Friday, September 28, 2012

Font of the Month: Dumpling!

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Dumpling - Desktop Font

The font for the month of September is a squat, solid, slightly curved display font with a fun, informal look that remains well-balanced and readable.  The most interesting part of Dumpling is its surprising origin as a semester-long project of a South Carolina high-schooler in an intensive graphic arts honors program. Mary Catherine Pflug, the designer, found inspiration after a chat with a ceramic sculpturist, and the rounded wedge shapes of Dumpling show that influence.

Excerpt: "To get right to the point, Dumpling was drawn, digitized and mastered by an 18-year old over a semester-long Senior Concentration in Graphic Design at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts. Seriously, think about that! What were you doing when you were a senior in high school? I watched this unfold as her teacher, guiding where I needed to, encouraging when necessary, but ultimately putting her through a ridiculously tedious, painful and compressed process. She did not falter, she did not complain, she worked.

In her own words (taken from an excerpt of her concentration paper), 'In the middle of all this, I went to Charlotte, NC and saw and opera, the set designer was Jun Kaneko, [and afterwards] went to the Mint where we attended his talk (subsequently meeting him) and then perused a gallery of his work. His large ceramic forms made me realize how connected type is to sculpture. The medium may be different, but the ideas of negative space and forms interacting with each other and the view to convey a message are essentially the same.

Architecture too, is surprisingly connected to type. I find myself gravitating towards the word, ‘entasis’ as a way of describing my letterforms, though they have no reference to the Parthenon or Classicism. In type you need balance, continuity, a little unexpectedness, and a good amount of math.' "

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Crunch Fitness and Jillian Michaels Launch New "Bodyshred" Workout

Crunch Fitness at Burbank Town Center
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The Sacramento Bee

Link to Article:
Jillian Michaels and Crunch Fitness Partner to Launch JILLIAN MICHAELS BODYSHRED

Reality show star and "America's toughest trainer" Jillian Michaels has paired with Crunch Fitness to introduce her 30-minute "Bodyshred" workout at Crunch Fitness locations in New York, Miami and California in September. The workout utilizes Jillian's revolutionary and effective approach to shed fat, define lean muscle, and condition its devotees for peak performance inside the gym and out.

Excerpt: " 'I am thrilled to launch my BODYSHRED class at Crunch Fitness,' said Michaels. 'My classes are fun, fast-paced 30-minute workouts that offer a scientific, metabolic training approach to achieve a strong, sexy body. It's a powerful integration of cutting edge fitness techniques that evolves traditional exercise methods through the exploration of movement possibilities and strategies to help its participants get in the sickest shape possible, at an accelerated pace.'

JILLIAN MICHAELS BODYSHRED brings Jillian's effective 3-2-1 interval system into the group fitness studio, allowing gym goers the opportunity to experience this one-of-a-kind workout. Each sequence is broken down into 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs, allowing participants to max out their own unique potential in each and every workout. This technique also allows participants to rapidly progress over time by building endurance, power, balance, speed, agility, and ultimately their results."

(Crunch Fitness is a part of Hunter Communications client Burbank Town Center.)

Read more here:

Read more here:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Arclight Anniversary Promo Starts Goofy Photo Meme

Hunter Communications recommended reading from 

Link to article:
How a Mortifying Arclight Promo Became a Silly Meme

When local LA radio host Kevin Ryder mistakenly chose his WORST shot for an Arclight Cinemas 10th Anniversary promotion, it set off a chain of events that led to a new meme called "Kevining". His fatuous, out-of-it pose, staring off into the distance with thumbs dumbly turned up, became a symbol for ironic coolness disguised as silly stupidity.

Excerpt: " 'Kevining' an awfully silly internet trend that accidentally started when Kevin Ryder of 'Kevin and Bean' agreed to do a promo for the Arclight's 10-year anniversary. Because of a mix-up, the photo with the goofiest pose ended up being chosen. In the photo, Kevin is smiling while staring off dumbly into the space above the camera while giving a half-assed thumbs-up. See for yourself.

