here
Purchase the most recent edition here: How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff...  Here 
Don't Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking by Thomas E. Kida...  Here
Learn from the best -- FREE for 7-days...  
Use this link and click "start free trial" to use the entire library FREE for 7-days -- no strings attached.  Here
An evaluation of responsive web designs
Here's a thoughtful evaluation of some recent responsive website designs by Jesse Gardner over at Jesse is the VP of Technology at Simply Recipes which, over the holidays, had a few days with over one million unique visitors - so he has some cred.

Jesse Gardner evaluates four responsive designs...  Here
Nishant Kothary talks about how the new Microsoft homepage came to be...  Here
This is PARAVEL, the group Kothary recommend for the job...  Here
I'm working on a responsive design for a client in recent days and came across some of the same sites Jesse did. I am particularly enamoured with this site by One Design Company. Both for the reduction formula (break points) and for the scheme they use to stack the pages - I like that it allows you to sort of browse the big picture before you "look inside."

The Coop...  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