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I once had an employee who hated my habit of picking up a red pen immediately after being given a document to review. You know, habits are borne from practice. Hours and hours of practice. Where Katie Chatfield “wished she could distribute them widely,” I have pasted a page from the Design Police’s Visual Enforcement […]

Funny, we’re never in the same place at the same …

I think I’ve found my blogging doppelganger, Jen Mattern.

I don’t know how I missed this

…but The City Desk, a blog about a fictional urban centre, is pure genius. A piece from last year reeled me right in, with a mix of nearly believable retail history, technological confusion and urban conspiracy: The Permanence of Gillard’s Electric Typewriter Service “…All large cities feature that staple of stand-up comedy, the retail storefront […]

the Facebook headshot for miscreants

Another datapoint to add to the discussion about how youth treat their online identity. Remember when the Smoking Gun was a revolutionary resource, opening up celebrity mugshots and notable court cases for public scrutiny? Do you remember when it was an embarrassment to be arrested and booked? “…Finally, through the state police barracks, where Sergeant […]

Teach your children well and dress them well … as well

Say no to strangers people, and remember that the policeman is your friend. A voyage back to 1965 provides a glimpse into the idealized life of a boy and girl in middle school – and how they navigate the multiple threats of dark back alleys, policemen that burst out of Spanish-themed bars at mid-day (7:24 […]

In which another layer is peeled back

As I made the transition into grown-up, collecting a full-time job, a marriage and a suburban home along the way, part of my youth remained sealed away – in a box of carefully collected and reluctantly ignored vinyl. Limited editions, special imports, extremely overpriced rarities: they’re all there down in the basement. The cheap turntable […]

No better name or billboard

Four words. On a thin roadside sign. Alongside Highway 401 just outside Brockville, Ontario. Cast and Blast Outdoors

trying too hard to be au courant

The forecast is in, and the men’s fashions for winter 2008 have strolled down the runways of Milan. I love reading fashion reporting because the beat offers good writers the chance to take their adverbs, allegories and analogies for a wild ride. Throw in some strong personalities and a hint of industry desperation, and you […]

Apparently, the internets is changing journalism

It’s unsettling, sort of like a time warp. “Stop the Presses: the transition from paper to pixel will bring good news” is in the latest issue of This Magazine – but it reads like it was written in 2005: “…The transition from print to digital content will not happen overnight, and it won’t be without […]

A service rep tries to game the system

Yesterday, I broke with habit, I abandoned a now-established tradition. I called a 1-800 number to make a reservation. And the customer service representative tried to game me – and the system – twice! One on the price, and a second time on the after-service quality survey. Since I have such low standards for call […]

Channel drift – two points of view

Have you noticed how A&E is no longer all about frilly dresses, powdered wigs and hoity toity accents? That’s called channel drift – the gradual shift in identity that signals a channel’s concentration on a new demographic (or, more frequently, grasping onto a fleeting viewer trend). (Not to be confused with channel creep, where your […]

A corporate and emotional identity for your city

If you were challenged to describe the spirit and atmosphere of your home town, could you single out a palette of colours that would immediately seem familiar and evocative? Todd Falkowsky has distilled the colours of each and every provincial and territorial capital – including Ottawa. That’s his Pantone colour palette for the city, which […]

Lighters aren’t just for REO Speedwagon concerts

Indulge me here. When I was a kid, everyone smoked. Everywhere. Which meant that lighters and ashtrays were an everyday fact of life. So common, in fact, that they were considered accessories to your home decor. There were ashtrays that looked remarkably like appetizer plates, or maybe highball glasses. Popular in my house were ceramic […]

Everything truly valuable is truly local

Let me introduce you to the Sex Patels, a punk/alt band from the Leeds and Bradford area. (MySpace) They play a mix of 80s punk with a distinctively bhangra influence (yes, a sitar and drums are involved). You should really listen to their rendition of “once in a lifetime” – the old Talking Heads classic. […]

Starbucks organic milk … sucks what?