KROQ asked listeners to send in photos of themselves 'Kevining,' and the trend has taken off (and gotten its own tumblr and Urban Dictionary entry, obviously)."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NY Voters Suffer with tiny fonts on ballot

A sample ballot shown with a dime for scale.
Hunter Communications recommended reading from
The New York Times

Link to Article:
NY City Voters Annoyed by Hard to Read Ballots

Part of the growing pains of a shift from voting machines to paper ballots in New York has taken the form of poorly planned, ugly and hard to read ballots.  Now graphic designers and legislators are seeking relief with initiatives to improve the ridiculous and unwieldy appearance of election ballots.

Excerpt: "Voters who trekked to the polls for Thursday’s primary races were handed ballots with candidates’ names printed in an eye-straining 7-point type, akin to the ingredient list on the side of a cereal box.

Now the city Board of Elections is facing outsize criticism over the mite-size font. Civic groups and lawmakers are calling for reform. And some voters are wondering why the instructions on the ballot were displayed in larger and clearer typefaces than the names of the candidates and the offices they were running for...

'Wow, that’s tiny!' said James Montalbano, the founder of Terminal Design in Brooklyn, upon seeing a sample ballot. 'Those names could be 40 percent larger and still fit.'

Mr. Montalbano knows legibility. He is a co-designer of Clearview, a font now recommended by the federal government for use on highway and street signs around the country.

'These names should be much bigger,' said Mr. Montalbano, who seemed somewhat aghast, a cake master considering a Pop-Tart. 'The position they are running for is bigger than their names. Whoever designed this, it just seems like it’s a mess.'

'This was not designed by a typographer, believe me,' he added.

Indeed not. New York City’s ballot aesthetic is determined by a team at the city Board of Elections, which is bound, according to a spokeswoman, by laws and regulations set by the state.

None of those rules mandate a specific font size to be used for candidates’ names. But the law does insist on uniformity, which the city identified as the culprit for all the squinting."

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Cash Mobs" Takes Flash Mob Idea to Supporting Local Businesses

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The Daily Telegraph

Link to article:
Cash Mobs: How the Internet Can Revive Local Shops

In the spirit of flash mobs, a new breed of entrepreneurs is leading groups to descend on suffering or stagnating local businesses. Each individual participant promises to spend a small amount in hopes that the aggregate will bring a good day's business and a bit of recognition to the local shop.  A recent "cash mob" in London targeted an East End bookstore that had lost sales during the Olympics tourist crush (to the glittering Olympic Village stores).

Excerpt: "Last Friday as the Olympics were coming to their glorious close, trains and buses were flying past local East End business for the gated retail experience of the Olympic Park. Off the Olympics Lane track, however, more than 50 people squeezed into an independent book shop in Hackney for the first Cash Mob in this country...

'Earlier this year I launched a new project called Means of Exchange, an initiative that focuses on methods of economic self-sufficiency. Cash Mobbers is the first site to be launched under the Means of Exchange banner and we chose the Pages of Hackney bookshop because we were looking for a locally owned business in an area which was being negatively affected by the Olympics, and to support those which were being bypassed by the crowds.

'Over the course of one lunchtime we estimated more than 50 people came into the shop with many buying more than one book. There was a great buzz about the place, with everyone feeling part of something exciting and worthwhile. Having sold less than ten books over the two days before, it was great to hear from the bookshop owner that sales topped 100 that day, with £500 taken during the Cash Mob', he said"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pantone releases color palette for Spring 2013

Hunter Communications Recommended reading from: 
Link to article: 
Spring 2013 Fashion Color Trends 

This week the color experts at Pantone released their campaign for Spring 2013, featuring a symbiotic pairing of colored neutrals with fresh bright tones.  Neutrals are dusk blue, grayed jade, and linen (a nude blush tone), with menswear adding alloy grey and a slightly greened khaki called tidal foam. The dark neutral for men and women is called Monaco blue, a brighter, richer, slightly greener take on traditional navy.  Greens are big for spring, with three shades in Pantone's top 10. The video clip below explains Pantone's color manifesto for the season (via a cheerful spokeswoman wearing color of the year Tangerine Tango).

