11/30/11

Eating My Words Never Tasted So good

Words Have Power

Food Miles. Green Collar. Farm to Table. The terms we use to define what we mean when we mean sustainability have never looked so good. Gorgeous life style photos, hand drawn typography, and real stories from real people give the Lexicon of Sustainability a down home, lived in look. Interviews with more than 100 leaders of the sustainable agriculture movement propose the terms of the newest revolution in farming: everything old is new again. Those who actually expect a glossary of terms will be disappointed. But those looking for a recipe for Apple and Lovage soup are invited to pull up a chair.

5/17/11

Help Wanted


Always Carry A Paintbrush
Susanne Goldstein has written a how-to book on forging your own career that promises to be this generation's answer to What Color is Your Parachute, the guide for the career-minded that's been on the New York Times Best Seller List since they were printing it on clay tablets.

Carry A Paintbrush offers plainspoken advice that is perfectly attuned to these times of massive social change and permanent disruption to the employment landscape. The world of work has changed, and to survive in that world in the coming decades we are all going to need to be, as Goldstein says, "the artistic director of our own career." That means taking responsibility for the kind of work we want to pursue, understanding the work that will fulfill us, and then taking our career destiny in our own hands to create our own job opportunities.

For anyone in the employment market—and that includes people with jobs, looking for jobs, or thinking about changing jobs—this is a must read. And for students graduating from college $40 grand in debt, this book might just get you out from behind that deadend bartending job. I'm buying one as a graduation gift for every senior I know.

When circumstances paint you into a corner, use this book to paint yourself into a new career.

5/11/11

Identity Design Goes to School


Back to School Night for Bruce Mau

Inspired by the iconic campus building of the Ontario College of Art and Design, Bruce Mau created a new visual identity for the school. The design provides a "window" into the creative activity that takes place on campus, which in turn enables an infinitely flexible framework for presenting the work itself.

Even better, a 2-minute video shows you how its done.

5/10/11

All in a day's work


Communication Arts just published my feature story on Factory Labs, a Denver-based interactive ad agency. You can download the story as a pdf from the Factory Labs website.

5/3/11

Just how fast is greased lightning?


That was fast!
Google gets in touch with its inner gadget guy and sends him to the lab bench to test the speed of its new Chrome Browser. The results are astonishing. In the time it takes to fire a potato through a slicer, hear a tune, or get struck by lightning, Google manages to load a page with a couple million results. And in the process tickle your funny bone. Rube Goldberg would have been proud.

4/20/11

The emotional power of words


If you can fake sincerity, you can fake anything

There's an old Saatchi & Saatchi story that goes something like this: everyday a copy writer from S&S takes the train into London on his way to work. Every day he passes a blind beggar, holding a cardboard sign that reads: "I am blind."

One day he stops, looks at the beggar and says: "Excuse me, I'd like to write something on your sign. I think it might improve your results. May I?"

And with that he proceeds to write something on the sign, hands it back and says: "I'll check back at the end of the day. Let me know how it goes. Cheerio."

Later that day, returning from work, he finds the blind man and asks how he did.

"Best day ever! I've never gotten so much money in my life. You have to tell me what you wrote."

"Just four words," our man from S&S replies. "It is Spring and..."

Which bring us to this updated version of the same story. Told in video, it reminds us how powerful the right words can be if they make an emotional connection with an audience.

2/7/11

The Dark Side


Best and worst Superbowl ads of 2011. See them all.

Who knew Darth Vader could be a hero? By tapping into the generational love of Star Wars, dress up, nerdom, and a childlike belief in never giving up, Volkswagen comes up with a winner. I love this ad because it rings so emotionally true.

On the other hand there's the shock and awe of Joan Rivers as a spokeperson for GoDaddy. Not funny. And just wrong. You can hear a couple million remotes being thrown across the room when the commercial cuts from cleavage to the hatchet faced Rivers.

Almost right:
A young man living among white clad drones & clones finds a florist, buys flowers, photographs them, makes a cartoon, and sends it to the prettiest drone in the whole cube farm. (Thanks, Motorola!) Of course it would have been better if he had just given her the REAL flowers. But then that doesn’t sell tablet computers.

2/1/11

The Girl Effect


She's baaaaaack!
The Girl Effect, that is. The organization started by the Nike Foundation to empower girls in developing countries through education, health, and anti-poverty investments has recently launched another of its extraordinary "intonation animations." Created by Australian production company Mighty Nice the six-minute-long video does something the longest, most detailed annual report from the World Health Organization fails to do: it makes medicine taste like candy. Once you see it, you'll want to get involved. The Nike Foundation makes that easy.

1/14/11

One Conference To Save The World


Compost Modern: This may be the one conference you'll go to all year that will give you the skills, the passion, and the connections you need to save the world. Operating at the intersection of design/sustainability/and corporate responsibility Compost Modern brings together some of the best thinkers, doers, and speakers in the field. This year features Yves Behar, the industrial designer who created the GE Charging Station, Bruce Mau, who wrote Massive Change, and Scott Thomas, the lead designer for the Obama campaign marketing materials and website. Moderated by the one and only Alyssa Walker who brings deep understanding and a fine, unfettered enthusiasm to the task, Alyssa actually cracks herself up.