Weekly Inspiration – Cleats for a Cause

I will admit, I’m not a huge football fan. Last night, however, I made an exception as I sat down with my boyfriend’s family to watch the Redskins game. Being from Baltimore, I wasn’t nearly as interested in seeing the Redskins win, but what did catch my eye was the cleats. They kept showing different designs, so I decided to look into it.

It turns out that this week, rather than fining players for shoes that didn’t comply, the NFL actually encouraged players to show their creativity. The My Cleats, My Cause campaign essentially let players design their cleats to promote a cause.

Many players went with more conservative designs closely matching their uniforms. Others took a completely different approach, making the most outrageous shoes. Take Cam Newton’s cleats for example:

What I appreciated most about the various designs was that it let players have some fun and express creativity for a good cause, something that was important to them. Too often, and likely for good reason, players get fined for voicing their opinions. As Americans loyally tune in to watch football on Sundays, seeing some of their most respected athletes promote positive change seems like a welcome addition in a world of negativity and inaccurate news stories.

Weekly Inspiration – Depicting the Election

Now that we’ve had a few weeks to digest the results of the 2016 US Presidential election, this week’s inspiration comes from the Washington Post who seem to have put some serious thought and effort into summarizing the results. In fact, following the election, it seemed like everyone I knew was mentioning their graphical results.

It’s no wonder – they’re not only pleasing to look at, but they present the data in some incredibly interesting ways. Sure you can view the typical electoral college vs. popular votes, but you can also view county by county (compared to the past 4 elections), results by city size, demographic groups (income, education, diversity). You can also narrow results down to a particular state.

This isn’t new for the Washington post. They’ve been posting highly interactive graphs throughout the election, like this one, depicting how certain demographics have shifted towards one candidate or the other throughout the election.

Graphs can easily trend toward boring and monotonous, even so the Washington Post has managed to bring life into a complicated data set making it easy and even fun to view. If graphs still aren’t your thing, they didn’t stop there though. You can head over to their website to create an election remix turning data into music.

Weekly Inspiration – Union Craft Brewery

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This past weekend, we made a trip to Union Craft Brewery in Baltimore. Union Craft Brewery’s logo itself is underwhelming to say the least. It’s simple and understated as are most of the cans I’ve seen from them, so when I walked inside their tap room, I was surprised to see a myriad of clever, intriguing designs that grabbed my attention. In fact, I found myself drawn to them almost like museum pieces, and the more I looked at them, the more I realized small nods to the Baltimore area that would be hard to notice if you weren’t a local.

You can view all their designs here, but I included a few of my favorites above. A few are puns, like Balt the More. Chessie is a nod to the legendary sea monster. Snow pants features the Maryland flag and row homes. My most favorite, however, has to be Miracle, which is a nod to Miracle on 34th street, something I hadn’t noticed until seeing the design.

 

Weekly Inspiration – Taco Bell Gets a New Logo

I found it hard to believe that Taco Bell has had the same logo for the past 20 years, but it’s true. This week, that’s no longer the case. At the opening of their new location in Las Vegas, they also unveiled a new, simpler logo.

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Image from Adage.com

While not drastically different or unrecognizable, the new logo loses the pink and yellow bell, and instead only uses purple and black. It also takes advantage of the negative space and closure principle to keep the familiar bell image.

The revamp is aimed at attracting young diners, and also allow for more variety in the logo. As noted last week, living logos are becoming popular as more of our content switches to digital mediums. The new logo will allow for play in color, patterns, and other ways that the previous logo would not.

Reflections on Color from “Graphic Design The New Basics”

Up until now, we’ve been working in black and white for all our projects, and for good reason – color is complicated. The world however is not black and white – it is a full spectrum of colors, so it’s important to understand color and how to incorporate it into design.

There are the usual ways to describe color like primary, secondary, and tertiary colors that most of us learn in elementary school. You’ve likely heard of complementary colors as well. But color can also be described in more detail. Each hue has a distinct value (light/dark) and intensity (brightness/dullness) to it measured by shade, tint, and saturation.

Another aspect to consider is the different color models. Printers for example use a subtractive color model known as CYMK, whereas screens use an additive system known as RGB. While colors can be described using either model, knowing how these models work to form colors and when to use them is key in designing with color.

Once you know the basics of color and which model to use for your project, you have to consider how colors interact with each other. Colors together create different effects causing some aspects of your design to come forward while others fade to the back. Using this to your advantage is one way to emphasize particular areas creating drastically different designs.

Weekly Inspiration: Living Logos

When you think of a logo, you think of the one single identifier that represents a company or brand, but what if I told you that may be changing? Having one logo for a brand made sense in the days of static print. You can’t change the logo printed on a soda can or a company’s letterhead once it’s printed, but these days more and more of our world is going digital. It’s that transition that’s challenging the boundaries of what logos can be. No longer are they static. Instead they can become “living” representations of a company.

A great example of a well known living logo is Google’s daily doodle. Each day it changes with a new design, many days representative of something important that happened on that day in the past, and often interactive. There is no question whether you’re still at Google even when the doodle resembles very little of Google’s actual logo.

Another great example is that of the Whitney Museum. Their incredibly simple 4 lines forming a “W” responsively adjust depending on your screen size, but regardless of how condensed or spread out the lines are, they’re still representative of the brand.

The idea that logos are no longer set in stone and can change with the times is an interesting trend I hope to see continue.

Weekly Inspiration: The Everchanging Icon

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Image from The Next Web

Earlier this week, Google rebranded its streaming/casting technology. You may know it as Chromecast, but you may not know it was even rebranded – and this isn’t the first time. I own and use a Chromecast quite frequently in my own home, and still didn’t know.

Chromecast was changed to Google Cast presumably to fit the growing number of products that supported the ability to “cast” media to another device aside from the flagship, Chromecast stick. Casting is now available in many apps and on many devices.

But now, Google’s gone ahead and changed the branding once again, and this time it’s drastic. Google Cast, formerly Chromecast, is now Google Home. Why Google Home? Google Home is Google’s new competition to the Amazon Echo, and Google wants it to be the hub of your connected home.

The new branding bears no resemblance to its former self which is likely going to confuse existing users. I also feel as though the two use cases, casting media to your TV and controlling your connected home are also unrelated or loosely at best. In a world where Alphabet (Google’s parent company) seems to have a service, app, or product for everything, I feel almost guilty for questioning whether this wouldn’t have been better suited as a new app rather than a redesign.