Excerpt: " This season, designers overwhelmingly address consumers' desire for self-expression, balance and the need to re-energize. The color direction for spring builds upon these compelling needs with a palette that mixes dynamic brights with novel neutrals to create a harmonious balance. This allows for unique combinations that offer practicality and versatility, but at the same time, demand attention and earn an appreciative glance.

"The expression 'balancing act' is something we all relate to as we strive to find harmony in the frantic pace of our everyday lives," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. "The same can be said for fashion as we look for balance between light and bright, classic and new. This season's color palette emphasizes this need for balance, while at the same time allowing for individuality, self-expression and excitement."

The prevalence of green this spring is undeniable. Similar to the many shades in our natural surroundings, this season's greens offer a stunning foreground or the perfect backdrop for all other hues. Like the first signs of spring, Tender Shoots, a vibrant yellow-green, is invigorating, active and cheerful, while Grayed Jade, a subtle, hushed green with a gray undertone, brings about a mood of quiet reflection and repose. Sophisticated Emerald, a lively, radiant green, inspires insight and clarity while enhancing our sense of well-being. From one extreme to the other, combining all three greens presents an intriguing choice much like Mother Nature intended."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

USA Today Unveils New Logo, Hilarity Ensues

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The New York Times

Link to article: 

Taking Pointers From Web Sites, USA Today Modernizes Its Look


America's second most popular newspaper has undergone its first big makeover, in an attempt to look more like a webpage. and its familliar blue square logo is replaced by a circle that changes colors and theme to reflect the section of the paper and the stories therein (prompting a hilarious reaction from the ubiquitous Colbert Report!)


Excerpt: "USA Today, with its colorful omnipresence on airport newsstands and outside the doors of hotel rooms, is showing off its new look on Friday. And the makeover for the newspaper, based just outside the Washington Beltway, comes straight from Silicon Valley.

Its weather map is sleeker. Its television listings feature conventional television programs while also providing descriptions of related highlights online. Its “Your Say” pages include reader comments from Twitter and Facebook. And as the newspaper starts to look more like a Web site, its new Web site, which is being unveiled this weekend, will function more like an iPad, with a smoother scroll from page to page.

'We are really trying to reinvent a news business,' said Larry Kramer, the paper’s president and publisher, as he sat in a conference room at its glassy high-tech suburban headquarters, reminiscent of the offices where James Bond receives his orders from M. 'We are trying to think of USA Today not as a newspaper, but as a news company.' 

(Don't miss Stephen Colbert's sidesplitting rejoinder, especially his examination of the various color circles in each section of the paper...) 

Oregon Builder Introduces Prefab "IKEA" House

Ideabox's IKEA-inspired AKTIV house
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Popular Mechanics

Link to article:
Step Inside the First "IKEA House"

It created a sensation on the blogosphere when the story first appeared, although it was more often than not mis-reported.  IKEA did not create the "Aktiv" prefab, 745 square foot house, though Oregon-based Ideabox did work in cooperation with a Portland-area IKEA in planning and furnishing it. The small modern house is marketed as a sort of cabin alternative, and achieves great economy by being factory-built and assembled on site.

Excerpt: "As generations of cramped apartment-dwellers can attest, part of the Ikea allure (besides the fact that its furnishings are cheap and pack flat) is that the broad range of design options lets you get the most out of a small space. For example, Russell says, the variety of Ikea kitchen options gives customers design flexibility and the ability to mix and match Ikea products in the space, choosing for both style and cost. He designed the 745-square-foot one-bedroom, one-bathroom home around specific Ikea components, and the designers from the local Portland store worked directly with Ideabox to ensure the builders had all the parts they needed (there was no room for the frustration of a missing bolt on a commercial-scale project). In all, he says, building an Aktiv will cost about $86,500.

'We like our houses to pop," Russell says. "Our goal was to build a house that is very cool to be in and around, and our bent on modern design is to try and take advantage of what the prefab way of building offers in terms of size and volume.' "

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Grammar Checker online service takes spell check lightyears further!

