James Madison University is one of a handful of universities in the nation that offer a four year degree in video game design. The program focuses on giving the students the knowledge to design art for the future and combine it with technology. Enrollment in the program is currently 500% higher than was previously expected.

Eugene Evans, general manager of Bioware Mythic, a part of Electronic Arts, Inc., commented:

"Gaming has been shifting from Silicon Valley. More and more companies are looking to take advantage of the excellent gaming courses that . . . draw in talent. There are probably a dozen gaming companies in the mid-Atlantic region. This course bodes well for the future of gaming in this region. The team at GMU is putting a strong emphasis on a broad set of disciplines and instilling an entrepreneurial spirit, which could mean many new start-ups within a few years."

Read the full article here.

Throughout my career I have consistently been given high praise for being really good at presenting creative and it didn’t happen by accident. Early on I realized that my design skills were only going to take me so far if I wasn’t able to sell my work. The problem was that I left college afraid to talk in front of a group and hadn’t been given any tools to sell my work. I needed to get over my fear, understand hot to sell and the psychology of it all. I started to hanging around with people who sell to high end clients for a living like venture capitalists, sports agents and PR agents to study their techniques. I even went so far as to read police interrogation books to understand how to analyze people and what makes people tick . It may sound really extreme but like I said this wasn’t anything I was taught in art school so I had to make up my own curriculum. Like the illustration above points out , the further you go in your career the further you are going to get away from you brought you into it. You are going to be doing less design work and the more budgets and presentations.

As I traveled around and worked with other creatives from all over the world who graduated from the best design school I heard that they had the same problem. So I wanted to share what I have learned with a broader audience in the hopes that it can help you too. It normally takes me about an hour and half to do this starter class so I am going to break it into three articles and try to keep the points short and to the point. This first article looks at the core to any great presentation and what we are really selling. Then in the second article we will go over the set-up to the presentation and the presentation itself. Finally we will look at how to handle problem clients and dealing the aftermath of the presentation. I hope this helps, please share what I have learned and if you would like me to present the full class at your conference drop me a line.

The first thing that EVERYONE from the designers to the project managers and everyone in between needs to realize is that everyone in the creative team presents creative. Even if they aren’t pitching concepts or showing comps they present their work and the core principle listed here work for everyone on the team because all the pieces of a project are linked together.

Present spreadsheets. Sell creative.

Once you get everyone to understand that this is a part of the core DNA of any creative group then you need to change the way you think about presenting because what we are really doing is selling. If you have the results of an ad campaign from last quarter then you present it to the client but when you have a new project you are trying to make someone BUY something. Making someone buy something takes a totally different way of thinking from presenting.

So we are selling not presenting but what is it we are really selling? Comps? Concepts? Sorry but none of the above. We are selling trust and confidence. Unlike a car salesman who will let you sit in the car and take it for a test drive, we are selling air. We are selling the idea of something we want to make. Something we think will move people. Something we can roughly sketch up but wont be able to really show you in a finished form until we go on that photo shoot with the high price tag you’re going to find at the end of the presentation. So you, the client, need to trust that I know what I am doing. You need to trust that this is a great idea. You need to trust that the future of your career is safe in my hands and I am going to make you look like a hero at the end of all of this. Without that the best idea in the world will never see the light of day and will never make a difference to anyone.

Selling confidence sounds simple enough when you say it out loud but I have spent most of my career trying to perfect the process and it is a skill you will have to constantly evolve and adapt to meet the challenges of new projects and new clients. Here are some of the big things you need to do and be aware of to build trust with your clients.

Everyone needs to support each other no matter what

Selling creative and conveying confidence are a team concept. As you go through a project a client will interact with a lot of different team members and anyone one of them can break that confidence and throw a project into problems and changes in a heart beat. Problems and disagreements will happen but they need to be worked out behind the scenes. You need to speak with one voice on every presentation and cast doubt on what someone is saying or presenting so your client gets confidence from seeing a team that is completely behind one concept.

Look at your work with fresh eyes so you can sell it

When you work on a project for a long time you get immersed in the details and problems which is a natural part of the creative process. When it comes time to finally present that work to the client you need to be able to develop the ability to remove yourself from that forrest of details and problems to be able to see the project with fresh eyes. To get short term memory loss so you don’t skip over key details and selling points, assume the client knows thing they don’t and, most importantly, you won’t do justice to all the hard work your team put into the project.. It is critical to be able to see how to present the work in a clean and simple way to someone who knows nothing about it so they can understand it and have confidence that it will work.

Don’t assume clients can see creative the same way you can

Working in digital I have been in a lot of meetings where co-workers use terms they know the client won’t understand to sound cool. The problem is that you may think you sounded cool but you probably just lost the connection with your client, made them feel self conscious for not being in the know and none of that leads them to feel confident about you or the work. You need to realize that not everyone has the ability to see designs in their minds eye the way that we can so you have to take that into consideration when you talk. Be overly descriptive or sketch the solution on the back of a piece of paper so everyone can see it. This will also help eliminate any confusion and those dreaded words from your client at the next meeting – “Oh… That wasn’t what I had in my head after our last meeting”.

Also realize that coming out of any presentation your work will probably be re-presented and it won’t be done by you. I always want to be confident that when my client leaves a meeting with me to go back to their office to show off the work to their boss they will be able to talk about it confidently because they understand all the details that went into it. If I talk over their head then that next presentation isn’t going to go well and the project could be sidetracked before it even got started.

You aren’t just selling your work with your words

Think about the fact that when you are presenting you are communicating with more than your words and that your body language and tone can say just as much. Doing things like slumping down in your chair, looking off into space or having an ambivalent tone about your work all subconsciously communicate a lack of confidence in what you are presenting. Think of it like a poker game and your client is subconsciously looking for tells about what you are really thinking.

