Category: design thinking

Pantone Color of the Year for 2017: Greenery

pantone-2017The Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 is Greenery, specifically 15-0343. Pantone says of this year’s pick, “A counterpoint to the dark malaise caused by the murky political climate around the world. Greenery burst forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape.”

Good grief, that’s a helluva lot of expectation to put on one color that is basically Kermit eating at Shake Shack. In fact, I think I’d rather focus on that spunky frog enjoying a delicious burger and fries at my favorite addictive eatery than think of what else this particular color can symbolize. I mean, if Pantone is referencing the current politics in America, I think there might be a better color than one associated with money and swamps.

Pantone was founded in New York and is now headquartered in New Jersey but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt about their global inspiration since their colors truly are the standard for color matching around the world. And actually, Greenery is a nice sort of bright neutral and much better than 2016’s Colors of the Year: baby pink and blue (excuse me, Rose Quartz and Serenity) for example. That particularly twee combination made every designer I know just shake their damn heads.

rose-quartz-and-serenityNot to mention the previous year’s color “Marsala” which reminded me forcefully of Friar Tuck’s bandage needing to be changed. Talk about a dark malaise.

marsala

But like a train that shows no sign of slowing however many rational arguments and marches are made against it, here we are with this Greenery. It may be already overused but I have to admit it looks fabulous in people’s yards if they have the money to pay for water, and is a staple in packaging, fashion, and home decor. Pantone also says it’s “trans-seasonal” and anything with the word trans in it is fine in my book so let’s pour a tall glass of green river and toast Greenery, Color of the Year 2017. And to help a bit with that murky political climate, let’s add a little absinthe in there as well. Also green.

For more from Pantone about this year's pick go here

-Barbara Combs

You aren’t as busy as you think:
Guidance on remaining creative and getting sh*t done

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If you are like me—or rather, my former self—you’re probably quite familiar with the phrase, “I’m just so busy”. It’s become the ultimate crutch, the perfect excuse to get out of inconvenient dinner plans and a reason to neglect your fitness routine. It’s even become your default answer to questions like, “How has your summer been?”—an otherwise perfect opportunity for you to share something interesting. But most profoundly, adopting the "I'm so busy" mantra is the one thing holding you back from finishing (or even starting) your personal creative projects.

Chase Jarvis, Artist and CEO of CreativeLive wrote in a blog post, “Busy isn’t success, it’s a lack of priority”. His post, and that line specifically, got me thinking about my own seemingly busy schedule and that perhaps, I in fact had the time I thought I hadn’t for creative projects as long as I made them a top-ranking priority. After some re-jiggering of my schedule, and quite a bit of trial and error, I found the following set of steps to be the most successful process in bringing creative projects to the forefront of my day-to-day.

1) Record your time and don’t leave anything out
I started by documenting, hour by hour, the way I spend my time in a typical week. Sure, I work 40 hours and get an average of 8 hours of sleep a night which, together, takes up 96 of the 168 hours in a week. But what was happening in those other 72 hours? To my shame, I found that I was surrendering that time to Netflix, shopping online, checking and BROWSING Instagram (who does that?), perusing Pinterest, yadda yadda. Don’t get me wrong, I was spending quality time with my husband, taking my dog on walks, cleaning, and making healthy meals (also known as “adulting”), but the rest of my time was being swallowed up by the nonsense.

2) Define and list your priorities
Next, I wrote down a list of my top priorities and bucketed them into the following three categories:

Self Relationships Career

This helped me organize my thoughts and highlighted the areas that needed some balance.

My creative goals, for example finishing my illustrated greeting card series and photographing my designed wedding invitations, fell under the Self category—along with yoga twice a week, journaling once a day, etc. Updating my portfolio site was a task I listed under the Career column, and more frequent girls’ nights was mandatory under Relationships. Turns out that constantly scrolling Instagram, pinning DIYs for my hypothetical garden on Pinterest, and watching hours of Stranger Things on Netflix weren’t  even close to making the priority cut (Although, ST is dope and may be budgeted back into my schedule).

3) Rewrite your week and adhere to it
I did this by creating a one-week schedule. First, I filled in the spaces that are absolutely mandatory and don’t vary from week to week like working and sleeping. then I started to allocate the more fluid priorities to the available time slots. Illustrating was now to be done on Wednesday and Thursday from  7-8 pm and photographing my projects would happen on Monday from 6-7 pm, when the lighting was still fantastic.

Looking at a map of my revitalized week helped me realize the amount of time I actually had to do the things I was neglecting for so long.  It became obvious that putting off my creative projects because of time (or lack thereof) was no longer a viable excuse. I HAVE the time, I just need to use it correctly.

Sticking to a precise schedule may be nearly impossible. After all, we’re human and curve balls get thrown at us regularly, but getting a sense of what you really care about, and scheduling those things into your week is a sure way to live a life of intent and to get sh*t done.

For a pdf of the schedule template I used, click here.

-Julia Perry

Be attractive. Dress your brand for success.

Second in a series, THE 5 LAWS OF GRAVITY FOR A MORE SUCCESSFUL BRAND.

When you're creating or recreating your website, smart design is more than decoration. Smart design makes even the hottest brands more attractive and sometimes the key is in keeping it simple. According to econsultancy, 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

That can translate to other areas of your brand. Margin Media reports 48% of users as saying  that if they arrive on a business site that isn't working well on mobile, they take it as an indication of the business simply not caring. (stats pulled from the awesome Hubspot)

Color is key in web design as it is in other areas of marketing, maybe second in importance only to color in packaging. For your website, color can affect positive or negative growth pretty dramatically. Here's a clear and cool little infographic on color from instantshift:

color-in-web

It's important to be aware of trends in consumer reactions. Smart design + strategy is the recipe that helps your brand exert all kinds of gravitational attractiveness. Be the Ryan Gosling of branding and don’t be afraid to channel your inner heartthrob.

Brand Velocity. Fast and steady wins the race.

First in a series, THE 5 LAWS OF GRAVITY FOR A MORE SUCCESSFUL BRAND.

In the race for brand awareness and ultimately brand loyalty, if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind. The days of undivided attention have all but disappeared. First to market can have a big advantage in customer recognition, and recognition has been shown to markedly increase brand loyalty. So there may be a tendency to rush your launch, your site, your direct mail, get your product on the shelf, your app on the phone before anyone else.

But it’s not just speed that wins brand loyalty. Stumbling at breakneck speed can take you out of the race. The thing about clichés is, they're repeated over and over because they're true. And this one is one of the truest: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Have a plan that takes into account discovery, design, review and revisions and you won't have to limp back to the starting line because you missed the mark. Here's another cliché that really bugs me but mostly because it's most painfully true at the eleventh hour: There's never enough time to do it right but always time to do it over. Time is a crucial part of brand velocity.

Hire people that know what they're doing and will fuel your content, clarity, relevance, and differentiation—people that get your business and the target you're shooting for and will keep you honest and on schedule, and you will be on the fast track.