February 2013

Last weekend marked the Superbowl – but more importantly for those of us in design and advertising, it marked what we call on twitter, the Brand Bowl. Ad agencies all over the world compete for the coveted spot of best and most memorable ad. One of the things to note this year is how many ad spots had hash tags for people to talk about the commercial on twitter – and believe me they were talking.

But, as with all competitions, there has to be a winner, and this year, it wasn’t the one everyone might have expected.  After all the million dollar commercials, the most talked about ad wasn’t a commercial at all – it was a well timed tweet from Oreo during the blackout.

While everyone was trying to determine what was going on in the game, someone at Oreo’s marketing company saw an opportunity – “You can still dunk in the dark.”

That single tweet got more comments in my news feed than all the other ads combined.  It goes to show you that you don’t need a huge budget to do impactful advertising.  You just need a few people who know the value of the right ad, in the right place, at the right time. Sometimes it pays to “think small” and “think different.”

And as an aside, the Oreo team is on the ball with more than just the twitter ad.  Their commercial with a call to action regarding their Pinterest page caused a HUGE increase in their pinterest followers.  Their team knows where it is at in social media, and they know how to leverage it.

Congratulations, Oreo – winners for 2013!

Read more about it here – Forbes

I had my first Masters class this week.  At the beginning, the teacher had us stand up and state our background.  Surrounded by Financial Analysts and people in Government and Public Policy, I stood up and said “I am a Graphic Designer.”

This got me wondering – what does that mean to people?  Do they see an artist? Do they see a thinker?

What does it mean to be a graphic designer?  Here is my shortlist of my own personal experience.

I have a BFA.

Yes – I have a BFA.  Some designers do, and some designers don’t.  In my case, all it meant was taking a few extra art history classes.  Some of my fellow designers were at the top of their academic class. We took psychology, sociology, science, world religions, math, politics and any other academic courses that were of interest. Though we all loved design, we all had our own lens to view it through. Most of the designers I know are smart as a whip – and up to date on current events. We have to be to continue to be relevant for our clients.

I wear many hats every day.

As a designer, I have been a copyrighter, an editor, a production artist, a pre-press check, a front-end developer and many of these all at the same time.  Because I also freelance, I am the account person, the secretary and the project manager as well.

If you speak to a good studio, I can bet that the designer has already done their research on your product, as well as your competitors and your target market, before you even walked in the door. They know what’s current in their field, and they will do there best to know what angle is current in yours.

I heard a quote on twitter recently that said something like:  Good art make people see one thing many ways.  Good design makes everyone see one thing the same way.  

That tells me, I’m also an influencer.

Design is art, and by all means creative, but it is art with the customer and/or consumer in mind.  It is smart, and it is impactful. It makes people think, and when they are done, hopefully they come out of it with a satisfying experience.

I have an unnatural love of good type.

I love letters.  I love letters everywhere.  My house is full of my initials.  But most of all, I love good type. I can tell you if there is an extra space between words, and it drives me crazy if something is not kearned correctly. My professor used to say that we would never be able to watch movie credits again – and it is true. If the words are meant to stand out, then put the work in to the typography.

I use a Mac.

It is just the rule. Deal with it.

Lastly, just for fun, I’ll leave you with this infographic that I found on the web:  Anatomy of a Graphic Designer