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Redesigning the blog around the content

Like many people with a blog, I don’t update it as much as I’d like.

Recently I’ve been trying to convince myself that this was not a result of my own laziness. Rather, I concluded that my previous image-led, magazine-style design was better suited to long-form articles than short posts and links. Predictably, this realisation resulted not in hard-hitting features but deliberation and inactivity.

The old site
The old site

The obvious conclusion was to go back to basics and redesign the blog. So here it is, hopefully with the help of Thesis, unmissable regular content will become the norm.

Infomercials: still treating consumers like morons

As winter draws in down under, it’s tempting to spend more time in front of the TV. The downside is that you’ll find yourself subjected to a worrying trend: the rise of the infomercial.

While infomercials are hardly a new concept, in recent months, they seem to be interrupting prime-time breaks with alarming frequency.

At a time when consumers are increasingly choosing to fast-forward ads or rejecting traditional media altogether, isn’t there a danger in bombarding those that are still watching with infomercials?

Google: the limitations of design by data

The recent departure of Google’s Head Designer, Doug Bowman, has sparked a flurry of debate across the internet on Google’s design philosophy.

Google’s ability to efficiently harness information has been central to its success as a search engine.

However, there are question marks over whether an over-reliance on data in design has hampered Google’s visual identity and ultimately its ability to create a brand that people will pay for.

Breathtakingly pretentious? Pepsi rebrand document

I hesitated about featuring this as I thought everyone had already seen it. However, apparently that’s still not the case and this is a must-read for anyone involved in marketing or brand strategy.

There’s a great PDF doing the rounds which purports to be the Arnell Group’s strategy doc for the much-derided new Pepsi logo.

You get a hint of what’s to come from the bombastic title: “Breathtaking Design Strategy”, with namechecks ranging from the Mona Lisa to the theory of relativity…

IKEA: why inspiring creativity is more important than ever

If you were to believe the hype, you would think we were all so busy fretting about the global economic apocalypse that we wouldn’t have time for frivolous things like redecorating.

The economic downturn may have supressed our willingness to spend with such abandon, but it hasn’t completely erased our creative aspirations. It might be easy for brands to use the economic downturn as an excuse to get lazy and focus purely on cost, however, they do so at their peril.

One brand that recognises this better than most is IKEA…

Starbucks instant coffee: breakthrough innovation or brand suicide?

Barely two years ago, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz admitted in a leaked memo that the chain had lost its passion for coffee, admitting that its ambitious growth had seriously damaged the brand experience. Last week he announced that Starbucks is moving into instant coffee.

Creating a genuinely superior instant coffee offers Starbucks a platform for huge growth, particularly among those consumers who do not currently visit its stores. However, there is inherent risk in Starbucks associating its core brand with the instant coffee category.