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  • Inspiration for a New Year

    With each new year, I find a little time over the holiday break to enjoy looking ahead, setting personal goals and searching for new opportunities for both my personal and working life. Here's a collection of my recent findings and sources of inspiration. 

    Atlas Obscura: 

    Definitive guidebook to the world's most wondrous places

    If you are looking for adventure down the street or around the world, you can find some facinating places featured in wonderful detail on AtlasObscura.com. The editors seek out those places with hidden secrets and incredible bak stories. 

    Soundbreaking Documentary:

    Stories from the cutting edge of Recording Music

    Most of my childhood and graduate studies were steeped in music and the arts. So the Soundbreaking series on PBS caught me by complete suprise. It's a wonderful look at an industry that combines art and technology to literally push the sound barrier from the perspective of the people behind the curtain (or sound booth). This very special series, produced in collaboration with George Martin, extends online with additional interviews and a special look behind the scenes.

    Intel Compute Stick:

    Transform any display into a complete computer

    For years, I've been hoping to see technology reach this flash poin where all of our needed computing power fits easily in our pocket. Then we have the freedom to choose the format to view and access. Intel has recently released the Intel Compute Stick which essentially does just that. They have packed a computer into a format the size of a small stick of gum which you can plug into almost any monitor with an HDMI input.

    CBS Sunday Morning:

    Inspiring stories from around the country 

    Each week I look forward to watching CBS Sunday Morning. The show is both entertaining and educational - eye-opening and always delightful. My optimism about our surrounding community is renewed each week - especially after week-over-week of less-than-positive news from around the world. 

    US National Parks:

    The national treasure that is our great outdoors

    Undeniably, our nation's greatest gift to the American people are the US National Parks. All of us need to make time to visit these natural wonders. Currently, there are 58 parks across the United States - each offering something unique and truly remarkable. The National Park Service is now beginning their second century (if you can believe it), so get out there and explore!

    Mozart In The Jungle:

    An absolutely hilarious look at the life of a symphony orchestra

    Amazon's award winning original series "Mozart in the Jungle" is nothing less than brilliant. The creators of this series do such a fabulous job at combining art and entertainment. Numerous internal stories strike a personal chord with me. From the energetic, passionate and completely wild (and mysterious) maestro - to the struggling musicians searching for purpose - the aspiring filmmaker - the aging and retired conductor who transforms into a brilliant composer finding a new audience - and the various other performers who's lives are beuatifully complicated and oh-so-real. Just love it. If you have Amazon Prime, this show is included in your subscription.

  • The 7 Key Elements of Logo Design

    Above: Top 10 Most Valuable Brands of the World - Forbes Magazine 2016

    Designing a business logo is no small task. You essentially have to find the design elements that represent your brand's identity and your target audience's wants, then weld those things together until they convey more than the sum of their parts.

    No big deal. Right?!

    This complicated process is all about striking a balance. Your logo has to be new and modern, yet it needs the classic elements that give a design staying power. It has to be simple so it can adapt, yet it needs complex elements like space, shape, color, and typography. Creating the perfect logo is like creating the perfect paradox!

    Before you get too deep into the process or too overwhelmed, take a moment and check out this guide produced by the talented team over at Company Folders outlining 7 key elements that can perfect any business logo.

    Characteristics to strive for include: Be Enticing, Unique, Timeless, New, Simple, Consistent and (most important these days...) Adaptable

  • Eyes Down, Heads Up

    Eyes Down, Heads Up

    A year goes by real quick when you are busier than a bee. I will be somewhat humbled to end the year shortly with over a dozen new websites and countless campaigns under my belt.

    For one of these digital initiatives, our agency launched a new digital publication for the life sciences market called "Pharma's Almanac". During the production process I put time aside to do some exploratory research on the ways in which brands on improving the reader's experience online. I'm somewhat embarressed to say I (somehow) missed the launch of two key sites that Google has developed which I'm now happily following; Google Arts & Culture and The Keyword. I also discovered Medium.com this year by digging into the platform behind ReadThink.com - a HubSpot curated business blog for like-minded business creatives.

    Each of these platforms offer something very unique.

    Google Arts & Culture: Explore the world's creative arts through virtual 360 tours, video, photography and editorial. It's simply fantastic. You can also see what's happening in the fine arts near to your current location. The hero image above is an exploration of color use by the modern master Yoo Youngkuk. Google just doesn't throw these images online, they find ways to engage the reader by making these interactive. In this case, they created a color selection tool to filter the artists work in a very inventive way. Yoo Youngkuk Color Exploration

    The Keyword: There's so much to follow online these days. And, honestly, I have a lot of difficulty picking where to start. Recently (Sept 2016), Google consolidated their many blog channels into one mega-blog and it's lovely. :) I'm sure that there's a ton of user metrics going on behind the scenes and I'm getting profiled a million different ways to deliver releavant content my way -- and everything has a "googley" spin to it. But, all that aside, I don't mind. This blog is delivering some really exciting stories and I'm drawn in by the positive theme they share. Everything is covered from Travel, Technology to Google Doodles, News, Arts, Culture and lots more. Here's a sample piece about how a teacher in San Diego is re-engineering his classroon to foster creativity. Matt Martin, Chemistry Teacher + Google for Education 

    Medium.com: This platform is just slick. There's really no other way to describe it. Yes, the stories and editorial content is informative, intelligent and sometimes hilarious. But it's the little UX choices that they have made that make this site stand out. One such feature is the abiltiy to highlight any amount of text and save it - share it - comment on it. This is a fantastic way to provide feedback to an author, but also remind yourself what part of an article resonated with you the most. It's like a virtual highlighter -- similar to the physical ones you might have used in college to help study. A ton of companies have now leveraged this platform to host their blog. So, I'm sure we will be seeing more features pile in with the diversity of readers now following medium.com websites. Check out ReadThink.com to get a good sample of what's going on on Medium. 

