A typographer from the old school, Graham Clifford has designed several new fonts, but his true skill is in combining fresh-to-the-eye type with bold design.
Go on, have a rummage through his drawers.
At the heart of the Too Perfect theory is the insight that magic works best when the illusions it creates are open-ended enough to invite the viewer into a credibly imperfect world. In every art, the Too Perfect theory helps explain why people are more convinced by an imperfect, “distressed” illusion than by a perfectly realized one.
When special-effects people talk about “selling the shot” in a movie they're making sure it doesn’t look too neatly and cosmetically packaged––that it is not lingered on long enough to be really 'seen.' (All special effects appear handmade when studied closely.)
Perhaps it's why we more readily connect with the more human, more attainable, un-airbrushed Marilyn, beauty spot and all.
Economic conditions will profoundly affect our cultural context moving forward. As our creative content becomes more tangible and honest in reflection, we will be forced to be more realistic about everything over the coming years. The human story will be one of value reflection and reassessment, as both our priorities and purchases are examined in light of what is truly meaningful to us. As the language of hopes and dreams is replaced by one of pragmatism and prudence, new value systems will emerge. We will be more open to expressions that are confident, secure, uplifting, connected, honest and progressive.
Major developments are now happening at lightning speed and changing status quos are revealed in real time with very real consequences. Governments will be judged by how they manage change and, ironically, by how much they bring about change itself has become the mantra of modern politics. Businesses will face major challenges to keep up with and evolve to meet peoples rapidly changing needs. As economies, societies and cultures are recast, the need to know whats next has never been greater.
The Trust Economy
Trust is set to become a critical success factor for brands in 2009. Where we place our trust is changing dramatically. In turbulent times we look to organisations that share our concerns, manage anxiety and take the lead. With the trust spectrum up for grabs, organisations that show they are going the extra mile for people will prosper. Supermarkets in particular have positioned themselves as consumer champions for some time and look set to benefit in this new era.
Being green was once costly, time consuming and a matter of conscience. A major juncture is about to be reached in the future of the planet as austerity turns the environmental case into an economic one. Energy efficiency saves money as well as the planet, and the uptake of this critical message is about to define our future development. The recession will hijack the green argument, turning it from a moral argument to an economic one.
While no media has ever replaced another, TV has been trapped in a corner for some time. In 2009 we will reach the tipping point for broadcast quality Internet Television. Yes, people have been watching TV online for some time, but watching TV on YouTube is not the most satisfying experience a bit like watching YouTube clips on TV. This year such painful experiences will become a thing of the past as media neutral TV finally goes mainstream.
In the future content will need to be free from central control and tradable in the new networks - tomorrows Facebook or Bebo. The aim will be not to drive people to a home page but to scatter diverse pieces of content in multiple contexts and thread them back to the brand. In this emerging era unifying ideas, brand logos or simple short codes will form the threads that link content together. As many adverts already carry URLs, in the future we will see bus ads linking to desktop widgets, on-pack promos leading to corporate-led films, and so on ad infinitum.
Video games used to be the preserve of disenchanted adolescents, but as gaming becomes a truly mass pursuit, soon we will all be part of Generation Game. With economic pressures set to encourage us homewards, the cultural clout of gaming will be further accelerated. The future of the medium is unlimited as the educational potential and social networking possibilities of games platforms are further explored. Gaming will be a fulcrum for future innovation across multiple areas.
The End of Fact
Perceived wisdom now changes on a daily basis and we should expect more contradictory opinions and diverse solutions being presented as definitive. Fact checking is becoming a thing of the past as online opinions blur the line between truth and hearsay. Authority will increasingly become a key communication metric and for media organisations editorial oversight will be a key differentiator. In a time when truth is more contested than ever, objectivity and impartiality will become rarefied and more in demand.
Brands as Vehicles
Brands are landing points; we follow our needs and invariably end up at a brand. This is all set to change. The brands of the future will be vehicles and not just destinations. The success stories of the last decade were built on this principle; Google and YouTube being the two most prominent human gateways. Our journey does not finish with Google and YouTube, thats where it starts. The days of the static brand are increasingly numbered, as they become a means and not an end. This is not just a new economy dynamic; all brands must take heed of this.
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Seeing the work of the fabulously talented Turkish car designer Ugar Sahin really makes me wonder why more concept cars don't make it fully realized into production.
Above, left: drawing his influence from natural forms, in this case sea shells, for the Caterham two-seated sports car.
And below, his Audi Locus concept.
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[click to enlarge](Source: Morgan Stanley.)
Twenty years of treating our house like a piggy bank. And we all know what happens to piggy banks.
Nat Ives in Ad Age points out that it's most likely that this 'economic readjustment' has made a permanent change in the buying habits of the masses. People will return to injecting a similar amount of money into the economy in the next couple of years, there'll be a profound change in where they spend their money, illustrated by this chart from Morgan Stanley's Mary Meeker in a presentation to the Web 2.0 Conference on Nov. 5 of '08: (see slide here: )
The key issue here is the gap between the sudden decline in the US personal savings rate in orange that began in '85 with a rise in investment in the Dow Jones in green (added by me) and the home equity increase in red and that began in '95 due to incentives introduced by 'Housing & Urban Development' (HUD). This shift of savings into 'investment opportunities' created the enormous shared risk necessary for the current crash. The steep increase in the percentage of home ownership above it's formerly stable level proved unsustainable (people who could not afford the mortgages were behind the rise). This means 'investment' in real estate will have to drop, while the losses in average peoples' investment funds has created a wound that will remain painful for many years.
The result? A market-wide shift from 'investment products' to 'savings products', along with a healthy culture shift from rampant consumerism to more level-headed spending patterns.
P&G and the globe's other major marketers are right to be concerned, this change in culture will mean permanent shifts in the sales of their high-end products. It's not that demand for these products will vanish, just that it is likely to be lower than it was. PLUS there will be much more intense scrutiny by consumers into the true value of every product and service out there, which will have an indelible effect upon the demise of 'push marketing' and the continued rise of 'pull'.
As I've often pointed out, what that means is the shift of marketing spending from traditional 'push marketing' media, formerly called ATL, to interactive, face-to-face and socially credible efforts of the kind predicted by Doc Searls and David Weinberger in chapter four of the "Cluetrain Manifesto" back in 2001: people interacting across a table laden with goods in a marketplace, just as we have for millennia.
Watch Mary Meeker's slide show
Before we all get too carried away with our tweets, a study of Twitter users in Harvard Business Publishing reveals that:
Among Twitter users, the median number of lifetime tweets per user is: a. 1 (Answer: a)
In a typical social network, the top 10% of users account for 30% of
total activity. The top 10% of Twitter users account for what percent
of total activity?
So it's pretty much like Facebook really: the new toy in the playground every kid must have, then gradually gets bored with before moving on to the new-new toy.
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One can only imagine what's running through the mind of Kenneth Scott, aged 93, back on the beaches of Normandy for the first time since June 6th 1944.
If you see a veteran today, just say "thank you."
Return To Normandy
© Photo : Eddie Mulholland