Archive | June, 2008

Flickr at it’s best and it’s worst …at the same time.

28 Jun

I seriously adore Flickr. It’s a fantastic site and is streamed through other great photo search engines like Flickr Storm and Compfight that I use constantly end to end.
So as I was wandering aimlessly though several search engines, (my attention diverted and abstracted by the arbitrary associated with my inital ideas… again) I came across this little piece of work…

a slight flicker in Flickr?

Flickr have turned an ‘Oops’ into fun. Obviously the Flickr site was down, for a conciderable amount of time and just before listing a generic message…

“I’m Sorry your Flickr post is important to us, but currently out site is down and well, you’ll just have to wait till we get around to it.”

…Wait on, here’s an idea. Let’s keep them busy and they might still love us. Flickr had pushed the boundaries just that little but further with a creative foothold that had their audience brimming with lateral thought and frothing at the mouth in particiapation… or something like that.

When I see this kind of communication, it makes me smile. Takes me back just a couple of years when we were asked to identify ‘What is Graphic Design’. The varied output, concepts and realities were phenomenal and so inspiringly unique. Everyone wants to jump on board and share their 5 cents.

Fantastic soloution. …Fantastic marketing soloution.
Nice one Flickr for turning that negative into a positve. So much, that we forgot what was wrong in the first place.

Almost.

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The world’s first online balloon race by Orange

26 Jun

I was sitting on a tram the other day… not something I do very often and overheard a conversation about the Orange online balloon race brought to us by Poke.
This is something that I had stumbled across, which I just love …flicking to a random blog or website with a small orange animal floating in the corner of the page. It’s digital work like this that spreads one of the most creative advertising messages in a genuinely effective medium. Now in more than just an online capacity.
Now available as word of mouth.

It’s not just the adorably kitsch visual that draws in consumers, but the collective nature behind the great balloon race. It’s the online race that everyone wants to be apart of. We always like to see something different in the world …and in advertising for that matter.

Orange has come up with just that.

It’s a great idea. It’s fun, interactive and participative. It’s got the word of mouth vibe going like crazy and it’s already started so check it out at playballoonacy.com.

To facebook or not to facebook?

18 Jun

So there’s this relatively new issue at my workplace that has been rising to a topic of concern over the last 6 months. Trust, facebook and the wonderful world of web 2.0.

Many sites like at many workplaces I’m sure are of course blocked. Ranging from youtube, myspace, hotmail and other nefarious means of web browsing I’m sure.

But, facebook is not blocked. So assumingly, it would be fine to use, visit occasionally and post a comment or two over lunch right?

Wrong.

The mere refresh of a facebook page is logged, tracked and frowned upon at that.
As a self-confessed and repeat offender to facebook, I find myself asking several questions.

What kind of censorship are they trying to create? For a site that pretty much most of their target population uses – they are restricting usage and preventing any contact to.

Brand X, shall we say, of all brands has a youthful audience that no doubt contains a large portion of their social scene around facebook and even myspace. In fact, this very Brand X actually has both a myspace page and several facebook pages. So why condemn and take such a narrow, dim view of this social media scene?
For a company that is trying to get a little more involved with its audience and a little more into an online social scene – where do they really want to go?


This I am still trying to grasp but a friend, who seems to have a large wealth of useful quotes and information, pointed out recently that…


“if you want to find out what sites your company should be getting involved in; go straight to your I.T department and take a look at all the ones that they are blocking…”

This poses an interesting question of how ‘in tune’ is your company with its clients and employees for that matter. And if these sites are restricted and ill-favoured, is that going to stop the majority of hardcore fans still accessing and using their facebook pages…move them onto something else? Or, more likely create a rebellion where we all still do it and no one really talks about it?

Well, I chose to take rebellion, until late last week when the marketing director called me into her office and politely said that “300 facebook hits over the last week was simply not acceptable and although we all access it – that is just to frequent”.

So…’we all access it’ still? Maybe I wasn’t so off on the concept of a popular rebellion. Or could she just agree on thought that yes, your company can be wrong and needs to take some new advice – from somewhere. I mean, just because a CEO doesn’t get it, doesn’t mean it’s not the right direction to take. …Right?

If I could pick any font to kill it would be Comic Sans.

16 Jun

Comic Sans is the leading cause of cancer and car accidents.

Well not really.
But it may possibly be pretty high up on the list of pain infliction and the unsightly.

In 1995 Microsoft released the font Comic Sans originally designed for comic book style talk bubbles containing informational help text. Very wrong minimal. Fine, we can deal with just that.

