It is a strange fault of mine that I am obsessed with the acquisition of knowledge. I browse articles, attend lectures, scan twitter feeds, read books, watch interviews, and jump in beyond small talk in real-life conversations. I want to know things, dammit. Amid the numbers, the facts, the tutorials, top ten lists, and the war stories, a fair bit of advice gets tucked in there.

If you're like me, you have a constant stream of internet yammering flowing through brain, and given enough time you will hear a lot of advice that not only differs from what you just read five minutes earlier, but in many cases apposes it entirely. Where someone gives you advice, you can just as easily find anti-advice. It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that some questions don't have answers. There is no silver bullet, x doesn't mark the spot.

First Job-Hunting
I recently replied to a hugely generic post about how young designers should go about finding their first design job. Some tips are ever-green, but broad advice like "keep learning" really has nothing to do with graphic design or with finding a first job — it's rather general, don't you think? The trouble is, there's nothing full-proof, no single set of action items that will yield an awesome job. What's worse is that the tips from industry pros vary just as widely those from the job-hunters. One day a hiring manager will say "do something bold, impress me" and his partner will say "show you can fall in line, show you're mature and disciplined."

Most of us in the design business work toward a point where we don't have to continue active marketing efforts. We roll our eyes and thought of sending out email blasts and holiday cards, buying ad words and sponsoring events. So how do we keep the projects coming in without having to keep up the marketing side? Answering the age-old question 'Where do Clients Come From?' yields many answers. Some swear by local meetups while others have brought in global business through their Twitter connections. Others will put the effort in to being featured in books and magazines, hoping to raise their profile. There is no 'correct' way to market one self, and some will even go the other route entirely, and say don't do anything and redirect all efforts toward the projects at hand.

Giving yourself a title
Here's another conundrum: what do you call yourself? In many cases, the catch-all term 'designer' will suffice, but what if you don't exactly fit into a well-established category? Or worse, what if your practice doesn't have an accepted set of job titles. For example, what are people in branding called? Branders? There's loads of ridiculous titles to choose from, and lately I run into a lot of folks who call themselves Rock Stars or Oracles in whatever field. Maybe you shouldn't have a title at all, and just make sure people know what you do, rather than what the person who does it is called. Just be sure to avoid anything that sounds like "Life explorer, multimedia storyteller, experience architect" or anything that could be a euphemism for "unemployable stoner."

Laying out a Portfolio
Everyone has an online presence these days, but there is little consensus as to what is the best way to display work online. I've heard arguments for and against slideshow-style portfolios. Do we build a site with clicking in mind, or scrolling? Should it be Flash to wow potential clients, or dumb old HTML so it works on mobile phones and slow computers? How about presenting large images at the risk of having them stolen, or do we go with thumbnails and force everyone to squint? Amazing how many choices abound once we start thinking about it.

Branding Yourself
This one is funny because most of the people talking about "personal branding" are full of crap. But if you distill all that snake oil, you find that creating a viable graphic identity — what most would consider the tools of branding — is thoroughly important. A strong personal brand is kinda like having a lot like money, it's usually well-earned, but that doesn't mean everyone wants to hear about it. It's just rude.

I'm surely in no position to give advice. My career is a chronicle of the day-by-day, a clumsy improv played upon whatever stage will host me for an hour or an evening. But if you, like me, are constantly seeking the advice of a Guru, just make sure he didn't give himself that title.

Prescott Perez-Fox is an independent brand developer and designer in Metro New York. He tries not to give advice — or anti-advice — on his blog, »
Each Friday leading up to Fuse 2011, we're going to be bringing you an interesting fact that we learned at FUSE 2010. You can find it across the Fuse Network on the Next Big Design Blog, @NextBigDeisgn, the Fuse Facebook Page and the FUSE LinkedIn Group.

This week's fact:
Volkswagen “Fun Theory” changes unhealthy behaviors via “fun” alternatives. For example: “piano stairs”

Do you have a Fuse Design Fact?

Share it with us today and look for another fact next Friday!

