There seems to be growing curiosity around the idea of “Designing the Conversation.”

Here’s our origin story for this concept. Social media has been a superb lubricant for digital conversations, but sometimes it seems more like a barrage of irrelevance versus an authentic conversation. I believe this has to do with too much emphasis on the “broadcast advertising” approach to social media. Some of the old constructs are brought over into this new medium and they serve to corrupt the original intent and greater purpose it can serve.

Design: To prepare the preliminary sketch; to form or conceive in the mind; to assign in thought or intention; purpose.

So, designing the conversation creates a contrast in your mind. Design by definition, slows something down and extends it, making it more valuable over a longer period of time.

Conversation: An interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between people.

Conversation isn’t understood as a visual exercise, and design is misperceived as only visual. But, if you’ve spent enough time in design you know it is not relegated to a visual activity. Visual language can start, contribute and extend a conversation.

By designing a conversation, we are more thoughtful in our orchestration of a conversation. This serves as a contrast with the typical social media tactic of poking someone in the eye with the intention of garnering attention and interest in your brand. This doesn’t mean it can’t be casual vs. formal or playful vs. serious; these are mere representations of tone. The design of the conversation can take as many paths as we can collectively imagine.

The design of a conversation is a deliberate act — mindful and respectful of the audience. Its intention is clear and the outcome should capture engagement, interest and eventually loyalty.

Here are some other related words you know but may have not looked closely at in the recent past:  

Discussion: Consideration or examination by argument, comment, etc., especially to explore solutions; informal debate.

Dialogue: An exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, especially a political or religious issue, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement.

Communication: The imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.

From this post forward, we will be observing and deliberating on the discussions a brand has with audiences. We will articulate our findings here, weekly for this blog series.

If you have a designed conversation you’d like to submit for consideration, please comment, send us a link or email the details.

Thank you,


Color is deadly essential to a website as it not only defines the focus of a web page but evokes the emotion of the site, and in most cases it even represents the branding of a company’s website. Part of what makes a great web design “great” is layout, typography and color. When each of these aspects work to compliment each other, great design is born.

The right colors will help web designers provide users with certain emotional impacts. Colors not only have an impact on or vies, they also provide other, stronger stimulations. Color affects our feelings, perceptions, and interactions. You can use colors to make a user feel welcomed, comfortable, relaxed, and secure. So, before choosing the colors of your design, it is important to know the varying dimensions and color and what they represent in web design.

FUSE is back.

Capsule will again attend to provide commentary and thoughts on the subjects delivered by lecturers. While the agenda is yet to be set, we are in a state of curiosity as to how these conference leaders will design the 2014 conversation.

We've explored the idea of “design the conversation” for a few years now. When asked to help our clients in social media, this has been our point of origin in the thinking that goes into social media planning. We've found it sets the right frame for building a social practice inside an organization.

So, it figures we’d want to set up a platform of conversations we’d like to see happen at FUSE this year.  

History of FUSE: the conference has been around long enough to cover some history – not in the traditional manner, but in form that identifies the patterns and how they interrelate over time. The subjects within might include: type trends, dramatic moments, people who shocked the audience, failures (honesty is the new black), and perhaps even more details on the original story of FUSE.

Good Design, Bad Design: design is entering the board room with titles like CDO (chief design officer), which is a great moment but could also be a passing trend if those taking the seat don’t have answers to some provocative questions like “what is good design?” What better place to have this designed discussion than where thought leaders gather (FUSE) to discuss all things design?

Research + Design + Matrimony: let’s be honest, nothing in commerce survives the scrutiny of metrics and design isn’t going to get a pass with the statement, “Apple didn’t do research.” The two disciplines can get together for a happy marriage; we just need to be honest and respectful of each other. Let’s find a way to make these two fall in love and live happily ever after – we’ll all reap the rewards.

That’s the start of our list. Do you have others to add? We’d like to hear them either in comments or tweets. The time for design has come of age, we need to earn a permanent seat in the leadership of organizations.

Managing Principal

Director of Client Experience

Creativity is something that many look beyond, but creativity is one of the greatest qualities we can be lucky enough to have, but many never allow their true creativity to be expressed.

Our ability to express our deepest feelings is at the core of the importance of creativity. As humans we have a very strong need to express ourselves and we're happiest when other people understand what we are trying to get across to them.

We can all benefit from a boost to our creative juices. Those who are truly creative don’t copy what others do; instead, they may use innovative ideas from others as a springboard to come up with a unique product for themselves. They tend to distance themselves from the competition rather than compete with them. If they see another company or person copying what they do, they create something even better. Put simply, they are able to leverage their creativity and innovative capabilities to attain success.

So, would you like to be more creative than you are right now? According to Daniel Burrus, CEO of research and consulting firm Burrus Research, here are 10 ways you can accomplish just that.

Sharpen your senses. Creative people have developed their ability to observe and to use all of their senses, which can get dull over time. So, it’s time for you to sharpen the blade.

Read things you don’t normally read. Innovation is based on knowledge, therefore you need to always be expanding your knowledge.

Defer judgement. Be careful about how you are perceiving things as your perceptions can limit your reasoning.

Practice guided imagery. This way you can visual see your concept come to life.

Take a break from your ideas. Let your ideas incubate by taking a break from them. It can shift your mind to another place and help you be more creative.

Experience as much as you can. Exposure puts more ideas into your subconscious. Actively seek out new experiences to broaden your experience portfolio.

Treat patterns the problem. Recognizing a new pattern is very useful, but be careful not to become part of it.

Redefine the problem. “Your problem is not the problem; there is another problem. When you define the real problem, you can solve it and move on.” If you had correctly defined the real problem, you would have solved it long ago because all problems have solutions.

Look where others aren’t looking. This will allow you to see what others aren’t seeing.

Come up with ideas at the beginning. Many times we come up with several ideas and start innovating, and then we come up with more ideas and never get anything done. At some point you have to turn off the idea generation part of the process and work on the execution part to bring a project to life.

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 
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