Blog Archives

2015 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report

Nonprofit leaders: if you haven’t yet, download the 2015 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report — it’s chock full of perceptions and opinions of people just like you. They’ve also created this wonderful infographic overview for us to enjoy.

To download the full report, click here »

2015 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report Infographic

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Marsala: Pantone Color of the Year 2015!

Marsala, Pantone Color of the Year

Images courtesy of Pantone Inc.

Pantone chipWhat better way to kick off the New Year with the latest “Color of the Year” from Pantone? Each year, the color-trend company chooses one hue they believe will set the colorway for design for the years to follow.

While past colors have been much brighter than this one, this year’s winner, “Marsala,” has a beautifully rich resonance to it. This sophisticated, more neutral tone will probably be absolutely stunning in home décor and fashion, neutral for the first and flattering to most skin tones for the second. However, I am not certain how well it will translate to ink and web design! As evidenced on the Pantone website, the color feels a bit flat in RGB.

Pantone writes:

Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.

Learn more about why Pantone chose this color »

So when you are ready to redesign your living room, keep an eye open for colors that will go with this one because we should start to see it pop up in products and clothing over the next year or so. And you might even prepare to redo all your other rooms as Pantone leads us down this sultry, earthy color way.

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Examples of how Marsala might be used.

Examples of how Marsala might be used.

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Niice: In Search of Inspiration

The very best thing about the Internet? It’s so easy to find inspiration! When beginning a new project, I usually start clicking around to find inspiration around the ‘net. Well now it will be even easier with the launch of “Niice: A search engine with taste.” Instead of Googling a bunch of jimbo-jambo images and endless pages, this site actually curates content from other visual sites on the web. It’s beautiful, and robust…and a little too easy to go down the rabbit hole of endless clicking! If you click on an image, it takes you to the source site (of course), where there is tons more inspiration! Also, it’s always changing, so if you click on one of the sample searches below, yours will look different than mine!

Here are a few searches I just tested:

Niice search: "green"

“green”

Niice search: "kitty cat"

“kitty cat”

Niice search: "nature"

“nature”

Go ahead: try your own. And enjoy!

via DesignTaxi

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Stock Photography: New “Lean In” Collection

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Courtesy Getty Images

There’s been a lot of chatter in the last week about the new Lean In stock photo collection on Getty Images. Co-curated by Getty Images and LeanIn.org (Facebook exec Sheryl Sandberg’s non-profit), the collection is meant to impart a “powerful depiction of women, girls and the people who support them.” Presumably to combat images like this that proliferate weird, dated stereotypes of women.

“The stock imagery around women is embarrassing,” Jessica Bennett, contributing editor at LeanIn.org, said in a press release. “You can’t be what you can’t see, so if women and girls are not seeing images of powerful women and girls who are leaders, then they may not aspire to become that.”

I love this! Stock images get stale so quickly, and almost never appear authentic. I am hoping this is a step in the right direction for the advertising/marketing world, that it will bleed into the depiction of the rest of the world according to stock photography.

Here are some selects that show the diversity of the collection:

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Courtesy Getty Images

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Courtesy Getty Images

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Courtesy Getty Images

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Courtesy Getty Images

Check out the complete collection of 2,500 images here »

PS: If you were interested in knowing what is currently the top downloaded image of “woman” from Getty, it’s this…

Top downloaded woman image from Getty

On a train. Huh.

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Design Trends: Simplify the Logo

2012 and 2013 brought stripped down logos to the design world. You might recognize this in some of the corporate logo redesigns that have been released recently. But is this a good thing for the world of design?

You might remember that the original Google logo had a bevel and a drop shadow. Both have been stripped out now, leaving us undistracted from its signature typeface and bright color range. To me, this is an improvement, reflecting the original advantage Google had over other search engines: a simple interface and web search functionality. Thumbs up!

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New Google logo

The Windows logo recently got an update from Pentagram, evolving from black text paired with a wavy 4-color flag, to a flat 4-color flag, to now a one-color blue logo with the flag in perspective. To me, this most recent version dulls the brand — with the bright colors, I had hope that using Windows would brighten my day. Now I feel dread that I might have to use Microsoft products all day at work. Thumbs down.

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New Windows logo

The original WeightWatchers logo was definitely due for an update. This was a complete redesign: the logo mark was dropped; new color; all lowercase approach to the typography. I assume the gradient approach was to convey losing weight…or fading away to a shell of oneself? In any case, you can’t get much simpler than a grey color, and lowercase sans serif typography. I’m on the fence about this one, with slightly negative feelings.

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New WeightWatchers logo

New logo FAILs!

The Gap released a new logo in 2010 that was completely rejected by the public at large via Twitter and social media. They restored the old logo within a week. This might be an example of stripping down a bit too much…it doesn’t feel sophisticated whatsoever, especially bad for a much-beloved 40 year old brand. It does remind me of a couple of logo projects I did in design school…ouch! They are still using the reversed GAP text in the blue square.

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Failed Gap logo

In my opinion, the UAL (University of the Arts London) logo suffers the same problem as the Gap logo. It looks like someone in the administration office proudly did some designing in PowerPoint. Too bad for such a prestigious institution. To me, this is a very disappointing Pentagram design. Lesson learned: maybe stay away from the too-familiar-yet-beloved Helvetica for the typeface? You can see it’s the same as the Gap logo above.

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New UAL logo

The University of California recently overhauled its logo as well. This logo was also completely rejected by the public, which I think is too bad — it’s a nice piece of identity design and could have gone a long way to unite the disparate UC system. But alas, a petition was roused by Change.org to drop the logo and the university eventually withdrew it. More like Change.not. Oh well!

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Failed UC logo

So…to simplify or not? Personally, I prefer a simple logo. The goal is for the logo to be useful and memorable. It’s easier to maintain brand standards with a simple logo, and it’s easier to use for various purposes. But simple still needs to feel professional, and the logo should always reflect the goals, history, and brand of the company or organization. That’s what we prioritize.

See samples of our logo work here »

Via Creative Bloq

 

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