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
PR Web

Link to article: Launches Free Grammar Checking Service for Writers

Hard as it may be to believe, maybe we need more help in our writing than a spell check can provide.  A new free online service takes the concept so much further, and corrects anything you can cut and paste into the test box on their website for problems in grammar, punctuation, usage and style issues.

Excerpt: " 'We created this online service for a simple reason—help people improve their writing,' explains the representative of 'This free, easy-to-use tool is useful for professional writers, non-native speakers who are learning English, and even people with dyslexia. We’ve made our service completely free to use because we want every person to have the opportunity to be the best writer they can be.'

One of the things that makes innovative is that it was designed to help people with dyslexia ( Those who have dyslexia can use this free online program to check their text to make sure they are using the correct grammar, punctuation, spellings, and words. The program even checks for contextual spelling mistakes to ensure the writer does not accidentally use the wrong word in the text.

Anyone can use this free grammar checker, and there is no need to download any software.
'The great thing about our program is that it’s easily accessible for anyone with an internet connection. You simply paste your text into the application on our website, and it will instantly scan the content for mistakes. Then it provides a detailed report identifying all issues and offering simple suggestions for improvements and corrections,' he continued."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Starbucks Experiment Recycles Grounds and Old Food

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Los Angeles Times

Link to article:
Starbucks Coffee Grounds, Unsold Food Become Laundry Detergent

In the latest example of corporations jumping on the reuse and recycle bandwagon to promote environmental awareness, economy and brand identity, Starbucks has started an experimental program in Hong Kong to recycle its used coffee grounds and unsold food products to produce raw materials that can be used to produce laundry detergent and plastics.

Excerpt: "Rather than dump its coffee grounds and unsold baked goods into landfills or incinerators, Starbucks is trying to be more productive with its food waste – by transforming it into plastic and laundry detergent.

At a biorefinery set up by the City University of Hong Kong, scientists are testing some of the 4,500 tons of stale pastries and coffee bean bits produced annually by Starbucks Hong Kong, according to the American Chemical Society.

The organic matter is blended with a mixture of fungi, where enzymes break down carbohydrates in the food into simple sugars. The concoction is then sent to a fermenter, where bacteria convert the sugars into succinic acid – a material that can then be formulated into a range of products -- including detergent."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Did Errol Morris Crown Baskerville "King of Typefaces"?

Baskerville, the trustworthy type
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The New York Times

Link to article:
Hear All Ye People; Hearken, O Earth

(This NY Times link is a long article, actually the lynchpin in a series of three.  But don't be scared off, and you will discover a treasure chest of unexpected knowledge.) Documentarian and scholar Errol Morris started off innocuously enough with a quiz to determine "How optimistic or pessimistic are you?" But this was pure subterfuge, and the actual experiment was buried in the form, rather than the function of the quiz.  What he was really measuring was the comparative trust value of various typefaces, in other words, would the reader agree with a statement more if the typeface made it LOOK more believable?  Morris thought he knew the answers before he started, until he found that one typeface, Baskerville, had a rather startling advantage in trust and believability.

Excerpt: "But is there a typeface that promotes, engenders a belief that a sentence is true? Or at least nudges us in that direction? And indeed there is.

It is Baskerville...

I called Professor Dunning.

DAVID DUNNING: Baskerville seems to be the king of fonts. What I did is I pushed and pulled at the data and threw nasty criteria at it. But it is clear in the data that Baskerville is different from the other fonts in terms of the response it is soliciting. Now, it may seem small but it is impressive.

ERROL MORRIS: I am completely surprised by this. If you asked me in advance, I would have guessed Georgia or Computer Modern, something that has the imprimatur of, I don’t know, truth — truthiness.

DAVID DUNNING: The word that comes to my mind is gravitas. There are some fonts that are informal — Comic Sans, obviously — and other fonts that are a little bit more tuxedo. It seems to me that Georgia is slightly tuxedo. Computer Modern is a little bit more tuxedo and Baskerville has just a tad more starchiness. I would have expected that if you are going to have a winner in Baskerville, you are also going to have a winner in Computer Modern. But we did not. And there can be a number of explanations for that. Maybe there is a slight difference in how they are rendered in PCs or laptops that causes the starch in Computer Modern to be a little softer than the starch in Baskerville."

