28 February 2009


new packaging

old packaging

I am amazed how many people in the design community have spent so much time analyzing the Tropicana packaging redesign (myself included). The execution was less than good at best. Still, large companies launch sub par redesigns all the time, so why such an uproar?

Over at Subtraction.com, they hit the issue right on the head: the function of color in packaging is a key element of differentiation among similar product.

This lesson learned did bring up much conversation about an agency's role and the ethics of design. Namely, did Tropicana need a redesign?

Weather any brand needs a redesign can always be disputed. The question is does a perception need to change? Design is a tool to change perception.

Some have questioned the design agency involved, and asked if the unnecessary (in their eyes) redesign raises the topic of design ethics. Only in retrospect do we question the ethics of a botched attempt.

In my opinion, a redesign was clearly needed. I am sure that Tropicana saw their customers moving organic, and it is a basic business need to recapture your customer through design. If it was a fantastic redesign, we'd be congratulating the team on a job well done and ethics would not be in question.

Rather than revert to the old packaging, it would have been nice to see the client, Tropicana, believe in the power of good design. Hand the project to another agency, one who has proven they understand how to design packaging. Change can be good and drive business results when well-executed.

P.S. Here's a great redesign round up from PSFK

23 February 2009


The Courage Campaign recently released Arnold Bucks. What a fantastic concept!

from the Courage Campaign:

California faces financial "Armageddon," as Arnold Schwarzenegger bluntly stated a few weeks ago. And yet Arnold and his fellow Republicans rejected compromises by Democrats to rescue our state from a catastrophic budget
crisis, unparalleled in the history of California. Because of the ridiculous 2/3rds budget rule -- the super-majority required to pass a budget in the California state legislature -- and Arnold's failure to deliver even one vote from a small cabal of obstructionist Republicans, Californians may be getting IOUs in the mail next month instead of financial aid checks or tax refunds. Many Californians are so overwhelmed by this paralyzing crisis that they've just tuned it out. As a result, Arnold is not being held accountable for his failure to lead.

That's why we decided to try something a bit unorthodox -- raise awareness by using humor to highlight the absurdity of these IOU's, or what we are calling "Arnoldbucks."

So the Courage Campaign asks "What will you do with your Arnoldbucks?"

Well, for one, I might just pay my taxes with it.

16 February 2009


How dang cute does Amy Sedaris look?

As the founding art director of Craft Magazine, I am {of course} partial to this publication in particular. I was part of the team that established the initial design direction, and after moving to another company, the publisher took operations in-house for the second issue. I love that they have stayed true to their indie DIY spirit.

I'm sad to report that Craft will no longer publish a print magazine. They will move all of their content online. A smart business move, for certain, but I do lament that Craft is no longer in print. Congrats to the team for a nice run, and all my best wishes for your online future.

12 February 2009


You have to head over to Anyone Can Swiss. What a fun concept! Sometimes designers get a little full of themselves. (And I mean fashion, industrial, graphic et. al) Anyone Can Swiss breaks down that wall, with a little tongue-in-cheek humor. Any designer worth their praises should not be threatened by this idea. Rather, good designers know that Swiss (or any other style/school) is only the beginning of good design.

Congrats to Dirk+Weiss!

08 February 2009


I'm excited about the LOVE mag launch from the UK. Here's to print, may it survive!

VIA Refinery 29


...the radar?

Recently, we had a house fire that was very scary and very real. I am posting this because I would love it if you would make sure you have a working smoke alarm (with extra batteries on hand), and a non-expired fire extinguisher.

Soapbox finished, on to design.

I found this lovely piece of safety design over at Playmedesign. Although currently a concept by Sigrun Vik, a masters candidate at Oslo School of Architecture and Design, this design is simply genius. A good looking fire extinguisher that can be kept in (plain enough) sight may be the piece of design that saves your home. (Our fire extinguisher saved our home + stuff!)

"But though it could be about life and death, the extinguisher is not a pretty object and we tend to stuff it away, instead of placing it in visible parts of our homes."

lights up in case of fire

I've been interested in the utilitarian element of safety design for some time, I have a book filled with vintage and new airline safety cards. There's something so base and lovely about public arena design, such as the London Underground maps. Still, there's so much room for improvement, especially civic design pieces for public transport. (Bay Area residents, see BART in-train ads, how Photoshop 2.0!)

The MOMA exhibit SAFE: Design Takes On Risk (check out their 2005 Flash-y website here) was an interesting collection of pieces designed for safety. Though slightly outdated, the thought behind these everyday improvements are so big, and so needed.

04 February 2009


fab examples of Betsey's personal style

Betsey Johnson has been an influential fashion designer and personality alike since the '70s, when she was the head of Alleycat and married to ubercool rock icon John Cale. Though of course she's a modern gal, she's going old-school again! Teaming up with Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony, Johnson is reviving the designs she created in her early days. Entitling the resurrected line "Betsey Johnson Archive", it's like vintage—but without the sketchy lineage of owners in between. Let the cartwheeling begin!

VIA Refinery 29

03 February 2009


A friend and I started an Olsen twin PRO/CON list. I love lists:

Props to Marcie for being hilarious.