Users of Twitter have all seen it--the dreaded "fail whale" that signals that Twitter is over its capacity. The icon has become famous in its own right, so the BBC set out to meet with the designer of this pop culture icon, Yiying Lu. Click below to listen to the audio recording of their conversation.

If given the opportunity, how would you design an over capacity icon?



The Missoulian reports that Montana is redesigning its basic license plate design for the first time in five years, and is looking at a retro-inspired design that harkens back to the plates of the 1970s and earlier.

The plate will feature a simple, solid background of either blue or green - a committee is still deciding the color.

Gone are the mountain ridges along the bottom, and a sky featuring blue-green hues. Also gone from the old plate is the well-known "Big Sky Country" monicker, which was placed under an ornate and elaborately written "Montana" in an Old West style.

"MONTANA" will be spelled out in plain, white capital letters along the bottom. It will be followed by "10," to denote the 2010 year of issue. Montana plates used to come stamped with a year of issue through about the 1980s.

From a design perspective, it looks much better than the other license plates being updated throughout the country. What do you think? Do you like the "retro" feel?


Montana goes retro with new license plate design
We're live this week at The Market Research Event 2009 and we'd like to share with you one of the many great presentations at this year's event. To find out more about the conference and to follow us live from the event, please check our our blog and follow us on Twitter.

Proof Symposia: The Evolution of Packaging and Purchasing Environments

The Evolution of Packaging & Purchasing Environments

Craig M. Vogel, FIDSA, Associate Dean, DAAP,University of Cincinnati

This session covered the evolution of ideas and how they connect to what’s going on today.

Coca cola is one of the most powerful global brands. When does a brand become known? When enough people have a visceral understanding of the brand.

How do you understand how your brand is viewed externally?

There are five ways to look at your brand:
  • Differentiate
  • Collaborate
  • Innovate
  • Validate
  • Cultivate

A company needs to understand when a product is invisible to the consumers. The package delivers the message about the product, from first buy and throughout use. It’s starting to lose its ability to build on any more equity than it can handle.

When you change the images of your product, you can increase the value, stronger message, and then shift the strategy of the packaging.

In the 1990s-2000s, experienced economies are primary drive to buy people to buy more and more services. With failure of the economy, many products are sliding back to basic goods, and few are staying up at premium experiences. Many products people buy are from choices.

Companies can no longer sell one dimensional products. Many companies must create messages about personal values and global issues. Box stores are obsolete concepts because of current costs and overinvesting. Many people are moving back to cities. Companies are creating local stores, example – Wal-Mart. Many of these large needs and want centers are going ot go back to decentralized shopping. Smaller scale neighborhoods and investments. Starbucks will go into contextualized stores without name. Mega centers are too hard for people to get to.
Engadget.com reports today that Alex, the dual-screen e-book reader from Spring Design has been unveiled just one day before the much-anticipated e-reader from Barnes & Noble. It features a 6-inch E-ink EPD (electronic paper display) and 3.5-inch LCD running Google's Android OS for browsing the web or viewing video, audio, photos, and notes. It also packs a removeable SD card, speaker, headphone jack, and WiFi or 3G EVDO/CDMA and GSM radios. An interesting Duet Navigator feature even lets you toggle content captured on the LCD and present it back to the EPD to save on battery life. The device is planned for release sometime this year without any details on who might be involved in that exercise.

Vancouver, the world's home for the 2010 Olympics has unveiled its designs for the Olympic Medals. According to the press release these medals, "...each feature a different crop of larger contemporary Aboriginal artworks and are undulating rather than flat -- both firsts in Games history. The dramatic form of the Vancouver 2010 medals is inspired by the ocean waves, drifting snow and mountainous landscape found in the Games region and throughout Canada. The Olympic medals are circular in shape, while the Paralympic medals are a superellipse, or squared circle."

Critics say the the medals look like they have been melted, or left too long in the sun. Its a different design from "traditional" Olympic medal designs -- what do you think?
If you weren't able to make it to yesterday's live web seminar "Do Consumers Really Care About Corporate Social Responsibility? New BuzzBack Case Study with Nestlé" here's your chance to view the archive. Martin Oxley, Managing Director at BuzzBack Europe and Jeremy Pace, Consumer Science Specialist at Nestlé showcased new online research techniques that identified consumer driven issues and emotions of CSR.

Watch the hour-long archive. Enjoy!
At Epcot's new Innovation Pavilion at Disney World, a new ride opens today that allows children to use math and science to design and ride an amusement park ride that is designed by them. After attending a tutorial, a touch screen helps users choose ride cars and tracks through the use of mathematics and engineering to design their preferred ride. Read more about the new ride here.