To find out more about this year's Fuse, visit the webpage.
FUSE 2011 will share stories of extraordinary inspiration and so much more. It will help you get business done - through the most recent and actionable case studies and opportunities to make the key connections that will drive your business forward. Hear from these brand powerhouses as they share their most successful stories of design, branding, packaging, and more.

Ship It: How You Can Use Facebook's Design Approach to Change the World
- Ben Blumenfeld, Creative Lead, Facebook

Giada De Laurentiis for Target: The Building of a Brand
- Fiona Mitchell, Creative Visioneer and Michelle Mesenburg, Marketing Director, Target

A Good Design is Only Half the Battle
- David Turner, Co-Founder, Turner Duckworth and PioSchunker, SVP Creative Excellence, Coca-Cola North America

And those are just a few of over 50 sessions for you to choose from at FUSE.

To see all of the FUSE 2011 sessions, download the Brochure.
Coming off the heels of the largest FUSE event, this year’s Destination Design Management Conference, has reached record-breaking numbers – with more registered to attend than ever before. 

The design community is responding in a big way – recognizing the need to not only be strategic in their design work but also smart in how they manage their teams and communicate with internal partners and the C-suite.    Destination Design Management is the one and only event that brings together best-in-breed design and creative leaders to discuss the practice of design management.

DESIGN LEADERS TAKING THE STAGE: Target, Publix, OfficeMax, Pitney Bowes, Facebook, GE Healthcare, Method, Publix, Dell, Microsoft, 3M, Anheuser-Busch and many more.

To Design.  Or Not To Design. What Could It Possibly Do For My Business?
John Gleason, former head of Design Procurement at Procter & Gamble, Founder of A Better View Strategic Consulting, LLC.

Building on the guidance and experiences shared by the speakers, John Gleason will close out our conference with his own perspective on "the conversation" with brand, innovation, and corporate leadership regarding the role and value of design.  He’ll share views into the BUSINESS performance of several well-known and lesser-known brands that’ve leveraged design in their businesses and in their organizations... and have prospered as a result of this investment.
Remember the event is taking place in just two weeks, the event is expected to sell out. Register today to reserve your spot  - click here
In the weeks leading up to FUSE 2011, we're going to be hearing from the speakers! This week we have Donna Romeo of Frito-Lay/Pepsico, who will be presenting "How to Drive Empathy into Design: The Case for Anthropology," in the Cultural Anthropology, Insights & Trends on Tuesday, April 12, 2011. To learn more about FUSE, download the brochure here!

1. Tell us about a project you are working on or recently completed that you are proud of?
What does it mean to celebrate and what is an "everyday" celebration?

2. Think ahead 5 years, what major changes for design do you see?
A more seamless melding of design and design research, truly grounded in the social sciences

3. What inspired you to get in the field? What keeps you motivated?
Applied anthropologists are all about making our research useful. Once I began applying my knowledge and skills to the world of the consumer, I became a passionate about helping develop products and services that truly address the lives and needs of people.

4. What is one thing you’re excited about for this year’s Fuse?
Listening to and learning from all the fantastic speakers
Speaker Spotlight - Duane Clare, Director of Design, MSCOM, Microsoft

Session: CHANGING THE CONVERSATION PANEL… Branding Your Team: From Creative Services to Strategic Solution Leaders
Tommy Lynn, Creative Director, Global Creation, Dell
Duane Clare, Director of Design, MSCOM, Microsoft

Duane Clare leads the Digital Design and Production group for, part of Microsoft’s Central Marketing organization. He is a senior Creative Brand strategist and design director with over 20 years experience in the conceptualization, development and deployment of creative and strategic solutions that are grounded in the principles of effective design.

Duane is passionate about establishing credibility and trust with target audiences by energizing a company’s brand at all points of contact. Prior to Microsoft, Duane was Creative Director at Seattle based interactive agency TWG, where he managed corporate strategies for large brands such as IBM, Eddie Bauer, DHL, Nike, and Corbis.