    Pharma's Almanac: As you explore these sites, be sure to also check out our team's fine work on PharmasAlmanac.com. You will see some design influences from around the web for sure. We have big plans in the works as we aspire to become one of the leading mags in the industry.

  • Inbound Explained

    Inbound Explained

    I'm asked probably 5+ times a week "What is Inbound?". In short, it's the modern way to do marketing. But, honestly, this strategy is nothing new. Simply put... gain trust in order to engage buyers. I found this simple illustration earlier this year and it seems to sum up the major steps quite nicely.

    1. Attract Leads organically by producing stellar content.

    2. Convert Leads by providing releavant, personalized information and content offers that your audience can use for their own education or to better understand how you think.

    3. Delight Leads by being helpful and insightful on what matters most to them – and don't stop being helpful once they close as a customer!

    For more information on "What is inbound?"... be sure to check out this brief on HubSpot's website. You can also check out all of their marketing and sales tips on their blogs here: http://blog.hubspot.com/

  • The value of great UX Design

    The value of great UX Design

    I happened upon the Wikiwand website the other day researching ideas for a new online publication I'm working on. The concept is awesome. Take an online information resource like Wikipedia and re-engineer the user experience design. Sounds a bit crazy, but I love it.

    As you can see in this picture, the left side shows the original post in Wikipedia - the right side shows the same post using the Wikiwand viewer.

    A few of the added features Wikiwand adds to their view include... 

    1. Sticky nav/toolbar at the top of the interface providing the ability to like, save, share, switch languages and start a new search.

    2. Collapsable menu systems that make the reading experience much cleaner.

    3. A collection of additional menus at the bottom of each post that consolidate the references section, see also, external links, etc...

    4. An added "contents" menu that can be toggled on/off, chases you down the page as you read allowing you to navigate the article quickly and without having to return to the top of the page (as it does on Wikipedia).

    See more at Wikiwand.com. Also check out the free plugin for Chrome and Apple iOS App

  • Looking forward towards 2020

    What Does the Agency of 2020 Look Like?

    Great roundup piece by Jami Oetting, editor of The Agency Post.

    Tim Williams (@TimWilliamsICG), founder of Ignition Consulting Group has created a map of the foundational elements that the agency of 2020 will need to focus on. These foundational elements are about how agency leaders think about their service models and operate their businesses.

    The elements are grouped into eight different areas: Expertise, Effectiveness, Agility, Pricing, Collaboration, Digital fitness, Innovation, and Accountability.

    “By 2020, in a world of increased fragmentation and specialization, agencies will have to get their business model much more focused,” Williams said. “They have to know what they stand for. They have to know where they can be best in class.”

  • The Evolution of Logo Design

    Excellent piece on the evolution of design philosophies over the past 150+ years. This infographic was produced by the talented folks at Design Hill. Be sure to check out their micro-site on the topic. And, if you haven't checked out DesignHill.com - it's a great place to source graphic design talent from across the world.

  • Your Marketing Rock Band

    This is a great piece by the very talented folks at Column5. In collaboration with LinkedIn, they designed this piece to share some of the strategies that rock bands use and how they can inspire the construction of your marketing machine.

    Original Column5 Post
    Original LinkedIn Post by Jason Miller 
    Credit: Column5 

  • The Future of Fireworks

    This is an amazing feat. 100 Drones are in the air simultaneously, choreographed seamlessly with a light show synchronized with a live orchestra on the ground playing Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

    Say what?!

    Here's my prediction. This will be the future of fireworks. 

    From the original Guinness World Records announcement

    A spectacular display of drone technology by Intel Corporation (USA), involving 100 small aircrafts being launched skywards in formation, has earned a new world record title for the Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) airborne simultaneously. Read the full story: http://bit.ly/GWR-Drone

    Controlled on the ground by a crew using PCs with Intel software, the mass of drones lit up the night sky in sync to a live performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and executed a stunning light show resembling a fireworks display.

    “Drone 100” took place at Flugplatz Ahrenlohe, Tornesch, Germany, in November 2015. The record was set in collaboration with Ars Electronica Futurelab to push the limits of the UAV industry and to show what UAVs can be used for.

    Just amazing. Enormous credit goes out to the engineers at Intel and the spectacular talent at Ars Electronica Futurelab.

  • Design Thinking Comes of Age

    ARTWORK: THE OFFICE FOR CREATIVE RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT (NOA YOUNSE), BAND, PRELIMINARY VISUALIZATION

    For years now I have been following the extraordinary work of IDEO. Their processes are quite fascinating, especially their work around "Human Centered Design". If you are interested check out their "Fieldguide to Human Centered Desig". You can nab this free resource as a PDF download from their DesignKit website. So, the concepts of "design thinking" have been around for a while. With this recent article by Jon Kolko he brings the conversation forward and explains how influential and important this methodology is today's modern busiess. Some key take-aways...

    What is a design centric culture?

    • Focus on users’ experiences, especially their emotional ones.
    • Create models to examine complex problems.
    • Use prototypes to explore potential solutions.
    • Tolerate failure.
    • Exhibit thoughtful restraint.

    What Types of Companies Are Making This Change?

    What Are the Challenges?

    • Accepting more ambiguity.
    • Embracing risk.
    • Resetting expectations.

    Check out the full article here on the Harvard Business Review website: https://hbr.org/2015/09/design-thinking-comes-of-age

    Also, if you would like to dig further, check out Jon Kolko's book "Well Designed: How to use empathy to create products people love"