Murphy’s Graphic Design Laws

I saw and thought these made a lot of sense.
– Speed. Quality. Affordability. Pick two.
(Extra points for any examples.)
– If three designs are shown to a client, your least favorite will be chosen.
(a little more negative than true but hey it’s Murphy man)


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Target Audience

Malcolm Gladwell said the crux of the teachings of White Plains’ own Howard Moskowitz is that by embracing the diversity of human beings you will find true happiness.

That was not reflected at all at what I saw in a recent trek to Target in the basement floor of the city center. Upon entering the mass merchandiser the first thing you see are seemingly sane people munching in bright red and yellow seating of a pseudo Mc-style  eatery directly before the row of registers. Most of the people have bags or carts still next to them from their shopping venture, gobbling down rubbery deep fried something.

I know, I wasn’t being forced to take part in the feeding session at the gates of the store but, to me, it presumed the exact opposite of the sentiments that are represented by Mr. Moskowitz’s word; the masses are the masses.

I feel the inner me talking in a grouchy voice, growing extra long eyebrows and auditioning as the understudy for the last segment on 60 minutes, every time I walk into a large chain retailer. Am I being too cynical? I do not hold Target solely responsible, there is a reason the word conglomerate somehow seems like something that could block and artery; it’s a flood of discounted access. Borders lucked out, coffee and reading can ride tandem with one another. But when large scale shops create these inappropriate mix of portions of life I become green about the gills.

Another example, upstairs from Target, is the Multiplex that has in its very heart a bar. I never got when friends in high school would bring a six pack of cans into the theatre and I don’t get now why there is a market for getting a few gin and tonics right next to the 10 dollar gallon of popcorn.

It’s not hard to see why Europeans use as a shopping mall and scapegoat for the worlds consumerism.

My basic question here is, why with scale is function and uniqueness seemingly always lost, when true happiness, at least for the customers, is attained more often by the little guy?

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Applying a GE great to the late night tube.


So I was kicking back on the couch last night and flipped to one these -big time chefs comes to a restaurant to create drama and boot them in the behind- and the gears began to move.

I realized that when you’re producing a product doing 4 percent less does not get you 4 percent less but often get’s you 90 plus percent less.

It made me think about Jack Welch and what he did for GE in his tenure by “getting the workout.” The man literally got rid of all the programs and deadweight of the business created a precedent that said essentially, product and progression speak and that which is not needed should not be.

Almost good enough gets you nowhere no transactions, no support, and most important no customers. Seth Godin says, “the sad lie of mediocrity is the mistaken belief that partial effort yields partial results.” It so true, and rung that way for me when some Detroit restaurant served fake crab meat and the goons running the place couldn’t understand why the results were totally out of proportion to the incremental effort.

Welch had the foresight to recognize that this paradigm can be hidden in the large corporations layers of bureaucracy. So a mediocre phone rep or a mediocre chef may not appear to be doing as much damage as they actually are. Welch also saw the flip side of this, that when you are at the top, the best in the world, the industry leader, a tiny increase in effort and quality can translate into huge gains.

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Half a Dozen of One

I have always hated clichés, but they can be useful as a tool.

Marketers are always looking for the “best of both worlds.” Who wouldn’t want it? When marketers talk about a website they want the traffic and control. The problem with shooting for this overlapping euphoric situation is that generally they’ll sacrifice in the details of differentiation and end up with something that doesn’t achieve in the sell. The best of both worlds usually doesn’t exist. I’d say shoot for that best in the one world. Compromise is something intermediate between different things, a little of this and a little less of that. Remember the old one about the bulldog and the  shih-tzu?

It’s like a boutique buying the canvas boots with the fringe because Vogue said boots and fringe were both going to be big this year. It sounds good on paper, but there’s a reason the two were separate, leaving you with an ugly boot overstock situation.

When in doubt, make the most of one.

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Delicious Brain Flakes

The Brain Rules

1. EXERCISE: Exercise boosts brain power.
2. SURVIVAL: The human brain evolved, too.
3. WIRING: Every brain is wired differently.
4. ATTENTION: We don’t pay attention to boring things.
5. SHORT-TERM MEMORY: Repeat to remember.
6. LONG-TERM MEMORY: Remember to repeat.
7. SLEEP: Sleep well, think well.
8. STRESS: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
9. SENSORY INTEGRATION: Stimulate more of the senses.
10. VISION: Vision trumps all other senses.
11. GENDER: Male and female brains are different.
12. EXPLORATION: We are powerful and natural explorers.

John Medina’s 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.

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Second is the best…

This would be a good introduction to understanding if you get it or not. There is simplicity to success, say what you mean.


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This post was brought to you by the word, adaptation.

So after seeing the new brand of Microsoft commercials for the past couple of months I’ve come to some realization about where and how Microsoft is hitting off the mark.

The first set of these new commercials feature Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates involved in what seems like a take on reality television, quip/random line filled, asides. It also seems here like they’re taking the approach that Pepsi’s Sierra Mist went with likable comedians being slightly comical in a weird but memorable sort of way. The difference is the product.

People know more and more that their computers, and how their computers operate, can either put them ahead, in, or behind the game. Mac created a straight forward/simple platform with recognizable characters and a guaranteed laugh that at worst was cute at best was brilliant. But the point was clear every time, Macs are easy to use and make the world easier for you.

Alternately, Microsoft made Bill Gates a character that is not recognizable to us as Bill Gates (I still have in my mind the self-haircut-giving man of smarts; not funny.) To further confuse us the humor is nonsensical and not relatable. It gives you the feeling that these two wizards of their craft are on another plane, wandering above the earth like in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I like it but it doesn’t sell. Jerry is the only part that’s recognizable and that may be the grace that floats the commercial.

Though the brands buoyancy may be futile, with the news breaking that the commercials that try to fire back at Mac’s model (I’m a PC and I’ve been made into a stereotype) were in fact made partially with the help of Macs.

It all works to confound the dichotomy of the two brands. Mac is easy to use and Microsoft has problems. Mac is a square and a rectangle but Microsoft is just a square.

It’s in the final set of Microsoft’s new commercials, the Mojave Experiment, that I found my realization. They keep using a model that’s not new, they’re not adapting. Now I’m going to go ahead and assume that the problem isn’t that they’re stupid over there in Gates territory; but then what is it? Is it that they’ve finally mutated completely from being the enlightened and progressive company of the future to being simply close-minded? It has to be, a closed-minded view would explain all the symptoms as to why a company with such vast resources keeps hitting the hurdle. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid, but it does means that your processes are selling you, your colleagues and your community short.

The easiest way to grow is to sell to people who share a worldview that endorse your position i.e. the older generations and older offices have PC’s and the new and younger generations and offices have Macs. People like what they know and if you want them to change you better find a good reason why they should; otherwise you do not exist. The most effective way to grow bigger is to inform those that disagree with your position; this is exactly what Mac has done. Mac provides more data in an appetizing form, it is the edible delicious computer that Seinfeld has Gates twitching his tidy whiteys for (just an assumption on the drawers choice.)




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