Starbucks is dropping organic milk from its list of options available to caffeine addicts. Apparently, the regular milk is now free of growth hormones, which eliminates the need for organic. (Oh, and drinks with the milk accounted for less than 1% of total drinks sold.) Which seems a little strange. After all, even your local […]

the Fred Sanford of CSR

As you know, I love a good quote. I admire an executive that can turn a good phrase. That’s why I was impressed by Seth Heine’s quotes in a recent feature on the recycling of cell phones in the New York Times magazine. Heine runs Collective Good, one of several companies that recycle cell phones, […]

the social media aesthetic – the headshot

Last week, three separate publications asked me for a headshot (because I’m a spokeshead, not because I’m a popular blogger with an extremely photogenic mug). I have several options available, and I found myself flipping between the professional and the amateurish: a headshot prepared by a professional photographer, and a handful of profile pictures snapped […]

Two looks: Sensuality and Sexuality

I’ve got two comments about this pairing: can you imagine being locked in a caravan with Bjork for a two week holiday, and Billy Bragg has never claimed to have the most artistic videos. [tags] Billy Bragg, Bjork, sexuality, sensuality, 90s [/tags]

Tony Blair Shapes a New Identity

It’s a graphic identity designed for Movable Type. Just look at tonyblairoffice.org. There’s the Serifa headline. The gray, olive and off green stripes that provide the only colour on the page. The tab-based navigation. Wallpaper magazine gave Lucienne Roberts* the award for best stationery for her design, and some have criticized the simplicity of her […]

Comedy crashes through creative blocks

I don’t think any moment of anguish over a missed deadline – whether for brochureware, radio copy, or a strategy – can compare to the agony of standing in front of a room that wants you gone or dead. Which can be a frequent experience for a comic working the road. “I Killed: True Stories […]

Show me the size of your sub-woofer

I may have mentioned this – my daughter is surfing our wi-fi at home using her new iPod Touch. I am very jealous, and increasingly convinced that my childhood was a period of despair and deprivation. Just like anyone who eagerly anticipated the x86 chipset. Sure, I had a Casio calculator watch. And I had […]

Why I fell asleep in your meeting*

I really feel bad about it. I do. Obviously, a lot of planning went into your meeting. There was an agenda with an allotted time for each item. There were highback chairs and a big heavy conference table. There was even a scent of Roberts’ Rules of Order in how the meeting was being run. […]

Loook at meeeee!

Just finished ginning up a new headshot. Thought I would share it. Note: there is an iconic Canadian design detail hidden in this photo.

You have to understand your GD community!

Just like Jackie and Ben tell us, just like Jake emphasizes and Connie practices, a business has to know its community and its market to succeed. Here are a few examples: On the east end of Long Island, there’s a 1,000 watt radio station that’s extremely local: “…Mr. Tria’s morning show, “The Dawn Patrol,” delivers […]

Miss America meets reality

And there I thought pageants had already taken a great leap into modernity with the hiring of Billy Bush. Last night, Miss America:Reality Check hit the airwaves. I think it may be just the radical revamp this old dame needed. The formula is tired and familiar to us all: a disparate (and maybe desperate) group […]

Angelo Bepp, commenter extraordinaire

I suspect that Angelo Bepp is an everyman, hiding in plain view although ostensibly disguised as a long-term resident of the state detention facility at Attica, New York. Angelo is a regular comment contributor to the New York Times online edition. And his comments are funny. Consistently funny. I present a selection: What have you […]

Plaxo, Scraping and Data Portability

Some of you may know, during the day I work with a great bunch of privacy advocates. So I’ve got some opinions about the Scroble scraping issue of the day. Just ask yourself: let’s say large consumer product company X had created a fan group in Facebook. This morning, they decided to launch a new […]

He ain’t heavy .. he’s my Facebook Friend

As a community, we’re not sitting on the fence, we’re all over the fence, tearing up the garden and throwing fenceposts at people about Facebook’s Social Ads. The idea that Facebook will strike backroom agreements with corporate partners to associate their consumer data with your Facebook activity seems to strike people the wrong way. Clearly, […]

This Stormtrooper’s just punching a clock

Flickr contributors and artists redandjonny have a fantastic series of Star Wars Stormtrooper vignettes, in which they place the fearless and vicious Imperial Stormtrooper in very human and sympathetic situations, like the Death Star Maintenance man … night shift copied below. I also like the pictures of the poor guy doing his rounds. thanks to […]

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