It’s OK to love your work

When it comes to creative the TV and movie generated idea of a slick person standing at the front of the behind a podium delivering the information in clear monotone can really hurt them. You were asked to create something out of nothing and that process should have infused the final result with elements that mean something to you. You aren’t presenting spreadsheets so have some passion about the work and let your client see it. Saying simple things like “I really love this idea” will let them know that you believe in the work. It will let me know you are going to bring this to life with the same passion you had when you created it. It will give them confidence that you have something invested in the project and that it means more to you and your team than just another assignment.

Go to your happy place

From the time I was around 8 years old though high school I shot competitive archery at a near Olympic level. It’s a sport of control and repetition that becomes a head game because it all about you. There is no team to jump on a mistake and save you. You win and you get all the glory. You lose and there is no one to blame but yourself. As a part of my training I had a coach who drilled it into my head that in high pressure situations nervousness is a self created emotion. When you need to make a shot your emotions are completely in your control.

Standing in front of a room full of clients needing to sell them on your concept can be intimidating. Anytime I need to deliver in a big meeting or present at a big conference I get nervous. It’s a natural reaction. The key is be aware that this is going to happen, that it is OK if it does and try to develop things to help you deal with it. For some people it is practicing the presentation until they know it forwards and backwards so they can go on autopilot. For other people it is finding comfort in going about the presentation in a ritualistic way so they find comfort and control in going through familiar ordered actions. For me it is finding a quiet place a few minutes before I need to present to sit down, close my eyes and think about something that makes me happy. It is usually something outside of work and away from whatever it is I am about to go do. Something that helps me get myself centered, clear my head and my nerves. This should be different for everyone since your personal triggers are going to be different.

All of this is just the beginning and like I said I will be moving on to the set-up for the presentation and the presentation itself in the next few days before ending with how to handle problem clients and dealing the aftermath of the presentation.
The San Diego Union Tribune looks at a new hospital at the UCSD Medical Center currently under construction that has the patient in mind. New studies have shown there is a link between patient outcomes and their stress levels in conjunction with being exposed to natural light while in the hospital. There is also a higher chance patients will rate their services higher when they are amiable to their surroundings, eventually garnering a hospital more funding.

Design features of this hospital include:
They settled on one with a footprint incorporating three triangles that point outward from the center.

The skin of the building will form curves and waves instead of harsh corners and edges. The shape is meant to maximize views of the surrounding landscape, minimize direct sun exposure and prevent patients from looking directly into other rooms.

Architects used a computer to simulate the movement of the sun over the building, Yazdani said. Alcoves set into the surface of the exterior will create shaded pockets and space for gardens and courtyards.

Inside, patients will have floor-to-ceiling windows affording them a view of ground- and upper-level greenery, as well as the sky above.

Each patient room will feature a ceiling tall enough to accommodate a wide range of medical equipment and machines, said Lee Brennan, another designer with Cannon.

Read the full article here.
As health officials warn that salt is to blame for the increase in American obesity epidemic, foodies are taking a stand for the delicious compound, most notably Alton Brown. Teaming up with Diamond Crystal, the celebrity chef has launched Salt 101, a nouveau-1960s flashy take on salt education. While exploring the website, visitors are invited to join Brown in the kitchen to learn how to properly use salt then take a trip to the salt laboratory.

This isn't the first education on salt to hit the market, Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History proved a historical background for the substance. Brown's entrance into the salt education world seems a bit more entertaining and less fact - it's joining the salt club. Pro salt!

As brand managers, marketers and creative pros - what do you make of this salt comeback? Will we see a Fat 101 and High Fructose Corn Syrup 101 in the future?

With thanks to Stephen Gates for the tip!

Yesterday, Bureau of Engraving and Printing shared with the world the new design for the $100 bill that is scheduled to go into tender February 10, 2011. It is specifically designed to avoid counter feiting and all new security features are featured in the video below:

Source: CoinNews.Net
Thank you to all who joined us and all who followed our coverage during this year's event. We surpassed our already high expectations for this year with the amazing keynotes, speakers, sponsors and attendees. We hope that you found our coverage useful as we work to continuously bring you information to spur conversation and discussion with your peers.

To continue the discussions well into 2010, we encourage everyone to join the FUSE LinkedIn group. Join other brand strategists, designers, creative directors and trend forecasters in our exclusive group. For those of you already in the group, let's start discussing many of the topics featured at the conference and consider new ones as we enter this new decade.

Our ongoing coverage of industry news and professional posts from across the FUSE spectrum doesn't end with the conference. Keep up with the latest news by subscribing to daily updates from our blog!

If you are interested in being a guest blogger for NextBigDesign please contact Melissa Sundaram at msundaram@iirusa.com. We'd love to have your input!

See you in 2011!
Sacred Cows are also known for tasty Kobe burgers.

In house teams can be productive, if they act like external agencies. Interesting. Fire your internal design team each month, or at least make them feel like it could happen. Fear is a great motivator, ask any everyday dictator.

Here are a few of Stephen's insights.

"Stand for something", like external agencies do every day. "We're not about good. We're about great." Something that commonly doesn't show up in house, but often shows up out of house. Great way to inspire internal teams. And, great way to actually get something done.

"Move forward by looking back," seeing what you've accomplished helps you see what you haven't. What you haven't is where you start when seeking a new future.

"Fail Constantly," yes and fast is also good. Fail fast is a product development philosophy and certainly applies in and out of house for creative. Use the exercise of matching brands with products and try to sell something that has failure all over it. Example: how would Apple sell lipstick? Answer: they wouldn't, but the creative process is a safe way to fail. Try it.