Make sure not to miss Duane's session Branding Your Team: From Creative Services to Strategic Solution Leaders with Tommy Lynn, Creative Director, Global Creation, Dell and Duane Clare, Director of Design, MSCOM, Microsoft at Destination Design Management 2011 in San Francisco, California February 7-9, 2011. Hope to see you all there!

Customers twist brands into commodities: So, is it our fault we get a tiny bag of peanuts on a typical flight from Minneapolis to Salt Lake City? Can we do anything about it? Yes, I believe so.

The idea is simp
le. We, as consumers, seek the best price for the best outcome in anything for which we depart dollars. We seek out emotionally rewarding experiences and rational reasons to justify our decisions to spend. We push brands off a cliff into the chasm of commodities. But, some would argue, the brand owners allow it to happen by allowing price to drive our decisions. By not giving us distinctive, rewarding experiences where we can hang our hat of loyalty. Airlines have done this with more prevalence than most categories. But, check your baggage here, this isn't a typical complaint but rather a suggestion for a way airlines can earn more and improve the experience at the same time. Here it is.

Two options exist for the delicate transfer of our luggage from point A to point B. Which would you prefer?

Option one: Pay $25-$50 per checked bag as you check-in for your flight. Hope your bag of vital clothing gets on the right flight (video: fastest baggage handlers ever) and wait anxiously an extra 10-30 minutes at baggage claim. Watch your bag arrive, potentially damaged (20-30% of the time). Option two: Lug your bag all the way to the gate, hope it fits into the overhead compartment and pay nothing. But, if your bag doesn't fit on the plane, the attendant will tag and carry it to the baggage handler for you. Then, find your bag hand delivered at the doorway of the plane as you exit. Well? Does option two sound more like a luxury to you? Perhaps something for which an airline should charge a fee?

This extraordinary experience happened on a recent flight. A moment when Kitty Hart of Capsule noticed the pile of bags stacked in the way of other passengers like some kind of hurdle challenge. This pile of bags really should have been checked, but wasn't. We paid a fee and had to wait for our bags at baggage claim. Our passenger friends claimed “carry-on” luggage and had their bags whisked away by the flight attendant and delivered back valet-style, for nothing.

Based on this observation, here's a suggestion for option two. Charge $75 for a bag checked at the gate. And charge $150 if you try to bring your bag on board and it doesn't fit. We've all met that bag coming back against boarding traffic as we're trying to find our seat. And while I’m here, please stop handing out smaller bags of peanuts. There are a fair number of passengers who notice and (Mr. and Ms. airline executive) our insults are increasing as the peanut count decreases. Three peanuts per bag equals roughly six muttered curses. Give a reasonable sized bag of nuts or don't give anything at all, and spend the savings thinking about the following questions.

Where has the elegance of airline travel gone? Will it ever come back for the average traveler? What can we do to make it an enjoyable experience for every passenger? What will that do to increase passenger loyalty, decrease complaints, increase revenue and make shareholders happy?

Thank you for flying Air Capsule, where we seek unique ways to design your experience.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal, Capsule

Each Friday leading up to Fuse 2011, we're going to be bringing you an interesting fact that we learned at FUSE 2010. You can find it across the Fuse Network on the Next Big Design Blog, @NextBigDeisgn, the Fuse Facebook Page and the FUSE LinkedIn Group.

This week's fact:

Shell’s “Project Pearl”: commerce and corporate social responsibility amicably co-exist, even in the petroleum business.

Do you have a Fuse Design Fact? Share it with us today and look for another fact next Friday!

To find out more about this year's Fuse, visit the webpage.
My grandfather was a Scoutmaster back in the 1960s. Growing up, he would regale me with stories and photos of the Troop's adventures in Kennedy-era America. My Uncle, predictably, went through the ranks and made Eagle, and while I fizzled out as a Webelo, I see now the influence that Scouting had on me and my future design career.