Since that time, the typeface has been used in countless contexts from signage to essays to business information. This prevalent misuse of printed typefaces threatens to erode the very foundations on which centuries of typographic history have been built.
It’s now a designer’s nightmare. I mean, I get that font selection is a matter of personal preference but many people may disagree with this… It’s a matter of knowledge, experience and awareness.

Or something like that.
It’s just so obviously hideous and out of place in as much as 99.4% of situations. Actually make that 99.8%.

I know that they say – all fonts are like children, you have to love them no matter how ugly, but something went terribly wrong with this baby.
Today though, I was asked (yes seriously queried) what was wrong with Comic Sans… I mean, many people hate Comic Sans and it has pretty much become a fearful following, I paused for a second wondering if people even really got it, or just felt the need to hate it.

No one really asks why… you just do or you don’t. Black and white.
But hurry; if you don’t say you hate it people will assume you love it.

It doesn’t end there. Like the tone of a spoken voice, the characteristics of a typeface convey meaning. The design of the typeface is, in itself, its voice. Often this voice speaks louder than the actual font itself.

The misuse of Comic Sans is frequent and frequently unjustified. For a font that was designed for a comic book style of information – it conveys a childish naivety. An uncultured, unwanted flashback from the 90’s. Is this really what you want to put forward in a resume? Is it really what you want your clients to gather about your company?
For some reason so many people feel the need to use Comic Sans. They say “cool, comic sans is all I use.” But we hear: “I have absolutely no design sense, and hence I use this font almost all the time.”

Horrible. http://www.design-police.org/


There have been petitions against it, stickers that circulate the web and endles
s blogs about the nature and overuse of it. Cult following? Possibly. But it is good to know I am not alone in my dislike of the font.

The Power of Music

11 Jun

Music has its own exceptional magic attached to it. It can make you want to dance, sing, smile or even cry. It relaxes and comforts many, and some say it has the ability to even soothe the most savage beast.

It has this amazing ability of touching people beyond mere words.

So as I sit here and listen to several John Mayer albums on repeat, somehow a Huey Lewis song, ‘The Power of Love’ has randomly been included into my playlist.

Every time I hear this song it takes me back 10 years, holding a never failing smile to my face, many nostalgic thoughts of roller-skating and bright white skates are drawn together with pink laces and the dim lights of the roller-skating rink. We would skate for hours, falling and laughing in timeless turns, everything enriched by that very song.

It’s amazing how songs can elicit memories, smells, images and thoughts.

Simple notes, keys and tones have so much expression and power to touch even the most distant thoughts.

I guess it is a fact of observation that music and songs vary to a considerable degree in what music can mean to people, and in what they get out of it.

But all in all, music has the power to communicate to the soul in ways that words alone can not.

Disconnected Part II: The Saga Continues

3 Jun

OK. I am not an idiot. I do know how to use technology. I do own a computer, a phone, mobile and a facebook account. But I cannot for the life of me understand why my (and I say this lovingly of course…) stupid obtuse imac will not read a WLAN connection. I must be doing something wrong.

Ok so we got it to work…or something like that. I’m not sure if you would call taking 23.5 minutes to load the Google homepage working. I mean really, what’s to load!!!???

But as anticipated, it stopped working or loading or whatever the hell it was doing.
So as intelligent as it sounds and as the I.T team quite often suggests; I thought, hey, here’s a bight idea – a restart will fix everything. WRONG.

I now have 2-3 random wireless accounts on my WLAN options. None that connect – no network data and no patience to go through that again.

I just want an internet connection. Is that too much to ask?

***This just in. It appears that the modem connects to the internet in 2 second intervals.*** Now I am starting to feel like this is a lost cause. Or something like that.

If anyone would like to offer any help, ideas, free computers (hello to my lovely fans at Apple if your still with me…); feel free. Oh I take chocolate as well- all it helps.

*********************************************************************************************

BREAKING NEWS

*********************************************************************************************

* This now in.

It turns out my imac still has it afterall…for now anyway.
The internet is live and in action. (I can hear gasps and sighs from all directions…)
Although not the most user friendly internet and not the most functional, it is still live!
So special thanks are needed for a miraculous discovery!
Now, if you could fix the overall speed of the internet while you are at it?

Thoughts of a traffic jam.

3 Jun

The traffic stops hastily by the river at a set of lights. I stare through the window of my car, across the road and down at the smooth grey water delimited with green surrounds.
I watch as the river changes, the autumn leaves float softly into the folds of water and are drawn into the current. The fog brushes just above the water stretched out like an unruffled blanket… a reminder that it’s still winter.

A bus comes from the other direction and stops within an inch, obscuring my view.

There is a child sitting in the window across from me. The glass blown shadow of her face falls upon mine. Our gazes lock.

Her eyes are the colour of the river.