Thank you Stephen Gates, Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal, Capsule
Capsule's Blog
Phil starts by saying its a big challenge to continue the success that P&G has had, and for him it's all about "changing the conversation." Sometimes it can be difficult to merge "perfecting the process" with "expressing our creativity" at P&G; however, having both sides proved to be integral for the success of the brand. Because P&G is so large and manufacturers so many products, being in every developed country (and expanding further) the challenges prove to be even harder - how are we connecting real solutions to P&Gs current and future consumers.

Phil offers us 5 Ways to Change the Conversation:

1. Execution is Strategy
-Execution is the only strategy consumers see.

"How do we help women go from the hair that they have to the hair that they want?" The design team worked to create a shelf block and regimen of the Pantene product that will aide the consumer in picking not only shampoo, but the connecting products that go with the regimen.

2. Thrive Inside
-Design can thrive within the business world without losing our uniqueness.

3. The Power of &
-Breakthrough comes from using both, to the right degree.

"How could we make Tide even more relevant?" They re-framed Tide by creating the first Tide Dry Cleaners in Kansas City. The location engages the customer by utilizing sight, sound and importantly smell. P&G works to consistently showcase Tide as "the" product for cleaning clothes - and the consistently rising market shares show that P&G are not far off - Tide is success.

4. 15 Megabytes of Fame
-Design can create the conversation

With the new Old Spice campaign, 8 million people watched it in two months and the new video has over 2 million views. Phil shares some spoofs of the ads - check them out on YouTube.

5. Purpose-inspired brands
-By harnessing purpose, brands can make a difference

For the Safeguard brand, P&G helped create a program that helps kids learn to wash their hands and even save their life. With the Tide "Loads of Hope" program, the company helps to bring a clean load of clothing to families who have experienced tragedy, like Hurricane Katrina.

We encourage you to learn more about P&G.
Capsule named itself with a subtle reference to drugs because of what we found when our clients became addicted to design. Those with a propensity to become addicted just need a few small Capsules of design to become needy for it.

Warren has written the guidebook for junkies to understand their addiction.

Warren Berger goes deep into the psychology or perhaps the psychosis of the designers in our world. Beautiful insights into discovering how to define "design," which by the way is essential to being able to elevate the practice of design beyond art to a profession.

The typical "problem solver" answer is a good start, but really we need to go deeper in order for the world to see design for what it contributes. Warren is going deeper and it feels like he is pealing away the layers of the design onion. What will he find on the inside? Or will we really want to know?

You'll likely have to buy the book to get closer. I recommend it.

Buy five copies of this book and give it to your top five least favorite clients. Glimmer.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal, Capsule
Capsule's Blog
Today, while hearing Kristen Lynch, CMO for Quaker Foods, talk about her experiences as an MBA Student, I remarked on Twitter "I've been saying for years that MBA students need to learn how to partner with designers. A valuable skill for running a biz." (By the way, I have actually been saying this for years, I believe it quite strongly.)

A good friend, and former [graphic design] business partner, and current MBA student replied, asking me to elaborate. I continued, in slightly more than 140 characters:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am of the impression that all MBA classes are taught through the lens of "when you are running a business ...", delving deeper than simply working, but planning, managing, and decision-making.

So while you'll take classes in law, finance, human resources, etc., there's very little to do with the qualitative side of business, and virtually nothing to do with design.

Marketing and advertising are well-established tools for any business, but designers are still viewed as aliens —these strange creatures who wear black and use Macs.

I feel that by taking a few weeks, or even a few hours, to discuss the role of design business, it will help generate empathy among managers and other "suits". This will help avoid the old "make the logo bigger" syndrome, where brands and agencies often get at odds.

Designers are no better, they need to suck up the fact that we too are business people, not artists. Our work, much like that of a lawyer, accountant, or even a plumber, is a professional service, and we have to be professionals.

The example given here was one where the now-CMO for Quaker Foods as an MBA student was made to partner with the MFA Design students to simulate the future client-agency relationship. In her testimony, it was a tremendous experience, and one I think is too rare.

You, specifically, shouldn't have this problem. Obviously you have design experience, but many of your future colleagues will not even be able to comprehend the need for design, let alone the continuing relationship requirements (and associated fees.)

It comes down to open-mindedness. Do we want to train future business leaders to be empathetic and creative thinkers, or just another generation of "suits", carrying out the same rituals of middle-class hazing for their future employees and vendors?

Onwards and upwards.
He replied in short order:
First, I really enjoy knowing I can type one word and get so many from you. This represents my power as an MBA student over you as a designer. I kid.

Every MBA program has a management concentration. Harvard Business ONLY has management. Because in any business, managing the function is easy, and managing the people is the hard part. What I can tell you is that there is a decent enough amount in these programs on how to be a leader, how to motivate, how to inspire, and all that. It just doesnt make people good at it and that is just sad.

Management is completely qualitative. I sit in these classes learning all about relationships and organizational behavior and I think to myself, "This is touchy-feely bullshit, where are the graphs, where are the formulae, what am I learning?!?". Im sure Im not the only one in my classes who feel this way. The problem is that when you are learning and you dont have a math-based test at the end of the term, you dont "feel" like you are learning, but you are. This goes along with the Quantitative vs. Qualitative argument. So it is important to self-reflect as an MBA student along the way.

I had an awesome experience similar to the one you discussed earlier; the Org Behavior class I took not only had MBA students, but Arts Management students in the class. Gasp! Artsy BFA's sat with rigid, robotic MBA's. We had to work together and it turned out to be an awesome class because we got to see it from both sides. It was the ultimate clash of the Dominant Type A's with that of the easy-going starving artist-types. Aliens as you say. It was the only class where after it was all said and done, I went out with drinks with my mates. A great experience where the professor who is an MBA and works in the fashion industry played us all like her little fools. She knew how to get in our heads and get us to perform to the best of our abilities.