Boy Scout ranks
Boy Scout rank patches

Whether or not it's popular to admit, the Scouts are based on the military. The ranks and rituals and uniforms associated with protecting a nation are distilled into a pint-sized, commodotised, mostly-harmless pastiche, minus the hazard pay. Militaries, since the time of the Romans, have guarded and controlled their own mythology. As my schoolmates were paying their dues in the world of Scouting, I admit that I was fascinated with the associated mythology they helped propagate. In creating the ranks, the Scouts create their own brand language. Achieving Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle — without falling to the temptations of teenage life — bolsters the mystique and exclusivity of this club. Seasoned Scouts can recite the Meaning of the Boy Scouts Law (A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, etc., etc.) without a second thought, bombarding the listener with a sequence of brand traits. Even the motto "Be Prepared" shows their core values of preparedness, training, diligence, and so forth. A quintessential lesson in brand strategy.

From a graphical point of view, nothing is more captivating than the Merit Badges. These earn-as-you-learn trinkets are essential for progressing in rank, but also create a backdrop to show dedication and aptitude within the Scouting society. There is some debate about the need for a Boy Scout to earn one of the more obscure badges such as Stamp Collecting, but you don't need your Graphic Arts badge to see the beauty in the haphazard pattern they create when arranged side-by-side in neat little rows.

Merit Badges
Boy Scout Merit Badges, aren't they pretty?

The Merit Badge system is more than a subtle influencer for one of the most popular online brands today, Foursquare. The location-based social network awards Badges to users who achieve a set number of reappearances at a certain location or who check in at a particular date and time. I recently earned the Gym Rat badge for returning to my local gym 10 times in a 30-day period (yay January) and won an Epic Swarm badge for being one of many checking in during Snowpocalypse 2011.

Foursquare badges
foursquare badges made actual patches (they're usually just digital).
Foursquare badge: Gym Rat
well-earned Gym Rat badge

Similar to the Scouts, Foursquare uses the badges to reinforce their overall graphic style and lighthearted brand personality. While no single badge can be seen as a work of art, together they create something familiar and powerful.

Foursquare badges
foursquare badges made actual buttons.


Recently, the W3C, the folks who govern web design standards worldwide, released a branding system to serve as website badges for their new standard, HTML5. In building a site with this new technology, designers and webmasters can reward themselves by including one or more of the new icons. Here, a system of sub-brands support the main technology, allowing visitors to the page to see precisely how in-depth the developers went to bring the latest and greatest to this particular site.

HTML5 Badges with your various ranks
HTML5 with technology-specific sub-branding

Somewhat military in their execution, making use of shields and chevrons, this icon system shows us again how a logical set of related graphics can be a powerful tool for branding. A reason for this is that our own human nature used against us — the sudden desire to earn badges affects otherwise level-headed consumers. We want to join the tribe, to participate in the secret society, and be rewarded for our effort — with pixels if nothing else.

HTML5 Badges with your various ranks
closer look at technology-specific website badges

If your brand needs hopes to entice people to participation, try experimenting with a reward system like badges. Reward your tribe for interaction and contribution. Not only will they wear those badges with pride, showing off your brand in the process, but the scheme may ignite something within potential new consumers or clients. It's worked for the Boy Scouts and for Foursquare, so why not for you?

Nerd Merit Badge for Inbox Zero
Inbox Zero

PS, don't forget about Nerd Merit Badges, allowing us grown-ups to display our efficiency in maintaining a zero inbox, for example.

Prescott Perez-Fox is an independent brand developer and designer in Metro New York. Many of his friends are Eagle Scouts, but none are on Foursquare. Read more on his blog, »

Technology infused shopping experience: Give me reason, give me time.

Some game changing technologies are entering retail experience design. If we are mindful of consumer behaviors, the way we shop could feel entirely different in a few years. You may have heard of QR Codes, possibly even pulled out your smart phone and scanned a code, out of curiosity. Then thought, interesting but who would have a reason to do that again?

But, perhaps we simplify and enter Google into the equation with the new Google mobile app allowing you to photograph almost anything and get a search result. This is shown below with Double Cross vodka bottle (a brand in which Capsule is intimately familiar).