The Daily Mail reports that Sir James Dyson, inventor of wildly popular vacuums, has created a new invention-- a fan without a fan. Reports The Daily Mail,

Launching the product yesterday, Sir James explained that he got the idea while developing his Air Blade hand dryers, which force air though a tiny slit to 'brush' water from wet hands.

'We noticed that the hand dryer was drawing in a lot of air from its surroundings,' he said.

'So we started to think about how we might be able to put this effect to use.

We thought about creating an air moving device with no propeller or fan blade. Three years of development plus another year of testing later and this is the result.'

If you weren't able to make it to yesterday's live web seminar "Make Money and Do Good: How to Profit from Your Most Sustainable Solutions in the Fastest Growing Regions of the World" here's your chance to view the archive. Bruce Thomas, SVP of Global Market Strategy and Emerging Markets at MWV Corporation shared first-hand experiences that will show you how to:

• Design sustainable products specifically for emerging markets
• Determine which products “play well” in other countries
• Talk to government leaders and get them to listen
• Address the burning needs of consumers around the world

Watch the hour-long archive. Enjoy!
According to Reuters, Dell has partnered with MLB and OPI, the nail polish distributor, to introduce new designs for personalized laptops. The Mini, Inspiron and Studio laptops will all be among the personalized design laptops.

What do you think about this? As the computer industry continues to produce similar internal capabilities, different was to attract customers is going to be important. By allowing users to choose what their computers look like, Dell may have an edge with younger generations.
The New York Times reports today that The White House now houses 45 works by artists with a wide spectrum of backgrounds which have been borrowed from several Washington museums to decorate their private White House residence and the West and East Wings. It is a big, wide selection of mostly modern and contemporary paintings and sculptures that also includes works by Mark Rothko, a lead relief titled “0 Through 9” by Jasper Johns, bronze sculptures by Degas and still-life canvases by Giorgio Morandi.

To view the works, check out the slide show here.

For more information about the decision process, please click here.

Date/Time: Thu, Oct 15, 2009 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT

Companies are investing in it, consumers demanding it, pundits applauding it …. but what does Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) really mean – to consumers as opposed to shareholders? Is it just a new buzzword? Does it encompass fair pay to women? Reducing the carbon footprint? Focus on local communities? Donating to charities? Do consumers really care or is it just hype?

With its client, Nestlé, BuzzBack will highlight original fieldwork conducted in the US, UK and Germany about CSR, showcasing new online research techniques that identify consumer driven issues and emotions of CSR.

Attendees of this webinar will discover:

• The importance of CSR to consumers
• New research techniques that showcase emotional aspects of CSR
• How one of today’s top global food companies is dealing with issues of CSR


Featured Speakers:
Jeremy Pace, Consumer Science Specialist, Nestlé
Martin Oxley, Managing Director BuzzBack Europe

Register below, mention priority code MWS0019BLOG
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/158230049

As a web designer, you've worked very hard on your craft and you've created a set pricing list and you're well aware of your own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to designing for your client. So what do you do when a client asks you to reduce your price or compete with one of your, less competent competitors? First things first, who is this rival designer or design house and how is it that they can charge so little for their work? 90% of the time, you're rivaled by a web design hack. You surely can spot them; using templates, claiming too much product for too little investment but are there other cues that can signal a web design poseur? Writer Erin Pheil of Summit Daily News lists ways to spot web posers. One tell tale sign, if you find a design house who uses the exact "About Us" section as your company's (yes, this happens). Check out Erin's piece and let us know your thoughts--are there other signals to spotting design hacks?

timeforcake: Beware of web design posers
Core77.com reports today that the 2009 Starpack Package Design Awards Announced. Starpack, "the UK packaging industry's most prestigious awards," celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and has made their 2009 picks. About Starpack: Starpack is the premier UK annual scheme recognising innovation in packaging design and technology. Organised by The Packaging Society, a division of IOM3, Starpack constitutes the UK packaging industry's most prestigious awards, aiming to help raise packaging standards in the UK by rewarding and encouraging creativity. They are considered an integral part of the packaging industry, and the culmination of the Awards at the annual Packaging Industry Awards Ceremony is a highlight of the packaging industry calendar.

Now on to the winners!

Brand Design

Name: Ariel Excel Gel Structural Packaging
Entrant: Studio Davis

Food Design



GOLD
Name: My World Chocolate Buttons
Entrant: Pure Equator


Drink Design

GOLD
Name: Brown Forman "Jack Daniels Perforated" tin
Entrant: CROWN Speciality Packaging


For more information on the contest and the winners please click here.
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