Your people are your most important asset in a business. You can copy efficient materials managment practices, you can copy or backwards engineer (steal) technology, you can follow best practices, but at the end of the day, you cannot replace human capital (brains, smarts, talents, creativity, innovation) that comes from your people. You need them and they need you. And, to keep them happy and motivated is to keep them efficient and effective: every manager's goal. This goes for your internal people and external vendors (or suppliers) because you want to have a complimentary, equally beneficial relationship, because otherwise whats the point in working together.

So, what am I saying? Some people are good managers and some are not. In my opinion, MBAs are the Jedi of the business world. Its just unfortunate that when there are Jedi, there are also Sith, and thus, you have people in these programs who do not self-reflect and are only interested in their own self promotion. These are the jerks who dont "get" you. They dont want to get you. If you are an MBA it is your job to understand your resources and restrictions and then optimize. And, this goes for everything from widgets to people. Dell is awesome at this. But then again, Dell is one of the three answers to all questions in an MBA program. The others? Walmart and "It depends"
And I continued the conversation:
Spoken like a true man of the 21st century. And I think it's clear that you and I are both bloody eager to be the sort of businessmen who does things differently, and therefore, correctly. Careers powered by idealistic defiance against the status quo.

That class with the art students sound cool. I wish I had more opportunities like that as an undergrad and in grad school as well.

But until you and I are running the show, it's an uphill battle against old thinking. I just heard a panel discussion where in-house designers lamented the fact they can't convince bosses of anything without hard data, which design doesn't often yield, especially at the start of a project.

But I agree with your main thesis that people must be taken care of. Everything matters — the brand of coffee in the kitchen, the durability of the chairs, whether or not you are invited to meetings, how you recruit entry-level talent, whether you say "thank you" and on and on and on...

So in conclusion, I look forward to you hiring me many times in the future. Design is good business.
Jon Denham, Kraft Foods talked with Debbie Millman about his design career and how he came to be the man he is today.

He's English. Yes, from England. They don't have many beach bums, but apparently he was one of the elite few. Photo below is the only evidence we have to back this up, couldn't find any links to this exclusive organization of English beach bums. Still looking.

Now to his serious side.

Claudia Kotchka was one of his inspirations while working at P&G on the Pantene brand. He likes to take on challenges and sees huge opportunities at Kraft from what he's seen done at P&G in the past decade.

What do you need to have to get hired by Jon at Kraft? Leadership and your ability to see a vision for the journey. And, we didn't get the next two, but the first one was good enough.

Designers don't have as much authority in the CPG organization as the automotive industry. This needs to change in order for design to have a seat at the table and contribute to the bottom line results. Yes and more. Organizations need to see design from a new perspective, different from historical views. This requires more design in business schools and more business in design schools (in my not so humble opinion).

Then, a video on Kraft. Delicious is our difference. Really nummy word to own.

"A Better View"
I'd say, from across the ocean to here at Kraft, a better view indeed. Kudos to your success Jon.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal, Capsule
Capsule's Blog

Jon Denham and Debbie Millman start off their conversation today with a hilarious, simple and quite informative PowerPoint presentation about Jon Denham's background. Want to learn how to brand yourself awesomely? Jon Denham is your guy.

Jon described the design space that he inherited had last been redecorated in the 1970s, so it took awhile to make any sort of change. "It took 2 weeks for the work and 10 months to plan." I'm sure that we can all relate.

Debbie asks, "How do you keep your patience?"

Jon said that having a network of design partners, looking at what others are doing, traveling and using each opportunity to learn about something new will expand your mind and to fuel your creativity.

So how does Jon's organization think about design differently, how have they fueled innovation? One word: FARM (Fresh. Authentic. Real. Modern)

We see through Jon's presentation just how much Kraft has evolved during his 2 years at the company. Engaging the customers and working with the customers to deliver products that are consistently real, modern and approachable. That's whats great about Kraft- the approachability. What makes Kraft a continued success is that they are able to merge mid-range price points with high-quality packaged goods. It's comfort, it's Kraft and it's now.

We encourage you to check out what's new at Kraft.
How can we add Design + Marketing to create something more valuable? The organization that figures this out will have a sustainable competitive advantage. Some say Target, P&G and Apple are farther ahead than many. The panel gives real ways to move closer together.

Kirsten Lynch makes a great point about how design and business schools work together to co-create. How do we bring it into curriculum? This is a key factor in design + marketing. See MCAD, Minneapolis is doing something great there with the current Sustainable Integrated Marketing class.

Dance as a metaphor, Moira Cullen provides us with a view of primitive nature of the research tools we have today. Design is a challenge to research and it needs to be handled like the art form it is: with careful consideration. Advancements are being made and academia is helping find new ways to understand the complexities of the human subject.

Jon Denham talks about how it takes months for a new agency to enter into a partnership with a corporation. It should take time because the strength is in the depth of the relationship. Bobby Calder gives us the academic view of how marketing and design can work together to achieve something greater.

This is a great panel of thinkers providing an insightful view of the future of marketing and design working together toward the same successful future.

Moderated by Steven DuPuis, DUPUIS; Bobby Calder, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY; Moira Cullen, THE HERSHEY COMPANY, Jon Denham, KRAFT FOODS, Kirsten Lynch, QUAKER
Key words: Collaboration (the over used word in the room), Over testing (the big white elephant in the room),

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal, Capsule
Capsule's Blog
Morgans Hotel Group caters to "The Maximizer" - affluent, sophisticated, hard working and ever so fashionable. It's the rock star mentality and luxury is key - this ain't the Holiday Inn. From original Mapplethorpe photos to a triple king sized bed with ceiling plasma screens - it's a new canvas and an original in the hotel space.

