Category Archives: Communication

DESIGN + FUNCTION | Pentagram Clears Up New York City’s Parking Signs

47579029-media_httpcdntheatlan_IDmsbI love these types of projects — taking something we all encounter every day (and that doesn’t quite work) and using the basics of good design to improve our experience.

Pentagram has successfully provided clarity to New York City’s essay-length parking signage. They balanced the mix of color, font, and visual hierarchy to create a more pleasant layout for previously confused parkers.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut – on one of the earlier design iterations:
“They looked really beautiful, really modern…But somehow they didn’t look like parking signs in a way. They didn’t have that aura of authority.”

I don’t know about you, but, driving through my own city, I can think of a few signs I would like to take a crack at re-imagining…


Anatomy of a Parking Sign That Actually Makes Sense

BRANDING | 2012 Brand New Conference Quotes, Etc.



A brand is not what it says. It’s what it does.

We do work in not knowing. That, I think, is the best definition of creativity.

Weird works, and that’s what you talk about. No one talks about standing on a gray carpet, people talk about, ‘I was driving home last night and an owl hit the car.’ That’s weird stuff.”

Creativity produces weird shit. That’s what creates monopolies for businesses. Weird shit creates monopolies, because it’s all you can think about, all you can talk about. So weird works, it really, really works.


*Image and quotes via

I wasn’t able to attend the Brand New Conference, so I appreciate this roundup of good stuff. Click the link for much much more!


ARCHIVES | Saul Bass Pitch Video for Bell System Logo Redesign

I missed this video making the rounds online in the last couple of months, so I thought I would share it here, as well.

This is a presentation by Saul Bass to Bell System executives pitching a new identity for the company. It’s a bit long (27 minutes), but very interesting.

In this age of Photoshop and computer mock-ups, it’s fascinating to see how a firm would go about presenting their work in context and making the case for the concept.

This is good stuff – enjoy!


COMMUNICATION | Answer 4 Questions to Share Your Story


Communicating the story of your brand and business need not be complicated. In fact, quite the opposite is true. A simple, straight-forward, easy-to-grasp story will capture your target audience and give them the information they need to understand what you do and why.

The elevator pitch isn’t simply for elevators…


CORRECTED: I meant to say the “elevator pitch isn’t simply for elevators.” Oops.

CREATIVITY + INNOVATION | Redesigning “Teachers”

Teach Curiosity

I recently (and finally) watched the film Waiting for Superman – a film about the educational system in the United States and the woefully inadequate way it serves too many of our children.

The film was eye-opening to say the least.

With the impact of the movie still fresh in my mind, I was pleased to come across this post in my RSS feed. Once again, the power of design has revealed itself to me.

The well-presented concept of teachers “connecting the dots” for students, inspiring their dreams, and nurturing their potential – along with a happy orange-y yellow color scheme – gave me back a bit of the hope that was drained by my movie selection.

Just as there are designers who care deeply about their craft and strive to express authentic meaning in their work, there are certainly educators who approach their profession in the same way. Perhaps, these are the same teachers who would appreciate this design effort and use the bright imagery to remind them of the amazing legacy they leave with each student who passes through their classrooms.


VINTAGE + PRINT | Middletown Lumber Newsletter

Letter details

In the age of electronic newsletters and impersonal “Dear, Friend” emails, I love the idea of bringing back the hand-worn, vintage feel of the classic, informative, interesting newsletter.

In addition to the beautiful paper selected for this piece, the interesting mix of typography makes this a mailer that – I would presume – most people would love to receive.


CHOICE | Malcolm Gladwell On Spaghetti Sauce

This is a classic TED talk from Malcolm Gladwell (circa 2004). He discusses the nature of providing consumers choices in the marketplace – often giving them what they don’t realize what they want and providing more choices, not fewer.

Watch the video for a few thoughts on chunky versus smooth spaghetti sauce, “milky, weak coffee,” and the importance of embracing – and accommodating – the diversity among human beings.


PURPOSE | According to Roy Spence


*Photo via

Last week, I attended a luncheon where the keynote was given by Roy Spence, founder of the advertising firm GSD&M Idea City. All of us who live and work in creative fields – be it advertising, marketing, or design – have experienced those moments in which we find ourselves in need of inspiration to continue along the path we have chosen.

Mr. Spence’s talk provided such inspiration. It wasn’t simply his focus on the big picture…”the why” of what we do, but he reminded those of us in attendance to remember to focus on the basics. For marketers, Mr. Spence pointed out, we simply need to drill down to four questions:

Where are we? Where do we want to be? How do we get there? And, are we getting there?

Simple enough, to be sure. But, so very easy to forget in the flurry of life in business.

The video below was recorded in 2010, but is very similar to Mr. Spence’s talk this past week. There’s a bit of swearing, playful sarcasm, and a gem or two of wisdom.  Enjoy!


CREATIVE | Esquire Magazine Cover August 2011

Esquire cover

In case you don’t frequent the magazine section of your local bookstore, I thought I would quickly share this Esquire cover that caught my eye last weekend.

Maybe I’m an easy girl to please, but I thought it was one of the most fun, clever, and amusing “designs” I’ve seen in some time.

I’ve always found the art direction in the pages of Esquire to be well done. And, the eye-catching quality of this hand-illustrated cover is not only humorous, but it draws attention to the consideration that goes into the “real” layouts we typically see.

Thanks for not taking yourselves too seriously, Esquire!

Also: Daniel Craig…


READING | 3 social media challenges…to overcome by 2015

The importance of serendipity

Connections among people, the report states, are more important than measurable outcomes. That’s “counterintuitive in a world where we’re so interested in metrics and outcomes,” says Patel, but it’s true. When an organization builds a network, people and relationships must be at the center.

Your social media platform may have only a few hundred visitors, but if those people are connecting, that’s far better than having tens of thousands of visitors who don’t interact at all.

“Investing in networks and designing for serendipity is really an investment in a community’s infrastructure,” Patel says. There will be outcomes to measure, he says, but they shouldn’t be the No. 1 goal.

I found this to be an interesting post that attempts to put into words how social media – and our interactions with one another – will change between now and 2015.

Suffice it to say that the idea of predicting the nature of our social interactions four years from now is challenging, at best. However, the article does seem to say that the same things that make for good “offline” relationships are similarly powerful in the online arena.

Though the tools are different, it is still essential to enable individuals to connect, not only with one another, but also with a larger community and sense of purpose.