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Showing posts from January, 2009

Can We Still Judge a Book By Its Cover?

My neice told me she is now getting her text books on-line. I don't mean she is ordering her books on-line, she is reading them on line. She had mixed feelings about this. Even my 14 year old son, who is an avid user of everything in the digital age, was luke warm to the idea. The site is called CourseSmart. You basically "rent" the book for 180 days and then it expires and you have no more access to the content. There are some great features like being about to highlight and bookmark content and the student can print out only the pages they require. But this also means you must have a laptop or computer to access the content. Of course, there is always Kindle , the wireless reading device--the future of book reading they say. The screen is high-resolution and reads like paper and you can literally carry your library of books on one device. Of course, I can see benefits for this with text books. I remember carrying my books around campus and getting a backache. Either th

Knock/Shock Offs For A Young Audience

On a recent research/reconnaissance mission for packaging design in the Action Sports industry, I came across some really cool packaging, environmental/display structures and graphics/imagery at a local ACTIVE RIDE SHOP. For example, Vestal watches created a display case that resembled a touring rock bands' sound gear. Another interesting find was a large framed poster (approximately 4' x 8') for Obey clothing. It's bold use of red and black solids with overlapping layers of torn paper, spoke wartime propaganda poster with a hip and modern twist. What really caught my attention however, were the cleverly goofy (and some, perhaps borderline controversial) packaging ideas for skateboard parts and accessories. Although not the most interesting nor innovative in terms of graphics and structure, what drew my attention to these packages were the silly mimicking and poking fun at everyday products and objects, yet making them functional and practical for the target consumer.

Packaging: Frankly Fun

Paul Frank is a simple but fun brand. You can tell that their designers have a good time with the unique products, characters and colors. When I was browsing the mall I went into their store and saw the branding with the monkey and friends on cool retro watches, sunglasses, etc., one would expect to see. But then I was drawn to these striped squares on the wall. They just looked like pieces of foam. And because they were so awkward and seemingly out of place, I moved in for a closer look. At first, I thought it was some kind of seat pad but then saw the familiar sandal straps popping out the middle. As I examined closer, I finally saw the dieline of the flip flops. They were held in place by a simple belly band and had a diecut handle, out of the foam, for retail purposes. I thought it was a great packaging solution because the designers considered how their product was made and designed around that. They also gained graphic impact from having more surface area to apply branding. The o

Web Advertising Takes Over

I was getting my regular music fix from Pandora Internet Radio and realized a different look in there web page design. They had started to expand the presence of their advertising from banner ads on the side of the page to, in some cases, the whole website. Almost as if the site had been re-branded with the advertisers branding. The only constant was the lightly branded music player in the center. But if you think about it, that's all a Pandora user needs. They can still get the same music and information they want but now Pandora can increase their advertising sales opportunities. Good call. Personally, I could care less how big an advertisement is as long as I can find what I want. The North Face, especially, has really taken liberties with their advertising where the music player is rising out of the mountain. That's actually the ad that really made me notice what they were trying to accomplish. How much farther can they go?