Branding + Marketing + Design // Victoria, BC

Archives

trends
Which way are you heading? To the top or the bottom??

Which way are you heading? To the top or the bottom??

I was watching George Strombolopolous a few nights ago and Seth Godin was a guest. Seth had some great opinions and projections, and he said it best with “either you are in a race to the bottom, or a race to the top.”

Business these days is unwielding, cut-throat, and yet ripe for the picking. It seems that people’s instinct is to cut their own profits in order to be the lowest price point to acquire new business. The problem with this slippery slope is that there is always someone out there that can do it for less. Then where does that leave you?

The middle-road is seeing the largest attack. Mediocrity is no longer good enough. This is the market that is having massive layoffs and closures due to having both ends of their carrot being nibbled on by the bottom/top race.

So what is left? Head for the top. Positioning yourself as a high-value, high-quality business will have people seeking your services, and be willing to pay for it. Be diligent in the quality of your work and do not second-guess your positioning.

Being ahead of the curve is an asset, but it is not necessary to be cutting-edge to be successful. All it takes is finding a untapped niche and creating it as your own. Research your industry, your location, your competitors’ offerings. Pay attention to what is being offered, and especially note what is not. Mining the findings will unearth some hidden gems.

Don’t pigeon-hole your branding.

Don’t pigeon-hole your branding.

It seems that brand identities have tipped the scales towards what is termed as 2.0 design.

Perhaps I am aging myself again, but “back in my day” certain restrictions and processes had to be factored in when creating logos. How does it look on 2 colour printing? How does it work in reverse applications? Can it Fax? – remember that technology??

With the surge of affordable digital printing, and online web content, it seems that the rules have changed. Now, the inclusion of gradient, rainbow fills, drop shadows and subtle bevels are running rampant in the branding world.

Even Xerox – the inventors of xerographic copiers (black or white only) has made the leap.

While these design additions can certainly benefit brands, be fearful of a new flood of “I have Photoshop, so I can build a logo” designers. Just because you have a copious amount of filter/drop shadow/texture options at your fingertips does not mean they all need to be tossed into the logo. Consideration of where the brand lives, scalability, and application are now more important than ever. If you are building a 2.0 logo, take the time to ensure that it can be replicated into some of the traditional restrictions. Stick with the tried-and-true approach to branding: Build in Black & White first. If it works there, it can work with any filters or rainbows you throw at it.

While their new designs are built 2.0, the following examples below, have factored in, and broken down to work with flat, single colour applications. Ideal for t-shirts, SWAG and low-cost printing materials.

Huffington Post crowdsourcing leaving bitter taste.

Huffington Post crowdsourcing leaving bitter taste.

Recently, The Huffington Post  – an online news site  recently purchased by AOL – has joined the latest trend of crowdsourcing creative work with their “Huffington Post Politics Icon Competition.”

It seems that the final straw has been drawn on large corporations seeking free work. When a company like AOL spends $315 Million to buy your company, one would expect they could afford to hire a designer for creative work….

The backlash from designers is getting widespread via Twitter and Facebook. And there are already 5 pages of negative comments on the Huffington Post page already.

Oh look, another page of comments added since I started this post. Tick, Tick, Tick.

Nothing gets my blood boiling more than crowdsourcing creative. Trying to justify an expectation of free work from multiple contributors is outrageous. Imagine crowdsourcing for other professions. Would you request having 100 dentists / doctors / plumbers / etc. to do work for you and then only pay one? Bah! How many HP / AOL managers are receiving high fives and firm handshakes for a job well done in lieu of their salaries?

The sad reality is that people will contribute to this competition, and someone will win. But at what cost to the designers.

Here is the contest link, along with the long list of comments.

What is your take on crowdsourcing? I would love to hear people try to justify it.