Now, let's walk a few months down the path of innovation. Entering from an interesting angle is Near Field Communication. Just place your phone next to something with an RFID chip and interact with the digital side of the brand. Or, if you take this concept a few steps more, purchase the item with your phone and exit the store. It may just change how we define a "store."

So, the extraordinary moment for this week is as follows. It hasn't happened yet, but here's how and when I sense it will occur. October, 2011 walking into a "store," absent someone to help me, I pull out my phone to scan the item. To my surprise a new button appears, "purchase now." The moment is here, purchase made. The smile is wide and my experience extraordinary.

Or the alternative happens.

The security guard (unaware of this new technology) stops me ten steps outside the store and pins me to the hood of the nearest BMW. Then I'll be facing a new (less than) extraordinary experience, and one I likely will not be writing about soon.

Technology is not innovation in itself, but it does spark some interesting change in our collective behaviors. The design of retail experiences is changing, which impacts anyone who makes a purchase and certainly all of us in the brand, design and creative communities.

This is one technology I am ready to have in my life, absent the over zealous security guard.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal, Capsule

Sean Carney
Group Director Consumer Design & Experience, Hewlett Packard

Sean Carney has been creating and leading Global Design teams around the World for the last 20 years – he is passionate about using design to deliver brand value across every touchpoint of the user experience. Sean has been delivering brand and design value for brands such as Electrolux, Rutgerson, Assa Abloy and iitala while living and working in the UK, Italy and Sweden before arriving to the US where he is now building a multi-faceted Global Design team for Hewlett Packard across the US, Asia and Europe.

Make sure not to miss Sean’s session The Infrastructure of a World Class Design Hub
Sean Carney
, Design Director, Global Imaging & Web Services, Hewlett Packard at Destination Design Management 2011 in San Francisco, California February 7-9, 2011. Hope to see you all there!

Bio courtesy: Idsa
Each Friday leading up to Fuse 2011, we're going to be bringing you an interesting fact that we learned at FUSE 2010. You can find it across the Fuse Network on the Next Big Design Blog, @NextBigDeisgn, the Fuse Facebook Page and the FUSE LinkedIn Group.

This week's fact:
Brewer wastes 100k gallons of water processing grain; mushrooms grow on leftovers, which creates eight new revenue generating businesses & slashed eco-footprint.

Do you have a Fuse Design Fact? Share it with us today and look for another fact next Friday!

To find out more about this year's Fuse, visit the webpage.
Lately I’ve been thinking about brands as archetypes. Fulfilling different roles in the consumer psyche allows allows brands to solve problems, and therefore to build emotional relationships with consumers and users. This follows established thinking of brand personality traits, but introduces some fun, vaguely literary, quasi-psychological language.

This can be abstract, I know, but think about the brands you interact with everyday. Maybe you’re a maverick faithful brands like Harley Davidson, Virgin Atlantic, or Urban Outfitters. Perhaps you’re an everyman who shops at Walmart and wears Levi’s. On weekends, you’re an adventurer, kitted up in North Face, Jeep, and Timberland.

There’s no rule that a brand can’t have multiple archetype personalities. For example, both Dell and Apple could call themselves innovators or geeks, but it wouldn’t stop there. Dell is very much the traditionalist or the everyman, while Apple tends towards the lust object or seductress. Adding multiple archetypes brings distinction and clarity in how you write, design, and communicate for your brand.

Discussions with your brand management team may yield unexpected results. I recently had a client describe her brand as a motivator-meets-nurturer, Barack Obama crossed with June Cleaver. These combinations can be a great starting point for strategy and communication, so don't be afraid.

There is a new archetype gaining traction in our consumer culture: The pain-reliever. Our first thoughts might head towards Tylenol, Johnson & Johnson, or 1-800-Mattress, but I’m speaking more broadly. The pain reliever is a brand that solves problems, that plays the good guy, and reinvents the often-painful processes of an established industry. Think of the last time you were on the phone with your bank (for example), dialing through phone trees, and getting put on hold. Painful. When Zappos reinvented phone-based customer service, they earned a reputation for pain relief. Airlines like JetBlue and Southwest seek to cut out the now-expected pain of air travel with no-nonsense pricing and operations. Dropbox is a pain-reliever in the realm of online file hosting services, having built file sync software for any operating system that just works.