Friday, September 14, 2012

IKEA Designs Urban Neighborhoods in Europe

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
IKEA Continues Planning Its Empire of Sustainable City Districts

A year after announcing its plan to build a sustainable vehicle-free housing development called Strand East in the outskirts of London, the Swedish company has revealed that it intends to do the same on a 12-acre tract in Hamburg, Germany. Inside the communities, autos will be relegated to a parking garage at the perimeter, and residents will enjoy parklike public areas and pedestrian walkways.

Excerpt: "Now Ikea is expanding its empire: Landprop announced this month that it’s building another community in Hamburg, Germany--also virtually car-free.

Ikea hasn’t revealed specific plans for the community, but it will probably resemble the future London Strand East development, according to local paper the Hamburger Abendblatt. That means there will be plentiful public areas and pedestrian walkways, cars will park at the development’s entrance in an underground garage, and only delivery trucks, buses, and emergency vehicles will be allowed to drive inside.

In Strand East there will be 1,200 homes for rent, 40% of which will be large enough to accommodate families. We do know that both planned developments will be built in currently empty lots--Ikea won’t be bulldozing neighborhoods to create its home empire; it’s looking for 12 acres to build on in the German city. The creation of a car-free community 'goes back to the Ikea philosophy of doing something for the people,' explained Harald Muller, managing director of LandProp, in an interview with Co.Exist last year. Ikea developments also have a 'Swedish philosophy mentality,' according to Muller. In the case of the London development, that means constructing buildings with high energy efficiency and extensive insulation to make it through those cold Swedish winters (or any winters, really). Chances are, the Hamburg development will be built with similar ideas in mind."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Uninvited Redesign" Offers American Airlines a New Image

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:  
A Hyper Cool (And Controversial) Rebranding For American Airlines

 A recent internet invention, "uninvited redesign" has given artists and graphic designers a chance to reimagine an existing corporation's visual identity, free from any constraints that come with working for an actual client.  This year a Boulder ad agency reached out to American Airlines' CEO, with an offer to use crowd-sourcing and $10,000 in prizes to come up with a new and exciting image for the bankrupt aviation legend.

Excerpt: "The invitation has spurred dozens of redesigns. One of the best came from Cyprus-based designer Anna Kövecses, whose no-nonsense, vaguely retro aesthetic lends itself to the company’s historic brand. The concept won the young designer $1,000 from Victors & Spoils, along with valuable media exposure. “My aim was to strip down the AA identity to the core and this meant building down the whole design to match this core as well,” Kövecses says over email. “For me, this core expectation has turned out to be safety. I wanted to design something that makes people feel safe because it visually meets up to the extremely high technology of aviation, the security and flawless on and off board services provided, and reflects the great history and experience behind American Airlines.”

In muted greys and blues, set off by a wood grain highlight texture, the boarding pass and website exude a quiet calm. Simple, readable Helvetica signage and subtle nods to AA’s post-War heyday round out the identity. But Kövecses explains that her vision comes from a deeper consideration of AA’s brand. “I tried to look at the whole problem from a Dieter Rams-inspired point of view and find out what this company is about, what people expect from this company,” she explains over email. “Then visualize exactly that expectation, not less, not more.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Microsoft Introduces 1st new Logo Design in 25 Years

Out with the old, and in with the new MS logo...
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Microsoft Swaps Its Logo

You MUST know it on sight, the thick, forward leaning squared-off italics, the conjoined final "f" and "t".  It's the ubiquitous corporate logo for Microsoft, and to coincide with a new direction for flagship operating system Windows 8, the mega corporation is going for something simpler, thinner, humbler, and with a common touch.

Excerpt: "Microsoft just rolled out the most significant change to its iconic corporate logo since 1987, trading curves for straight lines and black-and-white for vivid colors. It’s not just the four-color Windows icon that’s morphed, either — swapping its twisty “page in the wind” look for a clean-lined, four-block stack — but the company name itself.

