Channel 6 Reporter, Marc Bailey recently interviewed Angela Hill, Creative Director & President of Incitrio. The topic? The 2010 AIGA Y International Design Conference held in San Diego and the impact of design on our world.
In this interview, she explains how everything around us from the packaging of a teapot to the design of a toothbrush requires the careful and thorough work of a designer. Even something like user experience of a website requires careful design thinking to ensure their client is able to control the path in which the user will navigate through their site and cause that action to lead to a sales conversion.
Designers from a vast array of industries, from all around the world, gathered to present on different topics related to design at the 2010 Y Conference. Angela Co-Chaired and presented at the conference with her expertise covering branding, design for print, design for web, and social media. Ms. Hill, founder of Incitrio (an award-winning global branding & design agency), has worked with Fortune 500 clients from around the world to help their company with corporate rebranding and reposition their products/services for financial success.
Make sure to subscribe to the Incitrio Networker to not miss out on next years Y conference, the last weekend of 2011. http://www.incitrio.com/newsletter/subscribe.shtml
President & Nationally Renowned Rebranding Expert, Speaker & Author
I keep hearing that old song by David Bowie, or Vanilla Ice for you younger folks. Man, are marketing directors under some serious pressure these days! With all the hype going on around social media, CEOs are pushing harder than ever for marketing departments to implement online marketing strategies. Here’s what I keep hearing: “Everybody’s doing it.” “I just went to a (blank) industry conference and the keynote said it’s critical to my sales growth.” “Let’s make sure we’re not the last one on the bandwagon.” “Just throw something up there.” “I want it done within the month, no excuses.” “I don’t care if it’s a Facebook Group, a corporate Twitter personality or if we start blogging…just get it done!”
The Problem is…
Once again, like website design , email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC or Google Adwords), we have key decision makers and well-meaning marketing managers being pushed into new technology and strategies they don’t completely understand. I mean if Twitter is free and takes less than 5 minutes to setup, why can’t I have my corporate Twitter account within a month? Or, if Facebook is free and I could use the Causes page to raise money for my non-profit, why can’t you get it done right away?
And the Answer is…
You can. You can get it done in 15 minutes or less. But…if you don’t do the work to assess your in-house resources for a disciplined, rigorous maintenance routine or train your staff regarding online etiquette or analyze your customer base to see if they even want (or will use) the dang social media strategy – then, it’s a complete and total WASTE OF TIME.
The Gobbledy-Gook Factor
I know I’m being harsh here, but seriously, you can’t just throw something up and expect it to perform. Think about your corporate brochure, if you just put gobbledy-gook for the content would someone actually call you and hire you? What if you designed a gorgeous tradeshow booth but went to a tradeshow where none of the attendees were interested or had the budget to purchase your product/services? Would that be the best use of your company’s marketing budget and monetary resources? Would it produce the requisite ROI demanded by your CFO? Nope, it would be a complete and total WASTE OF TIME.
What Should You Do?
Well, first of all, pat yourself on the back that your entrepreneurial and cutting edge enough to consider a social media strategy. Way to go, you are a frontrunner and innovator. Seriously, that’s awesome. So, now let’s roll up our sleeves and figure out if social media makes sense for you.
How Do You Know if You’re On the Right Path?
Well, cricket… One: Do you have anything interesting to talk about? Product updates, new technology, new service offerings, demonstrating expertise in an area, resources your competitors don’t have, etc. As in, what makes your organization so darn special? We’re talking Point of Differentiation here. Two: What problem are you trying to solve? Increase customers, increase sales, increase average sale, increase sales from existing customers, establish presence as industry leader, reposition brand, demonstrate expertise, share unique resources, etc. As in, what is your metric for measuring success? It’s all about ROI, baby. Three: Who cares? Your C-suite, your marketing department, your outsourced vendors, your distribution channel, your customers, etc. As in, if you write it will they come? Everyone has to be fully vested or it won’t work, really it can’t be a one man or one woman initiative. (Funny side note: I had a vendor give me a quote for “man hours.” I thanked him and asked him what would the project cost if it was “woman hours?” He said: Oh, a lot more. That was the right response!)
If You Answered Yes, Then Social Media is for You!
Sensei says: Congratulations!! Now, you’re ready to start thinking about People, Objective, Strategy, Technology (POST per the Forrester folks who came up with this great methodology) and your Process, Implementation, Discipline and Measurement (PIDM per me, I made it up but when you think about it really makes sense to ensure successful implementation).
Th-th-that’s All Folks!
Well, that’s all for today. In my next post, we’ll talk about what you need to do next in your never-ending quest for Social Media enlightenment to ensure your efforts are not a complete and total WASTE OF TIME. Be sure to sign up for our RSS feed (top right orange button thingy on our blog), so you can get notified when we post next and stay update with the latest industry content. Good night and good luck.
A new in-depth print sustainability study investigates designer and brand owner opinion regarding sustainable print practices. Sponsored by Monadnock Paper Mills and conducted by research firm Marketplace Insights, the Study was conducted with over 300 print designers, packaging designers and brand owners. It provides feedback on such topics as the importance of incorporating sustainable practices into projects, knowledge levels pertaining to sustainable print and packaging, the motivations to go green, and the sources most relied on for green design information. The study also probes awareness levels and perceived credibility of many environmental logos often used to display sustainability in print and packaging materials as well as designer and brand owner perceptions of the costs versus the profitability of going green. View the study here.
“We’re aware that the brand owner and designer communities are being inundated with sustainability claims, awards, certification schemes and environmental logos from suppliers, certifying bodies and even the media,” said Dave Lunati, Marketing Director for Monadnock, “We wanted to determine the perceptions of the importance these and the other factors that influence sustainable print and packaging design and determine which information is viewed as credible versus marketing hype from the individuals on the front lines of the green design movement.” The study was conducted online during the fourth quarter of 2008 through banner advertisements on print and packaging websites and through designer user groups and blogs. Respondents were motivated to take the survey by a donation to the Nature Conservancy by the study sponsor for each completed survey.