Fred Kleisner's presentation today gave us a glimpse into this gorgeous world, and frankly it's drool-worthy. Take a moment and check out the properties that Morgan's owns throughout the US.

Morgans Hotel Group

The branding for Morgan's starts at the beginning, when a guest books their stay at one of the properties. The website, clean, simple, classic while utilizing only Helvetica exemplifies the experience and gives the guest an instant feeling that this is something different, this will be an experience, not a simple hotel stay.

"If our customers knew we were a chain ... they'd never come back." Fred Kleisner
Welcome to our third and final day of coverage at FUSE 2010. This week, we’ve heard several great speakers and industry leaders who dove into current design, innovation and branding trends. But there’s so much more to come! Today’s line up includes a Fred Kleisner’s keynote at 8:00am followed by panel discussions, networking breaks and track sessions. Our team’s coverage continues today as we share in the twitter discussion at #FUSE2010. You can also follow us at our own Twitter feed, @NextBigDesign.

Have a great time today!

FUSE 2010 Event Team
How has Morgans built a portfolio of brand experiences?

One: borrowing from the celebrity brand. Two: coveting maximizers as their primary guest. Three: Innovating desire and translating current culture.

Borrowing from Celebrity: You can't borrow if you don't have something to give back. Morgans Hotel overflows with what it gives back to celebrities who identify with Morgans hotel.

If you don't believe, walk into the lobby of The Delano on south beach.

Morgans Hotel: We create a vibe, we engage, we put you on the stage, we are your audience, we are inspired by the icons who have it, we take you to a feeling, we are a loosely nit confederacy of brands, we are innovators of desire.

We are the hotelier for those who have It.

If you still don't believe, you'll have to visit and experience it.

Morgan Hotels
Fred Kleisner, Morgans Hotel Group

Thank you Fred, you have started off this Friday's session with an immersion into designed experiences.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal, Capsule
Capsule's Blog
Degree was originally launched by Helene Curtis NA brand to serve as a dual gender deodorant. After Unilever inheirted the brand from Helene Curtis, the Degree brand was split into Degree Men and Degree Women - proven to be a great success. The design for Degree has changed throughout the years from the spectrum imaging to the packaging - though keeping with their target audience preference (over-engineered males) proved to be difficult until Zunda Group was brought on board to help solidify the brand's imaging.

Zunda Group worked to define the elements that say masculinity not just in the USA but throughout the globe. They discovered that the American demographic was far different than that of Europe - yet the underlying meanings of masculinity were the same.

Quick homework - check out Rexona's European definition of masculinity vs. the Degree American definition.

Designing a beautiful new home versus another trailer on top of a trailer.

Nothing against people who stack double wide homes on top of each other. But it just isn't ideal to add new trailer homes on top of older trailer homes. Degree, for men as a brand was doing just this as they made changes to their portfolio of products.

Along comes a new leadership and relationships. And a new Degree.

Using the Gatorade lightening bolt as an example, Degree takes on the check mark an iconic element. The results are more visible at the shelf and more distinctive in a highly crowded category. The package is more elegant, premium and appealing to the core audience.

But, was this design a catalyst for culture change? Did we miss the point.

As a contrast, Schroeder Milk, redesigned their organization by starting with their package. This change helped them sell more, sell better and create a more sustainable business. More important, the new design helped them see the world from a new perspective and create the change they had not seen before the redesign.

Design can be a catalyst for cultural change. And, Degree is a great example of excellence in design, but not necessarily an example of a catalyst for culture change.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal, Capsule
Capsule's Blog
It’s all about bringing humanity back to air travel with JetBlue. Most people want TV, legroom and unlimited brand name snacks with a full can (yes!) of soda. Although other airlines are taking drastic measures to cut costs; JetBlue evolves, believing that it’s imperative that they keep the customers human. To increase profitability; JetBlue invites customers to upgrade their experience to an even better flight and an even better way to get from point A to point B. In 2008, JetBlue introduced Terminal 5 in New York City’s JFK airport that offered healthy foods, visually stunning grandstands and a comfortable space to wait for their next flight.

At their 10 year anniversary, JetBlue is looking forward by following three rules:

1. Listen
2. Be Curious
3. Keep it Simple


JetBlue’s five brand values of Nice, Fresh, Smart, Stylish and Witty
Surprising to you?

To mark their 10 year anniversary, JetBlue decided to unveil a new tail design – from spelling out the word “ten” to using the Roman numeral for 10 – “X” and the team came up with a fresh, innovative pattern that departed from JetBlue’s traditional blue color and brought in orange – in a big broad way.

Be on the lookout for JetBlue's new website updates - super secret for now. Also, JetBlue's new enhancements will help customers get what they want when they travel - while staying true to JetBlue's core DNA.
Why is the middle a place to get squished?

As an economist and business strategy professor at Harvard University, Michael Porter originally gave the world the idea of never being in the middle.

Ultimately, based on economic models, every category eventually has only two competitors. One is built on being innovative. The other is price driven. In discount retail, Target vs Walmart is an easy example to see this idea in action. Where is Kmart? Stuck in the middle. Understood?

Now, onto the presentation by Moira Cullen, Erin Paul and George Argyros.

How do you bring change to a larger organization? By having the same people do the same things? Perhaps not. New people doing new things, yes. Who inside an organization is the advocate for new ideas from the outside? Who is willing to face the risk of change. This is your client. This is the person who needs to be a leader in design. This is also the person most likely to be stuck in the middle which is why collaboration has to be acted upon, not just used as a buzz word.