So today you have two questions to ask yourself. What are your brand archetypes? And are you relieving someone’s pain? Get some bagels, book a conference room, and start the discussion with your team.

For more information about archetypes, check out Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols, Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces, or
The Hero and The Outlaw, by Margaret Mark & Carol Pearson

Prescott Perez-Fox is an independent brand consultant and designer in New York City. He writes regularly about design and branding on his blog,, and spends a lot of time on Twitter.

2011 is well underway and shaping up to be a year focused on finally getting business done. Coupling inspiration with action, FUSE 11 is all about the business of brands, design, culture and trends. As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of FUSE, we're thrilled to bring you these fabulous new additions:

• FUSE's new proprietary matchmaking program connects you with fellow attendees before the event based on mutual interest - think of it as a just for FUSEsters!
• Distribution of MingleSticks onsite makes exchanging contact info as easy as point and click
• New symposium on social media
• New track on cultural anthropology, insights and trends
• More global perspectives from Hong Kong, Germany, UK, Shanghai and more

Since the 70's, entrepreneur Ian Schrager, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ian Schrager Company, has achieved international recognition for concepts that have revolutionized both the entertainment and hospitality industries. His passionate commitment to the modern lifestyle has been expressed through a series of pioneering concepts.

His keen instincts for the mood and feel of popular culture were honed during the 70's and 80's, when he and his late business partner, Steve Rubell, created Studio 54 and Palladium. Rubell and Schrager soon turned their attention to the hotel business opening Morgans Hotel in 1984, introducing the concept of the "boutique hotel" to the world.

Come hear his legendary story and learn from one of the most visionary minds in business today at FUSE 2011. Download the FUSE Brochure

Download the FUSE 2011 Brochure to find out more about Ian Schrager's presentation and the rest of the program.

Design and Innovation: Estranged Lovers or College Roommates?

Okay, I have something to get off my chest before we get started. It’s about time I come clean. I'm an MBA. Yes, one of those. Went to the Carlson School of Management, studied in Manchester England and graduated with some form of honorable mention.

During this adventure, the word innovation came up often and was given
the title of "the only sustainable competitive advantage." And design seemed to be closely related, as BusinessWeek put both under the same tab online. This struck me as both interesting and rather important. Figured I would do well if I got as close to one or both words.

So, I started a design firm with a partner, designer Brian Adducci.

Now I continue to wonder, are design and innovation BFFs? Kissing cousins? Significant others? Or estranged lovers?

My view is good friends. They’re not attached at the hip, but they do find themselves at the same
parties, hangin' with the same crowd and eating at the same hot spots. They're close, but they don't go hand-in-hand skipping down the boulevard.

Why does this make sense? Let’s consider 3M. The Minnesota company set out to own the concept of innovation. And, by my standards, it has done an exceptional job of this.

My extraordinary moment came when I discovered these games, Mr. Who and Ventures. Both "gamette's" by 3M. Yes, 3M was once producing board games. And as these gather dust in the Capsule library, their aesthetic actually came back around again and now oc
cupies a rather stylish retro place.

3M has always been an interesting and valuable brand in my world. Prestigious, efficient, well managed, plenty of margin and at least partial owner of the word "innovation." But, what I've also found fascinating is how design isn't an area in which 3M has led. Both disciplines are soft and malleable, both are hard to measure, and as previously discussed, they are closely related in some form. Do you associate great design with 3M? It depends on your definition of design and how close you see design and innovation.

Having a recent opportunity to talk with Mauro Porcini, Head of Global Strategic Design for 3M he provided some thoughtful insights. One: he said the definition of innovation is changing and getting closer to design. Its becoming less about the technological innovation and more about innovating a customer experience. Two: if you define design only as aesthetics, you're not seeing the larger view of design as a way of thinking and how, I quote, "design can put the love back into the corporation."

