Publishing

Anatomy of a Perfect Serial Crime (Novel)

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When it comes to looking for the latest crime novel by your favorite best-selling author, fans don’t want the mystery to begin in the bookstore, so publishers sprinkle graphic clues on the jacket cover to lead shoppers to the writers they want. The covers, shown here, are by designer Peter Mendelsund, associate art director at Knopf, for the Jo Nesbo series; design firm Richard, Brock, Miller and Mitchell (RBMM) for the Dick Francis horse-racing murder mysteries, and designer Michael Stirrings for the Sue Grafton alphabet murders. In such cases, the cover design “brands” the book as part of a series, and signals the likely appearance of recurring main characters — e.g., Nesbo’s detective Harry Hole and Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone. Familiarity sells.

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Design Quizzes

Major League Baseball Team Names

Major league baseball teams are masters of branding, reinforcing their identity through team colors, mascots, logos, and nicknames. This quiz tests your knowledge of team names, past and present.

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Branding Guideline

A Brief Look at Brand Naming Briefs

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Naming is a discipline that strikes many as part voodoo, part marketing strategy, and totally mysterious. We suspect it was easier a century or so ago when founders named the brand after themselves — e.g., Ford (Henry Ford) and Wells Fargo (Henry Wells and William Fargo) – or simply described what they made – e.g., International Business Machines (IBM). Now, it is not so easy, and companies usually turn to professional naming firms to come up with effective memorable brand names that will resonate with consumers. On top of that, they have to make sure the name can be trademarked, pronounced easily, have positive connotations around the globe, and stand out on a retail shelf, on a website and on its own. Here are some tips from David Placek, founder and president of Lexicon Branding, the firm that developed the familiar names you see below.

 

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1. A Brief for the Development of a Name Is Different
Than a Brief for an Advertising Campaign.

(1) A naming brief makes sure that distinctiveness is a primary goal and that risk will be rewarded.
(2) A naming brief answers this fundamental question: How can the name help this new brand to become a winner?
(3) A naming brief defines a specific role for the name rather than the product itself, messaging or design.
(4) A naming brief tells the story of the brand so that the brand name becomes an essential part of the story — better yet, the title.

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Packaging

Branding of Dripp Coffee

The visual identity system for Southern California-based Dripp Coffee Shop is intriguing for what is fixed and what is flexible. Designed by Turner Duckworth San Francisco and London, the Dripp branding system centers around a hand-drawn script logotype which angles upward. The rest of the visual content is structured within a grid of color blocks with minimal flat-graphic images. The flourished style of the letters sets the logo apart from the rest of the visual content and, by contrast, draws attention to itself. The silhouetted objects themselves can be changed to suit the product, season or event, as long as they retain the stylized look and simplified color palette of the brand – as shown in the set of posters below created by Turner Duckworth. This graphic system also accommodates changing needs and uses, including this sleeveless hot paper cup design by Istanbul-based designer Salih Kucukaga.


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Brand Language

7-Eleven Sweden Does Retro Re-Branding

Asked to rebrand the 7-Eleven convenience stores in Sweden, the Stockholm creative agency BVD decided to whole-heartedly embrace the 80-year-old company’s graphic roots. BVD made 7-Eleven’s signature green and orange bolder and brighter, stenciled its old Helvetica typeface, and turned its traditional broad stripes into pinstripes, reversing out the “7” and suggesting “Eleven” with two orange lines. The look is contemporary yet retro, and it doesn’t run away from 7-Eleven’s original concept, which was to provide people with a handy place to go to buy an emergency supply of milk, eggs and other basics late at night. The new Swedish graphic identity refreshes 7-Eleven’s identity without trying to disguise it as something more upscale than it is.

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Packaging

One in Four Million Bottle Design

As renowned for its creative branding as it is for its premium vodka, Absolut continually tops itself with fantastic new visual expressions. In this case, the Swedish vodka-maker, owned by French company, Pernod Ricard, teamed with Swedish ad agency, Family Business, to give new meaning to the term “limited edition.” The idea was not just to make each Absolut bottle seem unique, but to actually be unique. To do that, Absolut had to reconfigure its bottling production line to recreate artwork with splash guns, 38 colors, and 51 patterns. A complex computerized algorithms program orchestrated these elements in a randomized fashion so that no two bottles were decorated alike. In fact, Absolut estimates that it would take 94 quintrillion bottles before two identical designs resulted. The company is not producing that many, but it did individually number each of the four million bottles in its limited edition line, which it appropriately named “Absolut Unique.”

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Packaging

With Mic’s Chilli, the Devil Is in the Details

Irish chili may sound like an oxymoron, but Mic’s Chilli, made in Kilcoole, County Wicklow in Ireland, has the authentic look of a product that comes from “South of the Border” – and we don’t mean Tipperary.

Dublin-based illustrator Steve Simpson has done all of the branding and packaging work for Mic’s Chilli since it launched its first products at the end of 2010. Using Latin American patterns and iconography, the Inferno packaging features Day of the Dead skeleton figures, with “talk bubbles” showing chillis to indicate degrees of hotness — one chilli for mild; four chillis for on fire.

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Packaging

Olympic Branding Champions

Coca-Cola has just unveiled six limited-edition cans to cheer on Team USA at the London Olympics this summer. San Francisco-based design agency, Turner Duckworth, combined three of the world’s most recognizable icons to communicate the entire story –the stripes of the American flag; the five interlocked rings of the Olympic logo and silhouette of an athlete, and Coca-Cola’s signature red and Spencerian script logotype. The effect is succinct, direct and graphically powerful. Coca-Cola is rotating the can designs throughout the summer, with a new one appearing every two weeks, culminating with a special composite logo timed for the opening of the Olympic Games.

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Packaging

Packaging Good Food

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There’s nothing superfluous in the branding and packaging of Good Food, the frozen food line made in Monterrey, Mexico. Designed by Face in Mexico, the graphics are minimal and clean. Sans-serif logotype. Silhouettes to show whether it contains beef, chicken or pork. A few descriptive words – “tasty,” “spicy,” “quick.” Simple and bold, the packaging graphics don’t over-promise, but just give shoppers the impression that what they’ll get is good, honest, undisguised flavors.

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Design Classic

Are you sure that’s decaf?

In cafeterias and restaurants around the world, the coffeepot with a distinctive orange band around the neck is immediately recognized as the one containing decaf coffee. Today most people don’t know how that tradition began. Actually, it was once one of the world’s most effective branding campaigns, even though these days consumers don’t associate the color with the product that started it all.

The orange label premiered in 1923 when Sanka, the first commercial decaf coffee, appeared on grocery store shelves in America. In 1932, General Foods bought Sanka (a catchy contraction of “sans caffeine”) and set out to promote the brand to restaurants and diners by giving away free “Sanka-orange” coffeepots and a few samples of the product. Customers and waiters came to recognize that orange signified Sanka, and over time it became the generic color-code for any and all decaf coffee brands.

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Sustainability

Do RISD and Brown Reflect
the Changing Focus of Design?

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Better x Design, the student-run research center at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, is hosting its second annual “A Better World by Design” conference on the two campuses next weekend (Oct 2-4). Jan Chipchase, principal engineer at the Nokia Research Center, heads an impressive slate of 18 speakers known internationally for their ground-breaking use of design and architecture for social entrepreneurship and green innovation.

“Today’s students, no matter their academic concentration, are recognizing their unlimited potential to use integrative design methods to make the world a better place,” explains Willem Van Lancker, RISD ’10 Graphic Design, one of the conference’s chief organizers.

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