Instead of the classic thick, black, italicized font Microsoft’s used for decades, the new company logo is a study in simpler, thinner lines and grayscale coloring.

And in case you’re wondering, that font is Segoe, which Microsoft’s been gradually working into its product family for some time (Microsoft owns the trademark, though the font was originally developed by type foundry Monotype). It’s what’s known as a “Humanist” typeface, meaning there’s little variation in stroke width, and the x-height — the distance between the baseline and the mean line — is relatively low (for more on this, and some serious font wonkery, see here).

The logo change comes in advance of Microsoft’s flagship operating system reboot, Windows 8, due on Oct. 26 — a radical rethinking of the world’s most widely used operating system."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Shopping Centers Today Ranks Bal Harbour Shops #1 Worldwide

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Bal Harbour Shops Named "World's Most Productive" 

An August worldwide ranking lists Florida's Bal Harbour Shops as the most productive shopping center per square foot, topping glittering competition in such locations as Las Vegas, Dubai, and London. Other American centers ranking in the top 15 include Forum Shops at Caesars, New York's Shops at Columbus Circle, Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, and two Los Angeles centers, The Grove and Americana at Brand. An interesting fact is that Bal Harbour and Ala Moana are considered to be rather old shopping centers, and still are among the world's top in generating income per square foot.

Excerpt: "When it comes to trophy properties, Bal Harbour Shops ranks No. 1, not only in the U.S., but worldwide, according to the International Council of Shopping Center's Shopping Centers Today.

The open-air luxury center, with its $2,555-per-square-foot in sales, is nearly seven times the ICSC-estimated $451-per-square-foot industry average, notes the September cover story.
Worldwide, Bal Harbour Shops topped sales at such renowned locations as Westfield London and Westfield Stratford in the United Kingdom; Westfield Sydney in Australia; the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai; and Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. (See the full list below.)
Shopping Centers Today based its list on information gleaned from Green Street Advisors; KPMG; Thomas Consulting/Shopping Centre News, the REITs and owners of the shopping centers; and some extrapolations and estimates.

Sales at Bal Harbour have increased every year since its opening in 1965, with just two exceptions: 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and in 2009, following the nationwide economic crisis.

"We continue to be the number one shopping destination for luxury goods not only in the country, but also worldwide," said operating partner Matthew Whitman Lazenby, a third-generation Whitman family member involved in the business. "The setting, the stores, the history and the attachment that shoppers feel to the center is what makes Bal Harbour Shops the world's premier luxury retail center."

The article notes that the most successful shopping destinations have common characteristics: Typically, they are located in areas popular with tourists, have high-end retailers, affluent regional demographics and tend to get refreshed and renovated regularly.
Bal Harbour Shops, with its location at the northern tip of Miami Beach, is a huge draw for tourists who are beckoned by the allure of South Beach and who come from both inside and outside of the U.S. -- primarily from Latin America and Russia."

Top 15 shopping centers by sales per square foot
Rank Center Location Sales psf
1 Bal Harbour Shops Bal Harbour $2,555
2 Forum Shops at Caesars Las Vegas $1,750
3 Westfield Stratford London $1,600+
4 Westfield London London $1,600+
5 Shops at Columbus Circle N.Y. City $1,600
6 Westfield Sydney Sydney, Australia $1,500
7 Mall of the Emirates Dubai, U.A.E. $1,423
8 The Grove Los Angeles $1,400
9 Pacific Centre Vancouver, B.C. $1,255
10 The Mall at Millenia Orlando, Fla. $1,250
11 Ala Moana Center Honolulu $1,200
12 Yorkdale Toronto $1,194
13 Chadstone Melbourne, Australia $1,157
14 The Mall at Short Hills Short Hills, N.J. $1,110
15 Americana at Brand Glendale, Calif. $1,100
Brent Cross London $1,100
Aventura Mall Aventura, Fla. $1,100

Monday, September 10, 2012

Logos, Cheap to $$$$$!

