Daily Posts. Colorful Ideas & Inspirations.
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I was first introduced to the term wayfinding from an architectural firm that hired me to help them get on the web years ago. In architectural terms wayfinding encompasses all of the ways in which people orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place.
While it can be a holistic and even philosophical design approach it mostly boils down to effective signage. When it comes to vast spaces, such as arenas and airports, color systems are often the most effective means of conveying categories of direction.
In other words, all blue signs refer to the International terminal or club section while all green signs signal restrooms. Frequently these systems also include icons to help further delineate or deepen the association.
Help Me Navigate a Space
The real point of the exercise boils down to making it easy for people to navigate in areas that are usually foreign to them.
When you think about it, a website is much like a large public space frequented by visitors that may not be familiar with the lay of the land. A system of color wayfinding might be very effective way to help visitors navigate a web site more effectively.
Finding Creative Publishing & Distribution Outlets, and 5 Colorful Indie Mags Who've Already Found One.
Traditional publishing methods might be going the way of the dodo (I really wish I could say junk mail or phone books by now) but since this gives way to a drastic increase in the number of creative projects finding there way into the screens, ears and hands of more and more people I wouldn't say that this is a bad thing at all. Sure, we might have to sort through a few bad apples to get to the juicy materials we crave, but i'll choose to sort through my own apples over a bunch of people who don't necessarily share my tastes any day.
With that digested, here are 5 colorful indie magazines (mags) that, with long list of others, have chosen the creative publishing route with MagCloud, one of the many developing platforms for just that. And below that you will find a few sites to help you publish your next project whether it's a magazine, photo book, craft, or music.
We Like We Love is a magazine about sharing the things you like & love.
Collective funding, crowd funding, community funding,... whatever you want to call it it's great, and these micro-financing sites are allowing people to find support for the smallest of projects related to their businesses and dreams.
The idea is simple: communicate your idea and set it free allowing it travel through the cloud collecting support along its way. Creative projects deserve creative funding, and what better way then to tap into the creative community at large for support. Not only do supporters get to see projects come alive they become a part of the project, without their support it would never happen. Supporting and seeing all these great projects takeoff can be just the bit of inspiration you might need to get your project off the ground too.
Having experienced working on a project (Designing Obama) from 'KickStart' to finish I can say that while the ultimate goal of course is to raise the money you need, connecting with people who are as excited about something as you are, and seeing a community form around a single project is the ultimate aspect of the support that can be found on these sites. In my mind, raising one million dollars from one person is one thing but having one million different people give one dollar each is quite another.
Creative Funding Sites
Effective marketing these days is more about teaching than selling. Every seasoned teacher will tell you that people learn and consume
information in different ways. Even within a narrowly defined, ideal target market there exists many different personalities and just as many different learning styles.
The problem this presents to the marketing folks is that you can no longer strive to create the brochure or web page, with stunning images and evocative stories, and hope to appeal to someone who is a “just the facts ma’am” kind of person.
The web has raised the bar and when a prospect goes out there online they expect to find lots of information, in a variety of formats, packaged for the way they want to consume it. Your marketing materials must come in many different flavors and offer something for every buying style.
I’ve always promoted something I call a marketing kit approach. This can pertain to online of offline materials because it’s as much about what the information is as how it’s presented. The idea behind the kit approach is that you create various forms of content to appeal to different needs.
There are a number of personality profile tools that validate the learning style theory and if you could just have each of your prospects and customers complete one of those for you life would be great.
You may never have that luxury, but you can learn from what these personality instruments teach about how to interact with different learning styles.
One of the more popular tools is called the DISC profile. You may have seen or taken the DISC profile. DISC is the four quadrant behavioral model based on the work of William Moulton Marston Ph.D. to examine the behavior of individuals in their environment or within a specific situation. DISC looks at behavioral styles and behavioral preferences.
DISC is an acronym for:
- Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness
- Influence – relating to social situations and communication
- Steadiness (submission in Marston’s time)- relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
- Conscientiousness (or caution, compliance in Marston’s time) – relating to structure and organization
My take on this when it comes to marketing materials is that different behavioral styles need different marketing messages and forms of communication and content.
In our marketing kit example a
- D – needs the facts, the quick rationalization of benefit that a case statement might make, case studies too
- I – loves a good story, relates to more classic marketing messages of difference, loves images
- S – likes volume of content, frequency and consistency of content and message, full feature dumps, white papers
- C – responds to FAQs, testimonials, case studies – proof, checklists
Also consider that nobody is strictly a high D or high I, we’re all made up of mixtures.
Create lots of marketing content, package it in different formats (including audio and video) and offer it up for all to consume, knowing that how it’s consumed will differ from prospect to prospect.
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When a social network like Twitter allows a user to select a theme to represent themselves in the digital world, that user is choosing to identify their digital persona with colors... And we wanted to look at who chooses what colors... If the world is made up of people and those people have a color preference... what then is the color of Texas? What color are mothers? What color are we?
