Google Plus Photos now offers a new form of auto-awesome, their service best known for adding snow to winter photos, sparkles to Christmas tree lights, and turning successive photos into animated gifs. This one is called “Smile” and it truly lives up to its name. Read more
I was delighted to see that my hometown, Kalamazoo (“Boiling Water”), made its way onto The Atlas of True Names. Read more
After 17 years underground, the cicadas are about to have their time in the sun. Millions of these root-sucking insects will come out into the open and spend four to six weeks calling for mates, mating and then laying eggs for the next generation.
The Thickness of Napkins
“What does a napkin tell you about a restaurant? Quite a lot. A restauranteur friend told me about a survey that showed a massive correlation between category of napkin and customer satisfaction. That’s not to say you can hand out deliciously thick napkins in a shitty burger joint and immediately win customers over. It’s a cause and effect thing. The napkin represents a degree of care, preparation and devotion that goes above and beyond asking if they want fries with that.”
This brief, but poignant article by Des Traynor, COO at Intercom, reminded me of a lesson I learned in developing Lyrek CEMS for the Fashion & PR industries back in 2007.
I sat down during a training session with a woman that ran the PR for many industrious fashion designers and started walking her though the product, then called Reserve-U. Her response:
“It doesn’t work.”
I rebutted with confidence that the product had been thoroughly tested and I assured her there were no bugs in the system.
“You don’t understand,” she said. “It’s ugly, so it doesn’t work.”
Read the rest of the article on ERA404’s web site, here:
Read the rest of “The Thickness of Napkins” on Contrast:
Oftentimes when approached by clients and agencies, we’re asked about our creative process at era404. While people can easily see a step-by-step diagram of our development process, broken down by time, cost and client interaction, we have never really outlined how the creative process works here. This is partially because development, which is creative in its own right, is considerably more objective, pragmatic, and analytical. The process is linear, relying on previous checkpoints to proceed to latter ones.
Design, on the other hand, grows organically and chaotically. It pushes forward and outward in untraceable trajectories. If one thinks of development as a relay race with the baton being passed at regular relay points, design is more like a quixotic multi-player game of capture the flag. It’s undoubtedly the most challenging, gratifying (and possibly frustrating) part of our job here, riddled with stops, starts, reorientation, redirection, hidden doors, trap floors, exploration, and trial and error, relying purely on experience and gut instinct to reach the goal. And while the description above sounds daunting, it’s the primary reason we love our jobs so much.
So, depicting our creative process in a linear diagram like our development process is impossible. But each design roughly follows the same objectives along the uncharted path, which, coupled with client feedback and critiques, act as polestars in guiding us to their completion. Below are those objectives, distilled and organized as they would be in a perfect world, free of the organic and beautiful growth of real-world scenarios…