Not bad, but $211 million worth?
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
HUH! magazine

Link to article:
The Cost of A Logo

Small startups generally have little or no money to pay for their logos and brand marketing, while let's face it, big multinationals are ROLLING in it!  So here we see the amusing situation where small brands who strike it big have often stuck with the logos which cost them in the single digits (or less), and big companies have rolled out their new logos after expensive marketing research and planning, at the cost of tens of millions!

Excerpt: "Of course, the worth of a logo is a famously hard thing to determine. The very fact that a simple or low-key design often works far better than something intricate or brightly coloured means traditional methods for calculating how much to charge - using things like time and experience - are often thrown out the window. As such, some of the most famous logos of all time have been commissioned for next to nothing, while astronomical sums have been paid for designs most people wouldn't think about twice (not that that's necessarily a bad thing). So here you have it, a run down of logos, spanning a price spectrum of $0 to $211 million USD.

 The Nike "Swoosh" is perhaps one of the most well-known "cheap" logos - costing the sports brand just $35 USD when co-founder Phil Knight commissioned graphic design student Carolyn Davidson back in 1971. When it was finished, Knight said "I don't love it… but I think it will grow on me."

The iconic logo has remained relatively unaltered since its conception, with the only change being made in 1995 when the brand ditched the Nike text that used to be cradled within the Swoosh, opting for a simpler, stand-alone Swoosh instead. As a thank you for her work, Phil Knight gave Davidson a golden Swoosh ring with an embedded diamond in 1983, as well as an undisclosed amount of shares in the company - supposedly $600,000 worth"

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Dieline Awards 2012, Food Packaging 1st Place, Just Fruits

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The Dieline Awards

Link to article:
Just Fruits Redesign

Full Awards Page (may be too awesome to read all at once!):
Dieline Awards 2012

In the 2012 Dieline retail packaging awards, one of the first prizes in the food division went to this clever pouch packaging of Plum Organics' Just Fruits line of organic baby foods.  The label graphics emphasize the juicy deliciousness of the simple ingredients, and the pouch makes it easier to squeeze a bit of the puree onto a spoon while feeding a child.

Excerpt: " 'Plum Organics is both telegraphically and beautifully designed, without compromising on the practicalities of navigation.' - Christine Mau
Description: Packaging redesign of the Plum Organics' Just Fruit line to draw more attention to the delicious fruit inside and to make the flavors of the different pouches more clear."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Can Cheesecake Factory Provide a Model for US Healthcare Industry?

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The New Yorker

Link to article:
Big Med: Restaurant chains have managed to combine quality control, cost control, and innovation. Can health care?

Cheesecake Factory is a model of planning, efficiency, and customer satisfaction across its chain of 160 restaurants, serving 80 million customers a year.  Its catalogue-sized menu and mostly from scratch cooking come astonishingly close to the ideal of "pleasing all the people, all of the time".  In surveys, Cheesecake Factory routinely tops the lists of America's favorite restaurants. So what can the health care industry learn from their example?

Excerpt: "The chain serves more than eighty million people per year. I pictured semi-frozen bags of beet salad shipped from Mexico, buckets of precooked pasta and production-line hummus, fish from a box. And yet nothing smacked of mass production. My beets were crisp and fresh, the hummus creamy, the salmon like butter in my mouth. No doubt everything we ordered was sweeter, fattier, and bigger than it had to be. But the Cheesecake Factory knows its customers. The whole table was happy (with the possible exception of Ethan, aged sixteen, who picked the onions out of his Hawaiian pizza).

I wondered how they pulled it off. I asked one of the Cheesecake Factory line cooks how much of the food was premade. He told me that everything’s pretty much made from scratch—except the cheesecake, which actually is from a cheesecake factory, in Calabasas, California.

I’d come from the hospital that day. In medicine, too, we are trying to deliver a range of services to millions of people at a reasonable cost and with a consistent level of quality. Unlike the Cheesecake Factory, we haven’t figured out how. Our costs are soaring, the service is typically mediocre, and the quality is unreliable. Every clinician has his or her own way of doing things, and the rates of failure and complication (not to mention the costs) for a given service routinely vary by a factor of two or three, even within the same hospital.

