Thought Starters

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Designing the future is tricky

When talking to other designers or listening to designers speak at conferences, I often feel uncomfortable when I hear them talk about the role of design solutions being “the vision of the future”. It sometimes comes across that solving many of society’s problems is really just a matter of creating a better and more contemporarily designed world.
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The Rise of the Secondary Colour

Every year Pantone – a leading source of information on colour trends and management – designates their “colour of the year”. They determine this colour through extensive research into trends and fashions across a wide range of industries. This year’s colour is Radiant Orchard – otherwise known as bright purple. Purple’s fortunes have risen quickly, as only last year style guru Tyler Brulé labeled it the “colour of compromise” in the New York Times. An informal survey of both high and fast fashion retailers just before Christmas found that if you were looking for woman’s fashions in a colour other than purple your choices where quite limited.
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Logos in the age of the app

An article recently I wrote on how digital media is changing the way we need to approach the development of logos has just been published in the December issue of Design Edge Magazine.

In it I talk about how rise of mobile digital devices, such as smartphones, are changing the way we view and interact with logos. It looks to provide a framework to assist organizations in answering the question: is my logo ready for the age of the app?

Ironically the article is only available through the print version of the magazine. However a PDF file of the article can be downloaded by clicking on the following link – DE_app_age.

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When an icon becomes a meme

There are probably very few people left in the English-speaking world who haven’t seen the “Keep Calm and Carry On” image in one form or another. Over the past decade it has been copied, reproduced and altered to fit almost every possible message and communications platform. So my question, for the last of my icon posts, is why did this image become more than just another symbol? And how does an image become a meme?
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Am I a brand hypocrite?

Some of my strongest influences back when I went to design school were the music of Joy Division and New Order with their record covers designed by Peter Saville. So I was horrified last year when I saw that Disney was thinking of creating a Mickey Mouse T-shirt version based on Joy Division’s 1979 album Unknown Pleasures. While I knew that the icon had become a visual meme for the art school students past and present, looking around further I was surprised at how it had become part of our commercial culture as well.

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