As a graphic and web design professional, I wear many hats to accommodate all the professional services expected of me from my clients; the Project Manager, the Artist, the Collaborator and the Management consultant and the Psychic. Creating stable, respectful and lasting client-designer relationships is an art, but every so often despite best efforts, sometimes these relationships can unravel.
In the past, I’ve blamed distance as the culprit as in our disposable culture, it is easy to “dump” a designer, friend, lover when you have little or no face-time. This is when the technology designed to keep us connected fails us. I believe that people are generally good, so when a recent client stiffed me for my last invoice and dissolved a previously fantastic relationship for no clear reason, I blamed the fact that for some people, it may be easier to cut of ties than to justify reasons for breaking a contract. Throw a border and miles between us and being dumped becomes an easy-way-out. That being said- it never stings any less.
It can be a lot like playing a game of odds and chance. Sometimes your letter comes up and you walk away a winner and sometimes not, but the pleasure is in the experience, dotting your bingo sheet with your over-sized marker and screaming out BINGO!!! So despite the occasional unfortunate tale where the designer walks away feeling helpless, I am fueled by and indebted to all the wonderful clients I’ve serviced throughout the years.
Dimson was born in London, ON in 1930; he graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) in 1950. Well known in the Toronto design scene, he co-founded Reeson Dimson & Smith Ltd. (later renamed Dimson & Smith Ltd.) in 1965 and established his own solo studio, Theo Dimson Designs Inc., in 1985.
Dimson was the author of Great Canadian Posters. His work has been exhibited internationally and at home — specifically at Marci Lipman Graphics in Toronto in 1978 and at the Royal Ontario Museum in 1993-94. More recently, in 2010, a collection of his theatre posters was exhibited at Toronto’s Theatre Museum Canada.
I often ponder the origins and inspiration for the design of many common items. We are surrounded by things that are created to suit functions of the human form such as how tools are designed for use by the human hand, furniture to rest our tiered bodies upon and so on. With the advent of design patents in the late 1800′s, society has defined laws to protect ownership of design works, but there are designs in existence today who’s origins are mysterious and in some cases, macabre.
I recently listened to a Radiolab podcast titled “The Most Kissed Face of All Time” that examined the death mask of an unknown woman pulled out of the Seine River at the Quai du Louvre in Paris around the late 1880s. Her likeness became a popular fixture on the walls of artists’ homes after 1900 and the design was later used to mold the face of the dummy used for CPR (hence the title).
I’d watch this movie, or write the screenplay if the rights are still available. The link to Radiolab’s podcast is below. If you aren’t familiar with their program, you should have a listen immediately. One of their episodes may inspire you to update your blog too!
Read more about L’Inconnue de la Seine (French for “the unknown woman of the Seine”) at the Wikipedia Source
Note: I will get to posting about this past summer’s trip to Paris. I have many stories and photographs (all design related of course) to share.
Last week on Tuesday, November 8th, I attended Mesh Marketing at the Allstream Centre in Toronto. In it’s third year, Mesh Marketing or #mm11 is a one-day event about what’s next for marketers,advertisers, brands & communicators. I attended the event on my own after hearing about it from one of the speakers, Sheldon Levine, Community manager at Sysomos (also known as @40Deuce on Twitter).
I caught some great panels and speakers, most notably the well spoken and wildly entertaining Marcus Sheridan (@TheSalesLion), author and owner of a successful pool company in Virginia. Marcus hosted a discussion called ” Seven Unique Content Strategies to Brand Your Company and Make You the Voice of Your Industry”.
After a brief introduction and public display of humility where he recognized a twitter follower who mocked his Forrest Gump style hair-do, Marcus went on to discuss how his business used blogging, teamed with a smart SEO strategy to put his company on the map.
Marcus used the analogy of David and Goliath to tell his story how his then small sized company beat out his competition to stand out as the industry leader in its field. In summary, instead of keeping customer questions to himself and within the company, he’d blog about it. He would write a blog responding to every single question all of his clients had ever asked him. What he instantly saw was a huge spike in traffic to the company website, as search engines would direct information seekers on his subject of expertise (fiberglass pools) to his blog and website. For example, type in “How much to pools cost?” into Google and guess who’s website appears at the top of the results page. It seems like common sense once pointed out to you, but then why doesn’t everyone do it? I’m hoping to implement some of the SEO techniques discussed in his presentation for my website to help drive traffic.
You can see Marcus Sheridan’s website at www.thesaleslion.com where you can read more about him and download a free copy of his book ‘Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy’.
And If he ever needs a web re-design, maybe he’ll shoot me an email.
This year I had the pleasure of attending my first DevLearn conference presented by The elearning Guild. It was a success and I met many great people while manning the booth during the expo, and over dinner with peers of edCetra Training or as they are often referred to as “the cool kids”.
Here is a photo of our booth. We gave away 250 blue Anan tote bags that included among the literature of edcetra’s products and services, a music CD from yours truly. I even managed to sign a few copies for some new fans who came by the booth. It was a great time and I’m hoping I’ll be invited to go back again next year.
About the artwork: Jonathan Mak Long is a 19-year-old living in Hong Kong. Other than an egomaniac who refers to himself in the third person, Jonathan is also a self-proclaimed designer, photographer, and philosopher. He is, in short, a liar
I designed my first infographic for edCetra Training Inc. on the basics of private cloud computing. Infographics are increasing in popularity as a marketing tool for small businesses and so far we’ve achieved great feedback and results since launching it on Friday of last week. Keep an eye out for many more to come.
Simon Arms posted a great piece in Smashing Magazine examining Berlin street art. After painting a brief history of the movement, which emerged from post WW2 political slogans covering the bombed city’s abandoned buildings, Arms examines a case study of Linda’s Ex, the alias of artist Roland Brueckner.
In the summer of 2003, posters of a boy bemoaning the loss of his ex-girlfriend, Linda, began to appear on walls and fences in the Friedrichshain district. Sometimes he looked like a boy ready to kill himself; sometimes he looked like a man ready to kill. Whichever way the artist drew him, his sad eyes always asked passersby the same question: “Where’s Linda?”
At first, people either ignored the posters or were mildly curious. But as both the pictures and messages increased in intensity, they had no choice but to take notice. People were starting to believe that his suffering was real. And if his suffering was real, then they did not doubt that he needed help. Everyone seemed to have a point of view, and the more they expressed it, the more posters appeared.
Linda’s Ex was successful because he communicated with and responded to his audience almost every day. If he had stopped, even for a month, the public’s interest would have dissipated.
This was the 1980′s, decades before the advent of Twitter, and Brueckner’s artwork inspired engaging conversation through the ancient medium of paint to wall, chisel to stone. The key to his success in generating a reaction from passerby’s wasn’t rooted in the precision in his artistic technique or the medium in which he used to paint, but in his constant responses and replies to his audience. The art is in the engagement, not in the art itself.
How can we apply this idea to marketing? Twitter has created a streamlined channel for conversations, but unless you have celebrity status as an individual or organization, how can you stand out from the spammers and the noise? How can we approach our digital marketing campaigns with the same intelligence to invoke a response like one seen from ‘Linda’s Ex’?
I just finished a course in Design Management at Ryerson University and it helped me tackle the question of what design thinking is and how to integrate this kind of thinking into management processes and problem solving.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, watch the trailer below and keep an eye out for my next blog where I’ll talk more on the subject and share my thoughts on how design thinking can make you a better business person/artist/philanthropist,etc.