It’s easy to mock places like the Cheesecake Factory—restaurants that have brought chain production to complicated sit-down meals. But the “casual dining sector,” as it is known, plays a central role in the ecosystem of eating, providing three-course, fork-and-knife restaurant meals that most people across the country couldn’t previously find or afford. The ideas start out in élite, upscale restaurants in major cities. You could think of them as research restaurants, akin to research hospitals. Some of their enthusiasms—miso salmon, Chianti-braised short ribs, flourless chocolate espresso cake—spread to other high-end restaurants. Then the casual-dining chains reëngineer them for affordable delivery to millions. Does health care need something like this?"

(Note: Hunter Communications counts Cheesecake Factory among its client roster of tenants at Sherman Oaks Galleria.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lady Gaga's "Fame" is Black and a Little Terrifying

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to Article:
Lady Gaga Pushed Fragrance Industry Boundaries with 1st Black Perfume

Lady Gaga doesn't do things like other celebrities.  So when she decided on "Fame" as the concept for her new celebrity fragrance, the uniquely stylish singer insisted on a black liquid that would spray on completely clear and stain-free.  A tall order, and the design and development team at Coty Beauty were forced to invent a new, soon to be patented technology to capture "Fame" in a bottle.

Excerpt: "She tells Vogue magazine, 'I raised an eyebrow. I didn't really want to do it at first. But I wanted to create a fragrance that somebody who makes fragrances says, 'Well, how did they do that?' And of course, once it smelled so good everyone said, 'Can't we just make it clear so we don't have to explain to people that it won't get on your clothes?'

I said, 'No. The fragrance is called Fame; it must be black. It must smell enticing. You must want to lick and touch and feel it, but the look of it must terrify you.'

However, Gaga's innovative ideas caused headaches for the company's research and development team.  Yael Tuil, vice president of Coty Beauty's global marketing department, recalls, "I was pregnant at that time. I started to sweat on my forehead (when I heard the idea). I said, 'My God! That's impossible! How can we do that?'"

Gaga remained defiant and now Coty Beauty executives are in the process of patenting the technology to ban others from copying the remarkable achievement, and Tuil has credited the singer with encouraging them to think outside the box: "She was really behind the most important innovation in the fragrance industry in the last 20 years. She is really pushing boundaries."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Where you @? How "at" became the symbol of electronic communications

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
The Accidental History of the @ Symbol

It may be a contraction of the words "each" and "at", with the "e" wrapped around the "a'". Or it may be a curlicued embellishment of the Latin "ad", meaning "toward".  But since its first appearance in 1536 and its subsequent use on invoices and bills of lading, no one would have suspected that the lowly "@" would attain its indispensable status in the age of electronic communications.

Excerpt: "The symbol’s modern obscurity ended in 1971, when a computer scientist named Ray Tomlinson was facing a vexing problem: how to connect people who programmed computers with one another. At that time, each programmer was typically connected to a particular mainframe machine via a phone connection and a teletype machine—basically a keyboard with a built-in printer. But these computers weren’t connected to one another, a shortcoming the U.S. government sought to overcome when it hired BBN Technologies, the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company Tomlinson worked for, to help develop a network called Arpanet, forerunner of the Internet.

Tomlinson’s challenge was how to address a message created by one person and sent through Arpanet to someone at a different computer. The address needed an individual’s name, he reasoned, as well as the name of the computer, which might service many users. And the symbol separating those two address elements could not already be widely used in programs and operating systems, lest computers be confused.

Tomlinson’s eyes fell on @, poised above “P” on his Model 33 teletype. “I was mostly looking for a symbol that wasn’t used much,” he told Smithsonian. “And there weren’t a lot of options—an exclamation point or a comma. I could have used an equal sign, but that wouldn’t have made much sense.” Tomlinson chose @—“probably saving it from going the way of the ‘cent’ sign on computer keyboards,” he says. Using his naming system, he sent himself an e-mail, which traveled from one teletype in his room, through Arpanet, and back to a different teletype in his room."