Free, Online

As we all know too well, free doesn’t always mean free. How often have you clicked on a link in emails or from search results only to be brought to a page that informs you that you must enter a credit card or complete a series of obstacles in order to get access to the elusive free product? Television offers for games, such as McDonald’s Monopoly game, always boast the “no purchase necessary” option to play. Gevalia touts a free percolator while also subscribing you to a coffee-o-the-month club for outrageously overpriced java. And dozens of pop-up “Free iPad” sites require you to enlist friends, sign-up for credit cards or buy magazine subscriptions in order to qualify for free products that you probably will never see. In fact, most spam blockers specifically look for the word “free” in the subjects or bodies of emails to elevate the email’s spam ranking simply because they know that free, online, isn’t always free. Free, online, means “free trial,” “free if you enter a credit card,” “free if you complete these tasks,” and “free*“. Read more

AIGA New York – ERA404 gets a new barker!

Fig. 01: AIGA barker on the era//404 site

A little while back, Tina Roth-Eisenberg (known far and wide under the blog moniker “SwissMiss”) tweeted about an extra ticket to see the AIGA NY event with Ji Lee speaking about inspiration and the nexxus between gratification from work and gratification from personal projects.  For those that don’t know, Ji is one of a dozen or so creative directors at Google Creative Labs and the father of The Bubble Project.

The ticket, provided by the generous and inimitable Cameron Koczon, of Fictive Kin, opened up a world of creative thinkers, social drinkers and networking opportunities for design and development. We’ve had the honor of working with Ms. Roth-Eisenberg on various projects, including the MoMA staff site and I’ve followed SwissMiss‘s career for a half decade now, as well as the guest speaker and other participants in the event. And while many in the audience appeared to be students or those embarking on new careers, it was refreshing to see so many people passionate about design. Working in the vacuum that is era//404 can sometimes feel devoid of creative ideas, especially when members of a project are on the other side of the globe.

So, part of this year’s resolution was to create a stronger bond with members of the creative community in NYC and, with four days to spare, we joined the AIGA. The last professional organization I’ve been a part of was back in college (the American Center for Design‘s “Students in Design” and our chapter’s “Design Works” student organization) as well as participating in the Grand Rapids Area Advertising Foundation (GRAAF)’s annual “Addy Awards“, in which a colleague and I won a Citation of Excellence.

It is my secondary hope that, just as being members of NYPHP as brought us design opportunities among the developer network, being a member of the AIGA will bring us development opportunities among the designer network. First and foremost, however, we’re glad to be part of such a prestigious and reputable organization that shares membership with some of my greatest heroes in the design world: Paula Scher, Michael Beirut, Stefan Sagmeister, to name a few.

What are your experiences with the AIGA, or other professional organizations? I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!