Observations made this week

I rarely do highly linked posts but was motivated to do one in my ‘newsletter‘ style today for the light week I’ve had on here. Enjoy!

Jack Yan‘s post today reminds me that it is Bastille Day – July 14th when they pulled the Bastille down brick by brick. Ah Paris 🙂

Kathy Sierra points out that the United States has no sense of culture, aesthetic sense nor history with respect to other countries in the world. And uses the lack of user friendliness demonstrated by the American dollar in comparison to the colour and size cues used by the majority of other nations. However she ends with the assertion that American designers OTOH are not implicated by this post.

RIP Syd Barrett – thanks to Barry Ritholz for the post linking to the highlights of his story with Pink Floyd.

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

Michael Beirut has a couple of links to really powerful messages at Design Observer – the first, points to Wendy MacNaughton’s experience in designing posters to communicate the need to vote in Rwanda, a snippet from her post,

Before arriving, I worried I would not be able to graphically
circumvent the ethnic and political tension in Rwanda. After leaving, I
understood that it is impossible for visual communication to circumvent
anything. Each and every image is layered with social, political and
historical significance.

This becomes obvious when one begins to work
outside of oneʼs own visual culture. In order to create effective,
relevant work, visual communicators need to learn to work cooperatively with members of the communities they are
communicating to. From conception to distribution, the audience needs
to participate in the creative process. If they donʼt, a disempowering,
top-down system of communication is perpetuated, and more than likely
the work wonʼt communicate properly anyway.

The second is to Andy Rutledge’s post on logos and brands, and the miscommunication contained therein,

P.S. Your Logo is not your brand

No, really. Your brand is that whole quality product + promise of value + value perception + public reputation + company culture thing. You know; the stuff that amounts to the hard part of business that you actually have to work hard at (as opposed to merely pay for).

So no, the logo cannot create that brand image. It can only refer to it. You and your employees have to build the reputation, flesh out the story and establish the brand that your logo will represent. That story then has to be told to others through marketing. You write the story, marketing tells the story and the logo refers to it. No successful company in the history of the world has ever had a logo that told a story by itself. And neither will you.

The IFC’s Innovations in emerging markets blog has an interesting snippet on increased investments in Africa,

"The survey supports the view that investors from developing countries
are less risk-averse — or more willing to adapt to hostile conditions —
than those from developed countries…The survey shows dramatically
that investors from the south are much less likely to see negatives in
the operating environment, such as problems with the local market or
political stability."

Interesting observation isn’t it? Coupled with what I wrote in my previous post on aspiring global brands emerging from the so called ‘rde’ nations [rapidly developing economies] we begin to see an interesting profile of these aspirants – risk takers, undeterred by volatile market conditions, adaptive, flexible, willing to do what it takes to grow and expand.

It always amazes me when there is surprise evinced over such observations, they are referred to as ‘marked differences’. I feel a rant coming on, one along the lines of ‘yes, people are pleased when you make the effort to communicate with them in their language, yes they appreciate when you make the effort to be sensitive to and respectful of cultural differences, why should all of these things have to be noteworthy?"

Lastly, I end with due respects to Mumbai, or Bombay as I’ve known her. Neelakantan does a good job of rounding up articles and references in his post. All I can say do is quote mom, who said, at least the trains aren’t underground the way they were in London. When will it end?

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