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 – 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.


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.

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


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.


Photo Essay #2: Form Design

For our second photo essay, we focused on printed forms. I selected five (5) forms from various fields: The State Employees Credit Union’s (SECU) Membership form, UMBC’s Direct Deposit form, Carefirst Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Vision Reimbursement form, Krispy Kreme’s Fundraiser form, and the Animal Advocates of Howard County’s Walk for Paws Registration form and waiver.


Despite the wide range of data being collected by these forms, there were a number of similarities. First and foremost, 4 out of the 5 all had clear branding at the top of the form. This not only made it clear who’s form you were filling out, but also served as a marketing opportunity.

All forms utilized boxes and/or highlighting to distinguish different sections of the form. This helps provide subtle direction to the user as to how and in which way the form should be completed.

Also helping to direct users as to how to fill out the form in a subtle way is the use of lines versus boxes. All forms used specific field types (e.g lines, boxes, checkboxes) to indicate how the user should respond. For instance, a checkbox directs the user to place a single checkmark t0 indicate which size T-Shirt they would like for the Walk for Paws event. UMBC’s Direct Deposit form uses individual boxes to indicate a single digit should be placed in each for the Social Security Number field.


The first thing you notice that’s different about these forms is how they use color. SECU’s form used multiple colors to differentiate sections of the form. Others like Carefirst or UMBC’s forms were entirely black and white. Krispy Kreme went a completely different route opting for color, but for the entire form.

The forms also differed between their use of field types. Some forms, like UMBC’s direct deposit form and SECU’s membership application used individual boxes for digits, single boxes for strings of numbers, and lines. Others like the Walk for Paws form consisted mainly of lines.

Considerations for Flying Fruit Cafe’s Breakfast Forms

One of the most important things worth incorporating into the Flying Fruit Cafe’s Breakfast sandwich form is branding. The current form doesn’t indicate that it’s for the cafe in any way, which is a missed marketing opportunity especially if the intention is to eventually allow customers to order while they’re away from the cafe where they might catch the attention of someone who didn’t know about the cafe.

Building off the idea of allowing customers to order outside of the cafe, the Walk for Paws form included a QR code to allow participants to register online. This could be a way for Cafe customers to order online at some point in the future.

Lastly, instructions could be added to the form to guide both customers and employees how best to complete or interpret the form.