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By looking at the more than 1 Million people who have used our Themeleon tool to design their Twitter Profile in the past 3 months, we were able to paint a picture of the world connecting colors to locations and profile data. Below is a visual guide to what we found: What we noticed first was that a huge majority of people don't wander that far off from Twitter's default light blue colors... and then we went digging deeper.
*A little note regarding the "World vs. U.S." - We know the map is of the United States and does not represent the world, we only focused the map part of the infographic on the U.S. so we had a manageable amount of data to work with and geolocate. The keywords, male & female and video sections below all use data from around the world*
A Colorful Tour of the Themeleon World
We took the colors from 100,000 profiles designed with Themeleon and geolocated them to the designers location. Although it is a little dark in this compressed video... Each location has a spectrum strip of colors... the more colors from a certain area, the taller the strip. (The US is well defined, Europe and East Asia... although you can see some outlines of other countries too.)
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Dribbble, "show and tell for designers, developers and other creatives," has been getting a lot of play around the web as of late. It seems everyone is trying to get a shot at an invite to this quickly developing design showcase and community. The chatter around the web seems to agree that while not much different than LogoPond, Coroloft, Behance, unmatchedstyle, or the plethora of other css design & logo galleries where you can find up-to-date inspiration and get feedback, where Dribble has really scored is–and not with their fun basketball references either, but with their "social functionality and active community."
Sites likes these, and like our very own community here at COLOURlovers, can be a valuable resource for those looking for feedback on their recent projects, whether it be a new logo, sign, app, business card, letterhead, etc.
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If you're a lover here looking for some feedback try starting a forum post and include samples from different aspects of your color identity to give some context to those whose help you are seeking. This will allow others to give the most useful feedback and help keep your identity consistent. There is always a lover out there willing to lend a hand to those seeking assistance and they can be found on many sites across the web.
Clean design, smooth functionality and a color sorter!
For this episode of local color we are traveling to Dallas Texas home of football, cowboys and cattle. Now, craft sewing and hip might not always be two terms you toss into the same conversation, but that may change when you meet Callie Work-Leary the under 30 owner of CityCraft – a Fabric Boutique and Sewing Lounge she hopes to build into the Crate & Barrel of the sewing world.
Hip Sewin' from Library
There are so many great tools out there online these days that a person could power their entire business using nothing but free and low cost web apps.
One area that has seen tremendous advancement is the area of online applications geared towards helping people do all things related to graphic design. For some, the days of buying software suites that cost more than the most robust desktop computer may be coming to an end.
Below is a list of some of the most popular online offerings that address design, illustration and editing, including crowdsourcing of custom design.
The trade card was the first widely used form of color advertisement. The format was popularized alongside of the development of lithography, and more importantly, chromolithography in the mid-19th century. Once color reproduction came about every small shop and large manufacturer went color crazy, including eye-catching illustrations on their marketing materials. These small format cards were first used at the beginning of the 17th century in London and functioned as advertising and maps to the merchant's shops, since no formal street addresses existed at the time. (wikipedia)
While it's not clear whether color played any strategic role in these company's identity other than for the purposes of realism in the illustrated images used–people were just amazed color printing was even possible at this point, the overall marketing message and the way each company perceived itself in regards to consumers and the market place can be seen in these early business cards. From this we can draw lines and see how the business card developed from there, and how things like a focused color identity became an important aspect of differentiating yourself in the ever-growing-more-crowded market place once color once color use was the norm.
Words about Trade Cards from a past exhibit at the Baker Library
"As one of the most popular forms of advertising in the nineteenth century and an indicator of consumer habits, social values, and marketing techniques, trade cards are of interest to scholars of business history, American studies, graphic design and printing history, and social and cultural history. Baker Library holds thousands of trade cards representing the full range of products and businesses advertised through this medium from the 1870s to the end of the 1890s. To provide better access to the collection, the Historical Collections Department of Baker Library is now cataloging and digitizing an initial group of 1,000 trade cards that are representative of Baker's collections and of the genre itself."
Corporate branding agencies have long valued the creation and use of Corporate Branding Standards Guides, or something lofty sounding like that. The idea behind the tool, often created as 400 page, richly illustrated books, was to communicate all the ways that the identity elements associated with the brand could and could not be used. This workhorse is often used by internal and external sources alike.
While I believe this has always been an essential item for even the smallest of firms, the web has certainly made the creation, scaling and communication of such a tool more affordable and less challenging.
While your branding standards guide may not need to be as elaborate as, say Apple, you should carefully consider and document the correct use of your identity elements in an effort to maintain consistency in all uses. I've seen two person firms struggle with using the same colors throughout basic stationary. Your style guide will help reinforce the proper use internally and act as a simple way to communicate standards to designers, printers and t-shirt shops.
I also believe a standards manual says that you think your brand is important and that's a message that will serve your culture well as you grow your brand.
You can make your guide as elaborate or casual as fits, but keep it simple and up to date and build it on the web.
Some of the more common elements you to consider addressing are: