Daily Archives: October 24, 2009

Demystifying Design: An Argument for Simplicity

By Joe Duffy

Principal and chairman of Duffy & Partners, Joe Duffy is one of the most respected and sought after creative directors and thought leaders on branding and design in the world.

Joe’s work includes brand and corporate identity development for some of the world’s most admired brands, from Aveda to Coca-Cola to Sony to Jack in the Box to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. His work is regularly featured in leading marketing and design publications and exhibited around the world.

In 2004, Joe received the Medal from the AIGA for a lifetime of achievement in the field of visual communications. His first book–Brand Apart–was released in July 2005 and in 2006, he was recognized as one of the “Fast 50″ most influential people in the future of business by Fast Company.

What is design?

What is design? It’s art and commerce, fashion and environment. It’s industrial and digital, graphic and experiential.

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When great design becomes its own language

By Joe Duffy

Principal and chairman of Duffy & Partners, Joe Duffy is one of the most respected and sought after creative directors and thought leaders on branding and design in the world.

Joe’s work includes brand and corporate identity development for some of the world’s most admired brands, from Aveda to Coca-Cola to Sony to Jack in the Box to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. His work is regularly featured in leading marketing and design publications and exhibited around the world.

In 2004, Joe received the Medal from the AIGA for a lifetime of achievement in the field of visual communications. His first book–Brand Apart–was released in July 2005 and in 2006, he was recognized as one of the “Fast 50” most influential people in the future of business by Fast Company.

Joe Duffy

Joe Duffy

Learning languages

I’ve never been very good at learning a language.

I was terrible in high school Spanish and couldn’t grasp it at all until I started traveling to Mexico and had to learn at least enough to get by or starve. I tried to take up French some years back when I was working on a project in Paris and could barely retain enough to order in a restaurant or ask for directions on the street.

I’ve been going to China every year for the past ten and I can hardly get beyond “hi”, “how are you”, “goodbye” and “thanks.” Learning languages and how to play the piano are my biggest failings in life. Oh well, there’s still time, some day…

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Making up new languages

On the other hand, I am quite good when it comes to making up new languages–if I do say so myself.

Every new brand design project we take on requires that our entire team master the art of visual and verbal linguistics. If you think of any successful brand, you will no doubt know what I mean.

The brands that have been designed in the best possible ways have their own proprietary language that tells their story, sets them apart from all the brands they compete with, and connects them in a very meaningful way to their audience.

The basic elements of a brand’s visual language–type, color, photographic/illustration style and layout also establish a filter for making decisions on how to best “speak” from the heart.

If all the basics are in sync, it will make choices like story, set design, talent, wardrobe, physical space, dialog and tone of voice easy to make.

It’s really no different than being true to yourself when you speak to others about how you really feel or most importantly, who you really are. It’s also the key to creating the world that surrounds you in a one-off, true to you kind of way. You already know the real you, from where you came, what got you here and what you stand for.

These basics are the filter for designing your own language that sets you apart from everyone else. We all know the people who are most successful at this, as well as the brands that have been designed in a unique and meaningful way.

I can think of no better example of combining these two examples of originality–brand/person–in one piece of brand communication than this now somewhat old positioning spot from Apple that coincided with Steve Jobs retaking the helm and Chiat\Day’s brilliant new phase of work with him.

For my money, there has never been any brand that has so beautifully mastered the art of creating its own distinct language in everything they do.



The Story of Charity Water

Do you think you can make a difference?

A difference to someone else’s life…

Yes you can.

Just do it.


Lexus ‘See-thru’ car

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Seen at the Tokyo Motor Show. When all your automotive competitors are reeling from the effects of the global recession, come up with a masterpiece of a showpiece! The message, though not subtle is crystal clear – these guys can do anything if they choose to.

The Lexus LF-A Crystallised Wind, made of acrylic for the Milan Design Week exhibition, actually appeared back in April at Milan’s Museo della Permanente art gallery.

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The brainchild of Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, the ethereal Crystallised Wind shows the hidden details in Lexus’ LF-A, things like that bellowing V10 engine, the rear-mounted radiators, and even elements of the car’s interior.

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It has been a long wait but Lexus’s first supercar is finally out, four years after the first concept appeared. Maximum power is 552bhp and peak torque is 480Nm; with a top speed of 324kmh, this puts it right in Lamborghini and Ferrari territory. Production is limited to 500 units, with Singapore getting 10 % at most. Estimated cost? SGP$1.3 million.

Daily Telegraph, Straits Times, AP, OPENERS


8 Years of Great Mac OS X Box Design ends with a stock photo

By Jesus Diaz

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Diaz rants in his cool article about the latest member to the Mac OS X box design family. He puts in in perspective and raises an interesting point about design consistency; do we need to see an image of a clouded snow leopard at all? Apple has always understood the power of semiotics – its all about perception. Maybe they were worried about consumers getting snow leopard mixed up with leopard? (Well… I did!) Then again, perhaps the packaging designers just ran out of suitable ‘X’ fonts!

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iPhone killer – zunePhone ad

Cheeky!


Microsoft Re-Designs the Ipod Packaging

This has been around for sometime now, but its still worth a look.