We need more leaders in design, inside organizations. We need more leaders like Moira Cullen.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal, Capsule
Capsule's Blog
Circles and waves. They look similar from a broader perspective. So, when we look recessionary behaviors, they seem familiar. And, when we see a brand we are familiar with but many are not, we see circles. What inspired this?

We have been discussing this brand for years: Calpis.

Not because we're fans of a Japanese soda with limited availability, but because of the amusing name. Here we are sitting in a marvelous speech about how the recession has impacted branding a packaging and there is Calpis on the screen. While the name is odd, the product is a healthy drink that seems to be catching on around the world.

Calpis is popular in a recessionary economy. It is popular because it is an accessible indulgence. It has been grouped with a large variety of other food products (Haagen Das, Trader Joe's, Waitrose, Doo, La Boite and Chicken Pecker) which are benefiting from recessionary consumer behaviors.

Great sample of brands and viewpoint by Marcus Hewitt and Eric Zeitoun of Dragon Rouge

Note: the Chichen Pecker just couldn't go without a link to The Dieline.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal, Capsule
Capsule's Blog

Joseph Dzialo of Hasbro presents a case-study of how Hasbro created the successful campaign around Transformers - allowing Hasbro their big break internationally. Want to know more about Transformers? Check out their history here.

When creating the 2007 feature film, Hasbro and Michael Bay worked to create a product that was modern and exclusively for a younger male demographic - sophisticated, technologically driven (who happened to like Megan Fox).

Although Hasbro competed against others in the toy & game industry - they saw a 33% increase in sales. Hasbro works to showcase their brands offline and online - their strategy "Reimagine! Reinvent! Reignite!"

By strengthening their global markets - Hasbro is truly aiming to be "more than meets the eye."
Who in the world is Ronald de Vlam?

He is NOT the heir to a small beer fortune. His grandfather did have a popular brand of beer with horseshoes on the label. Originating from Holland, a country taking credit for advancements in Peanut Butter (not at all relevant). Ronald is also the guy giving us a historical walk through the beer making process. Also the person speaking in an elegant dutch accent.

The combination is intoxicating.

The reason he is NOT an heir to a beer fortune is found in the behaviors of the brands that did create fortunes. For instance, how many people have opened a toggle from Grolesh? That's a designed experience? And, then consider how Stella, Beck and Heinekin have become iconic regionally and in some cases internationally.

Great perspective by Ronald. Great perspective on beer brands.

The only thing missing? Beer.

Aaron Keller
Our Blog
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The only real constant is people will always say "the only constant is change."

While the use of the quote above has slowed the intellectual output in this session, Jamie Oliver is writing an inspired life story. And, yes we are disappointed that he is not here, but we understand. Though, Jamie you will have to answer to Kitty Hart at some point in time, she is your biggest fan and her disgust with your absence was obvious.

But, back to what we love about you Jamie. Mr. Oliver is designing experiences around food. As an experience design firm we can appreciate someone with the inspiration to design a better future for kids and anyone who eats food.

Restaurant 15. Jamie took 15 unemployed people and trained them to be chefs and turned out a functioning and now award winning restaurant.

Jamie has made a tremendous impact on our planet and even TED has noticed with his recent speech and wish to the TED audience.

Aaron Keller
Our Blog
Our Book
In today's session, Cheryl discussed the following Socio-Economic Trends Post-Recession:
Imperfection, Renewal, Masquerade and BioDesign.

We are yearning for humanity and that equals imperfection, gone are the days of everything being perfect - especially with brands. Take a moment and check out the handmade movement, Etsy.com, for a great representation. Items/products that are disstressed, imperfect, "urban renewal" - repurposing the things that existed before are now replacing the polished perfect items of pre-recessionary America. People want to be different, to be flawed, to be human. Artifact-driven stores, hand written notes, imperfect materials. Think imperfection is only for lower price points? Think again, luxury brands have taken notice of the movement - artisanal vocabulary striving to be unique with perhaps a touch of nostalgia.

Another trend is the renewal trend, helped to make famous by Michael Pollan - using the earth and focusing on wholesome foods instead of organic labels. Also, civic re-purposing - making the cities and nature co-exist with an influx of parks. Keep your eye out for taking organic, natural forms and re-purposing it for indoor living. But what about transportation? Freecycling, hybrid cars make sustainability easy.

Other renewal trends include, small batches, simple ingredients, locavores, transparent ingredients and back to nature/nostalgic experiences are all new ways to explore the grocery store and the foods we eat. Check out Unpackaged in London.

Look around at the masquerade movement - Alice in Wonderland, Avatar, Twilight - its about making fantasy and dreams - putting on a new identity. We wear masks online in virtual worlds, creating fantasy out of the mundane (think status messages on Facebook). But also in the real world, wig sales are up - who would have thought? We are becoming characters of ourselves, different versions of ourselves. Look at the character-driven advertising like Gwen Stefani's Harijuku girls and beyond for examples.

What other trends are you seeing? Let us know!
Winning her wallet by meeting her mind.

Dr. Gray goes underneath how the shopper buys. Going beyond basic psychology and sociology, he goes deep into how we can get attention and motivate our shopper. And, we have very little time to become either the good guy or the bad guy.

This is giving us some nourishing research to start this conference off right.

Some more insight into his viewpoint.

Aaron Keller
From diapers to believing in an ideal.

He started with tattooed babies and his history at P&G. From there his journey to teaching (The CMO Experience) and to a rather large study he is conducting on the most engaging brands today (engagement is a valuable word). Then, he finished with an internal ad by Harley-Davidson which included this quote, "We believe what you sit on tells the world exactly where you stand." Nicely done.

Jim Stengel, you had me at hello.

