storm from the east

Jon Stewart on creating for audiences

» Culture

Very interesting quote from the Daily Show presenter Jon Stewart in this interwiew in the Guardian:

So much is done with a contrivance to attract young people. There’s a news magazine show in the US called 20/20. They decided they were going to do an edgier version cos the kids, you know, they love edge. So the 20/20 youth version was called 20/20 Downtown because kids live downtown. It was the exact same show, with the exact same anchors, but they wore leather jackets and stood outside. There’s not a moment on the Daily Show where we think about whether this would appeal to a young person, an old person, a tired person, a liberal person. If you do, you become someone who is working backwards; someone who is attempting to achieve a goal that you’ve identified rather than creating something because you think it’s good.

Apple Watch design and branding

» Branding, Design

Apple Watch. Not iWatch.

That's not an iWatch.

Apple hasn't launched and iWatch, as expected, but the Apple watch. And it's pretty underwhelming.

From a branding perspective, I don't understand the move away from using the lowercase 'i' when it's so hugely recognisable. People have been talking about this for ages, and have been calling it the iWatch. People probably will still call it an iWatch. So why didn't Apple?

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House in Ohno by Airhouse

» Architecture, Japan


Japanese architect Keiichi Kiriyama, of Gifu based Airhouse, has created a house where private rooms are 'hidden' while floor to ceiling windows create a bright, central area.

See more on the Airhouse website and find out more about the project on Dezeen.

A lighter shade of beige

» Branding, Design, Studio, Writing

We're currently working on brochures and, as it happened, brochures for similar companies popped under the door of our studio.

We had a look at them and were struck by how similar the ones we received were to each other and how they seemed to say a lot without saying anything. There was tons of fluff and little substance. In fact, they were so strikingly similar we could have just swapped the names and nobody would have noticed.

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Who is your competition?

» Branding

In the past I've used ten questions to help people think about their branding, which you can see here. I've modified them quite a bit, and as a partnership we tend to use much more targeted questions. The reason I mention them is because one of them always generated a lot more information than the rest:

Do you have any competitors? Who are they? How are you different?

I've been constantly surprised by how some people could go into minute detail abbout a variety of competitors, yet give vague, bland answers to question like What exactly are your products and/or services? What qualities do they have? or What is your speciality?

I think people have got it arse about face, but perhaps it's no surprise why.

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Have Illustrator and Photoshop, will design for cash

» Design

I liked this post by Seth Godin (I like a lot of his posts), especially this part:

Years ago, you had to work with a quill or a manual typewriter. You needed to wait for the post office and you had no free and highly-leveraged outlet for your work to be seen by others. You had no access to a huge, instant and free library of the work that has come before... and yet, despite all of those missing elements, great work was created.


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The Design Method by Eric Karjaluoto

» Books, Design

The design methodSmashLAB kindly sent me a copy of Creative Director Eric Karjaluoto's book, The Design Method: A Philosophy and Process for Functional Visual Communication (seen gracing the shelves of our studio), and being the incredibly punctual chap I am, it's only taken me a few months to get around to reviewing it.

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Workshop: Branding basics for entrepreneurs and small businesses

» Branding, Design, Studio, Work

We know from (ongoing) experience how hard it is trying to brand yourself and your small business. Along the way, though, we've learned a few very useful things that we've also successfully put into practice for clients and ourselves.

As we're often asked about this, we've put together a workshop which looks at some common problems and offers some insights and practical solutions.

Whether you're just starting out, trying to become more established or thinking about going solo in the future, we address some of the major concerns and issues you might face (and things we've faced and continue to face ourselves).

Offered over 4 hours in your office or two, two-hour sessions in our studio just outside Tokyo (see dates below), the workshop covers things like:

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Generic logos and why you should avoid them

» Branding, Design


Designer Giovanni Tondini has created a comprehensive collection of generic and overused logos, together with a handy explanation of why you should avoid them. Those of us who are into branding tend to forget that not everybody else realises how generic, and basically worthless, these things are.

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Getting naked

» Studio, Work

When Stefan Sagmeister launched his design studio, he sent out cards with a picture of himself completely naked. He updated the card when he partnered with Jessica Walsh to form Sagmeister & Walsh.

I've been a fan of Sagmeister's work for a long time, and we've just opened our own studio, so...

Continue reading "Getting naked" »

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Hello. storm from the east is about branding, design and communication. We live in Tokyo.

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