This will be an interesting discussion by Mauro Porcini, at FUSE in April. I think you'll want to hear more about his vision on design, and I certainly want to know if he thinks design and innovation are kissing cousins, college roommates or estranged lovers.

Aaron Keller

Managing Principal, Capsule

Rita Armstrong
Recruiter for Designers, Roz Goldfarb Associates

Rita Armstrong
joined RGA in 1986. Over the years Rita has recruited in Product, Architectural, Digital, Corporate, and Consumer Design. Currently she heads up all creative placement at Roz Goldfarb Associates for Consumer and Corporate Branding. Rita works on both a retained and contingency basis for a diverse client base including corporations, consultancies, marketing communication firms, and design boutiques.

Rita’s clients have come to rely on her as a successful business partner and appreciate her professional no pressure approach to finding them the design talent they need. Candidates have found her to be a trusted advisor and champion. Rita graduated from Fordham University with a BA in Communications and applied her writing and speaking talents to advertising, theatre, publishing, and non-profit work before joining RGA.

Make sure not to miss Rita’s session It’s Not Just About Your Portfolio Anymore:
The Pedigree of the Most Desired Talent
at Destination Design Management 2011 in San Francisco, California February 7-9, 2011. Hope to see you all there!
Year after year, FUSE delivers the Stories, Lessons, and sense of Community you need to achieve excellence. Our theme in 2011 focuses on the overarching value of what FUSE is meant to be - a home for Sharing Extraordinary. Where brand strategists, future forward visionaries, design enthusiasts and packaging experts from today's most powerful and celebrated brands exchange groundbreaking stories on what's next, what's next and what matters most.

Featured Sessions:
-Becoming a Design-Sensitive Company from 3M
-For the Love of Packaging: Design for the Relationship and Experience from Meijer
-Building Iconic Brands from Procter & Gamble
-How You Can Use Facebook's Design Approach to Change the World from Facebook
-Leveraging Trends to Build Brands from Bath & Body Works

Visionary speakers:
• Jonathan Harris, Anthropologist, Co-creator of We Feel Fine
• Michio Kaku, Famed Futurist, Physicist and TV Personality
• Karim Rashid, World Renowned Designer
• Ian Schrager, Chairman & CEO, Ian Schrager Company

Share Extraordinary this April in Chicago. As a FUSE LinkedIn Member use priority code FUSE11Blog2 to 15% off the standard rate. Last year we sold out, so register early to secure your spot!

Visit the Fuse Homepage for more details.
Download the agenda here.
Rio 2016 logo, unveiled on Jan. 1

Isn't it a bit early in the year to be talking Olympic logos? Not so, according to the authorities in Brazil who unveiled the logo for the upcoming, but still faraway, 2016 games in Rio de Janiero. Not wasting any time, the blogs grabbed hold with both eyes. Creative Review and Brand New both feature in-depth looks at the logo unveiling and the few graphic materials available. Tátil, the firm responsible for the design, has posted an online case study about the project.

London 2012, not exactly the most popular Olympic logo of memory
In the wake of the London 2012 logo, unveiled in 2007, the design community and sports-watching public at large are in search of some rock-solid validation for any design decisions which may be initially perceived as wacky or unconventional. Apparently, though, we are getting just that.

Rio 2016 logo
Based on the profile of a mountain

The logo for Rio 2016 is made of three abstract human figures, joining hands in harmony and cooperation — a fine notion for a global games. But the shape of the logo is also based on the iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain which overlooks Rio. Finally, if you look hard enough, you can see the word "Rio", although this one is a stretch, even for those who work with type and shape on a daily basis. A custom script rounds out the offering and sets the stage for the larger visual style of the games. The strength of this logo is that it is organic and flowing, perhaps in deliberate contrast to the angular and sterile look of London's offering. With 3D applications in mind, the logo is already beginning to come alive.