We're now following (stalking) you at:

Aaron Keller
Our thanks to our conference chairwomen, Debbie Millman and Cheryl Swanson for once again hosting FUSE. This year we're bigger than ever and we sincerely thank both Debbie and Cheryl for their commitment to the event.

This morning we heard from each of our chairwomen as they welcomed FUSE participants with short histories of design and popular culture, fueling us with the knowledge of the past and spurring innovation for the future. We heard about Debbie's childhood collection of candy packaging - really! Cheryl discussed the cycle of culture, attitudes and shifts in design sensibility. We hope you plan to join us next year to hear from both Debbie and Cheryl.

Stay tuned for more great coverage of today's speakers! Don't forget, join the conversation on Twitter with #FUSE2010.
Welcome to the first main conference day of FUSE 2010! We're looking forward to full day of industry leaders providing you the latest case studies, panels and innovative discussions. We encourage you to follow FUSE 2010 event coverage and share with your colleagues.

Today we are thrilled to welcome conference chairwomen, Debbie Millman and Cheryl Swanson at 8:00am. Immediately following their presentation, we welcome Jim Stengel as he presents “Applied Leadership, Amazing Results.” The rest of today is packed with an incredible line up of industry thought-leaders and innovators – enjoy!

As a reminder, if you're attending the conference and twittering from the event, use #FUSE2010 in your tweets. You can follow the discussions on Twitter or on FUSE2010’s own Twitter feed, @NextBigDesign. You can also review details of many of the sessions you may have missed by visiting the FUSE 2010 Design Blog for the latest presentation posts, including video clips.

Have a great day!

The FUSE Event Team
Cultural Evolution by Debbie Millman.

If we believe it, we make it true. The earth was flat, not a theory, not a thought, but a fact in many minds until we discovered our planet's roundness. Funny, an organization still believes this fact to be true, the Flat Earth Society. Amusing? Sad? Creative? Stubborn? Perhaps all of these, but culturally reflective.


Debbie Millman gives us a bit of her history woven into how we adopt cultural change. She revealed a view of her collections, obsessiveness and view of social revolution. We got some great insight into how she has achieved what she has in life.

We also got a great view of the universe, the culture of commerce and our natural desire to worship brands. And, giving thanks to the original, our country's first supermarket.


Looking back is a great way to start "reclaiming the future." Thank you Millman.

Aaron Keller
Thanks to everyone for a great start to FUSE 2010! We invite you to view our Flickr feed for highlights from Wednesday's Symposium and Full Day Creativity & Innovation Workshop.


FUSE 2010 Day 1

Making sustainablity as a primary aspect of the project was key when Deutsch Design Works and Sprint created and launched the sustainable mobile device, the Reclaim. The Reclaim offered a great opportunity to create a premium perception of the mobile phone while also being environmentally friendly. Creating the mobile device was lead by the objectives of shopability, driving the customer to try the device - making it user and Earth friendly. Creating the accessories for the device also proved to be an opportunity to create simple, sustainable and approachable designs for the device. We encourage you to check out the specs on how Sprint reduced their packaging waste - it's astounding. Sprint Reclaim website.

Also - don't forget to participate in Sprint's mobile phone recycling program! visit green.sprint.com for more info.

Stanley Hainsworth, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, TETHER, INC. shares with us beautiful representations of innovative, vintage and fresh packaging happening now. Hainsworth offers that its the packaging that promotes a solid relationship between a consumer and a brand, it's not just function.

Guiding us through different packaging personas, we're able to see packaging from different sets of eyes - those who design for style over substance, those who work for substance and style to coexist simply. Another persona is that of a thoughtful, smart and look for play and simplicity. Charismatic designs are eye catching, perhaps asymmetrical, fun and perhaps bold with a simplistic modern flair. What's your persona?

Minal Mistry discusses how changes in sustainable packaging have led to the Sustainable Packaging Coalition which works to make packaging safe and healthy for the environment and humans, meets market criteria for performance and cost, is manufactured using clean production tactics and so much more. We encourage you to visit the Coalition's website to learn more.

Greenblue and Sustainable Packaging Coalition work in a closed loop system, Closing the Loop focuses on the end-of-life options commonly available for packaging in the United States, including collection, sorting, and reprocessing technology. Research on the corresponding waste management systems in Western Europe, Australia and Canada allow useful comparisons that measure the United States’ efforts against best and worst waste management practices elsewhere. This information is used to assess the effectiveness of U.S. systems, according to the Sustainable Packaging Coalition's website.

In your packaging design, how often do you consider the environmental impact of your packaging? Have you been influenced by other designs; if so, which ones?

Steven Ginsberg, Director, Strategic Design, MARS, INC. asks us to remember when branding, "Cause No Harm!"

Think of these rules:

If it's broken, fix it - If it's dated, refresh it - If neither, do nothing.

It's so important to understand the brand's promise and essence - while also understanding how to adjust the brand's variants.

Using the Heinz ketchup logo's outline, Steven showcases how important "brand stickyness" is to relaying the product. What other logos can you instantly recognize without seeing the entire logo? Probably most - and those are the successful ones. So take a look at your logos and your branding - is it "sticky"?

Maybe - the Skittles rainbow? From the 1980's to today, the rainbow has undergone quite a few changes. Check them out, notice how not necessarily a logo but a thought, an idea or in this instance a weather occurrence can become the property that "sticks."

For Snickers, Mars, Inc. didn't work to update the logo, they worked to build from the logo, creating a campaign that uses the shape of the snickers logo with witty sayings and phrases - all without actually saying the product's name. "Learn to speak Snacklish" "Patrick Chewing" and others. The team also worked with celebrity Divas and Betty White on a campaign.

