Gavin is a designer, professor, and sustainability advocate. He lives and works in Brooklyn and teaches graphic design at Pratt Institute.
I recently stumbled on The Inspiration. And this is what I found. While most of these truthfacts are meant for comedic relief, this one is 100% accurate and hit a nerve. Content is advertising and advertising is content. You might as well make the last grey box red as well.
All jokes aside, advertising is invasive. We can’t even take pictures with the President without someone getting paid for the content. I use Adblock for Chrome, but I’m not immune to seeing ads. I live in New York City and I’m surrounded by my iPhone, iPad, XBox, and friend’s iPhone’s, Smart TV’s, etc. And surprise, spending is increasing. Here’s a look at the increase in ad spending in 2014.
This recent tweet exchange with Ben Kunz defines my sarcastic view of the culture of American consumerism. It’s everywhere. And the collective message broadcast by advertising isn’t credible. Consumers don’t believe advertising. The stories being told lack an authentic narrative so we cry “bulls#!t”.
Advertising however, is not the problem. Advertising in its truest form is education. It’s often a smoke screen, but it’s the beginning of product literacy. In other words, advertising is telling people why they should buy your product. Bullet by bullet. Spending money as a company to make your product message relevant is good practice.
The problem is complex but it starts with companies focussing on the bottom line and exploiting markets rather than improving lives. Former P&G global marketing officer Jim Stengel puts it this way: “Those who center their business on improving people’s lives have a growth rate triple that of their competitors, and they outperform the market by a huge margin.” When a company talks about what they’re doing, it’s their Mission. When a company talks about what they will do in the future, it’s their Vision. Too many companies lack vision. And that’s where they’re failing.
As Conrad Lisco points out, companies leave this thinking to the marketing team. But, for those products that are truly innovative, the vision is at the core of their company. It educates all of their decisions and messaging. And points the company toward a sustainable path. It’s not an afterthought. Disruptive innovation looks to affect the future where lives are improved. It’s not just a tagline written by a desperate copywriter with a 5pm deadline.
I wouldn’t hate advertising as much if the products behind it were made to last. What if the goal of that product was to improve my life rather than make a quick buck? It would certainly make writing a tagline easier if you could say “you’ll never have to buy another one again”. The majority of products lack quality. And that’s why we can see through the advertising. If sustainability is the problem, design is the answer. Innovation is a design practice. It’s problem/solution. Better design. Sustainable product design.
And I will end on this. Have you ever stopped to think where your old phone, laptop, fridge go after you buy a new one? This may seem like a moral issue. But, it’s a business practice issue. I heard Robin Nagle speak last year about waste in the metropolis. It’s an important issue for the next generation. Professor David MacKay from Cambridge University says “the whole system will consume less energy if we build things to last. We will also produce less waste. Yes, please.
What do you do with 450 million users? Here’s how Facebook is going to get their money’s worth from Whatsapp.
I won’t be able to go until Monday night. But, I can’t wait!
When the content the user is filtering is placed below the fold, the user never sees the actual result of his or hers choices — an issue I have seen a lot of times, and a typical indicator that the webapp didn’t have a mobile first approach.
A way to work around the issue, is to start working with different view modes. That is to divide different functions of your webapp into individual views.
Read more here.
As a common language has grown within social media of chat acronyms and expression, I’ve become interested in glitch aesthetics. They would pop up on my twitter feed from someone who retweeted them and it looked like one tweet had spilled into another using non-sensical but aesthetically complex symbols. How is this possible?
The closest I’ve come to this form of hacking is when I use emoticons in iOS7 and post a tweet. When I view the tweet on my desktop browser, a tiny lonely box appears instead of my coffee cup, or smiling face. This blank box is a UTF-8 unicode symbol which is used for text encoding. Your computer has has failed to find the symbol that coincides with the code, hence the blank box.
This is annoying. And it’s creating a rift within communication. Those on the iPhone can see your emoticon, but those without it cannot. Furthermore, entire conversations are being had using these images.
Which brings me to @crashtxt who has created a twitter feed dedicated to a similar rift in code. Keyboards have character icons available that aren’t commonly used. This form of expression closely models ascii art, which is creating images from small characters. While these images tend to be form based, @crashtxt is creating a regurgitation of unicode. And I like it. For more on this form of expression, go here.
10 Rules of Writing by David Ogilvy. I particularly approve of #5.
The entire wealth of wisdom in the world is contained in these two books.