Rio 2016 logo
3D applications taken into consideration from the start

Olympics logos are no longer simply a matter of stamping a city name and year on a bunch of crappy merchandise. The challenge in these modern times is to create an all-encompassing graphic language that is applied to signage, clothing, on-screen graphics, merchandise, websites, advertising, packaging, architecture, and virtually every other form of mass media or design. To this end, we have yet to see how the hosts will expand their logo into more of an experience. Considering these are the people responsible for Carnival every spring, they've got their work cut out.

We will watch this one with great interest.

Rio 2016
Rio's candidate logo

It's also worth noting how different this was from the bid logo, pictured above. London's too was quite different.

London 2012
London 2012 final logo (left) and candidate logo
Mark Andeer
Vice President, Brand Strategy, Marketing

Mark Andeer is the Vice President of Brand Strategy for OfficeMax where he oversees the company’s entire brand direction and manages the development, execution and measurement of OfficeMax’s branding initiatives in the United States and internationally.

During his career at OfficeMax, Mr. Andeer has been instrumental in developing award-winning campaigns including the viral holiday phenomenon “ElfYourself” and hidden camera “Penny Pranks” videos for back-to-school. In 2009, he helped reposition the OfficeMax brand to target women with more stylish, creative and affordable products, services and shopping experiences.

Prior to joining OfficeMax, he led the creative department as Creative Director of BBDO Minneapolis and supported brands such as Pontiac and Cadillac as Art Director for DMB&B. He has also held the positions of designer for MTV Networks, Art Director for WAMI Television, and Art Director for Lowe where he personally managed the Burger King Kid’s account with over $170 million in annual billings.

Here's an interesting article from Promo Magazine on Mark's involvement in the "Elf Yourself" viral campaign from OfficeMax.

Make sure not to miss Mark's session Work. Style. How Fashion and Design can Inspire the Workplace at Destination Design Management 2011 in San Francisco, California February 7-9, 2011. Hope to see you all there!

Bio courtesy of Channel Advisor
Fifteen weeks until the FUSE Conference. Fifteen quick weeks until you have the chance to consume some provocative perspectives and inspiring stories. Fifteen weeks until we immerse ourselves in the inviting pool of design thinking and conversation.

Here's what Capsule will be doing over the next fifteen weeks: Sharing experiences.

We are taking a journey. We may not physically travel far, but we will go vast distances in our world perspective. We will be publishing 15 extraordinary experiences to share with the FUSE audience each Tuesday in the lead up to the Conference.

We are not just seeking grand moments, but the minuscule, everyday insights as well. Because sometimes we learn big things from little moments in life. These are the moments when you look around and wonder, "was this moment designed just for me?"

Experience one: Design Leadership.

I recently keynoted an event at the Color Marketing Group in Portland, Oregon. As a part of the event I was given a gift from Nike, a box of flash cards. The cards depicted the heritage of Nike in photos and corresponding stories. The contents were interesting, but it was the cover that delivered my extraordinary moment. A quote by Phil Knight as his first reaction to the Nike swoosh logo design. See above.

He said, "Well, I don't love it, but it will grow on me."

Stop and think about Phil's quote for a moment. Now consider what that logo has become.

The Nike swoosh went on to symbolize the constant pursuit of athletic fitness for at least three decades. It is an iconic element and shows up derivatively in many other logos (appropriate or not). And, beyond the Harley Davidson logo, it’s the only other one I've seen tattooed on someone. Imagine being present when Phil Knight had the leadership capacity to see beyond his own preferences in the moment, and be open to the possibilities what a symbol could come to represent.

An extraordinary moment as I looked at this line and realized, yes, that was a big decision and yes, that's leadership. Design leadership.

Certainly the Nike brand faces the most challenging competitive situation it has for the past three decades. But, as we see fashions come and go, leadership and the belief systems built into an organization – its very culture - are what make the long-term impact.

Capsule is an experience design firm. We are those people in your life who seek to design extraordinary moments.

If you have extraordinary experiences you'd like us to share, please contact us.

Aaron Keller

Managing Principal, Capsule


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