Did you know that each M&M had a personality? Wait-M&M's, a candy you eat, have personalities? They sure do! Get to know Super Cool Blue, Sexy Green, Neurotic Orange, Carefree Yellow and Type-A Red. We see how Mars had fun and didn't use a spokesperson but created spokescandies. Now that's some serious candy fun.

So remember the "rules" when branding and, of course, have some fun.

Our thanks to Catalyst Ranch and The Art Institute of Chicago for today's full day creativity and innovation workshop. The day started off with a lovely breakfast in the Chicago Stock Exchange room, brief introductions and then the workshop began. We made our way to the new Modern Wing of the museum, which exceeds expectations both in architecture and works of art. For those of you at FUSE, we highly recommend spending even just an hour at this amazing institution - you'll be truly inspired.

The creativity workshop began with the discussion of Pierre Bonnard's Earthly Paradise.

We discussed how our impressions of the piece differ both from our point of view of the piece and our own artistic backgrounds. Some members of our group had their first impression as a smells, while others saw particular components of the piece in varying orders. We encourage you to take a moment to view the work and let us know your first impressions.

Again, we are live on-site at FUSE and we invite you to join our conversation on Twitter, just use #FUSE2010. For pictures of the workshop and pictures of the event, check out our Flickr feed.
Not to undercut the gals from Lego at their presentation this morning, but here are three additional instances off the top of my head for inspirational uses of Lego.

8-Bit Trip by Rymdreglage
(they showed this one briefly, but trust me, you have to see the whole video)

Honda "Jazz" ad

The Berlin Repair Manifesto, wherein a student fixes crumbling buildings, and patches WWII bullet holes around Berlin, using Lego bricks as mortar. Who says innovation has to use the latest tools? After all, folks are still using pencil and paper, no? Man, I still love Lego.

Prescott Perez-Fox is a designer and blogger in New York. This post also appears on his blog, perez-fox.com
FUSE 2010 starts on Wednesday and our team will be live covering the event. Be sure to look here for blog posts covering many of the sessions as well as following @NextBigDesign on Twitter for live coverage from the event. If you're unable to join us, but still want to join the online conversation, be sure to mark your tweets #FUSE2010.
Time is Running Out to Join Us at the Leading Branding & Design Event.

FUSE has doubled in size from 2009! Over 400 of the most creative and visionary minds around the world are joining together next week in Chicago to quench their thirst for Information, Inspiration and Community.

If there is one year you can't miss this event - this is it.

Register today to secure your spot.

2010 Keynotes include:
• Ray Kurzweil, World Renowned Inventor and Futurist
• Phil Duncan, Global Design Officer, The Procter & Gamble Company
• Phyllis Aragaki, Director, Target Creative Studio, Target Corporation
• TJ McCormick, General Manager, Brand Design, Jet Blue
• Fred Kleisner, President & CEO, Morgan Hotels Group
• Rick Valicenti, Co-Founder Moving Design, Design Director, Thirst
• Warren Berger, Author, Glimmer: How design can transform your life and maybe even the world
• Jim Stengel, President/CEO, The Jim Stengel Company, LLC, Adjunct Professor, UCLA Anderson School of Management, Former Global Marketing Officer, The Procter & Gamble Company

Plus! Home to the 1st Annual International Dieline Packaging Awards

We hope to see you in Chicago! Register today

At Visual Swirl, Leighton Taylor looks ponders how web sites should be designed. They are a tool that can prove relevance, but aren't as important or constant as a logo. At the same time, there should be a usable design and show the personality of the brand.

A great point Taylor brings up is that while the design of great webpages has changed over the years, the great permanent structures stay can be beneficial to a brand. Their examples are Amazon and Apple.

Read the full article here.
In my last post, we looked at the power of iconic brands in shaping the design and brand landscape and I think what’s probably interesting is to now take that thinking one step further and - in my last post before FUSE – think about the power of designing a new era.

There are many notable beacons in brand business where we can see the power of design value embraced throughout an organization. Method, Apple and B&O to name but three have consistently invested in - and reaped the rewards from- good design. In addition, there are also mega successful retailers, like Target in the US and Waitrose in the UK, that have a tangible appreciation of the power of design running throughout touch-points such as packaging and in-store environment.

Forward-thinking brand owners and brand marketers have already realized a long-term investment in design and understand the power of design to transform brands. They see design as a crucial component of success and understand that they are commissioning an essential skill (not service) as the foundation of growth.

The challenge for brands now – particularly in light of the recent economic uncertainty – is to design the look of a new era; a new era that values the impact of design in business. It’s about influencing through the shock of the new and using design as a catalyst for change and with the power to build commercially effective futures.

However, regardless of all this it is the consumer who ultimately has the power. When we think of brands like Mini which goes counter to the trend for bigger cars or Target which takes a worldly approach to its design, it is design in every case which is intelligently clothing a powerful thought and presenting it in such a way which creates irresistible, must-have desire. In a well-run business, consumer reaction to this kind of design translates directly to a healthy bottom line.

We can reclaim the future by understanding that we hold the power to design a commercially effective future.

Jonathan Ford, Creative Partner Pearlfisher, will be presenting at the IIR’s annual FUSE event – FUSE: Reclaim The Future – with the Jamie Oliver team on 15 April 2010, Chicago http://www.iirusa.com/fuse/home.xml
To find out more about Jamie Oliver and Jme, check out http://www.jamieoliver.com/

Louisiana is taking their turn on voting for their license plates. The LSU license plate in the state of Louisiana is up for a redesign, and Louisiana State University fans can choose the next re-design of their plate. In addition for sporting one of these plates, proceeds also go towards scholarships for the university. Voting is taking place until April 14.

Source: The News Star

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