Angela Hill is the president and owner of Incitrio, a sustainably-minded branding agency located in San Diego, CA.
Hello Fellow Brand Lovers,
Today, I came across a very interesting post regarding the winner of the Next-Gen PC Design Competition and the first place winner, the Napkin PC. This is a product that is both innovative and green. The future of product and technological innovation is being redefined. Now, it is not enough to have an cool idea, now you must fully integrate form + function. And, you must have a sustainability component fully integrated into the core rather than simply “green washing” your concept. Keep an eye out on the product horizon…this is just the beginning.
The Napkin PC
The Napkin PC is a multi-user, multi-interface, modular computer designed for creative professionals to collaborate and bring their greatest ideas to life.
The Napkin PC aims to bring out the creative passion of the user both individually and in group sessions. It encourages spreading out and allows for multiple creative workflows that can interact or just as easily stay independent. It encourages group interaction and collaboration by allowing any number of interfaces that can be passed around or pinned up, but which all communicate with a central network.
Users’ Culture & Lifestyle
The primary users are creative professionals including those in any field of design, but also expanding to include business and marketing professionals who use creative thinking to come up with business plans or marketing campaigns.
Their primary need is to have a simple system to help keep their creativity moving and maintain good collaborative communication. They want to drink a cup of coffee, pick up a pen and let their creativity flow, without having to sit down later to actually document and organize the information later.
The Napkin PC is a continuously additive system, where each new idea is already documented and organized with references and connections to related ideas. In addition each Napkin interface is an instant portal to the entire network giving quick and easy access and sharing of ideas and reference material.
The design appeals to business professionals. It is ideal for work groups of around 6 people (a typical brainstorming meeting) although the system is easily expandable for larger business.
The viable markets are any business that works with creative professionals. Any company that relies on brainstorming and group collaboration would benefit from using a Napkin PC. A secondary market is creative professionals who work alone or in smaller groups, but who want the same ability to spread out and use multiple workflows.
Napkin interface: 180mm x 180mm x 2mm
Pen stylus: 140mm x 9mm x 10mm
Base station: 160mm x 150mm x 150mm
Mobile station: 45mm x 36mm x 15 mm
Overview of Design
The Napkin PC is innovative because of its multi-flexibility. It can have multiple users, multiple interfaces, and multiple configurations. It breaks the PC down to only the interface— a pen and a space— and then gives you a multitude of both so you can let your creativity run wild.
User & Context
The users are creative professionals who work in collaborative groups. The PC is designed to be used for brainstorming, ideation, meetings, think tanks, etc. — anywhere where creativity is the driving force.
Scenarios of Use
There are two new usage scenarios delivered by the PC. First is the brainstorming workflow. Creativity that normally starts on paper and whiteboards goes instead directly into the PC without the user changing their behavior. This creativity is richer because of the innumerable software tools and resources available on every Napkin interface. It can also be shared, compiled, and compared instantly for a smooth, speedy workflow.
The second scenario is a replacement for printing. Instead of ever putting ink on paper, the interfaces themselves instantly become “prints” when power is removed. They would then be used just like a print, pinned up, handed around, reviewed, etc. When the print is no longer needed the interface is simply returned to the base station as a fresh Napkin.
The interface consists of any number of Napkins and one of the Pens. When powered by the Pen, the Napkin is a multi-touch input display which responds to human touch as well as the Pen. The intuitive use of a pen and paper is exploited by the design, making it very easy to use. Also the ability to work on multiple interfaces in parallel, instead of shuffling through windows on a single interface, makes multitasking much easier.
The Base station is designed to interact like a napkin holder. The user can grab an interface from the stack in the middle of the table. The computer itself is somewhat hidden in the Napkin holder, its only reminder being the OLED status display on the front. The user only really interacts with the Napkins and the Pens. This helps them maintain hands-on, creative freedom. The square Napkin form is used because it is modular, but also because it conveys the idea of being one of many. This helps the user stay relaxed and open minded because less importance is put on a single interface.
The key technologies are full color e-Paper, multi-touch input, Inductive power circuits, and high speed RF wireless connections. The e-Paper is key because of its low power consumption, thinness and flexibility, and ability to retain an image without power. Multi-touch is simply the future of intuitive input that makes the PC fun, fast, and easy to use. The inductive power circuits are crucial because they allow wireless power transfer and make the interface Napkin simple and inexpensive enough to be used in large numbers. High speed RF continues to keep everything wireless and intuitively seamless.
The environmental sustainability of the PC is most innovative with the Napkin interface. It is the most numerous component and the one most likely to need replacing due to wear over a few years. Therefore it is beneficial to make it easy to recycle which is accomplished by powering it with an inductive circuit. This eliminates a hard-to-recycle internal battery.
The second, and likely more impactful, innovation is the use of the interface as an instant “print.” This eliminates the need for printers, paper, and ink, which are used in large amounts during the creative process.
The focus of the design is really in the interface – the Napkin and the Pen. Both have very limited actual function because they only relay information between the user and the base station. The Napkins are manufactured by adhering the layers of touch input, display, and power/communication circuit, between a protective plastic cover. The pens have a similar induction circuit and communication antenna set up along with a rechargeable battery to send power to the interface. The Base Station holds the actual PC, which is compact but powerful enough to handle multiple users.
Angela Hill is the President/Creative Director of Incitrio, a branding agency that provides analysis, strategy and tactics for sustainable and clean tech brands around the world.